#DayTrading $SPY and #Stockoptions…

The contents of this blog entry was first posted here last November about trading SPY options on the long side. I have added “stock options” to the title above because the strategy basically works with weekly stock options.

There are so many options strategies in the stock market the head spins – a straddle, a strangle, a naked and/or a covered put and/or call, a calendar, a condor, an iron condor, an iron butterfly (isn’t that a rock band?) and any combination of any of these for hedging purposes, for capital appreciation or preservation, for gambling. Mind boggling.

But buying options… Buying options, just plain buying a call or a put, everyone will say is a “fool’s game.”

Regardless of whether a trader buys calls or puts on index ETFs like SPY or QQQ or IWM, or buys options on stocks, there are only three things that can happen – the option goes the trader’s way (good), or the option goes against the trader (bad), the option goes sideways with price decay over time (also bad).

Two out of the three possibilities for the option buyer are losers. What fool would want to play that game?

But is it really a fool’s game?

Doesn’t have to be. Not for day traders.

Let’s take SPY options as the prime example — very liquid across multiple strikes, tight spreads, hardly any time decay on a trade for only a day, a stop-loss is close by and immediate, and the profits, if there is a trend for the day, can be substantial, even rather astounding.

Also great for scalping on any time frame intraday.

The key, as always, is persistence, discipline, experience, and an entry signal the trader is comfortable with taking.

$SPY – the slow roll over?

Given how sprightly the rally since December has been it’s hard to call a top. Actually it’s hard to call a top anytime but bear-market rallies are especially tricky.

Weeks ago it was suggested here this would be the rally to make everyone one believe the bull market has resumed, and it has been that kind of rally.

There is famous, familiar chart of investor emotions in the market (see below) that shows the various stages of market emotions from despair to euphoria and back again (see below). It’s worthwhile review that chart every so often and ask one’s self how am I feeling now. This is especially true for long-term holders and retirees who have their savings tied up in the market.

Looking at the chart below I would suggest we are at the “Return to Normal” stage. For any swing trader who played the upswing this has been a fantastic rally. For investors it’s been a big sigh of relief.

But… There are signs now that sigh may be about to become a gasp.

Long-term breadth, as measured by the McClellan Summation Index, the most important indicator of mass market psychology, turned bearish four days ago after several warnings from the declining highs on the McClellan Oscillator itself. My nifty-50 stock list has failed to get overbought since the rally’s kick-off’s first few days. While the indexes have worked higher, the stocks have rotated and paused and in some cases fallen under the surface (take a look at the rollover in the banking sector).

Weed stocks lead again (check out CRON up 87% on the YTD summation index run up or GWPH up 71%). While there’s a growth logic to the marijuana sector, that’s still just as crazy as the dot-com bubble of yesteryear.

Despite all those warnings until prices follow internals and drop with conviction (which could happen any day now, even tomorrow), and the VIX jumps back above 15 (it closed at 14.74 today), the sell off may not happen, and if the SPX, or in this case the SPY run up past the resistance at recent highs, it might go to all time highs before the bear market resumes.

Doubt that but we’ll see.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#DayTrading stock options in the “Fool’s Game”

Let’s call this a “Fool’s Game” trilogy.

Three days experimenting with buying calls or puts (calls in this instance) according to the rules of the “Fool’s Game” suggested here for day trading SPY options on a lucky November 13th last year in this link: IS It A FOOL’S GAME?.

The basis of the entire strategy is the simplicity of going long calls or puts (what’s been called the “fool’s game”). The cost is clear since it is simply the cost of the option itself with no shorting margin requirements, no covered stock scenarios, no spreads or complicated attempts to calculate delta and neutralize theta and try to fill the four legs of iron condors both going in and trying to get, and no more god knows what else…

This is this simple: buy calls if you believe it’s going up, puts if you think it’s going down.

The results trading SPY options, either in the money or at the money on the nearest expiration — Monday, Wednesday, Friday. were astounding last year, and earlier this year (that system is currently experiencing its biggest draw down since I began tracking and trading it). Both because of the “astounding” and the “biggest draw down”, I decided to take a look at stocks using the same criteria as outlined in this link: DayTrading Stock Options two days ago.

The criteria for selecting AAPL, FB, BABA, NFLX and TSLA for the trades is noted in that link.

The first day of this experiment, Tuesday this week, netted 13.2% in trades that triggered in all five of those stocks (I highlighted TSLA on a chart in a post below), and netted 37% on trades is four of the stocks yesterday (see charts in the post below). FB options did not trigger a trade that day.

Very fine returns for the system, and much to be learned in its context.

Today (see the muddle of charts below), the trades in calls lost 8% on options traded on four of the stocks.

Still, a good three days overall.

But as I mentioned there was much to learned in context – a logical intraday stop on the NFLX trade (the first blue candle as seen on the NFLX chart below), would have cut the total loss to only 3%. Stops, needless to say, like with all systems, need constant examination and re-examination.

I looked into this because I’d been told day trading stock options can’t be done. This week may be an outlier but as far as this “trilogy” of day trades has gone, it has been done.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#DayTrading Stock Options in the “Fools’s Game” Part II

(CLICK ON THE CHARTS FOR A LARGER VIEW)

TSLA at the end of the day – net up 94%.

BABA at the end of the day – net up 52%.

AAPL at the end of the day – net up 14%

.

NFLX at the end of the day trade – net down 43%.

#MarijuanaStocks – gains are high in the weed patch

The vast majority of stocks move with the market. And some stocks move more than others, both up and down.

Take the marijuana stocks as the prime example.

At what may have been the end of the bull market last August, this newcomer stock sector was leading the market (a telling sign the bull was getting too high) and with the fall in the Fall, its stocks all went down together.

Even the sector’s leaders took a drubbing CGC, which Constellation Brands had just put a ton of investment money into, dropped from a high of $59 to a recent low of $24. TLRY, an extremely hot IPO screamed crazily from its IPO price close of $22 to a high of $300 in two months (its founder may have been the fourth richest man in the world for one day…on weed) and then plunged to an almost still respectable low of $70.

What fundamentally changed at those companies in the three months the market sold off and took them down? No much, if anything at all.

So coming into the market bottom, that was an obvious vibrant sector that needed to be watched for a big bounce.

And, indeed, the marijuana stocks have not disappointed any swing traders looking to make bear-market rally plays (see the chart panel below). Since the December 26th blog buy signal here, CGC has rocketed 52%, CRON 27%, GWPH 31%, ACB 37%, and TLRY had gained 37% until it was knocked down to a “mere” 13% gain in today’s action.

That hit on TLRY today is why I bring all this up now.

There is speculation TLRY’s drop was caused by fear that an expiration of the lock-up period on IPO insiders would bring on selling, a self-fulfilling prophesy if ever there was one but then most moves in the market usually are. With the exception of GWPH, the granddaddy stock in the sector, the rest of the stocks took hits in one way or another today along with TLRY.

It was on some news, profit-taking, whatever, but it was a hit in the leading sector on a market up day. That is an alert.

In the blog post below the suggestion was and still is to play defense, defense, defense during this rapid rise in the market because of the likelihood this is a bear-market bounce that can go ragged at any moment, and in some sectors die on a dime.

Bull markets end and bear markets begin on one down day. And sector rallies do the same.

Today may or may not be the end-of-the-swing day in the weed patch, but it turns out to be, as we used to say in the 60s and 70s and the bear can growl now: “Don’t bogart that joint, my friend.”

(click on the chart panel for a larger view)

$SPY $QQQ – Defense, defense, defense…

With $SPY up 5 days in a row and 8 of the last 11, and with the Nasdaq up 5 days in a row and 10 or the last 11, short-term breadth turned down today…

How many times have we seen that before?

In addition, my nifty-50 list of stocks started to turn on Tuesday from 48 buys (and 40 overbought) on Monday to 22 on buys (and none as yet oversold) today. CNN Money’s Fear and Greed Index has finally, begrudgingly it seems, managed to crawl out of its ‘extreme fear” reading to a mere “fear” reading today.

This was been a spectacular bounce from extreme fear but at this point maybe too spectacular. Almost every index is up five days in a row. The Nasdaq Comp is well beyond two standard deviations of an average advance when one is usually enough to throw the advance into a pullback or a sideways slide (see the upper red line on the chart below). And that’s despite the AAPL news blip in the middle of the rally.

SPY has also moved that much but that ETF, mirroring the S&P, has reached strong resistance at its 260 level.

Usually, this would be called “too far, too fast.” This time it looks like “too much, to soon.”

A lot of shorts have been scorched. A lot of traders are sitting on big gains in no time at all. TQQQ for example is now up 35% in the past 11 days, NFLX 38% and looking to gap up more tomorrow. There’s momentum in those numbers so I suspect there will be more upside to work it off but at the moment with a hint from a slight falter at an astronomical level from short-breadth it could be time for a dip.

One suspects those left behind on this bounce are beginning to believe it’s more than a bounce, and one suspects long-term holders are holding their breadth in the hope it is (sorry, boys, just look at how far anything is from its high and it’s overbought already?).

The market can go up as high it wants and for as long as it wants, of course, but this really looks like as good as time as any for a dip, probably tomorrow.

And since this appears to be a typically fierce bear-market rally, any dip can get carried way with itself and become a dose of despair…the play is defense, defense, defense…

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$SPY – Simple black candle tops…

Let’s call this a KISS moment as in “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”

Again and again, market upswings end in black candles – a hanging man, a shooting star, a dreaded doji, or just a sign after six days up and two blasts of nothing-much news the buyers get tired. Not always it’s a black candle ends the rally, but it happens often enough, me thinks, for swing traders to take notice.

On November 26th, it was suggested this market would rally in this post: If Santas’s rally is coming to town… and on the follow up in this post: Fast and furious the bear-market rally rises… it was suggested this swing has the speed of a bear-market rally and it was noted:

“If I had to guess, I’d pick the 281 neighborhood as a place where the SPY may settle this trip up (see the chart). Maybe even a bit higher. It may not take long or it may chop up until January. After that all indications are we have not seen the eventual lows of this bear.

Well, it didn’t take long. SPY came within 60 cents of that 281 number today and sold off. Hence the black candle.

So is this swing done?

Could be but maybe not… If not the simplicity of this looks truly stupid, if so I suppose it looks…smart? The key to these singular candle moments is what always comes next. Looking back over the chart below, it appears, what comes next is the smart part but if it breaks that red line at 281 it will likely go considerably higher (more Santa gifts for bulls and those who want to jump out of the house from an upper-story window).

Must note that all of my bellwether stocks – NFLX, AMZN, NVDA MSFT, GS, BIDU, BABA, FB, TSLA, AAPL — were up today from yesterday’s close, and ALL OF THEM were down from today’s open. In other words, in one of the posts linked above it was suggested in a bear market there would be selling pressure nearly every day – today during the day it was obvious this was one of those days.

Tomorrow could another and it could bring more serious selling if the simple black candles have their way.

(click on the chart for larger view)

$SPY $TQQQ – if Santa’s rally is coming to town…

It appears it started today and triggered the likelihood of more to come tomorrow…

This should be a rally all the way to Christmas and possibly a bit beyond.

Why?

Because the market has been pounded hard to the downside since, in some index cases, early October. But more importantly short-term and long-term breadth, measured by the McClellan Oscillator and Summation Index (see the chart for today below), has simultaneously given buy signals for tomorrow’s, Tuesday’s, open. And they have done it with a telling divergence – see on the chart how deep the breadth plunge was on the lows in late October, and how the breadth numbers failed to confirm the price lows at the same levels last week.

In addition, my nifty-fifty stock list had 44 sells on the first plunge (usually the sign of a swing bottom) but could not muster more than 39 on sells during the last sell-off. Forty-five of them are now on buys.

I have major 3xleverage ETFs giving new individual buy signals for tomorrow’s open – FAS, SOXL, FNGU, TNA, TQQQ, UNPRO — and major bellwether stocks doing the same – AMZN, NVDA, TWTR, GS, BABA, FB. But neither TSLA nor NFLX can be ignored on any market bounce.

While AAPL missed an individual buy signal today by a whisper, this market is not going anywhere without it. However, I see, it closed at 174 and is down to 170 after-hours (a better bargain?). That AAPL has an after-the-close sell down raises the possibility the downside is not yet done.

Highly likely we are now in a bear market with Finra (NYSE) margin debt unraveling. If so, there’s going to be downward pressure on this rally almost every day. This is the time for traders to take advantage of sharp upside bounces like today and for long-term investors to lighten up on their holdings if not to get out completely. Every time margin debt has come apart (and this time it is from a higher level than both 2000 and 2007) the SPX has lost 40% to 50% before the bear market ended in 2003 and 2009. See this LINK – the divergence that kills the bull.

Bear-market rallies tend to be fast and furious so we’ll see how this one goes, but if it is truly a bear-market rally, it will as time goes by take a lot of time to recover from the its eventual bottom whenever it comes and at whatever price level.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$FB – run amok and tumbling down…

Facebook (FB) has been able to run on its own since being founded and going public.

So what, as it turns, does the company do? It runs amok.

As the NEW YORK TIMES INVESTIGATIVE REPORT revealed this week the company has been reckless and irresponsible and instrumental in the Russian invasion of the US 2016 elections, and its executives have “delayed, denied, and deflected” criticism through the entire controversy.

We’re talking sheer greed here, capitalism as its ugliest.

But it appears its time of running unfettered is up as Congress focuses on bringing regulations to finally make it responsible for the harm it has done and to insure that it does not do it again. In the end Facebook will be better off for it…or it will be dead (hard to believe? remember MySpace?).

As a result the FB stock (see chart below) has proved once again in financial markets’ store there all always both escalators up and escalators down,

Regardless, to state the obvious, while investors may see profits evaporate in fleeting time, traders can make money on both the ups and and the downs.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

UPDATING $RACE – Ferrari heading to the pits

This is a look back.

In August there was this post:

It’s been a great run for Ferrari but its $RACE is run

In which it was said:

If this race was hill climb, RACE obviously finished in the money.

Nothing like stair-steps in an uptrend.

But, a couple of observations: 1) the stock has not had a breakdown from a boxed consolidation until recently; 2) there’s also a small head-and-shoulder top formation inside the box; 3) when leader flag it’s a warning for the general market too.

So what now? It’s short the bounces until it makes a new high, and as long as it continues breaking to the downside.

And keep in mind this could be a warning in a possible transition from bull market to bear market.

Simply put, no stock goes up forever. At least not in a trader’s world. I’m sure Warren Buffet might disagree but then he’s been investing in a century time frame.

Since August, RACE has a rally back up to 140 and has rolled over as expected. That failing rally was the opportunity for long-term investors to take profits and get out.

See the chart below which has been updated from the chart in the link.

Obviously the trend has changed to a downtrend. RACE, step by step, is now building a down staircase.

Its race run Ferrari is pulling into the pits.

(click on chart for a larger view)