#ShortStrangles on #Stocks – 11/18 – 11/22

Trades on the strangles for AAPL, FB, TSLA and NFLX were in direct relation to this post below to show how selling naked would work as a hedge on cash alone:

#ShortStrangles on #Stocks – stealing money weekly in cash

It was not a spectacular week but there was a gain 2.3% on total margins for the trades (still, scale that over a year and happiness will reign).

Should note only AAPL steadily decayed through week. FB came within a whisper of being stopped out with a loss but righted itself by Friday and expired worthless. TSLA slightly touched its upper strike stop at 360.84 but sold off so quickly I didn’t close it.

MADE A MISTAKE AND GOT AWAY WITH IT – NOT GOOD

Should have closed NFLX which showed a 47% loss for the position, a 2.8% loss on the margin requirement, but with the stock itself up a virtual six days in a row, wildly overbought and ripe for a bit of end-of-the-week profit taking, so decided to hold it into Friday. Probably because I wrote the post in the link above, I was thinking too much. Not a good thing to do in options trading.

Not honoring the NFLX stop was a mistake and I’m rationalizing its profit since it worked out great but doing that on a regular basis is a road to ruin. Being rewarded for making a mistake makes one think it can be done again…and again…until one comes along and kills you.

THIS WEEK’S STRANGLES:

#ShortStrangles on #Stocks – stealing money weekly in cash

Let’s say you have $200,000 or so in a margin account at a brokerage — $206,400 to be precise (but more about that number later).

The account is in cash. Probably because as at some point you took to heart Bernard Baruch’s famous comment that he made his fortune in the stock market because he “sold too soon”, and now so have you as this bull market continues to climb leaving you, you think, behind.

What to do? What to do?

Let’s take AAPL, FB, TSLA and NFLX as examples, not as stock holdings, which are far too expensive for a $200K account, but as option trading opportunities using the cash margin your money provides.

I didn’t post these on Twitter this week to verify the timeliness (see more entries below for some of that) so this is a study in retrospect, a look at possibilities, not what was done but instead what could have been done this week, and what can be done any week going forward.

On Monday (11/11), 30 minutes after the open, AAPL was a 259, the price to set up a “short strangle” on its stock. In this case, I’m suggesting selling a 265 call above the market and a 255 put below the market, 10 contracts each, for a combined credit of $1,230 with a margin requirement of about $49,000. Same day, same time, FB was at 189 so a 195 call with a 185 put for a combined credit of $1,100 with a margin requirement of $34,800. Same day, same time, TSLA was at 346 so a 355 call and a 335 put at a combined credit of $6,600 with a margin requirement of $67,700. Same day, same time, NFLX was at 292, so a 300 call above the market and a 285 put below the market for a combined credit of $3,320. The margin requirements are those prescribed for each short strangle strategy by the CBOE, the Chicago Options Exchange.

Hope no one got lost in the thicket of dollar signs in the paragraph above. It all adds up to $12,250 added to you account at the beginning of the week. Now let’s see if you can keep it.

You are going to have to buy back the options you sold to get those credits or let them expire worthless if they are not in the money by the end of the week. All of these options are out of the money and will expire worthless at the end of the week if the stock does not rise above the call strike or drop below the put strike. That is the point of the strangle strategy, to have them all expire worthless.

Drum roll please…

At the end of the week, the AAPL strangle was down $520, which is a profit on the short sale, a gain of about 42% on the position.

At the end of the week, FB had a profit of about $990, a gain of 93% on the strangle position.

At the end of the week, TSLA had a profit of about $6,580, a gain of 99% on the position.

At the end of the week, NFLX had a profit of about $3,500, a gain of 99% on the position.

The total gains on all four stock strangles for the week was approximately $11,590. That is a 94.6% gain on the positions, but not on the margin requirements. The combined margin requirement for the four trades would have been $206,400 (ah-ha!, there’s that “more about that number later” number), which would make the actual percentage gain in the account for the week about 5.6%.

Five-point-six percent may not seem like all that much in volatile options trading but week in and week out for 52 weeks…

It must be said, however, there can be losses, and big losses if there is no stop-loss discipline, but short strangles on stocks could be as close as one can get to safely and legally stealing money in the stock market with just cash to work with.

#MarketTiming – $NYSI $10K stock trades

Long-term breadth (the NYSI) turned up Friday giving a buy signal for the open of the market today.

As suggested in this link #MarketTiming – the NYMO low above a low that was expected and would be necessary to have a chance for a rally. Today’s trading was sloppy sideways, probably just digesting last week’s gains, and although the NYSI did decline it stayed in positive territory.

If there is further weakness, there could be a whipsaw, but we’ll see when we see…

In the meantime, I expect more follow through to the upside.

In this link: #MarketTiming with $10,000 to trade I thought I’d sometimes address trading on limited capital — for the fun of it, for entertainment here and for anyone with limited capital.

The late great Kennedy Gammage of the Richland Report and for many years the keeper of the McClellan Oscillator flame, once wisely said: “Buy when the market tells you, sell when the stock tells you.” If I may, I would add to that “Also buy when the stock tells you.”

If one has but $10k, one needs to study up and pick stock favorites that have the ability to move with the market. Most stocks do move with the market but obviously some move better than others.

Today on Twitter I posted some Day-1 results selected by from my own bellwether stock list as examples of buying with the market as measured by the NYSI either turning up or turning down. Although, $10k readily computeS to a percentage gain or loss, I’m stating those gains in dollars gained or lost.

Clicking on the charts here will display larger chart details on Twitter.

THE WINNERS:

AND ONE LOSER TO SHOW NOTHING’S PERFECT:

#ShortStrangles on Stocks 9/30 – 10/04

This week’s setups:

Last week’s results:

#MarijuanaStocks – the wither in the weed patch…

At one point last year, the marijuana stock sector was the leading sector in the entire market.

Everywhere analysts were hailing it as the next great growth sector, especially after Canada joined several states in the U.S. to legalize weed, both medically and for recreational use. Made sense, and before anyone could say “don’t Bogart that joint” there were cannabis shops practically fighting Starbucks for retail space.

#MarijuanaStocks – gains are high in the weed patch

At one point, the founder and CEO of TLRY, because he owned so much stock in his heralded IPO, was something like the fourth richest man in the world…for a day. But now that day is done.

The chart panel below tells the rest of the story and there is not much more to say about that.

(click on the charts for a larger view)

#IPOs – a stealth bear market since summer

It appears while the main indexes have held near their highs this year, there’s seems to be a stealth bear market going on with many of this year’s prominent IPOs.

As has been written about here before (last visited in the link below), this is maybe the easiest trade there is in the the market — buy above the high of the opening day, using that high or the low of the first day (depending on one’s individual risk tolerance) and hang on for the long term:

#IPOs – A Great Year For “Dummies”

Well, it was a great year for the likes of SWAV, PINS, ZIM, BYND, SOLY, that is until summer. While none of these stocks have been stopped out (the high of the first day) they have not been going well since summer but as can been seen in the chart panel below there were opportunities to take profits to preserve profits, especially in crazy run ups in say SWAV or the famous IPO for BYND.

Sometimes when stocks just go silly even the most disciplined IPO investor needs to take notice and thank his or her lucky stocks.

In the larger market picture, this is the kind of weakness that can be seen in many sectors. It is just easy to see here.

P.S. Once again, the LYFT chart is included as a cautionary tale to not buy unless an IPO takes out the high of its IPO day.

(click on the chart panel for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – Some notes on the NYSI

MARKET TIMING SIGNALS FOR 8/22/2019.

Long-Term Breadth (the NYSI): Sell DAY 3
Short-Term Breadth (the NYMO): Sell DAY 1
Price (the Nasdaq COMP): Sell DAY 1
Volatility (the VIX): Sell Day 1
Nifty-50-Stock-List: 19 BUYS, 8 NEW BUYS, 4 OVERBOUGHT; 31 SELLS, 4 NEW SELLS, 17 OVERSOLD.
CNN MONEY’S “Fear and Greed” Index: 16, Falling, EXTREME FEAR LEVEL.
Bellwether Stocks: 12 UP, 3 DOWN.

WHAT?

Going into the end of the week last week the market looked ready to rally strongly but Trump tweeted again and China talked and that was that as the Dow swooned nearly 700 points on Friday.

Despite what the nincompoop in the Oval Office has to say, trade wars are not easy. Here’s an assessment of that — THE COST OF A TRUMP TWEET.

Needless to say, when stuff like this holds sway the market has become absurd. But even in the midst of this news and dribble-driven market technical indicators, though inconsistent for a day or two, in the end will again stabilize and win out.

Let’s take long-term breadth, the all-important NYSI, as an example. Formulated by Sherman and Marian McClellan is the long-term measure of the McClellan Oscillator (the NYMO) registering gyrations on the NYSE advance/decline line. It is pretty much the broadest measure of mass market psychology and direction.

Except for a “ledge” at the very end of July (ledges are made to fall off of) and a couple of blips up last week when the market wanted to rally the NYSI has been falling since July 17th. As one focuses on the day to day moves in the market, it is often easy to overlook the longer term when breadth is is bearish so I thought I’d take a quick look back at NYSI’s damage on much of the market in the last month or so.

See the ETFs and stocks in the chart panel below for illustration.

Since the NYSI July 17th turn down, a little more than a month ago, TQQQ, the Nasdaq 3x-leveraged ETF has declined 12.5%; TNA, the Russell small-cap 3x-leveraged ETF has fallen 18.8%. Among notable bellwether stocks on my list FB is down 9.3%, AMZN down 10.9%, TSLA down 16%, NFLX 9%, GS 6.8%, and WYNN a whopping 22.9%.

Obviously, the NYSI is a powerful read on market direction, both on the upside, and now on the downside, and most stocks follow the general market.

When it’s falling be short or be in cash. And long term investors should resist “bargains” and wait for the turn before initiating new positions.

In other words, don’t fight it.

WHAT NEXT?

With short-term breadth turning down today with a high below a high in negative territory (see the second chart below), that is a renewed sell signal so the expectation is the market goes down tomorrow and maybe the rest of the week.

But who knows for sure these days? Some fools might think they hear a positive tweet, or China playing its own game may stand by and let the market bounce.

(click on the chart panel or a larger view)

(click on chart for a larger view)

$SPY up against a high wall and ready to rise

MARKET TIMING SIGNALS FOR 8/22/2019.

Long-Term Breadth (the NYSI): Buy DAY 1
Short-Term Breadth (the NYMO): Buy DAY 1
Price (the Nasdaq COMP): Buy DAY 1
Volatility (the VIX): Buy Day 1
Nifty-50-Stock-List: 38 BUYS, 5 NEW BUYS, 10 OVERBOUGHT; 12 SELLS, 2 NEW SELLS, 3 OVERSOLD.
CNN MONEY’S “Fear and Greed” Index: 25, rising, EXTREME FEAR LEVEL.
Bellwether Stocks: 12 UP, 3 DOWN.

WHAT?

After slamming up and down in a price consolidation for nine days (some might say twelve) it appears SPY, and the rest of the market is ready to rise.

After a one-day dip, short-term breadth (the NYMO) turned up today putting in a low above a low above the zero line (see the pattern on the chart below).

Just as highs below highs below the zero line are gift or the bears (see the most recent on the chart), today’s pattern should be a gift for the bulls.

In addition, both price action (TQQQ as well as SPY) and volatility (the VIX) gave buy signals on today’s close for tomorrow’s open.

The stocks in my nifty-50 stock list have been gradually making the turn in the midst of this consolidation on the indexes. At the bottom of the sell off in late July and early August there were as few as six on buys (8/5), and even just six trading days ago as few as sixteen, but now there are 38 on buys and only ten overbought.

But maybe the best case for expecting an upswing here and a bull run, is CNN Money’s “Fear and Greed” Index (see the second chart below with TQQQ). It has been at “fear” and “extreme fear” levels during this entire past twelve days and today the index put in a low above low pattern while still deep in the fear zone.

That may be a big clue as to what comes next.

WHAT’S NEXT?

If it can vault above the recent highs of the last few days, the market is going to rally strongly, maybe even explosively – and given how far “Fear and Greed” has to run to the upside, this rally could carry back to the highs and possibly beyond in the next few weeks…

It better.

I say “it better” because if it doesn’t off this setup it’s going to be as Trader Vic Sperandeo always says: “If the market doesn’t do what is expected, it will do the opposite twice as much.”

Overall, I must say I am long-term bearish. I think this became a bear market on the sell down last December when margin debt, which was at that point higher than both 2000 and 2007 started to come apart, and all this jerking around this entire year is so far the death throes (however spectacular) of a long-term bull. President Obama brought this out of the depth of despair and it has managed to keep going on the tax-cut buy backs and the deregulation under Trump, but it is a ten-year bubble now waiting for the prick to bring it down. No wonder Trump, with his trade war and farmers going broke all through the Midwest and layoffs creeping into the headlines, is screaming desperately at the Fed to cut rates.

But none of this is going to matter tomorrow.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – Long-term breadth says sell the rally

MARKET TIMING SIGNALS FOR 7/18/2019.

Long-Term Breadth (NYSI): Sell DAY 1
Short-Term Breadth (NYMO): Sell DAY 3
Price: Sell DAY 2
Nifty-50-Stock-List: 13 BUYS, 1 NEW BUYS, 4 OVERBOUGHT; 37 SELLS, 11 NEW SELLS, 12 OVERSOLD.
CNN MONEY’S “Fear and Greed” Index: 46, falling, NEUTRAL LEVEL.
Bellwether Stocks: 6 UP, 9 DOWN.

WHAT?

The market took the tumble that been brewing for the past couple of days.

First short-term breadth turned down after a sequence of highs below highs, then price triggered a sell on today’s open, and now long-term breadth has given a sell signal for tomorrow’s open.

That last part is the most significant. Long-term breadth (the NYSI) is the primary context behind the entire market. If it is going up the bulls have the ball, if it is going down the market will tumble too. Maybe not right away — it can whipsaw like anything else, but if it keeps going down most stocks will follow.

Technically the sell signals are on tomorrow’s open but at today’s close this upswing, which began on the open of 6/28 (13 trading days ago), took TQQQ up 8.2%, UPRO up 5.1%, FNGU (the FANG ETF) up 12.4% and TNA remarkably was flat. Among notable stocks TSLA advanced 15.1%, SHOP 7.3%, TWLO 6.1%, WYNN 99%, FB 5.9% and AAPL lagged at up 2.3%.

The Nifty-50-stock-list was a mixed bag with as many stock down double digits as those up double digits. In retrospect that was probably a read on the raggedness of the rally.

However, INS, the number-one stock on the list coming into the upswing vaulted a spectacular 49.4%.

Interesting to note the divergence that registered on the overbought Fear-and-Greed Index, kept by CNN Money, called the exact top two days ago in SPY and in QQQ (see the chart below) and was telling across the board.

WHAT NEXT?

With the NYSI declining, one can only assume swing traders will be looking for short entries, options traders playing puts predominantly (see the post below), and long-term investors should tighten stops to their individual risk tolerance or just hold their breath and hope not to die.

Of note: NFLX after the bell reported earnings, a shortfall in expected subscriptions, and is getting clobbered in overnight trading. That may set a tone for trading tomorrow. Intriguing how often news comes along from somewhere to agree with the NYMO/NYSI breadth indicators.

Nothing much more to say. The market will go down until it doesn’t, and granted, that could be even as early as tomorrow. The VIX remains below 15, which is a bullish level indicating this is likely a pullback and not a serious correction.

(click on the Fear-and-Greed chart below for a larger view)

$SPY – trudging higher but watching for a reversal day

MARKET TIMING SIGNALS FOR 7/16/2019.

Long-Term Breadth (NYSI): BUY DAY 12
Short-Term Breadth (NYMO): Sell DAY 1
Price: BUY DAY 2
Nifty-50-Stock-List: 20 BUYS, 4 NEW BUYS, 13 OVERBOUGHT; 30 SELLS, 4 NEW SELLS, 11 OVERSOLD.
CNN MONEY’S “Fear and Greed” Index: 57, falling, GREED LEVEL.
Bellwether Stocks: 11 UP, 4 DOWN.

WHAT?

The market moved sluggishly higher today.

In the case of SPY it was five days in a row, and except for a minor blip in the middle of the advance, TQQQ would be the same. SPY, by my measure, has been overbought for three trading days, which is often all she wrote, but not always.

During this entire move up, my nifty-50 stock list has never had more than 25 stocks on buys. The last time I saw above thirty was two weeks ago (37 on 7/1). Those stocks are trudging through a muddle. That might or might now mean something. Notably TNA, the 3xLeveraged ETF for the Russell small caps has gone nowhere.

Still SPY has managed to make new all-time highs, which is either ragingly bullish, or it’s about to die on the first down day.

WHAT NEXT?

Let’s consider that first day down for a moment, especially since short-term breadth, which has been putting in highs below high (see chart below), turned down today with SPY overbought and up five days in a row (see this many times before a dip).

Trader Vic Sperandeo noted one time that any time a major index goes four or more days in one direction at the end of an intermediate advance or decline the first reversal day is the change of trend. Trouble is I don’t think he ever quite defined what constitutes an intermediate advance or decline. One can look at charts and see he has been right again and again and again but then there is that one time…and that one time can kill anyone who doesn’t play defense. This advance is essentially five weeks old with a minor drop in the middle, projected here in this post below :#MarketTiming – a black candles Thursday leading to….

In addition SPY ended the day in a black candle. The black candle makes today’s high (301.13) and today low (300.19) key numbers, above the former there more rally to come, below the latter a dip to the downside, a easy read of price action. Those highs below highs on the NYMO (again see the chart below) are a warning. There is a divergence in CNN Money’s Fear and Greed Index not confirming the new highs. There’s the Russell stall so far… These things are beginning to pile up.

Five weeks of solid gains may not be the end of the upswing but it is worth guarding against Trader Vic’s “first reversal day.”

All that aside. until long-term breadth turns down, the long side will remain the side to play. Dips are to be bought in the indexes, the ETFs, stocks. Eleven of my bellwether stocks were up today with decent gains, see AAPL, TSLA, SHOP, BABA as examples. So there is still strong buying in big names, which is probably the place to focus most trades.

It always sounds stupid with one says it but it is the one simple, absolute truth — the market will go up until is doesn’t.

(click on the chart for a larger view)