#MarketTiming – with not much fanfare Santa slips into view

On a FED day as the Federal Reserve held firm on low interest rates, it appears the annual Santa Claus rally may have quietly slipped into view despite the tight trading of the past few days.

Possibly it’s even set up a for a fast move by the tight trading.

Appropriate timing, I guess, since it’s hard to fathom this market continuing to rally on anything other than the FED pump, pump, pump…

Regardless, the NYMO put in a low above a low today (see the chart below), to go along with the important NYSI’s rise for the past four days. That completes the breadth pattern that is a most reliable trigger for a sustained up swing.

Since the last time the NYMO put in a low above a low on October 8th, SPY has rallied seven percent.

I would venture to suggest about the only thing that could abort the rally would be the Tweeter in chief scattering the trade-talk sticks again. Reportedly he is meeting tomorrow with advisors to discuss the proposed Dec 15th tariffs against China. Since when has he listened to advisors? So anything can happen.

In the meantime, one has to respect the signals and be long, and buying dips, until further notice.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$SPY #OPTIONS – Day trading puts – 12/02

A fast and furious drop-down day…

INITIAL ENTRY:

FIRST HALF PROFITS:

CLOSE OF TRADE:

ONE MORE TRY:

Divergences don’t matter…until they do…

Over and over again, especially in bull markets, prices keep going higher despite divergences on internal indicators, but when a tumble comes, a “pull back”, even a crash and one looks back at its beginning there is usually a divergence there.

Or a cluster of divergences.

So as of today, we have one in CNN Money’s “Fear And Greed” Index. That index has been wildly over bought as prices have surged on most major indexes (in the SPY ETF surrogate for the S&P 500). It is back off, risen again and as of today put in its divergence by making a lower low while SPY has hugged its high (see the chart below). It is not infallible but if history do tell, it is a reliable context (not the red lines on the chart and subsequent market drops).

And wonder of wonders, the FINRA Margin Debt reading for October came out today (see the second chart below). It is a monthly and always a month behind so there’s always some guess work to be done in real time, but this reading is, indeed, ominous.

Besides having risen way beyond the debt levels of both 2000 and 2007 before those bear markets arrived, it has now been carving out a ledge pattern on its chart (sometimes called a bear flag) for the past few months as the market keeps rising into thinner and thinner air.

Why ominous?

Note it’s the same pattern that was in place as the market was making highs last time and, when it finally fell apart, it was the precursor of the bear markets in both 2000, and 2008. Is it different this time? Is it ever different this time?

History, history, history.

This is to say nothing of the divergences on the McCellan Oscillator (the NYMO) with its Summation Index (the NYSI) declining for the past 10 days even as the market as advanced.

Does this mean we’re about enter a bear market?

Maybe not, divergence don’t always matter. But if a bear comes roaring now there is a good chance when we look back to this day this cluster of divergences will have mattered.

(FEAR AND GREED – CLICK ON THE CHART FOR A LARGER VIEW)

(FINRA MARGIN DEBET – CLICK ON THE CHART FOR A LARGER VIEW)

$SPY #Options – day trading calls 10/15

The market context for these trades is outlined in this post – #MarketTiming – the NYMO low above a low. It is in place.

ENTRY:

FIRST HALF PROFITS:

CLOSE OF TRADE:

All Twitter time stamps are Pacific time.

PLEASE NOTE: None of the entries in this blog should ever be construed as investment advice or trading recommendations. They are presented solely for entertainment and educational purposes, and to record trading activities for my own personal trading journal.

$SPY #Options – day trading calls 10/11

These trades are based on this strategy:

#Options – Buying Calls and Puts

And this context:

#MarketTiming – the NYMO low above a low

INITIAL ENTRY:

FIRST HALF PLUS 50%:

SECOND HALF CLOSE OF THE TRADE PLUS 46%:

All Twitter timestamps are Pacific time:

$SPY #Options – Day trading calls – 10/10

INITIAL ENTRY:

FIRST HALF OFF:

CLOSE OF DAY TRADE

#MarketTiming with $10,000 to trade

On Twitter I’ve been suggesting $10K trades for traders with not much capital, primarily as option trades. Today, for instance, a $10,000 trade in the SPY 292 put, today’s expiration, would take home a nearly $13K profit.

Spectacular, yes, but definitely not an everyday event. And it is a trade in options that, risk-wise, is probably beyond most amateur traders.

So I’m thinking, for fun and practicality and discussion’s sake, to say nothing of the entertainment purposes here, I’m going to scale this all back to $10,000 trades in stocks and ETFs, and $1,000 trades in options, and I’m going to state cash gains and losses instead of percentages. (Of course at $10k and $1K still translate easily to a percentage count too.)

As they say, show me the money…

For example right now, since the all-important swing-trading signal, the NYSI, measuring long-term market breadth, turned down September 24th, giving a trade entry for the open of September 25th, a mere six trading days ago, $10,00 in the 3x-inverse-leveraged ETFs (they go up when their index goes down) would have earned approximately %581 in SQQQ, $,1031 in TZA, $800 in SPXS, the major Nasdaq, Russell, and S&P index ETFs.

In the sector inverse ETFs, $10,000 in financial FAZ would have earned $915, in the biotech LABD $1,868, in the semi-conductor SOXS $468, and the energy-based ERY $2021.

We are talking only six trading days and only $10,000 to trade.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

Margin Debt – setting up a S&P 50% plunge?

FINRA margin debt is a long-term indicator and always reported a month late.

So now we have the August numbers, down 6% month over month, as reported by Advisor Perspectives Monday (see the chart below). But it’s not the margin number that is concerning, it’s the chart pattern for the long term.

In the 1990s margin debt chugged along in a reasonable bullish fashion before finally going ballistic in 2000 just before the dot-com bubble burst. Then again, coming out of the 2003 bear market, it moved up gradually before going ballistic again in 2007 on a bubble in housing, fueled by excessively low interest rates for too long a time, and we had the financial crisis of 2008/2009. And now in 2018 margin debt has pushed higher than ever before on deregulation and tax breaks to corporations fueling stock buy backs, and some would say on a lot of hot air.

It the fall of last year it topped and has not gone higher this year. That is ominous for long-term investors.

Consider the pattern on the chart below.

Note that in both 2000 and 2007 the market made a new high after margin debt topped and fell. Each time on the chart, the debt numbers formed a plateau lower than the peak as the market made those new highs.

What comes next?

That is always the most important question in the stock market.

In 2000, the S&P plunged 50% (the Nasdaq, 78%), and in 2008 the S&P plunged again down 56%. Note the pattern in place on the chart now. Same old same old.

So is another 50% bear market imminent? It’s likely because although they always say it’s different this time it never is, even though it sometimes takes a long slow time to get it done.

This is a bit tricky at the moment because of the late reporting. One has to guess what is happening with margin debt behind the monthly market moves. Since the August drop in price is reflected in the margin debt drop (big professional players lightening up, maybe desperately lightening up), and since the market has rallied so far this month, one can guess margin debt may move up a bit here in September but not a enough to head off what is to come.

And since the market likes to fool everyone into complacency at the last possible moment, a new high here would probably be just enough to lock long-term investors in when they should be at least shuffling, if not running, to the exit.

If by chance it doesn’t move up, October could become an October of old, which is to say…uh, crash… crash… crash.

(click on the 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)

#Options – Buying calls and puts

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.