#ShortStrangles on stocks – the weekly on $SHOP WITH UPDATES

Didn’t get around to posting this on Twitter Monday to get the real-time stamp as is often my custom with trades like these but now that’s it is stopped out, I thought I’d note it anyway.

I first wrote about this short-strangle strategy in this post in September:

#ShortStrangles on #Stocks – stealing money weekly in cash

As per the strategy, this was a position to be taken 30 minute into the open Monday (see the green vertical line on the chart below for reference). SHOP closed that bar at 441.01 which made the short strangle an out-of-the-money 450 call and the 430 put, a ten-point spread on each side of the stock price and a 20-point spread over all. The option expiration was this Friday, 1/17.

The stop loss was on a five-minute close by the stock above or below either strike.

If all went well, meaning SHOP stayed between 450 and 430 for the week both the call and the put would expire worthless and earn approximately $850 per contract, a 9.6% gain on the cash margin required for the trade.

All did not go well as the stock broke 450 this morning (see the red line on the chart for reference), which closed out the strangle. Still there was bit of profit, about $183 per contract, 19% on the price of the strangle, 2% on the margin required. SHOP could fade back below 450 by Friday’s close (which wouldn’t surprise me) which would reap the full reward for the strategy but this stop discipline is crucial, otherwise this strategy can have unlimited losses.

UPDATE: At the close of the week SHOP did not slip back below 450 but the flush in the call premium, along with the put going worthless, would have this strangle gaining approximately $427 per contract, a gain of 4.8% on the margin requirement. But it would haven’t taken a different stop-loss strategy to capture the end-of-the-week return.

P.S. Shorted a 460c/440p strangle on the bar after the other stopped out for a potential gain of about $485 per contract on Friday’s expiration.

UPDATE: This strangle which replace the other went well with both the call and the put expiring worthless for a gain of about $475 per contract, a gain of 5.5% on the margin requirement.

(click on chart for a larger view)

#STOCKS – on $AAPL gone parabolic

At the risk of a massive understatement, let’s just say AAPL has gone up…a lot.

In fact one look at its chart below reveals is has gone parabolic.

Let’s define a parabolic move first. Basically, according the website, Prometheos Market Insight, when a stock makes a enough of a move to create three distinct supporting trend lines (see the green lines on the chart below), then accelerates, it is in a parabolic move (the red line on the chart).

There is both good news in that, and bad news.

The good news you own it, the bad news its latest rise is unsustainable. Although one can only guess when and at what level it parabola ends (the way it always is with that phenomenon), but when the inevitable end comes it will likely be violent and the stock could eventually go back to where the parabolic began.

At this point, a rough estimate of where it began in AAPL is around $230.

It’s hard to believe it will ever quit going up as it’s wildly (exuberantly) rising, but I would suggest there is no profit here until one sells.

Also, one other thing to keep in mind, AAPL today, according to Yahoo Finance, has a market cap of 1.377 trillion dollars. That in itself is unprecedented in market history, but it is also nearly $100 billion higher than next highest market cap, MSFT (but that as they say is another story).

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#Stocks – the last bounce of a one-time main-street giant

In the town where I live there sits a unmistakable store front on a main downtown street. It is half a block wide, on top of a basement with its upper stories a solid bricked-in facade. Inside the windows that stretch the length of its first floor there is nothing but empty space. It’s been closed for 30 years, ever since the mall opened on the north side of town. The same or similar buildings stands on some main street in nearly ever city and town in America.

Although often there no longer is a sign, for everyone over the age of thirty, it is instantly recognizable — “that’s the old J.C. Penny store,” people say.

Now, like other main-street icons, Sears, the Bon Marche, Woolworth and maybe some day, Macy’s, it is fading away.

And it is a sad, sad sight today – the relic of a bygone era, the hollow memory now of a time when the country boomed, when optimistic people shopped downtown for its clothing line that was both reliably well-made and economical. In other words, before there were malls.

Moving to the mall could not save it and in these times it is ravaged by on-line shopping.

What to do with the building now has more than one city or town stymied. It’s is too small to be a Walmart and too big for nearly anything else. In my town, there is a developer who would like to renovate it into apartments by adding two more stories to it, and making the the basement into a parking garage and leaving the street-level as retail space, but he wants the city government to subsidize the project so he has no risk. My son, an urban planner, would like to turn it into the city’s much-needed new library. But neither of those plans are moving forward.

JCP – a look at its stock chart below is a picture worth a million words, showing the long steady fall in the past 10 years. There’s that high on the chart at seventy-six dollars and the recent low at 62 cents. It has doubled off that penny-stock low (no pun intended) but that is not some hope springing eternal. That is most likely the familiar sign of last of the shorts closing out their holds. After they are gone there will no buyers left.

And that will be another nail in the coffin of a once-great American commercial era.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – Usually the market loves a war but…

But maybe not this one.

Finally?

The market took a hit five days ago when President Orangutan ordered the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand (Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani) in Iraq. That was a strategic strike mostly aimed at distracting the country from his impending impeachment trial (Trump’s, not Soleimanini’s), a violation of international law and practice, in other words an act of war. Over the weekend, the world held its breath waiting to see how Iran would respond.

Today, the Iranian response, or part of the response began, as Iran has been launching missiles into bases in Iraq where U.S. military forces are stationed.

If the overnight futures are any indication, the market is not pleased. As I write this the ES is down 40, the NQ down 130, the Dow futures are down more and 300 points. The market may recover during the night (after all, it is a bull, or at last count a bull in a blow off) if Tweeter can keep his Tweeter trap shut (when’s that ever happened?). But now it’s the world again holding its breath to see is the U.S. crank is going to crank up the conflict further.

This is how stupid accidental world wars can begin. See Barbara W. Tuchman’s history, “The Guns of August.”

Setting news aside for a moment…

After two highs below highs on the NYMO (short-term breadth), the important NYSI indicator (longer-term breadth) turned negative today giving a sell for tomorrow’s open (see the chart below).

Funny how news comes along to validate what the market internals have been saying all along.

I’ve been warning here that the rally, which began in early December, could be getting too exuberant for its own good, most recently in the post below — #MarketTiming – the Santa Claus rally goes crazy.

In addition, CNN Money’s “Fear and Greed” Index is at 89, coming down from 97 four days ago (it can’t go higher than 100) but still at an “extreme greed” level. It has a long way to fall.

For the record, on today’s close, the Nasdaq 3x-leveraged ETF, TQQQ, was up 16.5% in the 20 trading days of this rally; among leveraged sector ETFs TECL was up 17.6%, SOXL 25.1% and FNGU, which simulates the FANG stocks, was up 41.6% (this was primarily a tech rally). Notable stocks from my bellwether list include TSLA up 38.4% (remember, that’s in 20 trading days), SHOP up 13.3%, WYNN up 16.8%, and AMD up 22% – true evidence that the Santa rally did go crazy.

If this sell-off continues overnight into tomorrow’s open, all those above are going to get hit.

One last note, the leveraged energy-stock ETF, ERX, was up 19.3 and GUSH, the 3x-leveraged daily S&P Oil and Gas ETF from Direxion, was up 54.3%.

No matter what, oil and gas will still love a war.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – the Santa Claus rally goes crazy

The Santa Claus rally which arrived with a buy signal on the open of December 9th, is still going and going and going…

I wrote about this quiet rally trigger first in this link:

#MarketTiming – with not much fanfare Santa slips into view

Then, as the fanfare took hold:

#MarketTiming – the Santa Claus Rally, a progress report

Since that second post, TQQQ has gone from up from 9% to 17.7%, UPRO from 6% to 11.2%. The 3x-leveraged sector ETFs continue to surge: TECL (tech) up 21% now, ERX (energy) up 18.1% and SOXL (semis) up 29.9%. Among the bellwether stocks I follow, TSLA is leading the pack, up 27% now; NVDA up 13.4%; WYNN up 18.2% on a big jump out of a high-level consolidation today.

AAPL, which lagged early on, has now moved up a nice 10.9%, closing above 300.

Big gains in not much time – the rally is a mere 17 trading days old.

All of which is great for the bulls…except it’s all begun to go kind of crazy.

AAPL has a market cap of $1.3 trillion, somewhat insane no matter how much cash the company generates for buy-backs. MSFT is at $1.2 trillion; both GOOGL and AMZN are knocking on the trillion-dollar door. These stocks have market caps four and five times such “puny” companies as Walmart, Coca-Cola, Nike, Proctor and Gamble, Home Depot and even Exxon-Mobil. How crazy is this?

Speaking of buy-backs, corporate debt is likely piling up more and more as the FED keeps its foot on the printing-press pedal – margin debt did not move much last month so all this “irrational exuberance” has to be coming from somewhere.”

CNN Money’s “Fear and Greed” Index is at 97. Ninety-seven! That in and of itself is the stratosphere of extreme greed. It can’t go higher than 100. A year ago it touched 3, on a trap door that swings both ways.

Still, the market can go higher, and probably will, since there is momentum in that 97 number. It usually takes a divergence (a high below a high) in that index to trigger a decent down swing (see the red circles on the chart below). The index has to back off on a market dip (which is likely imminent) then fail to go higher as the market resumes its advance to another high.

And both breadth measures, the NYMO (short-term) and the all-important NYSI (longer-term) remain positive. So there is time for more rally.

Not much more to say at this time…except to note in markets going crazy (like 1999, like now) there is, in the end, no profit until one sells.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – the Santa Claus Rally, a progress report

On December 6th, the all-important NYSI, measuring longer-term market breadth, turned up signalling an on-coming upswing in the market beginning the open of Monday, December 9th. It was an unusual turn in that it preceded the NYMO short-term breadth indicator.

That doesn’t usually happen unless there’s been a V-bottom in price on the most recent downswing. And, in this case there was, and the NYMO confirmed the rally on 12/11 giving its own buy signal for the open of 12/12 when I wrote this entry below:

#MarketTiming – with not much fanfare Santa slips into view

Since then most of the major indexes, and their 3x-leveraged ETFs, have been up a cumulative eight days. Needless to say, the market is overbought. CNN Money’s Fear and Greed index is at 90, an “Extreme Greed” level, a level which eventually leads to sells downs.

Consequently, the market could take a dip or a tumble anytime (although with Christmas yet to come everything remains bullish). With that in mind, me thinks it’s time for swing traders and anyone else who feels comfortable taking profits should either tighten stops under the advance or cash out some of the gains.

Among the major leveraged ETFs, TQQQ is 9.0% for the eight days, TNA up 6.3%, UPRO up 6.0%. In the leveraged sector ETFs, TECL is up 10.4%, ERX (remarkably) up 10.3% and SOXL is up a whopping 19.6%. Eight trading days.

Notable stocks in my bellwether group include TSLA up 19.5%, NVDA up 11.3%, SHOP up 7.5%, NFLX up 7.9%. AAPL usually gets the press coverage but it’s a laggard at up 3.6%. Still, it’s just eight trading days.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#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)

#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.

$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.

#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: