#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)

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)

#ShortStrangles on Stocks – 9/20 to 9/27



See chart panel below.

(click on chart for a larger view)

Short Strangles on Stocks 9/16 -9/20

Short Strangles on Stocks 9/9 – 9/13

This week’s short strangles (see chart panel below):

Last week’s short strangles:

Results were for the week but during the week (and FB stopped out at breakeven):

CHART KEY: The number in the yellow flag on the lower right is the cost of the strangle. The number in the white flag on the lower right is the price gain on the position (a negative number on the shorts is a gain). The number in the green flag on the lower left of each chart in the panel is the percentage gain or loss on the price of the strangle (not accounting for margin needed for the position).

(click on chart for a larger view)

$SPY – Bounce back to last week again

MARKET TIMING SIGNALS FOR 9/4/2019.

Long-Term Breadth (the NYSI): Buy DAY 5
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: 23 BUYS, 12 NEW BUYS, 11 OVERBOUGHT; 27 SELLS, 2 NEW SELLS, 6 OVERSOLD.
CNN MONEY’S “Fear and Greed” Index: 30, Rising, FEAR LEVEL.
Bellwether Stocks: 14 UP, 1 DOWN.

WHAT?

The market had a strong advance today taking it once again to the top of its free-swinging month-long consolidation.

It seems like I have written this post three time now. Seems like? I indeed have.

See $SPY up against a high wall and ready to rise and $SPY – From Friday to Friday to “deja vu all over again” below.

In other words, we’ve hads a whole lotta bouncing around going nowhere.

WHAT NEXT?

Short-term breadth (the NYMO) has been making choppy lows above lows since it bottomed August 2nd (see the black line in the middle section of the chart below) and the all-important NYSI has been rising now for five days.

Taken together those indicators make it appear SPY is about to break above its overhead resistance at 293/294 and move to the recent high around 300 on this up swing, but the ETF has appeared perched to do that twice before this month and still hasn’t done it.

I would think another turn down would be most discouraging for the short-term bulls and might bring a harder sell off.

But I don’t think that’s going to happen (I know…just as soon as it’s said it won’t, it will).

The Fear and Greed Index is gradually making it’s way higher. My nifty-50 stock list had 39 stocks on buy last time SPY took a look at this high wall of resitance, but now the list has only 23 stocks on buys, giving room to move to the upside. VIX turned down today to add another short-term indication there can be follow through to the upside.

Unless President Twitterdumb intervenes again, I think this time SPY goes higher probably for the rest of the week and taking the general market with it. But I will day trade Friday’s SPY puts if it doesn’t.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

Short Strangles on Stocks 9/03-9/O6

LAST WEEK’S SHORT STRANGLES:

THIS WEEK’S SHORT STRANGLES:

CHART KEY: The number in the yellow flag on the lower right is the cost of the strangle. The number in the white flag on the lower right is the price gain on the position (a negative number on the shorts is a gain). The number in the green flag on the lower left of each chart in the panel is the percentage gain or loss on the price of the strangle (not accounting for margin needed for the position).

(Click on Chart for a Larger View)

$SPY – From Friday to Friday to “de ja vu all over again”

MARKET TIMING SIGNALS FOR 8/30/2019.

Long-Term Breadth (the NYSI): Buy DAY 2
Short-Term Breadth (the NYMO): Buy DAY 2
Price (the Nasdaq COMP): Buy DAY 2
Volatility (the VIX): Buy Day 2
Nifty-50-Stock-List: 39 BUYS, 15 NEW BUYS, 10 OVERBOUGHT; 11 SELLS, 0 NEW SELLS, 3 OVERSOLD.
CNN MONEY’S “Fear and Greed” Index: 28, Rising, FEAR LEVEL.
Bellwether Stocks: 11 UP, 4 DOWN.

WHAT?

The market, after yesterday’s buy signal on all indicators, actually followed through today with a strong upside move.

As a result of the last two up days, we are right back right back to where we were five trading days ago with the SPY trying again to break out of its consolidation box (see the grey box on the chart below). Since last Friday into Wednesday, we’ve had Trump rally-killing tweets and at least a hint that China may timing the market to compound what he does with Twitter. The market quieted down on Wednesday on light volume with solid up day.

WHAT NEXT?

The NYSI, NYMO, Nasdaq Comp, and the VIX are all on buy signals.

Trump tanked the market last Friday and maybe he can manage to blunder into doing it again but, based on the technical indicators, the market “should” have at least one more up day going into the holiday weekend.

That is about all that needs to be said except to note the Fear and Greed index is up on the day and still at a level that gives it a lot of room to move to the upside if the SPY overcomes resistance that top of its consolidation.

(click on the chart 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)

#OptionsStrategy – Stealing money with short strangles on stocks

If there is any way to consistently steal money in the market it might be short strangles on stocks.

That is: with persistence, experience and discipline.

For example last week’s strangles as posted on twitter:

The key is to select the price spreads between the puts and calls for the near Friday’s expiration at a measured distance. There are all kinds of number-crunching strategies for determining the options spread below and above the stock price (Tasty Trade Network is a good reference), but since I believe it is best to keep it simple, and since it’s only for a week, I just eyeball it.

If the stock closes the week between the price of the short put and the short call the short strangle expires worthless, basically a 100% gain.

Those gains stated in the tweet above are for the strangle change itself on the each stock with no consideration for the margin requirements on selling naked options. Needless to say the margins are high and may be prohibitive for most but, even with the high margins, there is three to five percent per week possible on short stock strangle trades and, also needless to say, three to five percent per week adds up over a year’s time.

This week’s strangles: