Thursday, December 20, 2007

Currencies, SWFs and our Stock Market

Currencies, SWFs and our Stock MarketSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Ashraf Laidi

I pretty much agree with Frank Barbera's outlook but not necessarily as bearish on the US Dollar in 2008. I think the Greenback will continue showing resiliency vs the British Pound, Kiwi and Aussie into mid Q2 before it starts to weaken again. Euro should start recovering after Q2.

As for our Stock Market, when you consider that the main catalysts to the recent gains were 1) Abu Dhabi buying part of Citi 2) rumors/hopes of aggressive Fed cuts 3) Bush rewriting legal contracts on mortgages, all of these factors fall under the "extraordinary items" category on which the ailing market cannot always count on. Unless of course, Arab Gulf SWFs, will alternate with Far Eastern SWFs every other week to announce new buyouts. The 2002 lows in stocks should come around by next summer.


Editors' Note: Ashraf Laidi will publish his 2008 outlook very soon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Housing, US Dollar, Gold, PPI and Inflation

Housing, US Dollar, Gold, PPI and InflationSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Frank Barbera

The current downturn in Housing, the worst since the Great Depression has along way to run, with home prices likely to experience downside pressure well into 2009. Overall, a 30% to 40% price decline in high end homes is needed to bring prices back into line with incomes and clear the market. At the same time, the mortgage loan problem, goes far beyond Sub-Prime and will likely end up running into the Trillions of dollars, with the best estimates between2 to 3 Trillion dollars of defaulting bad paper. That's more than enough downside risk in the credit market to bring the US Financial System to the tip of a very deep solvency crisis, where several large institutions will probably fold. As a result, we continue to see the large scale credit contraction now underway deepening throughout 2008 with the Federal Reserve likely forced to continue to lower ratings despite a stagflationary economic condition, one in which yr/yr PPI is now running at the highest levels seen since 1981. The US Dollar is likely heading for a major currency crisis, with a devaluation likely in the year ahead. Gulf State PetroDollar currencies have now moved well off their pegs, as has the Chinese Yuan and HK Dollar. A currency crisis of epic proportions lies ahead, and with it will come soaring long term rates and crashing US Stock Market. For the S&P, a collapse back down toward the 2002-2003 lows near 800 is very likely the next primary direction, with all sectors of the equity market including Gold Stocks vulnerable to this decline. Post a crash type outcome, Gold Stocks are very likely to become the next great capital market mania, as broad scale monetization will be needed to reinflate both the capital markets and the US economy, which is already in a recession. The final outcome, over the next few years,will be more money printing, more currency debasement and in the end, most likely runaway inflation which will help Uncle Sam eliminated his bad debts. Gold and Precious Metals will be one of the few investments able to protect valuable savings and hard earned capital during this time, and we see the price of Gold heading for $10,000 or higher in the next 5 to 7 years, with price of Silver likely to move toward $500 to $1,000 per ounce. The upside explosion in Precious Metals following a serious banking collapse will leave onlookers with a truly once in a lifetime, -- jaw dropping experience, once the metals go higher, they will be going, going gone, right out of the park, as all central banks will also need to print money to keep currency relationships in some degree of balance and protect export advantages. Today, the world is confronted with a camouflaged 'fixed' global currency system masquerading as thematically free floating currency system, held together by currency derivatives and unchecked financial leveraging. The current death of high end Wall Street Finance signals the end of the leveraged speculating era and financial engineering.As the world lurches toward a truly floating exchange rate mechanism, currency volatility will infect consumer prices for basic manufactured goods which in time, will morbidly begin moving around as if tradeable using RSI and MACD....in that climate, the only asset one will want to truly own, will be precious metals. It is very regrettable that the excess of the last decade is likely to create these kinds of extreme economic conditions, and probably at no time in decades, has the average individual been at greater economic risk.The entire universe of paper money is sure to continue debasing against the universe of scarce and depleting commodities in a theme that will likely continue to play out over the next 10 to 15 years, while I hope I am dead wrong,I fear we are heading into very trying times...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Equity Index Update (Special Edition)

Equity Index Update (Special Edition)SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Brad Sullivan

Monday December 17, 2007

The index markets were weighed down on Friday with the release of a stronger than anticipated CPI reading. Volume flows were on the lighter side as interest in the trade was pretty muted…however, the SPZ did end the session lower by -1.5% and settled at session lows of 1478.50. This morning, the index is called to open lower at 1473.50 (-5.50) on the session. This marks a new low for the month of December and it is a month that can only be described as schizophrenic thus far.

Consider that this month has a significant historical upside bias and after early selling, the indices responded with a tremendous upside push. That push higher was unwound last Tuesday as the FOMC failed (in the market’s eyes) to respond appropriately to the current credit issues in the global market…throw in a little inflation fear and things are not looking as good as the buy side would have hoped.

Along these lines let us examine the movement post FOMC announcement and the subsequent joint injection of reserves by the chorus of global reserve banks. It is worth noting that in absolute value, it was the greatest move in the history of the SP futures from 1:30cst to the close and close to the 8:30 open on Wednesday…85 total SP POINTS. Since that time the indices have moved lower in a grinding fashion with each bounce failing to attract buyers at higher levels. With the SP now trading at -1.5% for the month and closing about the same distance below its 200 day MA (-1.5%) one has to wonder if the die has been cast and lower prices are ahead.

One thing that appears to be in store is a dialing down of intraday volatility. While the absolute moves have been large, the session range continues to tighten and for day traders that means to tread with caution. It is certainly worth pointing out that in the last 12 years there have only been 7 sessions with a high to low range of more than 45 SP points. The range on Dec. 11 was 56 points and on Dec. 12 46 points. The last time it happened was Jan. 3, 2001 (surprise mid-day rate cut), where a 46 point range was preceded by an 81. Clearly there is some position movement and it appears that the group that has blinked first is the long side.

KEEP IN MIND THAT TODAY AT 9:00 WE WILL HAVE THE FIRST AUCTION OF THE NEW “SYSTEM” ANNOUNCED LAST WEDNESDAY...ALSO TOMORROW BRINGS EARNINGS FROM GS (GOLDMAN SACHS) AND THIS IS QUADRUPLE WITCHING EXPIRATION WEEK.



Editors' Note: Brad Sullivan's comments are posted each day near the Cash Open in our SuperPlatinum Virtual Trading Room.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Timer Digest Market Commentary

Timer Digest Market CommentarySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Fari Hamzei

We finally had our bounce last week. But the volume was so-so at best. This week, Financials and Big Oil are under pressure with Precious Metals up. Today, we witnessed a large number of high Dollar-weighted Put/Call Ratios for major equity names. It was very broad-based. It reminds us of late last February before the Big Drop.

Longs should be very careful here till we get closer to the FED Meeting on Dec 11th.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Timer Digest Market Commentary

Timer Digest Market CommentarySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Fari Hamzei


With NYSE Advance-Decline McClellan Oscillator hooked up from deeply oversold levels (-261 on Monday), the short-term bounce is finally here. The Friday after Thanksgiving, seasonality charts remind us that we have a bullish bias. Going further out, what bothers me is that all the market timers are trying to pick the bottom somewhere in here, which tells me we are not close to THE bottom.



I am still looking for huge volume day with indiscriminate selling climax, accompanied with outlandish vol expansion. The good long entry is several days later when we observe the vol retest. Until then, SELL THE RALLIES.




Have a Great Thanksgiving and always remember to take care of the less fortunate ones.....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Timer Digest Market Commentary

Timer Digest Market CommentarySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Fari Hamzei

Well, we got our one day wonder (a bounce) yesterday and this cat showed a lot of life. The November Puts retail traders bought late last week became absolutely worthless, and now, the November Calls they bought yesterday should become worthless by tomorrow as the new reality will sink in when traders ask why FASB Rule 157 (Fair Value Measurements) got delayed for one year TODAY [two business hours before it went effective].

Stay SHORT.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Commodity Currencies Need a Break

Commodity Currencies Need a BreakSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Ashraf Laidi

The relationship between stocks and commodity currencies of Australia, Canada and New Zealand is taking an usual turn today, whereby equity indices are rising and these currencies are falling behind relative to the rally in EUR, GBP and CHF. One explanation is the weakening outlook for world growth, which is weighing on oil and gold prices. Talk of a potential supply hike from OPEC is sending oil below $93 per barrel while gold struggles just above the $800 figure.

We have already seen this broad weakness in commodity currencies last week after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke predicted a “marked slowdown” in US Q4 growth. Another possible explanation is that currency traders are cautious from opening fresh dollar shorts ahead of this week’s G20 meeting of finance ministers in South Africa, where US Treasury Secretary Paulson is expected to receive considerable support for the “strong dollar policy”. Specifically, Canadian politicians have grown increasingly vocal in their complaints about the strong Loonie, which caused Canada the biggest burden of this year’s decline in the dollar. Last week, Canada’s Finance Minister Flaherty said he and Bank of Canada Chief Dodge will be having currency discussions with their G20 counterparts.








Considering the aforementioned risks against commodity currencies and our expectations for further erosion in US and global equities, we expect the unwinding of yen carry trades re-emerge against CAD and NZD and to a lesser extent the AUD (because Australia’s fundamentals are powered by an increasingly hawkish RBA).

November 15: Another August 15?

The next bout of equity selling could emerge on November 15, which marks the last day of the 45-day notice period at which clients should notify hedge funds to withdraw their money. With the broader market down nearly 7% since the beginning of the quarter, clients may take some money off the table as was the case in Q3 when August 15th was marked with massive selling across all equity indices. At the open of August 15, the S&P500 was down 5% since the beginning of Q3. Today, the S&P500 is down 5.7% since the beginning of Q4. In this case, we expect renewed rallies in the yen crosses and for the Aussie, Kiwi and Loonie to come under renewed pressure. The fact that the VIX measure of volatility stands at 2-month highs and the S&P500 is below its medium and long term averages (50, 150 and 200 day) underlines lingering preoccupation in the market. Given the technicals in the US benchmark indices and the ongoing repricing of MBS via credit rating downgrades, we expect the indices to retest their August lows. This means that another 5% decline in the S&P500 is in store.

Wednesday’s release of the October retail sales report is expected to show a 0.2% increase following 0.6% in Sep and a 0.3% rise in the core figure following a 0.4% rise. But given last week’s dismal reports on store sales, we do not rule out a decrease of as much as 0.2% in the headline rate, in which case will be the confirmation for Dr. Bernanke that the erosion in housing has begun to show in consumption. A resulting selloff in equities is likely to boost the yen and affirm the aforementioned forecast against high yielding/commodity currencies.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Timer Digest Market Commentary

Timer Digest Market CommentarySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Fari Hamzei

THIS WAS SUBMITTED TO TIMER DIGET AFTER THE CLOSE ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9th, 2007.


We have not observed the type of climatic selling one usually sees at the market bottoms. Volume is picking up each day as we discover new lower lows and volatility is increasing.







My best guess at this juncture is that we need to take out the August lows which correspond to 1370-1380 on SPX Cash Index and 12,500 on DJIA and then reassess the battlefield damage. Along the way, we have November Options X counter-trend move next week and that could create a short-term dead cat bounce. But longer term, the trend remains BEARISH and my outside target remains at about 1300 on SPX Cash Index which roughly corresponds to 12,000 on DJIA.




Thursday, November 8, 2007

Market Timing

Market TimingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Fari Hamzei

First chart is our Timer Chart for SP-500 Cash Index (SPX). Notice that McClellan Osc for NYSE closed today at-211 level. This is a short-term extremely oversold signal. Given that Nov Options X is next week and we often see a counter-trend move during options expiry, odds are that we should go up a bit here into next week, make a bunch of put options go worthless (the Options MMakers have to pay rent too come Dec 1st !!), and then cascade DOWN. What is very clear now (since my last post here on Friday October 19th) is that Cumulative ADVANCE/DECLINE Line (yellow line graph) peaked this year in early June and with next two all-time highs in SPX, the Cum AD Line has setup a Bearish Divergence. In addition, we closed below its 200-day Mov. Avg.(white line graph), for the first time since Sept 10th.






Same analysis goes for the next chart: the NASDAQ-100 Cash Index (NDX) -- except that one has to be reminded that the CUM AD Line for NAZZ peaked in FEBRUARY of this year. This does not bode well for the LONGs' argument.






Next Chart is our Wyckoff chart and what I want to bring to your attention is the fact that while DJIA & SPX each made a three-weeks lows yesterday (channel breakdown pattern), DJ Trans put in a multi-month low and closed near its 2007 Open. This is, again, an ominous sign for our equity markets as a whole as the rate of economic expansion slows down.





Next chart shows Russell 2000 (RUT). Here we go again, another six weeks low (since August 16th when Uncle Ben sent some of our SPX trading brethrens into the next world prematurely in order to save Citigroup from imploding). Risk tolerance is now at a new premium not seen recently. Bids to the market should evaporate. Stay defensive.





Volatility is increasing in both NYSE and NASDAQ markets but as next two Sigma Channels charts show you, they are NOT at exhustion levels YET.







Most probably, this is where I think we will go to on this first leg down: 1422 on SPX. which corresponds to -2 sigma at this time. There is an outside chance, we may get down to -3 sigma (1383). Notice this is the Weekly Chart. So it will take time to get there. My guess is that this will be in the next 3 to 4 weeks or so. If 1383 does not hold,... well, we shall get to that on my next post.




Bottom Line: For Intermediate-Term Timing, STAY SHORT.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Governments and Central Banks are Completely Incapable of Keeping Tomorrow from Coming

Governments and Central Banks are Completely Incapable of Keeping Tomorrow from ComingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Clyde Harrison

Before I talk about the future I’ll spend a moment on the present.

Last year if you had enough breath to fog a mirror you could get a home loan. Anyone who is over 30 knew last year when they saw the TV ads “will loan you 100 per cent of the price of your new home with no income verification,” there was going to be a problem. Now all of a sudden sub prime has turned into submerged prime. It’s moved from contained to contaminated. People traded houses like crazy uncle Fred traded pork bellies until he lost the farm. CNBS, the financial marketing show is learning the difference between liquidity and leverage. Four years of recklessness will not be cleaned up in 4 weeks. Hedge fund guys are learning you can’t sell to the model. The model has no money. To big to fail is turning into to big to bail. The markets are doing what the FED refused to do – tighten.

The more leverage you use and the higher your IQ, the more likely you are in trouble. The latest treasury plan operated by Goldman, I mean Paulson, for the S.I.V.’s saves Citi and the large banks, but the dollar falls through the holes in the SIV.

The latest brokerage firm reports are like mushrooms. Keep them in the dark and cover them with manure. But the Bernanke Fed has caved into the Banks and Wall streets demand to bail them out of bad loans, increased inflation will be the result on Thursday, October 11, 2007. The New York Stock Exchange hung a 30 by 40 foot sign on the building – “Wall Street, You Rule.”. Possibly the top.

God gave me the ability to recognize the obvious, some common sense and a sense of humor to stand the first two.

The one trend in place is the overall advance of mankind. It began when we emerged from the cave.

The world is going through a dramatic change. The world has discovered capitalism. China and India are transforming their economies from poor agrarian economies to industrial powers. The effect of these changes will be felt for years.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.” Today in order to teach a man to fish, you need two fishing licenses, a state boat sticker, OSHA approved life jackets, EPA approved weights and hooks, you pay a park fee, obtain a fire permit to cook the fish and an EPA permit to dispose of the waste. Thanks to the government, fish you catch costs 8 times as much as the fish you purchase in the supermarket, caught overseas.

We have reached a point where you need Government permission or a permit to do anything, including to your own property or with your own family. What happened to freedom and liberty?


When I started in the investment business 39 years ago, the Golden Rule was “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In a few years it was corrupted to, “He who has the gold makes the rules.” Today it has been totally corrupted to, “He who makes the rules gets the gold.”

Our educational system is failing the students. US high school graduates do not have the knowledge to pay teachers pensions.

Students in the 3rd grade test 3rd in the world for knowledge. Upon high school graduation, they test 70th in the world.

The moral values they are taught are: diversity, tolerance and respect for the environment. Jefferson said “without an educated voter, the republic will not stand.”

What’s the latest suggestion from the national education association? It is to grade papers with purple pencils instead of red because red hurts the students’ feelings and to ban the game of tag at recess, because it is too aggressive. These graduates are not prepared to compete in the world labor market. Congress uses the act of helping children as a ploy to gain more power. The most threatening disease to our children is the national education association. Congress’s reaction: it sells out the children’s future every election cycle for a check from the NEA.


Governments in most cases and most places make things worse. George Washington said “Government is not eloquence, it is not justice; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master.”

The definition of politics is the advance auction of goods that have not yet been stolen.


Whenever a government does something for someone, it must do something to someone. If expanding government were the solution, Russia would have been paradise.

In the US, we have a two party system and what a party they are giving themselves. Since 1960 government spending has grown 8 times as fast as the GNP.

Republicrats borrow and spend. Democins tax and spend. From 2000 to 2005, federal spending increased 38.2%. Federal debt increased 40.5%.

The government taxes and regulates success and subsidizes failure. The Government’s motto, “If it ain’t broke, fix it until it is.” .

Today lawyers run the government. Seventy-three percent of the cabinet are lawyers. Eighty-five percent of the gang of 535, the Congress are lawyers. Lawyers train on the principle that when there’s a solution to a problem, they stop making money. You know the system is corrupt when Congressmen spend 6 million to get a job that pays $178,000 per year. The donors of the 6 million are expecting a 10,000 per cent return from the tax payer - just like Hillary was able to make with a little help from her friends trading commodities.


In 1987 the US signed a treaty allowing Japanese lawyers to practice in the US and US lawyers to practice in Japan. At the signing there were a total of 14,000 lawyers in Japan and 650,000 in the US. Two years later, Japan entered a depression. It is just starting to recover. Just coincidence? Maybe.

Consider the following:
The Lord’s Prayer: 66 Words;

The 10 Commandments: 179 Words;

The Declaration of Independence: 1300 Words;

U.S. Government Regulations on the Sale of Cabbage: 26,911 Words; and

U.S. Income Tax Code - simplified: 1,607,000 Words.



It would be a great improvement if the government respected individual’s rights as much as they respect the rights of the caribous.

The government is already too large and too expensive.

The only thing Washington with the help of the legal system seems capable of doing, is elevating the plight of the victim.

A recent poll stated 14 per cent of those surveyed thought congress was doing a good job. I immediately wondered “who are these 14%?” Don’t they have any access to information, no TV, no newspapers, not even a radio? Then it dawned on me. 19 percent of the people work for the government and at least another 10 percent receive direct payments from the government. So the real results of the survey are 100 percent of those in private industry think the congress sucks and half of those who work for the government or receive direct payments from the government think congress sucks.

Where has government been effective? The war on poverty. 2 trillion spent to eliminate poverty completely. The war on drugs, 400 billion spent, 2.5 million in jail, eliminating illegal drugs everywhere.

Border control securing our borders keeping out all shady characters.

Some years back, people came to America for the opportunity, today they come for the benefits.

In New Orleans $127 billion wasted to date. $420,000 per family that lived in New Orleans prior to Katrina flushed down the FEMA toilet.

With all these great successes, it’s no wonder some people want government to take over the rest of health care, the part they haven’t already screwed up.

But some good will come from this. Social security might be saved because baby boomers will die waiting in line for health care. Social security tries not to send checks to dead people – so, there’s a chance it will remain solvent.

Bush Sr. simplified taxes.

Now we only tax the living and the dead. Clinton promised to tax only the rich. Once in office, he defined rich as, “Those Americans with Indoor Plumbing.” Bush Jr. said he cut taxes but the tremendous increase in spending and debt means W just delayed tax increases.

God, who created everything only wants 10%!

The demands of the majority are always greater than taxation alone can provide and
that’s where the FED comes in.

Between 1800 and 1913, the value of the dollar was more or less constant.

Since the Feds creation in 1914, the value of the dollar has dropped 97%.
During Allen Greenspan’s term, the dollar lost 37% of it’s value.

The 1% Fed funds rate moved the savings rate to between zero and zip, while mortgage debt increased 62%.

The last central banker to get it right was Joseph, in the Bible. Seven good years followed by 7 bad years. The Fed is like the Post Office giving out money instead of stamps. Faith in the Fed is based on elaborate mathematical models relying on the breathtakingly faulty assumption that human beings behave rationally.

The FED’s invisible hand of intervention is trying to keep interest rates as low as the world will allow. But the world is becoming a bit nervous. The US has borrowed over $4 trillion from overseas. Some day it will be repatriated. The exchange of IOU’s for wealth will go into reverse. We will get our paper back and have to return real wealth.

Japan and China have purchased massive amounts of US treasuries to stem their decline. They loan us money to buy their products because they need the US as a customer. When will this end? It will end when the Asian Tigers develop a consumer credit system and their three billion plus citizens become the customer. At that point we will no longer be able to live beyond our means - the dollar decline will accelerate and interest rates will rise dramatically.

The dollar bears the legend on it, “In God We Trust.” Placing your faith in the Fed could be a dangerous plan. Someday, the dollar could fall to its intrinsic value. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

Currencies do not float, they sink at different rates. Currencies are abstractions not redeemable in any specific amount of anything, they are an I owe you nothing certificate.

Foreigners currently own 45% of US treasuries. The FED can create $30 billion of paper in a week. They can lower rates, but it won’t create one drop of oil, one pound of copper or one bushel of rice.

Now we have Bernanke as the new head of the FED. Bernanke has studied the depression and deflation at great length. He has stated the FED has many options to avoid deflation including dropping dollars from helicopters if necessary, earning him the nick name “Helicopter Ben.”

The FED is attempting a neutral interest rate policy. Neutral for the FED is like pornography to the Supreme Court. They can’t define it, but they will know it when they see it.

We all work for something. Our government manufactures with no sweat, no work, no creativity – just turn on a computer and create more dollars.

Today there is a disconnect between the man on the street and how he feels and how the government tells him he should feel.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics over time has made tiny incremental changes in the way they manipulate the statistics.

In a bipartisan effort, presidents and the FED chairman have tried to make the news just a little better. Over time, these tiny changes have begun to add up.

If we just go back 20 years and remove these changes. Unemployment today would be about 8%, the CPI would be about 7% and the GNP growth would be 0.

On the unemployment front, if you were a discouraged worker, you were counted until the Clinton administration. During Clinton’s reign, workers who were discouraged for over a year were taken out of the number. That knocked 5 million off the broader unemployment report. U-3 is now the reported number of 4.6 but if you look in the footnotes, U-6, the old number is over 8%.

The real degeneration over time is the CPI. In the 90’s, Michael Boskin at the council of economic advisors and Greenscam at the FED wanted to fix the CPI simply stating that it was overstating inflation. They created substitution assuming that if the price of steak went up, the public would substitute hamburger. The CPI was originally designed to measure a fixed basket of goods for a constant standard of living. Today it has changed to a basket of survival. By the ounce, Wheaties now cost more than steak.

If inflation is understated then reported real growth (the GNP) will be overstated.

Bob Reich, in his memoirs wrote that they found in their polling that if you could overstate economic growth, understate inflation, tell people things were are better than they really are. It could help you win a tight election. That was their conclusion, so of course the numbers were adjusted.

Last year if you didn’t eat, didn’t drive to work, didn’t heat your home, didn’t visit a doctor, didn’t buy a house, didn’t buy insurance of any kind, didn’t have a child in college and didn’t pay state or property taxes, your cost of living agrees with the governments. The dollar has declined 4.8% per year for the last 7 years, that’s the deflation of the currency, the real inflation number.

If your using government statistics for your investment decisions, you’ll substitute cat food for hamburger when you retire.

Since the Feds creation there has been deflation – deflation of the currency. It shrinks on average 2.5% to 3% per year.

Prices will be lower for every thing that can be manufactured in China or serviced in India.

Prices will be much higher for what can only be made in the US; medical care, insurance, plumbers, trash collection, raw materials, real estate, and government.

In the next 10 years, the government will lie about the deflation of the currency so, (when the baby boomers retire) their social security check will be worth half of what they anticipated in real terms.

When the Fed fine-tunes, the orchestra gets fired. All soft landings by the FED have resulted in thousands of casualties. Ever since the earth was cooling the Fed was headed by a banker. Greenscam was the first economist. Carl Marx was an economist! Now we have Bernanke a professor. He knows what’s in a book, but he doesn’t know the real world.

If you believe the Fed guides the economy you must also believe the twelve birds sitting atop the rhinoceros guide him through the jungle.

What investments will benefit from the major changes occurring in the world?

Long term interest rates are low. The FED is proposing dropping cash from helicopters if necessary. History suggests this might be a good time to be a borrower or at least have a short duration to your interest bearing investments.

The equity market now has 84 million individual investors. Over 50% of these investors liquid assets are in the equities, the historical average is 25%. Using the rules outlined by Graham and Dodd such as dividend yield, PE Ratio, price to sales ratio and price to assets, stocks are very expensive. They are over owned and over priced – a dangerous combination.

Who’s recommending increasing equity exposure? Kudlow and Cramer –

CN”BS”

which is a marketing program. It should be listed in the TV guide as paid programming like George Forman’s cooker. CNBS is yor direct line to dumb money.

Who’s recommending caution and much lower returns from stocks going forward? John Templeton, Carl Icahn, Allen Abelson, Mark Faber, Bill Gross and Warren Buffet to name a few. Buffet currently holds $45 billion in cash. He must be having a tough time finding those bargains from Omaha.

I expect a moose market, not a bull or a bear but a moose, rhyming with the period of ’66 to ’82 where the market went nowhere.

I believe the paper bill market has ended and the stuff bull market has begun.

Between 1966 and 1982 equities gained nothing while the GNP gained 330%. The DOW went from 1000 to 875. From 1982 to 2000 the GNP gained 170% and the DOW rallied from 875 to 11,700. Currently the DOW is trading over 13,000, about a 25 PE. Between now and 2015 if the GNP gains 100% and earnings gain 100% the DOW could be at 10,000, trading at 10 times earnings. During the past 7 years the S&P is up a total 5%. And at that rate of compounding, you will have to work till you die.

During the last stuff cycle equity mutual funds were in a dead zone while stuff; raw materials, art and real estate had super returns.

In 1966 oil was $2.90/barrel and rallied to $28/barrel. Gold was at $35/oz and rallied to $850/oz. The average price of a home increased 180%.

In 1982 the stuff cycle ended and the great paper cycle began. In 1982, the public had 14% of their liquid assets in equities. The Business Week Magazine cover reported “The Death of Equities”. The PE ratio was 7. Stocks were dirt-cheap and stuff was very expensive. Brokerage firms were selling real estate and oil and gas partnerships. 1982 was the beginning of a great bull market in paper.

By 2007 the DOW was up over 14 fold. The cost of one dollars worth of earnings (the PE ratio) has risen from 7 to 25, and the public had 57% of their liquid assets in equities. The Time Magazine cover featured “The Committee To Save The World: Greenscam, Summers and Ruben”. Brokerage firms were selling tech and dot coms with no earnings. The paper bull market was ending. Paper was very overpriced and over owned. The Dow could be in a trading range, just keeping up with the real rate of inflation for the next 10 years.

Stuff, from 1982 to 2000, was in the dead zone. Oil went from $28/barrel to $26/barrel. Gold went from $850/oz to $280/oz. The average price of a house had increased 1.2% per year by ‘2000. Stuff was a bargain.

Since 2000, the S&P is up 16.4% adjusted for government reported inflation, it’s down 2.4%.

In the next 10 years paper could be a trading market while stuff is in a bull or buy and hold market.

Change is a way of life. You either accept changes or make changes.

Capitalism is sweeping the world.

Capitalism is easy to understand. It’s nature with a balance sheet. If you’re wrong, you go broke instead of being eaten.

Three basic things make up an economy; labor, natural resources, and capital. There is a surplus of well educated labor and paper currencies.

30 years of restrained and neglected natural resource supply is being overwhelmed by demand.

The longer things remain stable, the more likely they become unstable.


Where might the best investments be in the future?

After 30 years of trading equities, I changed my career. Why? Creating the best stuff fund.

Why?

Today, China is booming. They have declared the national bird to be the construction crane. In the last five years china went from exporting oil to the second largest importer in the world. The emerging market countries will go from walking to bikes, to motorcycles and to autos. They will need oil and gas, chemicals, forest products and metals. At $1.00 per hour they are deflating manufacturing costs, but as they become more successful, they will throw away their bicycles and buy motorcycles and eat better, increasing the demand for raw materials.

China and India are transforming their economies from poor agrarian nations to the newest industrial powers, replete with heavy industries, mass transportation and higher education. Rising from these giant new economies will come millions of new consumers, the very people who are already straining the natural resources of the earth.

In 1900, the US started to industrialize. We were using one barrel of oil per person per year. By 1970, we were using 27 barrels per person. In 1950, Japan started to industrialize, they were using 1 barrel per person. By 1970, they were using 17. In 1965, South Korea started to industrialize. They were using one barrel per person per year. By 2000 they were using 17. Today, China uses 1.3 barrel per person per year and India uses .7. China currently has 168 power plants under construction. Copper probably won’t go down much.

In 1950, Japan per capita income was 18% of the US, today it’s 96%. In 1965, South Korea’s per capita income was 16% of the US, today it’s 56%. India and China have 2.5 billion consumers, 9 times the US. The US uses 25% of the world’s energy, China and India use 4%. India and China have 280 people per car. The US has 2 people per car. Last year, China produced and sold the same number of autos as the US. Eighty percent were purchased with cash.

Real incomes are just beginning to rise to levels that create large demands for consumer goods. Between 1950 and 1970, Japan’s urban population increased 70%. Personal consumption increased 600%.

China currently is 40% urban, 60% rural. The US is 97% urban and 3% rural.

China has 20% of the world’s population and 7% of the world’s land. China’s grain imports will grow from 14 million tones today to 57 million tones in 2020.

Today, 1 billion people consume two thirds of the world’s raw materials. 5.6 billion people consume the other third and they are becoming more successful. The industrial revolution involved 300 million people. The emerging nation revolution involves 3 billion.

There is no need to connect the dots, they over lap.

Lead times to create raw materials are measured in years. In Canada $80 billion in infrastructure has been committed to production of the tar sands. The goal is to produce 3 million barrels a day by 2015. At $75, oil is a bargain liquid. It costs 10% less than bottled water, it’s one third the cost of milk, one fifth the cost of beer and only 2% of the cost of Jack Daniels.

Phelps Dodge is planning to open a new copper mine in 2007. It took 12 years of paper work to receive federal approval.

In China:
Company - “we found copper.”
Government - “start digging. What can we do to help?”
Company – “We need a road.”
Government – “You got it.”

China’s growing at 10%, the US at 2%. Money goes where it’s treated well.

Currently oil companies who search for oil at great risk earn 9 cents per gallon. Government, at no risk takes 51 cents per gallon.

In the US, half of our energy problem is government regulations. The only place oil companies are allowed to drill for oil is next to a dry hole. The only place you can build a refinery is no where.

The political systems of G-7 are at a great disadvantage, stuck with unfunded liabilities and debt. Current politicians are unwilling to cut spending growth. If your rich in G-7 you are attacked. In china to be rich is glorious. The Chinese have a 40 percent savings rate and 1.2 trillion US dollars to purchase assets with. 1.2 trillion is 12,000 billion dollars, IOU’s to purchase real assets with.

Demand for raw materials has increased. In many cases, the capacity to produce raw materials has declined dramatically in the last 20 years. Tops and bottoms are creatures of extreme. Markets rise above all expectation and then go higher and then fall further than common sense suggests. The most desirable investments for the future might not be in cyber space but back to the basics.

I believe we are only at the start of the largest bull market in history for raw materials.

By the end of this bull market, there will be a bounty on caribou, you will be able to see an oil rig from every beach and they will be digging a coal mine in Al Gore’s yard.

As you climb the ladder of financial success, check to make sure it’s leaning on the right wall. I believe raw materials will be one of the best investments for the next 10 to 15 years.

Long-term- the future is very bright because man has been succeeding in bringing about change for the better since he or she first emerged from the cave. Big problems usually disguise big opportunities.

Governments and central banks are completely incapable of keeping tomorrow from coming.

In the next 12 months, let the winds of change fill your sails. Don’t just look at the stars – be one.

HOTS Weekly Options Commentary

HOTS Weekly Options CommentarySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Peter Stolcers

Last week, the market tried to recover from the 350+ point Dow Jones drop on Friday. That first round of earnings featured financial stocks and their big write-downs spooked the market. As I mentioned in last week's commentary, I felt that the market would stabilize this week once a broader mix of earnings were released.

Through the course of the week we caught a performance glimpse from many different groups and sectors. The news was good overall and the guidance was decent. If you strip financial stocks out of the earnings picture, corporations have posted a 3% growth rate. That is much better than the flat earnings growth rate has been projected. The market found its footing and about one third of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported.





Next week is the “grand daddy” of all news weeks. We have an FOMC meeting, the Unemployment Report, and the busiest week of earnings releases. I believe the Fed’s dramatic action during the last meeting will give them a "free pass" this time around. They have made it clear that they are carefully monitoring economic conditions and they will do what it takes to keep us from going into a recession. Many analysts are looking for a .25% rate cut. If they don't get it, I feel the market will be accepting if the news includes dovish rhetoric. The dust will settle for a few days and the market will wait for the Unemployment Report. If we do get a rate cut, we will be off to the races.

Last month's employment figures were much stronger than expected. With the exception of the August number, the market has been able to rally after every Unemployment Report this year. I believe the employment picture is sound and the market will rally after the number.

Microsoft has been a dormant stock for many years and on Friday it staged a major breakout. It is a mega cap stock and it could lead the sector higher if it wakes up. Tech has been relatively strong recently and the sector could lead the market higher if the earnings continue to beat. The QQQQ is still only half of its “tech bubble” peak. Financial stocks are weak and the market needs leadership from the tech sector if it is going to stage a sustained rally. In the chart you can see how well the QQQQ has performed. It is bumping up against the relative high and it is poised to breakout.

These are some of the earnings highlights for the week ahead: ASH, CAN, HUM, K, RSH, SCHN, ATHR, FTI, OSG, SOHU, UHS, VTRX, AMED, AVP, BJS, CRDN, CL, ENR, CMC, FPL, RAIL, GT, HLT, MGM, ODP, PG, TEVA, TRW, X, UA, BWLD, CMG, DWA, FIC, GPRO, IVGN, LNET, MCK, RTI, PCU, WBSN, CCJ, CRS, GRMN, KFT, COL, SPW, RIG, WY, ANDE, ABX, XRAY, FMC, MTW, PHRM, TK, AGU, AZN, BDX, CAM, CVS, DNR, XOM, GTI, IGT, MRO, PCS, OSK, ROK, TBL, UTHR, WMB, CLF, CROX, CYTC, ERTS, GES, OII, WLT, WDC, CVX, EDS, IP, OMG, TLM. I see more good than bad in this list and the numbers should have a positive influence on the market.

We are headed into one of the most bullish periods of the year and I expect a year-end rally. Given all of the news next week, the market will find a catalyst to push it to new highs. End of month buying will also help to support prices.

Monday, October 22, 2007

HOTS Weekly Options Commentary

HOTS Weekly Options CommentarySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Peter Stolcers

With the exception of financial stocks, most sectors have been beating expectations. Financials are not some small little part of the overall market; they comprise 20% of the S&P 500. Last week was laden with earnings releases from national/regional banks, mortgage lenders and brokerage firms. This week, we will see a much greater mix of earnings.

SLB posted nice earnings and it was down by more than $12. In fact, all of the oil stocks were hit hard Friday. Oil is near $90 and that might become an issue for the market. I still believe that energy is one of the best investments and once this pullback stabilizes it will present a great buying opportunity.


CAT posted a 21% increase in earnings; however, they lowered guidance for the next quarter. They painted a very weak picture for domestic construction. Last week housing starts fell to a new 14-year low and the Beige Book indicated weaker economic conditions across the nation.

The dollar continues to drift lower and it is making new 30-year lows against most major currencies. This will eventually translate into inflation and that will put upward pressure on interest rates.








After a day like Friday, it is easy to focus on the negative issues. I believe we could see continued weakness for the next week or two that tests some of the major support levels. The last few days of October mark the beginning of the strongest bullish seasonal pattern of the year. I believe we will work off the worries and rally into year-end.

The economic numbers are very light this week. Durable goods orders, new home sales and Michigan sentiment are the only scheduled releases. Obviously, durable goods orders are the most significant release since they reveal our appetite for big-ticket items.

This is a list of some of the upcoming releases: ECL, ZBRA, NFLX, TXN, AKS, AXE, ARW, COH, CBE, JCI, LMT, PCAR, PCP, POOL, SHW, SII, AMTD, UPS, WHR, AMZN, BRCM, HOKU, JNPR, NVLS, PNRA, TRMD, STM, XL, ATI, BA, CME, GLW, FCX, LM, MER, NOV, NSC, NOC, PFCB, R, SLAB, TASR, WLP, AKAM, ACL, CLB, FFIV, MNST, STR, SYMNC, TEX, TSCO, ZMH, AET, BDK, CELG, CMI, GO, DOW, HET, MOT, PENN, POT, ROK, SO, SU, AMGN, AVID, BIDU, CENX, CLF, CYTC, KLAC, MSFT, WFR, SWIR, ABFS, CFC, CVH, FO, IR, ITT, LZ, TDW, WMI

They are in chronological order so that you can follow along as the week progresses. The current estimates are for flat earnings growth. I believe that will be an easy hurdle to clear. Corporate guidance is the key as traders look to the future. By the end of next week we will have a much clearer picture.


Corporate earnings have been strong, the unemployment rate is low, interest rates are low, tax rates are low, inflation is in check and global expansion is helping us through this rough patch. All of these conditions might be on the brink of changing; however, I don't believe that they will deteriorate before year-end.

I am patiently going to wait for support to be established and then I will buy this dip. I do not want to try and short this market for fear that I will get caught in a whipsaw. I got caught short last March and I learned from my mistake. In August, I bought into the weakness and took profits during the snap back rally.


During the last 3 quarters, the first week of earnings season has started off poorly. I expect a better week ahead.


Editor's Note: To take advantage of our high performance Options Trading Service (HOTS), click here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Market Timing

Market TimingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Fari Hamzei

I wrote a piece for FOX biz channel around 830 am PDT this morning, about my reasons why DOW should close about -350 to -500 today. Robert Gray, formerly of Bloomberg TV, quoted us near the close.

As a service to our loyal readers, here are my bullet points (part of these points were posted in our SuperPlatinum Virtual Trading Room in real time). Tomorrow in our Saturday Class we will explore these crucial issues in more detail.

1) expiration week is a counter trend -- we have been climbing a wall of worry since Aug 16th -- SPX hit massive resistance at MR1 Level (Monthly Resistance Level One) five times between October 8th and 15th and failed. We've had divergences between SPX and NDX at new highs with their respective cum advance decline lines -- see our Timer chart below.
2) Crude Oil is at ~85 to 90 USD per barrel.
3) Benazir Bhutto returning to Pakistan -- I wrote about this in early Aug on our Blog -- they have 40 confirmed nukes -- AQ is HQ'd there.
4) comrade Paulson putting his foot in his mouth on SIVs.
5) dollar trashing by Uncle Ben via pre-mature easing.
6) DJ Trans telegraphing massive slow down of the US Economy. See our Wyckoff Chart below.
7) 20th anniversary of Black Monday falling on October Expiration Day.











Have a great weekend......

Saturday, October 13, 2007

HOTS Weekly Options Commentary

HOTS Weekly Options CommentarySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Peter Stolcers

Last week a stable Employment Report was released and the market surged higher. Despite mixed earnings announcements and soft economic releases, the market was able to add to those gains throughout the week until Thursday afternoon. "Hawkish comments" from one of the Fed Officials spooked the market, creating an intraday reversal. Chinese stocks were hit hard along with other stocks that have recently posted big gains.

Friday morning, the “all clear” sign was given. Chinese stocks held firm overnight and the PPI and retail sales numbers came in better than expected. The market was able to bounce and it closed above the highs made a week ago.

The economic releases this week are: industrial production, CPI, housing starts, LEI and Philly Fed.

I believe the earnings guidance, not the economic news will drive prices during the next few weeks. They are forward looking as opposed to the hindsight provided by economic releases. If GE and MCD are any indication, the earnings should come in at or above expectations. Both posted solid results.

Next week we will get an onslaught of earnings releases. I expect most companies to meet estimates and the current projected growth rate year-over-year is flat (0%). I believe that threshold will be cleared easily. The wild card is the earnings guidance that corporations will provide. If future weakness becomes a theme, the market will decline. If the earnings and guidance are consistent with the market's expectations, the market will continue to push higher.
These are some of the companies that are announcing this week: C, ETN, DNA, JBHT, JNJ, USB, WFC, INTC, STX, YHOO, ABT, MO, CIT, KO, ITW, JPM, UTX, ALL, EBAY, ILMN, ME, SYK, BAC, BGG, NUE, PH, PFE, RS, STJ, UNH, AMD, CREE, GILD, GOOG, IBM, ISRG, SNDK, TPX, VFC, MMM, CAT, HOG, HON, SLB.




We are only two weeks away from a seasonally bullish period. The earnings releases have been decent, we have not had many earnings warnings and the economic releases have been positive. As long as Americans have jobs, they will continue to spend and pay their debts. Add the Fed's half point interest rate cut to that equation and you can see why I am bullish. As long as the SPY is above 150, we will trade from the long side.

Editor's Note: To take advantage of our high performance Options Trading Service (HOTS), click here.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Equity Index Update (Special Edition)

Equity Index Update (Special Edition)SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Brad Sullivan

The index markets suffered through a sharp decline in the afternoon trade after a JP Morgan analyst cut revenue estimates for the Chinese Internet company BIDU (Baidu.com). The stock plunged from 358 per share to 303. Other staples of the momentum side also slid as GOOG dropped from a new all-time high of 641 to 622 on the close…AAPL fell sharply as did DRYS. The NQ market participants were clearly caught off guard as the index cratered from 2210 to 2160 in 30 minutes of trading…the subsequent bounce proved short lived and another round of selling pushed the index to the session lows of 2146 a solid -2% drop for the afternoon from high to low.



The interesting aspect of the decline was the second wave of selling. It was during this wave that the broader market came along for the ride on the downside…GS gave back its entire session from Tuesday’s FOMC minutes rally and the stock settled at 229. The examples of this type of price action were found everywhere by the close and one has to wonder if a confluence of forces that have been the underpinning of this rally (global growth, commodity boom, no inflation…so on so on) is being rethought. Certainly, a one day reversal should not cause a top in this long running bull market…and for the bears hoping that we have finally turned the cards over to the “sell” side of the ledger I would advise caution. There needs to be more technical work done on the downside in order to generate a price ceiling of significance. In the short run, it would appear that a rally back to yesterday’s highs would be a stretch. So…where does that leave us?

From a day trading perspective, much of the move was accomplished (at least in terms of velocity and price discovery) in yesterday’s swoon. The SPZ went BELOW the September Employment Report session low (1558.25) and some mild sell stops pushed the index to session lows of 1556.25. However, this low was still HIGHER than the GAP left from that very Employment report (1552.25). The subsequent short covering bounce into the close pushed the index towards 1565 – that close is on slightly lower on the week and does not represent the low close of the week as that was accomplished on Monday at 1562.75. In fact, only the NQ and ER2 contracts closed at new weekly lows. Essentially, this boils down to patience and a little bit of reality. Yes the markets are overextended and the fact that a revenue downgrade of a Chinese Internet company could put so much pressure on the marketplace proves that point. However, to make the leap from the trade in BIDU to an overall slowing of the China Story may be a bit of a stretch. In my opinion, we witnessed a rare news event that led to a bit of a buyers strike. Whether or not that continues today will be fascinating, particularly as we head into earnings season. My advice is to lay low and look for a few opportunities, particularly early, for selling rallies. Psychologically the market took a hit and some of that should carry into today.

Random Comments

Random CommentsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Fil Zucchi

I will refrain from too many comments on the nasty reversal we saw yesterday, since there are far smarter technical eyes in this community than me. Rather, a few thoughts on specific names and areas:

  • Keep a close eye on the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) and its proxies, companies like Paragon Shipping (PRGN), Quintana Marine (QMAR), and Dryships (DRYS). In my view they reflect better than anything else the true state of the world tangible economy; and in hindsight I believe they will be seen as the telltale sign of coming runaway inflation. Since July the Index has gone parabolic, with dry bulk shipping rates going through the roof, and there’s anecdotal evidence that the flipping game that spread from stocks, to homes, to commercial real estate, has now infected the “vessels” asset class. Yesterday’s break in these stocks arrived after several days of vertical moves on massive volume. If the BDI follows the stocks breaks, you can kick one more leg from under the broader market.

  • Chatting with folks very close to distressed-debt vulture funds, the consensus is that the weaker of the major homebuilders, Tousa Inc. (TOA), Standard Pacific (SPF), Beazer Homes (BZH), and perhaps even Hovnanian (HOV), would be better off filing for bankruptcy sooner than later; the theory being that there is no way out for them anyway, and at least right now they have enough assets left to effectively reorganize, and the economy is not in recession (yet). If they wait until things really turn ugly fresh capital will be much more expensive.

  • With respect to the last point however, one daunting question is how many multiples of the bonds’ face values are the outstanding CDS against such debts? And where is that time bomb hidden?

  • Corporate bond watchers and equity players are having a heated debate as to whether the recovery in the debt markets of the last couple weeks will set off another wave of M&A, LBO’s, and buybacks. We are already seeing the buybacks, and strategic M&A. In my humble opinion, and based on anecdotal conversations with folks at major PE groups, LBO’s are done and they are not coming back (corporates traders disagree). Debt fueled buybacks have been as consistently successful as flipping a coin: just look at Intel (INTC), Dean Foods (DF), Amgen (AMGN), St. Jude Medical (STJ), not to mention a bunch of the homebuilders. That leaves strategic M&A, where premiums are not likely to be nearly as fat as they were in LBO’s.

  • The last time the Dollar Index (DXY) touched current levels it reversed and shot higher within two weeks. This is week two since the break of the 79 level and any semblance of a bounce is still AWOL. I may end up eating my words (wouldn’t be the first . . . or tenth time), but in my opinion the greenback has at most two more weeks to mount a rally or the next move down will start getting tagged as a “currency crisis”. Of course with M3 ramping at 14% in September and gold and oil going relentlessly higher one could argue that the currency crisis is already here.

  • On a slightly more cheery note, if one has to be long something, I continue to think that small regional banks with little mortgage exposure should benefit from the steepening yield-curve. The RKH Holder is a lazy way to play this. Also, not a day goes by that I don’t find an article concerning the lack of bandwidth in the metro networks and at the switching nodes. Away from the ne’er do wells – Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), Nortel (NT), Tellabs (TLAB) – I think there are tremendous opportunities, especially in software rich companies. Favorites include Ciena (CIEN), Infinera (INFN), F5 Networks (FFIV), Akamai (AKAM), and Limelight Networks (LLNW); once the cable guys finally decide how to avoid getting run over by the Bells FTTP deployments, and they start formulating their capital spending (which is inevitably coming), other viable names will be Ceragon Networks (CRNT), Arris (ARRS), Harmonic (HLIT) and BigBand Networks (BBND).

    And always know where the “emergency exit” is!!

  • Friday, October 5, 2007

    Bull Run in the Silver and Gold Index (XAU)

    Bull Run in the Silver and Gold Index (XAU)SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
    Tim Ord





    The $XAU chart above dates back to 1985. At the bottom of the chart is the Price Relative to gold Ratio (PRTG). PRTG ratio measures the premium or discount the $XAU is selling against gold. This ratio identifies when gold stocks are cheap or expensive compared to the yellow metal gold. When PRTG ratio is near .20 or below then gold stocks are out of favor and cheap and at a good buy. When PRTG is near .30 range or higher then gold stocks are in favor and expensive and near a high. The time to buy gold stocks is the transition from cheap heading to expensive. To identify this buying zone, we have drawn a red trend lines connecting the highs on PRTG and where PRTG has exceeded those downtrend lines and have triggered buy signals. These buy signal on the monthly PRTG ratio where triggered in early 1993, late 2001, early 2003 mid 2005 and in the last couple of months a bullish crossover has occurred and has triggered a buy signal and the buy signal is still on going. Even though a “Shakeout” did occur in August of this year the month PRTG buy signal remained intact. Therefore the bigger trend is up.





    Above is the Breadth statistics for the HUI as of the close yesterday. We keep tabs on this study because its giving good insight of what is going on the HUI index. The bottom window is the % of stocks above its 50 day moving average. When this percentage is near 0% the market is near a low and when near 100% the market is near a high. The next window up is the % of stocks above its 10 day moving average. Again the same percentages work the same way. When both the 10 DMA and 50 DMA are both at extremes (either near 100% or 0%) the market is near a turn and head in the opposite direction. We have circle in blue where the 10 DMA and 50 DMA where near 100% and helped to pick out the highs in the HUI. Recently both the 10 DMA and 50 DMA turned down near the 100% range and suggest the market was near a short term high. The HUI tested the previous high of 9/21 and the McClellan Oscillator was far below its previous high and a negative divergence similar to the negative divergence at the previous highs on the HUI. The negative divergence on the McClellan Oscillator helps to confirm the 10 DMA and 50 DMA for a short term top. We have support coming in near 160 on the XAU and the next support below that is the 147 range. We will be watching these areas for a bullish setup on the XAU. Also on the last COT (Commitment of Traders) report, the Commercials have back off its bullish stance and now are short term bearish. Also Seasonality for Gold in the month of October is bearish.


    Therefore they may be a pull back this month but the pull back should be bought. We have support coming in near 160 on the XAU and the next support below that is the 147 range. We plan to go long the XAU on the next buy signal.


    Editor's Note: watch for Tim Ord's upcoming book, "The Secret Science of Price and Volume", to be published by John Wiley & Sons, in February 2008.

    Sunday, September 30, 2007

    HOTS Weekly Options Commentary

    HOTS Weekly Options CommentarySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
    Peter Stolcers

    This week the market fell into a very tight 30 point trading range on the S&P 500. In the absence of news, light directionless trading set in. The economic releases came in slightly better than expected, but everyone knows they are hindsight. It is the future the Fed is concerned about.

    This same scenario will unfold next week during the first four days. The economic releases are very light and they include the ISM numbers, building permits and auto sales. PEP, WAG and RIMM are the only earnings worth mention.





    The fireworks will let loose on Friday with the release of the Unemployment Report. The weak number last month paved the way for the Fed to lower interest rates. If there is an increase in unemployment, the market will have a negative reaction. On the other hand, solid employment could prove that last month’s decline was an aberration. If this unfolds, the market will make a run at the all-time high.

    I still suspect that the market is headed higher. Global growth is fueling our economy and housing only makes up 5% of our GDP. Earnings are right around the corner and we have not had an earnings warning outside of the home building sector. BSC and LEH were supposedly “exposed” to sub prime and both posted decent results. As companies release earnings, their guidance for next quarter will have a tremendous influence on the market.

    This market can swing either way. While we wait, we will stay balanced.

    Editor's Note: To take advantage of our high performance Options Trading Service (HOTS), click here.

    Friday, September 21, 2007

    HOTS Weekly Options Commentary

    HOTS Weekly Options CommentarySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
    Peter Stolcers

    Last week, the Fed pulled a surprise move when it lowered interest rates and the discount window rate by .5%. The S&P 500 futures rallied 25 points instantly. It was able to add to those gains on Wednesday and prices are holding firm.

    I have been opposed to the Fed lowering interest rates because all of the economic data suggest "full employment" and moderate growth. The exception to this is housing, which only accounts for 5% of our GDP. If the economy continues on a moderate growth path, this ease will translate into a new record high for the market.

    Don’t be fooled, on a relative basis the market is not near an all-time high. Once the Fed’s actions were revealed, the dollar got hammered. The market is dollar denominated and a foreign investor buying the SPY would pay much less for those shares now than they did at the prior high two months ago. For anyone who has recently traveled abroad, the decrease in our purchasing power is blatantly obvious. A weak dollar is an inflationary event and it is one reason why dollar denominated commodities like oil and gold are increasing in price. For the first time in 31 years, the US and Canadian dollars are trading at parity.





    Enough about the dollar, I’m concerned that the Fed sees the big picture and that economic weakness lies ahead. They have been interviewing top CEOs and gathering unique data to gauge what lies ahead. Chairman Bernanke has been a steadfast inflation fighter and he had to be concerned to take such dramatic action. The market would have been satisfied with a .25% ease combined with help at the discount window. He had the option to wait for further evidence that the economy was slowing, but he didn't.

    There aren't any earnings announcements worth mention next week so the market will look to the economic releases for direction. Consumer confidence, durable goods, GDP, personal income, core PCE inflation and Chicago PMI are on deck. Those numbers are like looking in the rear view mirror and they may give the appearance that all is well. Consequently, the market is likely to rally and test of the all-time highs this week.

    The only way to trade this market is to stay long commodity stocks and equipment manufacturers that generate more than half of their revenues overseas. There are also select technology stocks that I like. I fear that the market could hit another "air pocket" once the first weak economic number hits.

    Editor's Note: To take advantage of our high performance Options Trading Service (HOTS), click here.

    Thursday, September 20, 2007

    Home Builders, CDs and Corp. Paper

    Home Builders, CDs and Corp. PaperSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
    Fil Zucchi

    The following piece was written on August 27:

    “We all know the treatment housing stocks have received and at this point few seem to offer decent risk/reward on the downside. The thing to watch carefully now is the debt of these companies and the news-flow around them.

    I’ve gone over a bunch of fixed income research concerning this group and while the analysts continue to reassure readers that most companies are still cash flow positive and they will come out stronger when the market turns, one can’t help but get that funny feeling that the real message of those notes lies not in the “all is well” boilerplate, but int eh passing mention that technical violations of debt covenants are not a big deal because the lenders will undoubtedly wave those covenants.

    Perhaps they are correct. However, we are often told that bond investors are the “smart” money because they are closer to the financials of the companies than equity investors. After all, bond holders are not in the business of taking principal risk.

    Yet Standard Pacific (SPF) and Lennar (LEN) have had to renegotiate loan terms, Beazer Homes (BZH) won’t say where its debt stands until its internal investigation on accounting issues is concluded, Comstock Homes (CHCI) has already gone through one restructuring and its faith hangs on the future sales at a project in Alexandria, VA, and . . . .well, you get the picture. Furthermore, considering how frothy things used to be for homebuilders, one would think that the covenants were probably loose enough already.

    Are these covenant workouts a sign that bondholders want to avoid defaults at least as much as the debtors? Isn’t this the same movie we saw in the late 1980’s with respect to commercial loans, before everything hit the fan? Will the daily new lows in the stocks of these companies create their own set of technical defaults?

    Most eyes are fixated on mortgage debt, derivatives, and the likes, but few for now dare speak of actual defaults in plain vanilla corporate obligations, especially the kind still rated BB or better (how is that possible?). If that were to happen, that is what you can call the “other shoe”.

    Since then, and despite yesterday’s Fed cuts, very little has changed:

    The 7-year paper of most issuers has rallied 5-10% but still yields 12-15%.
    The CDS’ on these debts have also come in some, but still trade at spreads 3-5x what they were in May, and some spreads suggest a pretty high risk of default. Just a few minutes ago S&P warned that approximately $35b of B rated corporate paper (not just homebuilders) is at risk in 2008, and for our purposes we will ignore that there may be 5x-10x that amount of CDS written against it, for which someone is going to have to pony up some cold hard cash.

    No amount of shuffling of debts between GSE’s or other pan-handling bailouts address the key problem: there is way too much debt out there that folks and companies are beginning to struggle to pay. The homebuilders are at the forefront and they should be watched very closely.


    Editor Note: Fil Zucchi spent this summer on the long trip back to the Old Country -- Italy. We are glad to find him safe and sound at his HQ on the East Coast.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    Pink slips at the FDA will equate to red ink for biotech investors

    Pink slips at the FDA will equate to red ink for biotech investorsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
    David Miller

    Andy von Eschenbach, FDA Commissioner, says he’ll have to issue 2,000 60-day pink slips at the FDA if Congress and the President don’t get the PDUFA IV bill passed by Friday. We think the chance that they will is good, but the early Presidential election season could very well create some unexpected events. There are more than a few folks who would like to hold this bill up for political gain.

    If the pink slips go out, we doubt staffers will start running for the exits right away. The growing trend of the FDA asking for delays will increase immediately, however, as managers start changing existing review and especially meeting schedules.

    One could argue some decisions might come early, but we think any such occurrences will be rare. The FDA already considers itself understaffed. Bureaucrats, in our experience, don’t work harder in the face of crises like this. They tend to want to punish those they regulate by delaying even more.

    We’ll more than likely see additional delays. The silent delays will be in meetings, time to obtain SPAs, etc. The more public delays will be similar to what ZymoGenetics (ZGEN) recently experienced – 90 days here, a 2-month Class One response turning into a 6-month Class Two response there, etc.






    As timelines slip, biotech valuations go down. Significant delays will start damaging biotech investor portfolios.

    If the PDUFA IV legislation is tied up for quite some time – say towards Halloween no end in sight – then things will get frightening. The pharma, biotech, and financial communities will pirate the pink-slipped FDA staffers. Once Congress finally gets around to passing the legislation, Dr. von Eschenbach won’t have anyone to hire back. He’s already said the FDA is understaffed.

    Even if he replaces people, the loss of institutional knowledge will be significant. Guidance to companies will shift as new people provide new opinions. Delays in regulatory decisions will abound as new review teams have to start from square one in reviewing the data.

    Again, I don’t think we’ll get that far as Congress and the President know what’s at stake here. But keep it on your radar just the same.

    Saturday, September 15, 2007

    HOTS Weekly Options Commentary

    HOTS Weekly Options CommentarySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
    Peter Stolcers

    Let me start by welcoming many new subscribers this week. I live for set-ups like the week ahead and the opportunities are lining up. I’m glad to have you onboard!

    This is the calm before the storm. Last week the market rallied on expectations that the Fed will lower rates. The debt market has priced in a 70% probability of a .25% rate cut and the 30% probability of a .50% rate cut. The dismal Unemployment Report dramatically increased rate cut forecasts.

    The U.S. dollar hit new 30-year lows against the Canadian dollar and against the Euro this week. We have a huge trade imbalance and a weak dollar forces us to pay more for the goods we import. Translation: a weak dollar is inflationary. Oil has just hit an all-time high. Last week, TSN said that profit margins are being hurt by higher food costs. I've even heard that Italians are boycotting pasta because wheat prices have forced it up 25%. There are countless examples of inflation (tuition, health care, local taxes) that don’t show up in the Fed’s numbers. Tuesday, a “hot” PPI number could add to the excitement.

    I believe the Fed will reluctantly lower interest rates by .25% next week. They will lace their rhetoric with inflationary comments to curb future rate cut expectations. The market will have an initial negative reaction.





    The earnings releases by LEH, GS and BSC will be much more important. To a degree, the Fed’s actions are priced in. However, no one really knows the earnings impact from the sub-prime/credit crunch debacle. Historically, LEH has made a 2% move after releasing its earnings. The option implied volatilities are pricing in an 8% move in either direction. Lehman releases before the open Tuesday while Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns will be releasing earnings Thursday, after the Fed's decision. FDX also announces this week and transportation activity measures economic strength. GIS and CAG will shed light on food costs.

    Earnings and the Fed’s actions/statements will determine the market's direction for the next month. Quadruple witching will throw gasoline on the fire, accelerating the move. All you can do in these situations is to have your stocks lined up. We will trade relative strength and weakness in a balanced manner.

    Friday, September 7, 2007

    Timer Digest Market Commentary

    Timer Digest Market CommentarySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
    Fari Hamzei

    Once you study our Timer and Vol Index Charts, two issues are worth noting:

    First our Timer Chart shows (mentioned here last Friday) that we are short-term overbought and due for a pause -- which BLS delivered today with the first negative NFP data in 4 years (and a massive revision to July NFP data).


    Secondly, our Vol Indices chart sets the volatility retest targets both in shape and intensity (when overlaid with Sigma Channels).



    Given that the seasonality data calls for September being a negative month, dollar being at 15-year low and CFC announcing a 20% layoff after the close today, we hope you have been SHORT this market and getting ready to lower your buy stop.


    Just remember: the second mouse gets the cheese !!

    HOTS Weekly Options Commentary

    HOTS Weekly Options CommentarySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
    Peter Stolcers

    I have been bullish on the economy and Friday's unemployment number tainted my bias. I did not expect the dramatic decline this month and I certainly didn’t expect the huge revisions for June and July. For the month of August, analysts were expecting 115,000 new jobs. The actual number showed a decrease of 4000 jobs. That is a whopping 119,000 miss. June and July numbers were reduced by about 81,000 in total.

    High consumer debt levels (and I'm not just talking subprime mortgages) will threaten the strength of this economy if workers get laid off.

    Last week, the Fed invited major homebuilders to share their perspective on the economy and I’m sure Chairman Bernanke got an earful. A rate cut is almost certain after this dismal employment report. Inflation is in check and now the Fed can ease rates without the appearance of a subprime bail out.

    Next week the economic calendar is light with consumer credit, retail sales, industrial production and consumer sentiment on deck. These releases don't pack the same punch and I believe Friday’s Unemployment Report will induce selling pressure until the FOMC. Traders are scrambling to determine if the Fed will cut rates by a ¼ or a ½ point.

    If the Fed reacts quickly and lowers the rate by a ¼ point before the FOMC, it might be viewed as a progressive move and that might be enough to satisfy the market. On the other hand, a ¼ point cut during the FOMC will not carry the same urgency. The market could view that as stingy, feeling that the data justifies a ½ point rate cut.




    In this week’s chart you can see the long-term uptrend is still intact and the breakout from April has also held. If the SPY 145 level is violated my bias will turn bearish.

    We have bullish positions and this week’s trade will hedge some of our risk.

    Friday, August 31, 2007

    Timer Digest Market Commentary

    Timer Digest Market CommentarySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
    Fari Hamzei

    S&P-500 Cash Index 1480 is our line in the sand. Low volume market advance below this level is only noise to us. What matters most now is that we are extremely overbought on the short-term basis. Next week, a short-term pause is a given. Once the market reopens after the Labor Day Weekend, we shall look for robust market action combined with healthy volume to chart the proper course for our equity markets.

    I have attached our updated Timer Chart here for your audience.



    HOTS Weekly Options Commentary

    HOTS Weekly Options CommentarySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
    Peter Stolcers

    When John Vogel, the founder of Vanguard Funds, says that in his 50 years of investment experience he can't recall this type of volatility, it means something. He is one of the industry’s innovators and you would think that he has seen it all. Huge day-to-day reversals have become the norm. From a trader's perspective it means one thing – uncertainty.

    The bulls are very strong in their conviction and they believe that the current decline represents a fantastic buying opportunity. They point to the low unemployment rate, solid earnings growth, global expansion, and relatively low interest rates as signs of strength. Most quantitative models show that stocks are an attractive value.

    The bears also have a long list of items to substantiate their bias. They point to increasing debt levels across the board (federal, state, municipal, personal) and they believe the credit squeeze is just beginning. From 2000 – 2005, almost 50% of the employment growth came from the housing sector. This number includes lenders, realtors, construction workers... everyone. They believe that the sub prime woes will continue to spread into other areas and the unemployment rate will rise. They also believe that hedge funds are highly leveraged and that the current credit crisis could force another round of liquidations. In a worst case scenario, they believe that some of the “fluff” will be taken out of the emerging market run up. Once profit taking sets in, that could have a cascading affect as investors run for cover.

    Personally, I'm going to stay out of this fight. When a winner emerges I will know who to back. In the meantime, the implied volatilities are very high and option selling strategies make sense. This is a time to rely on stocks with relative strength/weakness and to keep your distance from the action.

    Tuesday, August 28, 2007

    Timer Digest Market Commentary

    Timer Digest Market CommentarySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
    Fari Hamzei

    We have four charts for your review this evening: SPX, RUT, XLF & XLE.

    Let us start by stating that market action today, unlike two weeks ago, was not marked by forced liquidation, but rather it was an act of deliberate selling by many players. SP-500 Index (SPX) in the last 30 minutes of trading touched its last week's lows while Russell 2000 Index (RUT) took out its last week's lows in the first hour of trading this morning.



    The next major support levels for S&P-500 Index (SPX) are located at 1421 (MS1) and 1387 (MS2). The fact that our coveted CI Indicator crossed its signal line below the ZERO LINE is very ominous. Today SPX also crossed below 200 day and 20 day Moving Averages. Down Volume to Up Volume on NYSE was almost 26 to 1. This tells us that last week the big players bid the market up to get out of their troubled positions and now they are getting ready for a big push down. A top ranked technical analyst on the Street and a contributor to my book, Master Traders, on Monday August 20th, wrote us that his SPX target for the bounce from the August 16 low is 1480. Four trading sessions later, the bounce stopped 60 cents below his target last Friday !!




    Another technical analyst for whom I hold tremendous respect for (yes, he works for a bulge bracket investment bank) told us two weeks ago that his SPX downside target is 1300. If you look that how Russell 2000 (RUT) has behaved in August (never crossed its 200 day Moving Average during eight sessions during each of which it had a chance to do so). Because RUT normally leads the SPX, the RUT price action today means, the 1370 retest on SPX is a given, and the 1300 target for SPX is more plausible now than ever. Worth noting is that the next major support for RUT is 745 (MS1) which on the way up last year was a key resistance level.

    The next chart really drives it home. Financials are in trouble after MER downgraded them today and when 20% of SPX is in trouble, we all are in trouble. CFC problems are far from over and if our calculations are right, we have not seen the worst of XLF. The next support is its MS1 located at 31.56 which it bounced from on August 16.





    Of course the Market won't sell off in a big way till the mightiest fall and that honor goes to Mega Oil. Here we present you with its ETF (XLE) which closed today at 66.88, pretty close to its MS1 at 66.5. Keep an eye on that 10% of SPX, with key support at 64 (MS2) and its 200 day MA at 63. Once these levels are broken, the free fall should begin in earnest.

    Have a great Labor Day Weekend.........




    Editors' Note: MS1 stands for Monthly Support 1

    Sunday, August 26, 2007

    HOTS Weekly Options Commentary

    HOTS Weekly Options CommentarySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
    Peter Stolcers

    Thursday's price action was very telling. The market had posted five consecutive late day rallies and it received a dose of great news after Wednesday's close. Bank of America was making a large investment in Countrywide Financial. In after-hours trading, the S&P 500 futures gapped 10 points higher on the notion that mortgage lenders present investment opportunities.

    As the market prepared to open Thursday morning, those gains started to deteriorate. Soon after the normal trading hours started, the futures fell back to unchanged. At that juncture it was difficult to determine if the market had reached a resistance level, or if traders simply felt that the news did not justify the reaction. The momentum from the early reversal paved the way for bears to maintain selling pressure and they were able to push prices lower. By late afternoon, the market was able to stage another rally and finish unchanged for the day. The SPY 146 level was preserved.

    This price action shows that buyers are willing to step up and buy stocks. It also demonstrates that we are not going to have a melt up rally. A great deal of nervousness still exists and any rally will be hard-fought.





    Friday, strong durable goods orders created a bid to the market. That positive economic news was complimented by new home sales that came in better than expected.

    The market avoided a sell off Thursday and it mounted a constructive grind higher on Friday. This week there are many economic numbers that will be released. Barring any new sub-prime defaults, I believe the economic numbers will show stability and they will pave the way for a continued rally. As we move above SPY 146, greater pressure will be placed on the shorts to cover. Next week, the market should also gain strength from end-of-month buying.

    Here are some of the stocks that will announce earnings: SNDA, BGP, SAFM, BIG, BWS, JOYG, WSM, PSS, COST, CIEN, HRB, SHLD, TIF, DELL, FRO. As we saw this week, most of the bad news has been factored into the retailers. HPQ announced last week and I don't feel DELL’s numbers will pack any punch. Earnings will not have much of a market impact this week.

    The shorts are no longer able to sell into every financial stock rally. There is a bid in those stocks and stability there will fuel the market since they comprise 20% of the S&P 500. It's still too early to give the all clear signal. This sell off was different from the one we had in February. Back then, there were phantom lending issues. This time around, the market had a more severe reaction as it counted the casualties.

    As a side note, I feel the Fed has handled this crisis masterfully. They provided assistance when needed without compromising their stance or bailing out corporations that made poor lending decisions.

    Monday, August 20, 2007

    Have You Hugged Your T-Bills Lately ??

    Have You Hugged Your T-Bills Lately ??SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
    Jason Goepfert

    There are two defining moments from late last week - an incredible rush to safety, and a washout in terms of market breadth.

    There are many ways to watch for extreme moments of risk-aversion. One sign of that came from Rydex mutual fund traders, as they were three times more likely to invest in a "safe" fund than a "risky" one. But in the bigger scheme of things, Rydex funds are small potatoes. The Treasury market is not.

    And in that Treasury market, we saw a huge rush to one of the safest of all instruments - the three-month T-Bill. Over a two-day period, the yield on T-Bills dropped by more than 20% (near Thursday's nadir), which means that there was a big demand for those Bills. Like all credit, when demand is strong and supply is restricted, then prices rise and yields fall.





    That two-day decline was one of the steepest in five decades. Using data from the Federal Reserve for secondary market rates on T-Bills, I could find only two other times since 1950 that yields dropped so much in such a short period. Those two times were February 24, 1958 and September 17, 2001. Both led to an imminent halt in selling pressure in equities (or very close to it in 2001), and the S&P 500 was about 8% higher a month later both times.






    That rush to safety was accompanied by traders dumping shares at a record rate. NYSE volume set a record on Thursday, and the past two weeks have seen several days with volume nearly as high. Large share turnover in the midst of a decline is typically a mark of a bottoming market.

    Going back to the 1960's, I looked for any time total NYSE volume was at least 50% above its one-year average for at least five out of the past ten sessions, AND the S&P 500 was at least 5% below it's highest point of the past year. Looking ahead three months, the S&P was positive 90% of the time (92 out of 102 days) with an average return of +7.6%.

    Much of that volume was traders wanting to get out of their shares, and selling at any price. By Thursday, a phenomenal 1,132 stocks had hit new 52-week lows, the second-most in history.

    Expressed in terms of total stocks traded, that comes out to 33%. There have only been three times in the past 20 years that more than 30% of stocks hit a new low on the same day - 10/19/87, 8/23/90 and 8/31/98. Those were exceptional times to initiate intermediate-term long positions.

    Also near a couple of those dates, we saw extraordinary one-day reversals on heavy volume, and brokers exploding out of one-year lows…just like Thursday. Fundamentally, there are many reasons to expect more bad news and possible selling pressure to come. And technically, the markets look quite weak. But looking at some of the intangibles, a good argument can be made that despite some likely short-term testing of Thursday’s low, that testing should succeed and result in a one- to three-month recovery.

    Financial Sector and this Fed

    Financial Sector and this FedSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
    Sally Limantour

    The biggest question over the weekend was whether the engineered discount rate cut by the Fed was enough to safely say the lows were put in last Thursday. There are reasons to be skeptical in looking at the market players and the Federal Reserve.

    We have been witnessing the phenomenon of deleveraging and if history is any guide this rarely occurs smoothly, or without some effect on the wider economy. It is hard to imagine that what took years to create is over in a few weeks. The ability to slice and dice risk and spread it around has us questioning the vulnerability of the economy.

    In addition, there are clear signs that the pain is spreading from hedge funds to banks. The total amount of rescue financing has placed tens of billions of dollars at risk for many of the biggest banks. Most charge nominal fees for the guarantee of liquidity and some banks did not properly reserve for the risk since the prospect of default seemed remote.

    Citigroup (C) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM), for example, have guaranteed more than $90 billion of liquidity, or about 5 or 6 percent of their total assets, according to a recent Banc of America Securities report.






    State Street(STT), a custody bank, guaranteed about $29 billion, or 23 percent of its total assets.


    That has ignited fear that the subprime contagion has spread to the global banking system — and, some suggest, caused the Federal Reserve Board to take action yesterday.

    “The Fed is concerned because of the banks’ exposure. The banks are on the hook for potentially tens of billions of dollars,” said Christian Stracke, an analyst at CreditSights, a fixed-income research firm. “That could tighten credit conditions significantly if all that paper is tied up in things that none of the banks want to hold."

    Bernanke’s Fed

    The perception that the Fed will bail us out is still in the background for many, but if Bernanke turns out to be more like Volcker than easy Al as I wrote on August 13th, then the current Fed will inject liquidity when needed but may quickly remove it when markets stabilize.
    Mr. Bernanke may not follow in the footsteps of the former Fed chairman and provide what fondly became called the “Greenspan put.” Under that philosophy whenever a crisis brewed Greenspan would slash the fed funds rate and provide cheap money to those who needed it as well as those who used it to add on layers of derivative speculation.

    The Greenspan put helped during crisis such as the 1987 stock market crash and the 1998 Long Term Capital Markets hedge fund fiasco, but it also built up a huge speculative fervor and added on layers of risk that would not be there if cheap money had not been available.

    Friday’s move by the Fed to lower the discount rate – not the Fed Funds rate made liquidity available to banks and depository institutions. They could borrow against collateral, such as asset-backed securities but the important distinction is that this discount window is not available to the more speculative group such as hedge funds and in this sense is quite different from the insurance that Greenspan provided.

    We are going forward confronted with decisions to make both with our portfolios and with daily trading. I am approaching the markets as if I am still walking in a minefield and highly alert as to where I step. Listening for further news from institutions holding subprime debt as well as the language and actions of the Fed will be paramount as to how we navigate this treacherous terrain.

    During the day I am trading “light and tight” meaning small positions with tight stops. I still believe we are at the beginning - not the end of a volatile time in many asset classes and we should not get lulled into complacency if markets are calm for a week or two. That said, my other twin always reminds me I am too close to the game and I am reminded of the words from Julian Jessop of Capital Economics as he puts it rather directly: “People in financial markets always think they are more important than the real world.”

    Ouch!

    Sunday, August 19, 2007

    Timer Digest Commentray

    Timer Digest CommentraySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
    Fari Hamzei

    What a tumultuous week we went thru.

    Market Internals and chartpatterns of key indices this past week tell us that Fed's Discount Rate Reduction by 50 bp was immediately viewed as very constructive by our equity markets. While we do not view Thursday SPX low as the final bottom of this leg, DJIA low print on Thursday, for all practical proposes, came in at our first support level (12,500).

    We expect this low to be tested as Fed's combat of the SubPrime Mortgage Debacle is still an ongoing event. Ideally this test (and its accompanying vol retest) should come, ceteris paribus, in about 2 to 4 weeks from now. That process will build the tradable bottom which we have been looking for. We plan to go long then and hold it into Xmas.

    I have attached our updated Timer Chart.



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