06 July 2011

Apple (AAPL) has a succession of lower highs.

I took some notes on the Apple chart over the weekend. Notice the downward trendline showing a succession of lower highs.

And look what happened today. AAPL continued its rise to the trendline. Will this trendline prevail?

22 June 2011

LNKD Going Lower

LinkedIn is in a very nice descending trend channel. I picked up some puts at the 70-strike near today's highs, a.k.a. near the top of the channel. It'd be nice for LNKD to continue on its trend into the 50's.

14 October 2010

Short XLF

The XLF is hitting the $15 resistance level once again. Since descending through that level back in May, XLF has approached the $15-level seven times. As you may notice on the chart, the first six times, XLF has fallen significantly from that resistance level within two days. Will it happen a seventh time?

In late May, at the arrow marked A, XLF dropped to $14.30 in two days, giving back over %4.

In mid June, at arrow B, XLF dropped 50 cents in two days, and gave up over 11% through the remainder of the month.

In mid July, at arrow C, XLF fell 7% over the next five trading days.

Late July, at arrow D, XLF dropped a mere 50 cents in three days before hitting another peak at arrow E. XLF fell $1.80 in the first few weeks of August, a good 12% decline.

Mid September, at arrow F, XLF dropped 77 cents in two days, a bit over 5%.

Yesterday, XLF hit a high of $15-even before closing flat at $14.86. And this was on a day when the S&P was up 0.7%.

Might have to pick up some October puts for a quick one-or-two day trade...

22 January 2010

Long on the Dollar

Here are a couple of charts of UUP, the long USD ETF, marked up to reflect the call options I hold, and where prices of UUP could move to in the next couple of months...if the market aligns just so:

Arbitrary lines on charts shouldn't be enough to take a position, so here's a sampling of pro-dollar articles and analyses I've collected over the past month:

Mish bullet-pointed out the pro-$ arguments:

US Dollar Positives

* Japan demographics as noted above
* Greece bailout
* Spain property bubble
* Baltic state currency collapse
* Savings rate in US headed north
* Extreme bearish US dollar sentiment
* Pending implosion in the UK
* Canadian property bubble bursting
* Australian property bubble bursting
* Hard landing in China, collapse of the RMB

Marc Faber called for a 5%-10% rise in the dollar against the Euro in late December:

“Sentiment on the U.S. dollar was really extremely negative over the last three months,” Hong Kong-based Faber said. “The other currencies are not much better. The dollar will appreciate against the euro by another 5 to 10 percent, and later on we’ll have to see, but that would be a near-term target.”

Morgan Stanley believes
the dollar will rise:

As things stand, we are forecasting a trade-weighted rise in the US dollar of 8.0% against the major currencies while it remains roughly unchanged on a broad trade-weighted basis in 2010 as we expect many EM currencies to outperform.

Daniel Gross seems to have mixed up and reversed his thinking
, since the dollar has been rubbish during the recent green shoots bull market rally:

If you believe the U.S. economy will scrape along bottom for the next few years and that inflation will spike, then prolonged dollar weakness seems likely. But if you believe the economic recovery is picking up steam; that the economy may grow at a rate between 3 percent and 4 percent in 2010 (as of Friday, Macroeconomic Advisers said fourth-quarter GDP was tracking at a 5.4 percent annual rate); that the United States will grow more rapidly than the United Kingdom, the Eurozone, and Japan; and that inflation, which has risen just 1.8 percent in the past 12 months, will remain under control, then the greenback's prospects look more rosy.

John Maudlin thinks the dollar is the least sucky currency right now:

The dollar may rise against the major currencies during the first part of the year. As I wrote weeks ago, world trade is slowly picking up. While that growth has not been very visible in the US, it is becoming evident among the emerging-market countries that were not overly leveraged when the crisis began. And trade is still in dollars.

Businesses sold their dollars during the crisis, as they did not need them for trade. But now, with trade picking up, they once again have to buy dollars. That is one reason for the recent bull market in dollars. The other is that the markets are massively short the dollar. When everyone is on the same side of a trade, that trade may have run its course, at least for a while. And that seems to be the case recently for the dollar.

01 October 2009

A Flyby of Two Airline Stocks

Audit Integrity recently released a list of 20 companies likely to go bankrupt in the next year. Two companies on the list were domestic carriers, AMR, parent company of American Airlines with an eponymous ticker, and Continental Airlines, ticker CAL.

Around the time I read this list, the Financial Times posted a quick profile on the foreboding future for U.S. airlines. The FT name-checks both CAL and AMR, but singles out US Airways as the most vulnerable:

US airlines’ strategy can now be reduced to one word – survival. Overheads and staff costs have been pared to the bone. Every financing option has been sought and, for some airlines, exhausted. Money was first raised against the good aircraft, then the old aircraft and finally less dependable assets such as spare parts and rights to landing slots (as Delta did last week, as part of a fund raising). Vendors, from the aircraft manufacturers to maintenance companies and credit card partners, have been tapped for financing support. Finally, helped by buoyant share prices, Continental, American Airlines and US Airways have issued equity.

But industry revenues per passenger are down about 20 per cent on last year, while domestic capacity is down by a 10th, notes Creditsights, and still shrinking. Oil at $65 a barrel is only just tolerable. At the very least, airlines need corporate travellers to return. But to address the problem of shrinking sales and high fixed costs, ticket prices must also rise. Unfortunately, business spending returns only slowly. It took years for prices to start rising after the downturn following September 11 2001.

So the breathing space bought by fresh funds, which in turn appears to have helped propel the latest market rally, is merely that. Up by two-thirds in three months, the sector is being treated as a long-odds bet on economic recovery, but long-term problems of debt and overcapacity remain. Substantial pension payments and debt refinancing must be met in the next two years and there is little slack left to absorb a rise in the oil price or a weak recovery.

For example, US Airways – the most domestically focused, and with perhaps the most marginal route network – has barely any fuel hedging in place now. Should the winter prove particularly harsh, liquidation or consolidation will be the only realistic options remaining. The latter will be good for the industry, if not for the forced mergees, but only slowly and after considerably more pain.

Here are some charts of AMR and CAL:

Of course, it seems that since the airlines were deregulated a few decades ago, they've been as adept at burning jet fuel as they are at immolating shareholder wealth. Why should the next twelve months be any different?

These charts aren't the most compelling shorts I've come across, but like nearly every other equity right now, both AMR and CAL look overextended.

3 Chansons

23 September 2009

Two Poppy Songs

Greg Kurstin, a.k.a. Geggy in the 90's and the Bee in the 00's, is the common thread in these songs. First up is Geggy Tah's single, "Whoever You Are" which received significant radio play during my time living in St. Louis with a car that featured a fully-functioning AM/FM radio, but a busted tape deck. Following that is The Bird and the Bee's "I Hate Camera" in a live clip, and then in a fan-made video featuring the album version.

22 September 2009

Janjuah Is Calling for 550 on the S&P

RBS' Chief Credit Strategist, Bob Janjuah, is back making some bold bearish pronouncements, found via Zero Hedge and this now dead link on Pragmatic Capitalist:

I do however think that we are VERY MUCH in the tail end of the correction of the Oct 07 to Mar 09 bear move, where S&P lost nearly 60% from peak to trough, and where the correction from the Mar low would, at 1120, represent the 50% retrace. Once what I assume is a bear mrkt correction finishes, over the next month or so, I expect the Bear to return with vengeance and I retain my call for NEW LOWS in equities. That’s 550 S&P!!
Okay, here are some meatier excerpts that go beyond the bold 550 call:

HISTORY tells us that this will end in failure, with ugly consequences, the net result being MORE DEBT that needs to be repaid thru vicious spending cuts & higher taxes, a (monetary) inflationary BUST and/or a currency shocker - to be swiftly followed by a longer term Debt Deflationary bust. So, in 1 line, all I think is certain - if you think like me - is that the longer the current bubbles persist & the bigger these bubbles are blown up, the BIGGER the explosion will be when it all goes POP. And realistically, I am talking weeks/moths, NOT qtrs/years. YOU may be smart enough to 'get out' of risk in time, but the overwhelming majority will not. And at that time, there will be NOBODY left to bail us all out......


When risk assets top out - level, timing - is always difficult to predict. I think its weeks/months away, and I very much think we are in the deep tail of the risk asset rally. I know a lot a smart folks who think this can go higher and for a bit longer then I think, and I can see the argument. But nearly all the folks who I respect and have talked to for a long time agree that if it goes on for much longer then it will end in a terrible mess.

Fresh Live Weakerthans

Aside, from the recent Weakerthans show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg:

Plea from a Cat Named Virtute, not from the recent Brooklyn show:

14 September 2009

Inaugural Trams (Live)

This is a video of SFA performing Inaugural Trams at their Highline Ballroom show on 9/11. Their 9/12 show at Hoboken's Maxwell's which I attended did not have the light show, but was far more intimate. But nobody's posted any videos from the Jersey show, so this'll have to do.

11 September 2009

Indicies March Higher as the Dollar Declines

I recently examined the NASDAQ trendline in not one but two posts. The downward trendline that began in late '07 was recently breached during the last five days of bullish market irrationality:

The next chart shows the NASDAQ's incredible bullish march since March. A trading channel seems to have developed. With that in mind, here's my textual annotation from the chart:

The NASDAQ could conceivably trade in this channel. The RSI readings are short-term and medium-term overbought. But shorting the market since March has proven very painful. The fundamentals may still suck, and corporate insiders are selling their shares at astronomical ratios, but I think the weakness of the dollar is helping push the indices higher.

So let's take a look at some charts for the almighty dollar:

The bearishly-inclined, like yours truly, believes there is limited upside to the equity markets right now, but the risk is a cheaper dollar will push the indices higher. The dollar's downward move does look a bit overdone in the short-term if you take into account the RSI readings. But the dollar could fall significantly further to levels seen in the first half of '08.

Saw Doctors

It's been nearly a year since I traveled to Ireland. Perfect time for some Saw Doctors, then.

10 September 2009

04 September 2009


I came across this intriguing blog today, newsfrom1930.blogspot.com. It reminded me of a classic book from the Great Depression, Oh Yeah?, that I've had since childhood. Oh Yeah? in 1931 presented quote after oblivious quote from politicians and businessmen who believed in the early-30's version of green shoots. News from 1930 likewise captures the day-to-day reportage from 80 years ago that eerily parallels much of what is happening today. It's a fascinating work in progress, even though we know what happens.

Here's a link to News from 1930's amusing mission statement and an excerpt:

Q. Okay, why are you doing this blog? Are you saying we're in for a replay of the 30's?

A. How did I know you were going to ask me that? No, I don't think things are going to get as bad as in the 30's.

Q. So you're an optimist.

A. Well, that's only mildly optimistic. I mean things in the 30s got really, really bad. For example, between 1929 and 1932, the number of cars produced declined from 4.8 million to 1.2 million ...

Q. Okay - that's pretty bad, but it's only one industry ...

A. Looking at the economy as a whole, GDP went down by 40% and unemployment went from around 3% to 24% ...

Q. Wow! That is really bad.

A. It's actually even worse than that, because back then many more people worked on farms. When you take out farm workers, unemployment hit 37% - an almost unimaginable level for us today ...

Q. You must be a blast at parties ... Well then, if you don't think we'll repeat the 30's, are you saying, in Mark Twain's words, that history won't repeat but it will rhyme?

A. Hey! I wanted to use that line!

Q. Sorry. Well, do you think that?

A. Yes. I believe 1929-1930 has a couple of important similarities to 2008-2009. First and fundamentally, there was a big buildup of debt leading up to both. This was followed by a couple of major economic problems, including many banks running into trouble and a loss in perceived wealth by lots of people. These problems in turn have deflationary implications since they lead to less credit and spending ...

Q. Could you get to the second point before I fall asleep?

Click this to read the rest.

03 September 2009

The NASDAQ Downward Trend Is Intact

I recently asked which NASDAQ trendline will prevail?

Looks like the overhead downward trend has prevailed:

Click on the image to enlarge. You'll see the NASDAQ has fallen below its recent steep upward trendline.

The Gray Lady and I See Eye to Eye

The Gray Lady sums up my market point-of-view just about perfectly.

First, the bear-market-rally is overdone, with corporate insiders selling their shares:

“The people who know are getting out early,” said Art Cashin, the director of floor operations at UBS, who said his “gut feeling” about the markets prompted him to sell some stocks last week. “This rally’s a little long in the tooth.”

On Friday, the research firm TrimTabs reported that insider selling had grown to $6.1 billion in the month of August through last Thursday, its highest levels since May 2008 — when the Dow Jones industrial average was floating above 12,000, compared with just over 9,500 at Friday’s close.

The ratio of insider selling to insider buying also soared in August, to about 30 to one, its highest levels since the firm started keeping numbers in 2004.

Second, trash stocks, i.e. financials, led this horseshit rally:

Analysts say that financial stocks are looking even frothier as trading in a handful of big banks has come to dominate the action on Wall Street. The KBW Bank Index, which tracks two dozen national and regional lenders, has surged more than 150 percent since early March.

Shares of the troubled insurance giant American International Group have quadrupled. And Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, while still down sharply from their record highs, have been some of the rally’s biggest winners.

Third, the overwhelmingly bullish sentiment in the market offers up a contrarian indicator. Other technicals, like the Elliot Wave folks, are also questioning the rally:

Just before stocks turned around in early March, only 2 percent of investors were optimistic, according to the Daily Sentiment Index, which measures the mood of small traders and is run by Jake Bernstein, an independent market analyst. Now, the index shows that about 89 percent are feeling bullish. Investors were equally cheery when the Dow hit its record high in October 2007.

Robert Prechter, president of Elliott Wave International, a technical analysis firm in Gainesville, Ga., cut his negative outlook on stocks in late February. “Now,” he wrote in an e-mail message, “we are firmly back on the bear side.” Investors might be embracing greed once again, but Mr. Prechter said he doubted the stock indexes could replicate the remarkable gains of the past five months.

And fourth, Doug Kass is calling the top:

The hedge fund manager Doug Kass, who declared in March that stocks had skidded to a “generational bottom,” said last week the rally had run its course.

Like other investors who expect the markets to falter, Mr. Kass said he believed the economy was not heading toward a quick or easy recovery. Companies have made themselves look profitable by slashing costs, but he said they are not going to rake in more money in the months ahead as long as weakened consumers stay in hiding.

“I think we’ve seen the high for the year,” he said. “There’s a time to hold ’em and a time to fold ’em. And I think we’re at that point.”

Then there's Paul Tudor Jones, whom Bloomberg reported is calling bullshit on Goldman Sachs' call that the market and economy are in recovery mode:

Paul Tudor Jones, the billionaire hedge-fund manager who outperformed peers last year, is wagering that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley got it wrong in declaring the start of an economic recovery.

Jones’s Tudor Investment Corp., Clarium Capital Management LLC and Horseman Capital Management Ltd. are taking a bearish stand as U.S. stock and bond prices rise, saying that record government spending may be forestalling another slowdown and market selloff. The firms oversee a combined $15 billion in so- called macro funds, which seek to profit from economic trends by trading stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities.

“If we have a recovery at all, it isn’t sustainable,” Kevin Harrington, managing director at Clarium, said in an interview at the firm’s New York offices. “This is more likely a ski-jump recession, with short-term stimulus creating a bump that will ultimately lead to a more precipitous decline later.”

30 August 2009

Which NASDAQ trendline will prevail?

You know I believe the downward trend will finally prevail.

Eno, Clarkson, & an Aston Martin