Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Passing through, just passing through

Haven't spent much time at all following the market lately. Just enjoying a wonderful summer, even with vacation over and so much to do. But one of the best pieces I've read lately comes from Rick Aristotle Munarriz, who takes a closer look at Apple and all the scuttlebutt about its enormous cash balance.

Munarriz is generally repulsed by the idea of buybacks and one-time dividends and I agree with him. It's pathetic enough that shareholders — I'm not one of them — would not be satisfied with tripling their investments in AAPL over the past couple of years. But now they want more?

I'm glad Steve Jobs is holding down the fort and refusing to change anything. They've done mostly unprecedented work there. If it ain't broke ...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Big screen bopper

Still enjoying my summer, though the heat and humidity in the islands can be suffocating at times. But it's wonderful to have peace of mind, away from this schizo market and all the manipulations.

IMAX caught my eye today, exceeding earnings expectations and moving up 8% in an otherwise down market. Inception, Toy Story 3, Shrek and Aftershock have boosted revenue, the company says. Whatever. IMAX goes up, IMAX goes down. Competition is around the corner and IMAX will struggle to maintain this kind of growth, just like Netflix. The easy money is history.

Still 100% cash and satisfied.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Apple-Fear yin-yang big bang effect

Once again, AAPL and VXX are locked in an unholy death grip. Find beauty in that, if you will. Since Apple's delicious earnings report yesterday, its equilibrium balanced out for the first time in weeks, overcoming all those vile rumors of iPhone 4 recalls by hedge pimps. 

Shares rallied yesterday and opened today at 265. Pretty forking amazing considering AAPL was down to 240 just one day ago. If you believe the hedge predators aren't at work on both ends of that deal, you may as well stay out of harm's way and watch from the bleachers, Section AA, Seat 14. I'll gladly sit in Seat 13 since I do not believe in luck, but understand that there is human nature — manipulation, lies and deception — operating quite well in this beast of a market. 

Of course, the hedge snipers then took their profits, banking 20-25 bucks a share in a 24-hour span. AAPL dropped to 258 just one hour into today's session and held there. Things were clearing up as expected until Uncle Ben's pronouncement at 2 pm Eastern. That sent a meandering market stumbling down the slopes. AAPL is now trading at 254.85, slightly about its intraday low, but still up 1.5%.

VXX, which tumbled recent days, spent much of today below 25. In recent months, any price below 25 has been a huge buying opportunity. Sure enough, Uncle Ben's pronouncement roughly 80 minutes ago sent VXX rocketing to 25.99. It is now trading at 25.76. 

The yin-yang has resumed for AAPL and VXX. Until Uncle Ben clarifies his statement — tones it down — the market will be refueled by this uncertainty and fear. Longs are wise to hedge their shares of Apple with a sprinkling of VXX. Doesn't take much to provide adequate protection.


Note: Barclays opened a new ETF today to counter VXX. The new issue, XXV, may as well play as yin to VXX's yang. Worth watching. 

I remain fully in cash.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Apple smash

Yep, is anyone really surprised? Apple smoked earnings expectations after the bell as profits increased by 71%. Even with every bullish estimate about the iPad and iPhone and iEverything, Apple knocked the ball out of a cavernous ballpark.

As expected, hedge funds had beaten down AAPL shares for the past week or so, pontificating the horror of the iPhone's antenna problems like Inquisitors at a witch-less, fiery stake. It was only a few weeks ago that shares were nearing 280 again, but even this morning, AAPL was taken to the woodshed. Shares were down to 240 in a weak broad market.

AAPL closed at 251, then ripped to 258 in afterhours trading. I'm still in summer vacation mode and stayed out of the market (again). The time to re-etner AAPL was last week, today, any time below 250. I chose to remain neutral and fully in cash, acting like the Switzerland of tiny retail traders. If global economies can cut the market a break (finally), maybe AAPL is poised to launch its way to 300-plus. In that case, it's not too late for find a suitable entry point.

Call it the Apple slingshot or whatever you like. It happens. Last quarter, the blowout numbers were preposterously, deliciously great, better than Barry Bonds on HGH cream. Shares went up, up, up like a video game on demo mode, then went down, down, down as short-termers reaped their massive profits.

This is the first full quarter banked on iPad sales, and with Mac sales hitting the roof now, there is plenty of reason to believe 250 will become new support.

I won't be chasing here at 258, though. I'll wait until the hedge pimps unload their shares.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Well, finally

It took Apple several days to come up with a solution, but they finally did it today. Free cases will correct the problem with the iPhone 4 antenna. Had Apple continued to dilly-dally on this issue, shares probably would've caved in like the rest of the market today, which is down almost 3% on negative consumer data. AAPL is down just 0.5% to 250.17.

This should end any and all rumors about an iPhone recall, which were drummed up by those sneaky hedge fund sharks. They got their shares as low as 243, so they'll be dancing up a storm this weekend. AAPL reports on July 20, and barring global catastrophe, shares will be higher than 243. Just a wild guess.

Not owning an iPhone, I rely on Mr. MG, who is light years ahead of me when it comes to tech toys. Mr. MG's take?

1. The antenna problem is severely exaggerated. He loves the new iPhone and has no issues with it. Holding it a certain way is just common sense, he adds.

2. If/when Apple adds Verizon as a provider, Mr. MG will stick with his AT&T plan. Is he insane? No.

"When you add 20 million people to the 80 million already using Verizon, they're bringing their iPads and iPhones. They're going to clog things up at Verizon, using up major bandwidth. Then AT&T's lines will be a lot better."

In his usual, contrary way, Mr. MG is right, or will be, it seems.

As for that Steve Jobs guy, he says the rate of refunds to unsatisfied iPhone 4 buyers is just 1.7%, or less than a third the rate of the iPhone 3. He also adds that the iPhone 4 does drop more calls, according to new data. The increase is less than 1 per 100 calls.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jumping the shark?

Really, can the market take root at this level? Is this rally based on artificial "beats" of expectations, or was the recent downturn a big, overblown, overly pessimistic glitch?

What about Apple and its pendulum swings? The bears have attacked, or at least the hedgies have. They do their job, talking shit and yodeling their latest tune about Apple's doom. But when earnings are released in one week, they'll have collected their cheap (sub-250) shares long beforehand, and they shall bank profits. Much profits.

Ultra bulls like Jason Schwarz are still in pedal-to-the-floor mode. Sure, iPhone 4 is selling like nothing else before ... but what if there is a recall? I wouldn't expect Schwarz to hand out refunds to everyone who bought his propaganda, even though I'm generally on his side.

The market is moving up on paltry volume and manipulated earnings scenarios. AAPL can't get past 279 with all the question marks about its biggest product, and there's no new product coming for several months (Verizon iPhone), which is basically an eternity in the market.

I'm staying out and enjoying the summer. Enter at your own risk.

Midsummer's nightmare?

The past week has been heavenly away from the market. Nothing but sunshine and sweet dreams, enjoying the warmth of the islands. But checking this morning's open has been odd, to say the least, with the broader market up and AAPL way, way down.

The possibility (probability?) of an iPhone 4 recall has AAPL down 3.3% to 248.73 while the Dow Jones is up more than 100 points. Where will AAPL go today? The recent low was 243, and before that, 242. If Apple doesn't handle this problem with the iPhone antenna today, shares could easily plummet to a new (recent) low.

That would be awful for AAPL longs, but if the company bounces back like I expect it to, any entry point below 240 would be a nice start for those of us who have stayed away from trading for weeks and months.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On deck: Solars

OK, natty gassers got knocked in the head and fell out of the ring recently despite Obama's pronouncement that the sector is a key part of the clean energy campaign.

Now he's proclaiming solars to be sunny-side up. We'll see how long that lasts. Doesn't hurt that his words are backed by action: Fed loans to a couple of small solar companies. I'm not dabbling in pennies, but it might be the start of a short-term run for solar plays.

The end of Dend?

Not really. I just have no track record of success in trading Dendreon (DNDN), but let's look at someone is a master of the stock. StockGuy22 went long for a short-term trade today and explains why on this chart. He's one of the best at reading charts and riding bounces, and his biggest gains have come on DNDN on the long and short (puts) side. Worth checking him out.

I have no plans to trade DNDN unless it dips back to 25 (last week's low), but that won't stop me from watching StockGuy22's strategy.

Q-Man: Trust the technicals

The Q-Man called it according to his technical analysis over the weekend. Despite today's overall finish in the green, many stocks continued to dip. He still sees downside on many, if not most charts.

Topsy-turvy Tuesday

Dow Jones 9,744 +57.14 +0.59%
NADSAQ 2,094 +2.09 +0.10%
S&P 500 1,028 +5.48 +0.54%

I actually slept through the final 6 hours of today's session. Before the opening bell, futures were way up and the market opened at full speed. After down days in 9 of the past 10 sessions, the bounce was inevitable.

Too bad the market couldn't hold those gains though. By the final hour, bears took control and stocks generally had to claw their way back into the green by the final bell.

Sure there are traders — mostly quants — that own these spurts and downdrafts. Us little guys, though, have very little edge. That's why I'm content to stay out of this shitstorm and have been in 100% cash for the past month. Getting a good night's rest can never be overrated.

AAPL spent the first hour above 250, hitting a high of 252.80, but cratered into the close (248.63). The iPhone 4 signal/antenna issue hasn't been resolved yet. I can't help thinking that the company put all its focus on the iPad release, which was flawless and dreamy. Then iPhone 4 took a backseat, wasn't as scrutinized, and was launched too early. Proof's in the pudding.

Back when AAPL was in the 270s, I wanted shares to drop to 260 and 250 for selfish reasons. Even at 243 last week, I wanted to wait out the downswing. Support was at 242 and AAPL held its ground. But I'm willing to remain patient here and keep waiting.

There was strength in China, with the FXI up 1.9% to 39.76. Copper behemoth Freeport-McMoran (FCX) gained 1.11% to 59.19. Steelers Posco and US Steel had happy days on the backs of their Chinese customer. Posco (PKX) gained 3.76% to 98.30 and US Steel (X) rose 1.49% to 38.22.

BIDU lost 0.15% to 67.45, looking much like a steal here.

China energy plays were interesting. PetroChina gained 1.62% (111.30) and CNOOC went up 0.97% (168.12). As BP (31.91 +8.72%) regains some footing, CNOOC falters a bit.

In Hong Kong, shares of IPO Agricultural Bank of China raised $19.2 billion despite skeptical outlooks.

Natural gas was flat overall. My list of 40 natty gassers were up 0.05%, led by NFX (+2.54%), CRZO (+2.03%) and DIG (+1.98%). WPRT lost 1.08% (15.54) and CLNE dropped 0.21% (14.44). Both are my favorites in the sector.

GLD fell again, slipping 1.67% to 116.51 and SLV got snipped 0.34% to 17.40. TLT stayed above 100, picking up 0.82% to 101.62.

Financials did better today. GS (132.26 +0.90%) was up while C was break even at 3.79 after giving up its intraday gains. C's high was 3.90.

Across the Atlantic, Banco Santander gained 5.13% to 11.48 and NBG added 5.02% to 2.30. IRE was up a modest 0.60% to 3.36. FAS (Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3x) picked up 0.70% to 18.31.

Many inverse ITNs ate dirt today. VXX fell 4.3% to 28.70 following last week's surge. DPK (-5.85%), EDZ (-5.59%) and EFU (-4.04%) were among today's big losers.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bite out of big Apple

Some Apple propaganda and hate for the weekend.

On Apple's statement about iPhone reception strengths Fscked (Richard Gaywood)
Letter from Apple regarding iPhone 4 Apple.com
Apple PR: Steve Jobs iPhone 4 'conversation' is a fake Fortune (Philip Elmer-DeWitt)
Exclusive: Conversation with Steve Jobs on the iPhone 4 antenna problems BGR
JP Morgan ups Apple target to $390 Fortune (Philip Elmer-DeWitt)
Linda and Kevin win race to sue Apple Fortune (Philip Elmer-DeWitt)
Apple has known about iPhone signal display problems since late 2008 Silicon Alley (Nick Saint)
Apple will fix iPhone glitch Wall Street Journal (Yukari Iwatani Kane and Roger Cheng)
Apple will sell 12 million iPhones to Verizon subscribers for $7 billion Silicon Alley (Henry Blodget)
Verizon Wireless said to get Apple iPhone in January Bloomberg (Amy Thomson)



AAPL 3-year chart (weekly)

AAPL 2-year chart (weekly)

AAPL 1-month chart (daily)

AAPL 10-day chart (hourly)

AAPL 5-day chart (15-minute)

AAPL 1-day chart (1-minute)

AAPL vs. QID, VXX, S&P 500 (1-day chart)

Q-Man analysis

From Thursday: Tickerville

From Friday (below)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fold-em Friday

Dow Jones 9.686.48 -46.05 -0.47%
Nasdaq 2,091.79 -9.57 -0.46%
S&P 500 1,022.58 -4.79 -0.47%

Coulda been better. Coulda been worse. There's irrational exuberance and there's irrational bearishness.

We're somewhere in between. Just about everything was down again, though copper and steel weren't too bad. FCX (58.21 +0.05%) and PKX (94.74 +0.07%) did better than US Steel (X 37.66 -1.26%). It's always interesting when copper is up while the FXI is down (39.02 -0.91%).

While the Euro (FXE) was up slightly (125.08 +0.25%), the US Dollar (UUP) was down (24.57 -0.12%). That should make for a positive US market, right? Not today, not with oil (USO 32.64 -0.70%) down.

GLD (118.49 +1.24%) and SLV (17.46 +0.11%) took a pause from their sharp declines.

While GLD and SLV have sold off, TLT is still above 100.

Inverse ETNs did well. TZA gained 3.23% to 8.63.

Real estate bears had their way. DRV (Real Estate Bear 3x) gained 5.98% to 8.33. SRS (UltraShort ProShares) gained 3.77% (30.42).

FAZ gained 3.05% to 18.31 while finnies were lukewarm. GS lost just 0.05% to 131.08 and Citi gained 0.26% to 3.79.

STD dropped 1.36% to 10.92 after some massive gains.

AAPL tested its recent low again, bouncing off 243 to finish at 246.94. I've wanted 260 and 250, but I'll hold off on an entry point until this iPhone antenna issue has some kind of resolution.

Still 100% cash for more than 3 weeks. Watching from afar is best at this point.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

49% certain vs. 51% sure?

The ever-reliable market technician chessNwine has stepped out of the box and taken a more bullish stance today. He points to several hammers among indices/ETFs in his candlestick charting analysis, including the S&P 500.

But are they hammers in the definitive sense? Over at American Bulls, the S&P 500 is read as a black spinning top.

Whatever and whomever is correct, it's more potato-versus-potaahhtoe territory. The hammer/spinning top is noticeable enough to warrant every close inspection on tomorrow's open, particularly with a key jobs report due.



Thursday: Bulls bounce back

Dow Jones 9,732.53 -41.49 -0.42%
Nasdaq 2,101.36 -7.88 -0.37%
S&P 500 1,027.37 -3.34 -0.32%

S&P below support (1,040). Death crosses galore. Gold hammered by more than 4%. Is it the end of the world as we know it?

Probably not. Just about everything is now oversold near term. Doesn't matter. I'm staying away, watching from the bleachers with 100% cash.

Doug Kass called today a bottom. He called the March 9 (2009) bottom. Maybe he's right again. After all, Dendreon lost more than 50% of its value in the last few months, then sold down to 25 yesterday in afterhours trading on "news" that wasn't really new or unexpected. DNDN closed today at 30.12, proving that there is a semblance of sanity in the market. Doesn't mean DNDN won't go back to 25, but traders with balls of steel stepped in and banked some profit on what may have been the easiest buy of the week.

TECH KINGS
AAPL gave back 1.21% and closed at 248.48. Shares dipped as low as 243.22 in the early plummet. That was ugly on the chart (I slept nice and happy until 8:15 am Hawaii time), just a series of long red bars that spelled doom.

GOOG fell 1.23% to 439.49, which was a decent finish after that early selloff.

NFLX bucked the trend and gained 0.93% to 109.66.

SAFE PLAYS?
GLD suffered its 3.81% loss, closing near its intraday low at 117.04. SLV followed suit with a 4.23% loss (17.44). Not so safe now.

The 20-year Treasury Bond ETF, TLT, gained 0.16% to 101.60. Doesn't look like TLT will return below 100.

ENERGY
US Oil Fund ETF (USO) lost 3.21% to 32.87. Oil goes down, the market usually follows. Same with clean energy, with exceptions like today.

First Solar (FSLR) gained 3.18% to 117.45.

Natural gas was mixed. My list of 40 natty gassers finished down 0.23%, but UNG (8.12 +4.77%), BRNC (3.55 +5.97%) and CRZO (16.47 +6.05%) were hot. My favorites, WPRT (15.66 -0.19%) and CLNE (14.47 -3.15%) were not.

ALL THINGS CHINESE
FXI was up 0.64% to 39.38. Freeport-McMoran is an American company, but as a major copper king, it is essentially dependent on China. FCX was down 1.61% to 58.18. US Steel (X) dropped 1.06% to 38.14, but Posco (PKX) inched up 0.37% to 94.67.

BIDU gained 0.69% to 68.55, looking attractive here while maintaining some strength.

PetroChina came out ahead (110.06 -0.30%) but CNOOC lost 0.63% (169.09). Tim Hanson of Motley Fool has a handful of interesting, arguably speculative China plays that I won't touch, but may interest you.

China solars were uberhot. Trina Solar (TSL) picked up 6.6% to 18.42 and Yingli Green Energy gained 3.93% to 10.58.

PROTECTION
VXX was on fire early, peaking at 32.94 before closing at 30.90 (-0.96%) as traders banked big gains. VXX was below 25 last week.

GLL (UltraShort Gold Shares) was one of the few inverse ETN winners with a 7.8% gain to 40.91. ZSL  (UltraShort Silver ProShares) was up a whopping 8.72% to 35.29.

FAZ gained a nice 2% to 17.77.

EURO ZONE
FXE rocketed 2.38% to 124.77 while the US Dollar (UUP) dropped 1.84% to 24.60. Banco Santander jumped 5.43% to 11.07. No matter how bad the news gets, STD always gets up off the floor and fights back.

Weaker issues like IRE (3.24 -1.52%) and NBG (2.22 +2.3%) were mixed.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Waddling Wednesday

Dow Jones 9,774.02 -96.28 -0.98%
NASDAQ 2,109.24 -25.94 -1.21%
S&P 500 1,030.71 -10.53 -1.01%

It's becoming a habit, this getting up with an hour left in the market. I was up by 9:15 am Hawaii time, early enough to see AAPL trade at 253.33, down a few bucks from yesterday's lower close. I rubbed the makapiapia out of my eyes and AAPL was at 252. A few minutes later, shares dropped below 251 and set to plunge below 250.

That's where it held ground, at 250.01, and closed at 251.46, down 1.84%. Never mind the repeated rumor about Apple and Verizon coming to terms on a deal for iPhone 4; the stock has tanked since hitting 279 little more than a week ago. From a short-term low of 242 to 279 in one week was drastic, and now AAPL fades despite good news. It had to sell off on the release of the new iPhone, but market forces are always too strong, even for Apple.

There just aren't enough buyers out there. There just aren't enough reasons to go long here. The recovery has slowed, China is continuing to hit the brakes and people are on vacation. That makes it a playground for the high-frequency traders and their robots.

TECH KINGS
GOOG dropped 2.05% to 444.95 and is looking more attractive than ever. But I continue to wait. The Apple-Verizon partnership could hamper Google's Droid X campaign. Two winners are definitely possible in the future world of mobile communications and advertising.

Apparently, Google hasn't given up on China yet. Until there's something firm between the Googsters and the People's Republic, though, it's superficial.

ALL THINGS CHINA
Baidu finished up 0.75% to 68.08, a nice surprise despite falling off an intraday high of 70.35.

FXI lost 0.46% to 39.13 while Freeport-McMoran (FCX) dropped 3.18% to 59.13. US Steel (X) fell 1.43% to 38.55 and Posco (PKX) lowered to 94.32 (-0.55%).

PetroChina (109.73 -0.71%) dipped again, but CNOOC was up (170.17 +0.81%).

Solars Yingli Green Energy (10.18 +3.04%) and Trina Solar (17.28 +0.12%) also bucked the general trend.

ENERGY
US Oil Fund ETF (USO) slid 0.61% to 33.96 and natural gas plays petered out in response. My list of 40 natty gassers dropped 0.83%. Interestingly, Westport Innovations (WPRT), my favorite, gained 1.88% to 15.69. UNG picked up 1.04% to 7.75 and REXX climbed 2.75% to 10.10.

In accordance with crude oil, FSLR dipped 0.52% to 113.83.

In a related clean energy play, Tesla ran wild on its second day of trading only to falter at the finish. TSLA closed at 23.89 on Tuesday, opened at 25.96 today and reached 30.42 before selling off. Shares closed at 23.83 (-0.25%) on volume of 17.1 million shares.

EURO ZONE
FXE gained moderately (0.26%) to 121.87 despite unrest in Greece and more troubles for Spain. Merkel's candidate's victory was good, apparently, for the Euro.

Banco Santander handled the negative news from Moody's well, gaining 2.04% to 10.50. IRE lost 2.37% to 3.29 as austerity measures in Ireland continue to wreak havoc. NBG dropped 2.69% to 2.17, nearing a one-year low.

SAFE PLAYS
GLD (121.68 +0.34%) and SLV (18.21 +0.44%) were nice trades today, as was TLT (101.75 +0.67%).

PROTECTION
ETNs continued to provide shelter to beleaguered longs. FAZ gained big again, adding 3.57% to 17.42. TYP rose 5.48% as tech stocks dipped. BGZ (18.25 +3.22%) and TZA (8.18 +3.41%) were also big winners.

VXX gained 1.33% to 31.20, but didn't exactly trade up while AAPL declined — an unusual lack of coupling that I've seen only twice in the spring and summer. It probably says more about the level of familiarity the general market has with this level of volatility. It's enough to shake out weak longs and conservative traders, but not enough to be truly defined as a panic. Plus, volume is so light. For AAPL to make a higher percentage move than VXX says it all. VXX may have topped near term.

QID (UltraShort QQQ ProShares) did much better, gaining 3.13% to 20.04.

STRANGE BUT TRUE
Shares of CBOE gained 2.49% to 32.55.

DNDN continued its crash, falling 3.75% to 32.33, then losing another 15.47% to 27.33 in afterhours trading. It may be another bear raid on Dendreon shares.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services posted this online and is seeking public input on the effects of Dendreon's prostate cancer treatment. It seems to be a routine CMS procedure, but shares are tanking nonetheless.

If it's another bear raid without substantial facts and news, this could be another buying opportunity. But I'm staying out and I remain 100% cash in this circus of a market. The elephants are on the loose and I'm staying way up in the bleacher seats.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Advantage Disadvantage

Any measurement or indicator of the market has its strengths and weaknesses. Example: trendliners look for a break in direction according to simple lines on a chart. Nothing to do with news or products or catalysts. Example: breakout specialists just want a new high, sometimes buying if there is an increase in volume.

Then there are candlestick chartists. I like candlestick analysis because there's no bottom picking involved. It's been proven effective, though not perfect, for centuries as a measure of market sentiment in individual issues. It's not going to tell you how to handle a white-hot steroid-laden ETN like FAZ, but it can give a forecast of possibility, like any other system.

I'm not a purist of any indicator, but candlesticks are effective as any over the long haul for those who maintain discipline and balance. A combination of news awareness, technical analysis and fundamental analysis are good places to start.

Here's a look at candlestick analysis via American Bulls on some of the stocks I'm watching.

AAPL: "Wait"
BIDU: "Sell Confirmed"
C: "Wait"
CLNE: "Wait"
DNDN: "Sell If"
F: "Wait"
FAS: "Wait"
FAZ: "Hold"
FCX: "Hold"
FXE: "Sell If"
FXI: "Sell Confirmed"
GLD: "Buy If"
GS: "Wait"
IMAX: "Wait"
IRE: "Hold"
JMBA: "Wait"
LULU: "Wait"
NBG: "Buy If"
NFLX: "Sell If"
QQQQ: "Wait"
SLV: "Sell Confirmed"
STD: "Sell Confirmed"
TLT: "Hold"
TZA: "Buy Confirmed"
UNG: "Sell Confirmed"
UUP: "Buy Confirmed"
VXX: "Wait"
WPRT: "Wait"

I like keeping an eye on the pennies — NBG and JMBA — for a good idea of market topping. When pennies explode, we're usually at a top. Note that the only "buy confirmed" issues are conservative plays: TZA (Small cap bear 3x) and UUP (US dollar).

LULU isn't a penny, but when shares are topping out, the market is out of steam. Just look at the history of the stock. It's not a frontrunner by any means, and when shares top out, it's a nasty fall.

This is as bearish as I've seen the candlestick analysis in some time. The market is always about growth, not value, over the long haul. Growth has been stagnant since the enormous climb from the short-term March 2009 bottom came to an end. With China's news today, there isn't a bullish catalyst in sight.

Hail to the bears, at least for now.

Barometer of an Apple tree

Like AAPL at 256? So do I. Doesn't mean I'm taking a bite yet. Look at the 2-year chart if you need facts about the power of the broader market and how a great Apple tree can be bombarded.

AAPL 6-month chart (daily)

AAPL 2-year chart (weekly) vs. S&P 500, QID, VXX

AAPL 1-year chart (daily) vs. S&P 500, QID, VXX

AAPL 10-day chart (15-minute bars) vs. S&P 500, QID, VXX

Q-Man: A Slow Crash

Check out Quint Tatro's expert analysis today at Tickerville.

Tuesday winner: Tesla?

This company has no real revenue, a car company without a manufacturing plant. Fundamentally, this is the king of el stinkos. But a green-energy car maker has a certain attraction to a segment of the investment world. Not me. Even if I were a billionaire, I'd think twice about investing here. Tesla is two years away from hitting stride; part of the reason it went to an IPO today was to raise necessary dollars. During those two years, other automakers like Nissan will unveil electric cars of their own.

Tesla  (TSLA) closed at 23.89 today, up 40.53% from its original price. It opened after 11 am Eastern at 19.00, dipped to 17.54, and rose after that. I'm not crazy enough to play an IPO on a day like today, so to those of you who played TSLA for a nice pickup, kudos.

TSLA 1-day chart (5-minute bars)

TSLA 1-day chart (1-minute bars)

TSLA vs. F, VXX, S&P 500

Bears block party

Holding inverse ETNs, particularly the ultra sort, can be hazardous to one's trading account. Overnight, the readjusting that goes on can swoop in and steal your profits. VXX declined 400,000% in the past year. OK, I'm exaggerating a bit, but it was painful for anyone who dared to buy VXX a year ago and simply hold. It's not a buy-and-hold vehicle and never was intended to be.

Today, though, was a win for bears and ETNs. Here's how the list I compiled a few months back did today:

BGZ +9.32%
DPK +10.28%
DRV +9.58%
DXD +5.24%
DUG +6.22%
EDZ +11.72%
EEV +7.97%
EFU 6.75%
EFZ +3.39%
EPV +7.47%
EUO +1.29%
FAZ +10.48%
FXP +7.96%
LHB +13.97%
QID +7.58%
SDS +6.07%
SKF +7.44%
SMN +8.33%
SRS +6.13%
TMF +3.49%
TWM +7.54$
TYP +10.89%
TZA +11.25%
VXX +9.26%
ZSL +2.73%

The time to commit to these inverses was before today, of course. Getting in now is perilous considering the news today from China, Europe, Venus, the Dark Star and beyond isn't any worse than it has been in the past months. None of it was really unexpected. If the market bounces tomorrow or Thursday (first day of the new quarter), that won't be a shocker.

But keeping a close eye on all these inverse ETNs and the movement is key. Know the pulse before entering.

Terrible Tuesday

Dow Jones 9,870.30 -268.30 -2.65%
NASDAQ 2,135.18 -85.47 -3.85%
S&P 500 1,041.24 -33.33 -3.1%

Did you get bitten today? Did you stay long in this flaky market without protection? Do you walk the streets and let thugs take your hard-earned money? I've been 100% cash for nearly three weeks, but if I were ever to go long, I'd definitely hedge my bets — be honest, everything in the market is a calculated guess — with VXX or FAZ and maybe have some safer plays like GLD and TLT.

TECH KINGS
Apple has its share of complaints over iPhone 4, but they continue to sell, sell, sell what may be the most addictive piece of technology on the planet. Shares, though, bit the dust today, down 4.52% to 256.17. This is an entry price I could love, but even here I want to wait for 250. I'd rather catch this ride on the way up than possibly on the way further down.

So, all the Android devotees who happen to be iPhone haters should be loving Google, but shares dropped 3.77% to 454.26. I like this price, too, but I'm watching from afar.

BIDU fell 9.23% to 67.57 as China did a swan dive. Still the search king of China with the backing of Big Brother. Sub 60 would be compelling.

NFLX closed down 4.28% to 112.58. The swings here are wild and I don't like it long term against the competition that is pounding down the door, like Apple. On that note, IMAX dipped as low as 14.28 before ending the day at 14.88 (-4.43%). Like Netflix, Imax has serious competition coming sooner rather than later.

EURO ZONE
FCX was down only 0.63% (121.56), but craziness across the region (Greek riots, German leadership issue, Spanish unemployment, yadayada) did nothing good for global markets. NBG was flat at 2.23. No banks were burned down. However, IRE dropped 6.91% (3.37).

SAFE PLAYS
GLD closed barely up (121.27 +0.15%) while TLT (20-year Treasury Bond) was up 1.09% to 101.07. TLT has a chance to stay above 100 for awhile. There's no real catalyst coming to the market for the bulls in the visible future.

ENERGY
USO (US Oil Fund ETF) dropped 2.95% to 34.17. BP went the other way, gaining 2.29% to 27.75. Not touching that POS.

Natural gas wilted. UNG caved 3.88% to 7.67. My list of 40 natty gassers got smoked again, dropping 5.27% today. They dipped into the red as a group for the first time since Obama's clean energy speech nearly four weeks ago. That's bad news on bad news. WPRT, which was once the leader with a 30% gain, is now up just 4.83%. PETD still has a sizable gain of 25.83%, but almost everything else is in the red or has a modest single-digit gain. No catalyst, no luck.

First Solar (FLSR) also fell, losing 4.03% to 114.42. One of last week's hotties, Trina Solar (TSL), dripped 5.06% to 17.26.

Chinese energy ate dust today. PetroChina (110.51 -3.45%) and CNOOC (168.80 -4.44%) sank. Whimsical solar play Yingli Green Energy (YGE) lowered to 9.88 (5.64%).

CHINA & HEAVY METAL
FXI tumbled 4.03% to 39.31. Freeport-McMoran (FCX) crumbled 5.55% to 61.07. US Steel (X) gave back 5.87% tp 39.11 and Posco (PKX) gave up 6.22% to 94.84.

PROTECTION
VXX finished with a 9.26% gain to 30.79 after hitting a high of 31.34 in the final hour. Shares were below 25 last week.

FAZ moved big, 10.48% to 16.82. I've had good trades in FAZ before, but haven't touched it in months. Finnies are now just a wee bit too fucking crazy for me to decipher most times.

Staying in 100% cash while insanity prevails on Wall Street. Have fun!

Trading on visuals?

It was a month or two ago when video footage from Greece set VXX shares on a rocket launch from the mid-20s to 30-plus at warp speed. I haven't seen anything today, being that I just got up from bed a half-hour ago. But the photos online are disturbing enough to explain some of the bearish tone.

As always, Business Insider is atop the mountain of that bearish sentiment with these photos of Greek riots getting physical and dangerous. This one looks like a hairdresser getting pissed at a cop who won't agree that her job is truly toxic and she needs to retire at 52 (or whatever their preposterous early retirement age is). Sure, it's a wonder that the Greeks sincerely believe that they're entitled to a certain lifestyle that the rest of the civilized world doesn't have — of course, we all want to retire young — and yet they go about this mess seemingly hippie-style. I'm not encouraging radical action, but this will not last. Armed revolt, this is not. These guys are thinking like the kung fu masters during the Boxer Rebellion. That ended rather quickly. If it gets worse, this is bullets versus human flesh. No contest.

While they're bitching about having to work until age 55 or 65 like the rest of us on Planet Earth, the Greeks are driving much-needed cash right out of the country. Guess they don't need the money. I suppose tourists could return to the Parthenon or whatever. Or come to Hawaii, land of peace and people who aren't rioting in the streets.

I don't plan any trades on Greece, though I might have tried some VXX much earlier today had I not been blissfully asleep.

Photo: AP

Carnage

Dow Jones (-2.38%), Nasdaq (-3.25%) and S&P 500 (-2.71%) flailing away in the dark with less than 2 hours left in the session. Worries about consumer confidence and Euro zone issues have taken precedence again. Issues about domestic financial regulation reform haven't helped, either.

Overall, though, it's nothing new. Just no good news, and the market needed capitulation to the down side. A lot of fund managers and traders are off on vacation this week and closing their books for now as Q2 nears a close, just my guess. So the robots take over in their algorithmic, predatory kind of way.

The past few weeks have been about light volume, no conviction and warning signs. Today, we have carnage.

I was up at 8:14 am Hawaii time and found the market in the red, both feet in. AAPL is finally below 260, my price target for a possible re-entry. Shares are at 257.64 (-3.97%). F is back below 10 (9.91 -4.99%). Jobs and housing declines are a bitch. C, which was saved by circuit breakers at 1pm Eastern, lost momentum and is at 3.79 (-5.25%) and GS (134.26 -1.76%) is sinking.

Even IMAX, that piddly, fickle issue, is at 14.65, lowest I've seen in months, despite huge ticket sales for Toy Story 3. BIDU is down 7.31% to 69.00. NFLX, not so bad, down "only" 2.88% to 114.22.

Meanwhile, VXX (30.13 +6.92%) and FAZ (16.62 +9.16%) are shredding the bulls. I'm still out of this madness and watching from the bleachers, but it's unfathomable to be long this market without hedging with some VXX and other assorted life vests. The ice was very, very thin.

FXI (39.49 -3.59%), FCX (61.39 -3.27%) and US Steel (X, 39.60 -4.69%) declining today as the US Dollar is up (UUP 25.05 +0.36%).

Euro is down slightly, but GLD (121.39 +0.25%) remains healthy. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Q-Man remains cautious

Though not as cautious as me (100% cash).

No Greek formula in sight

Apparently, they're still pissed as hell in the land of baklava.

From BBC:

The big question is whether the government will try to break the blockade in order to help the tourists, or do nothing, for fear of aggravating the unions during the period of this crucial debate, our correspondent adds.

Mumbles Monday

Dow Jones 10.138.52 -5.29 -0.05%
NASDAQ 2,220.65 -2.83 -0.13%
S&P 500 1,074.57 -2.19 -0.20%

It was an almost perfect correlation, parallel, whatever ... I crashed out at 3 am Hawaii time. Market opened at 3:30. I got up at 9:15 am, 45 minutes before the close. Two months ago, I was up most nights and stayed up through the session. Now, I just enough a great night's rest. Humidity and heat, I can deal with. Rather have 80 degrees and wake up where I am than anywhere else in the world. I don't need to imagine the price and value of that.

As for the market, it's a pile of crap, which is not unusual for this time of year. This week, with Q2 ending on Wednesday, could've been a crazed buying spree by fund managers for window dressing purposes. Instead, it seems even the robots have left the office, packed up the robot wife and robot kids and headed to vacation nirvana.

TECH KINGS
AAPL gained 0.60% to 268.30, off its high on news that 1.7 million iPhone 4s sold over the weekend. That's not including the units that would've been sold if Apple had more in stock. AAPL is trading at the same level now — with all the news about iPads and the new iPhone — that it did on the blockbuster earnings report just 3 months ago. 265-270 was the old high. Now it's the old low.

I want shares at 260 or lower. Won't happen now unless the global market collapses, and that's a real possibility.

BIDU dropped 2.18% to 74.44 and GOOG lost 0.18% to 472.08.

CHINA & HEAVY METAL
FXI lost 0.53% to 40.96 as metals melted down. FCX slipped 2.87% (64.66) and US Steel (X) dropped 3.91% to 41.55. My guess: fund managers took their recent profits, locked them in for Q2 and got ready for vacation.

Recent high flyer PKX gave back 2.3% and fell to 101.13. Not a good start to the week for steelers.

EURO ZONE
FXE declined 0.90% to 122.33 while UUP (US Dollar) gained 0.52% to 24.96. That's a combo that usually spells losses in the US stock market.

FINANCIALS
GS (136.69 -2.15%) pulled back while C (4.00 +1.52%) gained. Banco Santander was flat (11.01 -0.36%). IRE dropped 2.16% to 3.62. For entertainment purposes, NBG lost 0.89% to 2.23. It's awfully hard to feel bullish about a bank in a nation like Greece, where people feel entitled to work 2.2 hours a week and retire from "toxic" jobs like hairdressing at the hearty age of 23 years old. (I kid and exaggerate.)

Maybe when NBG shares dip below 1.50 I'll grab a few.

US ENERGY
USO (US Oil Fund ETF) lost 1.26% to 35.21 while SCO (UltraShort Crude Oil) gained 2.42% (14.19).

A decline in oil gave the natural gas sector reason to resume selling. Just three of my Nat Gas 40 gained today, including CLNE. As a group, they lost 2.08% today. Since Obama's clean-energy speech four weeks ago, the 40 are up only 2.63% now. Former leader WPRT is up 12.32%, but that's a far cry from its 30% gain just two weeks ago.

No catalyst in sight for this industry.

Solar was relatively flat. First Solar (FSLR) was down 0.03% to 119.23. Trina Solar (TSL), a hot mover last week, lost 0.82% and fell to 18.18.

CHINA ENERGY
PetroChina (114.46 -0.56%) and CNOOC (176.64 +0.80%) are interesting in this sense: it is CNOOC (CEO) that has been active because it's in acquisitive mode. Opportunism, i.e. grabbing any piece of BP it can get, has gained the sector's attention.

Solar play Yingli Green Energy lost 1.97% (10.47).

SAFE PLAYS
GLD (121.09 -1.36%) and TLT (99.98 +0.94) went in opposite directions today. TLT (20-year Treasury Bonds) has based here (95-100) since mid-May. Longer the base, bigger the pop. Or drop.

SLV (18.38 -1.55%) gave back some of its recent gains.


HEDGES
VXX collected 1.66% to 28.18. The big move came at 10 am Eastern, and it sold off on news from Capitol Hill regarding the possible failure of the financial reform bill. But VXX still finished with a gain. Bulls on pins and needles. 

FAZ gained 2.85% to 15.23. Holding these two overnight is hazardous.

I've been 100% cash for a few weeks and I'm content to admire the fluidity and success of geniuses of Le Fly and StockGuy22. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Forrest/Epps just don't get it

Forrester has already gone on record recently with underwhelming projects for 2010 iPad sales. Now Forrester's Sarah Rotman Epps insists that Apple will sell barely 200,000 iPads per month.

"Jobs may not view the iPad as a PC, but we do," she wrote recently.

Thing is, the iPad is NOT a computer. It's a TOY, and it's quite sad that Epps and a few other insistent fools refuse to factor in FUN as a key ingredient in this evolution in modern technology. It's perfectly fine for any analysts or writer to say that he or she doesn't like Product X. Doesn't mean the rest of Planet Earth hates it, too.

I never cared much for heavy metal, but I wasn't going to lie and say nobody would buy it during the 1980s and '90s. I saw the Dallas Cowboys rip my L.A. Rams apart many times back then, but I wasn't about the claim that the Cowboys were unpopular and sucked just because they weren't my taste or style when it came to pro football.

Forrester and Epps can say and write whatever they like. Their rep is shot and will continue to be pummeled as the rest of the world has all kinds of fun with their toys, including their favorite, the iPad.

I don't even own one, but even I see the great technology and greater ease of use.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Weekend plans

Fun, family and ...

Homework.


Ruppert: Empire will break down

He's been right most of the time. Michael Ruppert talked in Vermont last month about the global economy. He comes across like a doomsayer, but nothing is really shocking. The takeaway? Bullish on oil and gold. Bearish on financials, China real estate. 


See more here.

Energy is future currency, part 2

Frazzled Friday

Dow Jones 10,143.81 -8.99 -0.09%
NASDAQ 2,223.48 +3.07 +0.29%
S&P 500 1,076.76 +3.07 +0.29%

Reform is good, but it is no cure and it clearly isn't the catalyst in itself. Today's session was in the green most of the way, but sold off toward the close and essentially closed flat. Sectors that benefited from today's final financial reform bill work on Capitol Hill were (of course) financials and, you guessed it, Chinese energy.

FINANCIALS
Goldman Sachs gained 4.68% to 139.66, capping a nice move from 133 earlier in the week. The intraday high was 140.90. Citigroup closed at 3.94 (+4.23%) after a spooky descent the past few days.

Big winners were buyers of FAS (22.80 +7.17%).

EURO ZONE
FXE traded up (123.44 +0.47%) while the US Dollar (UUP) lost 0.56% (24.83).

Euro banks benefited from the finreg bill. Banco Santander, like their successful national team, finished up (11.05 +1.66%). IRE (3.70 +1.93%) also rose, though NBG fell (2.25 -1.32%).

CHINA ENERGY
With BP selling off chunks of fine, moneymaking operations, entities like CNOOC (CEO) are swooping in. CEO gained 1.93% to 175.24 while PetroChina (PTR) moved up 0.50% to 115.10.

Chinese solar plays are hot again, probably new festering ground for traders who banked big gains in US natural gas stocks the past few weeks. Trina Solar (TSL) had a big bump of 4.09% to 18.33 after landing a deal with the University of Queensland (Australia).

Yingli Green Energy (YGE) gained 3.89% to 10.68, riding the sector's momentum.

US ENERGY
The rise of crude oil to $78/barrel is helping solar plays back in the US. First Solar (FSLR) picked up 2.04% to 119.26. Solar is still "expensive" in the sense that it can't survive without federal subsidies for the most part. Solar will climb as crude prices rise. As usual.

Nat Gas had its best day in about a week, reviving in a big way. My list of 40 natty gassers gained a cumulative 2.12%. NGS was the biggest gainer (+7.65% to 16.74) and HERO (2.80 +5.66%) was second.

Two of my favorites, WPRT (16.70 +1.83%) and CLNE (15.97 +3.9%) did fine. So did another play I like, HGT (20.59 +3.05%).

The natty gasser with the biggest gain since Obama's speech is PETD (26.99 +29.57%).

As for oil, BP resumed its tumultuous descent, losing 5.98% to 26.92. Again, the sector traded well, having pruned BP from its collective sentiment. US Oil Fund (ETF) gained 3.69% to 35.66.

SAFE PLAYS
GLD gained 1.2% to 122.90 and TLT was slightly up (99.05 +0.41%).

CHINA & HEAVY METAL
FXI gained 1.01% to 41.18. Copper did well; FCX rocketed 4.93% to 66.57. US Steel rose 2.83% to 43.24. Metals have been so productive lately that the relative volatility shouldn't have scared me away.

TECH KINGS
Hibernation time for AAPL longs. Shares sold off again, as expected, losing 0.86% to 266.70. I'm waiting for a chance to snare shares at 260 or maybe 250.

GOOG lost 0.51% to 472.68. Another buying opportunity may be nearing, though I'm not in a rush. Even with AdMob and Android, GOOG is not as appealing to me as AAPL.

BIDU gained 3.12% to 76.10, arguably the best mover in the sector. They have no real competition in China. Big Brother is on its side. Baidu will not be beaten.

All in all, still 100% cash and no plans to change as the weekend begins. Just a few more days before Q2 ends, so window dressing may be in store as fund managers trample over each other to establish positions. Or not. If the market has another crash soon, I'll be ready.

Finreg bear burn

The squeeze is on. Somewhere in the murky language of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill are a few words that have made banks happy. In other words, the regulation has probably lost a sizable amount of clout. That's bad news for finnie shorts and great news for suffering longs.

FAS is tearing bears up with a 7% gain to 22.79, while FAZ is down 7% to 14.84 after gaining most of this week. GS (139.65 +3.4%) and C (3.93 +4.1%) are enjoying the boost from Capitol Hill.

Feel the Chinese energy

No, it's not about chi or anything feng sui. Chinese energy is up today while the rest of the market is flat.

CNOOC (CEO) is expanding its presence in South America. The company agreed in March to buy a 50% stake in Argentina's Bridas Energy Holdings. Bridas is currently a potential buyer of BP's Pan American Energy (Brazil).

The move by CNOOC isn't a surprise now that BP is raising cash to offset the unprecedented expenses coming as a result of its Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. Shares are up for CNOOC by 2% to 175.59.

Oil and energy aren't the only movers in China. Trina Solar (TSL) has gained 3.92% to 18.30 after agreeing to build a 1.2 MW solar system at the University of Queensland in Australia.

Yingli Green Energy (YGE) is up 3.4% to 10.63 after announcing a deal with DC Power. No dollar amounts were revealed, though.

STP, which was downgraded this week, moved up 1.82% to 9.51 on the bullish news in the sector.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Getting back up

Quite an interview of hedge fund manager and squash player Victor Niederhoffer by Kathryn Schulz of Slate.
Unfortunately I was so successful for so many years in that particular field that I began to believe in my own success. I thought that because my method worked in markets that I knew about and had quantified, I could apply the same methods to something I didn't know about. 
I think there are causes that led to their disaster and that rather than thinking about the actual minutiae of the downfall, and rather than creating alibis, they should think about the principles that led to their mistakes. And then I think they should let bygones be bygones. Once you've experienced disasters, there's no sense wallowing in misery. You gotta get back in the qualifying tournaments again. 

Banco Santander won't sit still

Yet another reason to like STD. The behemoth Spanish bank is taking a load off Citigroup: $3.2 billion of auto loans.

Energy is future currency?

If you believe Mark Fisher, paper money will have less value and energy will be the trade.

See the video here.

Apple propaganda and problems

On the day of iPhone 4's debut, more, more and more Apple news.

(new) Apple responds to iPhone 4 reception issues Engadget (Joshua Topolsky)
iPhone loses reception when you hold it by the antenna band? Gizmodo
> Includes solutions by users, still no response by Apple
Analyst predicts Verizon iPhone in 2011 eWeek.com (Nicholas Kolakowski)
iPhone 4 review: The best smartphone ever? Fox News (Clayton Morris)
My excellent SIX HOUR iPhone 4 adventure SAI (Dan Frommer)
Video: iPhone 4 is out, complaints are in CNET (Erica Ogg)
New iPhone isn't broken, iOS 4 is SAI (Nick Saint)
Apple iPhone 4 antenna problems confirmed via tests PC Mag (Mark Hachman)
Are you killing iPhone 4 reception with your bare hands? CNET (Jessica Dolcourt)
That iOS 4 reception issue is looking more and more like a software bug Boy Genius Report (Micheal Bettiol)
Yellow spots on iPhone 4 screens could be due to rushed manufacturing SAI (Jay Yarow)
iOS4 upgrade breaks iPhone-to-car stereo connection SAI (Nicholas Carlson)
Yes, if you drop your iPhone 4 several times on asphalt, it will shatter SAI (Nicholas Carlson)
Is HP the Next Apple Motley Fool (Rick Munarriz)


Watch CBS News Videos Online




Russian play?

Russia getting play on Fast Money as its president (Medvedev) visits Silicon Valley en route to the G20 conference. The country wants to diversify rather than be so dependent on exporting energy. They're probably years away from becoming a tech player, but RSX, the Russia ETF, might be worth a look short term. Or not.


Here's a cool story about Medvedev meeting Steve Jobs and receiving an iPhone 4. He visited Apple and Twitter headquarters. He also says Russian tech hub-in-waiting Skolkovo isn't trying to become Silicon Valley.
President Dmitry Medvedev does not think Skolkovo should be an exact replica of Silicon Valley. The idea is to draw on U.S. experience to create an attractive environment for companies to develop high-tech innovations. “No one is going to simply copy Silicon Valley, it is impossible," he said at a meeting with Russians working in California.

Capitol Hill compromise?

Fast Money reporting that the Volcker rule has been "strengthened" ... but it sounds more like a compromise that will allow finnies like Goldman Sachs to retain some ties to hedging. GS moving up a skosh on this news.

Turnover Thursday

Dow Jones 10,152.80 -145.64 -1.41%
NASDAQ 2,217.42 -36.81 -1.63%
S&P 500 1,073.69 -18.35 -1.68%

Regulations, schmegulations. There's no doubt that without turmoil from Capitol Hill, the Eurozone, the Gulf and iPhone 4 buyers planetwide, the market would be just fine and dandy. (RIMM is collapsing after hours due to a so-so earnings report.)

The pullback was expected from a technical perspective. Is a further drop coming? With Q2 coming to a lose in less than a week, I'm not so sure fund managers will stay completely out. If they get scared and refuse to dip their toes back into the oil-infested waters, that'll be a surprise to some extent.

I'll still wait for selling pressure in AAPL to wane before I walk into that territory. To the brave who grabbed VXX shares below 25 and 26 recently, bravo. When AAPL draws down, VXX pops 99% of the time.

Overall, though, the market was simply red.

TECH KINGS
AAPL wavered between 269 and 272 on the day of its iPhone 4 release. Shares closed at 269.69, down 0.73%, or 10 bucks less than its all-time high last week. Signal issues with the new phone could sit on AAPL for a few days, which makes it a buying opportunity, maybe. I'd rather just wait.

GOOG petered out and lost 1.44% to 475.10. Entry point is looking better all the time now. I might just wait for the first report of mobile ad sales before I test Google waters.

BIDU lost 3.14% to 73.80 after beating down bears for several days.

FINANCIALS
GS (134.98 -0.07%) and C (3.78 -2.83%) facing issues thanks to legislators. I haven't liked finnies for months precisely because of this kind of uphill battle. Fuck it. Too much work, too much pain involved. Unless GS hits 100 and C swoons to 3.00. Then I won't resist.

EURO ZONE
FXE up 0.14% (122.86), which normally is good for the US market. UUP (US dollar) was flat at 28.35.

Euro banks fell in spectacular fashion. Banco Santander (STD) dropped 3.81% to 10.87, IRE got squashed (3.63 -8.1%) and NBG (2.28 -3.8%) took a blow to the scrotum. I like STD below 9. Could happen. STD was below 9 less than two weeks ago.

SAFE PLAYS
Predictably, GLD (121.30 +0.29%) was up in a down market. So was SLV (18.26 +0.44). TLT, surprisingly, fell 0.59% to 98.65. But TLT had been hot lately, so it's not a shock.

ENERGY
US Oil (USO) gained 0.44% to 34.39 despite BP's plummet. BP gave back 3.14% to a new low of 28.74.

Nat Gas continued to fart incessantly. Only two of the 40 on my list closed positive today, though FTK had a nice 5.26% gain. As crude oil prices gain with greater demand, natural gas needs a definitive catalyst from the White House, something more than oral salutations from President Obama. Otherwise, nat gas is looking dead.

WPRT, once the beacon of the post-Obama clean-energy speech explosion, lost big again. Shares tumbled 3.81% to 16.40, and now WPRT is up only 11.64% since Obama's speech. WPRT had been up more than 30% at one point.

There are arguments to every sector of alternative energy. Wind has opponents because turbines kill thousands of birds. Solar has issues because of cost and the way certain endangered bugs (I'm not kidding) are instinctively attracted to panels and essentially fly until dead. The reasons are innumerable, surely "discovered" by pro-oil interests as well as well-meaning environmentalists.

Come on, people. We've got to do more than bitch and moan. Solutions?

HEDGES
VXX rocketed 6.14% to 28.35 and FAZ leaped 6.11% to 15.97. They're both explosive and both good ways to protect against losses if you're long the market, whether it's AAPL or financials.

Or you could just sit out and watch the circus from the bleachers like I have. Still 100% cash.

Schwarz takes his swings at Soros

At some point, the uber-bears will be right and the preachy bulls will be wrong. Or will it be the other way around? Apple devotee Jason Schwarz explains why "Grandpa" George Soros is so wrong about the impending doom of modern civilization.

How 'bout them Apples

So far ...

• The jobs report was released at 8:30 am Eastern (2:30 Hawaii) and was relatively positive. AAPL, which had traded above 269, moved up to 270 and continued to move, lifting above 272 in premarket trading.

• After the opening bell, with the market down, AAPL opened at 271.12, sold down below 271, then racheted up. Shares hit 273.19 just seven minutes after the bell.

• AAPL then sold off quickly, down to 269.66 and was poised to join the rest of the market, which has shown overbought signs for a few days now.

• Since fluctuating in the 270.00-270.40 range, AAPL rose back up to 272. It seems like an even tussle between bulls and bears as AAPL moves along with the stochastics and MACD.

Though the Dow (-77), NASDAQ (-21) and S&P (-9.71) remain negative, AAPL's iPhone 4 release today, plus the customary live TV coverage of the hordes camping out at Apple Stores, seems to be working in its favor. Instead of a sell-on-the-event decline, AAPL is holding its ground to an extent.

I'm still willing to wait until AAPL sells off with the rest of the market. If I can re-enter a position below 260, fantastic. 250 would be better.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

AAPL up, BIDU upper, GOOG not so up

So, Apple unveils* its iPhone 4G in mere hours and Planet Earth will (mostly) rejoice. Don't lie. If if you hate Apple, you'd probably keep an iPhone 4 if someone gave it to you as a gift. So would I.

It's interesting that Google's move into smartphones (Android) and mobile advertising (via AdMob) hasn't particularly helped the stock as much as it should have. Or maybe there just aren't as many believers, being that the mobile ad business is still in its infancy. But more pertinent was Google's decision to depart from China. The charts below show how potent BIDU shares have been and continue to be. With the FXI bolstered lately, rising ahead of the US market and showing its force as a premier leader, BIDU simply rises higher and higher.

AAPL vs. BIDU vs. GOOG (1-year chart, daily)

AAPL vs. BIDU vs. GOOG (6-month chart, daily)

AAPL vs. BIDU vs. GOOG (2-month chart, daily)

AAPL vs. BIDU vs. GOOG (10-day chart, 15-minute bars)

AAPL 6-month chart
Candlestick analysis: Sell Confirmed (American Bulls)

GOOG 6-month chart
Candlestick analysis: Hold (American Bulls)

BIDU 6-month chart
Candlestick analysis: Buy If (American Bulls)

Clean energy lacks backers

This Minyanville piece explains the viewpoint of one academian who sees no real substance in short-term changes toward clean energy.

Not a bad piece, but can journalists please get more focused and bring us viewpoints of clean energy movers with real answers? I'm tired of constant skepticism without concrete, constructive solutions. Is there really no creative way for the US to move forward, away from dependence on crude oil?

Bearish echo

Who is Richard Russell and why does he keep hollering about an imminent crash?

He makes quite a point about John Paulson loading up on gold and gold-related vehicles.

One of the greatest modern traders, John Paulson, who made billions on the housing collapse, has, I understand, all his personal money in gold-related items. Many of my subscribers have now built gold profits beyond anything they have ever achieved before. I know at this point one could get itchy fingers thinking of the profits achievable by switching gold for fiat currency. I warn subscribers, stay on the yellow brick road. The big profits, the astounding profits, will accrue when gold finally bursts loose of its prejudices and freely expresses itself.

Right or wrong, note that Russell refers to hard gold, or whatever you term it. ETF gold, i.e. GLD, has its inherent risk — seizable by the Fed in an inhospitable economic climate.

Alibaba is Brand #1?

Really? I don't believe it and you probably don't, either. Credit Suisse, however, has its own list of 27 global brand kings, and Alibaba is at the top of the list, followed by Amazon, Almarai, Apple and BIM.

The Thurston Howell III play

It is possible that while most of Planet Earth crumbles, the elite rich and powerful will enjoy their truffles and Coach bags more than ever. You and I could bother to cash in on their bootyful ways through this ridiculous new (?) ETF known as ROB.

Room for big, fat smartphones?

So really, do people want a 4.3-inch screen? I am not in the smartphone universe, so I really have no feel for this, but if people are turned off by Apple's closed system and already like what Google/Droid/Verizon/Motorola have to offer ...

What traction does the Droid X have?

The anticipated phone, which has an 8-megapixel camera and HD videorecording, will sell at Verizon Wireless stores and online beginning July 15. It will cost $199.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate, provided the buyer agrees to a 2-year service agreement. (Buyers will have to pay $299.99 up front, then wait to be mailed the debit card containing their $100 rebate.)