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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.