The Summers Rally has come and gone. Given the events of today’s session, it’s difficult to know where we are headed. It was not difficult to fade this rally as the market’s reaction to the news that the hawkish Summers was out of the race for the Fed chairmanship was completely overdone, particularly given what we believe are misconstrued differences between Summers and the de facto front runner Janet Yellen. We made some money playing today’s bounce both ways, and it certainly feels like this market is teetering a little bit after we had virtually no conviction in this morning’s rally.
Before we continue with the post game, we’d like to extend our most heartfelt condolences to those affected by the tragedy at the Navy Yard in our nation’s capital today. There is a time and place to debate how and why tragedies such as these continue to plague both America and the entire world, but for now let us simply honor the fallen and give thanks for all we have been blessed with in this life.
Today’s aptly titled post game simply must lead off with a discussion of Apple, whose blunders in the last week have cost the one-time Wall Street darling roughly $60 per share in market value. Many were caught up in today’s onslaught trying to shoot the falling apple (William Tell puns), only to be washed out during the session’s prolonged selloff. Today we were able to capitalize on the mid-day lull in the stock that allowed us to scalp some gains in weekly call options. We were also able to capitalize on the late day sell off by utilizing weekly put options as $AAPL slid below $450. While there are those that felt the move to the $470 level was overdone, the downward momentum has shown no signs of abating, and the company continues to bewilder the Street with the seemingly misplaced iPhone 5C and no data regarding iPhone preorders. Our bull case for Apple was shot once we saw the pricing of the 5C, which essentially eliminated the possibility of a China Mobile deal anytime soon. We have no choice but to seriously question whether Apple’s growth days are over, as the smartphone market’s consolidation has been incredibly quick. For those of you that look to play Apple on an intraday or swing basis, you have to lean short here until the stock shows a serious change in its course of action. We engaged a few members on StockTwits tonight about whether we would lean long or short overnight. However, with the market in the position its in and the aggressive selloff in Apple, you simply cannot let a long or short bias get in the way of making money. While we think there is more downside in Apple to come, you need to let the trend dictate your behavior when your timeframe is short. Countertrend trading is virtually impossible to execute on a consistent, profitable basis, so if you’re playing Apple long in this downtrend, be nimble, use stops and TAKE PROFITS.
$AAPL is in a world of hurt and is perched on its 100-day moving average. It barely held that level today and an open below that level tomorrow could trigger a major flush to the gap area around $434-$435. Again, this looks like an incredibly compelling short candidate in the short term, as investors will likely race to the exits as momentum picks up to the downside (much like we saw today). If Apple can somehow consolidate at this level and form a base, perhaps the story changes. With that said, it’s hard to have much conviction to the upside, if any.
As we stated before, US equities are in a precarious position, particularly given the slow grind down we saw today that literally spanned the entire session. $SPY posted what many call a black candle, as the market essentially opened on the highs and never advanced beyond that mark. If the bulls want to stay in control of this market, they need to see some consolidation at this level before taking out today’s highs. An open below today’s close could lead to increased selling pressure and a fill of today’s gap up, which could invigorate the bears who will undoubtedly be calling today’s market action an “island reversal.”
We have just three positions on heading into tomorrow’s pivotal session and the next iteration of “The Most Important Fed Meeting Ever.” We think there are certainly going to be setups that look good in both directions for stocks, but we continue to preach selectivity and profit taking as the market definitely feels like it is in no man’s land. Keep an eye on the tech names for a possible correction, as they have lagged the market the last few days and several names showed weakness today including $TSLA, $NFLX, $LNKD, $GOOG and $FB. Most of these names are in no man’s land and don’t represent convincing buying or short selling opportunities based on where they closed today. Watch for names like these to either hold or break through key levels before initiating positions in either direction, particularly when we have a number of headlines coming our way in the next few days that could alter the market landscape.
Long and strong! It’s good to be back writing for VT after a 24 hours hiatus thanks to some unexpected life events. But all is well, and hopefully y’all have had a profitable period as this market just will not fade. Let’s dive in to the recent action.
We tweeted out this morning that we sold our position in Apple $AAPL. The events from the last 24 hours were nothing short of dreadful. We were actually moderately impressed with the 5S and 5C, but GOOD LORD Tim Cook is not doing himself any favors. He continues to drop the ball in China as the company has effectively priced itself out of the middle market with the 5C. The phone looks totally puzzling now as we have a hard time believing it will find enough traction in the North American market. We peeled our long stock position off at $475 pre-market and we aren’t too eager to get back in. We scalped a few bucks on an option trade after the stock rallied off the lows, but that rally was faded over the course of the session.
We also let go a couple of losers in $TSLA and $TAP. We actually recouped some of our lost premium on our $TSLA calls, but we lost half of a small position in $TAP puts. Timing is everything in trading, and size does matter here, too.
Our book is very lean now and we have plenty of flexibility. We picked up $GOOG calls for next week at $495. It looks like $AAPL capital (rhyme! sort of) was being rolled up into Google and Facebook today, and we actually like both names, but we chose to put some capital into Google as Facebook passed its all-time high today. The chart looks pretty strong and the 890 straddle is implying at $19 move by the end of next week, which could make for some nice gains. Google closed on the dead highs today just above a key resistance level. Look for continuation to $900-$905 in the coming sessions, followed by potential continuation to the all time highs.
Another stock we initiated a position in is Biogen $BIIB. This stock has been in a bit of a holding pattern over the last 3 months, but it has been building a nice rounded bottom and broke out today in the last hour of trading. We initiated a long at $232.39 and are looking for continuation in the coming sessions. The stock made its way into the gap above $234.70 and has room to run to the $240 level where the YTD highs sit.
We didn’t get a chance to write about it yesterday, but we hope some of you caught our note in yesterday’s morning post about Netflix $NFLX. We signaled that $NFLX could surge if it sustained the morning gap up and made it to $299, and that’s exactly what it did as it move straight up throughout the session yesterday. If you were long, hopefully you were prudent and took profits yesterday, though the stock did put a decent tail on today’s bar.
We initiated two put positions on unusual option activity in Assured Guaranty Municipal Holdings $AGO. For those of you that are unfamiliar with $AGO, the company is a municipal bond insurer and has been getting whacked since earnings and the Detroit bankruptcy announcement. The bears stepped in big time in the latter half of the session, buying up puts with both October and April expiration hand over fist. The stock got thumped in the latter part of the session and volatility spiked, creating some nice value in our puts.
Lastly, we also shorted $BEN via short stock as it tested the bottom of the Ichimoku cloud and could not break through. The stock rallied into the bell, which we obviously don’t like, but we’ll keep an eye on it. Our stop is tight just above the lower portion of the stock’s gap at $48.50.
The market has been on an incredible run as the S&P has rallied 7 consecutive sessions, making it a bit of a precarious spot for shorter term traders. It’s still hard to get aggressively short and we’ve seen high short interest names like $TSLA shake off the bears. Keep your eyes peeled for short candidates, but don’t lean too hard that way until the market stops raging higher.
We’ll be out of the office on Friday, but we should be back to our usual pattern of three posts a day tomorrow and next week. Feel free to shoot us questions on Twitter @vikingtrader14 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.