Happy Sunday y’all. Hopefully everyone’s rooting interest in the NFL is coming up aces today, and a special shout out to all the Chicago Bears fans out there today. Jay Cutler continues to be the most mercurial quarterback in the NFL, but Martellus Bennett managed to bail him out with two more touchdowns to lead the Bears to a 31-30 victory over the hapless Christian Ponder and the largely ineffective Adrian Peterson. In all honesty, the Bears should’ve won that game by double digits, but Bad Jay and poor special teams on the opening kickoff essentially spotted Minnesota 21 points. I digress…
It seems we can’t go one weekend this month without some sort of major economic or geopolitical news item that will impact the market. This was already shaping up to be a monumental week with the Fed meeting and the potential of a reduction in monthly asset purchases, but Larry Summers decided to throw us a curveball and withdrew from the race for the Fed Chairman appointment once Ben Bernanke takes his leave. Many have speculated that Summers’ confirmation would be an arduous process as many see him as an abrasive individual, with his detractors citing his tarnished tenure as president of Harvard University – specifically, his treatment of women. Janet Yellen, believed to be a far more dovish candidate than Summers, becomes the de facto leader in the clubhouse. Donald Kohn, a former Fed vice chairman, and former Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner remain popular candidates among others.
The impact of Summers decision was fairly easy to predict before futures even opened. Given his aversion to continued quantitative easing and a more hawkish stance overall, stocks would be poised to rise should Summers not receive the nomination. However, given the fact that Summers is pulling out this early, S&P futures surged on the open this evening to the all-time highs, and the bulls appear to be in full control once again. While it is not a foregone conclusion that Yellen will be appointed (and some close to the Obama camp have stated the President would prefer to go elsewhere now that Summers, an Obama favorite, has withdrawn), we would expect even interest rate sensitive stocks to rise tomorrow as well, which does not bode well for our $HD and $T positions. Still, we should note that there is plenty of time for our theses on those names to play out. On the plus side, our long positions in $NFLX, $FCEL and $GOOG should get a nice lift. Obviously, we wish we were leaning a little longer, but we should see some nice gains Monday regardless.
Tomorrow should provide some opportunities for intraday trades at the bell. With so many events that could shake markets this week, it may be prudent to take some profits on long positions at tomorrow’s open should we sustain this rally overnight (and there is little reason to believe that we won’t). Still, it is easier to have conviction to the long side as the market has pulled off something of a stealth rally in the past week or two. We’ll be back in the morning to assess what is moving, but until then, enjoy the rest of your NFL Sundays!
Good morning y’all, hope everyone enjoyed the weekend. A little late with our preview today as someone may have been celebrating an anniversary a little too much last night and was responsible for today’s morning post. This week is shaping up to have a similar feel to last week as the same news events will likely be driving the markets for most of the week, starting with President Barack Obama’s pre-recorded address airing tonight on the major networks. Charlie Rose conducted an interview with President Bashar al-Assad in which he adamantly denied use of chemical weapons, stating that the weapons were used against his own forces. The situation remains a pressure cooker that could have catastrophic repercussions if handled incorrectly, which means volatility could return to the market at any point stemming from related news. Speculation over Fed tapering will likely continue as well, which we would welcome with open arms for our $T and $HD positions.
In the meantime, we appear headed for a higher open as S&P futures have traded in a tight range over night but are sitting up 3-4 points. Apple $AAPL is trending up in premarket action as the run-up into the company’s events tomorrow and Wednesday has begun in earnest. Look for continuation throughout the session today as the stock looks ready to break out, but there is the stigma that Apple’s events have become “buy the rumor, sell the news” situations, so take profits and trail with stops if you’re long stock. We remain long via both stock and options, and we may look to take off a portion of our options position today if the stock really surges.
Molex $MOLX is making news this morning on reports that the company is being bought out for $38.50 per share by Koch Industries, a premium of roughly 30%. The stock is halted and we’ve placed a large, low-ball limit bid in the stock as a lottery ticket, but we have no expectation of getting filled. Blackberry is also trading up over 4% in the pre-market as speculation continues over a possible buyout of the Canadian smartphone maker. While a takeover does seem imminent, these events are so hard to predict and there will likely be several head fakes in the stock before a deal is announced. Finally, Facebook $FB is up once again on another upgrade and $50 price target from Sterne Agee. Zuckerberg continues to count his billions.
One name we will be watching closely this week is Tesla $TSLA. The stock has begun to move sideways and is flirting with a breakdown below its 8 day moving average. Any short in Tesla must be tactical as the stock remains on an incredible trajectory with a strong chart, but opportunities to the short side may present themselves if the stock cannot resume upward momentum.
We’ll take a deeper dive in our mid-day update into some other names – one of us is a little behind this morning. Good luck out there today everyone, stay tactical and profitable!
Very little activity in the markets today as we have sat in a pretty tight range for much of the morning after the S&P leaped to the 1659 area before settling in around 1656 to churn. The ADP report was solid albeit somewhat light compared to estimates, and the 10-year is hovering just below 3% as murmurs of tapering in September have crept back into the markets.
Not a whole lot of major individual movers out there, though we are seeing interest rate sensitive names taking a hit, including housing related stocks such as $HD, $TOL and $LEN, while our favorite taper play $T is getting whacked today after rallying hard yesterday. Our puts are trading back near the $.30 range. $LNKD rallied extremely hard off of the opening lows and would have made a very lucrative intraday swing trade, but we can’t catch them all. $AAPL is taking it on the nose some today, while $FB surged on the open and has held its gains most of the day.
One idea that we’ve been toying with of late is getting short $TSLA via puts. We probably wouldn’t initiate this position any time soon because the stock still has an air of invincibility surrounding it, and it has not shown a commitment to any prolonged sell off in the past. Still, the rumored addition of $TSLA to the buy list at Goldman Sachs (a report that has been heavily disputed with some Sachers calling it a miscommunication) has us thinking. Apple’s meteoric rise was met by ludicrous price targets and upgrades upon upgrades. The firm’s valuation is beyond absurd, but we wouldn’t seriously consider it until we had another round of earnings from the firm, at least. We are utterly infatuated with the cars ourselves, and we think the company has done a remarkable job in the early innings of bringing the electric car to the mass market. But at some point, the company has to start delivering real earnings, and there are still major hurdles to the electric car catching on, including the institution of charging stations and a more affordable model with the same appeal of Tesla’s current upscale model. Nothing to act on just yet (because the stock could surge to $200 at the drop of a hat), but it may be time to question whether the company can keep its foot on the gas (puns!).
$FCEL has had decent price action today and has traded in a fairly tight range on heavy volume. The stock met major resistance at the high of the day as September options holders put a lid on today’s rally. We may look to peel off either our stock or option position at some point today, but we would be content with standing pat if need be. Nonetheless, a big winner for us on the day.
We’re currently bidding on $EJ February calls after seeing some unusual buying activity in the $12 strike, and we may play a few earnings names today, including Smith and Wesson $SWHC, likely to the long side.
That’s one way to start a month. What looked like a rip-roaring, bullish beginning for September was quickly erased by news from Washington regarding the Syrian situation. John Boehner offered the backing from the House of Representatives for President Obama’s military action in Syria, while the UN had its report from the region vetted while John Kerry and Chuck Hagel outlined a plan of action to Congress. Markets rallied some late in the session and closed off of the lows, with the S&P 500 closing at 1639.77, though well of the morning’s highs of 1651.35.
Today was a lesson in how not to manage your trade. We identified two profitable entries, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, one long and one short, and we mismanaged the exits on each position. We took an early long in $DDD that should’ve been good for a nice gain had we been more prudent near the highs of the day. Conversely, we got long puts in the middle of Tesla’s $TSLA plummet from the highs that could have gone for a 20% gain, but we pushed the envelope thinking the broader market would continue to sell off. We lost some money on the $TSLA trade while breaking even in $DDD.
Our active positions performed fairly well today. Apple $AAPL managed to stay green all day despite the aggressive selloff, and AT&T got slammed for most of the day, closing near the lows while driving up put premiums. We also saw gains in our $TAP put position. Our focus turns to $FCEL tomorrow as the alternative energy company is set to report earnings. In case you missed it, we initiated a call position in the stock earlier today.
We held off on making any additional moves today as the market’s bounce off the lows made it difficult to have much conviction either way. Most names gave back a significant portions of early gains, and it became difficult to separate leaders from laggards at the end of the day as the market recovered from the lows. Hopefully tomorrow will provide some more direction, but we expect we will need to remain nimble in the coming days as the situation in Syria continues to play out. Once that situation clears, we must still deal with tapering and the debt ceiling, which will undoubtedly impact markets and could serve as a shot in the arm for the bears, but it is unlikely we will hear much on those topics until after Congress makes a decision on Syria.