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.