RF's Financial News

RF's Financial News

Sunday, September 25, 2011

This Week in Barrons - 9-25-11

This Week in Barons: 9–25-11:

Face: “Murdoch, what’s going to happen?”
Murdoch: “Looks like we’re going to crash!”
Face: “Murdoch, what’s really going to happen?”
Murdoch: “Looks like we’re going to crash and die!”
… A-Team

This week everyone looked on anxiously as The Ben Bernanke pushed his one-day FOMC meeting into a two-day affair. The market was hoping for some real stimulus, but unfortunately all The Ben Bernanke gave us was the interest rate ‘twist’. And following that, we crashed for 600+ points in two sessions!

I have to admit, I thought (due to The Ben Bernanke’s thinking that the Great Depression could have been cut short if the government had just printed and shoveled more money into the system) that The Ben Bernanke would indeed let loose a ton of true monetary stimulus. I truly felt that he would cut the interest rate that the Fed pays to banks for their excess reserves, basically forcing them to push the money into the markets and into loans. And then there was Vice President Biden publicly saying: “What we need is more stimulus". Well, ‘Surprise’ - he didn't do any real stimulus, he simply gave us the interest rate ‘twist’, where he starts buying up longer term paper to lower the 10-year interest rates. Well, if you aren’t buying a home at 4%, it’s doubtful that 3.8% is going to even raise an eyebrow. The part that I got right was that if we didn't get some true stimulus, (if all he did was the ‘twist’) we were going to ‘roll over and plunge, and plunge hard.’ On Wednesday afternoon (after the decision), the DOW fell 280 points and Thursday (at one point) was off 530 and ended being off 395 points. So there was a point where the market was off well over 700 points in 1.25 days.

Now, as we told you Tuesday on Twitter, we sold out of all of our trading positions. However, knowing that if The Ben Bernanke cut loose with a ton of true stimulus the market was going to roar higher - you'd naturally wish to buy a CALL option (because calls pay you when the stock goes up). But we also knew that if The Ben Bernanke didn’t do anything, the market would fall, and therefore you should own a PUT option. We bought the October call options for about 2.60, and the October Put options for about 2.85. When the announcement came, we knew that it stunk and promptly sold the call options. When the market lost 240 points Wednesday, we ended the day profitable on the Puts. And when it fell another 500 points on Thursday, those puts had gone from our purchase price of $2.85, to over $6.00 – a 100% gain. The point being – we laid out all the reasons why The Ben Bernanke should reduce the reserve requirements – but he didn’t – and as part of ‘The Backup Plan’ – the strategy was to take advantage of the volatility that we knew would come.

OK - onto the Precious Metals. Everyone wants to know why gold and silver got so horribly whacked. The main reason was the coordinated central bank attack on the metals. JPM (in specific) has a dozen lawsuits pending where global traders have proven outright manipulation of the price, and yet there are no rulings. Then there were margin calls. Some of the real gold/silver selling was in anticipation of the waves of margin calls that would be flooding the market so market makers were raising cash. But then on Friday they added ‘insult’ to ‘injury’ by raising the margin requirements on Gold, Silver and Copper. So at the same time regular traders were doing "some" selling to raise money, the exchange comes out and hikes margin requirements on gold by 21%, on Silver by 16%, and on Copper by 18%. Do you think the big boys at JPM knew of this? With that knowledge in hand, the high frequency trading platforms then worked their magic to exacerbate that move – and suddenly we’re down a bunch. Remember – back in 1900 when J.P. Morgan himself uttered the words: “Gold is money, everything else is credit". I continue to always ask myself: What’s changed? Since Wednesday has Europe really been solved or just delayed? Has housing magically run higher? Has unemployment mystically healed itself? Isn’t the Government facing another shutdown next week? And as John A. writes: “With silver below the 200 EMA and gold down another $80, gold could be headed to its 200 EMA of $1,558.” I personally told you that I had stopped buying gold when it got over $1,650 (with my end of year prediction being $2,000 / ounce). On the other hand I have been buying silver as it hovered in the $35 to $40 area. And I don't think its day is done (at all) so I will buy more with it down here at $30. Could Silver drop to $20 – as those that didn’t sell, panic and sell at the lows – but come Monday I’ll be a buyer of silver and scale back into gold.

The Market:
What about stocks? We lost 600 points in two days, and ended the worst week since ‘09. Then on Friday we went "flat" – so is the selling over? It could be. They held the bottom at the same levels that held during the end of August’s 2,000-point plunge. But we have to consider the Thursday/Monday connection. In the past, there's been a correlation between gigantic sell offs on a Thursday, and a pretty horrible Monday, because of margin calls. When you get a plunge like we did, so many positions become upside-down, and the margin clerks have to start rounding up the folks that need to put in more money or sell out. But when you get a little bounce on Friday, they have to ‘rejigger’ the books as some fall off the margin call radar. Then come Monday, the true list is published - the phone calls go out, and the selling begins. Now, this doesn’t happen every time, but it's happened enough to where it's something to consider for early this week. If Monday does become a slaughter, then what usually happens is that it carries into Tuesday and then late in the session Tuesday the market recovers and "soars" higher.

What about the bigger picture? Well, without the extra stimulus I think that the market will continue lower. This week FedEx said that they see lower shipments, and fewer electronics coming over from Asia. They said their "peak" season is not going break any records this year, because Americans just aren't buying. I don’t think that will change. So, that despite some certain 'up days'" that look wonderful (don't forget, markets only stage insane 300 point up days while in bear markets) the overall trend I believe is going to be downward. If they use the recent low as some form of bottom to work up off of, I could see the market making it to the 11,300 - 400 area, before again running out of steam and rolling back down, and breaking below the 10,719 August close. If that happens, then my next level would be around 9,700 as the next true workable bottom.

As you can see, we're fraught with all manner of uncertainty. Each day seems to bring us more and more insane situations. From political infighting, to European madness, to evidence of societal breakdown, things are NOT going well. If we had gotten the trillion in stimulus, even though it would be kicking the can down the road, we'd be in a position to move cash into some funds and take the ride upward. Without the stimulus, I feel the market risk is to the downside.

By the way, additional stimulus will be announced one day. As elements continue to deteriorate, additional monetary stimulus will occur. I have scaled into very small positions in the short arena. There’s nothing more dangerous than buying something short when the market is down 600 points in 2 days.

I have:
- DOG at 45.38
- SH at 46.42
- Oct DIA 110 put options at 2.80 per share

I am not going to put a stop on these, but rather I am going to buy more of them on UP days. This trade isn't for the weak of heart.

Please be safe out there!

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