Here's the latest Stock World Weekly: Market Forces.
Features this week include:
- Technicals by Mark Hanna
- Discussion of HFT by Washington's Blog
- Allan Trends (charts and the big table)
- Sea of Cash by Lee Adler
- Pharmboy and Phil's trade ideas
TECHNICALS with Mark Hanna:
This week, the indexes broke through the tops of their boxes. The carbon and silicon-based life forms controlling the trading scene are now free to run the Risk-Off trade to new heights. As Mark observed on Thursday,
“Looks like people are jumping on the upside bandwagon again as the S&P has cleared those highs of 1392-1393 at the 'top of the box... Keep in mind Bernanke has us in a "Tepper moment" again. [Sep 24, 2010: Video - Appaloosa's David Tepper - Ben Bernanke Will Make Everything Go Up in the Can't Lose Environment]
“Either the economy gets better, or the Fed comes in with guns blazing. Either scenario the stock market "wins" in simple think... [Apr 1, 2012: Is it Really as Simple as Don't Fight the Fed?]...
“Mr. Bernanke said the Fed 'remains prepared to do more' to help the economy should there be further deterioration. We don't know what will trigger QE3, but it's clear it's still out there.
“Technically now one can use the 'resistance becomes support' thesis, and S&P 1392ish is the line to work against.” [Clearly We've Broken Out of the Box to the Upside]
[Mark’s disclosure notice: Any securities mentioned on this page are not held by the author in his personal portfolio. Securities mentioned may or may not be held by the author in the mutual fund he manages, the Paladin Long Short Fund (PALFX). For a list of the aforementioned fund's holdings at the end of the prior quarter, visit the Paladin Funds website at http://www.paladinfunds.com/holdings/blog]
HFT TRADING with Washington's Blog
Addressing the proportion of silicon to carbon-based traders, Washington’s Blog reported, “As of 2010, 50-70% of all stock trades were done by high frequency trading computer algorithms. And many other asset classes are dominated by high frequency trading as well.
“High-frequency trading distorts the markets. See this and this. It lets the big banks peak at what the real traders are buying and selling, and then trade on the insider information. See this, this, this, and this.
“Morgan Stanley has just shown (via the Financial Times) that the percentage of high frequency trading in the stock market has skyrocketed to 84%:
'Trading by “real” investors is taking up the smallest share of US stock market volumes [since Morgan Stanley started keeping track 10 years ago.]
'The findings highlight how US trading activity is increasingly being fueled by fast turnover of shares by independent firms and the market-making desks of brokerages, many using high-frequency trading engines. [All of the market-making desks are using it.]’”
TRENDS - Allan Trends
Once again the VXX Long signals were quickly reversed as the market climbed higher last week.
The patterns playing out with the stock market indexes are not as unanimous, and considering the “big picture,” equal weight needs to be given to all the indices.
The principle of trend following is to be on the right side of the dominant trend of the market. What we see above is a clear downtrend in volatility, VXX, while a mixed bag of signals in the equity indices. I would be more comfortable going Long the market here if all-of-the-above were in alignment. Although this weekend, it looks as though that is where we are headed, we are not there yet.
Gold and Silver rose into the end of last week, but both remain in dominant downtrends. These two can offer tremendous gains as they trend extremely well and there is a host of leveraged instruments to play the trends. Three day of rally was not enough to turn these trends Long, but they are setting up a trading opportunity by either triggering fresh Long trends, or hitting the trend lines and resuming their downtrends with a vengeance.
SEA OF CASH by Lee Adler
Looking ahead, will the latest index break outs from Mark Hanna’s boxes endure? Will Allan’s signals turn uniformly to LONGs? Lee Adler of the Wall Street Examiner discusses this question in “Tide About to go Out On the Sea of Cash.” His analysis casts doubt on the idea that the stock market will soar to new highs.
Courtesy of Lee Adler.
The massive $50 billion Treasury bill paydown that the dealers and other holders received on April 16, augmented by a much more modest $3 billion paydown last week was enough to keep the markets floating upward on a sea of cash. But the tide is about to go out.
Monday, the players must settle $54 billion in new notes and TIPS auctioned last week. From now until mid June, when estimated quarterly income taxes will be collected, there will be no more paydowns. Every other week, another wave of longer term paper will buffet the market. This is a normal feature of the calendar every year, which is one of the reasons why “sell in May and go away” works so well year in and year out.
Last year the Fed exacerbated the problem by taking a wait and see attitude after QE2 wound up. Ben will not make the same mistake this year.
The public, as indicated by bond mutual fund flows, is still buying bonds like mad. By holding short term rates at zero, Bernanke is forcing old people to take ever increasing duration and credit risk.
The first wave of Bernankecide through the forced drawdown of savings accounts and money market funds will be followed by a second wave when the elderly face massive capital losses in their bond mutual funds. This massive ongoing loss of purchasing power is a drag on the economy. Bernanke has never addressed the issue because the question hasn’t been asked exactly in those terms.
Tax receipts through mid April were much stronger than last year, but that party appears to be over. Tax receipts have fallen rapidly over the past 10 days, so that they are now barely above last year’s pace in real terms. I may be jumping the gun, but if this continues it will indicate that the economy has stalled again. That will spell bigger than expected Treasury supply. (Tide About to go Out On the Sea of Cash)
Note: This section is part of the Wall Street Examiner Professional Edition Treasury Market Update, available to WSE subscribers and being made available to us this week.
PHARMBOY’S BIOTECH/PHARMA CORNER
This weekend, Pharmboy wrote a follow up article regarding the patent cliff in the pharmaceutical industry. The follow-up article is “Big Pharma – Where Are We Now?” (His original article was "The Calm Before the Storm - Big Pharma Is Gonna Have Big Problems and Pfizer's Is the BIGGEST.")
In conjunction with his analysis of big pharma companies, Pharmboy likes three option strategies for three well-known pharma stocks...
For example, Pharmboy wrote: "BMY - I like buying the stock ($33.31) and going way out in time on the options by selling a January 2014 $32 call and put for $7.10 or better. Alternatively, one could do a synthetic buy/write by buying a January 2014 $25/30 bull call spread for $2.50, and selling a January 2014 $30 put for $2.85 (net credit of 35 cents for a $5 spread)."
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