Now What?

Or, what now?
The market moved pretty decisively today as it finally broke through that elusive 20,000 barrier, that really wasn’t so very elusive.
It really didn’t take that long to breach the 20,000 level, but you do have to wonder what comes next.
Historically, if you are a covered option trader, your portfolio performs better, in relative terms during a downward trend.
I know that to be true in my own experience, but I have really been enjoying this post-election stock market celebration, even as I may not yet find anything to celebrate in the election itself.
Certainly not the process, but I’m still open-minded as far as what comes next. Continue reading “Now What?”

Keeping the Streak Alive

I think I know how Joe DiMaggio must have felt.
After having made at least one trade for the first 11 trading days of the year, I doubt that I can keep it going for another 45 days, but I can dream.
I was hoping to get some trades done this week, but for the most part that hope was tied to do something with some of the many positions set to expire this week as the January 2017 option cycle was getting ready to come to its end.
I was hoping not to really be faced with a deluge of trades on Friday, especially since I have to have my attention focused on a few of those positions that had calls sold upon them at strike prices well below their purchase prices.
What surprised me is that I actually parted with some money in order to keep the streak alive.
I also tied that money up until next week.
I wasn’t planning for either of those things to happen, but very little really goes according to script.
The market did almost nothing today, as the DJIA moved a little bit further away from the 20,000 level.
Even a Janet Yellen speech today did little to shake things up, as she spoke mostly in academic terms and there was little for anyone to understand and to then act upon. Continue reading “Keeping the Streak Alive”

What Comes Next?

The road ahead really is pretty unclear.
The stock market may have been expressing a little of the uncertainty that awaits as we get ready to see the proverbial rubber hit the road.
What may be coming clear to some is that the bluster may not have too much behind it.
Or maybe it will.
That’s the problem.
We are in such untested waters that it may be crazy to actually put anything at risk right now, especially as we still sit so close to all time highs.
As we await Inauguration Day and we will be back to having only a single President at a time, we may get to find out whether words will be finding their counterpart in actions.
What we know right now is that we probably shouldn’t have taken too many words with a literal meaning.
What we also know is that there may not be very much agreement between the President and the other elected officials across from him in the Capital.
Even ones in his own party. Continue reading “What Comes Next?”

Wouldn’t that be Great?

everydayIf only this picture was true.
At least when it came to trading.
So far, this year has been a trader’s dream come true.
I’ve made trades each and every trading day of the year, but the only problem has been that there is no trading on Saturday and Sunday.
On top of that, you’ve got those pesky holidays.
The past couple of years I welcomed some of those pesky holidays.
But for a really large part of the 2007 to 2014 period I was actually upset whenever there was a day off from trading.
It’s nice to feel that way again. Continue reading “Wouldn’t that be Great?”

Deal Me In

dealI don’t know what it is about 2017, but whatever it is, I want to be dealt in on it.
While a 1.3% increase YTD on the S&P 500 isn’t necessarily the kind of thing that legends are built upon, it’s far, far better than the first 10 days in 2016.
I don’t like to project very much, especially if that means counting and spending money that you don’t really have, but 2016 ended being up such a nice year when compared to the already good S&P p500 performance, that I am beginning to salivate about the prospects for 2017.
That’s probably not a really good idea.
What I especially like is that I’ve had a trade in each of the 6 trading days to date.
That’s a pattern that I would really love to continue.
Today’s early rollover of the Cliffs Natural Resources puts in the face of commodity strength is something that I hope to be doing a lot of, much as was the case with Marathon Oil in the latter half of 2016. Continue reading “Deal Me In”

Spending Money

spending-moneyI wasn’t really expecting to spend much money this week.
What I really wanted was to replicate last week and to do that for the remaining 51 weeks of 2017.
Back in the days when I did initiate lots of new positions, if you go all the way back to 2015, it always seemed as if money was burning a hole in my pockets or that maybe I believed that cash was only good to wipe one’s butt.
That’s pretty far from the truth, but that’s what it looked like and that’s what it felt like, even though I know myself pretty well.
So no one was more surprised than me, after having toiled hard to raise cash reserves for about a year and finally getting to a point that I felt was good enough to be prepared for whatever awaited, that within 30 minutes of the opening bell I had already opened 2 new positions.
I’m still of the mindset that I would like to see my existing positions get used on a much more frequent and regular basis through the sale of calls, but I just couldn’t resist this morning. Continue reading “Spending Money”

It Really Shouldn’t Come As a Surprise

supriseThere’s really no reason to be surprised, but I woke up this morning realizing that earnings season has to be starting soon.
As if it ever really ended.
What really makes things different this quarter is that Alcoa, even though it has now been out of the DJIA for a little while, is no longer the official/unofficial start to earnings season.
The official start of earnings season honors went to JP Morgan after Alcoa left the DJIA, but Alcoa still came first.
No more.
This week, earnings start for real on Friday morning, with JP Morgan getting things started and Alcoa doesn’t announce  until a full 11 days later.
It’s a whole new world order.
 tweetI was greeted this fine snowy Sunday morning with a very nice Tweet.
What was also very nice was not having to write an article in a rush to meet an unclear deadline in order to get potentially time sensitive material posted.
Or, for that matter, writing it at all.
My response to the Tweet was that 300 of those articles was enough and so I then did what was the only seemingly natural thing. Continue reading “It Really Shouldn’t Come As a Surprise”

Santa Steals Away Joy from Retailers

santaclausFollowing a pretty good day today, where we really did come close to the mystical 20,000 level of the DJIA,. there was a big surprise after the closing bell.
The surprise that came can give you just a little idea of how well anyone really knows what’s truly going on.
If you were following the market today, you may have noticed that national retailers were really strong.
In fact, I took the opportunity to sell some calls on a couple of lots of Macy’s shares that have been sitting around uncovered for the past week or so.
I like to at least consider selling calls, even if the strike price isn’t something to really make me salivate, as long as the shares are moving strongly at the time.
That described Macy’s, as it was more than $1 higher earlier in the trading session.
While I didn’t think about selling calls on Coach, Kohls, nor Abercrombie and Fitch, they too were all strongly higher during the day.
You may also remember that I sold calls on The Gap, yesterday.
Then a funny, well maybe not too funny thing happened after the close.
The bottom fell out as Macy’s and others reported the not so good Christmas sales news.
Sales stunk.
Not only did sales stink, but guidance was moved lower.
How could that be? Especially as the economy is supposedly heating up?
So we await tomorrow’s Employment Situation Report and will be left to wonder, if the news continues to be good, just where people are spending their money.
The obvious answer is that they’re doing it on Amazon or they’re just not spending it on old fashioned things like sweaters and place settings.
Maybe they’re spending it on streaming data plans. Continue reading “Santa Steals Away Joy from Retailers”

Let the Partying Begin

partyfavor What a way to start the new year.
Not even close to the way 2016 started, but then again, 2016 wasn’t all that bad.
For a little while it looked as if 2017 was going to start off with a major disappointment as the market decided to do something that it hadn’t done for a while.
In fact, it hasn’t really happened since we accepted the fact that we were getting someone very unexpected as our new President.
What happened today was that the stock market actually followed oil, again.
That was the story for most of 2016 and the story worked out pretty well, as long as you didn’t sell your oil losers in 2015, or repeatedly went back to the literal and figurative well in pursuit of the gains.
Even though there wasn’t too much evidence that the rise in oil prices was actually tied to increasing demand, the stock market just looked at a year of slowly, if not steadily increasing oil prices, as a good thing.
Who would have guessed? Continue reading “Let the Partying Begin”