Friday, July 18, 2008


Blog was posted on chatroom very early this morning...had problems with the Blogger website this morning so here is the blog in its entirety as posted on the chatroom:

Arguably, the most uttered investing maxim is “buy and hold.” Because most people are inherently optimistic (as we all should be otherwise, why live?), people tend to think that whatever stock they buy will go up in time. Never mind that times change, situations change, and businesses change. However, there are many periods of time (much less individual stocks) in which this is not true. Ask shareholders of former hot stocks like Hone Shopping Network, Worldcom, Enron, and Boston Market how they feel about the ‘buy and hold’ mentality. On point here, the Dow Jones Industrial Average first closed above 10000 in late March 1999. It is now nine years later and the DJIA is hovering above 11000 adjusted for dividends. Delving deeper into this, it means that the Dow is up just over 1% per annum for nine years when all is said and done. It is statistics such as this which make the very concept of picking a stock and “sticking with it” ostensibly preposterous. In day trading terms, it is the exact same thing. Especially in the recent markets, there have been many traders who have bought or short sold a stock, have it move against them, and they just with it. Now, this may be for mere minutes, but as any day trader who has been around long enough can tell you, an entire day’s income can be lost in mere minutes. So, keep in mind that things change constantly not only in a nine year time span, but also in a nine minute time span.

Overnight, markets overseas were mixed to slightly higher after trying to take into digest Wall Street’s gains from yesterday yet take into account the declines in GOOG overnight. But, the financials have a strong tone this morning and that seems to be lending support quite nicely to this market. Options expiration today and 95 degrees in the Hamptons so get your trading done early.

SGLP- may declare bankruptcy after intense liquidity problems…looking A-B_A2 to downside in particular

C_ very strong earnings…best trade of the day will likely be around 7Amish as there is major action around 18.50. Probably a buy there. Post 9;30AM, A-B-A2 of some sort

ZION- terrible earnings. Looking to buy thru unch.

MER- terrible earnings. Looking to buy thru unch on heels of other financials. If it fails, A-B-A2 to downside

GMXR- major share offering 70.50. If it gets above 70.50, likely a buy.

Slew of banks/brokers…all shorts thru unch if they open higher if market weakens or A-B-A2 to upside if market strengthens: SFI, CBBO, EWBC, GBCI, LEH, CNB, WB, DSL, WFC, BK, USB, BAC, FED, CYN, HBAN, BBT, STT, CMA, PNC, JPM, STI, RF, FMBI

COF- earnings not great- buy thru unch and even like the A_b_A2 to upside in particular

Oils/Energies/Infrastructure- all A-B-A2s depending on oil’s direction-

MCHX- closed on low; if opens higher short thru unch

Earnings – all tradable:


C -.59/17.72B 0.34/24.90B -.77/84.05B 2.51/111.08B

GAP -.43/2.93B -.30/2.21B -.87/9.65B .33/9.75B

HON .94/9.22B .95/9.34B 3.79/37.24B 4.29/39.12B

MAN 1.50/5.96B 1.59/6.04B 5.73/23.61B 6.12/24.85B

MAT .03/1.04B .71/1.93B 1.44/6.16B 1.69/6.37B

OSTK -.28/181M -.25/188M -.57/911M -.22/1.05B

SLB 1.12/6.48B 1.26/6.93B 4.78/27.02B 5.89/31.84B

WL .49/184M .60/187M 2.31/753M 2.62/794M

Good luck today.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


By day’s end today, we will have a pretty good grasp of the state of the tech sector. Among others due to report their quarterly earnings today are Google (GOOG), IBM (IBM), and Microsoft (MSFT). So much attention has been paid recently to the financial sector –and deservedly so. However, the tech sector has quietly outperformed the broader for a few weeks now. Today will provide a lot of color as to whether these stocks should indeed be trading relatively strong. Typically, GOOG, IBM, and MSFT all tend to offer conservative guidance so pay special attention to whatever they say. This goes back to yesterday’s ‘message of the market’ theme. If as a group they report better than expected numbers and they sell off, it is a sign the bottom for the market – even on a temporary basis- is not in yet. If, however, they report worse than expected numbers and the market shakes it off, that is most definitely an indication that yesterday’s gains are not ephemeral. To a day trader, this is especially important because many scenarios are created trading-wise depending on the outcome of the numbers so make sure you are fully aware of what is going on in all of them to trade not only those stocks, but most any stock tomorrow.

Overnight, stocks in Asia marched in tune with Wall Street’s rebound, bouncing from about 1% to 2% across the board. Oil continued down as well. This morning, look for a strong open on the heels of some more strong earnings in the financial sector. The best day trading plays will be A-b_A2’s to the upside as well as shorting stocks thru unchanged which open higher after a big gain yesterday but are on the verge of declining into negative territory.

Remember how we said these ideas would look a little different during earnings season due to the inexactness and rapidity of the flow? Here goes:

CSIQ- announced share offering at 34. In good market, should have A-B-A2 to upside with preferred buy point at unchanged (35.65). Conversely, in bad market, look to short below 34.

JPM- strong on earnings. A-B_A2 of some sort.

EBAY- very weak numbers. Didn’t really trade much below 26 after-hours last night so no matter what time of day it is, short thru 26 the first time it trades there (if it does). May happen before 7:30AM.

MER, BLK- MER selling stake in Bloomberg…not Blackrock. If MER opens higher and goes toward unch, short…also looking at A-B-A2 of some sort- preferably short side, but doesn’t matter.

YUM- bad earnings…A-B-A2 of some sort

ADS- good earnings…A-b-A2 of some sort

CCK- good earnings…A-B-A2 of some sort

WCG- very weak yesterday; if it opens higher and looks to break unch, short thru unch. Conversely, A-B-A2 of some sort.

BK- earnings not great; if I goes positive, it is a buy thru unch.

BAX- decent numbers; short thru unch and/or A-B-A2 of some sort

HOG- great numbers. A-B-A2 of some sort

JPM- solid numbers. A-B-A2 of some sort, but top trade is that if it gets to 38 pre-hours and reloads around there, short anywhere e below 37.90 (the first time it does it if at all).

UTX- decent numbers. A-B-A2 of some sort

Good luck today.

Companies due to report today and their estimates:


AMFI .09/55M .15/56M -.81/222M 1.15/229M

AMTD .32/610M .32/596M 1.35/2.47B 1.43/2.57B

APH .58/816M .59/827M 2.33/3.26B 2.60/3.50B

BAX .82/3.05B .81/3.01B 3.24/12.21B 3.69/13.18B

BBT .69/1.79B .71/1.83B 2.86/7.27B 3.11/7.74B

BK .76/3.84B .73/3.80B 2.98/15.41B 3.41/16.65B

BLK 1.98/1.32B 2.33/1.43B 8.73/5.51B 10.45/6.24B

CAL -.46/4.05B -1.47/4.15B -4.75/15.42B -1.97/15.92B

CHB .11/325M .18/345M .30/1.28B .62/1.44B

CIT -.3.10/540M .17/533M -4.14/2.37B 1.40/2.63B

CMA .52/679M .57/688M 2.32/2.80B 3.01/2.92B

CY .21/540M .26/562M .91/2.16B 1.46/2.78B

DHR 1.06/3.16B 1.14/3.21B 4.36/12.89B 4.92/13.71B

EDU .01/35M 1.09/107M 1.23/197M 1.72/269M

FCS .17/413M .22/426M .85/1.68B 1.04/1.75B

FHN -.08/547M -.01/545M .00/2.24B .56/2.12B

GPC .79/2.85B .80/2.89B 3.13/11.21B 3.31/11.61B

HBAN .23/621M .21/631M 1.07/2.49B 1.15/2.64B

HNI .22/601M .51/667M 1.54/2.49B 1.95/2.53B

HOG .76/1.42B .86/1.45B 3.06/5.49B 3.38/5.67B

IGT .36/684M .40/727M 1.33/2.62B 1.74/3.00B

ITW .97/4.57B .95/4.46B 3.64/17.78B 4.02/18.90B

JCI .73/9.78B .84/9.94B 2.43/38.69B 2.79/41.30B

JPM .49/16.64B .65/17.47B 2.55/73.34B 3.51/81.42B

KO .96/8.94B .79/8.56B 3.07/33.13B 3.36/35.24B

MEG .06/216M .64/245M .92/901M .85/901M

MMR 1.03/291M .79/309M 2.37/1.19B 3.05/1.30B

MTG -.61/457M -.96/441M -3.92/1.77B -.55/1.86B

NXY 1.29/1.93B 1.40/2.06B 5.57/8.06B 6.15/9.26B

NOK .56/19.99B .60/20.83B 2.49/84.70B 2.73/90.12B

NUE 1.78/6.38B 1.90/6.97B 6.97/24.99B 7.52/27.02B

NVS .93/10.20B .97/10.63B 3.65/41.60B 3.97/44.69B

PNC 1.17/1.86B 1.26/1.92B 4.75/7.51B 5.40/8.08B

PPG 1.54/4.17B 1.51/4.00B 5.38/15.65B 5.99/16.33B

RS 2.10/2.12B 1.94/2.20B 7.26/8.45B 7.65/9.38B

SHW 1.39/2.19B 1.20/2.16B 3.80/7.99B 4.24/8.24B

SPWR .50/343M .57/347M 2.17/1.36B 3.37/1.93B

SWY .52/10.21B .49/10.21B 2.28/45.03B 2.52/46.38B

TXT .97/3.75B .99/3.78B 3.98/15.09B 4.62/16.32B

UMPQ .20/86M .23/87M .90/349M 1.09/367M

UTX 1.30/15.30B 1.30/15.01B 4.89/59.75B 5.44/63.12B

VMI 1.35/480M 1.07/433M 4.74/1.78B 5.55/1.98B


AMD -.52/1.45B -.30/1.60B -1.45/6.31B -.64/6.91B

AVCT .43/155M .52/167M 1.78/637M 2.11/680M

BRO .32/248M .30/244M 1.25/986M 1.35/1.07B

BXS .41/177M .42/180M 1.66/716M 1.80/760M

CBST .10/98M .30/106M .98/406M 1.63/510M

COF 1.31/4.37B 1.22/4.42B 5.05/17.85B 5.58/18.23B

CYT 1.16/932M 1.11/938M 4.32/3.79B 4.79/3.99B

ESLR -.10/22M -.08/27M -.24/117M .48/392M

FBC -.02/125M .03/127M -.10/488M .44/495M

GILD .48/1.25B .49/1.29B 1.99/5.17B 2.29/6.10B

GOOG 4.73/3.86B 5.01/4.09B 20.19/16.20B 24.84/20.62B

IBM 1.82/25.92B 1.95/26.07B 8.56/107.03B 9.59/112.17B

LEG .27/1.07B .31/1.11B 1.09/4.20B 1.29/4.30B

MER -1.91/3.27B .61/6.98B -2.35/21.92B 4.24/33.43B

MSFT .47/15.65B .50/15.12B 1.89/60.25B 2.16/67.30B

PMCS .12/137M .12/138M .46/543M .51/608M

RGA 1.48/1.58B 1.53/1.59B 5.77/6.38B 6.71/7.02B

SYK .73/1.68B .67/1.65B 2.88/6.84B 3.44/7.69B

TPX .23/233M .35/267M 1.15/1.02B 1.38/1.07B

ZION .75/627M .91/658M 3.48/2.56B 4.26/2.77B

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


An extremely important tenet of trading is to ‘listen to the message of the markets.’ Of course, nobody really truly can say with 100% certainty what that message is. But there are often some major crosscurrents which provide some color. Yesterday, among other things, the Federal government decided to ban naked short selling in Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE). Without going into detail about the historic ramifications of this development, suffice to say, one would think shares of those two entities would close higher even in the immediate-term. Instead, they were the two biggest percentage losers on the NYSE. Furthermore, the price of oil yesterday had one of its biggest one-day declines of all time. One would think that the S&P 500 would close higher. Instead, the S&P 500 closed down over 1% on a new multi-year low. The message of the market from these two tenets is this: it is highly likely that the bottom is not in yet. These two developments should have been viewed as a positive and instead after a nice rally, the broader market still finished down heavily again. For day trading purposes, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) for instance was a short thru unchanged in the late afternoon when that particular average failed to hold its gains. Now, for all I/we know, yesterday was the bottom proving everything typed here invalid. However, one has to wait for the market to totally ignore negative news and focus on the positive in all likelihood. For instance, if a major bank were to fail and the market finished positive as people wondered why the market did not go down (with the answer being that most if not all the bad news is out), that’d be a sign. If a Citicorp or a Merrill Lynch (MER) reported huge write-offs and after opening down, they finished higher (presumably because write-offs were finished), that’d be a sign. But, if the market does not react to positive news, the message here is still to be very careful as complete fright/panic has not set in quite yet although we are subject to massive short covering rallies here almost at random. And please please please do not take this as a long-term forecast; use these parables for day trading only, specifically the example of the Dow plunging through unchanged late in the day when the market failed to hold in reaction to what should have been perceived as good news.

Overnight, markets in Asia were slightly higher while Europe is getting hit again, down 1 to 1 ½% across the board. Oil is down another couple of dollars a barrel. State-side, the futures are weak again. The forecast for today is choppy. It is probably going to be a difficult opening to trade as stocks closed in the middle of a wide range yesterday so be a little extra cautious to start certainly. It is notable that things like FNM and FRE and WFC are up this morning so they may provide a bit of a cushion to overall prices. CPI data is the negative; stocks are mixed, but seem poised for some short covering with financials strong. Today could be a pretty good A-B-A2 to the upsdie for the market. If we open higher, there will likely be some selling, but there's an underlying strength there not found recently.

INTC- came with decent earnings and raised guidance; not really a trade per se as an indicator of where the market will likely go. NASDAQ relatively strong yesterday so the direction of INTC will likely show the state of the market. Not necessarily eve na short thru unch…just watching it.

CBI- warned badly. Likely an A-B-A2 of some sort- probably to upside as it traded to 27 last night and bounced.

CSX- good earnings; if market strong, likely an A-B-A2 to upside

VFC- bad earnings; stock beaten down…ideally looking for A-B-A2 to upside if market trends higher

STX- bad earnings; wonder if stock can get over 16…A-B-A2 of some sort

JAVA- stock traded a lot higher than its current level lat this writing of around 9.30. Could be A-b_a2 to upside in market strength.

GNW- closed on low; if it opens higher, looking t oshort thru new low

ACE- same as GNW

ABT- good earnings; looking A-B-A2 of some sort

WFC- fantastic earnings. Likely a short if market weak, but will be more likely a complicated A-B-A2 of some sort.

CLF,ANR- CLF buying out ANR for 0.95 shares of CLP plus 22.23 in cash. CLF likely a buy thru unch if it is close; if not, could be a very good A-B-A2 to upside as on paper this is a good deal for CLF

STJ- great earnings. Looking for A-B-A2 of some sort.

FRE, FNM,LEH, WB- all higher along with other financials…don’t see easy trades, but notable for their strength as one wouldn’t think the market would break if these were up yet if it does, these all become major shorts thru unch.


ABT .79/7.21B .79/7.21B 3.23/29.15B 3.62/31.55B

AMB 1.06/187M 1.02/187M 3.95/736M 4.17/777M

ASML .38/1.25B .37/1.20B 1.76/5.30B 2.13/6.58B

FMBI .48/91M .52/94M 2.00/372M 2.20/392M

GCI 1.02/1.74B .90/1.70B 3.88/6.95B 3.56/6.73B

HST .55/1.41B .35/1.22B 1.90/5.48B 1.94/5.62B

MI -1.39/624M .26/634M -.38/2.54B 1.58/2.67B

NTRS 1.06/1.01B 1.01/995M 4.10/4.04B 4.52/4.36B

PJC -.11/92M .23/101M .43/402M 1.94/465M

STJ .55/1.06B .53/1.04B 2.20/4.22B 2.46/4.63B

WFC .51/10.66B .52/10.81B 2.16/42.91B 2.44/46.24B


ADS 1.00/518M 1.15/538M 4.31/2.14B 4.97/2.37B

AF .36/111M .41/120M 1.53/460M 1.92/529M

CAVM .09/21M .12/24M .45/90M .77/132M

CCK .55/2.12B .66/2.29B 1.61/8.12B 1.93/8.49B

EBAY .41/2.16B .41/2.18B 1.74/9.00B 1.96/10.20B

LSTR .56/674M .59/682M 2.18/2.65B 2.51/2.87B

PLCM .36/265M .39/273M 1.56/1.08B 1.83/1.22B

XLNX .35/482M .36/483M 1.50/1.97B 1.71/2.14B
YUM .42/2.55B .56/2.76B 1.89/11.18B 2.13/11.48B

Good luck today.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


One of the oldest sayings in the book is “the perception becomes the reality.” Now, we’re not going to turn this into a philosophy lesson (although maybe we should). Yesterday afternoon, the author of this blog- who has a somewhat significant amount of money at Washington Mutual Bank (WM)- decided to take his money out of the bank. Is that bank in trouble? Does anybody really know? But with the stock approaching 3 dollars a share, the growing perception out there is that the bank indeed is in trouble. Ask the people standing in line (and especially the people with non-FDIC protected accounts) at Indymac Banks around the nation (IMB) as to what reality is. In a micro sense, this concept is especially true in day trading. Whether it is Level II marketmakers or a broader concept such as whether WM will fail, we as a day trading community trade increasingly on perception as a sense of paranoia- undeserved or not- pervades the street. There are real actions which occur such as the removal of money from a bank account, but the perception that just such a thing could happen is what helped drive shares of WM among others down yesterday. And as day traders, all we know is what we see; we do not know the liquidity ratios of National City Bank (NCC) or how much money has been withdrawn out of WM, but we can act on what we see in front of us to earn a living. And if the perception is that the financials are in trouble, well all of a sudden, many of them may well be…but again, put rather coldly, it is not our place to worry about such dense yet important concepts to do our job. Rather, we must continue to act on the perceived view of reality- whether it is reality or not because inevitably, it could become reality.

Overnight, it is more of the same. Markets in Asia were hit very hard overnight on more financial worries which spread to Europe which spread to the U.S. Oil is up somewhat significantly, the dollar is down a lot, and metals are up. There are four different ways today will play out. The best is that we open sharply down (like 500 points on the Dow) and begin rallying. The smaller version of this is that we rally from wherever we open. The second is an A-B-A2 in which we open (again use Dow metrics)- down 100, go to down 150 or something, and then buy down 100. The third is an A-B-A2 in which the Dow opens down 75, rallies to down 40, and then short down 75. The fourth is the ever fun A-B-A2-B2-A3 in which the market would yo-yo first before doing one of the aforementioned scenarios. Sounds heady, but it really is not if you think about it.

LEH- really closed near 13 last night…there was a huge downtick on the closing bell. If the market rallies, it is a buy thru unch (12.40).

DNA- good earnings; they missed on current quarter, but raised guidance. In rallying environment, looking for A-B_A2 to upside; if down market, no trade.

STSA- bank; looking to short thru 2.50 if it opens higher

ESLR- announced gigantic contract; likely A-B_A2 of some sort.

SAH- warned…A-B-A2 on downside potentially

CSIQ- share offering; if market rallies, stock will probably uptick after strong day yesterday

JNJ- good earnings A-B-A2 to upside

ETN- bad earnings…A-B-A2 of some sort

STT- VERY strong earnings; A-B-A2 of some sort, but it could stave off a collapse of big bank stocks today

USB- bad earnings- likely an A-B-A2 to downside if market trends lower

KMB- warned a-b-a2

Slew of bank/financial stocks…all of these could be buys if they open down and go thru unch or some A-B-A2 if they open down, rally, and then market sells off:

Bernake (sp.) speaking at 10AM; Bush at 10:20AM. Be careful.



ADTN .30/128M .34/136M 1.24/519M 1.41/559M

ETN 1.95/4.14B 2.05/4.20B 7.85/16.10B 9.01/17.60B

GWW 1.46/1.73B 1.52/1.77B 5.88/6.87B 6.50/7.30B

JNJ 1.12/15.99B 1.10/15.61B 4.45/64.24B 4.67/65.53B

PII .68/404M 1.10/559M 3.41/1.90B 3.87/1.99B

STT 1.35/2.58B 1.18/2.47B 5.15/10.06B 5.48/10.74B

USB .60/3.78B .61/3.84B 2.47/15.31B 2.68/16.28B


ALTR .27/347M .26/351M 1.07/1.39B 1.26/1.53B

CTAS .56/1.02B .54/1.02B 2.14/3.95B 2.27/4.17B

CSX .90/2.85B .91/2.87B 3.57/11.38B 4.26/12.27B

INTC .25/9.32B .34/10.07B 1.25/39.94B 1.52/42.72B

JBHT .36/925M .41/970M 1.54/3.81B 1.91/4.11B

STX .42/2.88B .58/3.23B 2.62/12.69B 2.51/13.16B

VFC .85/1.67B 2.14/2.28B 5.96/7.90B 6.61/8.56B

Good luck today.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Friday was a rather extraordinary day for trading. As has been harped on repeatedly since the inception of this blog, the critical entities leading the market are the direction of oil prices, Lehman (LEH) and most recently, the fate of Freddie Mac (FRE) and Fannie Mae (FNM). Let’s work on this from macro to micro. Oil is obvious; the higher the price, the harder the economy is. Lehman is one of the nation’s leading investment banks so if it is so much as perceived that there is trouble there, there is trouble for the whole financial sector. But Freddie and Fannie are two different animals. They ostensibly provide funds to mortgage lenders, but have government backing. So, basically, it is the government that supports both of them as a last resort. This is where it can get complex: Fannie and Freddie can still operate- no matter how many bad loans they have- simply because you and I and all of our American taxpayer friends fund Freddie and Fannie. But, if the companies themselves have negative net worth, the stock price has to go to 0 and the companies must be absorbed by the Federal government. Again, it doesn’t matter if they have $75 billion of bad mortgages because you and I will absorb those losses. So, the headlines we’ve been hearing center around the ability of these companies to maintain funding and how/if they will get it . As far as trading, the only way to make serious money in these things is to breathe and make sense of the news. When the “New York Times” runs a front page story that the government may absorb the things and the stocks are nearly flat at 6:45AM AND the futures begin selling off, selling them just below unchanged is the only prudent thing to do. Period. A number of people here had one of their finest trades of the year on Friday morning by doing just that. The moral here is to pick spots, be patient, and don’t overtrade. If traders lose money by trading 50,000 FRE and losing money net-net, those traders won’t be around along. So especially in this volatility, exercise caution…and of course precision and a lack of pride in trying to prove yourself right; expedience is the key here in this market.

Overnight, the Federal government took action to essentially be a lender of last resort for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae which gave foreign markets a boost with momentum spread over to the futures in the U.S. The markets will definitely open higher; the question of the day of course is “will it hold?” The only answer offered here is this: traded into selected major strength and weakness; if the market is strong and a major financial is near unchanged, it is likely a short thru unch…that type of thing.

FRE,FNM- no obvious trades. Mention them simply to advise everyone to ‘be careful.’ Stocks in middle of pre-morning range…nothing clear. But they will lead the market today in all likelihood.

CSIQ- pre-announced to upside. Stock a likely A-B-A2 of some sort. Also, watch other solars for relative strength type trades, i.e. if CSIQ is strong and an LDK or a FSLR is weak, short those type things thru unch.

ZION- was downgraded to sell at Goldman Sachs. If it does not open down a lot, buy thru unch.

YHOO- spurned Microsoft over weekend. If stock opens down but close to unch, it is likely a buy thru unch because there really is no reason to own it today per se.

ATI- pre-announced to upside. A-B-A2 of some sort

CRME- positive phase II data. Stock very strong…likely an A-B-A2 thru 11.

MEE,PPG- on Cramer

Earnings season starts in earnest as the weak goes along; today, MTB and PHG before open and DNA and NVLS after the close.

Please please please be extra nimble today. Things will be whippy. Have extraordinarily tight stops, particularly for those in the ‘short’ mentality should the market really go to the upside as that is how most people are programmed to think right now.

Good luck today.