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Blog Archives

Earnings Season

July 12, 2010


Good morning. It was a very positive week for the market last week, with the SPY trading up 5.76 to close at 107.96 (5.6%). It was an even more dramatic move for the S&P Futures contract, which actually traded down to 1003 in the electronic session last Monday and finished the week at 1072.50, or up 6.9% from the low print. Last week’s positive move almost exactly negated the strong down move the week before, and last Friday’s close of 107.96 is a whole 9 cents higher than the close on 6/25 of 107.87.

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Mental Midgets and More

March 29, 2010


Good morning. Another quiet week in terms of volatility last week, but again the market did finish with a gain. The SPY was up fractionally again, gaining .61 to close at 116.58. At times, both Thursday and Friday, it looked like there was a chance of a real upside breakout, but late sell-offs dampened the mood. On Thursday, for instance, the SPY traded all the way up to 118.17 before closing near the day’s lows at 116.65. Normally that would be the sign of a tired market, but any attempt at a sell-off seems to be met by buyers below the market (at least so far).  The VIX was actually up on the week, although fractionally, closing up .82 to 17.77. If anything, the upward skew in the implied volatility going forward worsened, and it remains significantly more expensive, in terms of implied volatility, to buy far out protective puts than it does to buy anything near term. For example, in AT&T (trading $26.24), the January 25 puts of 2012 are trading for a 23 implied volatility vs. the near term April 26 options at a 15 implied volatility. I am not sure what sort of relative carnage or volatility spike the market is collectively expecting going forward, but it is sure priced in.

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General Motors

June 1, 2009


Good morning. A powerful advance last week in the market, with the S&P running Friday on the close to finish up 3.9% on the week, moving from 89.02 to 92.53. Continual upward moves in oil and other commodities are fueling the rally, as evidenced by the XLE being up 6.3% for the four-day week. Depending on your point of view, the increase in oil prices is an indication of a start to the recovery or an amazing example of the power of OPEC and the oil companies to hoard and store oil for the purpose of driving up prices.

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Conundrums and Stress Tests

May 11, 2009


Good morning. It was yet another solid week for the market, especially big caps, last week. The SPY had a very strong move from 97.89 to 92.98, or 5.8% (and now positive on the year), and the Industrials were up 4.4%, from 8,212 to 8,575. The QQQQ’s, however, were actually down slightly on the week, from 34.37 to 34.23. To some extent the rally was concentrated in oils and financials, and the de-coupling with the QQQQ’s may signal that some caution should be considered after the rapid run-up. The VIX continues to show an increased comfort in the market, as it was down over 10% on the week, from 35.29 to 32.04.

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Our “Brand” of Capitalism

April 6, 2009


Good morning. The market, despite a bad start on Monday, had another strong week as the S&P finished at $84.26, up $2.65 or 3%. Friday’s close represents an amazing 26% rally from the lows set on March 6, and for the buy and hold types it gets you back to roughly where you were on Feb. 10. We are still down about 7% on the year, but it sure feels like up compared to the first week of March. Is this a real rally?

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