Welcome to the third and final part of this chapter.submitted by getmrmarket to Forex [link] [comments]
Thank you all for the 100s of comments and upvotes - maybe this post will take us above 1,000 for this topic!
Keep any feedback or questions coming in the replies below.
Before you read this note, please start with Part I and then Part II so it hangs together and makes sense.
Squeezes and other risksWe are going to cover three common risks that traders face: events; squeezes, asymmetric bets.
EventsEconomic releases can cause large short-term volatility. The most famous is Non Farm Payrolls, which is the most widely watched measure of US employment levels and affects the price of many instruments.On an NFP announcement currencies like EURUSD might jump (or drop) 100 pips no problem.
This is fine and there are trading strategies that one may employ around this but the key thing is to be aware of these releases.You can find economic calendars all over the internet - including on this site - and you need only check if there are any major releases each day or week.
For example, if you are trading off some intraday chart and scalping a few pips here and there it would be highly sensible to go into a known data release flat as it is pure coin-toss and not the reason for your trading. It only takes five minutes each day to plan for the day ahead so do not get caught out by this. Many retail traders get stopped out on such events when price volatility is at its peak.
SqueezesShort squeezes bring a lot of danger and perhaps some opportunity.
The story of VW and Porsche is the best short squeeze ever. Throughout these articles we've used FX examples wherever possible but in this one instance the concept (which is also highly relevant in FX) is best illustrated with an historical lesson from a different asset class.
A short squeeze is when a participant ends up in a short position they are forced to cover. Especially when the rest of the market knows that this participant can be bullied into stopping out at terrible levels, provided the market can briefly drive the price into their pain zone.
There's a reason for the car, don't worry
Hedge funds had been shorting VW stock. However the amount of VW stock available to buy in the open market was actually quite limited. The local government owned a chunk and Porsche itself had bought and locked away around 30%. Neither of these would sell to the hedge-funds so a good amount of the stock was un-buyable at any price.
If you sell or short a stock you must be prepared to buy it back to go flat at some point.
To cut a long story short, Porsche bought a lot of call options on VW stock. These options gave them the right to purchase VW stock from banks at slightly above market price.
Eventually the banks who had sold these options realised there was no VW stock to go out and buy since the German government wouldn’t sell its allocation and Porsche wouldn’t either. If Porsche called in the options the banks were in trouble.
Porsche called in the options which forced the shorts to buy stock - at whatever price they could get it.
The price squeezed higher as those that were short got massively squeezed and stopped out. For one brief moment in 2008, VW was the world’s most valuable company. Shorts were burned hard.
Porsche apparently made $11.5 billion on the trade. The BBC described Porsche as “a hedge fund with a carmaker attached.”
If this all seems exotic then know that the same thing happens in FX all the time. If everyone in the market is talking about a key level in EURUSD being 1.2050 then you can bet the market will try to push through 1.2050 just to take out any short stops at that level. Whether it then rallies higher or fails and trades back lower is a different matter entirely.
This brings us on to the matter of crowded trades. We will look at positioning in more detail in the next section. Crowded trades are dangerous for PNL. If everyone believes EURUSD is going down and has already sold EURUSD then you run the risk of a short squeeze.
For additional selling to take place you need a very good reason for people to add to their position whereas a move in the other direction could force mass buying to cover their shorts.
A trading mentor when I worked at the investment bank once advised me:
Always think about which move would cause the maximum people the maximum pain. That move is precisely what you should be watching out for at all times.
Asymmetric lossesAlso known as picking up pennies in front of a steamroller. This risk has caught out many a retail trader. Sometimes it is referred to as a "negative skew" strategy.
Ideally what you are looking for is asymmetric risk trade set-ups: that is where the downside is clearly defined and smaller than the upside. What you want to avoid is the opposite.
A famous example of this going wrong was the Swiss National Bank de-peg in 2012.
The Swiss National Bank had said they would defend the price of EURCHF so that it did not go below 1.2. Many people believed it could never go below 1.2 due to this. Many retail traders therefore opted for a strategy that some describe as ‘picking up pennies in front of a steam-roller’.
They would would buy EURCHF above the peg level and hope for a tiny rally of several pips before selling them back and keep doing this repeatedly. Often they were highly leveraged at 100:1 so that they could amplify the profit of the tiny 5-10 pip rally.
Then this happened.
Something that changed FX markets forever
The SNB suddenly did the unthinkable. They stopped defending the price. CHF jumped and so EURCHF (the number of CHF per 1 EUR) dropped to new lows very fast. Clearly, this trade had horrific risk : reward asymmetry: you risked 30% to make 0.05%.
Other strategies like naively selling options have the same result. You win a small amount of money each day and then spectacularly blow up at some point down the line.
Market positioningWe have talked about short squeezes. But how do you know what the market position is? And should you care?
Let’s start with the first. You should definitely care.
Let’s imagine the entire market is exceptionally long EURUSD and positioning reaches extreme levels. This makes EURUSD very vulnerable.
To keep the price going higher EURUSD needs to attract fresh buy orders. If everyone is already long and has no room to add, what can incentivise people to keep buying? The news flow might be good. They may believe EURUSD goes higher. But they have already bought and have their maximum position on.
On the flip side, if there’s an unexpected event and EURUSD gaps lower you will have the entire market trying to exit the position at the same time. Like a herd of cows running through a single doorway. Messy.
We are going to look at this in more detail in a later chapter, where we discuss ‘carry’ trades. For now this TRYJPY chart might provide some idea of what a rush to the exits of a crowded position looks like.
A carry trade position clear-out in action
Knowing if the market is currently at extreme levels of long or short can therefore be helpful.
The CFTC makes available a weekly report, which details the overall positions of speculative traders “Non Commercial Traders” in some of the major futures products. This includes futures tied to deliverable FX pairs such as EURUSD as well as products such as gold. The report is called “CFTC Commitments of Traders” ("COT").
This is a great benchmark. It is far more representative of the overall market than the proprietary ones offered by retail brokers as it covers a far larger cross-section of the institutional market.
Generally market participants will not pay a lot of attention to commercial hedgers, which are also detailed in the report. This data is worth tracking but these folks are simply hedging real-world transactions rather than speculating so their activity is far less revealing and far more noisy.
You can find the data online for free and download it directly here.
Raw format is kinda hard to work with
However, many websites will chart this for you free of charge and you may find it more convenient to look at it that way. Just google “CFTC positioning charts”.
But you can easily get visualisations
You can visually spot extreme positioning. It is extremely powerful.
Bear in mind the reports come out Friday afternoon US time and the report is a snapshot up to the prior Tuesday. That means it is a lagged report - by the time it is released it is a few days out of date. For longer term trades where you hold positions for weeks this is of course still pretty helpful information.
As well as the absolute level (is the speculative market net long or short) you can also use this to pick up on changes in positioning.
For example if bad news comes out how much does the net short increase? If good news comes out, the market may remain net short but how much did they buy back?
A lot of traders ask themselves “Does the market have this trade on?” The positioning data is a good method for answering this. It provides a good finger on the pulse of the wider market sentiment and activity.
For example you might say: “There was lots of noise about the good employment numbers in the US. However, there wasn’t actually a lot of position change on the back of it. Maybe everyone who wants to buy already has. What would happen now if bad news came out?”
In general traders will be wary of entering a crowded position because it will be hard to attract additional buyers or sellers and there could be an aggressive exit.
If you want to enter a trade that is showing extreme levels of positioning you must think carefully about this dynamic.
Bet correlationRetail traders often drastically underestimate how correlated their bets are.
Through bitter experience, I have learned that a mistake in position correlation is the root of some of the most serious problems in trading. If you have eight highly correlated positions, then you are really trading one position that is eight times as large.
Bruce Kovner of hedge fund, Caxton Associates
For example, if you are trading a bunch of pairs against the USD you will end up with a simply huge USD exposure. A single USD-trigger can ruin all your bets. Your ideal scenario — and it isn’t always possible — would be to have a highly diversified portfolio of bets that do not move in tandem.
Look at this chart. Inverted USD index (DXY) is green. AUDUSD is orange. EURUSD is blue.
Chart from TradingView
So the whole thing is just one big USD trade! If you are long AUDUSD, long EURUSD, and short DXY you have three anti USD bets that are all likely to work or fail together.
The more diversified your portfolio of bets are, the more risk you can take on each.
There’s a really good video, explaining the benefits of diversification from Ray Dalio.
A systematic fund with access to an investable universe of 10,000 instruments has more opportunity to make a better risk-adjusted return than a trader who only focuses on three symbols. Diversification really is the closest thing to a free lunch in finance.
But let’s be pragmatic and realistic. Human retail traders don’t have capacity to run even one hundred bets at a time. More realistic would be an average of 2-3 trades on simultaneously. So what can be done?
The key thing is to start thinking about a portfolio of bets and what each new trade offers to your existing portfolio of risk. Will it diversify or amplify a current exposure?
Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limitsOne common mistake is to get bored and restless and put on crap trades. This just means trades in which you have low conviction.
It is perfectly fine not to trade. If you feel like you do not understand the market at a particular point, simply choose not to trade.
Flat is a position.
Do not waste your bullets on rubbish trades. Only enter a trade when you have carefully considered it from all angles and feel good about the risk. This will make it far easier to hold onto the trade if it moves against you at any point. You actually believe in it.
Equally, you need to set monthly limits. A standard limit might be a 10% account balance stop per month. At that point you close all your positions immediately and stop trading till next month.
Be strict with yourself and walk away
Let’s assume you started the year with $100k and made 5% in January so enter Feb with $105k balance. Your stop is therefore 10% of $105k or $10.5k . If your account balance dips to $94.5k ($105k-$10.5k) then you stop yourself out and don’t resume trading till March the first.
Having monthly calendar breaks is nice for another reason. Say you made a load of money in January. You don’t want to start February feeling you are up 5% or it is too tempting to avoid trading all month and protect the existing win. Each month and each year should feel like a clean slate and an independent period.
Everyone has trading slumps. It is perfectly normal. It will definitely happen to you at some stage. The trick is to take a break and refocus. Conserve your capital by not trading a lot whilst you are on a losing streak. This period will be much harder for you emotionally and you’ll end up making suboptimal decisions. An enforced break will help you see the bigger picture.
Put in place a process before you start trading and then it’ll be easy to follow and will feel much less emotional. Remember: the market doesn’t care if you win or lose, it is nothing personal.
When your head has cooled and you feel calm you return the next month and begin the task of building back your account balance.
That's a wrap on risk managementThanks for taking time to read this three-part chapter on risk management. I hope you enjoyed it. Do comment in the replies if you have any questions or feedback.
Remember: the most important part of trading is not making money. It is not losing money. Always start with that principle. I hope these three notes have provided some food for thought on how you might approach risk management and are of practical use to you when trading. Avoiding mistakes is not a sexy tagline but it is an effective and reliable way to improve results.
Next up I will be writing about an exciting topic I think many traders should look at rather differently: news trading. Please follow on here to receive notifications and the broad outline is below.
News Trading Part I
Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
IMPORTANT: OVER 75% OF PEOPLE LOSE MONEY WITH CFD TRADING. IF YOU'RE A NOOB, DON'T EVEN THINK OF OPENING A CFD ACCOUNT. TRY MAKING CONSISTENT MONEY SWING TRADING ASX STONKS FIRST. THEN KEEP DOING THAT UNTIL YOU GET BORED AND WANT TO LOSE BIG MONEY VERY QUICKLY. ONLY THEN YOU MAY HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO TRADE WITH LEVERAGE.submitted by _HeyHeyHeyyy_ to u/_HeyHeyHeyyy_ [link] [comments]
You most likely don't have my discipline and pain tolerance. Or my feel for risk/reward math. On top of this you need markets to play nice and a bit of luck.
I'm no wiz, but I know my strengths and weaknesses. I smell a good setup and prepare accordingly.
Hope you all nail your big opportunity when it shows up. If not, that's okay too. You'll keep getting chances. Be patient. Focus on small wins. Plus there's far more important things in life than being loaded.
How I lost 5k trading CFDs then turned it around
Back in April, I was playing with CFDs and nearly blew up my account. Started with $5k and dropped to almost zero because trading forex with leverage is a very stupid game. This is why IG gives you a demo account. But instead of using the demo account to learn how not to fuck up massively, I was using it to place giant YOLO shorts on US markets.
By being a bit less retarded on the forex trades I clawed back some losses then topped up the account with another $2.5k before starting to open small positions in gold. From 3 to 10 contracts depending on how confident I felt. Then smelling a massive opportunity, I ramped up the leverage by going with much larger positions.
Entering the silver trade
It was only after making decent profits in gold that I dared venture into silver. I wanted to enter silver around $18 but missed the boat after waiting too long for a dip. $20 was still great. Tons of upside left.
Silver is one nasty motherfucker to trade. It's a much smaller market than gold so the swings can be wild. Silver will play along nicely then suddenly fuck you really hard. If you use too much leverage you're basically waiting for your account to blow up. Stop losses will save you, but they can also kill your best trades. I didn't bother with stops for most of the ride because I'm an ASX_bets retard but also because I had ultra high conviction in the $25-27 price target.
Started with 25 contracts. I very nearly missed out on this mini pump. Some might call it luck.
Adding to my silver positions
Increased my position size once I had a profit buffer to protect against sharp drops. It's WAY easier to blow up a CFD account than it appears. When trades are going well you feel like you can keep adding leverage and make millions. But even small swings will kill you if your positions are too big. Discipline is key.
Buying 50 contracts in silver is not the same as 50 contracts in gold because silver moves are 2-4 times bigger. When gold moves 100 points, expect a 200-400 points move in silver. Having an equal mix of gold an silver contracts helped lower the overall volatility of my account.
Anything over 10 contracts in silver is big. You can lose hundreds within minutes. Buy 50 contracts, the price drops $1 and you're $5000 in the hole. I knew when to push and when to hold back. This was EXTREMELY important. I did not get greedy. I was happy to let price moves do most of the lifting.
Started the day with 3k profits. Went to bed that night with big beautiful bhags. 17k
Woke up the next morning with even bigger bhags. 30k
More pump. I added 50 silver contracts that day after a decent drop. Profits now up to around 41k.
Held through the big swings...
Like a proper bitch, Silver dropped another 5% soon after I added those 50 contracts and my 41k profit became 20k very suddenly. But no stop loss and I held firmly. What's a 21k drop when you've been down 35k on BBOZ before. Metals bounced back hard later that evening. Still not selling. High conviction made all the difference here.
Five days later and I was up to 50k profit.
At that point, I felt safe enough to add another 50 contracts.
And it paid off BIG
Both gold and silver keep pumping. Profit now 86k.
Why sell now?
Not selling yet. GV's silver target was $25-27 so I was confident holding through some wild swings.
GV = Gold Ventures https://twitter.com/thelastdegree
A turbo chad from Belgium who made a massive fortune trading options during 2008-2011 when silver went from $9 to $50 before crashing hard. GV is a certified wizard when it comes to timing the gold and silver cycles. Started with his wife's 32k savings and is now worth 18 million EUR or USD, I'm not sure and who cares. GV is pretty low key but commands plenty of respect from other metal traders on Twitter.
Meanwhile GV was on holiday but still shitting money.
GV also has a junior miner portfolio worth several millions. I believe it's true. I went deep into his Twitter history. He was buying heavily into the March crash and some of his picks like AbraPlata have since made 10x. Junior miners are like call options on metal prices with no expiry date but you still need to pick winners and enteexit at the right time.
Magical Six Figure Milestone
Not long after... BOOM! Hit 100k in profit.
When starting, I knew there was potentially 40k-50k to be made from this setup even without playing it perfectly. I would have been okay with 20k.
Start taking profits
Silver was still going strong but I felt it was time to de-risk.
So I started taking profits on both gold and silver around that time.
Okay I'm out
The way silver kept pumping, I knew a big correction was imminent. By 12pm I was completely out with over 110k profit. Home and dry.
I went on with my daily work routine, a bit more relaxed and not checking charts every 5 minutes.
And then metals dumped hard.
There was money to be made on the short side but there was also a strong possibility of shorts being squeezed. So I didn't bother.
After the dump, I had no appetite to get back in with big positions. In hindsight I could have made tons more if I held to $29 but the ride from $24 to $29 is far more risky than $20 to $26. I'm quite okay with my 40x performance. Plus I needed to reset mentally after this rocket ride. More often than not, the best thing to do after a huge trading win is to take a break. Wisdom gained from the BBOZ days :)
Withdrew my initial capital and 90% of the profits from IG. Left around 6k on the account to keep playing.
Feels good to have extra funds to invest with but I also need to set some aside for the monster tax bill next year. You're welcome Australia, and all the JobSeekeJobKeeper leeches.
Hey everyone, check out my insane stats!
That 85% win rate though...
Less impressive when zooming out to include the forex train wreck in April and my more recent metal trades.
https://twitter.com/thelastdegree - already covered above
https://twitter.com/DaveHcontrarian - called the metals and S&P500 bull runs
https://twitter.com/AdamMancini4 - simple yet powerful charts
https://twitter.com/badcharts1 - advanced silver charts
https://twitter.com/graddhybpc - advanced gold and silver charts
https://twitter.com/Northst18363337 - another master of charts
https://twitter.com/bhagdip143 - ultimate master of monster position and making bhags
BTW fuck Facebook groups, you'll hardly learn anything there. Full of losers. Twitter is where the elite traders and big dick fund managers bounce ideas. A solid Twitter list is worth thousands if not millions in the right hands.
After January's strong jobs report calmed some recession fears, investors will be picking through the next wave of earnings reports and economic data for clues on just how much the U.S. economy could be slowing.
Dozens of earnings, from companies like Alphabet, Disney and Eli Lily, report in the week ahead, and there are just a few economic reports like trade data and ISM services on Tuesday. Investors will also be watching the outcome of Treasury auctions for $84 billion in Treasury notes and bonds Tuesday through Thursday, after the Fed's dovish tone helped put a lid on interest rates in the past week.
Nearly half the S&P 500 companies had reported for the fourth quarter by Friday morning, and 71 percent beat earnings estimates, while 62 percent have beaten revenue estimates. But earnings growth forecasts for the first quarter continue to decline as more companies report, and they are currently barely breaking even at under 1 percent growth, versus the 15 percent growth in the fourth quarter, according to Refinitiv.
"Granted the more we hear from companies, and particularly in terms of their guidance and projections on revenues, things can slowly change. The first thing companies do is they stop spending money. Cap spending slows down, and if revenue growth does not pick up, they let people go. This is still wait and see," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.
Krosby said the 304,000 jobs added in January did ease some concerns about a slowing economy, as did a stronger than expected ISM manufacturing report Friday. But the view of the first quarter is still unclear, as many economic reports were missed during the government shutdown. Economists expect growth in the first quarter of just above 2 percent, after growth of about 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter.
Stocks closed out January with a sharp gain on Thursday, and started February on Friday on a flattish note. The S&P 500 has rebounded about 15 percent from its Dec. 24 closing low. Last month's 7.9 percent gain was the best performance for January in more than 30 years. The old Wall Street adage says 'so goes January, so goes the year.' If that holds, stocks could finish 2019 higher. But February is another story, and on average, it is a flat month for the S&P 500.
"The tug of war that you saw in the market, that was going on in the last half of last year is playing out in the data. Some of the data is a bit lower, but some of the economic surprises are picking up to the upside rather than downside," said Krosby.
Peter Boockvar, chief investment strategist at Bleakley Advisory Group, said the ISM may have improved but it reflected very low exports and flat backlogs, even though there was a snap back in new orders.
"I would fade the jobs report," said Boockvar, noting the level of growth may have been inflated by government workers taking on part-time jobs during the government shutdown.
Boocvkar said the jobs report also looked strong on the surface, but he's concerned the unemployment rate ticked up to 4 percent from 3.9 percent.
"The question of whether we go into a recession or not is how does the stock market affect confidence?" Boockvar said. Confidence readings in the past week were low, and consumer sentiment Friday was its lowest since before President Donald Trump took office.
Krosby said stocks could test recent lows or put in a higher low. If there's a big selloff, "That would not necessarily mean it was a clue a recession is coming. It's just a normal testing mechanism," she said.
The Fed removed a big concern from the markets in the past week, when its post-meeting statement and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's briefing tilted dovish, assuring markets the Fed would pause in its interest rate hiking. Investors had feared the Fed would hurt the softening economy with its rate hikes. Now, the biggest fears are about the trade war between the U.S. and China and slowing Chinese growth.
The jobs report, and the ISM manufacturing data were also important because the lack of data during the government's 35 day shutdown has left gaps in the economic picture.
"This is really a sign the Fed stole the thunder from the economic data. By saying they're patient plasters over any kind of economic data in the near term, and I suspect the near term lasts through the first quarter because of the government shutdown, the weather, weak GDP," said Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex.
Chandler said the markets will be hanging on any news on the trade talks with China. "Even if it's not the all encompassing trade deal we were promised, it's a return to where we were before with China promising to buy energy and farm products. We'll continue to have some kind of talks with the China, like we had under Obama and Bush," said Chandler.
What a year it has been. After the worst December for stocks in 87 years that contributed to the worst fourth quarter since the 2008–09 financial crisis, stocks have bounced back in spectacular fashion. In fact, with a day to go, stocks are looking at their best first month of the year in 30 years.
What could happen next? “We like to say that the easy 10% has been made off the lows and the next 10% will be much tougher,” explained LPL Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “Things like Fed policy, China uncertainty, and overall global growth concerns all will play a part in where equity markets go from here.”
With the S&P 500 Index about 10% away from new highs, we do think new highs are quite possible at some point this year. Positive news from the Federal Reserve (Fed) and China trade talks, as well as the realization by investors that the odds of a recession in 2019 are quite low could spark potential new highs. Remember, fiscal spending as a percentage of overall gross domestic product (GDP) is higher this year than it was last year. Many think the tax cut and fiscal policies in play last year were a one-time sugar high. We don’t see it that way and expect the benefits from fiscal policy to help extend this economic cycle at least another year—likely more.
As we head into February, note that it hasn’t been one of the best months for stocks. In fact, as our LPL Chart of the Day shows, since 1950, February has been virtually flat, and over the past 20 years only June and September have shown worse returns. Overall, the market gains have been quite impressive since the December 24 lows, but we wouldn’t be surprised at all to see a near-term consolidation or pullback.
Investors have increasingly positioned for a Federal Reserve (Fed) pause, which could portend a shift in fixed income markets. Fed fund futures are pricing in about a 70% probability that the Fed will keep rates unchanged for the rest of 2019, and the market’s dovish tilt has weighed on short-term rates.
As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, the 2-year yield has typically followed the fed funds rate since policymakers began raising rates in December 2015. While we expect one or two more hikes this cycle, there is a possibility that the Fed’s December hike was its last, which will likely cap short-term rates.
If the Fed pauses, the curve will likely reverse course and steepen as solid economic growth and quickening (but manageable) inflation drives longer-term yields higher. As mentioned in our Outlook 2019, FUNDAMENTAL: How to Focus on What Really Matters in the Markets, we’re forecasting the 10-year Treasury yield will increase significantly from current levels and trade within a range of 3.25–3.75% in 2019.
“We remain optimistic about U.S. economic growth prospects, and recent data show inflation remains at manageable levels,” said LPL Research Chief Investment Strategist John Lynch. “Because of this, we expect the data-dependent Fed to be less aggressive than initially feared, as policymakers juggle these factors with the impacts of trade tensions and tepid global growth.”
To be clear, investors shouldn’t fear a flattening yield curve given the backdrop of solid economic growth and modest inflation. Historically, the yield curve has remained relatively flat or inverted for years before some recessions started. Since 1970, the United States has entered a recession an average of 21 months after the yield curve inverted.
Jobless claims have dropped to a 49-year low. Based on historical trends, this could signal that a U.S. economic recession is further off than many expect.
Data released January 24 showed jobless claims fell to 199K in the week ending January 18, the lowest number since 1969 and far below consensus estimates of 218K. As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, current jobless claims have been significantly lower than those in the 12-month periods preceding each recession since the early 1970s.
“Last week’s jobless claims print was particularly impressive given the partial government shutdown and weakening corporate sentiment,” said LPL Research Chief Investment Strategist John Lynch. “The U.S. labor market remains strong and will help buoy consumer health and output growth this year.”
Other predictive data sets have signaled U.S. recessionary odds are low. Data last week showed the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI), based on 10 leading economic indicators (like jobless claims, manufacturers’ new orders, and stock prices), grew 4.3% year over year in December. In contrast, the LEI has turned negative year over year before all economic recessions since 1970. Because of its solid predictive ability, the LEI is a component of our Recession Watch Dashboard.
Most major U.S. stock indexes rallied to new recovery and year-to-date highs today shrugging off some misses and weakness from Microsoft, DuPont and Visa. S&P 500 finished the month strong with a 7.9% gain. This is the best S&P January since 1987. This is also the third January Trifecta in a row.
Last year the S&P 500 crumbled in the fourth quarter under the weight of triple threats from a hawkish and confusing Fed, a newly divided Congress and the U.S. trade battle with China, finishing in the red. 2017’s Trifecta was followed by a full-year gain of 19.4%, including a February-December gain of 17.3%. As you can see in the table below, the long term track record of the Trifecta is rather impressive, posting full-year gains in 27 of the 30 prior years with an average gain for the S&P 500 of 17.1%.
Devised by Yale Hirsch in 1972, the January Barometer has registered ten major errors since 1950 for an 85.5% accuracy ratio. This indicator adheres to propensity that as the S&P 500 goes in January, so goes the year. Of the ten major errors Vietnam affected 1966 and 1968. 1982 saw the start of a major bull market in August. Two January rate cuts and 9/11 affected 2001.The market in January 2003 was held down by the anticipation of military action in Iraq. The second worst bear market since 1900 ended in March of 2009 and Federal Reserve intervention influenced 2010 and 2014. In 2016, DJIA slipped into an official Ned Davis bear market in January. Including the eight flat years yields a .739 batting average.
Our January Indicator Trifecta combines the Santa Claus Rally, the First Five Days Early Warning System and our full-month January Barometer. The predicative power of the three is considerably greater than any of them alone; we have been rather impressed by its forecasting prowess. This is the 31st time since 1949 that all three January Indicators have been positive and the twelfth time (previous eleven times highlighted in grey in table below) this has occurred in a pre-election year.
Even though February is right in the middle of the Best Six Months, its long-term track record, since 1950, is not all that stellar. February ranks no better than seventh and has posted paltry average gains except for the Russell 2000. Small cap stocks, benefiting from “January Effect” carry over; tend to outpace large cap stocks in February. The Russell 2000 index of small cap stocks turns in an average gain of 1.1% in February since 1979—just the seventh best month for that benchmark.
In pre-election years, February’s performance generally improves with average returns all positive. NASDAQ performs best, gaining an average 2.8% in pre-election-year Februarys since 1971. Russell 2000 is second best, averaging gains of 2.5% since 1979. DJIA, S&P 500 and Russell 1000, the large-cap indices, tend to lag with average advances of around 1.0%.
7%? Bulls will take it! After an abysmal December, the S&P 500 is currently set to finish the month with its best January return since 1987. This month’s gain will mark the 16th time since the lows of the Financial Crisis in March 2009 that the S&P 500 has rallied more than 5% in a given month. The table below highlights each of the 15 prior months where the S&P 500 rallied more than 5% and shows how much the S&P 500 gained on the month as well as its performance on the last trading day of the month and the first trading day of the subsequent month.
When looking at the table, a few things stand out. First, the first trading day of a month that follows a month where the S&P 500 rallied more than 5% has been extremely positive as the S&P 500 averages a gain of 0.84% (median: 1.01%) with positive returns 13 out of 15 times! In addition to the positive tendency of markets on the first day of the new month, there has also been a clear tendency for the S&P 500 to decline on the last trading day of the strong month. The average decline on the last trading day of a strong month has been 0.09% with positive returns less than half of the time. This is no doubt related to the fact that funds are forced to rebalance out of equities to get back inline with their benchmark weights. However, on those five prior months where the S&P 500 bucked the trend and was positive on the last trading day of a 5%+ month, the average gain on the first trading day of the next month was even stronger at 1.52% with gains five out of six times.
Monday 2.4.19 Before Market Open:
Monday 2.4.19 After Market Close:
Tuesday 2.5.19 Before Market Open:
Tuesday 2.5.19 After Market Close:
Wednesday 2.6.19 Before Market Open:
Wednesday 2.6.19 After Market Close:
Thursday 2.7.19 Before Market Open:
Thursday 2.7.19 After Market Close:
Friday 2.8.19 Before Market Open:
Friday 2.8.19 After Market Close:
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Alphabet, Inc. (GOOGL) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Monday, February 4, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $11.08 per share on revenue of $31.28 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $11.03 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 71% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 14.23% with revenue decreasing by 3.23%. Short interest has decreased by 6.6% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 6.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 0.7% below its 200 day moving average of $1,127.05. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, January 24, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,493 contracts of the $1,200.00 call expiring on Friday, February 15, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 5.2% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 3.8% move in recent quarters.
Twitter, Inc. (TWTR) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:00 AM ET on Thursday, February 7, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.25 per share on revenue of $871.59 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.29 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 73% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 38.89% with revenue increasing by 19.14%. Short interest has decreased by 54.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 6.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 3.1% below its 200 day moving average of $34.24. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Monday, December 31, 2018 there was some notable buying of 45,575 contracts of the $34.00 call expiring on Friday, March 15, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 13.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 13.9% move in recent quarters.
Snap Inc. (SNAP) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:10 PM ET on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.08 per share on revenue of $376.64 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is ($0.04) per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 31% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $355.00 million to $380.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 27.27% with revenue increasing by 31.83%. Short interest has decreased by 1.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 12.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 33.6% below its 200 day moving average of $10.40. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, January 3, 2019 there was some notable buying of 29,739 contracts of the $7.00 call expiring on Friday, February 15, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 15.7% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 19.2% move in recent quarters.
Cleveland-Cliffs Inc (CLF) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 8:00 AM ET on Friday, February 8, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.57 per share on revenue of $713.61 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.63 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 87% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 119.23% with revenue increasing by 18.76%. Short interest has increased by 4.6% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 9.8% from its open following the earnings release to be 11.2% above its 200 day moving average of $9.47. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Monday, January 7, 2019 there was some notable buying of 10,030 contracts of the $8.00 call expiring on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 9.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 7.0% move in recent quarters.
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (TTWO) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:00 AM ET on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.72 per share on revenue of $1.46 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.82 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 84% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $0.31 to $0.41 per share. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 106.06% with revenue increasing by 203.64%. Short interest has increased by 37.1% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 18.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 9.9% below its 200 day moving average of $116.52. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, January 23, 2019 there was some notable buying of 2,067 contracts of the $120.00 call expiring on Friday, February 15, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 9.2% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.3% move in recent quarters.
Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALXN) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:35 AM ET on Monday, February 4, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.82 per share on revenue of $1.06 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.95 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 67% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 23.81% with revenue increasing by 16.52%. Short interest has decreased by 16.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 0.4% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.8% above its 200 day moving average of $119.40. On Friday, February 1, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,235 contracts of the $130.00 call expiring on Friday, February 15, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 7.8% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 6.5% move in recent quarters.
Walt Disney Co (DIS) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.57 per share on revenue of $15.18 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.62 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 71% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 16.93% with revenue decreasing by 1.11%. Short interest has increased by 7.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 5.8% from its open following the earnings release to be 1.9% above its 200 day moving average of $109.22. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, February 1, 2019 there was some notable buying of 8,822 contracts of the $110.00 put expiring on Friday, February 8, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 3.1% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 2.2% move in recent quarters.
BP p.l.c (BP) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 5:25 AM ET on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.77 per share on revenue of $60.72 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.75 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 65% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 20.31% with revenue decreasing by 13.28%. Short interest has increased by 6.5% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 1.6% from its open following the earnings release to be 3.9% below its 200 day moving average of $43.01. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, January 17, 2019 there was some notable buying of 2,010 contracts of the $33.00 put expiring on Friday, January 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 3.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 2.1% move in recent quarters.
Clorox Co. (CLX) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:30 AM ET on Monday, February 4, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.32 per share on revenue of $1.48 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.34 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 63% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 7.32% with revenue increasing by 4.52%. Short interest has decreased by 9.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 3.5% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.9% above its 200 day moving average of $141.57. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, January 18, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,025 contracts of the $152.50 put expiring on Friday, February 8, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 4.7% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 3.3% move in recent quarters.
SYSCO Corp. (SYY) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 8:00 AM ET on Monday, February 4, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.72 per share on revenue of $14.85 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.73 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 63% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 9.09% with revenue increasing by 3.04%. Short interest has decreased by 1.0% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 2.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.6% below its 200 day moving average of $67.34. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, February 1, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,691 contracts of the $66.00 call expiring on Friday, February 8, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 4.5% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 4.8% move in recent quarters.
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