Archive for the ‘Investing’ Category

High Frequency Talking

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Want to hear two rocket-scientist programmers discuss high-frequency trading? If so, then check out techzing podcast #185 where Jason Roberts interviews James Thomas of Headlands Technologies.

There are a few brief mentions of arcane topics such as functional programming and the “R” language, but the discussion is accessible to civilians. Too bad Thomas is under non-disclosure and couldn’t tell what he knows about MF Global.

The podcast is 80 minutes long, but you can download it onto your iPod via iTunes. Just search for techzing in the iTunes store.

Dow Rectangle Pattern Targets 12735

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

During the past few weeks, the Dow has been trading in a rectangular range about 300 points high. On the hourly chart below, I have outlined the range with red lines. (Click chart to enlarge):

The futures have already broken out of that range, and stocks will certainly follow on Monday. To find the downside target, we subtract the height of the rectangle from the lower bound of the range. And that brings us to the March 6th low of 12735.

The last time that the market plunged after “not creating enough jobs” was on September 2, 2011. The next day, I criticized the panicky selling in “Companies Add Jobs for 18th Straight Month – Investors Jump Out Windows“. And while I was right that the expansion/bull market wasn’t over, the market did languish for a few weeks. On this chart, the red arrows point to that seemingly “bad” jobs report:

Of course, there’s no guarantee that the bulls will get off easy again this time, with only one month of chastisement. However, another important event occurred last September: Mitt Romney said that, if elected, he would not re-appoint Ben Bernanke. And so, while Doug Kass says “the liquidity rally is over”, a certain Mr. Bernanke may have other ideas on the subject.

AAPL Down = IWM Up?

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

On Wednesday, I joked that AAPL was sucking the life out of the small caps. Well, maybe it’s not a joke after all. On Friday, the Russell 2000 staged a dramatic come-back rally, and broke out of the downtrend channel that I drew in the previous post.

While the R2K was up 1.05% on Friday, AAPL was down 0.58%. Did money rotate out of AAPL into IWM? If it did, and AAPL continues to pull back, then maybe the small caps are the sweet spot in the market now.

That’s the bullish perspective. Now let’s look at the bearish side.

The IWM has been range-bound since February 3rd. Friday’s rally brought it up to the top of the range, and the IWM is now overbought on some indicators.

Thursday, the IWM fell on strong volume, and it rallied on Friday on lighter volume.

The false breakout from March 19th still stands with four consecutive closes below the breakout level.

So, the IWM still has work to do.

Momentum traders have made huge profits during this year’s rally. Maybe it’s time they hand those profits back to the mean-reversion traders, if not the perma-bears.

In any case, the small caps need to scrub that false breakout off the chart.

IWM Downtrend Channel

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

The IWM came within an eyelash of my downside target #1 from Tuesday’s chart. Take a look at the green box (click chart to enlarge):

Here is what the chart looks like now. Notice how IWM dropped into my green box:

Not bad, huh?

The fact that IWM bounced without filling the gap completely is a sign of eager dip-buyers, so maybe you bulls will survive after all. However, the bears scored some points too. On Tuesday, I said that the bears “would want to see this pattern evolve into a downtrend channel.” And that’s exactly what has happened. Look at the red downtrend line that I drew on the chart on Wednesday:

To see if we have a downtrend channel, we duplicate the red line to get a parallel, and drag it down to see if it connects the dots. And so it does:

IWM made a nice double bottom around 81.65 Thursday afternoon, and rallied sharply into the bell. In order to stay alive, it must keep that momentum going long enough to at least run up and tag the upper line of the downtrend channel. If it falls short, the next swing down might pierce the lower trendline.

If you are bearish, your dream entry for a short trade is at the upper channel line. If you are looking to buy a dip, your dream entry is at the lower channel line – but only if prices can tag the upper line first.

If the market is weak on Friday, then I draw what I call a “turbo line”. If the market drops at the open, it would look like this pink line:

If IWM rallies up a bit, but fails to tag the upper channel line, then I draw the pink line through its high for the day. The turbo line is a signal that the slope of the downtrend may intensify. So, just like the head-and-shoulders pattern has morphed into a downtrend channel, the red downtrend channel may morph into a more intense pink downtrend channel.

Film at 4pm.

IWM H&S Still in Play

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

When I drew the red line on the second chart in the previous post, I thought “too steep”. I was also thinking that the right shoulder wasn’t wide enough to balance the left shoulder. So, what the small caps did on Wednesday, moving sideways, made sense. On the chart below, I have re-drawn the red line, and it now has a more reasonable slope for a downtrend if the market drops. The blue boxes show how the shoulders looked after the close on Tuesday, and as you can see, the shoulders look more balanced now (click chart to enlarge):

Bulls can be glad that the right shoulder is now wider than the left shoulder since that’s a sign that the IWM may be able to shake off this bearish pattern. Bulls can also point to the pink line which has held an uptrend for over a week.

In addition to the head-and-shoulders pattern, bears can cite the fact that the IWM has closed below its breakout level for two days in a row now.

So, Thursday is an important day. A third close under the breakout level is one of the criteria of identifying a false breakout. So, its “swim or die” time for the small caps.

Why is the Russell 2000 struggling here? Suppose that a consumer has $2000 in spending money for the rest of the year. First, she buys yet another iPad for $600. Then she buys a share of AAPL for another $600. Then she has to set aside the remaining $800 for $4 per-gallon gasoline so that she can get to work.

Now she’s tapped out and all the rest of the retailers will go bankrupt.

And the Zero Hedge Times will be upon us.

May god have mercy on your soul.