Tuesday, July 31, 2012

For the Second Straight Day Stock Pull Back Ahead of FOMC Announcement

The day kicked off with decent economic numbers as well as consumer confidence figures. The Chicago PMI was better than expected and after a bout of disappointing economic releases last month. This was a bit of good news albeit not great. However, stocks weren’t able to hang onto to gains as sellers took hold of the day. Volume ran higher throughout the session, but end-of-month rebalancing kicked it up quite a bit at the close. Finishing near the lows of the session, but unlike previous sessions the losses weren’t that bad. Heading into tomorrow’s Federal Reserve rate announcement the market is clearly expecting another round of quantitative easing and will be certainly looking for the central bank to deliver. For our trading it does not matter much whether or not the Federal Reserve decides to monetize our debt further. We only care about trends and if we get one we go with it. Sure, a policy debate can be made the Federal Reserve is simply kicking the proverbial can down the road. In reality, our trading relies on price action rather than opinion. Even if the Federal Reserve does announce a new money printing scheme does it guarantee the stock market goes higher? It will certainly help out precious metals and commodities, but there are no guarantees. Follow the price action and know your exits as you can possibly figure out how prices will react to any news. Yesterday’s commentary I briefly mentioned sentiment. Bill Gross the self-proclaimed (unconfirmed) Bond King penned an article claiming stock returns are essentially a Ponzi Scheme. He may be right or wrong, but aren’t Treasury Yields essentially the same thing? Social Security, while not illegal by the government standards relies on the same fundamentals. You need more investors to pay off current ones. A big reason Social Security will run out of money (other than Congress stealing from its coffers) is there will be more retirees than those paying into the system. Social Security does not pay out on the profits it makes from investments, but from the new ones who are paying into the system. Regardless of the topic at the end of the day, a bond guy writing an article about stock returns (mind you, PIMCO just recently opened an equity arm) is quite interesting here. Hidden agenda? There has been research regarding bond yields and stock returns. Interestingly enough a rising bond yield correlates well with a rising stock market. Why? As bond prices fall (people selling) the capital flows from bonds to equities. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the correlation there. Since 2008 we have seen an unprecedented amount of cash flow into bonds and outflows in equities. When will this trend break? If and when the trend does break will capital flow to stocks? The answer lies in trend following and with Big Wave Trading. Tomorrow’s Federal Reserve meeting will bring on an exciting afternoon. Have a game plan and trade it. We’ll be enjoying the fireworks as others scramble to get into positions.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Stocks Take a Step Back in Quiet Session

For the 9th Monday in a row the market closes lower on very light volume. After Thursday and Friday’s trading sessions today’s pullback is a welcomed sign and a very bullish one. The Russell 2000 led the decline with the NASDAQ not far behind with losses of .56% and .41% respectively. The key point here was volume did not accelerate with the selling and dried up on the day. Institutions were not dumping stock today and for now a good sign heading into a fun filled central bank week. Wednesday the Federal Reserve kicks off the news week with their rate announcement in the afternoon. Tuesday we have a few economic releases, but the focus will be on Wednesday and would expect another day similar to what we saw from the market today. I am not trying to predict what will happen tomorrow, but merely pointing out volatility kicks in after rate announcements. We’ll be focused on the price action of our stocks rather than guessing where we may go from here. Sentiment continues to be quite negative. AAII Bulls have dominated the survey has of late and II bulls continue to disappear. Any interesting poll came across CNBC today and one that asked if the current rally was going to continue. 71% of respondents thought it was going to be short-lived and we’d head lower. Mind you this is CNBC whose job is to pump stocks and it was quite astonishing their viewers are that bearish. Is it that the investing public is too bearish on this market? Time will tell and so will prices. Today was much of a do nothing day. A very boring day, but one that was a good step forward for our buy signal.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Big Wave Trading Portfolio Update And Top Current Holdings

Big Wave Trading remained under a NEUTRAL condition all week, until Friday. The NEUTRAL condition changed around 1:15pm EST when the market blasted higher following an already strong uptrend throughout the day. The move on Friday was more than 2% on the Nasdaq and volume was higher than the day before and above average. That is exactly what we wanted to see to have confidence in any BUY signal. Sadly, there have been so many recent switches in the model that, under our current state of affairs in the market, we can not press like I would want to at this juncture. There was not a severe wash out, there was absolutely no fear in the VIX, and the II survey did not see bears ever take out bulls during the most recent pullback. We are at such low VIX levels that it is hard for us to see how any rally can create substantial gains from these levels. There will be stocks that overall do well compared to the market but these stocks will not be able to produce any meaningful gains with the volatility so low in the market. Still, there are plenty of stocks moving but sadly they are moving in one day. If you backtest leading stocks going back 130 years you will see plenty of breakouts where you have time to get in the following day or on a pullback. In 2012, that has been basically impossible as all high quality stocks seem to move 10-30% in one day zooming well beyond their pivot point making any new long position a pipe dream. The most extreme example is a non-CANSLIM thin stock. DWCH. That 30% move in one day is impossible to buy, unless you were on it intraday. Other more rational examples involve a stock I have tried to go long for weeks but every time it moves it moves 8%+. SSYS. I can not chase these one-day moves in a tape that is so unfriendly to trends. A reversal per QCOR or WWWW seems to be the pattern when you chase. Very few can do a MLNX. We are heavy cash but have been able to increase our long exposure the past week as we are in the black in 6 out of our 7 last long positions. All we need now are clean breakouts or perfect moves (price, huge volume, max-green BOP) to go 10-25% long a single position. More follow-through to today’s gains would be confirmation to look for additional pocket pivot point buy signals in CANSLIM stocks that have already broken out to new 52-week highs. We have a good possible uptrend setting up here. We will just need to see more follow-through and make sure we do not reverse this move next week. This is still a market held hostage by government interference and it will not change until we know they are going to get out of the way. The best indicator we saw today that this rally could have legs is that money came out of bonds across the board on Friday. Nobody knows if this is going to be a one day pattern or a trend change. If it is a trend change, that bodes well for equities. The future is unknown but for now it appears it could be a good week next week. Let’s see if we can get some follow-through and bust out of this trading range we are still in. Yes, we are still in a trading range. From May 4th to Friday, the Nasdaq has moved a whopping +0.06%. Aloha and have a wonderful/fun weekend! Top Current Holdings – Percent Gain – Date of Signal BVSN short – 82% – 3/19/12 AVD long – 65% – 1/10/12 PRXI short – 38% – 3/30/12 MAGS short – 36% – 4/18/12 CAMP long – 34% – 4/26/12 CLGX long – 32% – 6/19/12 ZLCS short – 25% – 6/19/12

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Its Quantitative Easing or Bust

It is quite clear the market is waiting for the world’s central banks to print more money. Futures were heading lower along with European markets when the ECB’s Draghi issued comments about saving the EURO at all costs. Translation: they will print EUROs. The stock market’s reaction to Draghi’s comments were positive as price gains were strong on above average volume. End of day action wasn’t ideal and the S&P 500 was the only index to look ideal. However, what a difference rumors of quantitative easing will do for the market. There isn’t something quite right with this market, but with the hint of further easing the market will continue to trade wide and loose. Earnings season has not been kind as we are on pace for a very disappointing earnings season. While we are very price driven we focus on growth stocks. Unfortunately, without growth in fundamentals our universe of stocks shrink and this is the current situation we are in. The lack of growth in the market on the fundamental level has us seeing a narrowing universe of stocks. Not to mention this earning season has destroyed a few of our leading growth names. We can always hope the miracle of quantitative easing will save our stocks and set off another rip roaring rally. The AAII survey continues to lean towards the bearish side of things. It is easy to see as why the folks answering the survey are bearish. Earnings season is not spectacular and economic news has NOT been good. June’s PMI were very negative and recent home sales both pending and new have been disappointing. Manufacturing data has not been signaling growth, but contraction. Outside of quantitative easing there isn’t much to be bullish on. The next FOMC meeting is next week and on Wednesday they will release their policy statement and rate decision. We’ll focus on price and follow our rules while the rest use discretion and opinions to navigate this market. Tomorrow’s GDP report will set off fireworks for the market. Sit back and enjoy the ride! Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Industrials Lead the Market on the Backs of BA and CAT

Stocks end the day on a sour note with action dominated by reaction to earnings. Economic news from new home sales did not help matters, but dip buyers were on the prowl. BA and CAT helped the Dow Jones Industrial Average lead the way while AAPL weighed on the technology heavy NASDAQ. Remove earnings from the picture and you are left with a pretty dull day of trading. Despite the mixed results from stocks the VIX fell on the day as fear left the market once again. Ben Bernanke’s Federal Reserve put on the market seems to keep this market from falling apart. When you boil it down today was simply a “nothing” day. Last hour of trading saw the NASDAQ move from its high of the day right back to the mid-point of the trading session. Yesterday’s last half hour of trading was supported by rumors of the Federal Reserve taking action sooner rather than later. At this point, how much more can the Fed do? Is another round of QE going to do much of anything? Rather than hand out another $400-600 billion to banks why not hand out $5,000 to every taxpayer (those who paid taxes) making under $250,000? Would that not help solve the problem? At this point, the banks have been bailed out enough time for the consumer to get something! By the way, while giving out free money may sound good in reality it is a terrible idea. It is a short term fix that solves very little for the long haul. It is highly unlikely we’ll see either the Federal Reserve or Washington DC do anything that would solve our fiscal issues. Money printing prolongs the agony and DC simply cannot agree too much of anything. At this point, the market believes in the Federal Reserve put and you see it whenever there is a rumor regarding action. We’ll focus on the price action of the market and the stocks we follow. Price action continues to favor the weak side at the moment and until we get a big volume move in either direction we are playing it safe. Always make sure you know your exits to both winning and losing trades. Enjoy the market tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stocks Fall on Higher Volume; AAPL Dives after Reporting Earnings

A terrible Richmond Federal Reserve Manufacturing index reading helped set a negative ton for the market. Volume jumped on the day as turnover picked up as sellers gained control over the market. Volatility jumped as fear appears to be settling into the market, but the index remains just above the 20 level. Despite the selling all the attention was going towards AAPL and its earnings release at 4:30 PM EST. Big selling today on volume today as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and NASDAQ Composite both lost their 50 day volume average. It appears the trend may be changing and the market is about to head lower. AAPL reported earnings this afternoon and the market did not like what it heard. The stock closed the after-hours session down more than 5.5% on big volume. It is such a big portion of the NASDAQ and NASDAQ 100 it will have a huge impact at the open tomorrow. AAPL was such a large part of the rally from December and if the stock falls here it will drag the NASDAQ down along with it. At the moment it appears AAPL wants to head lower. Other stocks posting earnings in after-hours were NFLX, TRIP, and BWLD. All were down double digit percentage wise. TRIP and BWLD had been holding up and consider leadership. NFLX was a former leader and continuing its decline. The troubling aspect is TRIP and BWLD heading lower. TRIP’s earnings reaction took down PCLN, but PNRA was able to shake off BWLD’s earnings and jump in after-hours trading. Leading stocks continue to look weak and their reaction to earnings are not inspiring confidence. Earnings season has not been kind to the market. We have had some bright spots, but not enough to overshadow the disappointments. If we simply ignore the noise from market pundits and their opinions we can see a market on very shaky ground. Monday’s session we saw the NASDAQ get support at its 50 day. Support at the 50 day is usually positive, but today’s reversal and falling below the moving average with volume is all but positive. Just looking at the facts presented in front of us and it appears this market wants to head lower. If we are wrong we cut our losses. Bulls will be hanging on to dear life and hoping the plunge protection team saves the day.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Big Wave Trading Portfolio Update And Top Current Holdings

“Trading is a waiting game. You sit, you wait, and you make a lot of money all at once. Profits come in bunches. The trick when going sideways between home runs is not to lose too much in between.” -Michael Covel “I’ll keep reducing my trading size as long as I’m losing… My money management techniques are extremely conservative. I never risk anything approaching the total amount of money in my account, let alone my total funds.” -Randy McKay The Big Wave Trading Portfolio remains under an extremely weak BUY signal that was triggered on 7/18. The signal was so weak that not a single ETF or leveraged ETF position was initiated. Instead it was a signal that we could increase the size of our new long positions. However, that was not allowed to happen as the most recent long position did not move higher and thus an increase never occurred Thursday or Friday. Following Friday’s sell off on heavier volume, the extremely weak BUY signal is under severe pressure and a move below the 2904.24 level on the Nasdaq will switch it back to NEUTRAL. The Big Wave Trading portfolio did not have a good week, losing 1.5% bringing us to a -5.5% return YTD. Some may choose to hide from their losses. We would rather tell the truth and bring to light how seriously difficult this current market environment is compared to 1995-January 2011 markets where trendless periods were not nearly as long or complicated as what has occurred the past two years. This period of underperformance coincides directly to volume drying up on the indexes and contracting on the weekly and monthly time frames. Protecting capital continues to be the name of the game. Our returns can be compared with other trend following system traders here. One interesting note is how closely correlated the trading has been the past 100 days to the same 100 day period in 2011. If history is going to repeat itself in back-to-back years (something you almost never see) then we should expect the beginning of a severe sell off starting some time next week. I am not saying it will happen. It is merely an interesting historical talking point. The one trade that has been working is going short stocks that gap down in the morning following releasing earnings statements. Going short in the morning and then covering at the EOD has been a high reward/low risk methodology since earnings season started. With guidance not coming in too rosy, you would think, that this data combined with our macro data and action in the overall stock market would mean a market pullback is just around the corner. A lot of things are lining up. Sadly, reality is held hostage by the Federal Reserve and other world banks. Another round of printing can start at any moment. While it is unfortunate the system is not an open free market anymore, it is the environment we are in. We are going to just have to deal with it. When the market does crack on strong volume, I am sure trend followers are going to make a lot of money. I have a feeling the sell off, when it does start, is going to last longer than just a couple of days. But what do I know. The only thing we care about is price. If it is moving in our direction, it is wonderful. If it is not moving in our direction, it has to go. Big Wave Trading continues to cut losses extremely quick when we are wrong. We were giving new recent long positions more room to work, as they were producing gains, but Thursday’s negative divergence in advancers to decliners followed by Friday extremely poor action on heavier volume is our clue to go back to being extremely defensive with stocks showing us losses or not moving at all. Losses will simply not be tolerated. If it shows a loss, some of it has to go. No matter what. Aloha and have a great weekend everyone! Top Current Holdings – Percent Return – Date of Signal AVD long – 78% – 1/10/12 BVSN short – 78% – 3/19/12 MAGS short – 33% – 4/18/12 PRXI short – 33% – 3/30/12 CAMP long – 28% – 4/27/12 PHMD short – 28% – 5/11/12 ZLCS short – 25% – 6/19/12

Thursday, July 19, 2012

NASDAQ 100 Carries the Market Higher Despite Disappointing Manufacturing Data and Jobless Claims

Economic news was not good this morning, with the Philly Fed showing manufacturing contracting and jobless claims contracting much more than expected. Initially the market did sell off on the news but buyers jumped back into the market pushing the NASDAQ back to intraday highs just after noon time. Early afternoon selling, once again, was met by buyers as this market appears it just can’t go down. Regardless of the reason we continue to see support rush into the market any time sellers get a leg up. A few financials were struggling, but overall the market remains in an uptrend and we’ll continue to act accordingly. A surprise out of the AAII investor survey was it showing the number of bears jumping above 40%! Those who are bullish fell to 22% and it is surprising considering the move in stocks since JPM issued earnings. Sentiment is not something you would want to trade off of, but it is interesting where folks are at with this market. Perhaps it shows people are bearish and feel the Federal Reserve will save the market. The big boy financials certainly aren’t following up gains from earnings. MS reported this morning and the stock has been getting hammered. BAC, JPM, and GS continue to act very weak! Technology stocks are certainly in favor with EBAY, QCOR, and SNDK earnings. Last week it was JPM who got the party started with its earnings release and we have seen very little follow-through. We’ll stand pat with our rules-based investing and leave the guess work to others. Lagging the broader market in a significant way were Small Cap stocks. The Russell 2000 fell .36% today, while the NASDAQ jumped .79%. Even though the NASDAQ backed off its highs of the day, the index put in a solid day, unlike small cap stocks. It is unfortunate, but investors are just not favoring small cap stocks for whatever reason. Perhaps the Bernanke put is only dividend yielding stocks? It is anyone’s guess and for now small cap stocks as a group are not moving and we’ll latch onto the stocks that are moving. Just another day in paradise! Cut your losses and let your winners ride! Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stocks Add to Tuesday’s Gains as Volume Ends Higher

For the second straight day, Ben Bernanke testified in front of the house and stocks pushed higher. Housing data was a bit better than expected, aside from building permits. However, a few home building stocks like HOV and PHM did not agree. INTC lead the semi-conducting stocks and the rest of the technology sector higher. NASDAQ led the major indexes higher with solid gains, but off the highs of the session. We continue to be in rally mode and have witnessed a solid back to back days of gains. Despite potential headwinds facing this market and it being the summer time, we have quite the potential to run further. This might change tomorrow or Friday, but for now we are in rally mode. If we are wrong we simply use our rules to exit our positions and move forward. No guess work here and we certainly aren’t going to act upon any emotion. Know where your exits are both for losers and know when to exit your winners. Banks were looking pretty good, but earnings from BAC disappointed the market as the stock sold off in heavy trade today. GS and JPM both look weak here and after enjoying nice gains from JPM’s earnings release last Friday we have seen a lack of follow-through from many of the banks. BBCN and WTFC bank stocks we have liked continue to do well, but it is the big boys weighing on the entire sector. As we progress we’ll continue to look to see where our exits are and potential entries and go from there. We’d rather to see financials continue to lead the market as they tend to be the first group out of the gate during a rally. Where this market goes is anyone’s guess! For now we have a trend to push higher and until we get signaled otherwise it is the long side we go. Cut your losses and ride your winners.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fed Chief Does not Signal QE3, but the Market Disagrees

Despite a better than expected Housing Confidence Index it was all about the Fed Chief. Chuck Schumer said it best and it was what got the market off the lows. He basically stated that DC will not get its act together and the Federal Reserve must act. From that point forward the market moved off its lows as volume surged in the market. Regardless of your view at this point the market wants to move higher in the short term. Late day selling did put a cap on the day, but the overall gains in the market certainly paints a bullish tint. Until we get further selling, this market wants to move higher. The market clearly expects quantitative easing to help support it going forward. It is quite sad that this market needs the fed to print money to support this market. Earnings season has not been stellar and many stocks have missed their estimates. At this point, we cannot ignore the price action simply because we think the economy is in a tail spin. For now, this market wants to move higher and we’ll be moving along with it. Do not fight the trend. Ben Bernanke moves from the Senate to the House tomorrow where he’ll face even more questions from Congressmen/women. Unfortunately for Ben, he’ll like face the same lame questioning he received today. Majority of the questioning was grandstanding by both parties and did not ask any very pointed questions. Essentially, what we got today was Congress and the Senate will not do anything and they expect the Federal Reserve to print away their problems. Elected officials are terrible and Schumer pointed the problem out. The trend is your friend and do not forget it. Tomorrow may bring a change in trend, but for now this market wants to move higher on the high of quantitative easing…part III. Do not fight the trend no matter how much you believe you are right. This is precisely why we cut our losses. Ride the trend higher and get off when the trend reverses. Big Wave Trading is your guide.

New Seeking Alpha Article

Four Medical Stocks Moving In A Trendless Tape.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Retail Sales Disappoint as Tensions in the Middle East Grow

The market was showered with very disappointing retail sales figures showing the consumer cooled quite a bit in the month of June. NYSE volumed dried up significantly, but at the same time NASDAQ volume moved nearly 6%. While the NYSE indexes escaped distribution the NASDAQ did not notching its 4th distribution day over the past few weeks. The day’s action was a decent day of consolidation over the 50 day, but with distribution quietly piling up on the NASDAQ the Big Wave Trading Market Model remains neutral. Outside of earnings the market will be looking towards Ben Bernanke’s comments on Thursday. Ben Bernanke will focus mostly on the United States fiscal issues and how Europe is constraining growth. However, many traders will be looking for the Federal Reserve Chairman to talk about a third round of quantitative easing. While he’ll touch upon the subject it will be interesting to see the aftermath of his testimony. Will Ben Bernanke say QE3 is on the table and the Fed is ready to implement it? Time will tell and we’ll be ready to react. In the Middle East an interest development occurred today and that was a US ship firing upon an Iranian boat. The market did not react to much other than crude oil moving higher closing higher than a dollar a barrel. While we aren’t about to make any decisions trading based upon the idea we are going to war with Iran, but from an observation it does feel like tensions are rising. We remain disciplined in our approach, but it will be interesting to see if we get any further developments out of the Middle East. At the very least it will provide us with some fireworks. Earnings season is underway and while it has been a somewhat disappointing season so far we have the bulk of reports coming over the next few weeks. Stick to a disciplined approach: trend following. Know your exits!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Big Wave Trading Portfolio Update And Top Current Holdings

It was another summer-time trendless week, this past week, in the stock market. The decline on Tuesday switched our weak (10%) BUY signal to a NEUTRAL signal. The weakness that followed on Wednesday and Thursday was not enough to switch our model back to SELL as volume was below average and late day rallies took prices off their lows. On Friday stocks rallied but did so on the lowest volume of the week for the Nasdaq. Therefore, we remain under a NEUTRAL signal at Big Wave Trading, holding an extremely large amount of cash. Cash levels are at a point that has not been seen since late 2007 and early 2008. Everyone knows what happened post Q2 2008. This is to not say that will happen this time. Predicting the future is not our game, since it is 100% impossible to do. It is just a recent historical observation. Our game plan is clear. We are waiting for an above average volume breakout to the upside or downside. Once we receive that signal, we will invest accordingly. We are prepared for a rally, a sell off, or more sideways action. New positions continue to remain small, as historical signals that made significant gains in the past continue to throw off false signals. This amount of false signals has never occurred before in my career, spanning from 1996-now. Therefore, we get smaller and smaller and will remain small until our new positions start producing more and bigger wins to fewer and smaller losses. Recent Biotech, Small Banks, and REIT longs have done very well for us lately but they are not producing the gains I want to see right after initiating a position. Nothing is producing huge gains and it is 100% correlated to the overall market. This should surprise no one as 3 out of 4 stocks follow the general trend of the market. When the trend is trendless, you get weak moves. From February 3rd to Friday, the Nasdaq has moved 0.10%. From May 9th to Friday, the Nasdaq has moved -0.89%. Not quite a trending market, huh? This period will end. Hopefully, it ends faster than the 1976-1979 trendless market ended. If it doesn’t, it is not a big deal because there will be short trend burst here and there (think of July to August 2011, the Flash Crash of 2010, and the uptrend from September 2010-February 2011). During the trendless periods, we will continue to reduce our exposure as new signals fail and cut losses much faster and not give stocks room that we would normally not cut as fast and give more room to work in a trending market. Maybe we will get some movement next week. If we don’t, that is fine with me. Why? Because I can not control the stock market. I can’t make it do what I want it to do. The only way to be at peace with it is to let it do whatever it wants to do and subsequently not get greedy trying to ask it to produce a big uptrend or downtrend right now when it simply is not. If you want to beat today’s market and continue to beat today’s market year after year decade after decade, you have to be OK with whatever the market does in the now, even if you don’t want to. Enjoy the weekend! Aloha! Top Current Holdings – Percent Return – Date of Signal AVD long – 96% – 1/10/12 BVSN short – 77% – 3/19/12 CAMP long – 32% – 5/4/12 VRNM short – 31% – 4/10/12 WZE short – 29% – 4/10/12 MAGS short – 28% – 4/18/12 PRXI short – 27% – 3/30/12

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Stocks Have a Wild Ride Close Lower

Earnings season has not been kind to stocks and it kicked started the market to the downside. Europe’s markets were selling off as the EURUSD fell below 1.22. Selling was intense, but backed off as buyers stepped up. The NASDAQ sliced through its 50 day moving average while the S&P 500 was able to hold above its 50 day. Volume rose on the day across the board as another distribution day is added. The last 15 minutes of the session was met with sellers trimming a good portion of gains seen since the morning lows. Today’s action was not terribly bullish despite coming off the lows. We remain cautious here. Stocks like PG and WMT were helping out the Dow Jones Industrial Average move higher. The Dow was the index holding up best today is a key sign investors were moving in a defensive manner. We do not believe a market lead by the Dow will be one that produces a strong move to the upside. Our leading stocks continue to look weak and are not inspiring much confidence in this market. We’ll stick to our rules and await our signals. Interesting headlines hitting the wires tonight with Italy being downgraded two notches by Moody’s and China’s GDP growth figure. Italy’s news is not really surprising to me, but I’d argue its rating should be junk. Remember when most investors were duped into thinking the Greek’s would meet their obligations? When all is said and done Greece is likely to have all its debt liquidated leaving bond holders high and dry. Will Italy and Spain be any different? Certainly just as big will be whether or not China is slowing more rapidly. Then again, can you trust what it prints for GDP growth? Too much speculation to gamble money on, but is an interesting intellectual debate. Remember leave the investing to a rules-based system rather than an opinion! If I had to guess tomorrow we’ll see stocks climb higher and close in the green. Then we can get headlines into the week the indexes snapping its losing streak. Investing based upon this would simply be gambling. Trade your plan and leave out the guess work. Have a great weekend and get out there and enjoy life.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Energy and Financials Hold up the S&P 500

The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ are barely hanging onto their respective 50 day moving average as the Federal Reserve meeting minutes fail to spark buyers or sellers from jumping in with both feet. Crude oil was the big story on the day with the commodity jumping more than two points helping out the energy sector. Saving the S&P 500 the energy sector gained more than 1.4% on the day while the financial sector gained nearly .8%. Without the help from these sectors the S&P 500 would have sunk hard. Leading stocks continue to be sold off as another signal of weakness in this market. The market was able to overcome some selling after the Fed minutes and is a slants to the positive side of things. Big Wave Trading market model is neutral and we’ll need to see a big volume push to either side to get us in either direction. Volume was mixed on the day with surprisingly volume higher on the NYSE and lower on the NASDAQ. As of late we have seen the opposite situation where NASDAQ had seen the volume come in higher, but NYSE lower. Perhaps today may signal a change in the recent short-term trend (down), but it is hard to get too excited when leading stocks aren’t the ones showing the support. It appears the market is ignoring the lack of commitment currently from the Fed to do QE and wants to push higher. We aren’t about to guess where the market is heading next and we’ll continue to follow our rules based trend following system. Tomorrow morning the ECB will come out with a few items and it appears the market is expecting them to talk about increasing the fire power of the ESM and EFSF and LTRO. These are all short-term fixes to a long term problem. Unfortunately, for the Euronations they need to swallow the hard pill Estonia and Iceland did to recover from this problem. Defending the status quo will always lead to a bigger problem down-the-road. Our focus remains on following our rules and pushing forward regardless of the direction the market takes us in. While we may have opinions they aren’t mixed in with our trading. Rules based systematic approach to trading stocks is our niche to beating the market.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Volume Jumps as Leading Stocks Slump

A big distribution day strikes the market, but the real story is how leading stocks fared in today’s session. While we can focus on INTC, AA, or CSCO the real story is how leading stocks acted today and what they are foreshadowing. Distribution days happen in uptrends and are quite normal. However, today’s action in leading stocks foreshadows a very bleak picture for the market ahead. While AAPL price wise held up okay volume was much higher suggesting sellers are winning the battle. Our major market averages are above their respective 50 day moving averages, but it does not appear underneath it all things are looking good. One major leading stock happens to be QCOR and today’s reversal after yesterday’s big point gain smells quite FISHY! Other leading stocks like ISRG, PCLN, FOSL, CMG, and LULU are breaking down and are not playing nice in the sandbox. This action usually spells out trouble for the market even though our distribution day count is low. It is never a good sign when your leading stocks get pounded and is often a sign for more trouble ahead. Tomorrow will be an interesting day in an option expiry week. We get the FOMC meeting minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting. I am sure the market will be itching to see if the Fed talked about further bond buying or what we like to call MONEY PRINTING. Quantitative easing or money printing or monetizing debt which ever you prefer is something the market has been hoping on. We’ll see if the Fed talked anything about more bond buying. At this point, what else will it do other than monetize our debt and make us become more like Japan? For now, this is all speculation and the action we are seeing is quite negative for the market. There are many headwinds facing this market and many of them are known. However, what the media calls “headline risk” is simply a non-factor for trend followers. We follow price not what Mandy says on CNBC is breaking news. Cut those losses.

Monday, July 09, 2012

AAPL Keeps the NASDAQ Afloat as the Market Aways Earnings Season

Coming off a holiday week stocks ended slightly in the red with volume coming in higher across the board. The Dow Jones industrial average along with the NYSE composite both notched distribution days, but the NASDAQ and S&P 500 skirted distribution. AAPL was certainly a star of the session despite volume coming in lower for the stock. Today’s action comes as no surprise to us as many market participants were coming back from vacation. The market clearly is waiting on earnings and first up to bat is Alcoa. We are still in a weak buy signal and we’ll continue to act accordingly until the market tells us otherwise. It is nice not having the troubles in Europe dominate the talk on the air waves. Well, there was some talk, but not the pounding on the table many have been doing nowadays. Attention is now being drawn towards earning season and it will be interesting to see how the market reacts to the many companies reporting on their earnings. NKE and F are two examples of where the global slowdown is clearly hurting them on the top and bottom lines. We’ll sit back and where we need to take action we will and will not be guessing on the direction of stocks will take prior to earnings. We follow trends and certainly do not guess where they may happen next. Alcoa reported better than expected earnings and revenues after the market close. It reaffirmed its guidance for demand, but has yet to express any global growth. The stock was up more than a percent after releasing earnings, but now is hardly above where it closed. AA is not typically a name we’d like to get after since it isn’t a growth stock, but from an economic stand point it is a barometer. The lack of oomph in the after-hours session is quite puzzling and while we aren’t going to act upon it we can certainly ascertain something isn’t quite right. Earnings season has officially begun and let the games begin! A few leaders held their ground while another was unable to hold a key moving average. Both V and MA traded down to their 50 day moving average. Finding support, both stocks were able to hang above their respective 50 day moving average. On the other hand, LNKD was unable to hold its 50 day average. While volume was not above the average volume, it was the most volume seen by the stock since the day the Russell indexes rebalanced. The stock has been climbing on tepid volume and today’s action doesn’t bode well for the stock going forward. Remember to know where you are going to sell out of a position! Cutting your losses is your number one priority. Profits take care of themselves, but losses never do.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Big Wave Trading Portfolio Update And Top Current Holdings

Big Wave Trading remains under a weak BUY signal (10%) generated on June 29th. The past week was a very inactive week for us with only a few long signals generated (all on Monday). We continue to be in a trendless intermediate market period. From February 3rd to July 6th, the Nasdaq has moved a whopping 1%. From May 9th to July 6th, the Nasdaq has moved 0.09%. The market remains trendless in a range bound trading range. Outside of the Biotech, Regional Banks, and Homebuilders sector, there really is not that much that is blowing me away in individual stocks. The wedging low volume breakouts in leading CANSLIM stocks simply do not interest me in an overall low volume tape. Historically, it is a very risky trade. Over the course of the past three years it has become a higher odds trade due simply to the market being manipulated higher via the printing press via QE1, QE2, Operation Twist1, Operation Twist2. Still, this is a trade (low volume moves) I will not take unless the chart pattern is tight. There are a lot of stocks still building solid bases out there that puts the odds in favor of breakouts. But at the same time, there are price/volume flaws with a lot of these patterns like PCLN, AAPL, GOOG. They have heavier volume on the left side of the base when selling off and lower volume on their current right sides as they rally. This is the opposite of what you want to see, historically. However, in this new world we live in, it could very well work. This is why price is king. We will continue to focus on price at Big Wave Trading, waiting for a stronger BUY or SELL signal. The current signal is weak and needs strength confirmation before we can even think about getting 50% of our portfolios invested on the long side. In fact, the signal is already coming under pressure thanks to the “technical” distribution day on the Nasdaq on Friday. It was a technical distribution day because we were down on heavier volume. However, the intraday reversal was bullish. Therefore, the overall session can be taken away as a positive for the bulls. Overall, this means we are like Switzerland here. We are under a BUY signal but we are very neutral in that our team both see an equal amount of positives and negatives out there. There is no real clear upcoming direction we can attempt to forecast at Big Wave Trading due to the mere fact of there being so many cross-current data coming in from the micro and macro front. It is very much a waiting game. At least it is summer time. I know it is hot on the mainland but it is perfect on Maui and the waves have been big and strong for this summer. If this is what global warming is all about then I am all for it. That is until it hits my pocket book at the grocery store thanks to all the damaged corn, grain, and other ag crops. Aloha and have a wonderful weekend! Top Current Holdings – Percent Return – Date of Signal AVD long – 90% – 1/10/12 BVSN short – 76% – 3/19/12 CAMP long – 34% – 4/26/12 VRNM short – 31% – 4/10/12 PHMD short – 31% – 5/11/12 WZE short – 26% – 4/10/12 MAGS short – 25% – 4/18/12 ANGI long – 25% – 5/31/12

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Market Awaits the Jobs Reports as AAPL Moves Higher

There was a whole host of news for the market to digest this morning from the ECB rate cut to the Chinese cutting its rates. The ECB did not increase the size of its bailout mechanisms despite the cry for more. We did get somewhat good news with the ADP report showing 176,000 jobs were created in the month of June. Unfortunately, only 4,000 were manufacturing jobs. Jobless claims were better than expected, but failed to ignite any excitement over the employment picture. Another disappointing ISM release this time in the non-manufacturing space showed the service sector grew less than expected. While the NASDAQ was able to get off the lows of the session late day sellers knocked the index to close flat. This market awaits tomorrow’s jobs report and we remain in a buy signal. AAPL was a big part in the success of the NASDAQ Today jumping more than 10 points. News of a smaller iPad certainly helped buyers to jump back into the stock. Volume was above average today, but it was the first time since May 22nd did the stock experience above average volume. The recent move has been in light volume and while the gains have been nice there isn’t anything screaming about institutions buying this stock hand over fist. We won’t argue with the gains, but something to keep an eye on as this market moves forward. The lack of volume on the upside isn’t anything new for discussion, but an interesting development is with the AAII sentiment survey. Bears dropped 9 points, but it is the lack of convinction from either side that is interesting. Bulls and bears are at 33% a piece with 34% of respondents neutral. Traders are going the way of Switzerland and not chosing any sides. Trend followers do not care which side of the market we need to be on we just go there. However, the neutral bias continues to be a common theme with sentiment these days. This entire rally has been on the back of the Federal Reserve Bank coming up with a new bond buying program. Ben Bernanke was all over this question in his last question and answer session saying unemployment was a key indicator for him and the fed. Tomorrow’s unemployment figure, expected to be at 8.2% was the indicator Big Ben Bernanke is keeping an eye on. Tomorrow will be a fun day! Enjoy the weekend.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Stocks Finish Higher Shaking off Poor Manufacturing Data

Stocks closed higher on the NASDAQ for the second straight day despite June’s ISM Manufacturing showing the industry contracted. While there are troubling signs within the data the market was able to push higher. Small cap stocks lead for the day doubling the gains seen on the NASDAQ. Volume was light on the day, but no big surprise with Independence Day on Wednesday. Never fight the trend as today’s market certainly highlights this important lesson. Our Market Direction model shows a buy signal and it is based upon the market action not market opinion. The ISM report shows some very troubling numbers. Numbers would point to the United States economy in or on the verge of recession. One would easily think the market should react poorly and sell off on the news. Initially, the market DID sell off and looked as if we were going to head lower. Buyers showed up and supported the market. It doesn’t matter who they were (“PPT”) all that matters is they should up supporting the market. In the end, it boils down to price action and not what your opinion about the market’s direction. An important step for the market happened today and that was taking out the most recent high. One may think a double top pattern is forming, but the mere fact of making a new high has taken out the downtrend started at the March high. The new high has put in a new higher high. For trend followers this is an important step for the market to continue higher. It is not a guarantee that we will continue to make new highs, but then again no one knows the future. We have rule number one to help us save ourselves if the new higher high for some reason fails. That rule: cut your losses. “Know when to fold ‘em.” If you want to see the numbers behind the ISM figure, I’d suggest heading to here: The trend is our friend. A friendly reminder: there is an early market close on tomorrow prior to the Fourth of July holiday! Enjoy.