The Builders: Trump, China and the Depot (HD,XLP,XLY,XOM,USO)

When the FBI demanded access to Apple’s encryption technology to unlock the iPhones of the San Bernardino terrorists, we were disturbed.  As far as we were concerned, Apple’s refusal to empower an already intrusive surveillance state was commendable. But others saw it differently.   Donald Trump, for one.   Trump went on the offensive, saying we ought to use ‘common sense’ and give the government what they need to fight the bad guys, to know if there were accomplices, etc. And that would be a great thing – to catch the bad guys. All of them. And lock them up.   But there was something unsavory about Trump’s appeal and his further suggestion that we…

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Taking a Stab at Oil (XOM,USO,HD)

We’re in the middle of a bounce.   We don’t know how long or how high it will carry, so until we see genuine technical signs of a continued bull, we have to be guarded.   That said, we bulls still have a few key indicators on our side.   The first is sentiment, which is dreadful. No one is happy, the world looks increasingly dangerous, protest candidates are surging, and the last thing on the minds of Main Street investors is shoveling more of their savings into equities.   Fair enough. We track AAII sentiment numbers precisely for moments like these. We’re now in the pit of sentiment hell. It can’t get any worse….

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Follow the Leader (HYG, FB)

We’ve got a hoard of trades to run down today, as last Friday’s options expiry ushered in a bevy of new results.  We start with our HYG trade from October. Sharpen your pencils and take out a fresh sheet of paper, ‘cause here we go… On the 27th of October we wrote a letter called Launch the Dirigibles! in which we urged you to consider buying a beaten-down junk bond sector. Specifically, we wrote – We say junk got smacked because an overly sensitive, Prozac-popping news-addicted investment community can’t see the big picture sufficiently to wait out these minor storms. Nor will they be sufficiently wise to get back in early enough to capitalize on…

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Bellybuttons and Zeroes (FXI ,XOM, XLE)

Before we start this week’s rant, let’s take a minute to close out a successful trade. It’s actually two successful trades that are one and the same. The first was opened on the 8th of December in a letter called Chinese Market Riddle – Solved! The second was launched just three weeks later in China Breakout Imminent. They both involved option sales on the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (NYSE:FXI) and the lowdown follows – There wasn’t a great deal of difference between the two trades – neither in our reason for initiating them nor in the technical setup surrounding them. But what’s happened since then indicates to us that we should pocket the great big…

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Jobless claims down, Exxon Mobil (XOM) shares down on dropping oil prices and Aston Martin to place recall

Markets closed flat after a short trading session on Christmas Eve. There was an unexpected drop in unemployment claims last week. The Labor Department announced that people filing for unemployment benefits fell 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 280,000. This is the lowest rate in seven-weeks for unemployment claims. Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist with MUFG Union Bank, said, “The labor market is tightening up. Any job losses are just normal frictional unemployment in a healthy growing economy.” There was also a large drop in the four-week moving average of 8,500 to 290,250. This is a more reliable gauge of unemployment claims as it takes out large weekly swings. Shares of Exxon Mobil (XOM) closed lower…

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Santa’s Good to the Elite (XOM)

We set a lot of trades here at Options Trader Elite. Roughly once a week – and sometimes more – we set a trade that’s the envy of the newsletter world, both in terms of its return and its sheer entertainment value. There, there, Rachel… take your Zoloft, my love. As it turns out, we very often set trades with December expiries. Not exactly sure why, but it just happens to work out that way. And so it was with last Friday’s options expiry, that we now have a bevy of initiatives that either closed down, or that we feel it’s now appropriate to take off the table. And so, without further delay, we ask…

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Short Term Profits on an Oil Bounce (XLY, SPY, XOM, USO)

We have an open trade that requires your attention. And depending on what kind of personality you have, it could go in two entirely different directions. It was a trade we opened in mid-August in a letter called The Outperformance Game. There, we spoke about the lack of excitement in the consumer discretionary sector; a corner of the market that generally fares well when consumers are confident and the economy is humming without worry. At that time it wasn’t the case, but we suspected the situation would change, and the discretionaries, as represented by the Select Sector SPDR Consumer Discretionary ETF (NYSE:XLY), would outperform the S&P 500. The trade consisted of a long XLY CALL…

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Choose Life! (MO, XOM, FB)

It’s not a comfortable topic to discuss at the best of times, and certainly not in polite company. But it’s become topical of late and because it has relevance to the world of finance and markets in general we feel it’s worthy of a word here.  The subject is suicide. Yes, friends, suicide. And it’s no joke. There have been a rash of bankers and other high-ranking financial types (among others) who’ve taken their lives as of late and our feeling is this is anything but coincidence. Blame it on growing work demands in a world of tightrope performance pressures. Blame it an increasingly alienated citizenry, whose social time is now spent with virtual friends…

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