The major indices finished mixed to higher where an early morning bid on the heels of last night's last-minute tentative agreement between the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and General Motors (GM) $30.84 +0.22% had the union agreeing to modest wage increases of roughly 1.5% in the first year, followed by 1% gains in each of the next two years. The CAW also agreed to a pension increase of just $6.80 per month over the life of the contract for retired workers.
The news was viewed as a positive by investors because of GM's need to cut their plant capacity by as much as 20% due to declining market share.
General Motors (GM) popped higher at the open and traded a morning high of $31.54, but those gains didn't last long as parts supplier to the "Big 3" (GM, Ford (F) $9.95 +1.01% and DaimlerChrysler (DCX) $54.83 +3.78%) had Delphi's (DPH) $2.65 -3.63% CEO once again warning that unless GM and the United Auto Workers (UAW), which represents Delphi's workers, helps the company to drastically cut costs, then Delphi is prepared to file bankruptcy at any time.
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Delphi, which was spun-off from GM, refused comment on rumors that it has asked GM for a bailout package worth $6 billion to help it avoid bankruptcy.
DaimlerChrysler's (DCX) shares outperformed on the session on news that the automaker is planning to cut more than 8,000 jobs at its Mercedes division in Germany. This would be 3,000 more than the 5,000 previously expected.
Stock futures did trade higher overnight on the GM/CAW news and early morning economic data had orders for durable goods showing a sharp 3.3% rise to $210.82 billion in August, a resumption in growth after July's revised plunge of 5.3%. August's increase was much stronger than the 0.5% rise expected by economists. The rise in orders was broad and showed higher capital spending. Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft increased 3.6% during August after falling 3.3% in July.
Then at 10:30 AM EDT, the EIA reported its weekly inventory figures. The agency said crude oil inventories fell for a fifth-straight week and were down 2.4 million barrels for the week ended September 23. Unleaded gasoline stockpiles rose for a third-straight week by 4.4 million barrels, while distillate inventories fell by 573,000 barrels.
While the inventory figures found an immediate mixed trade from the energy futures markets, it was the decline in operable capacity among the nation's refiners that drew a bullish bid in the various energy contracts.
As I was anxiously awaiting last night's news out of the Canadian Auto Workers talks with GM, there was a continuing roll of press releases being issued by energy producers and refiners as they assessed damage from Hurricane Katrina and Rita.
The EIA also tracks changes in operable refiner capacity. While operable capacity fell 10.22% for the week ended September 2 (Katrina), this week's data showed a 4.06% decline in operable capacity from Rita.
All energy futures settled sharply higher with November Unleaded Gasoline futures (hu05x) surging as high as $2.34 intra-day, to settle up $0.08, or 4.03%. Helping exacerbate the move was today's October contract settlement, where traders seemed pressed to cover any obligations instead of risking delivery. November Heating Oil (ho05x) settled up $0.074, or 3.56% at $2.168, while November Crude Oil (cl05x) settled higher by $1.28, or 1.97% at $66.35.
November Natural Gas futures (ng05x) continued to surge and settled up $0.98, or 7.47% at $14.10.
U.S. Market Watch - 09/28/05 Close
On a week-to-week basis, November Crude Oil is relatively unchanged, but the refined products such as unleaded gas and heating oil suggest market participants remain concerned about refiner's ability to get back online as hurricane damage continues to be assessed.
Gulf of Mexico production concerns also show up in the natural gas complex as winter approaches.
Kerr McGee (KMG) $96.89 +1.35% is perhaps a good example of just how "forgiving" market participants are for energy-related stocks. Today, KMG warned that it was lowering its Q3 and Q4 production estimates due to recent hurricane activity. The producer/explorer said it now anticipates a reduction in production of 1.2 million barrels of oil equivalent in the third quarter, and Q4 production was seen down by 1.7 million barrels of oil equivalent a day. Kerr-McGee expected a reduction of 3% in its annual Gulf of Mexico production volumes, but "with two category five hurricanes in one month we expect to exceed this allowance," said Buterbaugh.
The company did say it expects to restore 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, or close to 50% of its net pre-Katrina production, by the end of the week.
The S&P Banks Index (BIX.X) 333.02 -1.46% was notably weak today and has sported a 1.8% decline on a Wednesday-to-Wednesday close. While a 10.4 basis point rise in the shorter-dated 5-year yield ($FVX.X) versus a more modest 3.1 basis point rise in the longer-dated 30-year yield ($TYX.X) over the past week would represent yield curve flattening, that's wasn't the only "bad news," this sector had to deal with.
Mortgage lender Fannie Mae (FNM) $41.71 -10.68% plunged $4.99 per share by the close, with the bulk of today's decline coming in the final 90-minutes of trade, on unconfirmed reports that investigators found new accounting violations.
A spokeswoman for the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which overseas Fannie Mae's financial soundness, would not confirm or deny reports that extensive additional problems had been found.
For many mortgage companies, commercial banks, savings and loans as well as credit unions, news of further accounting problems at Fannie Mae creates a potential "capacity constraint." Many mortgage loan originators count on Fannie Mae to facilitate the flow of mortgage capital.
Freddie Mac (FRE) $54.60 -1.97% also traded weak and closed at a 52-week low.
Equity markets were roiled late in the session on news that a Texas grand jury charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, forcing the House majority leader to temporarily relinquish his post. DeLay says that charges leveled against him are an act of "blatant political partisanship" and that he is innocent of all charges. Republicans selected Rep. Roy Blunt (R., Mo.), the current Republican whip to fill DeLay's role.
Today's "DeLay news" becomes a bit unnerving to investors as the nation tries to deal with the aftermath of two powerful hurricanes. While Democrats may be guilty of political partisanship, politicians know how to "strike while the iron is hot."
Yes, President Bush's poll numbers are at their lows, and with congressional Republican leaders saying they will try and reduce funding to other federal programs to help cover the cost (estimated at $250 billion) of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the opportunity for Democrats to unseat some Republicans in the upcoming elections is prime for the taking. Make no mistake about it. If the proverbial shoe was on the other foot, I believe Republicans would be trying to do the same thing to Democrats.
It is said that the market hates uncertainty and the "DeLay disruption" looms as a negative as the nation's politicians try and sort out what is to be done in hurricane-ravaged portions of the south are to receive federal tax dollars to rebuild.
S&P Banks Index (BIX.X) - Weekly Intervals
Anytime I see a chart where the analyst starts rolling out to weekly, or monthly intervals to find support, or resistance, it is usually a sign that building trend is taking hold. The above chart of the BIX.X is just that. A weekly interval chart as the BIX.X breaks to a new 52-week low. Next support for the BIX.X looks to be the 322.50-327.00 level, and this week's highs were capped quickly at the 343 level.
Networking Index (NWX.X) - Weekly Intervals
Today's durable goods report revealed a 5.5% rise in orders for computers and other electronic products. I do think some of the networker's gains have come on the anticipated spending brought on by repairing infrastructure from hurricane damage in the south.
The Semiconductor Index (SOX.X) has been "on fire" since April, but has cooled off with a 1.99% decline the past four weeks and we could well be seeing some rotation to the networking side of things. I'm a bit skeptical of the networkers' relative strength and 4.97% gain over the past 5-days, as it is some of the smaller-priced names doing the bulk of the work. I can't say for certain that institutions would be marking things up into the quarter by targeting the smaller-priced names, but the "big gun" in the group, Cisco Systems (CSCO) $17.92 +1.12% is battling both its 50-day SMA and 200-day SMA at $18.25 and $18.40 respectively and shows a more modest 0.39% gain for the past 5-days and 2.34% gain for the past 20-days.
Networking Index (NWX.X) Components - Sorted by 5-day % gains
Traders talk about "end of quarter marking up," and a quick look at the NWX.X components shows some of the "smaller cap" and lower priced names providing the bulk of the lift.
Cigna - CI - close: 116.14 change: +1.24 stop: 111.49
Why We Like It:
BUY CALL NOV 110.00 CI-KB OI= 64 current ask $8.70
Picked on September xx at $ xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Total S.A. - TOT - close: 137.23 chg: +1.81 stop: 131.99
Why We Like It:
BUY CALL NOV 130.00 TOT-KF OI= 425 current ask $9.20
Picked on September 28 at $137.23
Apache - APA - close: 76.23 change: +0.88 stop: 72.49
Another strong day for crude oil and a very strong day for natural gas prices helped push APA over the $76 level with a 1.16% gain. Short-term oscillators are looking bullish again after its recent consolidation sideways above the $73 level. Our target is the $79-80 range.
Picked on September 18 at $ 73.42
Apollo Group - APOL - close: 66.64 chg: -0.17 stop: 64.99 *new*
Heads up! APOL's oversold bounce paused today. This was a speculative oversold bounce play to begin with and we'll be very cautious with any signs of weakness. The goal was to catch a quick oversold bounce back toward the $70 region but the intraday chart s looking vulnerable to more selling. We would not suggest new positions. We are raising our stop loss to $64.99. More conservative traders may want to raise their stops even tighter. If APOL closes under $66 we may exit early!
Picked on September 25 at $ 66.09
Broadcom - BRCM - close: 45.27 chg: +0.18 stop: 42.85
Traders need to be alert here. BRCM is showing more weakness despite today's close in the green. The stock is struggling with its short-term three-week trend of lower highs. Looking at the intraday chart suggests that BRCM will test the $44 level and/or the 50-dma before continuing higher. We would not suggest new plays at this time. Either wait for a bounce from $44 or 50-dma or wait for a new relative high.
Picked on September 25 at $ 45.05
Cardinal Health - CAH - close: 63.09 chg: +0.95 stop: 59.85
The rally in CAH continues and shares added 1.5% on Wednesday with volume rising just above its daily average. The next challenge is the recent high near $63.50. Our target is the $66-67 range.
Picked on September 25 at $ 61.95
Cameco Corp - CCJ - close: 52.75 chg: +0.05 stop: 49.49
The sideways consolidation in CCJ between $50 and $55 seems to be narrowing. We would expect a more decisive move relatively soon. A move over $53.50 or $54 could be used as a new bullish entry point. Our target is the $58-60 range.
Picked on September 18 at $ 53.30
Intuitive Surg. - ISRG - close: 74.45 chg: +0.17 stop: 71.99
The play has been triggered. ISRG continued yesterday's rally and hit a new three-week high at $75.74 today. This triggered the play at $75.11 and helped produce a new MACD buy signal. While the play is officially open we would not initiate positions until ISRG traded back above the $75.00 mark. Our target is the $79.50-80.00 range.
Picked on September 28 at $ 75.11
Altria Group - MO - close: 73.47 change: -0.02 stop: 69.90
MO tagged another new all-time high today but couldn't hold it. The trend remains bullish. We see no changes from our previous updates. Our target is the $78-79 range.
Picked on September 18 at $ 73.14
Noble Energy - NBL - close: 46.60 chg: +0.44 stop: 44.49*new*
Wednesday witnessed another day of gains for energy and shares of NBL followed suit with a gain of 0.95%. We are raising the stop loss to $44.49. Our target is the $49-50 range.
Picked on September 11 at $ 44.90 *post-split price
Adobe Sys. - ADBE - close: 29.02 chg: +0.62 stop: n/a
ADBE continues to show relative strength and out performed the markets and its peers today. Shares added more than two percent with volume coming in above average. The stock also broke through technical resistance at the exponential 200-dma near $28.65 but failed to breakout over the mid-September peak near $29.50. We want to remind readers that there are two targets to watch. The first target is the options. Our strangle play started with the October $25 put and the October $27.50 call for an investment of $1.55. The initial goal was to exit if we could get a $1.00 or $1.50 profit. Currently the October $27.50 call is trading in the $1.80/1.90 range. Today's high was $1.95 for the call. If the October $27.50 call can trade into the $2.35-2.50 region we would exit. This will probably coincide with our secondary target on ADBE's stock price. If the stock trades in the $29.85-30.00 range we'll exit anyway no matter what the value of the options. This was a strangle play on ADBE's 9/15 earnings report so we're not suggesting new positions.
Picked on September 13 at $ 26.82
Black & Decker - BDK - close: 81.32 chg: -0.18 stop: 85.05
BDK continues to sink back toward support near $80.00. We see no changes from our previous update. Our target is the $78-77 range.
Picked on September 14 at $ 83.31
Hershey Co. - HSY - close: 56.26 change: -0.06 stop: 58.01
Good news! It looks like the oversold bounce in HSY has failed at the $57.00 level today. This can be used as a new bearish entry point. Just remember that we're targeting a move into the $54.00-53.50 range.
Picked on September 14 at $ 57.90
MBIA Inc. - MBI - close: 58.02 chg: +0.20 stop: 58.75
Shares of MBI continue to show way too much relative strength for our liking. The financial indices were down today but MBI pushed higher and challenged technical resistance at its 200-dma near 58.32 and its 50-dma near 58.44. The high was actually 58.51. The good news is that MBI remains under resistance and its current trend of lower highs. The bad news is this current rally hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. We are not suggesting new plays.
Picked on September 13 at $ 57.75
Before I get into this topic, which is about how a technical analyst like I was at PaineWebber (now UBS) or a technically-oriented trader like I am now, might view patterns that could suggest different OUTCOMES for the current trend. This is an especially important consideration when the market is appears that it 'might' be at a low or might be at a tradable top.
Before I launch into that, let me back up and share one OIN SUBSCRIBER QUESTION that I answered after I wrote about some aspects of TRENDLINES in my last Trader's Corner (9/21) article
"I have this question: why is it logical to apply the charting techniques to a commodity (oil)? People buy stocks to get a reward based on future earnings, which are predictable and about which there is a lot of data and many data trackers. Surprises cause upside or downside. I can see where oil, copper, nickel, etc. could operate that way in the "perfect" environment. Maybe the 1950's.
But now oil demand is about to permenantly outstrip supply. It doesn't seem logical to apply terms like "support" or "resistence" to this. Oil is going to $100, at least. It's like oxygen; you couldn't do a trend line on that if you were in a small sealed room with 100 other people, once the first guy had trouble breathing. I'm a long way from an expert in these things, but what's wrong with my view?"
While I happen to agree with your longer-range assessment, I also tend to take a short to intermediate-term view, especially as this is a 'trading' site. There is nothing 'wrong' with your analysis in my opinion, we are merely looking at two different aspects of this market. Good question and observation. Thanks.
CONTINUING SOME COMMENTS ON TRENDLINES:
The point I was making last week was to beware when trendlines start getting toward a vertical slope, or nearly so. In other words when I trend is just going straight up; or, straight down for that matter. It's somewhat less true for markets in free fall as everyone is selling at once and this kind of (more straight-down) slope can go on longer.
I was referring to the price of oil as reflected secondarily in the CBOE Oil Price Index (OIX). You can see in its weekly chart below how the trendline drawn up through the weekly lows is going up at a very steep angle. This kind of trend, no matter what the underlying supply and demand characteristics are, has high risk of a sharp correction.
Market trends discount ahead. The OIX Index is reflecting high oil prices for probably 6 months out. As soon as more supply is released or comes back on line, how many traders are going to take profits and sell? How many willing buyers will there be at such lofty prices?
By the way, the 8-week RSI is not 'confirming' the latest high, so I'm doubly wary: that the steepness of the price rise won't go on much longer before a correction sets in AND that the market is now going up on LESS relative strength.
The foregoing are some of the considerations that reflect such VERY steep trendline slopes. No market goes straight up or straight down forever
TThe nearby Oil futures contract price series, as reflected in the chart below, is also telling. There are levels where commodities markets find resistance:
GOLD prices are another example of markets that tend to race up and then race back down again. These price swings/trends trace out very steep trendlines. Such very steep, nearly vertical trendlines are often characteristic of the more volatile commodities and, in some markets, high-beta stocks, especially Nasdaq and especially tech. br>
CONFLICTING PATTERNS AT POSSIBLE TOPS/BOTTOMS:br> I'm of the opinion that the market is at or near a bottom, based on the fact either that recent Index lows held at or above prior swing lows and that the lows held up trendlines; or, are forming them by the pattern of the lows of the past few days.
On the other hand, I see some patterns that make me less sure of this view. For example, the last sharp decline, followed by a back and forth narrow price consolidation could have traced out a bear flag, suggesting another downswing ahead with an objective to around 547 at the lowermost dashed line, which is back around the May lows.
AAnd, what about the pattern often seen with the indexes, like with the S&P 100 (OEX) below, where there is a tendency for OEX to reach the lower envelope line when it breaks, then can't get back above, the 21-day moving average. Moreover, tradable bottoms often come when the Index get 'fully' oversold as reflected in the RSI getting down to that lowermost line.
So, what to give priority to? And others will find THEIR favorite indicator that suggests caution and that it may be that there is another shot down coming here. Certainly there are danger signals looming out there in the economy and with consumer sentiment. br>
1. Was a potential top or bottom made at or near a prior significant high or low? Yes, in the case of OEX above and with the Dow 30 (INDU) below. In fact, INDU has, so far, formed a double bottom low. I rank a potential double bottom most important as a sign of a tradable bottom as in leading me to buy calls.
2. Did a well-defined and multimonth trendline define support or resistance? Yes, in the case of OEX above and 'sort of' in the case of INDU below.
BBy 'sort of' I mean that the Dow has so far predominately held its trendline, as there was only one close below it. One close above or below a trendline, even where there were INTRADAY highs above it or intraday lows below it in the case of the INDU up trendline still maintains an uptrend.
3. Possible bearish or bullish 'flag' patterns, indicators like moving averages, moving average envelopes, overbought/oversold indicators, etc. are SECONDARY patterns that rank third, even a distant third, to patterns involving price and markings that are 'derived' from prior lows/highs like trendlines. br>
In the Nasdaq 100 Index (NDX) chart shown below, there are two strong indications for a possible bottom:
Could there be a break of the trendline and a move down toward my lower envelope line? Or, a move back to a PRIOR low like the early-July bottom around 1500? Of course. But, if you want an edge in trading you pretty much are forced to prioritize and be ready to act AHEAD of the crowd. If there is a POTENTIAL double bottom low and if that low also rebounds from the likely relevant trendline, it's enough to make a trade on that. br>
Do I like bottoms where EVERYTHING lines up? E.g., a double or triple bottom, bounce from the dominant up trendline, oversold as can be, very BEARISH SENTIMENT, very low volume at the low, prices getting 3-4 percent under the 21-day moving average, a picture perfect 'wave' pattern, etc. YES!! But, how often do I see everything line up, both PRICE and (secondary) INDICATOR patterns: NOT OFTEN.
To have enough to go on and go in on a trade, PRICE patterns are number one and then some.
** CALLING ALL OIN SUBSCRIBERS: **
** Good Trading Success! **
TToday's Newsletter Notes: Market Wrap by Jeff Bailey, Trader's Corner by Leigh Stevens, and all other plays and content by the Option Investor staff.
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