Monday, October 31, 2011

Crude Oil Bulls Have the Advantage Despite Overbought Conditions

Crude oil closed lower on Monday while extending last week's trading range. The mid range close sets the stage for a steady opening on Tuesday. Stochastics and the RSI are overbought but are neutral to bullish signaling that sideways to higher prices are possible near term.

If December extends the rally off this month's low, the 50% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 95.32 is the next upside target. Closes below the 20 day moving average crossing at 87.00 are needed to confirm that a short term top has been posted.

First resistance is the 50% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 95.32
Second resistance is the 62% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 100.08

First support is the 20 day moving average crossing at 87.00
Second support is the reaction low crossing at 83.40


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Crude Drifts Lower As Volume Drops Out

Crude futures drifted lower Monday amid light volume as trading was halted for clients of MF Global, one of the market's largest commodity brokers that filed for bankruptcy Monday.

Volume was less than half of normal levels, with fewer than 300,000 contracts traded compared with the 200 day moving average of nearly 660,000, as exchanges informed clients of MF that they would be limited to liquidating positions and otherwise unable to trade until they moved their accounts to other brokerages.

Brokerage firms such as MF provide vital "clearing" services for the markets, acting as escrow agents of sorts to match orders, handle payments, and execute and settle trades. The firm counted many major hedge funds and commercial hedging clients among its customers. The chaotic process got under way shortly after the opening of the market in New York on Monday, frustrating traders with untold delays as they processed papers to move accounts and positions elsewhere.

"I'm unable to trade," one trader and client of MF said, on the condition he not be identified. "Nothing can go in or out of your account until it moves over to another clearinghouse, and that is a function of paperwork, begun during the trading day, which is not the way to do it".......Read the entire Rigzone article.

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ConocoPhillips Unloads $1.5 Billion in Vietnam Assets to PetroVietnam

PetroVietnam Monday placed a $1.5 billion bid Monday to buy ConocoPhillips' Vietnamese oil assets in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, according to a Reuters report.

The move is considered to be the Hanoi based oil and gas group's official attempt to acquire the assets in effort to protect the city's territorial claims of the waters. Vietnam, Japan and the Phillipines continue to protest China's claim of territorial authority of the South China Sea.

If PetroVietnam's bid is accepted, the oil and gas group would take control of.......

23.3% stake in Su Tu Den oilfield in five oil fields located in the Cuu Long basin bock
15-1. 36% stake in the Rang Dong field in Block 15-2. 16.3% stake in the Nam Con Son gas pipeline that connects the Nam Con Son basin with southern Vietnam.

The sale of the assets is part of Houston based ConocoPhillips' March 2010 plan to divest non core assets to reduce debt and enhance shareholder returns.


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Crude Oil, Natural Gas and Gold Market Summary For Monday Oct. 31st

Crude oil was lower due to profit taking overnight but remains above the 38% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 90.56. Stochastics and the RSI are overbought but remain neutral to bullish signaling that additional short term gains are possible.

If December extends this month's rally, the 50% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 95.32 is the next upside target. Closes below the 20 day moving average crossing at 87.00 are needed to confirm that a short term top has been posted.

First resistance is the 50% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 95.32 Second resistance is the 62% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 100.08

Crude oil pivot point for Monday morning trading is 93.09

First support is the 10 day moving average crossing at 90.28
Second support is the 20 day moving average crossing at 87.00

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Natural gas was higher overnight as it extends last Friday's short covering rally. Stochastics and the RSI are turning bullish signaling that sideways to higher prices are possible near term.

Closes above the reaction high crossing at 4.039 are needed to confirm that a short term low has been posted. If December renews this year's decline, monthly support crossing at 3.225 is the next downside target.

First resistance is the reaction high crossing at 4.039
Second resistance is the 25% retracement level of the June-October decline crossing at 4.133

Natural gas' pivot point for Monday morning trading is 3.878

First support is last Thursday's low crossing at 3.724
Second support is monthly support crossing at 3.225

The Buy and Hold Myth.....Is Buy and Hold Back?

Gold was lower due to profit taking overnight as it consolidates some of the short covering rally off September's low. Stochastics and the RSI are overbought but remain neutral to bullish signaling that sideways to higher prices are possible near term.

If December extends the aforementioned rally, the 62% retracement level of September's decline crossing at 1775.20 is the next upside target. Closes below the reaction low crossing at 1604.70 would confirm that a short term top has been posted.

First resistance is last Friday's high crossing at 1754.00
Second resistance is the 62% retracement level of September's decline crossing at 1775.20

Gold's pivot point for Monday morning trading is 93.09

First support is the reaction low crossing at 1604.70
Second support is September's low crossing at 1535.00

Dennis Gartman’s 22 Rules of Trading

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Unfortunate Truth About an Overbought Stock Market

Writing about financial markets is probably the most challenging endeavor I have ever immersed myself into. I am a trader first and a writer second, but I have really come to enjoy scribing missives about financial markets because it really forces me to concentrate on my analysis.

Writing for the general public has really enhanced my perception of the market and forced me to dig deeper and learn new forms of analysis. I find myself learning more and more every day and the beauty of trading is that even for the most experienced of traders there is always an opportunity to learn more. As members of my service know, I strive to be different than most of my peers as my focus is on education and being completely transparent and honest.

I want readers to know that I was wrong about my recent expectations regarding the European sovereign debt summit. I was expecting the Dollar to rally based on the recent price action and quite frankly I expected stocks to falter after running up nearly 15% into the announcement. My expectations could not have been more untimely and incorrect.

I share this with you because as I read and listen to market pundits discussing financial markets I find that too many writers and commentators flip flop their positions to always have the appearance of accuracy. In some cases, there have been television pundits that stated we were possibly going to revisit a depression in 2012 no more than 5 weeks ago. These so called experts have now changed their positions stating that we have started a new bull market in recent weeks. How can anyone take these people seriously?

Financial markets are dynamic and consistently fool the best minds and most experienced traders out there. Financial markets do not reward hubris. If a trader does not remain humble, Mr. Market will happily handle the humbling process for him. I was humbled this week. I was reminded yet again that  financial markets do not take prisoners and they show no mercy. I am sharing this with readers because I want you to know that I refuse to flip flop my position without first declaring that I was wrong.

When I am wrong, I will own up to it purely out of sense of responsibility. My word and my name actually mean something to me, and while I strive to present accurate analysis I am fallible and I will make mistakes. The key however to the mistakes that I make is my ability to learn from them and the past week was a great learning opportunity.

After regrouping and stepping back after the price action on Thursday, a few key elements really stood out to me regarding recent price action. First of all, in the short term we are extremely overbought. The chart below illustrates the number of stocks in domestic equity markets trading above their 20 period moving averages over the past 5 years:

Overbought Stock Market Chart
Overbought Stock Momentum

What is apparent from the chart above is that prices are almost as overbought right now as they have been anytime in the past 5 years. The number of domestic equities trading above their 50 period moving average over the past 5 years is also nearing the highest levels seen during the same period as the chart below illustrates:

Stock Market Momentum Trading
Trading Stock Market Momentum

Equities trading above the 100, 150, and 200 period moving averages are somewhat subdued by comparison meaning in the short run a possible correction appears likely. The longer term time frames are no longer oversold, but they have considerable upside to work with before we could declare that they are overbought.

Additionally, the details of the European Union’s supposed solution have not yet been released raising questions going forward. Every move that is made will create unintended consequences. As an example, since Greece had 50% of their debt written down why would Ireland or Portugal refuse to pay their debts in full?

The Irish and Portuguese governments are going to come under pressure from their constituents to renegotiate the terms of their debt based on the agreement that was made with Greece recently. Spain politicians will likely be under pressure as well. The decisions made in these so called bailouts reverberate across the geopolitical spectrum. Moral hazard still exists, it just evolves over time.

The risk premium of sovereign debt has to be adjusted since credit default swaps did not trigger payment as the write downs were considered “voluntary.” Thus credit default swaps are not the answer to hedge sovereign debt as it would appear that governments have the ability to write down debt without triggering a default based on the status of the write down. The long term unintended consequences could be severe and are unknown at this point in time.

In addition to the unknown factors impacting the European “solution”, next week the Federal Reserve will have their regular FOMC meeting and statement. There has been a lot of chatter regarding the potential for QE III to come out of this meeting. While I could be wrong, initiating QE III right after the Operation Twist announcement would lead many to believe that Operation Twist was a failure.

With interest rates at or near all time lows and the recent rally we have seen in the stock market, it does not make sense that QE III would be initiated during this meeting. It is possible that if QE III is not announced the U.S. Dollar could rally and put pressure on risk assets such as the S&P 500 in the short to intermediate term. If this sequence of events played out, a correction would be likely. The following is a daily chart of the S&P 500 with possible correction targets in place:

SPY Overbought Stock Market
SPY Overbought Stock Market

Right now it is a toss up in the financial blogosphere as to the expectations of where price action will head. Are we near a top? Is this the beginning of a new bull market? I scanned through several charts Friday evening and Saturday morning and came to this realization. If the market is going to breakout and this is not a top but the beginning of a major bullish wave higher, then the Nasdaq 100 Index (NDX) has to breakout over the 2011 highs.

The Nasdaq 100 Index is comprised of stocks such as AAPL, GOOG, INTC, and YHOO. In order for a new leg higher to transpire, hyper beta names like AAPL and GOOG have to breakout higher and show continuation with strong supporting volume. If the NDX does not breakout over the 2011 highs, a top could potentially be forming. The daily chart of the Nasdaq 100 Index is shown below:

QQQ Overbought Market
QQQ Overbought Market

In conclusion, the short term looks like a possible correction could play out. However, it is critical to note that the longer term time frames are more neutral at this time. Furthermore, if price action cannot penetrate the 2011 highs for the Nasdaq 100 Index, I do not believe that a new bull market will have begun. If the Nasdaq 100 Index cannot breakout above the 2011 highs, we could be putting in a potential top going into the holiday season.

In closing, I will leave you with the thoughtful muse of famed writer and minister Hugh Prather, “Almost any difficulty will move in the face of honesty. When I am honest I never feel stupid. And when I am honest I am automatically humble.”

Subscribers of OTS have pocketed more than 150% return in the past few months. If you’d like to stay ahead of the market using My Low Risk Option Strategies and Trades check out OTS at Options Trading Signals.Com and take advantage of our free occasional trade ideas or a 66% coupon to sign up for daily market analysis, videos and Option Trades each week.

J.W. Jones


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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dan Strumpf: Crude Oil Pauses As Europe Debt Questions Persist

Crude oil futures edged lower Friday, as traders paused amid uncertainty over the details of the European Union's rescue package for Greece. Light, sweet crude for December delivery settled 64 cents, or 0.7%, lower at $93.32 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange settled down $2.17, or 1.9%, to $109.91 a barrel.

Futures ended slightly lower as market participants reflected on the rescue package unveiled by European Union officials on Thursday. The package, aimed at staving off a disorderly default of Greece, sent crude futures soaring on Thursday. But questions persisted over how the EU will implement the plans and if they will be enough to solve the debt woes.

"The lack of details out of this European summit really questions the feasibility of this euro zone debt deal," said Peter Donovan, vice president at Vantage Trading, an oil options brokerage in New York.

Oil market participants were closely eyeing the negotiations over European sovereign debt because of fears that the debt crisis could spread to other countries in Europe or elsewhere. That could trigger a prolonged economic slump that would weigh heavily on crude oil demand.

Positive developments in Europe over the last month played a large role in the recent crude market rally. Even after Friday's decline.....Read Dan's entire post at Rigzone.



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Friday, October 28, 2011

EIA: Recent Gasoline and Diesel Prices Track Brent and LLS, not WTI

Since the beginning of 2011, the spot price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil, a traditional benchmark for the U.S. market, has trailed the spot price of other crude oils, including Brent, a global benchmark, and Louisiana Light Sweet (LLS), a Gulf Coast crude oil similar to crudes run by many U.S. refiners. Because few U.S. refiners have easy access to WTI crude oil, this price divergence has not directly translated to lower prices for U.S. refined petroleum products, such as gasoline and heating oil.

Instead, these product prices have more closely tracked the prices of Brent and LLS. Through October 25, the prices of Brent and LLS are up 20% and 18% in 2011, respectively; the prices of wholesale diesel fuel and gasoline on the U.S. Gulf coast are up 21% and 13%, respectively; meanwhile, the price of WTI is up just 2%.




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Crude Oil, Gold and Natural Gas Market Commentary For Friday Morning

Crude oil was lower due to light profit taking overnight but remains above the 38% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 90.56. Stochastics and the RSI are overbought but remain neutral to bullish signaling that additional short term gains are possible.

If December extends this month's rally, the 50% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 95.32 is the next upside target. Closes below the 20 day moving average crossing at 86.22 are needed to confirm that a short term top has been posted.

First resistance is the 50% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 95.32 Second resistance is the 62% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 100.08

Crude oil pivot point for Friday morning is 92.98

First support is the 10 day moving average crossing at 89.61
Second support is the 20 day moving average crossing at 86.22

Double Tops and Pivot Points Explained

Natural gas was higher due to short covering overnight while extending this month's trading range. Stochastics and the RSI are oversold but remain neutral to bearish signaling that sideways to lower prices are possible near term.

If December renews this year's decline, monthly support crossing at 3.225 is the next downside target. Closes above the reaction high crossing at 4.039 are needed to confirm that a short term low has been posted.

First resistance is the reaction high crossing at 4.039
Second resistance is the 25% retracement level of the June-October decline crossing at 4.133

Natural gas pivot point for Friday mornings trading is 3.774

First support is Thursday's low crossing at 3.724
Second support is monthly support crossing at 3.225

Today’s Stock Market Club Trading Triangles

Gold was lower due to light profit taking overnight but remains above the 50% retracement level of September's decline crossing at 1729.40. Stochastics and the RSI are overbought but remain bullish signaling that sideways to higher prices are possible near term.

If December extends the aforementioned rally, the 62% retracement level of September's decline crossing at 1775.20 is the next upside target. Closes below last week's low crossing at 1604.70 would confirm that a short term top has been posted.

First resistance is the overnight high crossing at 1754.00
Second resistance is the 62% retracement level of September's decline crossing at 1775.20

Gold's pivot point for Friday morning is 1735.40

First support is last week's low crossing at 1604.70
Second support is September's low crossing at 1535.00


Secrets of the 52 Week High Rule

Thursday, October 27, 2011

ExxonMobil 3rd Quarter Profits Soar 41%

ExxonMobil's third quarter earnings surged 41% as the oil giant continued to benefit from high oil prices and stronger refining margins. Shares were up 1.4% at $82.20 in premarket trading as the results topped estimates.

The world's largest publicly traded oil company by market value has reported stronger results in recent quarters thanks to high oil prices and improved refining performance. Investors are watching this week to see how much of a drag, if any, recent oil price volatility and renewed concerns about the global economy will put on the sector's recent surge in profits.

ConocoPhillips posted a jump in adjusted third quarter profits on Wednesday, though charges weighed down the bottom line. Chevron is expected to post strong profits on Friday.

ExxonMobil reported a profit of $10.33 billion, or $2.13 a share, up from $7.35 billion, or $1.44 a share, a year earlier. Revenue increased 32% to $125.33 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters most recently forecast earnings of $2.12 a share on revenue of $113.56 billion.

Exploration and production earnings grew 54% amid higher prices for oil and natural gas, partly offset by a production decline of 4%. Refining and distribution business earnings were up 36% amid stronger refining margins. ExxonMobil said it spent $5.5 billion for stock repurchases, buying back 72 million shares. The total included $5 billion of buybacks to reduce shares outstanding.


Posted courtesy of Rigzone.Com


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PetroChina Third Quarter Net Beats Estimates

PetroChina Co.’s third quarter profit growth outpaced gains by rival China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. as higher crude oil prices helped counter refining losses at Asia’s biggest company by market value.

Net income rose 7.8 percent from a year earlier to 37.4 billion yuan ($5.9 billion), PetroChina said yesterday. That surpassed the 33.3 billion yuan mean estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sinopec, as China Petroleum is known, said profit increased 3 percent to 20.2 billion yuan.

PetroChina, which gets almost three times the operating income from energy exploration than Sinopec, benefitted more from higher oil prices as it boosted output to meet demand in the world’s second largest economy. Chinese energy companies are adding oil and gas assets from Australia to North America to curb losses from selling fuels at state controlled prices.....Read the entire article.


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Crude Oil Settles at a New 3 Month High, Natural Gas and Gold Extend Rally

Crude oil closed higher on Thursday as it extending this month's rally. The high range close sets the stage for a steady to higher opening on Friday. Stochastics and the RSI are overbought but are neutral to bullish signaling that sideways to higher prices are possible near term. If December extends the rally off this month's low, the 50% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 95.32 is the next upside target. Closes below the 20 day moving average crossing at 85.56 are needed to confirm that a short term top has been posted. First resistance is the 50% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 95.32. Second resistance is the 62% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 100.08. First support is the 20 day moving average crossing at 89.06. Second support is the reaction low crossing at 83.40.

Natural gas was lower Thursday while extending this month's trading range. Stochastics and the RSI are diverging but neutral signaling that sideways trading is possible near term. Closes above last Monday's high crossing at 4.039 are needed to confirm that a short term low has been posted. If December renews this year's decline, monthly support crossing at 3.225 is the next downside target. First resistance is the 25% retracement level of the June-October decline crossing at 4.133. Second resistance is the 38% retracement level of the June-October decline crossing at 4.336. First support is today's low crossing at 3.724. Second support is monthly support crossing at 3.225.

Gold also closed higher on Thursday as it extends the rally off September's low. The high range close sets the stage for a steady to higher opening on Friday. Stochastics and the RSI are bullish signaling that additional strength is possible near term. If December extends the rally off September's low, the 62% retracement level of the 2008-2011 rally crossing at 1775.20 is the next upside target. Closes below last Thursday's low crossing at 1604.70 would confirm that a short term top has been posted. First resistance is the 62% retracement level of the 2008-2011 rally crossing at 1775.20. Second resistance is the 75% retracement level of the 2008-2011 rally crossing at 1826.50. First support is last Thursday's low crossing at 1604.70. Second support is September's low crossing at 1535.00.


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Phil Flynn: Gulf Coast Surprise

What fun is an oil inventory report without a little surprise now and then. The Gulf Coast, famous for its beautiful beaches, its spicy cuisine, and let's not forget to mention its oil refineries and oil import terminals, gave the weekly EIA data a Louisiana kick. A surge in Gulf Coast oil imports caused a large, whopping jump in U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) of 4.7 million barrels from the previous week. That puts supply at 337.6 million barrels and keeps it in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Thanks to that Gulf Coast surge!

But let's go even further south, down to Brazil! Blame it on Rio! Well not yet anyway but in the future Brazil is going to be a major oil player. The EIA said that, "Brazil will be responsible for some of the world's largest increases in oil production in the coming decades. Advances in seismic imaging have enabled the discovery of offshore "pre salt" deposits of oil in Brazil's Campos and Santos Basins.

These pre salt fields, so-called because they lie under massive layers of salt, are located 18,000 feet below the ocean floor under more than 6,000 feet of salt. Brazil already produces 2.1 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of crude oil and lease condensate, yet just became a net exporter in 2008. Pre salt development, coupled with the ability to meet a large share of domestic demand with Biofuels, is projected to transform the country into a major oil exporter."

You might also blame Rio for the drop in distillates. The EIA say's distillate fuel inventories decreased by 4.3 million barrels last week and are in the middle limit of the average range for this time of year. The drop comes as demand surges for diesel as harvest is underway.

Yet demand for gasoline continues to be poor. The EIA says motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.4 million barrels last week and are near the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week.

What will be the surprise for today? My guess is a bigger than expected injection on gas storage! Report today!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Evidence Supports the Bears’ Case for the S&P 500


I am not one to discuss fundamentals or macro views, but this situation in Europe is beginning to morph into a media frenzy. Price action in the marketplace is changing rapidly in short periods of time based on the latest press releases coming from the Eurozone summit.

I cannot help but comment on the seemingly arbitrary actions coming from this high profile meeting. Nothing has happened that market participants were not already privy too. The European Union is going to strengthen their EFSF fund by levering it up roughly 4 : 1. I have yet to hear how exactly they plan on doing this, but this action was no surprise to anyone that has read an article about the sovereign debt crisis in the past month.

There was also discussion about backstopping European banks’ capital position. Since European banks are holding billions (Euros) of risky sovereign debt instruments, it would make sense that their capitalization is a primary concern of Eurozone leaders based on current fiscal conditions. I would argue that the banks should be well capitalized regardless of economic or fiscal conditions in order for a nation to have a strong, vibrant economy that has the potential to grow organically.

The final piece of this week’s political nonsense involves write-downs on Greek debt in the neighborhood of 50% – 60% in order to stabilize Greece’s debt to GDP ratio. Apparently Eurozone leaders want to structure the write down so as to avoid payouts by credit default swaps which act as insurance against default. How does a bond take a 50% – 60% valuation mark down without a creating an event that would trigger the payout of CDS swaps?

If a write down of that magnitude does not trigger the CDS swaps, then I would argue they are useless as a tool to hedge against the default risk carried by sovereign debt instruments. If the CDS swaps do not payout as projected by European politicians, the risk assumed by those purchasing government debt obligations around the world would be altered immediately.

The impact this might have on the future pricing of risk for government debt instruments could be extremely detrimental to their ability to raise funds in the private market. Additionally, the write downs would hurt European banks’ capital positions immediately. If the CDS swaps were to pay out, bank capital ratios would suffer as those who took on counter party risk would be forced to cover their obligations thereby straining capital positions even further potentially.

Price action today suggested that the equity markets approved of the package that European leaders were working on. However, the biggest push higher came when news was released that China was interested in purchasing high quality debt instruments as a means to help prop up poorly capitalized banks and sovereign nations in the Eurozone through an IMF facility.

The market did an immediate about face which saw the Dollar selloff while the S&P 500 rallied higher into the close reversing a great deal of Tuesday’s losses. Inquiring minds wish to know where we go from here? I would be lying if I said I knew for sure which direction Mr. Market favored, however that did not stop me from looking for possible clues.

It has been a while since I checked out the short-term momentum charts that are focused on the number of stocks in U.S. domestic equity markets that are trading above their 20 & 50 period moving averages. The charts below illustrate the current market momentum:

Equities Trading Above the 20 Period Moving Average
Stock Above the 20 Day Average

It is rather obvious that when we look at the number of stocks trading above their 20 period moving average that momentum is running quite high presently. This chart would indicate that in the short-term time frames equities are currently overbought.

Equities Trading Above the 50 Period Moving Average
Stock Above the 50 Day Average

A similar conclusion can be drawn when we look at the number of stocks trading above their 50 period moving averages. It is rather obvious at this point in time that in the short to intermediate term time frames, stocks are currently at overbought levels. This is not to say that stocks will not continue to work higher, but a pullback is becoming more and more likely.

Additional evidence that would support the possibility that a pullback is likely would be the  recent bottom being carved out in the price action of the U.S. Dollar Index. The U.S. Dollar has been under selling pressure since the beginning of October, but has recently started to show signs that it could be stabilizing and setting up to rally higher.

The daily chart of the U.S. Dollar Index is shown below:
US Dollar Chart

The U.S. Dollar Index is sitting right at major support and is oversold based on historical price action. If the Dollar begins to push higher in coming days and weeks it is going to push equity prices considerably lower. Other risk assets such as gold, silver, and oil would also be negatively impacted by higher Dollar prices.

Members of my service know that I focus on several sectors to help give me a better idea about the broader equity markets. I regularly look at the financial sector (XLF), the Dow Jones Transportation Index (IYT), emerging markets (EEM), and the Russell 2000 Index (IWM) for clues about future price action in the S&P 500.

During my regular evening scan I noticed that all 4 sector/index ETF’s are trading at or near major overhead resistance. With the exception of the Dow Jones Transportation Index (IYT), the other 3 underlying assets have yet to breakout over their August 31st highs. The significance of August 31st is that is the date when the S&P 500 Index put in a major reversal right at the 1,230 price level before turning lower. It took nearly two months to regain the 1,230 level and its significance continues to hold sway.

The daily chart of IWM is shown below illustrating its failure to breakout over the August 31st highs:
IWM Russell 2000 ETF
The chart above illustrates clearly that IWM has failed to breakout above the August 31st highs. I am going to be watching IWM, XLF, & EEM closely in coming days to see if they are able to breakout similarly to the S&P 500. If they start to rollover, it will not be long before the S&P 500 likely follows suit.
Currently the underlying signals are arguing for lower prices in the short to intermediate term. While it is entirely possible that the S&P 500 rallies higher from here, it is without question that current market conditions are overbought in the short to intermediate terms.

Key sectors and indices are not showing follow through to the upside to help solidify the S&P 500′s recent break above the key 1,230 price level. Additionally, the U.S. Dollar Index is currently trading right at key support in addition to being oversold. At this time I am not playing the S&P 500 in either direction, but I will be watching the underlying price action in the U.S. Dollar Index closely. I will be watching for additional clues in the days ahead.

Market and headline risk is high presently.

Subscribers of OTS have pocketed more than 150% return in the past two months. If you’d like to stay ahead of the market using My Low Risk Option Strategies and Trades check out OTS at Options Trading Signals.com and take advantage of our free occasional trade ideas or a 66% coupon to sign up for daily market analysis, videos and Option Trades each week.

Chris Vermeulen & J.W. Jones

Crude Oil, Natural Gas and Gold Markets Summary For Wednesday October 26th

Crude oil closed lower due to profit taking on Wednesday as it consolidated some of this month's rally. The low range close sets the stage for a steady to lower opening on Thursday. Stochastics and the RSI are overbought but are neutral to bullish signaling that sideways to higher prices are possible near term. If December extends the rally off this month's low, the 50% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 95.32 is the next upside target. Closes below the 20 day moving average crossing at 84.99 are needed to confirm that a short term top has been posted. First resistance is the 50% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 95.32. Second resistance is the 62% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 100.08. First support is the 20 day moving average crossing at 84.99. Second support is the reaction low crossing at 83.40.

Natural gas was lower Wednesday while extending this month's trading range. Stochastics and the RSI are diverging but neutral signaling that sideways trading is possible near term. Closes above last Monday's high crossing at 4.039 are needed to confirm that a short term low has been posted. If December renews this year's decline, monthly support crossing at 3.225 is the next downside target. First resistance is the 25% retracement level of the June-October decline crossing at 4.133. Second resistance is the 38% retracement level of the June-October decline crossing at 4.336. First support is this month's low crossing at 3.747. Second support is monthly support crossing at 3.225.

Gold closed higher on Wednesday as it extends the rally off September's low. The high range close sets the stage for a steady to higher opening on Thursday. Stochastics and the RSI are diverging but turning bullish signaling that additional strength is possible near term. If December extends the rally off September's low, the 62% retracement level of the 2008-2011 rally crossing at 1775.20 is the next upside target. Closes below last Thursday's low crossing at 1604.70 would confirm that a short term top has been posted. First resistance is the 50% retracement level of the 2008-2011 rally crossing at 1729.40. Second resistance is the 62% retracement level of the 2008-2011 rally crossing at 1775.20. First support is last Thursday's low crossing at 1604.70. Second support is September's low crossing at 1535.00.


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EIA Launches New Electricity Focused Web Page

Yesterday, EIA launched a new web based report called the Electricity Monthly Update, replacing the Monthly Flash Estimates for Electric Power Data. This new product introduces a feature story, interactive graphics, a new presentation flow, and new electricity industry data sources.


Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electricity Monthly Update.

Musings: How to Question Reserve Reports Without Any Knowledge

In what now seems like the distant past, The New York Times wrote a series of articles suggesting that industry practitioners were raising questions about the economic performance of the gas shale wells and thus whether the extent of the resource was over stated. Those articles were written in late June and generated a firestorm of reaction within the natural gas industry, but also among Washington politicians.

What followed was disclosure that a handful of E&P companies, active in the gas shale business, had received subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for their records of well performance and the economics of behind their reserve calculations. The data was sought to compare with the companies' disclosure regulatory filings and investor presentations of the operational risks, production performance and economics of these gas shale wells.

At the time the subpoenas were disclosed, we wrote about it in the Musings (last July), fully anticipating that there would be further disclosures. Since mid-summer, there has been no activity arising from the subpoenas.

What followed was disclosure that a handful of E&P companies, active in the gas shale business, had received subpoenas from the SEC for their records of well performance and the economics of behind their reserve calculations.

Our interest was piqued recently when we received a newsletter from an energy investment group we belong to that contained an employment ad for a petroleum engineer position with the SEC in Washington.....Read the entire Musings From The Oil Patch Article.


Check out "How to Trade Gold and Oil Prices This Week"

Do You Understand The Conoco-Phillips Spin Off?

Guest blogger Tim McLeenan brings us answers to all of our questions on what the Conoco-Phillips [ticker COP] spin off will mean to investors.....

I was checking out the recent conference call that James Mulva, the CEO of Conoco-Phillips, conducted with analysts to discuss the company’s plans to split the company up in 2012, with one company focusing on Exploration & Production while the other one will focus on Refining & Marketing. While the list of disadvantages associated with any stock spinoff may be self-evident, the duplicate boards, management, and cost structures, the loss of diversification that gives a company the ability to rely on multiple business units during difficult times, and of course, reduced efficiencies, or whatever the correct term is to note the opposite of ‘synergy savings’ that companies always claim, will occur when two companies merge.

So investors need a reason to believe that a stock spinoff will actually provide something to investors that the combined company didn’t either capital appreciation in the form of P/E multiple expansion that a more focused company can achieve, higher growth, or an unexpected dividend boost that did not appear likely under the combined company.....Read the entire article.


Click Here to Get Your Free Trend Analysis For Conoco-Phillips

Phil Flynn: Meeting Madness

Meeting or no meeting West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil continued to fly and the spread between the Brent crude continued to come in. The upward momentum in WTI was slowed a bit when European finance ministers sent chills down trader's spines. With the Euro Zone in termoil it is another reason why the WTI/ Brent spread has come in recent days.

The other reasons are as follows:
The market is pricing in the faster than expected return of Libyan crude. We continue to get reports from Libya that the damage to some of the major oil and gas fields are not that bad and the market expects production to ramp up quickly. The price of Brent was pricing in some worst case scenarios for the return of Libyan crude.

The other reason is that we have seen the spread come in is because of the continued decline in stocks of crude in Cushing, Oklahoma since the beginning of this conflict. In April Cushing stocks were at 41.9 million barrels in the beginning of the conflict and are now close to 31.1 million. That was ok when we thought the US was sinking into recession but now the US will have to see a higher price for WTI if we are going to be competitive for imports.

The other reason is that the Fed is laying the groundwork for QE3D! That will support oil as it has the gold and the silver markets.

The market will focus on Europe today but also the weekly supply reports from the Energy Information Agency. The API reported crude oil stocks up 2.7 million barrels. Gasoline up 153,000. Distillates down 1.8 million barrels. Stay tuned.

Phil Flynn

Sign up for a free trial to Phil's daily trade levels. email Phil Flynn at pflynn@pfgbest.com


Here is a preview of our MarketClub Trade Triangle Chart Analysis and Smart Scan technology

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gold, Natural Gas and Crude Oil all Close Higher on Tuesday

Crude oil closed up $1.92 a barrel at $93.20 today. Prices closed near mid range today and hit another fresh 11 week high. Crude bulls have gained solid upside near term technical momentum this week as prices have seen a bullish upside “breakout” from what was a well defined sideways trading range on the daily bar chart.

Natural gas closed up 5.6 cents at $3.85 today. Prices closed nearer the session high today on short covering in a bear market. The bears still have the solid overall near term technical advantage as prices are still down near the contract low.

Gold futures closed up $47.20 an ounce at $1,699.70 today. Prices closed nearer the session high today and hit a fresh four week high on a surge of safe haven demand amid fresh US debt crisis uncertainty. Bulls today gained fresh upside near term technical momentum to re establish a four week old uptrend on the daily bar chart.

Raymond Carbone: Will Oil Breakout or Breakeven?

WTI crude is surging more than 17% in the past month. Is this a breakout in oil prices? Phil Weiss, Argus Research Group, and Raymond Carbone, Paramount Options, discuss.



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Phil Flynn: The Dead Spread

Trying to explain the impact of the death of Moammar Ghadfi on oil might best be described as what I guess can now be called the "Dead Spread". Oh sure, you used to be able to call it the Brent crude oil West Texas intermediate spread but the way the spread has come in since the death of the murderous dictator, I guess "The Dead Spread" might be entirely appropriate.

The Brent/WTI spread almost became a household word in the conflict between Gaddafi loyalists and the Libyan rebels. Libyan crude is of a very high quality oil that found its nitch in Europe subbing for the production challenged North Sea brent crude. The loss of that crude created a void because European refiners accustomed to a regular flow of light crude failed to have the type of units needed to refine those heavier grades. The loss of that crude caused the Brent/WTI spread to go to a record high. Now coincidentally or not, the spread has come in dramatically since Mr. Gaddafi's demise.

In fact the spread has come in from an all time high of approximately $28.07 to a mere $18.97 as of this writing. With Gaddafi out of the way the hope is that Libyan oil will once again fill that void. Well early on that is even going beyond hope. Yesterday ENI told Dow Jones that the big elephant in the room, or Libya's giant Elephant oil and gas field in Libya, could restart as early as next month and that there was "no big damage". That field accounts for almost 25% of Libya's natural gas output. A resumption of that much oil that soon obviously could ease concerns that it will take "years" to get Libyan oil production back up to normal.

That not to say that there are not some tensions as Dow Jones reports of a strike at Waha Oil Co., Libya's largest oil partnership with foreign companies, is entering its eighth week after a failure to reach an agreement over the dismissal of Gaddafi era managers, staff at the company said. Dow Jones says, "Unrest at Waha, on which U.S. partners Marathon Oil Corp. (MRO), Hess Corp (HES) and ConocoPhillips (COP) have previously declined to comment, is part of broader strife at some oil operations. It underscores the challenges still facing the country's oil industry despite the death of former ruler Moammar Gadhafi last week."

Yet at the same time the WTI has found strength as the US economy looks stronger than Europe and the decline of crude stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for the Nymex WTI futures. While the world waits for Europe, data seems to suggest that the sparing over Greek haircuts (no, I am not talking about Telly Savalas) and bank rescue funds has zapped the confidence of Europe, increasing the odds of a recession.

It seems that market are also reacting to the spread sending light sweet crude to Europe as opposed to the formally oversupplied US. Gas and Oil Daily says, "Oil stockpiles in Cushing dropped 760,000 barrels to 28.1 million. The Energy Department said last week that Cushing inventories, including floating and fixed tanks, totaled 31.1 million barrels as of October 14th, down 26% from a peak of 41.9 million on April 8th." Bloomberg News says that crude oil inventories in Cushing, Oklahoma, dropped 2.6 percent on Oct. 21 from Oct. 18, according to data compiled by DigitalGlobe Inc.

They say that stockpiles held in floating roof tanks at the hub fell 760,000 barrels to 28.1 million, satellite images taken by the Longmont, Colorado based company show. In other words, the market forces are starting to correct the anomaly between the spread as oil is seeking higher prices. That is reducing Cushing supply and more than likely increasing European supply.

What is also helping is that we are seeing an increase in Nigerian exports as well. Nigeria also has the very desirable light sweet grade of crude oil. Dow Jones says that Nigeria will export 7,950,000-barrel cargos of Bonny Light in December, one more cargo than in November. They report a total of 214,516 barrels a day of QuaIboe crude will be available in December, compared with 157,000 barrels a day in November, the program shows.

This should put more pressure on "The Dead Spread" as well. It also put the WTI market in backwardation for the first time since the financial crisis began. It seems that the market is worried that with all the oil ending up in Europe, supplies may tighten in the US. It is also showing a vote of confidence in the US economic growth outlook or at least a more pessimistic outlook for Europe.

Also with oil on fire yesterday William Dudley of the Fed, fed into the flames talking about QE3D! QE is bullish for oil and with the Dead spread out of whack we could see WTI try to attract supply. While WTI flies gas prices were mute as the Brent crude should help US imports of products. Mr. Dudley is sending a signal to the market that QE is back in play and most likely will be in the form of printing money to buy back mortgage backed securities. Very bullish for WTI oil!

The Energy Information Agency has some good news I suppose. They said that the national average retail price of regular gasoline is down 1.4c to $3.462 a gallon. Yahoo! Now not that I want to ruin that god feeling you had but they also want to remind you that prices are still 64.5c a gallon, or 22.9%, higher than they were a year ago.

Want some news that might warm your heart? Reuters News points out that the average of the first 12 months of New York Mercantile Exchange natural gas futures contracts slid to its lowest in nine years on Monday as growing supplies and moderate weather weighed on the complex. The 12 month futures fell 2.3 cents to settle at $3.923 per million British Thermal Units, the lowest settle since Nov. 15, 2002, when the average closed at $3.926, Reuters data showed. Despite record heat this summer that drove NYMEX front month gas to its 2011 peak near $5, record high gas production, primarily from shale, has been the main factor pressuring price expectations.

Phil Flynn

Get a trial of Phil's trade levels and elected option plays. Just email him at pflynn@pfgbest.com.

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Crude Oil Opens Tuesday Trading Higher

Crude oil was sharply higher in Monday evenings overnight session as it extends this month's rally. Stochastics and RSI are overbought, diverging but are turning bullish. If December extends this month's rally, the 50% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 95.32 is the next upside target.

Closes below the 20 day moving average crossing at 84.57 are needed to confirm that a short term top has been posted.

First resistance is the 50% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 95.32
Second resistance is the 62% retracement level of the May-October decline crossing at 100.08

First support is the 10 day moving average crossing at 87.72
Second support is the 20 day moving average crossing at 84.57

Crude oil pivot point for Tuesday morning is 90.05


Check out "How to Trade Gold and Oil Prices This Coming Week"

Monday, October 24, 2011

Is It Reversal Time For the Markets?

At the start of a new week, have we turned around or is this just a correction in a larger bear market?

I think you’ll find today’s video interesting as the S&P 500 has made a remarkable recovery. However, it is back at a crucial Fibonacci retracement level which could present major problems for this index.

In our recent survey we asked traders if they were concerned about what is going on in Europe. A remarkable majority, over 75% said they were, and they do watch events in Europe very closely.
At this point, Europe is really the tail that wags the dog and we are not optimistic that things are going to work out in a positive fashion.

They have had a total of 13 summits in a period of 20 months trying to solve this problem. With the likes of Berlusconi, can you imagine telling him what to do? And other players like Nicholas Sarkozy shouting to Brian Cameron of Great Britain to shut up and butt out. And that’s the stuff we hear about!

Imagine the stuff we don’t heard about.

Let's look at the Trend Analysis for crude oil......

The crude oil market moved over resistance at $90 a barrel and it seems ready to test the Fibonacci retracement level of $91.80. Can this market in fact, close over resistance at $90? Our long term Trade Triangles continue to be negative and we expect they will once again dictate the tone of this market. Intermediate term traders should be on the sidelines and long term traders should continue to be short the crude oil market.

Well, December crude oil did close up $4.24 a barrel at $91.63 today. Prices closed near the session high today and hit a fresh 11 week high. Crude bulls gained good upside near term technical momentum today as prices pushed above what was a well defined sideways trading range on the daily bar chart. The crude market was boosted today by a weaker U.S. dollar index, higher U.S. stock indexes and ideas the EU debt crisis is seeing progress toward getting fixed.

Monthly Trade Triangles for Long Term Trends = Negative
Weekly Trade Triangles for Intermediate Term Trends = Positive
Daily Trade Triangles for Short Term Trends = Positive
Combined Strength of Trend Score = + 70

Now, let’s go to todays video and look at the charts of the six markets we publicly cover and see some of those important retracement levels.

Get your favorite symbols' Trend Analysis TODAY!

Phil Flynn: A Bullish Start

The Fed is laying the ground work for more quantitative easing in the form of buying back mortgage backed securities. Europe is supposedly closer to a deal to save the Eurozone, a strong PMI in China and the uncertainty surrounding the death of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is impacting the energy sector. The big question is why oil isn't higher than it already is.

China's flash PMI, rose to 51.1 showing expansion in the Chinese manufacturing sector for the first time since mid-summer. The first reading on Chinese manufacturing was an improvement from the final September reading of 49. Still some wonder why we have not seen China demand for oil increase.

Reuters News reports, "China's implied oil demand rose a tepid 1 percent over a year earlier in September at about 8.9 million barrels per day, the lowest rate so far this year, according to Reuters calculations based on preliminary official data released on Tuesday. Implied oil demand was calculated using China's refinery crude throughput plus net imports of refined fuel but excluding changes in fuel inventories, which China rarely publishes Fuel demand in the world's second largest oil user has, since June, eased off from the double-digit growth pace seen since late last year, as the Chinese economy grew less rapidly, but China still contributed more than half of the global incremental oil demand.

If China oil demand slows to single digit growth then prices should ease. On top of that the Chinese government has taken steps to try to rein in inflation. That potentially means that demand for oil has peaked or the Chinese are using reserves that will have to be replenished! Stay tuned!

Now the question is whether or not China will buy European bonds. Reuters News reports that French President Nicolas Sarkozy backed down in the face of implacable German opposition to his desire to use unlimited European Central Bank funds to fight the crisis. Instead, the euro zone may turn to emerging economies such as China and Brazil for help in underpinning its sickly bond market. Still the market is optimistic that this time, really this time, the Euro Zone will make a plan that will really work.



You can sign up for a free trial of Phil's daily trade levels by emailing him at pflynn@pfgbest.com.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

How to Trade Gold and Oil Prices This Coming Week


The past couple weeks have been tough for most investors. The recent light volume rallies which have taken place in gold, oil and stocks has been generating mixed signals for technical analysts like myself. In order avoid a large draw down on your trading capital you must focus on the long term intraday charts.

What is a long term intraday chart you ask?
It is simply a 4 or 8 hour candlestick or bar chart. For example the charts below in this report are 4 hour charts. So each candlestick represents 4 hours.

Why should you use these long term intraday charts instead of say a daily chart? There are four main reasons for this:
  1. If you used a daily chart then this information would be condensed showing you the daily high, low, open and closing prices. While the 4 hour futures chart shows you large multi intraday chart patterns that most traders would never see…  Patterns not seen by the average investor have a higher probability of working in your favour. Also these patterns are much larger than just normal intraday patterns which you see on the 5, 10, or 60 minute charts. Remember the larger the pattern the more potential profit there will be.
  2. These longer time frames allow us to follow gold, silver, oil and stock indexes around the clock 24/7 using futures contracts. Think about it… regular trading hours from 9:30am – 4pm ET only allows you to see 1/3rd of the price action each day. That means you are only seeing parts of larger patterns while the 24/7 contracts show you ALL Price Action.
  3. The last reason you must use futures charts is for the volume readings. Futures show real volume levels which can be used for trading. So the volume you see on ETFs will not have the proper volume levels for that specific commodity or index. More times than not it almost the opposite…
  4. My last reason for trading long term intraday futures charts is because the price of the underlying commodity or index moves true while the ETFs which try to shadow these commodities generate false breakouts and breakdowns on a regular basis. 
Let’s take a look at the charts.......

Gold Futures Contract – 240 Minute (4 Hour) Chart
Gold finally broke down from the bearish rising wedge which it had been forming through late September until mid October. I know the majority of traders, investors, and financial newsletters have already positioned themselves either long or short the metal as they anticipate the next major move.

I will agree that a large move either up or down is just around the corner but what sets me apart from others is the fact that I don’t bet my hard earned money when the odds are 50/50. I don’t pick tops or bottoms; rather I wait for a clean break out or low risk entry point. Only then will I take action. Until the blue box on the chart has been broken with some type of retest I will continue to observe and analyze the chart of gold.

How To Trade Gold


Crude Oil Futures Contract – 240 Minute (4 Hour) Chart
The past month crude oil trading has been very profitable for subscribers and me. We shorted crude oil using an inverse etf in September which moved over 20% in our favour within a few trading sessions. And just last week we shorted it again for a 7.5% move in less than 24 hours.

Overall I am still bearish on oil but have moved to cash until I see another high probability setup unfolding. The recent price action in crude oil makes the odds about a 50/50 bet as to which way it will break next. This is why I have moved back to cash and pocketed the quick gain.

How To Trade Oil

SP500 Exchange Traded Fund – 240 Minute (4 Hour) Chart
This chart is not the SP500 futures contract. This is just the SPY ETF but what I wanted to show was how the market was showing mixed signals. The past couple weeks price has been broadening and this can be taken two different way.......

More times than not it is seen as a bearish pattern and price generally falls afterwards. But in rare situations which I think we could be experiencing now this broadening price action can be very bullish, meaning much higher prices ahead. So I continue to observe and prepare for a possible trade setup.

How To Trade Indexes

Weekend Gold, Oil and Stocks Trend Conclusion:
In short, I feel the market is on the verge of a strong move. The problem is that price action, market sentiment and economic news are all giving mixed signals......…

The best position right now is in cash and if something unfolds this week to our favor, then we will get involved but I am not going to take a 50/50 guess on what the next move is until the odds are in favour to one side or the other.

Chris Vermeulen

Get My FREE Bi-Weekly Trading Reports and Videos by joining my free newsletter here at The Gold and Oil Guy.Com

August until now (October 24) the SP500 is down -3.7% and Gold is up 1.1%, Silver is down 20% and oil is down -7.2. Subscribers of my newsletter have pocketed over 38.5% in total gains using my simple low risk ETF trading alerts.


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