Friday, September 18, 2009

Quadruple Witching Today; Market Update

The 'Helicopter Economics Investing Guide' is meant to help educate people on how to make profitable investing choices in the current economic environment. In addition to the term helicopter economics, we have also coined the term, helicopternomics, to describe the current monetary and fiscal policies of the U.S. government and to update the old-fashioned term wheelbarrow economics.

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Once every three months there is a quadruple witching day. This is when market index futures, market index options, stock options, and stock futures all expire on the same day. Volatility can result, but that is more likely to take place a few days before. In general, prices will move to minimize the profits of the buyers of most outstanding options. Reversals of price movements can take place the following week or two and you need to watch out for these.

The trade-weighted U.S. dollar is the key to many market movements currently. It has been selling off as U.S. stocks have rallied since March. A dollar rally should cause market weakness at this point. This dollar/stock relationship is abnormal and would make much more sense for gold. The dollar/gold relationship has actually been much weaker than might be expected. The trade-weighted dollar ETF DXY traded as low as 76.01 yesterday. There is chart support at this level, since there is a sharp low at 75.89 that was made almost exactly one year ago from today. Any break of last years low could cause the dollar to test its all time low of 71.50. A short term rally might be in the offering first however because the dollar is well below its falling 50-day moving average and it tends to move back toward that line when it gets too extended.

A dollar rise could affect both stocks and gold. Spot gold closed at $1013.30 yesterday, its fifth day above the key breakout point of $1004. Gold has made three all time closing highs in the last 5 trading days and this is very bullish. It still needs to break the $1033 intraday high before a longer term rise to the $1200/$1300 area is possible. Gold stocks have been selling off the last two days and may be volatile for several more. Large drops should be considered buying opportunities. Look for gaps to be touched or filled. The most profitable buying is done either on major breakouts or at bottoms (buying after a long run up is a good way to lose your money). Gold is at the cusp of a major breakout.

The current bottoms in the inflation trade are in natural gas, food commodities and possibly long-term interest rates. Buying natural gas on any day with a big drop looks like a good strategy. Food commodities have been trading around their lows since last December, which is a long time. The chart for RJA is quite bullish and it looks like it wants to rally soon. I have started buying it. The food related ETFs are generally much less volatile than precious metal and energy ETFs, so you are not likely to make money as quickly from them. Long term interest rates bottomed last December,with the 10-year bond hitting 2%. The 10-year rate was around 4% in June. Since then, long-term rates have declined. TBT, the leveraged short ETF for bonds of 20+ years duration has sold off a third since June. I have started slowly accumulating it. Long-term rates may not have bottomed just yet, but they are likely to be going much, much higher in the future.

NEXT: IMF Selling Gold to Dampen Rally

Daryl Montgomery
Organizer,New York Investing meetup

This posting is editorial opinion. Like all other postings for this blog, there is no intention to endorse the purchase or sale of any security.

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