Archive for the ‘Chart of the Day’ Category

An Ominous Sign?


The grey areas above mark recessions.  Interesting…

Eyeing A Bottom In Exxon Mobil


Following a disappointing fourth quarter earnings report shares of Exxon Mobil went into the tank.  Six straight loses later the stock was off 17% from the February 1st peak leaving an ominous spike high behind in the process.  XOM has drifted lower since the initial post earnings flush but further downside has been limited.  Despite the easing downside momentum the stock did put lower monthly lows in March and April.  But as this week progresses some positive signs are developing. 

Trading Notes:

XOM made a new 2018 low on Monday.  At mid day(+1.2%)the stock is trading above last week’s high, a close tomorrow above $75.00 would complete a key upside reversal in the weekly charts.

A divergent low has been building in the daily MACD indicator for the last six weeks.

Selling pressure has been easing since Feb. 23(Friday).

XOM is bumping up against a very solid supply area(2017 lows-3/7 breakdown gap).  This is the first real overhead challenge for the stock since the beginning of March. 

A clear take out of the $76.00 area would be very encouraging.

On the downside, a close back below $74.00 would indicate more basing is ahead.

We are long XOM in most managed accounts.




The Final Push

risk missing out

They love ’em higher…

Interesting chart from

Dividend Growth Strong In Q1

From the desk of Charlie Bilello:  S&P 500 1st quarter dividends rose 9.1% over the prior year, strongest growth since Q2 2015:


Hat tip Charlie Bilello

Deere Dives, Approaches Low Risk Buy Zone


Deere & Co. began today’s session with a nasty news inspired gap lower open.  The stock has rebounded a bit this afternoon but quite a bit of damage has been done.  Shares hit new ’18 lows in the early going as the stock continues to struggle after leaving behind an ominous spike high in mid February(earnings).  If DE remains heavy in the near term a very low risk entry opportunity will develop for patient investors.

Trading notes: 

At today’s early lows DE is off over 17% from the 2018 spike high left behind immediately following the last earnings report.

Just below today’s low is a major support zone near $141.00. 

This key area is marked by the 200 day moving average, which held important lows in September 2016 and August of 2017.

Also in this zone is the powerful high volume breakout gap left behind after the November 22nd earnings report.

We believe a retest of this area will offer an extremely low buying opportunity.  On the downside a close back below $138.00 would send a clear sign that a more prolonged basing process is ahead.

At time of publication we are long DE in some managed accounts.



Nas 100 Futures




Alcoa’s Correction Creates Opportunity


Alcoa has been basing near a major support area since early February.  After suffering an ugly breakdown immediately following the January 17th earnings report AA began a steep pullback.  The stock dipped down to the $44.00 area in early February retracing a powerful rally leg that began on December 19th.  Alcoa has held this area at multi-week lows in March and, as an upward sloping 200 day moving average comes into play, is holding this week’s low as well. 

Trading notes:  At this week’s low AA is off 22% from the 2018 peak.

A divergent low(daily MACD)is now developing.

The $44.00 area has marked the February, March and April lows.

Despite yesterday’s selling wave AA did not violate last week’s low.

A close back below $43.00 would be a clear warning sign that a much more prolonged basing pattern will be needed before AA can return to rally mode.

A key upside hurdle is the $48.00 area.  A clear break through this level would take out an overhead trendline the links the January/March highs as well as the 50D mav.

At time of publication we are long AA in most managed accounts.


XOP Call Option Spread Trade

XOP Call Option Spread Trade


By Bob von Halle

I wanted to highlight an options trade I did this morning in the XOP exchange traded fund for the Oil & Gas Exploration companies. The exact trade specifics are as follows with XOP trading at $34,20 at the time.

Bought 10 contracts May 35 calls at $1.25     Sold 10 contracts May 38 calls at $.35 for a net cost of $.95 (total risk exposure is $950 as a result). Implied volatility metrics at the time were in the low 30% territory.

First, the reason I chose the XOP over the more commonly sited XLE etf for the energy sector is simple: better diversification. The XLE has 40% of its basket comprised of 2 stocks: XOM and CVX.  The XOP is far more broadly representative of the E&P space with no more than a 3% weighting in any one name (including the two mentioned prior). It also contains a better mix of mid to small cap names that tend to be more sensitive to the movement in oil prices than the super major names due to their higher debt leverage (lower credit ratings).

Energy equities have significantly under performed their underlying commodity by a considerable margin in recent months as oil prices have steadily risen from low $50/barrel to the mid $60’s/barrel. Energy equities have also been significant laggards versus other S&P 500 categories with the possible exception of Consumer Product company names (e.g. CPB, KHC etc). But that pattern has begun to change a bit in the recent market downdraft as the energy names have held in far better than most sectors, as evidenced by the side ways trading pattern in the above chart. Moreover, the boost in oil prices has given rise to an increase in earnings projections for the E&P sector, which has reduced their PE multiples closer to the market averages, making them relatively less expensive compared to other sectors (but still with a higher than market multiple).

Whether any of the above will produce trading profits on this spread is pure conjecture at this point. However, by utilizing options rather than pure stock, I am able to control the price movement of 1,000 shares (10 contracts) for a maximum cash outlay (and risk) of $950 rather than the $34,200 it would cost for the same position in the underlying etf, albeit it only for a 3 point range. This is a small trade for me, representing only 20% of my normal sized position, so I may consider adding to it at slightly lower costs. However, should the XOP drop below its Feb support levels of $33, I will likely close out the trade for a loss and move to the sidelines. Plus I have almost 7 weeks for this trade to work out as expiration is May 18th.

Energy equities have been a tough trade for many months, with the exception of a nice spike higher from Sept to Dec of last year. Many managers remain under weight the sector. I am encouraged by the recent stability versus other areas of the market, and by the narrative of stable to higher oil prices due to better supply/demand dynamics. This is clearly a bit of a contrarian trade, and is subject to the vagaries of the entire stock market (or simply oil prices) selling off, but my risk is defined (and limited) and provides me with exposure to a sector I feel has upside potential.

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