The relief rally was on today as the Dow zoomed 936 points as bulls rushed in to buy stocks that have been beaten down 50%-80% in just over a month. If you read the blog that I posted over the weekend, then you could tell how excited I was to go long the market. There were a ton of positions that could have been bought at the open this morning and it felt like I was going Christmas shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving. That day is the biggest shopping day of the year as consumers rush to the malls at 4am to get the best deals. That is exactly what was happening at the opening bell this morning.
The Dow was up a quick 400 points right off the bat and its 11% gain was ithe biggest since the Great Depression. For the record, the Dow officially closed at 9,387. The “dead cat bounce”, “relief rally”, “oversold rally” or whatever you want to call it also pushed the S&P 500 and Nasdaq higher by 104 and 195 points, respectively. The S&P 500 closed at 1,003 while the Naz closed at 1,844.
But can the rally be trusted? The key point I made over the weekend was that you should only be looking out 6-12 months and it is hard to say if this rally will hold. However, today was our shopping day and here is what I had on my Christmas list from the weekend for my Lottery Play Portfolio.
Microsoft (MSFT, $25.50, up $4.00). If you’ve been reading the blog then you know how much I’ve mentioned this stock. This company has over $20 billion in cash and no sub-prime exposure. Share buybacks, dividend distributions, and acquisitions have eaten away at the company’s coffers – two years ago they had nearly $60 billion but the company’s products still generate about $1 billion a month. The stock fell to a low of $20.65 Friday. This morning, the April 25 calls (MSQDE, $3.30, up $1.30) opened at $2.35 and closed 65% higher for the day. Even at $2.35, you still got a 40% gain if you bought at the open. The April calls are over 6-months out and expire on April 17, 2009. If these calls get back to this level, don’t hesitate to jump on the. If you got in today with a half or full position then you could set 25% stops in case the stock retreats.
Google (GOOG, $381.02, up $49.02) turned out to be a “Blue-Light” special as it rallied 15%. This stock was on sale at half-off from its 52-week high of nearly $750 and the March 500 calls ($19.40, up $6.20) opened at $11.50 and briefly traded over $20. Google still has earnings so if you got in early, set stops at $15 or so.
Yahoo (YHOO, $13.49, up $1.20) fell below $12 last Friday and although it didn’t get the big pop Microsoft and Google did, it still managed a 10% gain. I didn’t go too far out on Yahoo call options because I still think the company is a mess (not taking the $33 a share from Microsoft still haunts shareholders). Remember though, we are not trading on fundamentals for some of these plays, just on what appears to be cheap. The January 17.50 calls (YHQAW, $1.33, up $0.06) were the most active but I don’t expect much from this one. In fact, set stops 20% below your entry price instead of the usual 50%.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, $62.68, up $6.83) was a no-brainer and a really safe play. The stock was up over 12% and I had mentioned the big drop after hitting a 52-week high a month ago. The November 60 calls (JNJKL, $4.70, up $1.70) opened at $3.30 as volume came in at 4x open interest. I love this stock for the short and long-term which is why the April 70 calls (JNJDN, $2.00, up $0.50) looked like a down-right steal at $1.50 this morning. If you missed today’s jump you could start building half-positions even at these levels.
I didn’t like General Motors (GM, $6.51, up $1.62) and still don’t although the 33% rally today was very impressive. We rode Ford and GM all the way down to these levels a few months ago and while there may or may not be bankruptcy in their future, I just think there are better trades out there. If you are a die-hard bull, the GM 2010 January 5 calls (WGMAA, $3.65, up $0.50) saw a lot of action as nearly 5,000 contracts traded. The 7.50’s (WGMAR, $3.15, up $0.65) weren’t nearly as popular, trading only 200 contracts.
Arch Coal (ACI, $27.32, up $5.28). The November 25 calls (ACIKE, $5.20, up $1.60) opened at $4.50.
Massey Energy (MEE, $26.47, up $5.74). The November 25 calls (MEEJE, $1.85, up $0.75) opened at $1.00.
Patriot Coal (PCX, $19.50, up $4.90) also made a nice comeback. The November 20 calls (PCXKD, $3.60, up $1.40) opened at $2.40.
There were a couple of other energy stocks I mentioned but I didn’t want to go too heavy on the sector.
Morgan Stanley ($18.10, up $8.42) was a huge story today after the company nearly went bankrupt last week. The investment bank went through a zany week of trading as many on Wall Street pondered its future. Mitsubishi Financial Group of Japan was the knight in shining armor for Morgan as they made a $9 billion investment in the company. The October 15 calls (MSJC, $3.80, up $2.61) were up 220% today.
Goldman Sachs (GS, $111.00, up $22.20) has made up 40 points since hiting a low of $74 last Friday. What a steal it was below $100 or even $80 for that matter. Remember, Buffett is in at $5 billion with another $5 billion waiting in the wings. The October 100 calls (GSJT, $15.50, up $10.00) opened at $6.95. An easy double as the day went on. If you bought at the open, set stops at $11.00. The January 125 calls (GSAE, $11.60, up $4.35) didn’t have the banner day as the October calls did but still were up 60% for the day.
There were a slew of other good trades, too many more for me to list but you got the idea. Keep an eye on some of the calls I have mentioned. They may get cheaper and they may not. It’s too early to call this a rebound and there is no way of predicting where we are headed over the next few days. Remember, earnings are on tap and they will certainly sway the market.