Author Archives: Evil Speculator




Introductory Remarks by PT

Below we present a recent article by the Mole discussing a number of technical statistics on the behavior of AAPL over time. Since the company has the largest market cap in the US stock market (~ USD 850 billion – a valuation that exceeds that of entire industries), it is the biggest component of capitalization-weighted big cap indexes and the ETFs based on them. It is also a component of the price-weighted DJIA. It is fair to say that the performance of AAPL is not unimportant for the broad market.


AAPL, weekly over the past 5 years. The stock has recently hit new highs. In a way this is  quite funny, as it happens just as the company enters maturity; its revenue and earnings growth rates are fated to enter a long term phase of decline from here on out no matter what – this is a mathematical certainty. Many of the darlings of the late 1990s tech bubble eventually faced a similar problem (in early 2000 we patiently explained to a fellow investor why Cisco could not possibly maintain an annual revenue growth rate of 50% for another decade, or even for another few years). This is beside the fact that the company hasn’t introduced any particularly successful innovative products since the iPhone, which remains its biggest revenue generator by far (the times when new generations of the iPhone offered genuine advances in terms of design and technological capability are but a distant memory as well; these days updated versions at best tend to offer a handful of tweaks). We don’t want to detract from the company’s undeniable entrepreneurial success and well-deserved reputation for quality, reliability and cool design. We merely question its current stock market valuation and the sense of timing of those buying the stock here and now. Admittedly, given the market’s effortless climb up the rungs of the greater fools ladder hitherto, recent buyers may well make a profit. We only know that someone will eventually end up holding the proverbial bag. A side note: the blue dotted lines on the chart serve to highlight a typical momentum divergence between RSI and price. The divergence is even more glaring on a daily chart. Sometimes  such divergences turn out not to mean anything, but more often than not they are a short term warning sign worth heeding – click to enlarge.


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Lumpy but Robust


[ed note: this article has originally appeared at the Evil Speculator and was written by trader and ES contributor Scott. We provide a link to Scott’s past articles below this post for readers who want to get more familiar with his ideas and/or any unusual terminology used in this article]


One continual theme in my trading is that every time I think I have it figured out, I get punched in the face by an unexpected problem. The tendency is to go more complicated, but often the solution is a degree of acceptance with respect to the nature of the game. Sometimes my edges work, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they stop working for long periods of six months or more.


Financial markets – multi-layered like onions


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Awesome Forecasts and the Unknowable Future

Back in late 2013 I wrote a piece on human nature which was in part inspired by the bullish exuberance exhibited by a MarketWatch article predicting the DJIA at 20,000 in the near term future. Yesterday afternoon, a bit over three years later, that prediction actually became reality and I’m sure the author of that article as well as many other like minded traders popped some champagne in celebration of their awesome ability to predict the future.


A trader from the (near) future.

Image via


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Holding Pattern

When it comes to interesting charts or marginally promising setups I’m pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel right now. Not surprising really, given that the few remaining market participants (bots! cough cough) are firmly set in a holding pattern after a one year sideways churn and an impending Presidential election on November 8th which is thought to have the potential to be the catalyst for changes in the financial arena. I for one hold very little hopes on that end, no matter which of the two candidates will be sworn in come January.


jack_electro_shocksThere’s always the loonie though…

Photo credit: Fantasy Films


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Earlier this morning the British Pound suddenly found itself on the receiving end of a 6% flash crash during Asian trading hours. Some of the losses have been recouped since then, but that will be of little consolation to anyone who may have been long the GBP overnight.



Photo credit: Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images


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A Rare Apparition

An old friend suddenly showed up out of the blue yesterday and I’m not talking about a contributor who had washed out and, after years of ‘working for the man’, decided to return for another whack at beating the market. Instead I am delighted to report that I am looking at a bona fide confirmed VIX sell signal which we haven’t seen for ages here.


old friendsHello, old friend. Professor X and Magneto staring each other down in the plastic prison.


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Fractal Geometry of the Markets

You probably wouldn’t know it but I have actually been extremely busy over the past few months resurrecting a previous creation of mine. It all started about two years ago, in early summer of 2014, when I wound up diving head first into more advanced topics such as machine learning, artificial neural networks, support vector machines (SVMs), as well as fractal geometry of financial time series.


Fractal.2.0A fractal Zen moment.

Image via


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Mid Summer Momo Update

It is hot and it is humid over here in Valencia. You want to know how hot? The other day a poodle’s tail caught fire just waiting in the sun. The more frantically he was wiggling his tail the brighter it burned.


2016-07-25_summer_beach-1000x562A time for quiet contemplation of the bright blue sea… while next door, the poodle burns!

Photo via


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Methuselah Tree

When looking for a good theme for this post I pondered for a while and then decided to use a picture of a bristlecone pine, which are widely considered to be the oldest living trees in the world.


bristlecone-1000x672Ye olde bristlecone

Photo credit:


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Net Lines

It’s that dreaded day after Independence Day. The weather is gorgeous and I don’t really feel like trading either. The thought of just phoning it in had occurred to me, but as the new month just rolled over I thought I may as well take another peek at our monthly charts. Which uncovered quite some interesting perspectives that I’m eager to share.

But no worries – we’re keeping it light and easy today. Consider this a purist’s approach to market analysis as we’re going to ignore everything but Net-Lines.


japanese-garden-sand-zen-garden-1000x667The picture for today’s Zen moment.

Photo credit: istock


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A Glorious Day

What a glorious day for Britain and anyone among you who continues to believe in the ideas of liberty, freedom, and sovereign democratic rule. The British people have cast their vote and I have never ever felt so relieved about having been wrong. Against all expectations, the leave camp somehow managed to push the referendum across the center line, with 51.9% of voters counted electing to leave the European Union.


LEAVEWaving good-bye to Brussels!

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Do or Die

I think I speak for everyone involved if I say that it’s way past high time for this market to either breach the wall ahead of SPX 2150 or finally accept defeat and relieve itself to the downside. It’s become a war of attrition at this point as we have been suffering through this deadlock of a market for more than a year. And may I say – it’s getting not just boring but increasingly annoying.


the_wall_must_fall-1000x593The Wall…

Image credit: Home Box Office (HBO)


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Most read in the last 20 days:

  • US Stock Market: Conspicuous Similarities with 1929, 1987 and Japan in 1990
      Stretched to the Limit There are good reasons to suspect that the bull market in US equities has been stretched to the limit. These include inter alia: high fundamental valuation levels, as e.g. illustrated by the Shiller P/E ratio (a.k.a. “CAPE”/ cyclically adjusted P/E); rising interest rates; and the maturity of the advance.   The end of an era - a little review of the mother of modern crash patterns, the 1929 debacle. In hindsight it is both a bit scary and sad, in...
  • How to Blow $12.2 Billion in No Time Flat
      Fake Responses  One month ago we asked: What kind of stock market purge is this?  Over the last 30 days the stock market’s offered plenty of fake responses.  Yet we’re still waiting for a clear answer.   As the party continues, the dance moves of the revelers are becoming ever more ominous. Are they still right in the head? Perhaps a little trepanation is called for to relieve those brain tensions a bit?  [PT]   The stock market, like the President,...
  • Despondency in Silver-Land
      Speculators Throw the Towel Over the past several years we have seen a few amazing moves in futures positioning in a number of commodities, such as e.g. in crude oil, where the by far largest speculative long positions in history have been amassed. Over the past year it was silver's turn. In April 2017, large speculators had built up a record net long position of more than 103,000 contracts in silver futures with the metal trading at $18.30. At the end of February of this year, they held...
  • Broken Promises
      Demanding More Debt Consumer debt, corporate debt, and government debt are all going up.  But that’s not all.  Margin debt – debt that investors borrow against their portfolio to buy more stocks – has hit a record of $642.8 billion.  What in the world are people thinking?   A blow-off in margin debt mirroring the blow-off in stock prices. Since February of 2016 alone it has soared by ~$170 billion - this is an entirely new level insanity. The current total of 643...
  • Stock and Bond Markets - The Augustine of Hippo Plea
      Lord, Grant us Chastity and Temperance... Just Not Yet! Most fund managers are in an unenviable situation nowadays (particularly if they have a long only mandate). On the one hand, they would love to get an opportunity to buy assets at reasonable prices. On the other hand, should asset prices actually return to levels that could be remotely termed “reasonable”, they would be saddled with staggering losses from their existing exposure. Or more precisely: their investors would be saddled...
  • US Stock Market – The Flight to Fantasy
      Divergences Continue to Send Warning Signals The chart formation built in the course of the early February sell-off and subsequent rebound continues to look ominous, so we are closely watching the proceedings. There are now numerous new divergences in place that clearly represent a major warning signal for the stock market. For example, here is a chart comparing the SPX to the NDX (Nasdaq 100 Index) and the broad-based NYA (NYSE Composite Index).   The tech sector is always the...
  • From Bling to Plonk – An Update on the Debt Mountain
      Serenely Grows the Debtberg We mentioned in a recent post that we would soon return to the topic of credit spreads and exotic structured products. One reason for doing so are the many surprises investors faced in the 2008 crisis. Readers may e.g. remember auction rate securities. These bonds were often listed as “cash equivalents” on the balance sheets of assorted companies investing in them, but it turned out they were anything but. Shareholders of many small and mid-sized companies...
  • US Equities – Mixed Signals Battling it Out
      A Warning Signal from Market Internals Readers may recall that we looked at various market internals after the sudden sell-offs in August 2015 and January 2016 in order to find out if any of them had provided clear  advance warning. One that did so was the SPX new highs/new lows percent index (HLP). Below is the latest update of this indicator.   HLP (uppermost panel) provided advance warning prior to the sell-offs of August 2015 and January 2016 by dipping noticeably below the...
  • Return of the Market Criers - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Ballistically Yours One nearly-famous gold salesman blasted subscribers this week with, “Gold Is Going to Go Ballistic!” A numerologist shouted out the number $10,000. At the county fair this weekend, we ran out of pocket change, so we did not have a chance to see the Tarot Card reader to get a confirmation. The market criers are back in gold town [PT]   Even if you think that the price of gold is going to go a lot higher (which we do, by the way—but to lean on...
  • Good Riddance Lloyd Blankfein!
      One and the Same   “God gave me my money.” – John D. Rockefeller   Today we step away from the economy and markets and endeavor down the path less traveled.  For fun and for free, we wade out into a smelly peat bog.  There we scratch away the surface muck in search of what lies below.   One should actually be careful about quotes like the one attributed to Rockefeller above, even if it of course sounds good and is very suitable for the topic at...
  • Incrementum's New Cryptocurrency Research Report
      Another Highly Useful Report As we noted on occasion of the release of the first Incrementum Crypto Research Report, the report would become a regular feature. Our friends at Incrementum have just recently released the second edition, which you can download further below (if you missed the first report, see Cryptonite 2; scroll to the end of the article for the download link).   BTC hourly (at the Bitstamp exchange). Although BTC has been in a bear market since peaking in...

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