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My theory: Why Apple got smashed from 700 to 440

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 

Ugly option manipulation.  Look at the maxpain numbers and option payouts as of today.

 

http://www.maximum-pain.com/max-pain.aspx

 

If Apple stayed at 700 the option writers would be paying tens of billions of dollars this year. Bottom line is this: No Matter what Apple did the market makers would do everything in their power to tank the stock. Look at the payouts that the option writers needed to pay if it hit 700 or 900.

 

@700/@900/@530


2/16 - 7 billion/17 billion/1.5 billion
3/16 - 3 billion/7.5 billion/500 mil
4/20 - 2.5 billion/8.0 billion/1 billion
6/22 - 1.2 billion/2.1 billion/300 mil
7/20 - 1.0 billion/2.5 billion/300 mil

Totals - 14.70 billion/37.10 billion/3.6 billion

 

If apple hit 900 and stayed there the options writers would get smashed.

So what did the MarketMakers do to hedge these call options? They tanked the stock loaded up on cheap shares. That way even if Apple hits 600/700 this year they would make some money with common.

 

I am 100% convinced that no matter what Apple did from Sept2012-Jan2013 the stock price would have never stayed at 700. The options writers wrote too many call options at 700/800/900/1000 and never thought Apple would explode to 700 so fast.

post #2 of 35

I have no idea if your numbers are correct - but I assume that they are :-)

If so, then your theory makes perfect sense.

post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobM View Post

I have no idea if your numbers are correct - but I assume that they are :-)

If so, then your theory makes perfect sense.

 

You can pull up the numbers on this website:

 

http://www.maximum-pain.com/apple-max-pain.aspx

 

You can use the drop down menu to change the maturity date.  The amount of money the option writers would lose if the stock stayed at 700-750 is astounding.  We are talking about tens of Billions of dollars.

 

For example for 2.16.13 if Apples stock price was $1000 the option writers would have to pay out $25 Billion dollars next week.  If it closes at $500 they would only need to pay out $2 billion dollars.

post #4 of 35

Thanks for the link ! Very interesting.

 

Options have been a curse for way too long.

They are so much part of trading culture now that they have deviated from their original intent.

More speculative and yet they reflect nothing of the fundamentals of a company. Therefore easier to manipulate - especially if you're in the middle.

 

QED - I reckon. Your theory is pretty much proven.

post #5 of 35

Brilliant observation..amazing that the "experts" haven't picked up on this.

post #6 of 35

A few hours later

 

This situation reminds me of a book - don't know if you've read it, of course - Turn of the Century by Kurt Andersen. Features a Gordon Gecko type character going way big and long on msft.

Much more to the novel other than that. Great read.


Edited by RobM - 2/5/13 at 11:25pm
post #7 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Verne View Post

Brilliant observation..amazing that the "experts" haven't picked up on this.

Exactly - they're all short likely waiting for the bounce, or the word to go back in.

I hate options - too many leeches waiting to pick up gains/losses from genuine investors.

 

Fair enough back in the day when you needed to secure a supply of physical product but the way it's developed is sheer nonsense.

Very little consideration or weighting to fundamentals is a factor on option trading, which is totally unfair because the option markets movements affect common stock. BS - those guys would bet on flies climbing up a wall.

 

Just more reason for Apple to exit the market imnsho


Edited by RobM - 2/5/13 at 10:32pm
post #8 of 35
Thread Starter 

So if we are to believe that the options market is controlling the price what will happen in the next few months?

 

The maxpain levels for the large option weeks for Feb-July is about 540.  From July-Dec there are no other large option weeks.  In my first post I calculated that the option writers would have to pay about $11 Billion more if the price jumped from 530 to 700. 

 

But does this mean that Apple will not reach 600-700 this year?  Yes, paying out $11 billion for options will hurt the option writers.  But the key is they are hedging their option bets.  If the stock goes to 600-700 they will have to pay significant money but if they hold the stock those losses will be offset by massive gains in stock price. 

 

I think right now the institutions hold over 75% of the common shares.  I think a ton of private investors got weak hands or locked in gains and sold.  That is EXACTLY what the big boys want.  They want control of the shares.  The last data on yahoo finance had institutional ownership at 68%.  Google is 84% institutionally owned.  The big boys want to own 75-80% of the shares to really control price action.

 

So why would the big boys want the stock to go to 600-700?  I'm assuming that the institutions own 75% of the shares:

 

939 million shares x 75% = 705 million shares

705 million shares x $200 (stock appreciation from 450 to 650) = 141 Billion

The big boys will gladly pay the $11 billion in options to capture 141 Billion in stock appreciation

 

So now lets back track.  What was the best possible scenario for the big boys?

 

Option 1: Apple explodes from 700-900 from Sept2012-Sept2013 - Yes they would make about $100 Billion in stock appreciation but they would have to pay out a huge chunk in options.  I think it would be close to $50 billion.  Also they would continue to hold only about 65% of the shares.  The private investor loves to buy when a stock is hot.  Thus they would have even less control of the stock.  Overall return: C

 

Option 2: Apple stay steady at 650-700 from Sept2012-Sept 2013.  Big boys would make no money in stock appreciation.  But they would have to pay a significant amount of options payments about $20 billion.  Private investors will hold the stock and institutional ownership will still be at a relatively low 68% - thus not full control of the stock.  Overall return: D

 

Option 3: Apple gets demolished from 700-450 from Sept 2012-Sept2013.  Big boys would avoid the huge option payouts.  They would make significant money but it would be offset by the massive losses to stock they own.  They would gain significant ownership percentage since many of the private investors could give up and sell.  Overall return: C

 

Option 4: Apple gets demolished from 700-450 from Sept2012-Feb2013.  But it slowly goes back up to 650 to close 2013.  Big boys would have to pay significant options.  But if they let the price slowly creep up they can minimize those payouts to under $10 billion.  The massive fall also would cause a ton of private investors to sell.  Institutional ownership will go up to 70-75% = control.  If the stock goes up $200 the stock appreciation for the big boys will reach over $100 billion.  They get their cake and eat it.  Overall return: A+

 

My belief is that the big boys are playing Option 4.  As long as Apple does not fall of the face of the earth they will be pumping up this stock big time in the second half of this year.  The money is just too big to ignore.  And think about this:  If Apple was really a dying company do think the big boys would have given the private investors MONTHS OF ADVANCE NOTICE?  People were talking about Apple's doom since November.  No way.  They would have continued to pump up the stock while they try to sell at the highest possible price to private investors.

 

So looking at options payouts here is my guess at stock price for the next few months:

 

Feb: 475-500

Mar: 500-525

Apr-Jul: 535-550

 

After July is when the stock could possible make a run to 600-700.


Edited by sog35 - 2/6/13 at 6:25am
post #9 of 35

Two things to try and factor in.

 

1. Apple itself. If it were to buy back shares it is in its own interest to have the stock low.

 

2. The options middlemen and fund algorithms. They don't care - it's only money to them.

They will take a position then get out when they've got enough. Tricky.

 

my 0.02c - Good luck tho'

post #10 of 35

And when the stock price drops, the people that wrote put contracts pay more money.  I think it balances out and your argument is invalid - max pain before the stock dropped from 700 to 450 was higher, and put writers lost a lot of money.  If things worked the way you think that they do, they Apple would have stayed at 700 instead of dropping.


Edited by e1618978 - 2/7/13 at 9:54am
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post #11 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post

And when the stock price drops, the people that wrote put contracts pay more money.  I think it balances out and your argument is invalid - max pain before the stock dropped from 700 to 450 was higher, and put writers lost a lot of money.  If things worked the way you think that they do, they Apple would have stayed at 700 instead of dropping.


WRONG.  Max pain was $500 for January options expire date (the biggest options week of the year) way back in November.

post #12 of 35
Along with this theory I would add the bit about Goldman Sux selling those instruments levered to the stock price, that individuals lost so much money on.

Hmmm.. I seem to remember Cramer months back saying how he didn't like the company he was keeping while invested in AAPL, too much like investing with the Penny Stock guys....could he have been referring to the Goldman Sachs sucker play?

Then a few weeks after that Cramer said something about 'the stock [AAPL] needs to undergo a complete technical breakdown...' To tame the volatility or something.
Now, Cramer says it's a 'Shakespearean tradgedy.. While it undergoes the transition from a growth stock to a value stock...unless....' Etc. not that I pay much attention to what that bipolar manipulator says, but connecting some dots here in a silly drawing I'm sure all this fits in somewhere with your theory of what has happened.

Hey, if AAPL becomes a Value stock, does that mean it will go to a value stock valuation p/e of 15? Right?
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What is really factored into the price is a kind of perpetual sense of disbelief that any company could be as good as Apple is. ~Retrogusto
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What is really factored into the price is a kind of perpetual sense of disbelief that any company could be as good as Apple is. ~Retrogusto
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post #13 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post


WRONG.  Max pain was $500 for January options expire date (the biggest options week of the year) way back in November.


Do you have evidence for that?  Don't buy it.  Also, what about the other dates?  The Jan expiry was before earnings release.  Anyway - AAPL stock wasn't $700 in November, it was $525-$575.  What was max pain mid-September?  I am guessing that max pain was in the $700 range in September, because there wasn't any huge predictions of the drop - and the stock moved against the option writers anyway, which is why the OP is a bad argument.

 


Edited by e1618978 - 2/7/13 at 4:11pm
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post #14 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:

 

 

Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post


Do you have evidence for that?  Don't buy it.  Also, what about the other dates?  The Jan expiry was before earnings release.  Anyway - AAPL stock wasn't $700 in November, it was $525-$575.  What was max pain mid-September?  I am guessing that max pain was in the $700 range in September, because there wasn't any huge predictions of the drop - and the stock moved against the option writers anyway, which is why the OP is a bad argument.

 


Maxpain was about $500 in November

 

http://seekingalpha.com/article/1002601-buy-apple-on-january-18

 

The article writer warned that way too many calls were written in Jul-Aug.  No way on earth could the call writer deliver all the stock if the price stayed at 700.

 

Look at the graph below.  Notice how the stock price dropped big time when the gap between the stock price/maxpain was huge.

 


Edited by sog35 - 2/8/13 at 6:28am
post #15 of 35

I think that the evidence there is weak - in order to have any idea about this, you would have to look at a much larger data set (like hundreds of companies, or thousands, over many years - does the stock price always move to the max pain point over the short/long term).   What you have presented so far isn't anything like a statistically valid sample.

$600M loss in call options causes the market makers to push the stock $350 billion lower?  I don't think so.
 

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post #16 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post

I think that the evidence there is weak - in order to have any idea about this, you would have to look at a much larger data set (like hundreds of companies, or thousands, over many years - does the stock price always move to the max pain point over the short/long term).   What you have presented so far isn't anything like a statistically valid sample.

$600M loss in call options causes the market makers to push the stock $350 billion lower?  I don't think so.
 

 

Look at the current max pain levels for Feb-July.  If Apple was at 700-800 the option writers would have to pay about $50-$75 Billion.

 

I'm not talking about any stock but Apple.  Everyone knows that the amount of call options that the little guys bought in the last year for Apple is massive. 

 

By the way Maxpain for next week is $500 with massive $$ at stake (about 4x more than this week).  Do you think the jump this week was all because of Einhorn?  LOL.

 

And lets be real. The market makers can easily push the stock back up to 700.  The losses in stock depreciation is TEMPORARY.  The losses to options is PERMANENT.  If Apple was a broken company they would not have the confidence to yo-yo the price up and down.  Just look at the last 5 years.  Apple has been down big and up bigger so many times.


Edited by sog35 - 2/8/13 at 8:19am
post #17 of 35

Look at your own graph - when the stock was at $700, max pain was $670.  If your point was valid, why did the stock drop to $450?  The option writers lost a ton of money there on the put options they wrote.

The reason that a move to 700-800 would cost the option writes money is that the stock is *currently at $475*.  It would be very surprising if a huge move like that did not cost them money, just like the huge down move cost them money.

Option writers make a lot of money in the following conditions:  the stock wiggles enough to push implied vol up, but does not move very much on a longer time scale.   Apple has a large impled vol, but it also makes huge moves, which is not what option writers want.  If the writers were as all powerful as you imply, Apple would still be at $700.


Edited by e1618978 - 2/8/13 at 9:33am
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post #18 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post

Look at your own graph - when the stock was at $700, max pain was $670.  If your point was valid, why did the stock drop to $450?  The option writers lost a ton of money there on the put options they wrote.

The reason that a move to 700-800 would cost the option writes money is that the stock is *currently at $475*.  It would be very surprising if a huge move like that did not cost them money, just like the huge down move cost them money.

Option writers make a lot of money in the following conditions:  the stock wiggles enough to push implied vol up, but does not move very much on a longer time scale.   Apple has a large impled vol, but it also makes huge moves, which is not what option writers want.  If the writers were as all powerful as you imply, Apple would still be at $700.

 

You need to look at the max pain numbers for Jan-July 2013 when the stock price was 700.  I'm pretty sure they were alot lower than 700

post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

 

You need to look at the max pain numbers for Jan-July 2013 when the stock price was 700.  I'm pretty sure they were alot lower than 700


That is confirmation bias speaking, the basis of most conspiracy theories.  If your theories are correct, you should be able to predict the stock price 7 months from now just by looking at the max pain numbers.  So what do you think the stock price will be 7 months from now?

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post #20 of 35
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Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post


That is confirmation bias speaking, the basis of most conspiracy theories.  If your theories are correct, you should be able to predict the stock price 7 months from now just by looking at the max pain numbers.  So what do you think the stock price will be 7 months from now?

 

With a stock that has heavy option plays the maxpain level can help to estimate what a realistic range of a stock will be.

 

The fact is this: If the apple stock remained at the 700-750 level from Sept to now the option writers would have lost about $30-$50 billion.  And those losses could not be reversed unlike the unrealized losses suffered by many common holders.  Why else was there so much negative press and flat out lies that came out from Oct2012 till Jan2013?

 

So you want to know what the maxpain numbers say about the future?

 

This weeks maxpain is at 500.  There is about an 80% chance that we will close the week at 490-510.

From now till July the large option weeks have a maxpain of about 530.  There is about a 70% chance we will be at 515-545 from April-July.  There are no other large option weeks for the rest of the year yet.

 

What the maxpain does is helps investors see a realistic trading range of the stock.  Of course there is always a chance that a stock will trade out of the range but it is the exception.  Looking at Maxpain numbers at Oct/Nov2012 would have told an Apple investor that the stock could not stay at 700 or go up.  The payouts for those levels were just too high.

post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

 

The fact is this: If the apple stock remained at the 700-750 level from Sept to now the option writers would have lost about $30-$50 billion.


Prove it, you are just making all this up - you have already admitted that you are not sure what the numbers are.  It is very unlikely that option writers would have anticipated the drop to 450, they probably lost tons of money that they would have not lost had the stock price stayed at 700.

Option writers make money (on average, puts and calls) when the stock price does not move.  The stock price moved a lot, so option writers (on average) lost craploads of money.  On a large move up, the call writers lose a lot more than the put writers gain in premiums, and on a large move down the put writers lose a lot more than the call writers gain in premiums.

There was a large move down, so the losses by the put writers dwarfed the gains made by the call writers.

QED.

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post #22 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post


Prove it, you are just making all this up - you have already admitted that you are not sure what the numbers are.  It is very unlikely that option writers would have anticipated the drop to 450, they probably lost tons of money that they would have not lost had the stock price stayed at 700.

Option writers make money (on average, puts and calls) when the stock price does not move.  The stock price moved a lot, so option writers (on average) lost craploads of money.  On a large move up, the call writers lose a lot more than the put writers gain in premiums, and on a large move down the put writers lose a lot more than the call writers gain in premiums.

There was a large move down, so the losses by the put writers dwarfed the gains made by the call writers.

QED.

 

Dude did you even read the article I posted?

 

here it is again:

http://seekingalpha.com/article/1002601-buy-apple-on-january-18

 

It clearly shows that if apple was at 700 @ 01.18.13 the option writers would have gotten smashed.

post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

 

Dude did you even read the article I posted?

 

here it is again:

http://seekingalpha.com/article/1002601-buy-apple-on-january-18

 

It clearly shows that if apple was at 700 @ 01.18.13 the option writers would have gotten smashed.


The call writers would have gotten smashed, the put writers would have made money instead of losing tons of money.  The drop caused the put writers to take a huge hit. 

The article talks about calls, but does not mention puts - talking about the money that the call writers would have lost is meaningless without also talking about the money the put writers would have lost.

Look again at the max pain numbers on your graph, option writers got killed when Apple stock price moved $200 below the max pain number.

You said: "you need to look at the max pain numbers for Jan-July 2013 when the stock price was 700.  I'm pretty sure they were alot lower than 700".  If you had evidence of this it would be more convincing - but a max pain number of $500 or so back in November could still have resulted in net losses for the puts, depending on the pattern.


Edited by e1618978 - 2/11/13 at 12:18pm
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post #24 of 35
Thread Starter 
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Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post


The call writers would have gotten smashed, the put writers would have made money instead of losing tons of money.  The drop caused the put writers to take a huge hit. 

The article talks about calls, but does not mention puts - talking about the money that the call writers would have lost is meaningless without also talking about the money the put writers would have lost.

Look again at the max pain numbers on your graph, option writers got killed when Apple stock price moved $200 below the max pain number.

You said: "you need to look at the max pain numbers for Jan-July 2013 when the stock price was 700.  I'm pretty sure they were alot lower than 700".  If you had evidence of this it would be more convincing - but a max pain number of $500 or so back in November could still have resulted in net losses for the puts, depending on the pattern.

 

 

The volume of calls written was much higher than puts.

 

Again read the article I linked.

post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

 

With a stock that has heavy option plays the maxpain level can help to estimate what a realistic range of a stock will be.

 

So you want to know what the maxpain numbers say about the future?

 

This weeks maxpain is at 500.  There is about an 80% chance that we will close the week at 490-510.

From now till July the large option weeks have a maxpain of about 530.  There is about a 70% chance we will be at 515-545 from April-July.  There are no other large option weeks for the rest of the year yet.

 

What the maxpain does is helps investors see a realistic trading range of the stock.  Of course there is always a chance that a stock will trade out of the range but it is the exception.  Looking at Maxpain numbers at Oct/Nov2012 would have told an Apple investor that the stock could not stay at 700 or go up.  The payouts for those levels were just too high.

Well you only missed by 30 points or more. 1hmm.gif So much for this week's max pain numbers.

 

This just looks like more evidence that folks who think they've cracked the stock market are fooling themselves, and gives me faith that avoiding the market is the right choice for me. 

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post #26 of 35
Thread Starter 
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Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Well you only missed by 30 points or more. 1hmm.gif So much for this week's max pain numbers.

 

This just looks like more evidence that folks who think they've cracked the stock market are fooling themselves, and gives me faith that avoiding the market is the right choice for me. 

 

Maxpain was 485 this morning.  Again I'm not saying that maxpain will determine the EXACT stock price.  What it does is gives you a good estimate of the RANGE where the stock will be unless a TRULY MATERIAL event happens. 

 

With the Maxpain at 485 the drop to 460 is not that of a huge gap.

 

If Maxpain was infallable I would be a billionaire.  I was simply stating that with all the 600/700 calls it was really impossible for the price to stay at those levels from Dec-Jan.

 

So you dont invest in the market?  How do you fund your retirement?  Do you collect comics?  Art? The only fool is the person who refuses to take any risks and guarantees losing to inflation.

post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

 

The only fool is the person who refuses to take any risks and guarantees losing to inflation.

Close, mate.

The only fool is the person who refuses to back themself and relies on others.

Therein lies the learning curve.

imo,

and I been foolish in years past.

Hindsight reveals all.

post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

 

So you dont invest in the market?  How do you fund your retirement?  Do you collect comics?  Art? 

Via business holdings, something I have much more control over and a more predictable return. I do still have a retirement fund using a few stocks from "back in the day" when a dartboard could stand in for stockbrokers advice, but it's not been near as good to me as investing in equipment and/or technology for a few businesses I've controlled. That's where the returns are!


Edited by Gatorguy - 2/16/13 at 4:37am
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post #29 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Via business holdings, something I have much more control over and a more predictable return. I do still have a retirement fund using a few stocks from "back in the day" when a dartboard could stand in for stockbrokers advice, but it's not been near as good to me as investing in equipment and/or technology for a few businesses I've controlled. That's where the returns are!

 

So why do you post on the AAPL investment message board if you don't invest in any stocks?  I'm not trying to be rude, just wondering.

post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

 

So why do you post on the AAPL investment message board if you don't invest in any stocks?  I'm not trying to be rude, just wondering.

You seemed so confident that I kept an eye on your thread to see if you were on to something. I keep thinking perhaps I'm missing out on an understanding of stock price prediction with enough confidence to reconsider adding more stock investments to my old existing ones. For me not yet.

 

It looks more like an individual investor is simply at the mercy of large institutional investors and other forces beyond our understanding and control. I see a lot of long-term Apple investors here trying to logically explain and predict the near-term movement of Apple stock, but no one that's doing so successfully so far.

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post #31 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

You seemed so confident that I kept an eye on your thread to see if you were on to something. I keep thinking perhaps I'm missing out on an understanding of stock price prediction with enough confidence to reconsider adding more stock investments to my old existing ones. For me not yet.

 

It looks more like an individual investor is simply at the mercy of large institutional investors and other forces beyond our understanding and control. I see a lot of long-term Apple investors here trying to logically explain and predict the near-term movement of Apple stock, but no one that's doing so successfully so far.

 

The only confidence I have is the big boys will always try to make as much money as possible.  And one of their favorite tricks is Apple options. 

 

From all I've read the big boys sold a ridiculous amounts of 600/700 calls last year.  And the only way to avoid being crushed was to drive the price of the stock down.  Again I think all that maxpain does is give a decent range of what the stock price will be in the short term barring any huge material event.  The big boys do not want the stock to go too high or too low out of the range since it would mean large payouts to call/put buyers.

post #32 of 35
Thread Starter 

Apple maxpain = $455.  Looks like we are going to close very close to it again

post #33 of 35
Thread Starter 

Closed at 450.70. 

 

Maxpain remains a pretty good indicator of where the stock will be baring material events.

post #34 of 35

Excellent theory!! Have you by any chance done a correlation between the max-pain point and the actual close over the last few months? Just wondering how it looks.

post #35 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brocky445 View Post

Excellent theory!! Have you by any chance done a correlation between the max-pain point and the actual close over the last few months? Just wondering how it looks.

 

MaxPain has not been a good predictor the last 5 months.  There have been a ton of material events such as the massive buyback and Quarter over Quarter earnings decline.

 

Right now the Jan2014 max pain is at 475.  It will take either blowout Quarters or some amazing new products to blow pass 500 in the next six months.

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