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Rick Ackerman

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Rick Ackerman is the editor of Rick’s Picks, an online service geared to traders of stocks, options, index futures and commodities. His detailed trading strategies have appeared since the early 1990s in Black Box Forecasts, a newsletter he founded that originally was geared to professional option traders. Barron’s once labeled him an “intrepid trader” in a headline that alluded to his key role in solving a notorious pill-tampering case. He received a $200,000 reward when a conviction resulted, and the story was retold on TV’s FBI: The Untold Story. His professional background includes 12 years as a market maker in the pits of the Pacific Coast Exchange, three as an investigator with renowned San Francisco private eye Hal Lipset, seven as a reporter and newspaper editor, three as a columnist for the Sunday San Francisco Examiner, and two decades as a contributor to publications ranging from Barron’s to The Antiquarian Bookman to Fleet Street Letter and Utne Reader.

Rick's Picks - The broad averages have routinely been ratcheting higher even when there is little buying enthusiasm evident. This is the kind of price action that shreds bears and traps bulls, and that’s why we should be on our guard even though I have somewhat higher targets outstanding for several key trading vehicles.  Amazon is one of […]

February 26th, 2017 | When AMZN Coughs…

Rick's Picks - Our key stock-market bellwether, AMZN, has stalled just shy of an important target at $875, implying that the broad averages are likely to sputter and wheeze in the days ahead unless Amazon shares turn sharply higher. The target remain valid, but the stock could fall a further $50, to around $790, before regaining its footing.  […]

Rick's Picks - Genuinely meaningful economic data from mainstream news sources is as rare as a transparent pronouncement from the wizards and charlatans at the Fed. Friday will provide an exception, however, since very meaningful new-home-sales figures for January are slated for release. The consensus expects a strong rebound from December’s miserable 536,000 (annualized); a 7.5% increase to […]

HoweStreet.com Radio - American rental market bubble bursting

Rick's Picks - If the stock market’s wilding spree continues for just a few more days at its recent pitch, the rally is going to start looking like a blowoff on the daily and intraday charts. Rick’s Picks subscribers know something the bullish herd most likely does not, however, and that’s why we are able to watch the […]

February 16th, 2017 | The Yellow Flag Is Out

Rick's Picks - The Dow Industrial Average now sits within 429 points of a potentially very important ‘Hidden Pivot’ target at 21,049 that was first signaled when the Dow hit 18675 back in November. The target is derived from purely technical calculations, and when I first aired it my gut feeling was that it seemed unlikely to be […]

Rick's Picks - Yellen aggressively talked her book Tuesday, asserting that the economy looks so hunky-dory that those rate hikes she keeps promising are absolutely, definitely, positively coming. Let’s see if she changes her tune when the housing and auto sectors turn down, as appears all but certain. Substantially higher mortgage rates coupled with rising prices caused by […]

Rick's Picks - Banksters and others with a stake in the euro shouldn’t get their hopes too high, since the long-term charts point unambiguously to a target just below 82 cents (see inset). There will be rallies, of course, since sellers have been piling onto this no-brainer trade in such preponderance that there will occasionally be no one […]

HoweStreet.com Radio - Best bets to survive US economic downturn

February 8th, 2017 | Inflation Ahead? Yeah, Sure.

Rick's Picks - The inflation drumbeat has grown more insistent lately, stoked by Fed blather about raising rates to prevent the economy from overheating. Yeah, sure. I’m not buying any of it, particularly statistics that purport to show inflation even in Europe.  An epic deflation still awaits and eventually will be triggered by the implosion of a largely […]

Rick's Picks - It looks like two straight days without pain is about as much comfort as bears are ever going to get.  The market forged steadily higher on Friday, thumbing its nose at my crazy suggestion to fade any rally. I’d written here Thursday night that if the payroll number came within 25,000 of the 175,000-job estimate, […]

Rick's Picks - Although stocks spent most of the week churning, nothing seems to be able to bring them down for more than a day or two. Unemployment and non-farm payrolls numbers will be released Friday morning, and although economists and Wall Street pretend to care about this fundamentally meaningless data, it’s hard to imagine the broad averages […]

February 1st, 2017 | Short Into This Craziness?

Rick's Picks - The Dow veered north in the final hours of Tuesday’s session, reversing the considerable momentum of a two-and-a-half day selloff to end the day 90 points off its sinkhole lows.  The S&Ps did even better, carving out a v-shaped bottom that had bears once again on the ropes at the final bell. Is that the […]

HoweStreet.com Radio - What social issues does legal marijuana raise?

Rick's Picks - Use the red line to determine whether Monday morning’s steep selloff was just a shakeout. If DIA ends the day above that line, a ‘midpoint Hidden Pivot,’ then I can practically guarantee you that the thrust will continue to at least 202.35, the ‘D’ target of the pattern. For those who are familiar with my […]

Rick's Picks - DaBoyz were in commando mode Sunday night, trying to determine through stealth, trial-and-error and well-honed instinct the level at which they might hope to dry up sellers for a short-squeeze attempt.  Let it be said, however, that the ratcheting rally we saw last week enjoyed no bullish mandate, only sporadic buying power supplied mostly by […]

January 25th, 2017 | The Trump Rally, Phase II

Rick's Picks - The stock market’s likely behavior following Friday’s presidential inauguration seemed like a coin-toss bet, but I guessed wrong. The DIA weekly puts we bought on Friday for prices ranging from 0.38 to 0.44 have gotten snuffed by the most powerful rally since the first days of the new year. We know exactly where the E-Mini […]

Rick's Picks - In conjunction with a massive air strike by Russian bombers, and with Donald Trump’s inaugural promise to eradicate radical Islam, Vladimir Putin has ordered Iran/Hezbollah forces out of Syria. This bold stroke required no treaties, U.N. speeches or shuttle diplomacy — only the calculation that Iran would not dare get in the way of U.S.and […]

January 22nd, 2017 | Betting Against Chimpanzees

Rick's Picks - With the broad averages in an extremely tedious slog sideways since mid-December, it has been very difficult to get short. A nettlesome problem is that even relatively feeble head-fakes are pushing into record-high territory. We got short anyway on Friday, taking a small speculative position in DIA puts. This is a post-inauguration play if you […]

January 19th, 2017 | The Good News, and the Bad…

Rick's Picks - Yet another day of gratuitous, grueling ups and downs, punctuated around mid-session by a swoon that had been nearly recouped by the time we went to press. If traders are thinking what I think they are thinking, they are expecting the stock market to find direction — possibly with a vengeance — once Trump’s inauguration […]

January 18th, 2017 | Straddling the Inauguration

Rick's Picks - If the stock market were to take a hellish dive on Monday, it’s not hard to imagine how the pundits will explain it: a reality check for investors who actually think Trump will be good for America.  Of course, any such weakness would have less to do with Trump than with cyclical forces that lie […]

HoweStreet.com Radio - Trump threats bringing production back to US but will jobs follow?

Rick's Picks - Investors who have been betting heavily on Trump since the election may be starting to wonder whether the stock market has overshot the bounds of their initial optimism. To be sure, this is an insubstantial brick in the proverbial wall of worry that is said to keep bull markets alive. But are the broad averages […]

Rick's Picks - A month of tedious consolidation has set the stock market up for a seemingly likely push higher. The chart shown suggests the Dow rally could reach 20257, or possibly even 21101, over the next month or two. That last number has served as our bull-market lodestone for quite a while, and even a thousand-point dive […]

Rick's Picks - Is it possible that wage inflation is re-emerging in the U.S. after a 35-year hiatus? That’s what the experts seem to believe, but there are  good reasons to think they will be wrong. Consider the substantial pay increase that minimum-wage workers received in many cities and states where this issue was on the ballot in […]
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