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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.

July 24th, 2017 | AMZN Flashes Yellow

Rick's Picks - Although our most important bellwether, AMZN, bucked a weak stock market yesterday with an $18 rally, it peaked an inch from a Hidden Pivot target that could contain bulls, at least for a while. Despite this, the breakdown of VXX suggests more wafting tedium rather than a dramatic selloff.

July 23rd, 2017 | What Rough Beast Is This?

Rick's Picks - With mincing steps, VXX, which tracks short-term S&P volatility, continued its extraordinary descent last week to new record lows. For long-time market observers, the feeling has grown increasingly palpable that “something” has got to give; and yet, on a given day, the broad averages continue to do nothing in particular. They move almost invariably in […]

Rick's Picks - VXX came down to within a hair of a key support at 11.27 on Wednesday, but if it fails, the next leg down could see VXX plunge to 10.24 in search of a durable bottom. That would be an enormous move percentage-wise, especially with VXX, a betting vehicle for short-term S&P volatility, already trading at […]

Rick's Picks - AMZN soared as VXX continued to implode, suggesting that the forces that have been driving the bull market in recent months remain strong. That said, the former, currently trading for around 1025, will run out of room if and when it hits 1083, a Hidden Pivot resistance that has been nearly a year-and-a-half in coming. […]

Rick's Picks - Perceptions that the Fed has turned dovish sent stocks wafting higher last week, but how high can they go if driven by this allegedly ‘new’ piece of information?  There was never much room to do any significant tightening in the first place; now, with the housing and auto sectors rolling over, odds of another rate […]

July 13th, 2017 | Friday Possibilities

Rick's Picks - The broad averages made scant progress on Thursday, perhaps because AMZN, the only stock that matters, was in what has so far been a mild correction. I have a bullish target outstanding in the stock that lies about 17 points above. Expect a bullish finale to the week if AMZN gets traction and heads toward […]

Rick's Picks - I wrote here yesterday about using VIX/VXX as a timing device to predict the end of the bull market. Below is a companionable view posted by ‘Seneca” in response. We both see “something big,” probably sooner rather than later. But we differ as to whether VXX, an ETF that tracks short-term S&P volatility, has already […]

HoweStreet.com Radio - Nothing the Fed has done has been a good move

Rick's Picks - I don’t often use volatility as a timing indicator, but we’ve got a promising Hidden Pivot target in VXX that could conceivably serve that purpose. So far, VXX, an equity-based ETF that that tracks short-term S&P 500 volatility, has done a good job, keeping us properly bullish on stocks as we wait for it to […]

Rick's Picks - The stock market rallied on Friday on employment news that should have been cause for worry rather than celebration. It is yet one more sign that shares have completely decoupled from reality if not yet sanity. Although the work force was reported to have grown by 220,000 in the last month, there has been scant […]

Rick's Picks - Thursday’s moderate selloff provided a refreshing breeze for bears, but it won’t mean much if they can’t extend the decline for a second straight day. The Dow fell 158 points but would need to fall a further 162 points to damage the bullish look of the hourly chart. The precise number is 21159, and if […]

Rick's Picks - Index futures were quiet Tuesday night ahead of what remains of the holiday-shortened week. The theme du jour has been rotation out of tech and into just about everything else, particularly bank stocks (which have turbocharged their ascent with record share-buybacks). However, this aberrant behavior on the part of fund managers is unlikely to last, […]

Rick's Picks - With bullish seasonality at gale force ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, expectations were high for a rally on Thursday. Instead, bulls got sandbagged when stocks turned sharply lower ahead of the opening bell.  My hunch is that buyers will turn the tide before the week ends, but I wouldn’t hazard a prediction about […]

June 29th, 2017 | Pre-Holiday Hijinx

Rick's Picks - The broad averages were in good position to turn ugly on Wednesday; instead, they turned sharply higher, probably to steal a march on shell-shocked bears ahead of a five-day holiday blowout. Because Independence Day falls on a Tuesday, trading volume is likely to start ratcheting lower around mid-day Thursday. Expect it to continue falling until Monday’s […]

HoweStreet.com Radio - Just when gold seems ready to take off, it disappoints instead

Rick's Picks - For once in a rare change, subscribers actually made money on the short side of QQQ Monday morning, doubling or even tripling their stake in just a couple of hours. Even though QQQ dove hard after trapping bulls on a gap-up opening that we had come prepared to fade, my gut feeling is that buyers […]

Rick's Picks - AMZN rallied 49 points off Thursday’s low, peaking a too-coy 25 cents shy of $1000. My gut feeling is that DaBoyz have been a little too ambitious in trying to recoup  the June 9 tech avalanche so quickly. If AMZN runs out of steam as I expect, look for the broad averages to struggle for […]

June 15th, 2017 | An Unimpressive Rebound

Rick's Picks - The broad averages swooned sharply on Thursday, and although they had recouped most of their losses by day’s end, the bounce looked pretty well spent by the end of the day. AMZN, the only bellwether we should care about, looked even less impressive, finishing the session with a $12 loss that left it poised for […]

Rick's Picks - The FAANG/lunatic stocks have recouped about 40% of last Friday’s mini-crash with two consecutive days of short-squeeze buying. The gains have been relatively modest so far, but this is because bears don’t yet perceive the rally as threatening. That’s exactly the sort of thinking that can cause a weak short-squeeze to gain momentum and turn […]

HoweStreet.com Radio - Will the Canadian Dollar be worth 84 cents US ?

Rick's Picks - The hallmark of a bull market in its final throes is hellish swoons-out-of-nowhere that are quickly recouped. Let’s see if DaBoyz play it by the book this time. They pulled the rug out from under the FAGMA stocks on Friday — Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon — sending them down between 2.2% and 4% […]

Rick's Picks - sounded a cautionary note here the other day because the E-Mini S&Ps had topped precisely at a Hidden Pivot target that had been a long time in coming. Even so, the Nasdaq’s intraday charts suggest the FAANG/lunatic stocks that have driven the index higher have been consolidating for yet another push to new record highs. […]

Rick's Picks - The headline out on Fox at the moment is  ‘A SAD DAY’: World reacts to US pullout from climate agreement. On Wall Street it was a very different story — one of jubilation that culminated in a 135-point rally in the Dow Industrials. In some circles this is the sort of behavior that gives capitalism […]

Rick's Picks - A week shortened by the Memorial Day holiday produced a session filled with gratuitous price swings that left the broad averages largely unchanged. Even so, shorts were caught in the ringer at the closing bell, suggesting it’s possible the S&Ps will trade at a new all-time high in the early going Thursday. If they end […]

Rick's Picks - Volatility has gone brain-dead, as today’s chart makes clear. What this implies is that ‘everyone’ has bet the opposite or is hedged up the wazoo with puts, calls or straddles against a stock market melt-up or -down. Such an event is inevitable, but not on any time schedule that traders have been able to predict […]
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