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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Up 2 then down 2 and now up 2 again as most mlps are higher. Market was down over 100 at one point and up over 50 at another so we are moving back and forth on every headline that crosses apparently. Rates remain substantially lower on the long end with the 10 year under 2.20% which is probably being supportive to mlps given the huge spread and the thirst for yield among investors these days.

Back to backyard cleanup.

This morning we have a fed head making waves that we need more easing in order to get the economy moving. Chicago fed president Charles Evans says "9% unemployment is consistent with recession" and that has bonds rallying and stocks selling off this morning. Its probably no surprise that stocks would sell off as we have been up 5 of the last 6 sessions and up over 200 yesterday.

Both charts are lying right against the declining 34 day moving average so its a logical place for something to happen. Its hard for me to see a sustained rally in here in the overall market with the 10 year hovering below 2.20% and the 30 year nearing 3.50% this morning. I still believe that we will see a 1 handle close on the 10 year before this is all over and that stocks need to see a 9 handle on the dow before any meaningful bottom is in place. And with regards to the 10 year we have this from Pimco's Bill Gross.

MLPS meanwhile are back around 350 on the index and half way between the 310 intraday low 2 weeks ago and the 390 index high a few months ago. Not much in they way of news drivers this morning and no upgrades or downgrades in the group. Yield and a low bond rate continue to make mlps relatively attractive. More importantly they seem to have resumed their ability to predict short term trading rallies. When markets are dropping over a period of days or weeks; when mlps finally get thrown out the window is usually a sign of a market turn coming. They are always the last to be thrown out the window in a panic. So we have that little indicator to work with again....unless of course one day and we hear of a tax threat from Washington.

Monday, August 29, 2011


I have the good luck of having all my electric and cable working but i must be one of a handful as everyone around me is still without power. Markets are open of course and we have a rally to start off the last week of the summer vacation season. Labor Day is next Monday and my view has always been that when you get to Labor Day, Christmas shopping should be rushed to completion. But thats next week's problem. This morning we have Euro markets rallying as at least for today they close their eyes to their problems. Stock futures are moving up here and MLPS are set to open higher. Interest rates are higher by 8 to 10 basis points on the long end. So at least for moment we start the day higher.

Atlas Pipeline Partners (APL) announces long term NGL agreements. The stock has been one of the better performers in the group until the recent selloff. No other news and no other upgrades or downgrades.

I just came off working 36 straight hours and have a yard to clean up.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Made it through irene ok but working non stop. Markets open tomorrow as far as I know.

Friday, August 26, 2011

No surprise that Bernake said nothing inspiring in his Jackson Hole speech so the market is selling off into a sinkhole. The dow is down 150 and MLPS are down about 3 1/2 points.

I have items to secure before the big wind and rain.

Been busy with hurricane prep and extra work so my apologies for lack of posts. Everyone waiting for 10am and Ben's speech which will likely disappoint on top of the non existent growth number we got at 8:30am. Irene is heading for Long Island so everyone is getting things secure. MLPS held up well yesterday as the market tanked. Will post after the speech is released.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Spent 4 days away upstate to recharge batteries and kept market checks to an absolute minimum. I thought i would start the day with a fresh look at the volatility index and if you look all the way back to 2008 you will be reminded that the index traded up in the high 80s during the Lehman meltdown. So while the recent drops have been quite painful, be advised that they could get even worse if the markets begin to smell out another recession or if we have a major institutional melt down.

Meanwhile it appears that 10,600 is holding for the time being as evidenced by the dow bounce last week to 11,500 and then the pull back to 10,800, and then yesterday's run up back to about 11,200. MLPS which have had a better bounce from its 310 low looked like they were about to sink into oblivion Monday with a nearly 9 point index loss. The index got it all back yesterday so for the week we are up on the dow and break even on mlps.

Going foward i think much depends on what happens Friday in Jackson hole. The market is expecting perhaps another QE but i sincerely doubt it will happen. My guess is that the markets are setting up for more disappointment and that no matter what Bernake says (unless he plans to give everyone a million bucks) we're headed lower. MLPS will be no exception in any downdraft though a 1 handle on the 10 year is probably going to lend some support. However if selling gets serious, in the end sellers have to sell something, even if its something thats growing payouts every quarter. When you need cash and you've sold everything else, you start selling grandma's jewelery.

This morning we have stock futures lower by about 10 S&P points ahead of the open. Crude and nat gas are a little lower. Hurricane Irene is an east coast threat so there isn't much of trade here from that standpoint. Rates are a little higher but still hovering near all time lows. Frankly i would not trust any rally unless we see something substantial happen as far as yields go. Trading near all time lows and the 10 year yield barely off its low is not something that inspires confidence.

Friday, August 19, 2011

On vacation through next Tuesday up at Saratoga and Lake George. Need a battery recharge. Dow down 150 and MLPS down 8 heading into the Friday close.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I think we are setting up for a pretty ugly close. After hitting 10880 the dow rallied about 170 and now thats over with. MLPS are down 10 plus on the index and down less than the market on a percentage basis. Sellers came back from lunch with full stomachs and with more shares to sell.

The VIX is at 41. The 10 year is at 2.08 after getting down to 1.97.
Suddenly the dow is down 450 and mlps down 11 and change. Its not looking good out there.
Btw just heard on CNBC that the all time low on the 10 year was 1.67% in 1945. They also mentioned mlps and Cramer thinks their tax status remains sacred. For whatever that opinion is worth. And we have this via Barrons.

The 10 year yield has broken down to new lows for the move and now is poised to test the 2008 low of 2.02% and if that breaks then we will see a 1 handle on the 10 year. For those of you who have been asking what "1 handle means. Right now the first number on the 10 year rate is a 2. So we refer to that as a 2 handle. At 1.99% or lower than we would have a 1 handle. And did you ever in your life think you would see the day that the 10 year would yield under 2%? I say this remembering the day back in the early 1980s when the 30 year had a yield north of 14% and at the time it was the feeling by just about everyone that we would never see single digit yields ever again!

What are the implications for mlps? Well on the face of it the one handle on the 10 year only widens the yield spread which is a positive. However 2 things that may render that meaningless. First off is that the fall in yields comes with market stress and when your selling eventually you sell everything regardless. And secondly if the economy is going into recession, will MLPS continue to be able to grow distributions? I think they can unless we go into a deep recession. If you're of the camp that recession isn't happening than the table is being set for another buying opportunity. Frankly with the market this shakey, one should tread carefully and don't buy on the open.

Pre market action has EV Partners(EVEP) down 2, Kinder Morgan(KMP) is down 1.50 and Nustar (NS) is down 1.20. Look for mlps to gap down at the open along with the rest of the market. A retest of 10,600 looms ahead in my view though the MLP index may avoid retesting 310 for awhile since it had a much more impressive rally from last week's low.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


The dow ran to 11,529 and stopped. Now we are up a handful of points. MLPS were up 2 are now basically unchanged. The list is mixed. Suburban Propane (SPH) leads the way up 1 and Sunoco Logistics (SXL) is up nearly as much. EV Partners (EVEP) is down nearly 1 as the days biggest loser. Keep an eye on the 10 year yield which is at 2.18 percent and dropping. The recent low is 2.08% and the 2008 low is 2.02%. If markets start to let go this afternoon those yield levels may go. Crude and nat gas are both higher of crude inventory numbers.

The bear market bounce has probably run its course and the real test comes if we challenge last week's lows at 10,600. I'm still thinking a 1 handle on the 10 year.

At doctors office again this morning for routine check up. Will post later.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Correction on the mlp index. Had a bad quote. Its down 5 and change and at the days lows.
Markets are at the lows of the day. News from Europe was underwhelming and the fact that they won't sell Euro bonds leaves the US Bond Market without any real competition so rates are collapsing again. We have 2.26% on the 10 year and 3.60 on the 30 year. Im still waiting for a one handle on the 10 year. MLPS are down over 4 pts and just off the lows of the day. EV Partners (EVEP) which has been among the biggest winners recently is down nearly 3 as the days biggest loser. Most mlps are down fractions to 1 point.


The rally has taken us from 10,600 to 11,400 in just 4 days which pretty much about as nice a bounce as you can get after that first leg down selloff of nearly 2200 points. Notice that the dow bounce has been really nothing compared to the mlp bounce which has been on the order of nearly 40 mlp index points or a nice 15%+ rally to the now dropping 34 day moving average. Certainly it can be argued that the bear market rally has perhaps run its course so we look for today's action to at least signal whether this is indeed the case. Futures this morning are sinking lower down by about 100 dow points and 14 S&P points. 10,600 will be the line in the sand. For mlps the bounce has been so powerful that the 310 low might be "the" low unless the market really falls to pieces.

This morning it is quiet in mlp land with no news and no upgrades or downgrades. Crude and nat gas are lower and we have gold trying to make another run to $1800. The market is off the lows on Fitch re-affirms AAA rating for the US and the outlook is "stable" but i doubt that will be a catylist for another buying surge. So let us work through the open and see what happens after 10am.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Amazing isn't it! And talk about relative outperformance, this week was a grand slam for MLPS as markets are swinging 500 points a day in either direction and right now down for the week on the DOW & S&P. We're up 4% on the week and unless there is a big surprise we will finish at the top of the heap come 4pm today. The recognition that 6% yields that continue to grow is alot better than 2.25% on a 10 year note.

There will be a little headwind on the MLP index today with Plains All American (PAA) doing a secondary which priced last night. The stock is down 2 this morning. Note that this is a stake holder selling shares and the company isn't getting a dime of this money. It is not dilutive. Otherwise from the news front it is very quiet this morning. No upgrades or downgrades.

Stock futures are higher ahead of the open by 100points. 10 year yields are lower from yesterday's spike rally in yields. Crude is up and nat gas is down a little after yesterday's rally.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Work a double shift so im squeezing in this post. Dow up 250 and mlps up 5 on the index. Both are off the highs of the day. Rally is no surprise here after unrelenting selling. However if we close higher i would suspect we will see this rally sold into.

BTW i've decided we need to get extreme before we see a bottom and maybe, just maybe, it will come with a one handle on the 10 year. 2.02% is the 2008 low. Can you imagine what the stock market would look like on a day when we go to a 1 handle on the 10 year?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A rip roaring rally in MLPS which are up nearly 4% or 13 plus mlp index points. 28 mlps are up between 1 and 2 points..16 are up 2 points or more. Alliance Resource (ARLP) is up 4 and EV Partners (EVEP) is up 5. The dow is off 200 points which makes this even more remarkable. The dow has cut its losses in half as the rally attempt continues.

The 10 year dropped to 2.092% which is almost as low as it got in 2008. We're back to 2.20% right now as the world has not ended at least not yet.

It appears that the drop to 310 on the index is the absolute panic low and the move back above 350 which was old support is a very good sign for mlps. At least with 2% 10 years and bank stocks which are circling the drain, there is just no place to go if you want income. We're the only game in town!

Frankly this is a remarkable day so far. First off we have yesterday;s 600 point hour and 15 minute rally was completely undone this morning and now we are heading for yesterday's intraday low around 10,600. The feel of the tape is that if that level goes..then get ready for a fast collapse to 10,000. MLPS meanwhile undid the sell off of Monday and then some yesterday with a 25 point gain and mlps are up strongly today up nearly 4 points on the index. E V Energy Partners (EVEP) knocked the cover off the ball with terrific earnings and the stock was up over 5 dollars at one point this morning. The stock is off the high and still up 4. MLPS are getting attention thanks to a 10 year at 2.15%. And think about this. The fed has told us that we are going to have low rates or no rates for 2 years. This makes a 5-7% mlp yield extremely atttractive.

Okay we are up with the dow down 400 plus points. If this selling gets really out of hand i would think mlps will be taken down with them later today. At least we know that for mlps the 310-320 level has become the line in the sand. Btw lots of 1 point plus winners are on the list this morning from Sunoco Logistics (SXL) to Buckeye Partners (BPL) to Atlas Pipeline Partners (APL). There are some losers today including Transmontaigne (TLP) Inergy (NRGY) which got an RBC target cut and Amerigas (APU)...all three showing fractional losses.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Up 200. Down 200. Up 300! Some casino. Mlps up 25!
Rally all but gone in the dow. Mlos still up 15 pts but off the highs.
Market is well off the highs of the day though mlps are just off their high, up 21 points on the index. Dow up 120. Nasdaq up 60. Noticed Exxon Mobil is down today. Crude not doing much of a bounce after its sell off.

Again people watch the last hour and the close. If we sell off it could mean 10,000 is the next stop on the dow.
Up about 22 points on the mlp index but there is one loser today. Transmontaigne (TLP) is down 80 cents. No news but it could be a delayed reaction to yesterday's earnings. The stock did open up this morning. Otherwise its lots of big gains of 1 to 3 points. Sunoco Logistics (SXL) still leads the way up 6 points.

Lunchtime has the dow up 234 and the nasdaq up 80 points. Again its the close that counts.
Needless to say we got the 20 point bounce in the first hour of trading. The mlp index is up 19 and change and near the highs of the day. Sunoco Logistics (SXL) is up over 6 points as the days biggest winner and this makes sense since it is one of the best performing mlps in the last year. Its not far from its 52 week high even after all the selling. All mlps are up and most have 1 to 2 point gains. None are down at this point.

A bounce is all it is so far and long overdue. The big questions are the fed and the close.

After a 15% drop in mlp prices over the last few days (based on the index) i don't think it takes much analysis to figure that a bounce was in order. When i went to bed last night at 1am, dow futures were down 265 but i guess they managed a turnaround over night. We were down 24 points yesterday and that was something that we hadn't seen since the Lehman meltdown in 2008. So from 370 to 315 is 55 points. A 20 point bounce would not be out of the ordinary and note btw how far we are from the 200 day moving average. Its always in hindsight that you see tops and 390 was definitely the top.

On the dow we are down nearly 2000 points from the top so a 500-750 point bounce is in order but here too we are now way below the 200 day moving average and you have to wonder that after whatever rally we get, the sell off may resume and take us down to 10,000; UNLESS the fed orchestrates another bottom (heaven forbid)!

Enterprise Products Partners (EPD) posts record earnings this morning and merger partner Duncan Energy Partners (DEP) also posts a solid earnings number. Enterprise is up 60 cents in the pre market on 3 of them mine(sell) at 39! No other news of consequence this morning. No upgrades or downgrades.

Stock futures continue to firm this morning but volatility rules and you have to look at the screen every couple of minutes or so just to make sure. Crude was down overnight by another 5 dollars and is now flat. Nat gas is higher and gold continues to soar up another 40 or so bucks. I have to think that rally will reverse very hard when the turn there comes. Bond yields on the 10 year dropped to 2.30% overnight and that 2.02% 2008 bottom is within reach..just maybe not today. That retest would give us a nice double bottom to trade off of.

Monday, August 08, 2011

New lows and an ugly close!
Looks like we got a rally from minus 600 to minus 350!
President inspired the markets to sell down even more!
Down 17 on the mlp index and retesting the morning bottom. Dow down 318 and off the lows after retesting the morning bottom. A rally attempt should come soon.
MLPS down 15 points plus on the index and at the lows of the day. Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP) is down over 5 as the days biggest losers. Markwest (MWE) and EV Partners (EVEP) are down 3 points apiece. Kinder Morgan (KMP) is down 2 plus. Losers everywhere on the tape. The dow has dropped below Friday's low and dropped to 11,050 before some buyers showed up. You have to think we're headed for a test of 11,000. Europe closes at noon so the next half hour could bring another round of sellers. Violent trading occuring with gold up nearly 60 bucks.
MLP index down 14 points and sitting near 325. Markets have come well off the lows of the open rather quickly but we're still down 170 on the dow and 20 on the S&P.
Market about to open. After the open, watch the rally attempt to see where it goes. And watch TBT to see if it turns higher. It turned higher Friday pretty early in the day ahead of the Dow. Got some orders in well under the market and hoping to get hit by some shares being thrown out the window.
S&P futures are down 30 points and at the lows of the morning while bond futures have come off their highs of the day (lows in yield). 1 and 2 point losses among some mlps in the pre market on neglible volume.

It should be no surprise that everything this morning is down this morning from stocks to energy etc. No surprise that gold is up around 50 bucks, But what might be a surprise to some is the fact that Bonds are up/yields are down at least in the pre open here. The fight to quality is far outweighing the S&P move last Friday after the close. Or perhaps the bond market figured it out that it was coming and moved up yields 10 to 15 basis points last Friday. So rates this morning are still hovering near their lows of the move. And if things get really ugly out there we will probably see the 10 year make a stab at the 2008 low of 2%

So now the question is what will mlps do today. Well no doubt they open lower. That's the easy part. The question is how is the downgrade going to be perceived by holders of lower grade debt. Will they average down to keep the same ratios of US Treasuries; in which case they will have to sell the lower grade corporates to keep the balances the same? This means we could see added pressure to MLPS today. This may create a trading opportunity much like Friday where the mlp index intra-day fell to 322 before rebounding back by 20 points.

All of this action this morning leads me to the conclusion of what a sham this all is. The US (unlike Greece) can't default. If worse came to worse we can just print money to pay the debt. Meanwhile the ECB which has a difficult time making any decision (other than who is buying the espressos) is in markets today supporting Italian and Spanish bonds. And Paul Krugman who has been in fits over the fact that its the fault of Republicans for being unreasonable, actually likes the idea of the ECB action.

Back to MLPS, Transmontaigne (TLP) announces earnings this morning which were good and Targa Resources (NGLS) also announces earnings. They probably won't have much impact on opening prices since they will be lower anyway. MLPs are going down at the open and we will watch the 320 level as the place where last Friday's climax low took place and whether it holds. Stock futures are off the morning lows. Overnight we saw dow futures down 300 points. I will be taking some stabs at a few trades today by laying buy orders well under current prices on the strongest MLPS. But keep an eye out for whether lower grades get sold hard in the face of portfolio rebalancing in which case it will be very hard to figure where the bottom is. And i think there is a chance that after the initial opening selling is done, a rally attempt or several rally attempts will ensue and maybe one of them will hold.

By the way Memeorandum provides all the latest news and commentary coverage.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Got to minus 23 on the mlp index and the dow was down 230 and then came the headline that the ECB might buy up debt of Italy and Spain if they do reforms ( hilarious) and the market has turned around now up 100 on the dow and the mlp index is now down less than 10. All mlps are well off the lows of the day.
320 looking like the target and judging by the trading we could get there in a hurry. Dow down 160, mlps down 15.
Down 12 and down over 100 on the dow. Euro markets are closing which leaves us to trade alone. They better mount a rally soon!!!
A real test of nerves underway now with the dow down on the day after the strong up open. MLPS down over 6 points and off the lows which were down near minus 8.

Hold em now or look out below!

The employment numbers this morning came in a little better than forecast and markets have initially responded by rallying strongly however judging by the tape action in the pre market, it doesn't look good. Stocks are well off the highs of the morning and bonds have now turned higher after spiking up on rates. My guess here is that we are heading to 2% on the 10 year which would put in a double bottom with the 2008 low. But to drop another 40 basis points probably comes with losing another 1000 or so dow points. MLPS capitualted yesterday and closed under 350 which i have been pointing to as an important level. 320 probably is a logical place to go if the sell off continues. Its very important that markets rally today which it is entitled to after yesterday and the action of the last few weeks.

Buckeye Partners (BPL) announced earnings last night which were good and they up the distribution. Crosstex Energy (XTEX,XTXI) which has been a good performer before the last 2 weeks puts up earnings and Constellation Energy Partners (CEP) announces earnings and the company says improvement continues though there is no distribution coming back in 2011. They are however pointing to possibilities for 2012.

Fasten your seatbelts for another rough ride today.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Are we setting up for a last hour crash? Dow down 370, nasdaq down 90 and mlps down 11. Kaboom???

In breakdown mode here as everything is going to pieces here. Nat gas, crude oil, everything in free fall!
350 on the mlp index down 8 as the market stares into the abyss

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

There have been rally attempts all day and all have failed so far but they keep trying. Dow down 40. MLPS down less than 4 and well off the lows of the day.
Down 130 and mlps down 7. So much for stablization but keep your eyes out for a rally attempt soon.
BTW this might be a good time to remind you that, at least in the past, mlps are the last group to sell off in a downleg so when they start dumping mlps it usually means we are close to a tradable bottom. However this strategy did not work well in 2008 when we were circling the drain. MLPS down over 3 points on the index right now.

After yesterday's 260 point debacle we're seeing the markets trying to hold in here this morning with the dow on either side of the flat line. Morning economic numbers were not that good but the market is so deeply oversold in here that a bounce is due at some point. MLPS are holding up well but opened down today and the index is down 2 1/2 points right now. Sunoco Logistics (SXL) continues to buck the trend however and is up nearly 1. Also up is Constellation Energy Partners (CEP) which is one of the last mlps trading as a penny stock. Earnings Friday and maybe there are bets being placed that something positive may happen soon on the distribution front. I just checked again and CEP is now down on the day. Didn't type and post fast enough.

Interest rates on the long end continue to move to new lows after yesterday's huge bond rally. At least from a relative basis it keeps MLPS attractive. Nat gas is a little higher and crude is lower as oil inventory numbers are due shortly.

Watch the tape carefully today as the struggle to gain footing continues.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Bond rates collapsing as is the dow off 160. MLPS holing up well down only about 1 point on the index but expect late selling if the market collapses in the last hour.
Market losses are accelerating with the dow down over 100 and the mlp index which was a little higher is now a little lower. The group is mixed with fractional moves in either direction.

Constellation Energy Partners (CEP) has been creeping up ahead of earnings. Its at 3.25 which makes it a pure gamble but if they hint that the distribution is coming back, this one will have upside. No guarantees from the management.

Rates are dropping and stock futures are dropping as well. The debt deal is done and the reality is that the economy is horrible and recession is a possibility off the horrible gdp numbers. The drop in yields and the probablitly that the downgrade has been put off temporarily means middle and lower grade debt will be relatively safe from sellers. MLPS were strong most of yesterday but then sold off in the last hour to finish up 1 and change on the index. I would expect them to drop with everything else although they may outperform relative to the rest of the market.

Working this morning but will post from time to time as trading begins. It doesn't look like a god start.

Monday, August 01, 2011

This morning's trading is showing us that now that we no longer have to focus on the debt charade we can focus on the fact that the economy is in shambles and we are on the brink of another recession. Thats why bond yields continue to fall and the dow is now down 90 points. MLPs were up 6 and now are up less than 3 as they get some yield support. Sunoco Logistics (SXL) is up nearly 1 but off its high as the days big winner. Holly Partners (HEP) is up just under 1. Otherwise its a mixed bag as selling begins to take the upper hand.

Finally after so many weeks of bullshit comes the deal we all knew would happen with just moments left on the clock. Its like the old criticism of those who don't like basketball and just wait until the last 5 minutes of the game to watch. Still there are winners and losers in this deal and in the end its all pretty meaningless since it still may lead to a debt downgrade. But for this morning anyway the market is in rally mode but off the highs of the overnight futures session when it was plus 200 at one point on dow futures.

MLPS actually closed higher Friday while the market lost for the 7th straight day but this morning we will probably open up big by 5 or 6 points on the mlp index. This is because mlps were being sold on the idea that if there was a default or downgrade, the lower grade debt vehicles would suffer the most as portfolio managers rebalance to keep their funds in an average high grade. So at least at the start we will get a nice bounce. Energy markets are higher this morning for the same reasons and the threat that there may be another tropical storm forming this morning. Reconnisance aircraft is investigating as i type.

In individual company news Boardwalk Partners (BWP) which did not report good numbers last quarter puts up earnings which were light on revenues by 25 cents ( most of the time doesn't matter much) but the company did raise the distribution. The stock is down 14 cents in pre market trading. Conference call to come at 9am.

And finally this morning, what MLP is up 7 fold since the December 2008 bottom, has not missed a distribution, and was up nearly 7 dollars on Friday on a Wells Fargo upgrade and good quarterly results? If you said E V Partners you are the winner, espeically if you had the guts to buy the stock in 2008 when it traded under 10 dollars. But if you remember the world was about to end back then.