Slope of Hope Blog Posts

Slope initially began as a blog, so this is where most of the website’s content resides. Here we have tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. Click on any category icon below to see posts tagged with that particular subject, or click on a word in the category cloud on the right side of the screen for more specific choices.

Beware the Aging Raging Bull

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Beware The Aging Raging Bull


A young bull is fresh and full of vigor, a more mature bull is strong and determined, the old fatigued bull is   irritable, distressed, and often dangerous.  This historic bull market certainly has had quite a remarkable run, but I contend that it is currently showing signs of exhaustion.  The first leg which began in the Spring of 2009, like a young bull, was certainly fresh and invigorating.  The second leg, as a more mature bull, was strong, determined and persistent.  This final leg, much like an aging bull, has been unstable, irratic and belligerent.  2011 sure has been a rough ride thus far for this grizzled, irritable, exhausted bull…………heaving to and fro…………bucking wildly up and down…………throwing many a seasoned traders face first into the dirt.


For all those Slopers bulled up by last week's impressive yet "suspect" parabolic move in the dow, you may want to take pause and consider whether this truly is the revived 3rd leg of a seemingly indomitable bull market, or perhaps rather the beginning of the end for this majestic animal.  All you raging bulls will undoubtedly snort……"How can you call this a suspect rally?!"   Well, it's not to often that we see a spectacular relentless 700 point surge on the dow in only 5 days.  Particularly one seemingly based off of nothing more than yet another Greek bailout band aid followed by a below average ISM number. 


Forgive my dubiosity, but what I saw last week started out as; an expected relief bounce off of the much anticipated narrowly passed Greek austerity vote, combined with end of quarter window dressing & a dash of pre 4th of July exuberance, which then suddenly morphed into a turbo charged rally by setting off a mechanical, bot driven short squeeze on low volume. Who let the dogs out?  "The algos dogs were then let loose order "stuffing" their way up to each stop without pausing, and scaring mental stops into action along the way."  Adding to the heroics, was a very timely Chinese EURO pump, with Benny & the Jetts piling on for good measure, by firing up the re-activated FED/ECB currency swap lines, furthur pushing the EUR/USD back up towards the recent highs. 


One would be hard pressed to attribute this sudden explosive rally to any recent revelation of actualized gains in a particular business sector, or any newly discovered fundamental strengths in our sputtering economy as a whole.  What does that tell us about the legitimacy of this super spike, will it have staying power?  Is it some sort of belated blow off top… it irrational……is it real?




Five ways to know if a bull market is over:

1)    Oil prices surge and remain elevated………check

2)    Treasury yields begin to run up………qualified check (may well have begun)

3)    Number of rising stocks starts to shrink………check

4)    Consumer spending often slows………check

5)    Corporate earnings growth starts to slow………qualified check (will know for sure shortly)




One final note from your favorite Idiot Savant……Parabolic moves generally don't end well, especially when they are manufactured………They're planting stories in the press.







Trading in an Up-Trend Day (by Leaf_West)

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Hi Slopers … as many of you know my blog site is in many ways more an educational site that attempts to help less experienced traders/investors to learn how become better "fisherman" rather than a spot that just talks about the latest stock tip.

To that extent I often receive requests from readers asking about an issue that people are having trouble with.  That happened a fair bit after the market on Friday and on Saturday morning.  The issues that people were having trouble with is how to get involved with stocks to the long side on an Up Trend Day.  I have posted pretty extensive Trend Day trading guides in the past but I haven't done one in awhile so I wrote a post on Saturday afternoon.

The post looks at the trading in WYNN from reviewing the set-up on Thursday evening to the intra-day opportunities from Friday … what I really wanted to highlight for readers was how traders can still get involved on a good risk/reward basis with a strong trending stock even if you weren't there from the market open.

Anyways, I am giving this preamble so that people NOT interested in looking at intra-day trading in Up Trend Days, can avoid trying to read the attached long blog posting.

I hope everyone has a great 4th of July!!




Foodstamps Are Still Going Like Hotcakes! (by Goatmug)

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April's SNAP (Food stamp program) data release provides another glimpse into the on-going recovery we are not having for our economically challenged folks.  The Food stamp roles continue to show monthly gains to levels that have not been seen.

The number of participants receiving government benefits now totals 44.65 million citizens that count on government distribution of taxpayer funds for meals.  Clearly the cost doesn't stop there as these same recipients also probably qualify for health care services and child care benefits.  Don't get me wrong, this lifestyle isn't so grand as the average person receives $131.00 a month in support and the average family takes in $282.00 a month in payments for food related help.  It is just mind blowing to me that 14.5% of our entire nation is living on the taxpayer dole.  I'm sure there are a large number of folks out there that are too independent to actually apply for these benefits even though they qualify for them.

I find it compelling that our stock market continues to rip higher (kinda) while our population of non-stockholder SNAP participants continues to increase.  In other words, the divide between the haves and have-nots continues to increase.  Interestingly, the policies of the Federal Reserve to increase inflation to their 2% inflation target will exacerbate this problem!  Those people that don't have assets that will appreciate more than inflation or at least hopefully keep pace with it will fall deeper and deeper into a hole made entirely by our own central bank!  We better hope that this commodity price inflation is transitory Uncle Ben.


Here are a few more details of the report. 


1 month increase or decrease   + .14%

YTD increase or decrease  +1.0%

YOY increase or decrease +10.4%


As a glass half-full kind of goat I always look for the positive and I see two things that make me optimistic.  First, we see a drop in the actual total benefit cost of the program, in April the cost declined by $33 million.  This is great news, and keeps us from eclipsing the $6 Billion annual cost level.  This drop in pricing is only the second one in almost two years. 

Second, the rate of change of people coming on to the program is now almost at zero (.14%) which is the second lowest total since November 2008 when there was a drop of 1.7% of the participants in the program.  These are great signs and I'm hopeful the drop is a symptom of higher employment for our nation.  Perhaps all those shovel-ready projects are coming on line now?  Perhaps.

Please stop by the blog at I'm posting daily now and have seen traffic increase to about 100 visits a day (ok 50 of them are mine, but thanks for checking in, it makes the effort worth it!).  I've posted some great documentary stuff on Greece and Argentina in the last few days, it is well worth the time to view it.