A wolf in bull/bear clothing

Dancing with wolves

You know every once in a while someone defines what you have been trying to say and does it a way that is clear and concise and in terms so clear that you have to say yes, that is exactly what I have been trying to say. For months I have been telling you that despite the fact that I am long term bearish on oil I felt the better way to play this market was not to be married to either a dogmatically bull or bear position but to take advantage of the ranges. I said don’t be a hero, oil is making wide swings. I pointed out that if you sold oil earlier in the year you are making money now but you would have been down as well and given those profits back many times. If you were long you are losing money. Unlike past years when I advocated being long and hanging on or selling and hanging on this year you are better off not being a bull or bear you are better off being a wolf.

Yes Wolf! That’s it! That’s what I have been trying to say! Yes I am bearish and I think oil will eventually breakout on the downside but that moment is being delayed mainly by global economic stimulus. So instead of being a bull or bear I have been advocating being a wolf. Kristina Peterson at the Wall street Journal writes, “Out of the quest to accurately describe hybrid concepts came the spork, brunch, pluot and mule. One investor's struggle to characterize the U.S. stock market's recent twists and turns led to new market terminology. Welcome to the "wolf" market.

The wolf market is characterized by a tight trading range, increased volatility, high stock correlations and quick reversals, said its coiner, Michael Purves, chief global strategist and head of derivatives research at BGC Financial. Choppy trading makes it hard to pick stocks based on fundamental qualities, leaving shorter-term options and technical analysis better tools for navigating its bounces, he said. "I was walking around the block one night and thought, you know, we need another animal," Mr. Purves said. "A wolf is clearly a smaller animal than a bull or a bear, but it's very quick and decisive." “Mr. Purves dates the start of the wolf market to late April although its origins reach further back, he said. In the rally from the March 2008 lows, investors priced in expectations of a faster recovery than has yet materialized. The market has struggled to find direction, balancing the drag from the late spring European sovereign-debt crisis and the recent slew of lackluster economic data with the more encouraging second-quarter earnings. That has left trading trapped in a tight range, subject to sharp ups and downs.”

It is not just stocks. Those ups and downs are the same thing that we have seen in energy trade and many of the other commodities markets. Just when it seems oil is going to rally on strong economic optimism it gets crushed with the realty of gluttonous supply. When it gets ready to fall apart like in the emergence of the latest chapter in the economic crisis some central bank supports it with a flood of printed money. That is why I have advocated now more than ever trading the range. You have to be very quick and decisive to take advantage of what has been the year of the wolf in energy! It’s time to give up being a bull or bear and start dancing with the wolves!

Oil is weakening with the weakling economic outlook. Hurricane Danielle is not a threat to Gulf production areas but there is another storm behind it. RBOB gasoline futures hit an eight week low signaling a major drop in retail prices soon.

Are you ready to be a wolf!

Phil Flynn is senior energy analyst for PFGBest Research and a Fox Business Network contributor. He can be reached at (800) 935-6487 or at pflynn@pfgbest.com

About the Author
Phil Flynn

Senior energy analyst at The PRICE Futures Group and a Fox Business Network contributor. He is one of the world's leading market analysts, providing individual investors, professional traders, and institutions with up-to-the-minute investment and risk management insight into global petroleum, gasoline, and energy markets. His precise and timely forecasts have come to be in great demand by industry and media worldwide and his impressive career goes back almost three decades, gaining attention with his market calls and energetic personality as writer of The Energy Report. You can contact Phil by phone at (888) 264-5665 or by email at pflynn@pricegroup.com. Learn even more on our website at www.pricegroup.com.


Futures and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and may not be suitable for everyone. The information presented by The PRICE Futures Group is from sources believed to be reliable and all information reported is subject to change without notice.

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