"It is rare that I
endorse other people in the trading business. Yet, I have
known Steve Briese and the Insider Capital folks for many
years, dating back to the early 1980s when we both lived in
the land of the lakes and mosquitoes, Minnesota. During that
time I have come to view Steve as the authoritative word on
understanding the CFTC Commitments of Traders data. What I
love about Steve is that he does the work I would do, the way
I would do it, if I had to analyze the data. Steve looks for
major signals and is not twisted here and there by minor
week-to-week changes. I believe that COT data brings another
piece to the mosaic I try to assemble to make big bets. I
highly recommend the COT service from Insider
-Peter L. Brandt,
book cover to order from Amazon)
From the back
"I have followed Steve Briese's analysis for two in
trading the commodities markets. His methods and conclusions
from COT data are fact based and often properly contrarian. In
today's world, where commodity hedge funds have become even
larger players, Steve Briese's work assumes an even higher
importance level for commodity market participants, individual
and professional alike."
—Brent R. Harris, Head
of PIMCO Real Return and Commodities Desk; Chairman, PIMCO
As a US Army helicopter pilot
during two tours in Vietnam, Steve was awarded the Bronze
Star, three Air Medals for Valor, the Soldier's Medal, and the
Distinguished Flying Cross .
Steve began is trading career in
1973, buying silver futures at 3.97. In 1974 at the bottom of
the stock bear market, he watched is grandfather select stocks
using 3 simple rules:
Solid dividend paying
Currently yield of 8%
Price having doubled during the
last bull market.
In 1988, Steve retired from the
construction business and began writing Bullish Review of
Commodity Insiders based on the Commitments of
Traders report he discovered
in 1974. He hired couriers to pick up the printed reports in
New York and Chicago and rush them to his doorstep. Later,
Steve led a letter writing campaign to get the CFTC to release
reports more frequently than once a month and electronically.
You can now get these reports weekly at the CFTC's website.
(But, you're better off getting them from Steve (for
In 1997, when the CFTC announced
proposed registration requirements for broadcasting market
opinions on the Internet, Steve joined a group of five
newsletter writers and sued the CFTC in federal court. His
landmark First Amendment victory assures your unfettered
access to the kind of material you find on Steve's website
(and thousands of others).
In 2001, when Florida's First
District US Congressman quit in the middle of his term, Steve
ran to replace him in a special election. Steve's strength was
his wife Jeannette, 5 college-age kids and a 5-year-old
granddaughter working on the campaign. Alas, owing to not
enough votes, Steve lost for lack of votes and returned
to researching and writing about markets.
In 2010, after Brittish Petroleum (BP)
decimated their waterside home near Pensacola Beach,
Steve and Jeannette struck out for Europe and have been using
Malta as a jumping off point for travels in Europe.
Market Technicians Association 1997 Best of
the Best Awards
"No one else that I know
of has been so right on so many markets so consistently. The
'reading between the lines' and recognition of special
situations is particularly impressive."
Fuller,Fuller Money Letter
--Jake Bernstein,MBH Commodity Letter
--Thom Hartle,Stocks & Commodities
Alexander Elder Financial Trading
"You write an insightful
newsletter. It is one of the few in the industry I truly
"There cannot be anyone
in the advisory business that writes and produces anything
as well as you. Every issue is a pleasure to
"Thanks for so candidly
sharing the knowledge you’ve gained with blood, sweat and
"You are an excellent technician. I
learn a lot from you."
invaluable--usually early--but sometimes very timely--seldom
"I have paid thousands of dollars for
advice and help in trading. None of them have been as
helpful or as profitable as your advice. Thank you! Thank
"I appreciate your
accurate, profitable analysis as well as your approachable
manner. Please keep going for 20 years!"
"Your sincerity and
dedication to helping traders along this difficult road is
very apparent and much appreciated. Thank you. "
"You are impressive in
what you know and what you show."
"Your doing a great
"Even though I
immediately recognized the value of your cycles work and
Bullish Review, it has taken me 2-3 years to be able to
actually use this information in my trading. I read two or
three other letters, but now I rely predominantly on your
information when trading!"
"Your service is excellent, and I value it
highly. It is the most intelligent and insightful analyis I
have found on the commodities markets."
"I run a small trading company
on the floor of the CBOT...Your grain commentary is
unbeatable on a longer-term basis."
"I enjoy and make excellent use
of the newsletter. The circumspect point of view and
unpretentious tone make the reading and analysis so much
easier than many letters which are grounded in a fixed
position on a market."
"Very good and keenly
insightful. Bullish Review provides a good analysis versus
just the raw data which I could and have
"Bullish Review is the
backbone of my trading. The rest must work with BR or I get
rid of 'em. BR gives me an edge. I don't tell anybody about
it. Trading friends of mine tell me they receive the COT
numbers when released. I ask them what they mean. They don't
know! Nothing is indispensable; however, BR is one of my
most useful tools. A lot of hard work and intellect are
reflected in each issue."
"I highly appreciate the valuable information
of your Bullish Review, as well as the conceptual idea of
your letter...I personally would like to thank you for
giving such insight!
commentary--the reader can tell that the writer trades and
cares about the market."
"Steve's comment come from years of market
analysis , often making astute technical comments and
observations many professionals would miss. His work is
educational and functional."
Thank you for your excellent analysis
every week! My trading is having my best year ever - after 30
The Commitments of Traders report is used to find
special situations in futures markets--commodities, currencies,
financials, and stock indexes. Steve Briese is the acknowledged
expert when it comes to interpreting this weekly report. He has been
doing this successfully for 40 years and has published his
advice in Bullish Review since 1988. Let's see how he has
done on recent record moves.
COT SIGNALS CAN ALSO BE APPLIED
TO MANY STOCKS, MUTUAL FUNDS, AND ETF'S that are highly correlated
to futures markets. Steve lists many of these in the second
half of his 2008 book, "The Commitments of Traders Bible"
Or continue reading...
Gold prices have plunged more than 35% as this
is written. GOLD TOPPED ON September 6, 2011. One week before,
this article appeared in Barron's:
Were you expecting a major top? Not many were. Another thing I
like about Steve is he does not seem to have any axes to
grind. He is not a perenial bull or a permabull. (Nor a gold
bug.) He is just about trading major price trends for profit.
In gold, this means buying when commercials are overwhelmingly long
and selling when they are selling in bull-market-ending numbers.
(BTW, I do not consider the COT a timing tool--except in Steve's
GOLD & Briese COT
Bullish Review Sept.
9, 2008 GOLD: "[Commercial] buying has boosted the COT Index to 98%,
a major buy signal."
Bullish Review June 12,
2010 GOLD: "This is the first buy
signal in gold since the October 2008 market bottom...This buy
signal should mark a nearby end to this pullback and quickly move
prices to new highs. "
Bullish Review January
24, 2011 GOLD: "Major buy signals have not been every-year events
during the gold bull market. There have been just nine signals since
April 2001. Results show odds heavily in favor of bulls at this
Here is another example. Cotton just made an
historic round trip, first rising 188%, then declining 58%, all
within the course of 12 months. Bullish Review subscribers were not
left out. I like the way Steve combines COT signals AND signal
failures with weekly chart patterns for
Review March 14, 2007 COTTON: "If still
long, I will suggest once more that you consider banking profits. In
any case, please do not get caught up in the bullish news. News is
always bullish when prices are rising to record levels. If the
February 25 low is taken out it is a sure sign that the market is no
Bullish Review June 14, 2010 COTTON:
"The current buy signals come at an ideal cycle
point. Both the major and intermediate cycles are in up modes, with
the short-term trading cycle in a down mode. This pattern identifies
a bull market correction [now
Stock Indexes have had two bull runs separated
by a nasty bull market. Steve was one of the first to see the
2003-2007 bull market beginning...
Bullish Review March 28, 2003:
"The Commitments figures for March 25 show commercials net long in
both S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures. This is the first commercial
foray since last June into net long territory in the NASDAQ, and the
first time since the last bull market peaked in the S&P! We
don't think traders dare ignore the current commercial buying
interest because it could signal a significant
This started a four year bull move, with the public
and advisors becoming more and more bullish. But by October 2007
commercials were not buying it, they were selling, triggering a
major COT sell signal. To overcome the nearly universal
bullishness, Steve printed bearish advice for 52 straight weeks
following the sell signal. The markets eventually lost more than
half their value.
Then on March 16, 2009, Steve noted significant new
commercial buying in Bullish Review: " If we knew for how long and
how much commercials were going to buy, we could pretty closely
guesstimate the likely extent and duration of this rebound. What we
can say is that commercials are holding a huge net short position at
a good profit, providing the potential for an extended recovery"
That recovery lasted three years and three months
until August 2011.
On July 18, 2011, Steve issued a "STOCK INDEXES
SPECIAL SITUATION" that took up two pages of the newsletter, and
ended with this timely advice:
Bullish Review "Aggressive bears may want to use the current
signal to establish anticipatory short positions using stops above
the May price peak. A break of the June low would be the unambiguous
signal for bulls to abandon long positions, moving short or
Notice how commercial buying came in at the end of
this chart, just after a 21.6% price plunge! If you wish you had
received this kind of timely advice in your trading career, and do
not want to miss the next major move, now is the time to join the
smart money, whose latest moves are highlighted in each Monday's
IF YOU TRADE STOCKS OR STOCK INDEXES,
TAKE MY WORD FOR IT: YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO TRADE WITHOUT BULLISH
It all began in 1987...
Black Monday 1987 may not look like much on a
long-term S&P 500 chart today, but if you were there, you will
never forget the surreal hour after hour unprecedented volatility,
panic and decimation. Seemingly no one was prepared for this market
But this is not entirely true. The smart money --
commercial hedgers -- actually prepared for a downturn two months
ahead of the the crash, triggering a sell signal in Commodity
Insiders market letter in mid-September 1987. At that time, the
Commitments of Traders was a monthly report, issued on the 11th
or 12th of the next month. Among subscribers to Commodity Insiders
was Steve Briese, and it was this signal that convinced him to buy
the newsletter, COT Indexes, and research from Curtis Arnold, the
pioneer in Commitments analysis. Steve began publishing Bullish
Review in March 1988, and the COT continued its magic in predicting
major market turns.
In 1991, following a three month correction, commercial
insiders began heavy long accumulation, triggering a major buy
signal, which was followed by a 43% rally into year-end...where
commercial selling triggered a major sell signal that augured in a
10-month, 10% correction.
It was 1995 that the stock index charts began taking on a whole
new scale -- the one we are familiar with today. Commercials were
there to signal the start, just ahead of a price breakout from a
year-long sideways consolidation. Talk about
1997 and1998 each saw significant corrections. But
commercials did not just call the market tops, they also triggered
COT buy signals at each market bottom.
There were dire predictions ahead of the millenium
New Year. Despite the fact that the calendar switched with nary a
hiccup, commercial insiders were major sellers in December 1999,
triggering a major sell signal, that led to a three year bear
Commercials signaled not one, but all
3 major tops in late 1999 and early 2000.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission's comprehensive breakdown of
who owns what in the futures markets is legal inside information,
which makes the U.S. Futures the most transparent markets in the
world. If you trade, you need to know what the COT report
You can monitor this report yourself
where Steve provides free COT charts and free COT data—and not just
partial teaser files, the whole shebang from 1983 to the most
current report is provided free. Why would Steve provide data and
charts free when every other source charges for this? Principle. He
believes in a level playing field and the COT report provides it.
(When you get his book you will understand why you should not get
your data anywhere else—let alone pay for it.)
The key to
using the COT report to uncover markets with mega-move potential can
be described in once sentence: Follow the lead of the large commercial
hedger. You may read other
advice, such as “follow the large speculator” in older trading
books. Certainly the trend-following funds move markets. However,
they are almost always fully invested in the wrong direction at
important market turns.
markets were invented by commercials in order to transfer their
inventory risk to speculators. We have been at the mercy of these
market insiders ever since. But by knowing what commercials are up
to—by following their actual market manipulations through the COT
report—you can pinpoint major trend changeshort coveringer analysis
method will detect.
would some of the biggest traders and money managers in the
world subscribe to Bullish
Partners Cooperfund Solaris Capital
Capital H G Wellington Fly Trading
TradeLink Llc Hellman Jordan
Beanpot Financial DCM
Funds Haroon Group
Securities Harris Bosch Capital
Capital Advisors Fortress Investment
Group Friedberg Mercantile
Group Red Rock Capital
Schwab Credit Andorra
Penn Mutual Company Templeton Financial
Group Jory Capital
Crabel Deutsche Bank Thorium
Asset Management Union
Bancaire Privee Met Life Morgan Stanley
Capital Group Research
really quite simple. Bullish Review
original research and insights not available anywhere else. Every
expert has a niche. Steve's 40-year experience in analyzing the
COT report allows him to uncover trading opportunities long before
conventional fundamental and technical analysts become aware of
After reading Steve's
book—or even his Subscribers Guide—anyone can tell when large
commercial hedgers are bullish or bearish. This is the conventional
analysis. And it might be enough of an edge to make you profitable,
because these market insiders catch market extremes about two-thirds
of the time.
Steve's subscribers, of
course, demand more. And he delivers, or he would not have readers
who have subscribed continuously for 25 years! They expect to be
advised when commercials are likely to be wrong. Some of the biggest
and fastest moves are tipped off by the COT. This is where Steve's
analysis may make a big difference in your trading results. Let me
give you an example.
the Fall of 1998, Steve invited futures traders to a series of
seminars in six U S cities . He called this the
"Turning Point Tour" and hundreds of traders heard him
in the oil complex due in December 1998 to be followed by a
generational-type bull market.”
It may be difficult now to understand how
incredulous this forecast sounded in 1998, when oil prices had
fallen 74% over the previous eight years to nearly $10 per barrel,
and in the process brought gloom and doom to the oil industry.
Prices bottomed exactly as Steve predicted, on Dec. 11, 1998.
But very soon after the apparent bottom,
heating oil moved to a new price low. This was followed by a minor
rally into March 1999. At this point, large oil companies
(commercial hedgers) started selling. Many analysts assumed this was
a bearish sign. They were wrong, of course, but Steve got it right:
posted minor CoT sell signals across [oil] the complex in this
issue...A failure swing bottom has been confirmed by consecutive
higher closes in Unleaded. We believe the picture for the entire
complex is turning quite bullish and that long-term traders should
be approaching these markets from the long side. Based on the
patterns to-date, we can anticipate that any additional price
weakness threatening market lows will be met by overwhelming
Commercial buying interest.”--March 15,
single crude oil contract gained $23,000 over the next year
You should remember June
2008. Oil prices were approaching $147. Goldman Sachs, who had
predicted $200 oil in March, raised their target to $300! But there
was one analyst who had a more realistic target for oil, but nobody
could believe it at the time! Here is GreenLight Advisor's own recap
their June 19, 2008 interview with Steve
There were not a handful of bullish
analysts who, like Steve, called the beginning of the
greatest commodity bull market of all time in 1998. And 20
years later it was the same story. There was nary a bearish
advisor in sight, when this Gene Epstein cover story featuring
Steve's research appeared in Barron's March 31, 2008:
analysis of commercial hedger positions leads him to believe that
commodities in general were fully valued in terms of the
fundamentals as of early September 2007. Based on the 24-commodity
S&P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index, that would mean about a 30%
collapse from present levels. But, he adds, 'Given
the tendency for prices to overshoot, commodity values could be cut
in half before they stabilize.' Maybe it’s time to start listening
to the smart money.” -Steve Briese Mar 31, 2008
The GSCI Commodity Index dived 65% by year end.
(Barron's declined to print Steve's prediction
of $30 crude oil, calling it "too implausible."
Implausible, maybe. Impossible? Oil prices hit $34.10 on Jan.
By the time the top came on July 2, most of
the Barron's readers had likely forgotten or discounted Steve's
analysis, but Steve's clients got their own private warning of
the commodity market top.
The entire June 30, 2008 issue was devoted to
the imminent end to the commodity boom.--JUST TO REFRESH YOUR MEMORY, THIS WAS 2 DAYS AHEAD
OF THE COMMODITY MARKET TOP--The last paragraph read:
"the risk on the long
side of the commodity game now exceeds potential gains. Getting
short may not be easy, but it could offer unusual profit potential.
We recommend liquidating longs now (ahead of the crowd) and looking
for short entry opportunities on signs of a breakdown." -- Steve
Briese, Bullish Review, June 30, 2008.
Commodity markets topped
just two days following this advice.
September 2011, Steve just saved his subscribers from another
commodity market plunge. The Sept 19, 2011, Bullish Review was
devoted, once again to a commodity top, and carried this warning:
have the COT sell signal we have been awaiting, in this case the
COT-Fisher variety in the Continuous Commodity Index. Because the
CCI is not actively traded, I combine net positions for the 17
underlying markets to arrive at a COT Index. The COT-Fisher sell
signal is based on these composite net positions... As we saw in
2008, when we made the call two days ahead of the market top,
commodity prices slide (fall) faster than they glide (rise)."
Bullish Review Sept. 19, 2011
Commodity markets plunged 10% just three days
following this advice. I don't know anyone who called the two
biggest tops in commodity trading history--and almost to the day
Frankly, if you are still reading, and
have not ordered Bullish Review yet, you are one tough sell. I could
keep going all day. (Steve and I are both from Minnesota originally,
and I have known him for over 30 years.)
As far as I know, Bullish
the only market letter exclusively devoted to analysis of the
Traders report for 25+ straight years. Steve tells me
he spends about 12 hours reviewing each weekly release. This would
be a huge time investment for most futures traders. If professional
money managers use Steve's expertise instead of relying on in-house
research, shouldn't you take the same
provides professional-level research in the two areas of market
analysis conventional techniques often
Who knows the fundamentals better than the trade? Much of what
passes as fundamental information actually originates from the
large commercial houses. Even assuming that the information is
factual, do you know how to interpret it? Do you think commercials
release actionable research before they take action on it? What we
want to know is whether commercials think fundamentals are bullish
or bearish and—this is the most important detail—at what price
levels they are acting.
Sentiment: There are all kinds of sentiment
measures available. Most are based on surveys; what traders say
they are going to do. Why count on surveys when you can get a true
reading of the market sentiment of large speculators (commodity
and hedge funds) and small traders from their actual market
positions, revealed by the COT report? This is gospel, not
Natural gas is a good example of using
the COT data to gauge market fundamentals AND sentiment to your
advantage. Many people assume that natural gas prices are no more
predictable than the weather. To make matters worse, we now know
that Enron and others manipulated natural gas prices in 2000-2001.
Although at least 25 companies and individuals ended up paying $250
million in fines to the CFTC, this was little solace to California
or the hundreds of natural gas traders torn up by commercial price
manipulation. The next chart shows direct quotes from
Bullish Review. The market manipulators could not hide
from the COT report or Steve's analysis.
I mentioned before Steve Briese's
seminar series in the fall of 1998. Why did he call it the “Turning
Point Tour?” Today everybody is only too well aware of the greatest
commodity bull market in history. But almost no one foresaw this
possibility as the previous bear market was ending. Briese's
seminar, filled with charts and facts and figures, was organized to
focus his subscribers on the commodity market bottom that Steve's
work convinced him was imminent. The actual price low in the CRB
index occurred on February 26, 1999. This is what Steve wrote in
Bullish Review on March 1, 1999:
"CRB INDEX: This has been a long bear
market in physical commodities. We have seen articles explaining why
commodity prices may never recover. This is typical psychology at a
long-term bottom. It is important that we don't get caught up in the
bearish sentiment. Commercial buying has moved them to a record net
long total in the 17 CRB component markets. This is a strong
indication that bear markets have extended too far -- driving
prices below fundamental value levels. While this does not guarantee
prices will not be forced still lower, it tells us that the CRB is
ripe for a reversal at any time.
"Large Speculators (commodity funds)
are holding a record net short total. They have been the real power
behind this drive. Keep in mind, they are typically most heavily
invested (in the wrong direction) at important market turns. Even
Small Traders, who have maintained a net long balance during the
last two years, have finally joined Large Specs in the net short
category. This may be an indication of final capitulation to the
bear trend. "
How many advisors called the beginning AND the
end of the greatest commodity bull market of all time? Ans:
Attentive readers may be aware that
the Continuous Commodity Index is not included in the
report. Whether you refer to this index by CRB, Reuters, Jefferies,
or Bridge, it is the oldest tradable commodity index, but there are
too few large traders holding positions for the CFTC to include it
in the COT. No matter.
carried a COT rating for the CRB commodity index for more than 15
years. How? Steve found that by combining the reported large trader
positions for the underlying futures markets in the index (currently
17), he could derive the same degree of fundamental and investor
sentiment insight that was available for other futures markets. This
is just one of the unique “sector” indicators Briese pioneered, and
it was invaluable in identifying the beginning and the end of the
biggest commodity bull market in
don't want to give you the idea that the COT
only useful at major market turns. It is typically most effective at
spotting repeated opportunities during long-term trends.
Heating oil's initial rally out of the
1999 bottom provides a textbook example of the COT isolating
real-time opportunities throughout a long-term move. These are
direct quotes from Bullish Review
Keep in mind that this is an exemplary move.
Don't expect the COT or any other tool to provide so many accurate
signals at every turn during a single trending move. Nevertheless,
if you had bought 1 contract at each buy signal in heating oil in
1999 and 2000, you could have closed them out for a gain of $103,000
at the COT sell signal on Sept. 11, 2000.
HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS
HAVE MANY INHERENT LIMITATIONS, SOME OF WHICH ARE DESCRIBED BELOW.
NO REPRESENTATION IS BEING MADE THAT ANY ACCOUNT WILL OR IS LIKELY
TO ACHIEVE PROFITS OR LOSSES SIMILAR TO THOSE SHOWN. IN FACT, THERE
ARE FREQUENTLY SHARP DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE
RESULTS AND THE ACTUAL RESULTS SUBSEQUENTLY ACHIEVED BY ANY
PARTICULAR TRADING PROGRAM. ONE OF THE LIMITATIONS OF HYPOTHETICAL
PERFORMANCE RESULTS IS THAT THEY ARE GENERALLY PREPARED WITH THE
BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT. IN ADDITION, HYPOTHETICAL TRADING DOES NOT
INVOLVE FINANCIAL RISK, AND NO HYPOTHETICAL TRADING RECORD CAN
COMPLETELY ACCOUNT FOR THE IMPACT OF FINANCIAL RISK IN ACTUAL
TRADING. FOR EXAMPLE, THE ABILITY TO WITHSTAND LOSSES OR TO ADHERE
TO A PARTICULAR TRADING PROGRAM IN SPITE OF TRADING LOSSES ARE
MATERIAL POINTS WHICH CAN ALSO ADVERSELY AFFECT ACTUAL TRADING
RESULTS. THERE ARE NUMEROUS OTHER FACTORS RELATED TO THE MARKETS IN
GENERAL OR TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ANY SPECIFIC TRADING PROGRAM
WHICH CANNOT BE FULLY ACCOUNTED FOR IN THE PREPARATION OF
HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS AND ALL OF WHICH CAN ADVERSELY
AFFECT ACTUAL TRADING RESULTS. SEE ALSO: CFTC'S FRAUD