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Archive for 2010

Swing trading virtual portfolio – week of February 8th, 2010

This post is for live trades and daily comments. 

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, membership etc.), please click here

- Optrader





The Meaning of “Monty Python and the Meaning of Life”

Amusing analogy, and while the finer details may be hard to appreciate, like the difference between dying from contaminated salmon mousse and an e-coli-laced burger, I believe Robert Waldmann’s argument is correct — food poisoning kills.  And slicing, dicing and spreading contaminated beef through the hamburger supply, kills most efficiently. What we have here is not one bad can of salmon. - Ilene  

The Meaning of "Monty Python and the Meaning of Life"

Courtesy of Robert Waldmann at Angry Bear

Barry Ritholtz argues that the problem with mortgages was underwriting standards and not securitization. He appeals to the very great authority of Monty Python. Click the link.

Ritholtz seems not to be familiar with this new idea in economic theory called "Nash equilibrium". Over -rated yes. Totally irrelevant not so much. One can not assume that underwriting standards are exogenous. If there had been no MBS, no firm would have underwritten those mortgages. It was exactly because it was possible to blend them, and then sell them to people who didn’t spin the mortgage tapes before buying, that the mortgages existed in the first place. 

Raw hamburger texture

Let me work with his analogy. First, while I have great respect for the Monty Python team, few people have been killed by canned Salmon. Even blended into mousse, it kills fairly quickly and can be tracked back to the canner. The way bacteria work is that if you mix some contaminated stuff with other stuff you have trouble for sure. It doesn’t work that things seem fine until people notice.

At a way lower cultural level than Ritholtz I appeal to road runner cartoons. Wile E. Coyote runs along in mid air until he notices. Then he falls. As noted by everyone, this is the way financial markets really work. The non Monty Python quality humor is based on the fact that gravity doesn’t really work that way. Neither do bacteria. Analogies between rotten mortgages and rotten Salmon fail for this reason.

Notably, the ingredients in the Salmon mousse are few enough that the dead diners immediately know what went wrong when death points at the mousse. That’s not the way MBS work let alone CDOs of MBSs or CDOS of tranches of CDOS.

A better analogy would be making hamburger. Bits from hundreds of steers end up in the…
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Bottled Water Syndrome

The Drinking Water Profiteers

Bottled Water Syndrome

Courtesy of JOSEPH NEVINS writing at CounterPunch

Portrait of a young woman showing a water bottle

In mid-January, I received a mass email asking me to donate $10 for bottled water and other supplies for participants in an important immigrant rights march in Phoenix. Given the ever-repressive and cruel political climate in Arizona for immigrants (especially unauthorized ones), I was unequivocally in support of the mobilization. Nonetheless I was taken aback by a request to contribute even nominally to an effort to buy bottles of water for what turned out to be, according to some estimates, more than 20,000 people.

Certainly there are other ways—ecologically sustainable and less expensive ones—to provide water for such a multitude. How, why, and to what effects bottled water became the preferred way to do so for myriad people and places far beyond a single event in Phoenix is the focus of Elizabeth Royte’s powerful and compelling book, Bottlemania: Big Business, Local Springs and the Battle Over America’s Drinking Water.

I’ve never been a fan of bottled water, considering it ecologically damaging—in the United States alone 30-40 million single-serve bottles per day end up as litter or in landfills—and economically foolhardy, another capitalistic trick to con us into purchasing  something from profiteers that we don’t shouldn’t have to. But as Royte powerfully illustrates, the increasing commodification of drinking water is far more complex, and dangerous, than at least I appreciated.

Until recently, the sale of single-serve bottles of water was rare. While the United States had regional bottled water companies as early as the nineteenth century, such entities mainly supplied homes and offices with large containers of the life-sustaining liquid (for water coolers, for instance). This situation began to change in the 1980s with the entry of Perrier into the U.S. market and its successful television advertising which stressed that a little luxury—a bottle of the French water—was available to everyone.

Other companies, like Evian and Vittel, followed, employing the likes of Madonna and fashion models, to help equate bottled water with personal health, fitness, and glamour. That, combined with the invention of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic—which made water easily portable—helped the U.S. bottled-water industry boom: between 1990 and 1997 its annual sales increased from $115 million to $4 billion. (By 2006, the figure was $10.8 billion; globally bottled water’s income was $60 billion.)

This
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SEC Is Probing Goldman's Excess Variation Margin Demands On AIG

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Sooner or later it was bound to happen: the SEC is now looking into whether Goldman’s over the top variation margin demands on AIG caused an “improper distress” in the mortgage insurance market (not to mention a couple of competitors’ bankruptcies here and there). Not that much will come out of it, you see, since the SEC is woefully underfunded to purchase even one copy of any Janet Tavakoli book… Although the fact that they are finally investigating it should be indicative that if you raise enough stink, even the brain dead Wall Street sycophants at the Syndicate Encouraging Corruption will stop watching pornography for a living and for a few short minutes pretend to push a few papers here and there and actually do their pathetic, anaerobic jobs (and bill taxpayers more than appropriately).

From Reuters:

On a conference call between Goldman and AIG executives early that year, the Wall Street bank wanted the insurer to pay more than the $2 billion it already paid to cover losses Goldman said it might suffer on complex securities, the paper said, citing AIG documents and an audio recording of the call.

AIG executives wanted some of the $2 billion back, saying Goldman had inflated the potential losses, the paper said, adding the call ended with nothing settled.

Then the world’s biggest insurer, AIG insured Goldman’s securities. It was bailed out with a $182.3 billion government aid package when the mortgage market-inspired financial crisis struck later in 2008.

Now, the Securities and Exchange Commission is examining whether the demands by banks were improper, the paper reported, citing people briefed on the matter.

“This is the New York Times’ third attempt to develop a conspiracy theory about Goldman Sachs and AIG,” Goldman spokesman Lucas van Praag said in an email. “The theories are disgracefully contradictory and the ‘facts’ don’t stand up to serious scrutiny.”

Way to go Mary. Oh and by the way, did you pay Sergey Aleynikov a few million to shut up yet? Inquiring minds want to know if stealing “market manipulative” secrets from Goldman Sachs is now considered an act of breavery and courage.





SEC Is Probing Goldman’s Excess Variation Margin Demands On AIG

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Sooner or later it was bound to happen: the SEC is now looking into whether Goldman’s over the top variation margin demands on AIG caused an “improper distress” in the mortgage insurance market (not to mention a couple of competitors’ bankruptcies here and there). Not that much will come out of it, you see, since the SEC is woefully underfunded to purchase even one copy of any Janet Tavakoli book… Although the fact that they are finally investigating it should be indicative that if you raise enough stink, even the brain dead Wall Street sycophants at the Syndicate Encouraging Corruption will stop watching pornography for a living and for a few short minutes pretend to push a few papers here and there and actually do their pathetic, anaerobic jobs (and bill taxpayers more than appropriately).

From Reuters:

On a conference call between Goldman and AIG executives early that year, the Wall Street bank wanted the insurer to pay more than the $2 billion it already paid to cover losses Goldman said it might suffer on complex securities, the paper said, citing AIG documents and an audio recording of the call.

AIG executives wanted some of the $2 billion back, saying Goldman had inflated the potential losses, the paper said, adding the call ended with nothing settled.

Then the world’s biggest insurer, AIG insured Goldman’s securities. It was bailed out with a $182.3 billion government aid package when the mortgage market-inspired financial crisis struck later in 2008.

Now, the Securities and Exchange Commission is examining whether the demands by banks were improper, the paper reported, citing people briefed on the matter.

“This is the New York Times’ third attempt to develop a conspiracy theory about Goldman Sachs and AIG,” Goldman spokesman Lucas van Praag said in an email. “The theories are disgracefully contradictory and the ‘facts’ don’t stand up to serious scrutiny.”

Way to go Mary. Oh and by the way, did you pay Sergey Aleynikov a few million to shut up yet? Inquiring minds want to know if stealing “market manipulative” secrets from Goldman Sachs is now considered an act of breavery and courage.





AIG-GATE: THE WORLD’S GREATEST INSURANCE HEIST

"If the money used to bail out AIG and the banks had been used to bail out the states instead, the states would not be facing insolvency today."

AIG-GATE: THE WORLD’S GREATEST INSURANCE HEIST

Business As Usual in New Bond Street After Jewellery Heist

Courtesy of Ellen Brown at Web of Debt 

Rumor has it that Timothy Geithner is on his way out as Treasury Secretary, due to his involvement in the AIG scandal that is now unraveling in hearings before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Bob Chapman writes in The International Forecaster:

Each day brings more revelations of efforts of the NY Fed and Goldman Sachs to hide the details of the criminal conspiracy of the AIG bailout. . . . This is a real crisis on the scale of Watergate. Corruption at its finest.

But unlike the perpetrators of the Watergate scandal, who wound up looking at jail time, Geithner evidently has a golden parachute waiting at Goldman Sachs, not coincidentally the largest recipient of the AIG bailout. At least that is the rumor sparked by an article by Caroline Baum on Bloomberg News, titled “Goldman Parachute Awaits Geithner to Ease Fall.” Hank Paulson, Geithner’s predecessor, was CEO of Goldman Sachs before coming to the Treasury. Geithner, who has come up through the ranks of government, could be walking through the revolving door in the other direction.  

Student Using Microscope in Lab

Geithner has been under the House microscope for the decision of the New York Fed, made while he headed it, to buy out about $30 billion in credit default swaps (over-the-counter derivative insurance contracts) that AIG sold on toxic debt securities. The chief recipients of this payout were Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Societe Generale and Deutsche Bank. Goldman got $13 billion, roughly equivalent to its bonus pool for the first 9 months of 2009. Critics are calling the New York Fed’s decision a back-door bailout for the banks, which received 100 cents on the dollar for contracts that would have been worth far less had AIG been put through bankruptcy proceedings in the ordinary way. In a Bloomberg article provocatively titled “Secret Banking Cabal Emerges from AIG Shadows,” David Reilly writes:

[T]he New York Fed is a quasi-governmental institution that isn’t subject to citizen intrusions such as freedom


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China Inflation Scramble Is Now Official As World's Second Largest Economy Prepares For Cold War With U.S.

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Here comes the China liquidity post-sugar high crash. In comments published tomorrow (no, not an Art Cashin brain teaser), a senior government economist said that surging money supply is leading to inflation. Yet, since in China apparently you can be half pregnant (preferably with one and a half boys), the recommendation from the government is to increase reserve requirements instead of interest rates. The implication is that it is only a matter of time before both end up getting hiked.

Market News reports that National Bureau of [True and Unmanipulated] Statistics chief economist Yao Jingyuan said “Money supply is too big and that’s leading to excess liquidity.” Yet Yao Jing said he would “prefer reserve hikes to rate hikes because rate hikes could cause hot money to flow back.”

Consumer price inflation ticked up to 1.9% y/y in December, only the second month since the outbreak of the financial crisis that consumer prices have been in positive territory.

The People’s Bank of China raised the reserve requirement on January 18, the first time since June 2008 that it has done so, in response to the massive volume of credit extended by banks in the opening weeks of the year.

Another reserve hike is certainly imminent, very likely soon to be followed by an interest rate increase as well. Yet look for the dollar peg to continue until the bitter end: ironically, the Yuan lost value on Monday, as China set the parity from 6.8272 to 6.8273.

And as if this was not disturbing enough, in other news, the TimesOnline reports that “more than half of Chinese people questioned in a poll believe China and America are heading for a new “cold war.”

The finding came after battles over Taiwan, Tibet, trade, climate change, internet freedom and human rights which have poisoned relations in the three months since President Barack Obama made a fruitless visit to Beijing. According to diplomatic sources, a rancorous postmortem examination is under way inside the US government, led by officials who think the president was badly advised and was made to appear weak. In China’s eyes, the American response — which includes a pledge by Obama to get tougher on trade — is a reaction against its rising power.


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China Inflation Scramble Is Now Official As World’s Second Largest Economy Prepares For Cold War With U.S.

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Here comes the China liquidity post-sugar high crash. In comments published tomorrow (no, not an Art Cashin brain teaser), a senior government economist said that surging money supply is leading to inflation. Yet, since in China apparently you can be half pregnant (preferably with one and a half boys), the recommendation from the government is to increase reserve requirements instead of interest rates. The implication is that it is only a matter of time before both end up getting hiked.

Market News reports that National Bureau of [True and Unmanipulated] Statistics chief economist Yao Jingyuan said “Money supply is too big and that’s leading to excess liquidity.” Yet Yao Jing said he would “prefer reserve hikes to rate hikes because rate hikes could cause hot money to flow back.”

Consumer price inflation ticked up to 1.9% y/y in December, only the second month since the outbreak of the financial crisis that consumer prices have been in positive territory.

The People’s Bank of China raised the reserve requirement on January 18, the first time since June 2008 that it has done so, in response to the massive volume of credit extended by banks in the opening weeks of the year.

Another reserve hike is certainly imminent, very likely soon to be followed by an interest rate increase as well. Yet look for the dollar peg to continue until the bitter end: ironically, the Yuan lost value on Monday, as China set the parity from 6.8272 to 6.8273.

And as if this was not disturbing enough, in other news, the TimesOnline reports that “more than half of Chinese people questioned in a poll believe China and America are heading for a new “cold war.”

The finding came after battles over Taiwan, Tibet, trade, climate change, internet freedom and human rights which have poisoned relations in the three months since President Barack Obama made a fruitless visit to Beijing. According to diplomatic sources, a rancorous postmortem examination is under way inside the US government, led by officials who think the president was badly advised and was made to appear weak. In China’s eyes, the American response — which includes a pledge by Obama to get tougher on trade — is a reaction against its rising power.


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Why Amedisys (AMED) will hit $85

Here’s PSW member Tuscadog’s detailed analysis of the company Amedisys (AMED). Tuscadog feels this is one of the few solid opportunities in the stock market, and he suggests a massive short squeeze may be coming due to AMED’s 53% short interest. – Ilene

Amedisys, Inc. provides home health and hospice services to the chronic, co-morbid, and aging American population. Its home health services include skilled nursing and home health aide services; physical, occupational, and speech therapy; and medically oriented social work to eligible individuals who require ongoing care. The company also offers clinically focused programs for chronic conditions and various diseases,… (Yahoo financial, more here.>>)

Why Amedisys (AMED) will hit $85

Courtesy of Tuscadog, member at PSW

Doctor standing outdoors with elderly patient

Feb 23rd may be ‘Judgment Day’ for the AMED short interest.

This is a long posting based on a lot of research and high level interviews I’ve conducted. I’m a private (long term) investor in Amed and I don’t appreciate the way Amed has been ‘jerked around’ by the hedge funds with false rumors and shorting, hence my willingness to share my analysis with small investors. These are my opinions based on my own extensive research, so invest at your own risk. For background on Amed pay particular attention to the 7 articles by Daryl Davis in the ‘Financial Blogs’ section of the Yahoo Finance page for Amed.

UPDATED GUIDANCE WILL BE A NIGHTMARE FOR SHORTS:

Amed will likely release 2009 EPS on Feb 23rd of around $4.90 to $5 and, more importantly, it will give guidance for 2010 based on the status quo on Medicare billing rates for 2010 (i.e. as already issued for 2010 by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, CMS). Based on the company’s growth rates and CMS’s announced approved rate increase for 2010 (which translates into a 1.8% net increase for 2010 after two flat pricing years) Amed will likely provide 2010 guidance in the $5.60 to $5.70 range.  I believe actual results outcome will likely be higher, in the $5.70 to $5.90 range.

The 15 analysts who cover AMED are likely waiting for Amed’s guidance update and to see if there are any Health-Bill developments. The Suntrust  upgrade Monday to a $70 target is using a pessimistic assumption of a revision to a retroactive 2.5% Medicare billing rate reduction for 2010. Currently, analysts eps forecasts for 2010 include varying degrees of…
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Match Made In Incompetence Heaven: John Thain Is CIT's New CEO And Chairman

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

CIT’s gorgeous, bouncer-worthy, and recently bankrupt, 5th Avenue lobby is about to receive some golden commodes and even more taxpayer reverse golden showers if and when the government is forced to bail out John Thain for the nth time. In the meantime Thain will receive $500k and 5.5 million shares in stock (something close to $170 million – how many tungsten-plated outhouses will it buy to transfer all commercial lending assets to Goldman Sachs for -15 cents on the dollar?) as he prepares to destroy yet another recently bankrupt company. Read all about the latest massacre of change you can drown your sorrows in from Bloomberg. We refuse to touch this filth.





 

Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at jennifersurovy@yahoo.com with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!

 
 

Chart School

Three Reasons Why stocks Could Mint a Shiny Fourth Quarter for Investors

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Investors often enjoy a strong wind at their back in the fourth quarter, based on seasonal patterns and stock market history. Will 2014 be different?

When looking at the S&P 500, more than half of the index’s gains over the past 25 years took place during the final three months of the year.


Click for a larger image

Studying seasonal cycles can help investors gain perspective and align themselves with likelier outcomes. Of co...



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Zero Hedge

Ackman, Berkowitz Slammed After Fannie Mae Plunges 60% On Court Ruling

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

It is not a good morning for Bill Ackman's Pershing Square or Bruce Berkowitz's Fairholme Capital, or the US government for that matter, of course, which happen to be the three largest investors in Fannie Mae:

 

The reason: FNM stock, which at last check, was crashing by nearly 60%.

 

So why is FNM plunging? Perhaps a better question is why they soared as much as they did in the first place. 

For the answer we go to Bill Ackman and his jolly copycat groupies. As ...



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Phil's Favorites

Here's The Best Explanation We've Seen Yet For Why Oil Crashed

Here's The Best Explanation We've Seen Yet For Why Oil Crashed

Courtesy of 

Oil crashed today, with crude oil prices dropping from around $95 to $91 in a matter of minutes.

There were various theories for why, but the most compelling one is that there seems to be a lot more production than estimated.

Morgan Stanley sent out a note this evening from analyst Adam Longson that contains this table of production numbers/estimates for key producers. The key thing is that production is on the rise almost everywhere. Check out Libya, where output for the month surged to its highest level of the year. Everyone was freaking out a...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Option Review

VIX Call Spreads Trade

The CBOE Vix Index topped 17.0 and the highest level since early-August on Monday morning amid declines in U.S. equities to start the trading week. The volatility index is off its earlier highs to trade 5.0% higher on the session at 15.65 as of 11:30 am ET. Options volume on the VIX is hovering near 360,000 contracts, or just more than 50% of the average daily reading of around 660,000 contracts. Calls are far more active than put options, as evidenced by the call/put ratio up above 4.2 in morning trading, perhaps as some traders position for volatility to stick around.

Large call spreads traded on the VIX today caught our attention as one big optio...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Stocks fight off predictable weakness, but expect more downside

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Yes, the market showed significant weakness last week for the first time in quite a while. In fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved triple digits each day. But it was all quite predictable, as I suggested in last week's article, and certainly nothing to worry about. Now the market appears to be poised for a modest technical rebound, and longer term, U.S. equities should be in good shape for a year-end rally. However, I still believe more downside is in order before any new highs are challenged. Moreover, market breadth is important for a sustained bull run, so the challenge for investors will be to put together broader bullish conviction, including the small caps.

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, re...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 29th, 2014

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Market Shadows

Ebola vs. Us

Ebola vs. Us

By Ilene 

Ebola is spreading too quickly for Ebola-vaccine makers to conduct typical studies of safety and efficacy on experimental vaccines. Instead, vaccines will be tested for basic safety, but then deployed with protocols devised now in order to test for efficacy essentially on the field. Testing has to be expedited because the situation in West Africa gets worse every day while there are no approved vaccines or other treatments.

The chart below is from a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine showing estimates of the virus's trajectory projecting out to November 1, 2014. If current trends continue...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

The latest issue of Stock World Weekly is now available. Please sign in with your PSW user name and password. Or simply take a free trial to try out our weekly newsletter. 

...

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Promotions

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Digital Currencies

Making Sense of Bitcoin

Making Sense of Bitcoin

By James Black at International Man

Despite the various opinions on Bitcoin, there is no question as to its ultimate value: its ability to bypass government restrictions, including economic embargoes and capital controls, to transmit quasi-anonymous money to anyone anywhere.

Opinions differ as to what constitutes "money."

The English word "money" derives from the Latin word "moneta," which means to "mint." Historically, "money" was minted in the form of precious metals, most notably gold and silver. Minted metal was considered "money" because it possessed luster, was scarce, and had perceive...



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Pharmboy

Biotechs & Bubbles

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely.  From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.

First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices.  Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment.  Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer.  For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...



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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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