Posts Tagged ‘contrarians’

On Stocks and the Costanza Paradox

Joshua sheds light on market absurdity using the Costanza analogy. – Ilene 

On Stocks and the Costanza Paradox

Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker  



George Costanza: "My life is the opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have, in every part of life, be it something to wear, something to eat … It’s all been wrong."

In a classic episode of Seinfeld called The Opposite, perma-loser George Costanza comes to the realization that if he would just act completely contrarily to his own instincts, things would begin to go his way.

Jerry Seinfeld: "If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right."

One cannot help but see the parallels between George’s epiphany and the paradox of the high beta market rally that has left even the most experienced players in utter disbelief.

Think about how rewarding it’s been for traders who have completely violated any sense of prudence or market savvy:

*AIG ($AIG) barely avoids liquidation – buy it and enjoy percentage gains in the thousands!

*Unemployment remains at around 10%, inital jobless claims are still climbing – so buy some specialty or even luxury retailers!

*Mortgage rates are inching higher and housing has not truly bottomed – so snag some Hovnanian ($HOV), some lumber names and why not a little Home Depot ($HD).

*Oil breaks out above $85 – and the airlines go wild!

*Congress passes a de facto takeover of Healthcare – OMG!  Healthcare stocks are rallying on the news of their newly subjugated status!

*Commercial RE is a time bomb – REITs!  I gotta have more REITs!

We can document dozens of these types of paradoxical setups.  Investors are taking almost any opportunity to do the opposite of what they’d normally be expected to do.  If everyone in the market is a contrarian, is the true contrarian the non-contrarian?  Heh – "Whaaaaat is the deeeeaal with contrarians?"  Thanks, Jerry.

If Georgie was running a hedge fund right now and abiding by his counterintuitive life strategy, he’d be absolutely killing it.

George Costanza: "I tell you this, something is happening in my life. it’s all happening because I’m completely ignoring every urge towards common sense and good judgment I’ve ever had. This is no longer just some crazy notion. Jerry, this is my religion!"

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Courteswy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

The January Merrill Lynch Fund Managers Survey showed very optimistic expectations from the majority of money managers.  This is a sharp change from last months survey when fund managers were entering 2009 with cautious optimism.  The latest survey showed the highest surge in Merrill’s Risk & Liquidity (46%) indicator since May of 2006.   In the past, this indicator has served as a fairly good contrarian indicator.


In terms of asset allocation, fund managers have turned substantially more aggressive.  Cash levels are now at their lowest levels since 2007.  Fund managers have aggressively deployed cash into the equity markets:

“Average cash balances have fallen to 3.4 percent, the lowest reading since mid 2007 and down significantly from 4.0 percent in December. Appetite for equities is strong. A net 52 percent of asset allocators are overweight equities, up sharply from a net 37 percent in December.”


Much of this cash has poured into commodities:


In terms of regions, the U.S. remains an underweight as investors continue to favor emerging markets:


This survey is showing some contrarian sell signals.  Just 45% of fund managers are protecting themselves against a downturn versus 52% in December.   The survey also shows a strong appetite for risk and high beta names. According to Merrill’s analysts the survey could be cause for alarm:

“This survey is one of the more bullish we have seen and suggests that investors buy into the idea that this recovery has legs,” said Gary Baker, head of European Equities strategy at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research. “We are, however, seeing early signs that might alert contrarians looking for a selling opportunity – namely low cash allocations and possible complacency against a sell off in stocks,” said Michael Hartnett, chief Global Equities strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research.

Source: ML


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A Contrarian Conundrum…and Some Quotations

A Contrarian Conundrum…and Some Quotations

Who is the real contrarian these days?

The Bears, who are dead right about how bad the economy is or the Bulls who are dead right for being long virtually every asset class, the riskier the better?  Perhaps the true contrarian is neutral right now, refusing to play either the economic weakness or the markets’ strength.  My head hurts.

Anyway, I put together a few notable quotations on contrarianism itself while you ponder the above conundrum.  Bon appetite…

The first gets to the very essence of contrarianism, from one of the most famous practitioners of this art, David Dreman:

“I paraphrase Lord Rothschild: ‘The time to buy is when there’s blood on the streets.’”

And the classic take from Warren Buffett:

“We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy, and to be greedy only when others are fearful.”

One from Bernie Schaeffer:

“As contrarians, the only thing to fear is the lack of fear itself”

Perhaps the greatest contrarian investor of all time, Sir John Templeton, weighs in:

“Bull markets are born on pessimism, grown on scepticism, mature on optimism and die on euphoria. The time of maximum pessimism is the best time to buy, and the time of maximum optimism is the best time to sell.”

Here’s a little-known contrarian gem from fund manager and legalized-heroin advocate George Soros:

“The worse a situation becomes the less it takes to turn it around, the bigger the upside.”

This one’s recent, but an instant classic nonetheless.  Arthur Cutten said it yesterday on Jesse’s Cafe Americain:

“But being a contrarian requires a superior sense of what is real, and what is out of synch with reality. In general few amateurs possess this level of judgement and perspective, and end up just looking silly and eccentric after a few correct calls, taking the opposite position because it is the opposite, proclaiming night to be day, and the moon to be cheese.”

These are my favorite contrarian investing quotes, let me know if I missed any good ones.

Art source: Nus




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Financial Markets and Economy

Taking Intelligent Risks: How To Stay In The Trading Game (Trader Feed)

You have to risk money to make money.  You have to make sure you don't risk so much money that you can lose your stake and go out of business as a trader.  Bet too little and you never make a good return on your capital.  Bet too much and you court career risks.  So much of trading success boils down to taking intelligent risks.

Here is a useful calculation tool that can tell you the probability of hitting a drawdown threshold.  


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Zero Hedge

The Media-Opoly: Cancelled, From Saturday Night, It's Conspiracy Theory Rock!

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

A day after we ran "Meet Your "Independent" Media, America", in which we showed how prime time entertainment like 60 Minutes is strategically and voluntarily "planted" with propaganda trolls and "concerns" thus crushing any "unbiased" credibility mainstream US media may have, we dug into the archives to bring you "Conspiracy Theory Rock."

This cartoon created by SNL cartoonist Robert Smigel in 1998 ran once in a "TV Funhouse" segment, and has been since removed from all subsequent airings of the Saturday Night Live episodes. As a reminder, 90...

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Phil's Favorites

Trump vs. Fiorina vs. Obama on Isis; Fiorina and the "Law of Bad Ideas"

Finally, one of the top republican candidates said something intelligent about Syria while the dreadful Fiorina explained how we need to defend our,...yes, OUR territory in the middle east by engaging Russia in a war. Yeah, something like that. 

Courtesy of Mish.

Carly Fiorina Seeks No-Fly Zone

In the Fox interview show below, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina says the US should enforce a no-fly zone in Syria, even if it means shooting down Russian aircraft.

Quote of the day: "Russian jets have been basically conducting dangerous and unpredictable maneuvers around our waters and our borders and our territory".

Can I have a definition of "our" territory please?


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Chart School

SP500 Wyckoff Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Review of the SP500, pre Oct 2015, fire fighting the technical damage.

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NOTE: does allow users to load objects and text on charts, however some annotations are by a free third party image tool named

Investing Quote...

.."Your goals are to select only stocks that move soonest, fastest and farthest in bull or bear markets. Limited losses and let profits run."..

Richard D Wyckoff

..“Don’t try to buy at the bottom and sell at the top. It can’t be done except by liars.”..


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Kimble Charting Solutions

Opportunity Friday…What would you do with these Opportunities?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Opportunities are knocking at our door friends! I’ve been sharing the Power of the Pattern with customers for the past 20-years. In my humble opinion, some really nice opportunities (based on price, momentum and sentiment) are forming for investors around the world. Below is two of the dozens of rare patterns I am seeing, that I wanted to share with you today.

What would you do with this opportunity?


As shared above, this asset has fallen around 35% of late. The decline has taken it down to its 4-year rising channel support l...

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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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Swing trading portfolio - week of September 28th, 2015

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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Sector Detector: No rate hike translates into heightened wall of worry

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

The Fed’s decision to not raise the fed funds rate at this time was ultimately taken by the market as a no-confidence vote on our economic health, which just added to the fear and uncertainty that was already present. Rather than cheering the decision, market participants took the initial euphoric rally as a selling opportunity, and the proverbial wall of worry grew a bit higher. Nevertheless, keep in mind that markets prefer to climb a wall of worry rather than ride a crowded bandwagon, and I continue to envision higher levels for the markets after further backing-and-filling and testing of support levels (perhaps even including the August lows).


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Some Hedge Funds "Hedged" During Stock Market Sell Off, Others Not As Risk Focused

By Mark Melin. Originally published at ValueWalk.

With the VIX index jumping 120 percent on a weekly basis, the most in its history, and with the index measuring volatility or "fear" up near 47 percent on the day, one might think professional investors might be concerned. While the sell off did surprise some, certain hedge fund managers have started to dip their toes in the water to buy stocks they have on their accumulation list, while other algorithmic strategies are actually prospering in this volatile but generally consistently trending market.

Stock market sell off surprises some while others were prepared and are hedged prospering

While so...

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Baxter's Spinoff

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

Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).

The Baxalta Spinoff

By Ilene with Trevor of Lowenthal Capital Partners and Paul Price

In its recent filing with the SEC, Baxter provides:

“This information statement is being ...

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Mapping The Market

An update on oil proxies

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard

Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself. 


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Watch the Phil Davis Special on Money Talk on BNN TV!

Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene


The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below. 

Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets) Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies) Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...

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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 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.

Thank you for you time!

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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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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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