Shares in Facebook Inc. (Ticker: FB), which fell during aftermarket trading on Wednesday following an announcement by the company that it has agreed to buy mobile-messaging startup WhatsApp Inc. for $4 billion in cash, $12 billion in stock and $3 billion in restricted shares, staged a midday comeback on Thursday. The turn around in the price of the underlying appears to have sent options traders scrambling and volume in FB options to roughly 200% of the stock’s average daily reading before 3:00 p.m. EST. Shares in Facebook declined as much as 3.4% during morning trading to touch down at an intraday low of $65.72 just after 10:00 a.m. EST, bounced off that level and haven’t looked back. The shares are up nearly 2.0% at $69.40 as of the time of this writing. Based upon the turnaround in the price of the underlying, one might expect less volatility to accompany the relief rally in Facebook’s shares, but the opposite appears to be happening. The closing reading of options implied volatility midweek of 34.8% has jumped to 38.3% today (+10%) despite the near 2% gain for the stock.
Average daily options volume on Facebook is an impressive 344,000 contracts, but overall volume in call and put options on the social media giant today has topped 675,000 contracts with roughly seventy minutes until the closing bell sounds. The most traded contracts on FB by volume are the regular March $75 and $85 strike calls, with upwards of 60,000 options changing hands at each and well in excess of open interest. The Mar $75 calls traded for an average of $0.84 each today while the Mar $85 strike calls traded at an average premium of $0.23 per contract. The sharp rally in the price of Facebook’s shares since the bulk of the volume printed has driven premiums on these call options up to $1.15 and $0.29 each, respectively as of 2:50 p.m. EST. Much of the volume at both strikes appears to have been purchased earlier in the day at premiums below current levels; as such, it seems likely that some traders positioning for further upside in the stock price by March expiration are generating quicker than anticipated gains on this view.
Chart – Facebook shares rebound to hit fresh highs
Our senior index finished the day at 1,358.04, just 0.96 under our 10% line at 1,359. Oddly enough, it never actually crossed the line that we had predicted would be the top of this run in April of 2009. It's a simple 2% overshoot of the 100% run from the S&P bottom at 666.
If the S&P can get over the line and hold it – we will be THRILLED to finally redraw our Big Chart but, if not, then this is just the blow-off top of the range, reeling in the suckers ahead of the big reversal that no one could have possibly seen coming (except this guy but he's like 100 and just got divorced, so he's bound to be in a bad mood).
Is there anyone who was born SINCE radio who is willing to still be bearish? As you can see from David Fry's chart, since December 19th, other than a few red days out of over 40 – it's been tough to be a bear. This is what it was like in 1999, when the experienced market players would be well-hedged and missing the rally while some kid who works for him quits because he bet his student loan money on Yahoo and now drives a Porsche.
Sure 9 months later the Porsche was repossessed and the kid was flipping burgers but WE WANT TO BE THAT KID – IT'S FUN TO BE THAT KID – until it isn't again. The funny thing is, we only gave those dot com companies Millions when they IPO'd – now we give out Billions because, of course, this time is different, it's a new paradigm, this changes everything, you have to understand the new metrics, sock puppets rule….
McDonald's was founded in 1940 by two brothers actually named McDonald. Ray Krok bought the chain from them and created the World's greatest franchise which now has over 26,000 franchise operations and over 6,000 company stores employing about 1.7M people worldwide selling $24Bn worth of food a year with a $5Bn net profit. Facebook has 3,200 people but they generate $1.2M in revenues per employee ($3.8Bn) and drops $1Bn to the bottom line. Facebook's assets are mainly IP and those are about as valuable as MySpace's assets now…
TED believes facebook and other modes of internet people connecting will change the form and nature of human interaction, and I agree, the changes are underway. Will it effect human nature or is it just a mechanism for revealing it in new ways? – Ilene
After all, Facebook, like Zuckerberg, is a paradox: a Web site that celebrates the aura of intimacy while providing the relief of distance, substituting bodiless sharing and the thrills of self-created celebrityhood for close encounters of the first kind. …
[Zuckerberg]’s a revolutionary because he broods on his personal grievances and, as insensitive as he is, reaches the aggrieved element in everyone, the human desire for response.
Part of the power and attraction of social media, in my opinion, is that it encourages and enables the creation of acquaintance, friendship, and even intimacy among individuals who would otherwise never be able to create or even desire such relationships in the real world. Culture, geography, distance, and existing socioeconomic ties are not insurmountable or even apparent obstacles to people commencing interaction and communication over the internet. This broadens the scope for both connection and misunderstanding to a far greater degree than has been possible to date in our local, non-virtual, geography- and time-constrained world. The potential degrees of freedom of human interaction have materially increased. While this has opened intoxicating vistas of personal possibility for millions, you can also imagine it is not always a good thing.
The other significant change embedded in these new interactions is that people can cultivate relationships over virtual social networks for months and even years without ever meeting in the flesh. Stable, long-lasting, and—it is not irresponsible to imagine it—even durable relationships of the deepest kind can be established and maintained between characters or personae that individuals adopt and present to each other. Is this wise? Is it responsible? Is it fair?
Does it matter?
Probably not, for we have already shipped ourselves out to a brave new world. An entire generation is constructing online identities—smarter, wittier, braver, and prettier than we are in the real world—and sending them out to interact and form relationships with similarly artificial simulacra. We are no longer Pygmalion in his studio, sculpting an image of female perfection according to our own desires
Here are headlines/links to Andy Borowitz’s recent satirical articles finding humor in current events. Funny, though potentially offensive. (So don’t blame me for not warning you – Palin fans, Tiger Woods fans, BP execs.) - Ilene
Are "businesses" which aggregate user-provided content in order to serve adverts to those users "innovative?" Are they serving a "need" or attempting to contrive a new "need"?
While I usually present a specific thesis here, today’s topic is more a "work in progress" as I think through the paradoxes and connections between "needs" and contrived needs.
The two beginning data points are the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, formerly the New Hebrides, and an article from BusinessWeek on the dozens of Silicon Valley startups founded or funded by Google alumni: And Google Begat…The search giant’s former employees are seeding tech startups— and shaping another wave of innovation.
A friend’s son recently served a Peace Corps stint in a remote Vanuatu village. There is no electricity--illumination is provided by candles--and fresh potable water is a 2 kilometer walk away. The village pursues a generally traditional lifestyle apparently by choice; if you want to own a car and drive around in Western-style petroleum-based affluence, you can do so in the nation’s capital.
In the village, the women reportedly do most of the heavy lifting (agriculture, childcare, etc.) while the men have sufficient free time to brew up some hootch (kava) to enjoy in afternoon conviviality.
This "subsistance" is not poverty in the sense that people have enough to eat, shelter, some basic education, relative security from the predations of the State and/or external marauders (in our era, global Neoliberal Capitalism of the predatory/cartel variety).
This lifestyle is, with modest variations such as kerosene lamps or limited electricity, still lived by hundreds of millions of human beings. It is not to be romanticized or distorted by global-market, post-industrial definitions of "poverty." There are all sorts of poverty once you have enough to eat, a community and shelter, and definitions of a "good life" and a "better life" have to be carefully parsed.
We, on the other hand, are embedded in advanced, post-industrial Neoliberal Capitalism-- post-industrial in the sense that most of the nasty bits are performed elsewhere, so "we" get to live with high standards of environmental control, and Neoliberal in the sense that the Savior State is an active partner with global predatory finance Capitalism to exploit both foreign markets and domestic populations.
By the standards of our status quo, residents of Vanuatu are living at…
Here we are, just barely into our first earnings season without the incessantly added fuel provided by QE and the markets are stumbling. At times on Friday the indexes were hovering near the possibility of posting 2% losses going into the weekend. In today’s media mindset of “everything is awesome.” That’s near – unthinkable.
Personally I watched for the now requisite headlines to cross the airwaves at any moment announcing “Federal Reserve member _____________________(fill in the blank) says: The ...
The Chinese stock market has effectively doubled over the past year and a full-scale mania has gotten underway with mainland individual investors opening millions of brokerage accounts a month. This is a good thing, not a b...
Six of the eight indexes on our world watch list traded lower this week, with Germany's DAX down 5.57%. The best performing of the six losers was the S&P 500, down only 0.99%. The big positive outlier was China's Shanghai Composite, up a jaw-dropping 6.27% for the week and now up 32.54% in 2015. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was a less conspicuous outlier with a 1.40% weekly gain.
Here is an overlay of the eight for a sense of their comparative performance so far in 2015.
Here is a table of the 2015 data performance, sorted from high to low, along with the interim highs for the eight indexes. All eight indexes are in the green, with the top five gains ranging 12.62% to 32.54%. Not bad for for the first three-and-a-half months of the year. At the bottom of the list, the S&P 500 is up 1.08%.
When it comes to investing in the stock market, do you feel leadership can be important. If so, you might want to pay attention to price action from a key global stock index. China has been in the news for hot stock market performance that past couple of months. When it comes to the past couple of years, Germany has been stronger than China and the S&P 500. In the past two years the DAX index has gained 18% more than the S&P 500, which is a 60% greater return.
The chart below looks at conditions in the DAX at this time and what message is coming from this index.
As we get into the heart of earnings season and anticipate the GDP report for Q1, the investor spotlight has been taken off the Federal Reserve and timing of its first interest rate hike, at least temporarily. Even though Q1 economic growth will undoubtedly look weak, the future remains bright for the U.S economy – even though many multinationals will struggle with top-line growth due to the strong dollar – and any near-term selloff resulting from weak economic or earnings news should be bought yet again in expectation of better results for the balance of the year. High sector correlations remain a concern, reflectin...
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As noted earlier, with equities now a barren wasteland of volume (and liquidity), the last remaining HFT master (of whale order frontrunning)has been forced to go to those asset classes where organic flow is still abundant such as FX, courtesy of central banks engaged in global currency wars. However, HFTs rea...
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...
In my last post (Part 1 of this article), I looked at alternative ETFs that could be used as hedges against the corrections that we have seen during that long 2 year bull run. Looking at the results, it seems that for short (less than a month) corrections, a VIX ETF like VXX could actually be a viable candidate to hedge or speculate on the way down. Another alternative ETF was TMF, a long Treasuries ETF which banks on the fact that when markets go down, money tends to pack into treasuries viewed as safe instruments. In some cases, TMF even outperformed the usual hedging instruments like leveraged ETFs. There could of course be other factors at play since some of 2014 corrections were related to geopolitical events which are certain...
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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