The wonderful resource that Phil has created for us and nourished by its members is so powerful in what it can teach us going forward, but also what we can learn from the past. I never say it often enough, but Phil – thanks for all the work you do for us.
You called all the trends and market movements with perfection this week. I enjoyed it! Thanks for keeping us sane!
Have been a member for about 6 months or there abouts. Signed up for a quarter at first and then for a year. To me, and it's only my opinion, it's an investment and I have made the membership fees back many times over on the strategy advice. Since joining and implementing the strategy of buy/writes and hedges I have cut my portfolio losses for the year and have a really good chance of going positive this year. If I would have continued down the road I was on, I would still have been fumbling around without a strategy and completely inept in what I was doing. I feel now the strategy is working and I am far more comfortable with the risks I am taking. I still have a lot to learn but I feel the fees have been one of the best investments I have made. The returns have been fantastic. Still have problems with the politics but hey nobody is perfect
Phil I have been applying your arsenal (matresses, Edz plays, Ugl verticals etc.) to my gold holdings . So a big thank you for "teaching me how to fish" rather than just giving me the fish...
Peace of mind / I have a portfolio mainly consisting of long term long calls, short term short calls and puts, and long term BCS. Three years, ago when I started my journey on this board I would be freaking out panicking as to what to do, as many of the short calls are ITM, Three years later (today) I look at the screen and serenely process the information. Three years ago, I inevitably made the wrong decisions which cost me a lot of money. Three years on I calmly roll the positions to whatever makes sense. No drama, no hair pulling, and a great cost saver. I guess they call that the power of education.
Thanks, Phil. I really appreciate your sentiment and commitment! Just want to thank you for what you do for all of us.
Hey Phil - writing to thank you!
First of all, and I know you have heard this a few times form some others - the portfolio updates you have done - with entries and targets and even margin reqs are invaluable!
I find myself understanding what is done here IN THEORY most of the time..however, there is a much bigger difference in placing and setting up the hedges properly than just understanding…This has been eye opening for me and Ifeel like I just took a major step in trading during the last week.
Phil: I cleaned up today. A rather stark contrast to my untutored performance April/May 2009, after I had written to you to explain how wrong-headed your bearishness was. Many thanks.
I ran into someone once who played on the Bulls with Jordan for quite a few years. He was asked what he had learned from playing with MJ for so long. He smiled and said "Give him the ball."
Peter D, Just a note of thanks. Eight weeks ago, I entered my first RUT strangles, when the RUT was at 625. Tomorrow, I will let them expire, with the RUT at 625 (give or take). I didn't care when the RUT went to 650, nor when it dropped to 590. Easiest, no touch money I've made in a long time.
Phil, I followed your investing ideas in LTP quite closely. It seems your insightful fundamental analysis knowledge serves you v. well. I get entertained and they are profitable.
Phil Thank you very much, I appreciate your help and wisdom.
Thanks for the heads up on the comming sell off on friday, and the bs job yesterday. your our guiding light!
Being on this board is better than successfully completing the Times crossword. Phil's panoply of comments manage to excite, illuminate, frustrate, exasperate, confuse, enlighten, outrage, invigorate and stupefy (and that's par for the morning session only!). But goddammit, it's addictive, informative and when it all goes right extremely profitable.
Thanks for you guidance – Your "student" will be passing on the McMuffins and having Lobster dinners tonight!
Phil/USO Adjustment~~ Thanks for showing us the make it even (maybe even profitable) tricks for 'fixing' a losing position. I would have never known the trick if you didn't explain it. The option adjustment techniques are very helpful. Trading stocks would probably never offer that kind of flexibilities! Thanks!
I have followed a lot of Phil's picks over the last several years and made money using the exact option strategies he outlines. Of all the contributors on SA, he offers the most actual and ready to implement advice that has put money in my account. Many of us on SA actually are sad when we don't see Phil's postings for an extended period.
Phil has some great insight into the market. He's given me a different perspective on the market and I know I'm a better trader/investor because of it.
I've been trading options since the late 80's and Phil is right. Unless you know what is going to happen (how can you, unless you have insider information), then do what the smart money does - be the house. Remember guys, we're allowed to sell options. If you're afraid to be short, then do a spread to limit your liability. When I think about the money I've made and lost on options, a good approximation is that I win 30% of the time when I do a straight buy; I win about 70% of the time when I do a spread; I win nearly 90% of the time when I sell naked.
Phil — gotta thank you for your advice this week, and especially today. I took many aspects of your advice this morning, with all of my shorts -- being prepared on the short side, selling into intial excitement, taking the money and running, not being greedy. I also made money on the your /QM and /YM calls. It used to be I would be terrified of weeks like this one. Now, it feels somewhat comfortable, for want of a better word.
I read with great interest your statement the other day that the DX is unlikely to break 76 or there will be great hell to pay, torrential amounts of tears shed, and gnashing of dentures all over the world. Well. I have had several short DX contracts in the $78ish range during the last month and upon your two statements 1) don't be greedy, and 2) 76 could be a bottom, I yesterday put a buy GTC order to close my positions at 76 and for some inexplicable reason the DX spiked down after the close and now I can safely say that once again you have confirmed for me that you have been one of the best investment services I have yet to come across. Almost to the point that I'm beginning to think that maybe I'm completely wrong about my political stance as well. Almost. In any event, I wanted you to know that this has been my third execution based on your comments and recommendations that I have followed and this one has also worked to my advantage. My subscription fee has been more than justified for the next year and there's some left over to pay for my stay in Toronto this week, dinner at Joso's in the Yorkville section of town. If I smoked I'd have a Montecristo to salute you. Be well, stay well.
Phil - DIA 107 Calls. As suggested I am taking the money and running to home depot for some shelter supplies! This is the grand finale of several successful trades from you through this roller-coster and as you have further suggested it is time for me to sit back and relax in cash. May even be able to talk my wife into the premium membership after these intelligent trades in a stupid market.
USO, QQQ- Phil, thanks for these plays. Out of USO for about 65% gain today and just keeping 1/4 QQQ.
I must add yet another paen to Phil's "cash and short" call, as my TZA shorts are past paying for Similac and Pampers and have now covered all doctors and Mt. Sinai hospital bills for young Charlotte, as TZA took the portfolio up 10%.
hil, I hit my targets for the year in my 401K (thanks in no small part to your site), so I cashed out of all positions a couple of weeks ago. Feels good... I'm conservative with this money –looking for 2% per month, which i've been able to do… thx.
That was a quick double on the DIA calls. trailing stop in place.
Phil - FAS - I dont know whether to be happier I averaged down and sold calls or that I got myself out of FAZ the other day…thanks for that help
Thanks for your thoughts against buying BP ahead of earnings (yesterdays' member comments). It announced a loss of $3.3b and is down 3% in pre-market but still just above the bottom of the chaneel of $40-$50.
Why were the analysts wrong?
If I were a Japanese investor who purchased US stocks prior to November at Y80 yen to the dollar, with the US market up an average of 15% or more and upon selling the asset I covert dollars to Yen, also realizing an additional 25% gain (one dollar now converts to 100+ Yen rather than the 80 I used at time of purchase), I think I would be unloading US assets also.
But analysts never do the math in their articles nor very rarely bring up or discuss the ramifications of currency fluctuations. I don't include Phil in this group as this is a valuable lesson I am learning from him.
What a quarter! (AAPL, etc.) "People react; PSW'ers anticipate." Thanks everyone for a vibrant board.
Happy holidays to all members of PSW. Just completed my 6th year and still my favorite site to read. Thank you all for your contributions and support especially you, Phil!
Pretend for a second that you recently retired with a decent amount of money in the bank, and all you have to do is generate a paltry 5% to live in comfort for the rest of your days. But lately that’s been easier said than done. Your money market fund yields less than 1%. Your bond funds are around 3% and your bank CDs are are down to half the rate of a couple of years ago. Stocks, meanwhile, are down over the past decade and way too volatile in any event. If you don’t find a way to generate that 5% you’ll have to start eating into capital, which screws up your plan, possibly leaving you with more life than money a decade hence.
Now pretend that you’re running a multi-billion dollar pension fund. You’ve promised the trustees a 7% return and they’ve calibrated contributions and payouts accordingly. But nothing in the investment-grade realm gets you anywhere near 7%. If you come up short, the plan’s recipients won’t get paid in a decade or – the ultimate horror – you’ll have to ask the folks paying in to contribute more, which means you’ll probably be scapegoated out of a job.
In either case, what do you do? Apparently you start buying junk bonds. According to Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, junk issuance is soaring as desperate investors snap up whatever paper promises to get them the yield they’ve come to depend on. Here’s an excerpt:
U.S. companies issued risky “junk” bonds at a record clip this week, taking advantage of keen investor appetite for returns amid declining interest rates and tepid stock markets.
The borrowing binge comes as the Federal Reserve keeps interest rates near zero and yields on U.S. government debt are near record lows. Those low rates have spread across a variety of markets, making it cheaper for companies with low credit ratings to borrow from investors.
Corporate borrowers with less than investment-grade ratings sold $15.4 billion in junk bonds this week, a record total for a single week, according to data provider Dealogic. The month-to-date total, $21.1 billion, is especially high for August, typically a quiet month that has seen an average of just $6.5 billion in issuance over the past decade.
Size matters. And it particularly matters when the size of the financial system grossly exceeds the productive capacity of the underlying economy. Then problems arise. Surplus capital flows into paper assets triggering a boom. Then speculators pile in, driving asset prices higher. Margins grow, debts balloon, and bubbles emerge. The frenzy finally ends when the debts can no longer be serviced and the bubble begins to crumple, sometimes violently. As gas escapes, credit tightens, businesses are forced to cut back, asset prices plunge and unemployment soars. Deflation spreads to every sector. Eventually, the government steps in to rescue the financial system while the broader economy slumps into a coma.
The crisis that started two years ago, followed this same pattern. A meltdown in subprime mortgages sent the dominoes tumbling; the secondary market collapsed, and stock markets went into freefall. When Lehman Bros flopped, a sharp correction turned into a full-blown panic. Lehman tipped-off investors that that the entire multi-trillion dollar market for securitized loans was built on sand. Without price discovery, via conventional market transactions, no one knew what mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and other exotic debt-instruments were really worth. That sparked a global sell-off. Markets crashed. For a while, it looked like the whole system might collapse.
The Fed’s emergency intervention pulled the system back from the brink, but at great cost. Even now, the true value of the so-called toxic assets remains unknown. The Fed and Treasury have derailed attempts to create a public auction facility--like the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC)--where prices can be determined and assets can be sold. Billions in toxic waste now clog the Fed’s balance sheet. Ultimately, the losses will be passed on to the taxpayer.
Now that the economy is no longer on steroids, the financial system needs to be downsized. The housing/equities bubble was generated by over-consumption that required high levels of debt-spending. That model requires cheap money and easy access to credit, conditions no longer exist. The economy has reset at a lower level of economic activity, so changes need to be made. The financial system needs to shrink.
The problem is, the Fed’s "lending facilities" have removed any incentive for financial institutions to deleverage. Asset prices are propped up by low interest, rotating loans on dodgy collateral. While households have suffered huge losses (of nearly $14 trillion) in…
First, welcome to Michael Pettis. Michael is a professor at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management, where he specializes in Chinese financial markets. He is also Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Second, this is an excellent article that provides insight into the thoughts of the Chinese people. – Ilene
Three weeks ago China Daily published a pretty funny article about a recent survey on credibility that had taken place in China. According to the article,
At a time when shamelessness is pervasive, we are often at loss as to who can be trusted. The five most trustworthy groups, according to a survey by the Research Center of the Xiaokang Magazine, are farmers, religious workers, sex workers, soldiers and students.
A list like this is at the same time surprising and embarrassing. The sex business is illegal and thus underground in this country. The sex workers’ unexpected prominence on this list of honor, based on an online poll of more than 3,000 people, is indeed unusual.
It took the pollsters aback that people like scientists and teachers were ranked way below, and government functionaries, too, scored hardly better. Yet given the constant feed of scandals involving the country’s elite, this is not bad at all. At least they have not slid into the least credible category, which consists of real estate developers, secretaries, agents, entertainers and directors.
I am not sure what secretaries have done to get themselves such poor rankings (could they mean party secretaries?), and I am not sure what kind of directors they mean (movie directors? managing directors?) but not everyone found this survey funny. Last week a columnist in the People’s Daily had this to say about the same survey:
In recent years, China has already paid a high price for the prevailing credibility crisis. The annual losses caused by bad debts have reportedly amounted to about 180 billion yuan, and the direct economic losses induced by contract fraud each year is also up to 5.5 billion yuan. Besides, shoddy and fake products contribute to another great loss involving at least 200 billion yuan. Generally, credibility crisis would cost China as much as 600 billion…
The exceptional market conditions of the last couple of years are a reminder that we should regard stable markets as a pleasant interlude rather than the normal state of affairs. In general, of course, people tend to expect tomorrow to be much the same as yesterday and to behave as such. It’s little wonder, then, that when everything goes wrong people start to panic, assuming the world is coming to an end.
Of course, so far, the world hasn’t come to an end – although a lot of people have lost lots of money in the meantime. What we can see from history is not that market panics are exceptional but that they’re the norm.
Kindleberger on Economic History
Every investor should read and re-read Charles Kindleberger’s seminal “Manias, Panics and Crashes’ which details the course of market disasters over a near three hundred year period. Kindleberger was an economist of a different hue to many we’ve met before: an economic historian who relied not on mathematical models – about which he was enjoyably and pointedly vague – but on historical incident and anecdote. At the very least, he argued, the various competing economic schools have to explain the happenings of the markets rather than either ignoring them, or simply claiming that they shouldn’t happen so they’re going to stick their fingers in their ears and go “tra-la-la” until they go away.
Underpinning the concept is a simple idea – people are irrational, they do the irrational things which it suits them to do and the consequences are often very nasty. What he set out to show was that the mental behaviour of market participants that we’ve recently witnessed is a perfectly normal state of affairs. Indeed, based on the historical records one ends up wondering how anything ever works at all in the markets. Everything going wrong is what happens, all the time, it seems.
The Fallacy Of Composition
However, it’s not simple irrationality that drives the market. Underlying this is a sneaky human behavioural failing known as the fallacy of composition – a trait that sees every individual acting in their own self interests yet, at the same time, acting in a
Eurozone Target2 imbalances have touched or exceeded the crisis levels hit in 2012 when Greece was on the verge of leaving the Eurozone. Others have noted the growing imbalances as well.
I had a couple of questions for the ECB regarding Target2, which they have answered, I believe disingenuously.
First, we will explain Target2, then we will take a look at various charts, viewpoints, and the email exchange with the ECB.
Target2 stands for Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross Settlement System. It is a reflection of capital flight from the “Club-Med” countries in Southern Europe (Greece, Spain, and Italy) to banks in Northern Europe.
The number of unchanged issues on the NYSE has spiked, often a sign of complacency among investors.
While the price structure and breadth in the stock market remain solid and supportive of higher prices, one area of concern that we have been noting is investor sentiment. Specifically, it is too complacent for our liking. Investors and traders seem to be outright dismissing the notion of risk in the stock market. And while extreme bullishnes...
The dollar fell while Treasuries advanced after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting showed officials confident they can raise rates gradually amid little threat that near-term inflation will accelerate.
Nothing really to add to yesterday. Markets took minor hits, but there was little intraday spread. The biggest spread was in the Russell 2000 which was underperforming heading into today's session. It reversed most of yesterday's gains, but it has some way to go before it begins challenging the breakout
The New Lows and Highs is in a secular bullish pattern, and it will take continued pressure in spike lows to generate a sustained sell off - none of which is happening here.
Credit Suisse has been posting cryptocurrency advisories over the last few weeks. They are quite one-sided, although couched in the appearance of objectivity. To explain why it's couched in the appearance of objectivity, and not actually objective, let me give you some background.
The Obama administration enacted a law known as the Fiduciary Rule, as per Investopedia:
The Department of Labor’s definition of a fiduciary demands that advisors act in the best interests of their clients, and to put their clients' interests above their own. It leaves no room for advisors to conce...
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These GOP guys were so worried about Hillary's email server and now we find out that we had something close to a Russian mole in the White House. In the meantime, Trump keeps on using his unsecured phone, had high level conversation in his resort in front of dinner guests! It's getting so bad that rumors are now circulating that the NSA is not sharing information with the WH:
….Our spies have had enough of these shady Russian connections—and they are starting to push back….In light of this, and out of worries about the White House’s ability to keep secrets, some of our spy agencies have begun withholding intelligence fro...
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