We’ve been talking about this stuff for awhile now here on TRB, but no one was on top of the sovereign debt minefield like the Zero Hedge gang. In case you missed ignored it, they’ve basically been handing you what the market is awakening to now on a platter.
Bad news from Harrisburg, PA to Southern Europe to Los Angeles today. And those jobs numbers certainly didn’t help. We should be at roughly 0% employment by 2016 at this rate.
The Dow is down around 200 as we speak, flirting with the psychologically meaningful 10,000 level.
City workers and union members won a victory against financial prudence in Los Angeles today.
The city council spent all day yesterday discussing drastic cuts made necessary by LA’s $208 million budget gap. The city’s budget analysis proposed around 1,000 job cuts to save money.
And so the municipal unions went wild, packing the meeting with hundreds of workers.
In response, the city council voted to postpone budget-related layoffs for 30 days.
Frighteningly, on the same day the council members voted against cutting jobs and consolidating the disability, human services and environmental affairs department, it also agreed to discuss making jobs cuts in the police and fire departments.
Even worse, LA council members are talking about "unconventional ways" of addressing their looming financial crisis.
"If I’m facing hard times . . . I’m going to go to my uncles. I’m going to go to my aunt. I’m going to ask them to borrow money," Councilman Jose Huizar said, according to the LA Times. "But I’m going to tell them: ‘You know, I’ve got this ’67 Chevy. I could sell it a year from now and maybe I’ll pay you back with that.’ Can we do anything like that?"
The problem, of course, is that LA’s uncle is the State of California, which is facing a giant budgetary crisis of its own. It doesn’t have the money to bail out LA. And muni bond investors are unlikely to love the idea that LA will find some way to raise cash in the future to compensate for its inability to restrain spending now.
Will the ratings agencies wait 30 days before slamming LA? We’ll see.
With city officials declaring that "bankruptcy is not an option," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa released a long-term plan for the city’s finances Thursday, including several billion dollars in potential savings and possible layoffs of 1,000 workers.
In a letter to City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, the mayor and City Council leaders called for the start of steps needed to make layoffs and perform studies on dealing with this year’s continuing shortfall of $200 million and the projected $400 million deficit for next year.
"This mayor has no interest in going down the road to bankruptcy," said Deputy Mayor Matt Szabo, who has been assigned the task of developing the overall financial strategy for the city.
My Comment: It is irrelevant what the mayor wants now. The fate was sealed years ago with pensions. LA came to a fork in the road, and selected the road named "Bankruptcy". Now the mayor says LA has no interest going down that road. Well it is too late for that now, unless unions are ready to do some serious negotiation.
That’s the kicker, LA has no choice in the matter other than the mayor’s willingness to ask the unions for concessions. Whether or not LA goes bankrupt depends entirely on the response from the unions regarding wages and pension benefits.
The five-page letter from Villaraigosa, also signed by Council President Eric Garcetti and council members Bernard Parks, Jan Perry, Greig Smith and Dennis Zine, sets the stage for a series of decisions to reduce spending in the city’s $7.01 billion budget.
There are no plans to ask voters for a tax increase, but the mayor is looking at whether a ballot proposal will be needed to reform the city’s pension system.
My Comment: Good luck with that. You will need it.
Santana’s office also released a report showing the city’s revenues continue to decline, particularly in consumer-sensitive areas such as hotel and sales tax. Also, holiday season sales were much less than expected.
My Comment: Welcome to frugality, the new reality.…
In my larval, pre-blogging days, I always faced the back-to-school moment with abject dread. It meant returning to a program of the most severe, mind-numbing regimentation in the ghastly New York City public schools after a summer of idyllic unreality in the New Hampshire woods, where I went to a Lord of the Flies type of summer camp. And so here I am, many decades later, still uneasy as the final page of the August calendar flies away in a hot Santa Ana wind, and a great hellfire closes in on the far eastern reaches of Los Angeles, and the American money system falls into a peculiar limbo, and every fifth person is out of work, or going bankrupt, or glugging down the seawater of default, or being denied coverage by health insurance that he-or-she has already shelled out ten grand for this year, or getting shot in a trailer park.
I was in Los Angeles for a few days last week, as chance had it, marveling at the odd disposition of things there. I’ve been there many times over the years, but you forget how overwhelmingly weird it is. Altogether the LA metro area has the ambience of a garage the size of Rhode Island where someone happened to leave the engine running. To say that LA is all about cars is kind of like saying the Pacific Ocean is all about water. But one forgets the supernatural scale of the freeways, the tsunamis of vehicles, the cosmic despair of the traffic jams. The vistas of present-day LA make the Blade Runner vision of things look quaint in comparison.
You motor out of the LAX airport – personally, I love the name "LAX" because it so beautifully describes the collective ethos of the place – and you discover quickly that the taxi cab’s windows are not that dirty, it’s the air itself colored brown like miso soup. Going north on the 405 freeway, you see the looming Moloch of the downtown skyline through the brown miso soup. And you begin to understand why the products of the film industry are so fixated on the theme of machine apocalypse. Downtown LA looks like just such a gigantic machine as the FX crews would dream up, as if a day will come when those gleaming mirrored office towers will pull themselves
The moral of this story is to always start an amazing new tech company in California, unless you're on Wall Street (which might work just as well.) Move to California, or maybe go to Asia or Africa. Don't get diverted to France, or Norwich, Connecticut. ~ Ilene
When I was 11, my grandmother liked to hang out in Bee Bee’s Dairy and smoke cigarettes and drink coffee.
The air quality in that place was like modern-day Beijing, with all these old people smoking and shooting the breeze. I used to get ice cream sodas there, what you would call a “float” in other parts of the country.
Bee Bee’s was at the tail end of a sad sack mall, wedged between the Stop & Shop and the mall proper. The sign had a picture of a cheerful honeybee on it that, in retrospect...
Last week, after reading a Time article titled "Why Bashar Assad Won’t Fight ISIS" written by a journalist whose recent work includes "The YouTube War", and who sourced two unnamed, anonymous sources to reach the conclusion that Syria's president Assad is in cahoots with ISIS, we made a simple conclusion: "The Stage Is Set For The Syrian Invasion." Barely a week has gone by and the wheels for the Syrian invasion are indeed turning: earlier today, US Secretary of State John K...
Another day, another successful defense of breakout support. The S&P held on to its 20-day MA and is well placed to bounce of this moving average tomorrow. Volume was down, which for a higher close was maybe a little disappointing.
The Nasdaq closed with a small doji in a very nondescript day for the index. Volume was lighter too.
The Russell 2000 continued to hold its breakout. Like the S&P, the 20-day MA is available to lend support too.
Chris Kimble shared his chart of the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF, XLU, with us.
The one month performance inset shows XLU’s uninspiring performance compared to every other ETF on the list. However, the rather steep bullish falling wedge pattern says that it may be time for a bounce.
[Click on chart to enlarge]
Chris likes XLU for a short-term bounce off the 200 day moving average at $44. One way to play this setup is to buy the XLU outright. Chris suggests a 3% stop loss on the shares.
Another bullish play is to use options in a strategy designed by Phil:
Despite low trading volume, a strong dollar, mixed economic and earnings reports, paralyzing weather conditions throughout much of the U.S., and ominous global news events, stocks continue to march ever higher. The world remains on edge about potential Black Swan events from the likes of Russia, Greece, or ISIS (or lone wolf extremists). Moreover, the economic recovery of the U.S. may be feeling the pull of the proverbial ball-and-chain from the rest of the world’s economies. Nevertheless, awash in investable cash, global investors see few choices better than U.S. equities.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then ...
Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.
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Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.
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...
Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...
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.
Note: The material presented in this commentary is provided for
informational purposes only and is based upon information that is
considered to be reliable. However, neither PSW Investments, LLC d/b/a PhilStockWorld (PSW)
nor its affiliates
warrant its completeness, accuracy or adequacy and it should not be relied upon as such. Neither PSW nor its affiliates are responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of this information. Past performance, including the tracking of virtual trades and portfolios for educational purposes, is not necessarily indicative of future results. Neither Phil, Optrader, or anyone related to PSW is a registered financial adviser and they may hold positions in the stocks mentioned, which may change at any time without notice. Do not buy or sell based on anything that is written here, the risk of loss in trading is great.
This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other financial instrument. Securities or other financial instruments mentioned in this material are not suitable for all investors. Any opinions expressed herein are given in good faith, are subject to change without notice, and are only intended at the moment of their issue as conditions quickly change. The information contained herein does not constitute advice on the tax consequences of making any particular investment decision. This material does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs and is not intended as a recommendation to you of any particular securities, financial instruments or strategies. Before investing, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.
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