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Posts Tagged ‘Stiglitz’

Weekly Wrap-Up – Buffett’s Daring Derivative Deal Does Well

I was going to talk about Buffett's annual letter to investors.

Fortunately, I procrastinated and other people did some detailed reporting like Ravi Nagarajan, Andy Fry, Scott Patterson and Joe Del Bruno – who does a great job of pointing out that Berkshire's 4th quarter results were propped up by Buffett's $1.05Bn gains in derivatives betting (something Buffett himself once called "weapons of mass financial destruction" but, as we well know – if you can't beat them…), which accounted for 1/3 of Berkshire's $3.06Bn profits

Buffett's biggest bet was selling a put against the S&P 500 back in March – a move I said at the time was BRILLIANT and Buffett himself now says about his own options trading:  "We are delighted that we hold the derivatives contracts that we do.  To date, we have significantly profited from the float they provide. We expect also to earn further investment income over the life of our contracts."  

What did Buffett do?  Exactly what we teach you to do here at PSW - he took advantage of an irrational move in the markets and SOLD INTO THE EXCITEMENT, getting a fat premium from some sucker that bet the S&P would not hold 666 5 years from now.  Buffett effectively sold $5Bn worth of puts that expires worthless at S&P 700 between 2019 and 2027, putting $5Bn in his pocket and holding aside $1Bn in margin, which is how much he's already ahead on the bet.  Like a good options trader, he has a plan and he's trading his plan, making sure his investment is on track and patiently letting time do it's work as it eats away at the put-holder's premium. 

What about the risk?  Well I can't speak for Buffett's stop-loss technique but we're talking about a company that has (had) $40Bn in cash using their excess margin to make a $5Bn bet that the S&P would not stay below 700 for 10 years.  Buffett and I both tell people – NEVER buy a stock (or sell a put against one) that you are not willing to own for 10 years.  The S&P was 5% below at the time and would have had to drop, perhaps, 20% more to cost him $1Bn so let's call the stop 550 on the S&P where Buffett risked 2.5% of his cash against a posible 400% gain on his $1Bn risk allocation over 10+ years.  While it is true that if the
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Thank GDP It’s Friday!

Wow, a 6% GDP!

I’m guessing as it’s only 7:30 but WOW!  What an amazing economy this must be in the fantasy-land where they concoct these numbers.  Let’s see, we have 138M working people so we must have added 8.6M jobs, right?  NO???  Well, then the people who are working must be putting in a lot of overtime, right?  No?  I know, everybody must be making 6% more money than last year!  No?  Well, then it must be coming through in benefits, right?  No?  Hmm, this is a hard game isn’t it?  I KNOW!!!  Housing prices – with China-like GDP growth our housing market must be red hot and surely our homes are up 6% in value!  No?  Damn, I feel like I’m playing deal or no deal and I picked the case with the penny

Just like our discussion about what total BS the CPI was – GDP is no different.  GDP is the sum of Consumption, Investment, Government Spending and Net Exports which means a combination of inflation and government spending can boost our GDP even as real consumption falls and the rising dollar papers over export losses.  In other words – I buy $100Bn worth of Toyotas (5M at $20,000 each) from Japan with the dollar at 85 Yen.  Now the dollar rises to 93 Yen and I’m "only" buying $90Bn worth of Toyotas (5M at $18,000 each) and our GDP for that segment is up 10%.  Wow – FANTASTIC! 

Are we happy?  Are more Americans working?  Is there more shipping?  Are there more sales at the Toyota dealership?  No.  Is Japan happy?  Not at all, they are getting less money for the same cars.  Another group that hasn’t been happy are the oil exporters, who shipped us an average of 10.5 Million barrels a day at an average price of $60 last year ($630M) and are now shipping us just 8.5Mbd at $80 last week ($680M).  Sure they are still getting their $680M a day by choking off production and creating false supply shortages, but they miss the days when they were able to charge us $100 for 11Mbd. 

Don’t worry my OPEC pals, JPM and the other oil manipulators are working very hard to make sure you once again have Billions of more American dollars that you can funnel to terrorists and this Democratic Congress turns the same blind eye to the shenanigans as the previous administration did so happy days will soon be
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Wednesday Rejection Weakness

So close but yet so far!

We set our bounce levels way back on Jan 25th and just yesterday I posted up the WEAK BOUNCE levels we need to see before taking our bullish betting to the next level but we have only skimmed along our lines, finishing yesterday at Dow 10,296 (down by 2), S&P 1,103 (down by 2), Nasdaq 2,190 (down by 10), NYSE 7,001 (up by 1) and RUT 614 (down by 6).  This may be seem like some pretty amazing targeting 10 days in advance but, actually, we could have predicted this move last year as it’s nothing more than the same 5% Rule levels we’ve been using since the middle of last year.

That is why, we are not in the least bit impressed by close.  Close, as they say, is no cigar!  Don’t forget those are the natrural dead-cat type bounce levels off the drop from the top that we are trained to IGNORE as they are meaningless in the grand scheme of things.  What is meaningful is when they we retake those levels and that means we found a true floor at 5% (see weekend chart)  NOT taking back AND holding our retrace levels means we are very likely to see phase 2 of our leg down and hit 10% drop levels of Dow 9,630, S&P 1,035, Nasdaq 2,088, NYSE 6,660 and Russell 585 so we will now become much more concerned by failure or those lower levels (10,058 on the Dow etc) which MUST HOLD.

We’re not there yet, we MAY be consolidating along the 5% lines and that would be good, but unnerving.  We have our disaster hedges in place and we got our commodity rally so we can on some oil puts (what a joke at $77.50 already with yet another inventory build to be announced today) and perhaps even some gold puts as we test $1,130 (GLL $9 puts have very little premium at .90).  Our favorite hedge of the moment is once again EDZ, who are back to $5.50 thanks to a nice move up in Asia today.  March $5 puts can be sold for .45 and that’s a very nice way to collect premium as EDZ has to fall 20% before you even owe the putter a nickel but the July $4/6 bull call spread at .85 pays $2 (up 135%) should emerging markets falter…
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Singing “Davos Done and We Need Another Loan”

Debt-O, debt-uh-oh
Interest come and we need another loan
Debt-O, debt-uh-oh
Interest come and we need another loan

Work our lives just to lose our homes
Interest come and we need another loan
Stack default swaps till they come undone
Interest come and we need another loan

Come on Economists, tell us some more BS
Interest come and we need another loan
Come on Economists, tell us some more BS
Interest come and we need another loan

6%, 7% – it’s a credit crunch
Interest come and we need another loan
6%, 7% – it’s a credit crunch
Interest come and we need another loan

Debt-O, debt-uh-oh
Interest come and we need another loan
Debt-O, debt-uh-oh
When interest comes we’ll need another loan
 

It was the best of times (with the IMF predicting 3.9% Global growth) and the worst of times (with Roubini saying we’re all doomed) at Davos this week as the men who rule the world gathered to divide the spoils over card games while vying with each other for podium and TV time so they could talk their various books from the safety of the Swiss mountains.  Davos, a tiny village perched on a mountain with just two main streets, lacks the protests of other Global gatherings.  During the annual meeting, the town is taken hostage by thousands of police.  “Anyone who looks like a protester can be thrown off the train,” says Marco Leutholz, head of the local Socialist party (and that train often overlooks steep cliffs!).  Sir Howard Davies (director of the LSE) writes:

The mood is certainly better than last year, when the world was ending, but it is worse than at the beginning of last week. Alessandro Profumo of Unicredit acutely observed that Davos is likely to accentuate whatever mood you arrived in, rather as alcohol does, I guess. So those who arrived nervous about the economic prospects are leaving even more jittery. If you arrived feeling pessimistic, you will leave somewhere between suicidal and homicidal.

The market background has not helped. Anxiety about Greece has grown over the past three days. In the circumstances, it was strange to see both the Greek prime minister and his finance minister here. Maybe the subtext was to show that there can be no crisis if they are munching muesli in the mountains, but though some may have been reassured, more people asked who was at home minding the taverna.


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Zero Hedge

Alexis Tsipras Most Outrageous Outburst Yet?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Speaking in May 2014 (ahead of Ukraine's elections) new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made very clear why he is now against Germany's push for further sanctions against Russia.

Via VoR,

[The SYRIZA] party believes that the new government in Ukraine came to power as a result of a coup, and call it a junta.

...



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Phil's Favorites

Asset Price Deflation Coming Up? Food Prices About to Drop? CPI About to Go Negative? Credit Deflation?

Courtesy of Mish.

When inflation alarmists want to convince everyone the dollar is about to become worthless, they post this chart of the CPI.

CPI - Urban Consumers - All Items - Index



Inflationists claim that is a trend to oblivion. And actually it is. But it's a slow trend towards oblivion with intermittent disruptions as the following chart shows.

CPI - Urban Consumers - All Items - Percent Change From Year Ago



As measured by consumer prices, inflation went negative from December 2008 until October 2009....



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Chart School

Accentuate the Positive: The Psychological Inflation of Quarterly GDP

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Pop Quiz! You just received your quarterly statement from the company that manages your 401(k). Which result would you prefer?

     A) Your portfolio is up 1.22% for the quarter.
     B) Your portfolio is up 4.97%* for the quarter.

Well, that's certainly a no-brainer question. You'd definitely choose option B.

However, buried in the fine print of the document for option B is the footnote for that little asterisk:

     *Compounded Annual Percent Change

So this was a trick quiz question! The two answers are identical. To two decimal places, the quarter-over-quarter gain of 1.22% becomes 4.97% if we state it as the compounded annual percent change....



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Market Shadows

What Would You Do?

What Would You Do?

Courtesy of Paul Price

Suppose you had the technical ability and raw materials to print up counterfeit dollars, euros or yen that were identical to the real things. Assume you could spend them as fast as you could create them with no fear of any repercussions.

Would you prudently print up only as much fresh currency as you needed for your current lifestyle? Would you create just a bit more than that to help relatives or those in need?

It is most likely you’d have your printing press running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Becoming the richest person in the world would confer great power upon you.

You could rationalize this action because you plan to use the money for good purposes. Imagine the warm feeling you’d get by giving every person in America one million do...



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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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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of January 26th, 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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Sabrient

Sector Detector: With the Fed fading into shadows, investors look overseas for new catalysts

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

By Scott Martindale

Last week, the S&P 500 put an end to its streak of weekly losses, despite giving back some gains on Friday. Thursday provided the big catalyst, with the ECB’s announcement of its bold new monetary stimulus plan. Investors were cheered and soothed for the moment. And U.S. fundamentals still look strong. But with Greece trying to turn back time, with volatility elevated (and likely to continue as such), and with the technical situation still dicey, the near term outlook is still worrisome.

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



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Digital Currencies

Jitters After Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Services

So as I was saying yesterday (Bitcoin: The Biggest Clown Show In History?), Bitcoin has several obstacles on the path to potential success as an alternative currency. But I forgot to mention hacking and theft at Bitcoin exchanges and other technical problems. This is related to the lack of government backing and the fact that the value of Bitcoins is based entirely on confidence.  

Jitters After Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Services 

By 



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Pharmboy

2015 - Biotech Fever

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...



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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.

Here's this week's Stock World Weekly.

Click here and sign in with your user name and password. 

 

...

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Option Review

SPX Call Spread Eyes Fresh Record Highs By Year End

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...



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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 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!




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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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