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…
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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

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Zero Hedge

Atlanta Fed Slashes Q4 GDP Forecast

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Just when you thought it was safe to hike rates, The Atlanta Fed takes an ax to its Q4 GDP forecast, smashing it to cycle lows following this morning's unexpected weakness in consumer spending.

The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2015 is 1.8 percent on November 25, down from 2.3 percent on November 18.

The forecast for the fourth-quarter rate of real consumer spending declined from 3.1 percent to 2.2 percent after this morning's personal income and outlays release from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The Atlanta Fed model is now almost half 'consensus' expectations...


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Phil's Favorites

ISIS Releases "Greatest" Piece Of Terrorist Video Propaganda In History, Tells US, Russia To "Bring It On"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

By now, it’s probably safe to say that pretty much anyone who follows current events has seen at least one ISIS propaganda video. What began with clips of “Jihadi John” beheading Western journalists quickly escalated to footage of obscenely graphic executions. 

The world recoiled in horror when the group’s Al Hayat Media Center released a slick, high-def production depicting a Jordanian pilot being burned alive in a cage earlier this year and from that point on, the group essentially tried to one-up themselves with each new video murder montage. Notable highlights include: putting a handful of “confessed spies” in a cage and drowning them...

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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World


Financial Markets and Economy

Barclays bets on stock boom as world money growth soars (The Telegraph)

Barclays has advised clients to jump into world stock markets with both feet, citing the fastest growth in the global money supply in over thirty years and an accelerating recovery in China .

Ian Scott, the bank’s global equity strategist, said the sheer force of liquidity will overwhelm the first interest rate rises by the US Federal Reserve, expected to kick off next month.

The reason Pfizer doesn't have to care what politicians say about its $160 billion merger&nbs...

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Insider Scoop

Morgan Stanley Thinks SPX Flow Is Cheap Compared To Peers, Initiates At Equal-Weight

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related FLOW Benzinga's Top Initiations Benzinga's Top Initiations

  • Shares of SPX Flow Inc (NYSE: FLOW) have been trading at a discount to its peers since the company’s spin in September 2015.
  • Morgan Stanley’s Nigel ...

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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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    Chart School

    2-0 Bulls

    Courtesy of Declan.

    A second day for bulls to shine despite modest end-of-day gains. Some indices did better than others. The Russell 2000 was the key performer. It finished with a MACD trigger 'buy' and looks ready to outperform the Nasdaq 100.  This is an important development for bulls looking for more from other indices. A move to challenge - then break - its 200-day MA, would convert August-November action into a healthy basing action.

    The Nasdaq registered higher volume accumulation as a brief sojourn below the 20-day MA was reversed. It's nicely set up for a push to new swing highs.


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    Kimble Charting Solutions

    S&P 500 – Dangerous for bull case, if prices turn weak here!

    Courtesy of Chris Kimble.


    The S&P 500 remains inside of a rising channel that has been in place since 2010. The 5-year trend is up.

    The 5-month trend is a different story, at this time.

    Over the past 5-months, the S&P 500 has created a series of “falling weekly closing highs,” which is represented by line (1) above.

    The S&P is testing this falling resistance line at (2) above.

    If weakness takes place at (2) above, at falling resistance, it would be concerning price action for the bullish case!


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    Sector Detector: Bulls wrest back control of market direction, despite global adversity

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

    Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

    Some weeks when I write this article there is little new to talk about from the prior week. It’s always the Fed, global QE, China growth, election chatter, oil prices, etc. And then there are times like this in which there is so much happening that I don’t know where to start. Of course, the biggest market-moving news came the weekend before last when Paris was put face-to-face with the depths of human depravity and savagery. And yet the stock market responded with its best week of the year. As a result, the key issues dominating the front page and election chatter have moved from the economy and jobs to national security and a real war (rather than police ...

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    Swing trading portfolio - week of November 23rd, 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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    Digital Currencies

    Bitcoin's Computing Network is More Powerful than 525 Googles and 10,000 Banks!

    Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

    Submitted by Reggie Middleton.

    I've decided to build our startup - Veritaseum, a peer-to-peer financial services platform, directly on top of the Bitcoin Blockchain. Many queried why I would voluntarily give up a lucrative advisory and consulting business to chase virtual coins in cyberspace. That's exactly why I decided to do it. That level of misunderstanding of what is essentially the second coming of the Internet gave me a fundamental advantage over those who had deeper connections, more capital and more firepower. I was the first mover advantage holder.

    You see, Bitcoin is not about coins, currency or price pops. It is a massive computing net...

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    PSW is more than just stock talk!


    We know you love coming here for our Stocks & Options education, strategy and trade ideas, and for Phil's daily commentary which you can't live without, but there's more! features the most important and most interesting news items from around the web, all day, every day!

    News: If you missed it, you can probably find it in our Market News section. We sift through piles of news so you don't have to.   

    If you are looking for non-mainstream, provocatively-narrated news and opinion pieces which promise to make you think -- we feature Zero Hedge, ...

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    Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli


    Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli

    Courtesy of Value Walk

    1) The shares of one of my largest short positions (~3%), Exact Sciences, crashed by more than 46% yesterday. Below is the article I published this morning on SeekingAlpha, explaining why I think it’s still a great short and thus shorted more yesterday. Here’s a summary:

    • The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Draft Recommendation issued yesterday is devastating for Exact Sciences’ only product, Cologuard.
    • I think this is the beginning of the end for the company.
    • My price target for the stock a year from now is $3, so I shorted more yes...

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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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    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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    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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