BTW Phil, I wanted to relate a conversation I had with my business partner yesterday. I told him that I have been much more relaxed about my investments ever since I joined your site. It's funny how a 15-20% cushion does to your nerves. My returns have increased dramatically and my risk diminished. Many thanks for the guidance and patience. Good thing I am doing better financially as you might have increased my life expectancy as well!
Started my membership in mid-Oct and have since then learned so much about options by reading the site's articles and postings, members' chats and suggested trades – as a bonus, the articles are entertaining as well! Phil's long-term investing strategy makes really good sense as I've seen its effect on my GLW positions.
Phil – thanks for sharing your knowledge of the market! I've worked as risk analyst for the investment dept of a $19B insurance company, and the scope and depth of your daily commentaries blows away what I have seen and heard from the PMs and even the chief investment officer! Most of all, I will continue to be a member because you have your priorities right (from my POV) – it's not all about money and power.
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%.
Thanks for the USO directions today. Made it 3 times (up/down/up) for a very nice win.
I'm just starting my second year as a member, and I'd like to thank all of you for sharing your trading ideas and insight, and especially Phil of course for great all-around investing advice as well as trades! In addition to learning patience and profit-taking, I think one of the most important things I'm learning here is to stick to stocks and trades that suit my temperament. And wow, I had NO idea how hard it was to learn patience. I should say "practice" instead of "learn", because it seems to be a constant struggle. Phil, please keep reminding us how nice CASH is!
I traded with Phil for approximately three years, and consistently averaged 80% returns yearly... some of which was due to my skills as a trader, but much was a direct result of what I learned as a member of Phil's site.... both from Phil, and the many talented traders that hang out there. Phil... if you are reading along... thanks, again for the approximately $ 3 mil I made tagging along with you.... in order to make you feel good for the work you did... I gave the government 50% of it all, so you made your contribution....
Phil/CL-that play made a quick $500 per contract! Took all of 10 minutes! I want to thank you for helping me not just learn a bit about trading, but giving me some confidence and most of all a rewarding "hobby" to look forward to each day. I have had a few mistakes and losses along the way, but I have had some great wins too and I am now consistently making money trading futures and have even learned to go to sleep while holding a losing position knowing that tomorrow is always another opportunity to win again. So thanks again for your help and patience along the way.
Thanks, Phil. I really appreciate your sentiment and commitment! Just want to thank you for what you do for all of us.
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
Phil, I've got to give you props on the ICE spread play. Tremendous call! I jumped in on Friday when you made the recommendation and closed out today. Nice 57% return ($2,300) over a mere 3 trading days! This is why I dig your site!
Phil - I celebrate today, having reached my goal for the year, trading in sync with your education and guidance, of 1 million in profit. I learned a lot, achieved much, and am profoundly grateful. To be honest, when I set the goal I thought it was daunting, as I have for many years been an investor in equities but did very little with options. Learning and doing has for me been a blast!
I reached my goal by following Phil's strategies - lots of Buy/Writes, covered calls on equities , naked put entries for income production. I did it with 2.5 mil and kept 600,000 in cash in case I got in trouble. I concentrated on stocks (many of my own choosing) that had decent dividends and wrote front month calls against (OTM) which has worked well in this market run. 25% of my gain is in dividends and premium selling, with the balance in appreciation.
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.
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.
Phil – In the event of a mkt meltdown, which of the indices, in your opinion do you think has the most potential for % move down. I'm looking at call options on SDS and the DXD. Any thoughts? Ideas?
Thanks .. and thanks for being a great teacher! I've learned so much in only a month!
Hi Mr. Phill, I am a Venezuelan lady tormented by our politicall situation, who use to be an emerging market trader, and many other executive positins in the finance "arena" and now is trying to built a new concept and service for asset management for clients on my own, I am in the trial and learning process at the moment, I also invest for some friends and myself. I want to congratulate you , because reading you fill my days with a touch of irony (besides ,of course the spectacular market insight) that happens to give me energy, its a joy the remarks and comments even the pictures used, sometimes I just read it for the fun, I completily agree with your thouhts, though we belong to totally different cultures and enviorements and certanly realities Your readings is like a little hand helping me out to be in the market and fight for my devastated country where every single day we looe inches and yards of liberty. You shoul try to writte a book!
Speaking of the "Man Who Planted Trees", it really works. I bought BTU back in March at $49.87. I practically bought it at the tippy top. However, I soon afterward found this site, started learning Phil's methodology(and those in the strategy section) and began selling calls/puts regularly against my bad position. As of yesterday, I still own the original 100 shares, but have brought my basis down by over $11.00. Couldn't be happier, what started out as a really bad entry, I have managed to work down to a good basis. Had I not watched that video and learned your system, I would sold out of the position, and been kicking myself for making such a bad entry.
Phil Thank you very much, I appreciate your help and wisdom.
This is my first month here. Today was a money train with futures. I gained 7500 USD with KC, RB, CL, NG.
I took RB almost every direction up and down. And I only used 1 contract or maximum 2.
Thank you. I think it was a good investment to subscribe…
Sold out my AAPL mar95 calls. Up over 100% today on them!
You guys gotta give it to phil–the voice of reason yesterday, last nite and this morning.
Thanks for all the work you put into this site. I have looked at a few other option advisory or "mentoring" services this year, but no one offers even a fraction of the content or the level of services you provide at PSW!
Phil, I don't know how I can thank you enough for your guidance this past week. I'm up significantly in my portfolio and I've never been so relaxed watching the market panic. Thanks once again for being here for us.
Thanks, Phil!!! I just crushed today with it with silver (SLV) calls today, thanks to your persistent reminders of how ridiculously cheap it has become, and watching my TSLA this week $240 puts dissolve into chump change added an extra note of amusement.
It was a nice day thanks to your help! Made over $1100 shorting TF every time it came up near 1260 and even more by going long oil before inventory under $46 and then waited patiently for the spike up into the close where I shorted it at 47.70 or so. Phil you gave me a road map and I simply followed the signs along the way.
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.
Phil - Rode the /QM down from 99.65 at 7pm and now I'm taking your advice, taking the $$ and going to enjoy a restful night sleep. I don't post often so I want to say thanks for sharing your incredible market acumen with all of us. Your site has a unusually talented group of investors (and some characters) and I enjoy my days trading more because of it.
Best day ever trading the futures, thanks to Phil's excellent call this am, and his "play the laggard" instruction. Well done Phil!
Killed it tonight trading copper. Anyone who jumped in right after election is up about 75k on one contract!
I have been a member of Phil's site for three years and counting, and my advice is that all investing takes time. There are o shortcuts, no secret way to riches. Same with Phil's site- you need time and patience to start benefitting fully from his advice. But it is often spot on and also very useful, especially to me as I try to keep a level head in this turbulent stock market environment.
There are a lot of us that have been here a long time and we all learn something everyday. Just keep asking questions, there are a lot of smart people here and they are willing to help and then of course, you have Phil.
The system for financing mortgages and regulating that financing has failed, completely and utterly. The mortgage and real estate markets are now in collapse.
Yesterday I wrote about how positive feedback loops lead to collapse. Welcome to the U.S. housing and mortgage markets. As I have documented here numerous times, the entire U.S. mortgage market has already been socialized: 99% of all mortgages are backed by the three FFFs--Fannie, Freddie and FHA--and the Federal Reserve has purchased a staggering $1.2 trillion in mortgage-backed assets in the past year or so to maintain the illusion that there is a market for mortgage-backed securities.
There is, but only because the mortgages are backed by the Federal Government and propped up by the Federal Reserve.
The mortgage market is completely dependent on government guarantees and quasi-Government purchases of securitized mortgages. If the mortgage market were truly socialized, then the Central State would own the banks which originate, service and own the mortgages.
But then the private owners and managers of the "too big to fail" banks would not be reaping hundreds of billions in profits and bonuses. And since the banking industry has effectively captured the processes of governance (that is, Congress and the various regulatory agencies), then what we have is a system of private ownership of the revenue and profits generated by the mortgage industry and public absorption of the risks and losses.
Could anything be sweeter for the big banks? No.
The incestuous nature of the system is breathtaking. The Fed creates the credit which enables the mortgages, the Treasury guarantees the mortgages via Fannie, Freddie and FHA, the Fed buys the mortgages ($1.3 trillion in mortgages are on their balance sheet) and the private banks collect the fees and profits.
One of the core tenets of the Survival+ critique is the State/Financial Plutocracy partnership. There are many examples of this partnership (crony capitalism in which the State is the "enforcer" which collects the national income and distributes it to its private-sector cronies), but perhaps none so blatant and pure as the mortgage/banking sector.
But now the entire legal basis for that privatized-profits, socialized losses system has dissolved. The foreclosure scandal…
Larry Summers, whose days in the Obama administration are thankfully numbered, presents the most incoherent rambling defense of our monopoly banking system, yet to appear in the public domain. When asked if US mega banks should be broken up, reports the HuffPo, "Summers said no. He added that it’s not significant. But that’s not the important issue," Summers said during the interview, adding to his answer as to why the U.S. shouldn’t break up megabanks. "[Observers] believe that it would actually make us less stable, because the individual banks would be less diversified and, therefore, at greater risk of failing, because they would haven’t profits in one area to turn to when a different area got in trouble. And most observers believe that dealing with the simultaneous failure of many — many small institutions would actually generate more need for bailouts and reliance on taxpayers than the current economic environment."
We dare you to reread the above from Larry the Hutt and not have your frontal lobe disintegrate into antimatter. Sure, 4 out of 5 Goldman CDO traders totally agree that Goldman’s monopoly in the capital markets is terrific, and, in fact, if someone could "organize" a liquidity event at RBC, Barclays, UBS and CS, they would really apprciate it, doubly so if, like JPM, they could then acquire the firms for a dollar over their Fed guaranteed debt. As for everybody else, well, if you have any doubt that Larry Summers is having his future personal assistant organizing his corner office at 200 West, we hope this should resolve it.
Yet there may still be hope that not all of America is run by corrupt demagogues. HuffPo writes:
A bill championed by Democratic Senators Ted Kaufman of Delaware, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island proposes to break up financial behemoths. Observers say the proposal is gaining steam.
A test vote in the Senate Budget Committee on Thursday, which essentially would have expressed support for breaking up megabanks, failed by just a 12-10 vote. The small margin was surprising, one Senate aide said.
HuffPost posed the following questions, which were based on Summers’s remarks, to the White House:
- Does Mr. Summers and/or the administration wish to
It’s Time for Reform We Can Believe In
The Fed Must Be Independent
Credit Default Swaps Threaten the System
Too Big To Fail Must Go
And This Thing About Leverage
What Happens If We Do Nothing?
New York, Media, and La Jolla
Casey Stengel, manager of the hapless 1962 New York Mets, once famously asked, after an especially dismal outing, "Can’t anybody here play this game?" This week I ask, after months of worse than no progress, "Can’t anybody here even spell financial reform, let alone get it done?" We are in danger of experiencing another credit crisis, but one that could be even worse, as the tools to fight it may be lacking when we need them. With attacks on the independence of the Fed, no regulation of derivatives, and allowing banks to be too big to fail, we risk a repeat of the credit crisis. The bank lobbyists are winning and it’s time for those of us in the cheap seats to get outraged. (And while this letter focuses on the US and financial reform, the principles are the same in Europe and elsewhere, as I will note at the end. We are risking way too much in the name of allowing large private profits.) And with no "but first," let’s jump right in.
Last Monday I had lunch with Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Mr. Fisher is a remarkably nice guy and is very clear about where he stands on the issues. My pressing question was whether the Fed would actually accommodate the federal government if it continued to run massive deficits and turn on the printing press. Fisher was clear that such a move would be a mistake, and he thought there would be little sentiment among the various branch presidents to become the enabler of a dysfunctional Congress.
But that brought up a topic that he was quite passionate about, and that is what he sees as an attack on the independence of the Fed. There are bills in Congress that would take away or threaten the current independence of the Fed.
I recognize that the Fed is not completely independent. Even Greenspan said so this past week: "There’s a presumption that …
Sen. John McCain of Arizona … says he was misled by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. McCain said the pair assured him that the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program would focus on what was seen as the cause of the financial crisis, the housing meltdown.
"Obviously, that didn’t happen," McCain said in a meeting Thursday with The Republic‘s Editorial Board, recounting his decision-making during the critical initial days of the fiscal crisis. "They decided to stabilize the Wall Street institutions, bail out (insurance giant) AIG, bail out Chrysler, bail out General Motors. . . . What they figured was that if they stabilized Wall Street – I guess it was trickle-down economics – that therefore Main Street would be fine."
McCain isn’t the only one to say that Paulson was doing a bait-and-switch.
The TARP Inspector General found that Paulson misrepresented the too big to fail banks’ health in the run-up to passage of TARP.
Congressmen Brad Sherman and Paul Kanjorski and Senator James Inhofe all say that the government warned of martial law if TARP wasn’t passed (Inhofe says Paulson was the one doing the talking).
During the two weeks that Congress considered the [TARP] legislation, market conditions worsened considerably. It was clear to me by the time the bill was signed on October 3rd that we needed to act quickly and forcefully, and that purchasing troubled assets—our initial focus—would take time to implement and would not be sufficient given the severity of the problem. In consultation with the Federal Reserve, I determined that the most timely, effective step to improve credit market conditions was to strengthen bank balance sheets quickly through direct purchases of equity in banks.
So Paulson knew "by the time the bill was signed" that it wouldn’t be used for its advertised purpose – disposing of toxic assets – and would instead be used to give money directly to the big banks. But he didn’t tell Congress before they voted to approve the TARP legislation.
Senator Corker challenged Mr. Volcker’s stance in today’s congressional hearings on the Volcker Rule by saying that no financial holding company that had a commercial bank failed while performing proprietary trading. It appears as if Mr. Corker may have received his information from the banking lobby, and did not do his own homework.
Let’s reference the largest commercial bank/thrift failure of all:
We are witnessing an epic battle between two banking giants, JPMorgan Chase (Paul Volcker) and Goldman Sachs (Rubin/Geithner). The bodies left strewn on the battleground could include your pension fund and 401K.
The late Libertarian economist Murray Rothbard wrote that U.S. politics since 1900, when William Jennings Bryan narrowly lost the presidency, has been a struggle between two competing banking giants, the Morgans and the Rockefellers. The parties would sometimes change hands, but the puppeteers pulling the strings were always one of these two big-money players. No popular third party candidate had a real chance at winning, because the bankers had the exclusive power to create the national money supply and therefore held the winning cards.
In 2000, the Rockefellers and the Morgans joined forces, when JPMorgan and Chase Manhattan merged to become JPMorgan Chase Co. Today the battling banking titans are JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, an investment bank that gained notoriety for its speculative practices in the 1920s. In 1928, it launched the Goldman Sachs Trading Corp., a closed-end fund similar to a Ponzi scheme. The fund failed in the stock market crash of 1929, marring the firm’s reputation for years afterwards. Former Treasury Secretaries Henry Paulson and Robert Rubin came from Goldman, and current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner rose through the ranks of government as a Rubin protégé. One commentator called the U.S. Treasury “Goldman Sachs South.”
Goldman’s superpower status comes from something more than just access to the money spigots of the banking system. It actually has the ability to manipulate markets. Formerly just an investment bank, in 2008 Goldman magically transformed into a bank holding company. That gave it access to the Federal Reserve’s lending window; but at the same time it remained an investment bank, aggressively speculating in the markets. The upshot was that it can now borrow massive amounts of money at virtually 0% interest, and it can use this money not only to speculate for its own account but to bend markets to its will.
But Goldman Sachs has been caught in this blatant market manipulation so often that the JPMorgan faction of the banking
David Einhorn delivered a speech at the 2009 Value Investing Conference that is creating a lot of buzz in the blogosphere. He said a lot of interesting things about the investing and political climate. A surprising amount of it comes out of the playbook here at Credit Writedowns.
Below are the quotes I want to highlight for you. At the bottom is an embedded copy of his speech.
On short-termism in politics and government
Winston Churchill said that, “Democracy is the worst form of government except for
all the others that have been tried from time to time.”
As I see it, there are two basic problems in how we have designed our government.
The first is that officials favor policies with short-term impact over those in our long-term
interest because they need to be popular while they are in office and they want to be reelected. In recent times, opinion tracking polls, the immediate reactions of focus groups, the 24/7 news cycle, the constant campaign, and the moment-to-moment obsession with the Dow Jones Industrial Average have magnified the political pressures to favor short-term solutions. Earlier this year, the political topic du jour was to debate whether the stimulus was working, before it had even been spent.
On crony capitalism and regulatory capture
The second weakness in our government is “concentrated benefit versus diffuse harm” also known as the problem of special interests. Decision makers help small groups who care about narrow issues and whose “special interests” invest substantial resources to be better heard through lobbying, public relations and campaign support. The special interests benefit while the associated costs and consequences are spread broadly through the rest of the population. With individuals bearing a comparatively small extra burden, they are less motivated or able to fight in Washington.
In the context of the recent economic crisis, a highly motivated and organized banking lobby has demonstrated enormous influence. Bankers advance ideas like, “without banks, we would have no economy.” Of course, there was a public interest in protecting the guts of the system, but the ATMs could have continued working, even with forced debt-to-equity conversions that would not have required any public funds. Instead, our leaders responded by handing over hundreds of billions
Lobbyists from the financial industry have paid hundreds of millions to Congress and the Obama administration. They have bought virtually all of the key congress members and senators on committees overseeing finances and banking.
In what may be the second vehicle-based terrorist attack in Germany in as many months, moments ago the AP and local press reported that according to German police a man rammed his car into a pedestrian area in a central square in the city of Heidelberg, injuring three people, then fled armed with a knife, and was subsequently shot after being tracked down by officers.
Police spokesperson Anne Baas said one of the three people hit outside a bakery on Saturday afternoon was seriously injur...
Notes from Charlie Munger’s annual meeting at the Daily Journal are making the rounds. This parody, from a few years back, was too good not to share again. “One thing about doing something dumb is that you’re unlikely to do it again.”
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Consecutive gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average have left it at the doorstep of history, including a 20 percent surge in futures from the early hours of Nov. 9 that could be loosely framed as the president’s own bull market.
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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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