Archive for 2009

Swing trading virtual portfolio – Week of December 28th, 2009

This post is for live trades and daily comments. 

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, membership etc.), please click here

- Optrader





What are We? – Stupid?

Courtesy of Bruce Krasting

I was disappointed with the Christmas Eve ditties from Treasury and FHFA re: the Agencies. To be honest, I was appalled. The two releases contained significant information. The timing was obviously an attempt to slip in some bad news while everyone is drinking eggnog.

Of course that backfired. The blogs, and yes, the MSM disintegrated those that sent the emails out on Christmas Eve. The smell that these announcements have created is not likely to go away anytime soon.

If you are reading this you know the story. Treasury ponied up for another $200b for Fannie and Freddie and the management of these entities are getting serious paychecks.

The former clearly establishes that Fannie and Freddie have been nationalized. I don’t care what they say any longer. The numbers speak for themselves. The $400 billion the taxpayers have signed up for far exceeds any theoretical value for these two important institutions. Sadly, ‘the people’ own these things at this point.

The notion that the Agencies are private sector companies with influential shareholders is over. These entities are no longer big shot players on Wall Street. There is no earnings prospect for these behemoths. There is no upside. There is no justification for multimillion dollar salary packages.

The Agencies fund themselves with lines of credit from Fed and Treasury. The Fed is buying 1.45 Trillion of their dodgy paper. Why in the world do we need to pay someone $6mm per year to run that mess?

A question for Mr. Geithner; What are the salaries and bonuses being paid to the people who run FHA? These are government salaries. FHA is a part of HUD. Compensation for Fannie and Freddie Exec’s should conform to those guidelines. Not the other way around. We need to end the myth that F/F are private sector entities. They are not.

We are not stupid Mr. Geithner. We watch what you are doing very closely. There are a significant number of us who flat out do not trust you. You have given us good reason in the past and you have proven again that you are not trustworthy. You tried to ‘Sneaky Pete’ some important information past us. In my view you owe us an apology and explanation, or better still, a letter of resignation. This Administration has promised a much higher standard than you have delivered.





2009: The Year Wall Street Bounced Back and Main Street Got Shafted

2009: The Year Wall Street Bounced Back and Main Street Got Shafted

Courtesy of Robert Reich, of Robert Reich’s Blog

Mature businessman dancing along street with briefcase and umbrella

In September 2008, as the worst of the financial crisis engulfed Wall Street, George W. Bush issued a warning: "This sucker could go down." Around the same time, as Congress hashed out a bailout bill, New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, the leading Republican negotiator of the bill, warned that "if we do not do this, the trauma, the chaos and the disruption to everyday Americans’ lives will be overwhelming, and that’s a price we can’t afford to risk paying."

In less than a year, Wall Street was back. The five largest remaining banks are today larger, their executives and traders richer, their strategies of placing large bets with other people’s money no less bold than before the meltdown. The possibility of new regulations emanating from Congress has barely inhibited the Street’s exuberance.

But if Wall Street is back on top, the everyday lives of large numbers of Americans continue to be subject to overwhelming trauma, chaos and disruption.

View of town's main street with mountains in the distance

It is commonplace among policymakers to fervently and sincerely believe that Wall Street’s financial health is not only a precondition for a prosperous real economy but that when the former thrives, the latter will necessarily follow. Few fictions of modern economic life are more assiduously defended than the central importance of the Street to the well-being of the rest of us, as has been proved in 2009.

Inhabitants of the real economy are dependent on the financial economy to borrow money. But their overwhelming reliance on Wall Street is a relatively recent phenomenon. Back when middle-class Americans earned enough to be able to save more of their incomes, they borrowed from one another, largely through local and regional banks. Small businesses also did.

It’s easy to understand economic policymakers being seduced by the great flows of wealth created among Wall Streeters, from whom they invariably seek advice. One of the basic assumptions of capitalism is that anyone paid huge sums of money must be very smart.

But if 2009 has proved anything, it’s that the bailout of Wall Street didn’t trickle down to Main Street. Mortgage delinquencies continue to rise. Small businesses can’t get credit. And people everywhere, it seems, are worried about losing their…
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“The Last Time That Happened Was During the Great Depression”

John’s newly designed website is up, check out Dollar Collapse.com. - Ilene

“The Last Time That Happened Was During the Great Depression”

Courtesy of John Rubino at Dollar Collapse

Homelessness On The Rise In New York City

Until a few years ago, running a U.S. city was pretty easy. You added services when voters asked, you hired more workers (who were likely to vote for you come election time) to provide the services, and you promised lavish retirement benefits to cops and teachers who weren’t going to retire until long after you left office. If tax revenues didn’t cover day-to-day operations, no problem; Washington was sending plenty of aid to make up the difference.

No longer. The gap between what a typical city gets from sales and property taxes and what it owes its employees is a now a chasm that even trillions in federal stimulus money can’t fill. So for the first time in most Americans’ memory, cities actually have to live within their means. The result, according to today’s Wall Street Journal, isn’t pretty.

As Slump Hits Home, Cities Downsize Their Ambitions

MESA, Ariz. — The police department in this city of 470,000 has lost about 50 officers, and is hiring lower-paid civilians to do investigative work. The Little League has to pay the city $15 an hour to turn on ball-field lights. The library now closes its main location on Sundays, and city offices are open only four days a week. This holiday season, the city didn’t put up festive lights along the downtown streets.

Mesa’s tax receipts, depressed by the recession, will likely come back one of these days. But Mayor Scott Smith doesn’t believe city services will return to prerecession levels for a long time, if ever. “We are redefining what cities are going to be,” says Mr. Smith, a Republican who ran a homebuilding company before his election last year.

Months after many economists declared the recession over, cities are only now beginning to feel the full brunt of it. Recessions often take longer to trickle down to local government, in part because it takes time for the sales and property-tax revenues on which municipalities depend to catch up with a depressed economy.

But the sting this time around is expected to be far more acute and long-lasting than in previous recessions. Projected deficits are especially deep in some


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Squeezing costs, NYSE Christmas Edition

Courtesy of Anal_yst, Stone Street Advisors

With my sincerest apologies for the crappy blackberry pics…

2008:

 

And now, 2009:





Lost decade for stocks

Lost decade for stocks

Courtesy of James D. Hamilton at Econbrowser

Why were the aughts so nasty for stocks?

The U.S. ended the decade more or less where it began in terms of total employment.



Source: FRED.
nfp_dec_09.png


The owners of capital fared no better, with the nominal S&P500 stock price index down 20% for the decade. The dividends stockholders collected made up for some of that, but inflation took away even more.



Blue line: Nominal value of S&P500 stock index, January 1980 to December 2009. Red line: value as of January 2000. Data source: Robert Shiller.
s&p_dec_09.gif


One of the reasons stocks did so badly was that real earnings ended the decade 80% lower than they began. Even when you smooth out cyclical variations by taking a decade-long average as in the dashed blue line below, the downturn in earnings at the end of the decade is still pretty significant.



Green line: Real value (in 2009 dollars) of earnings on the S&P500, January 1980 to December 2009. Dashed blue line: arithmetic average of green line for the preceding 10 years. Data source: Robert Shiller.
s&p_earnings_dec_09.gif


But a bigger reason why stocks did so badly was the changed valuation of those earnings. Yale Professor Robert Shiller likes to summarize this by using decade-long averages of real earnings to calculate a price-earnings ratio. In January 2000, this cyclically adjusted P/E ratio was profoundly out of line with the average values we’d seen over the previous century. If you trust the tendency of this series to revert to its long-run average, it means that whenever the blue line is above the red, you should expect stock prices to grow at a slower rate than earnings. If you bought when the blue was as far above the red as it was in January 2000, then I hope there was something else you found to enjoy about the naughty aughts.



Cyclically adjusted P/E over the last century. Blue line: Ratio of real value (in 2009 dollars) of S&P composite index to the arithmetic average value of real earnings over


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2010 Outlook – A Tale of Two Economies

By Phil

2010 Outlook – A Tale of Two Economies

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way–in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." – Charles Dickens, 1859
Dickens famous novel (which was originally written as a weekly series in 31 installments) depicts life in the time of the French revolution but was also a parable, meant to warn the British aristocracy that they should not ingore the parallels to the social inequities that existed at the time in England.  Dickens warned the nobles that the seeds of revolution were planted through unjust acts and surely there would be a time of reaping yet to come

It is said that the French Revolution was sparked by outrage over a statement by the Queen Mary Antoinette who, when told that the peasants had no bread to eat, supposedly replied (she never actually said this) "Qu’ils mangent de la brioche" or "Then let them eat cake."  It’s hard for us to imagine the impact of this statement in modern times but "peasants" were 90% of the population at the time and bread was 90% of what they ate, consuming 50% of the average family’s income (people weren’t silly enough to pay for housing back then – they just found a bit of land, bought some wood and nails and built their own homes).  Brioche was a luxury combination of bread enriched with flour and butter so the statement "Qu’ils mangent de la brioche" implies both lack of caring and cluelessness on the part of the Queen. 

The United States had what passes for a revolution between 2006 and 2008 as we threw out the Republicans and went with a Democrat-controlled government.  While the Bush administration, the Republican Congress and Fox News may have been as clueless as a French Queen to the plight of the people


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Home Sweet Rental: The American Dream Is A Bunch Of Baloney

Home Sweet Rental: The American Dream Is A Bunch Of Baloney

By James Altucher, courtesy of The Business Insider

sinkinghouse.jpg…When making the decision to buy vs. rent, people usually consider several factors — the rent vs. mortgage payment being the primary question. But there are other financial factors to consider, including:

* Your insurance premium.

* Property taxes (which are usually higher than any tax deduction you get from your mortgage interest).

* Maintenance (pipes break, electricity problems, etc.).

* Utilities (utilities and maintenance for renters is often reflected in the rental price, but it’s not reflected in a mortgage when you own).

* Yard work, pest control, remodeling, etc. (again, rents usually have this built into the price, but mortgages don’t)…

* A down payment of at least 15 percent, which is $90,000 on a $600,000 home.

* Closing costs, usually 5 percent of loan amount, or another $25,000.

* Initial remodeling costs…

Read the whole thing at NY Post >

 


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Get Ready to Throw Your Remote at the TV

Courtesy of madhedgefundtrader

You are about to be pounded senseless by competing sets of data arguing that global warming is accelerating, not changing, or like Santa Claus, doesn’t exist at all. You will be offered truckloads of contradictory, apple and orange comparisons, which sound relevant to non-scientists, but make it is impossible to reach any meaningful conclusions. The onslaught will be so annoying and offensive that you will no doubt be prompted to throw your remote at the TV in a fit of anger. With health care soon out of the way, cap & trade, alternative energy, and the restructuring of our energy infrastructure will move to the head of the queue as the next battleground in Washington. A stubbornly high unemployment rate and a potential double dip recession means that Obama could lose control of the house in November. So he has no choice but to ram through his most radical legislation in 2010. It’s now or never. The president certainly made no secret of his desire to wean the country off of terrorist financing imported oil during the election, which means that we have to come up with 20 million barrels a day of crude in energy equivalent or savings from somewhere. Think 10-20 supertankers a day of Texas tea. The environment is first and foremost an engineering issue. The last time I checked, both parties, even their most radical wings, agreed unequivocally that the boiling point of water was 32 degrees C, the atomic number of carbon was 6, and the formula for carbon dioxide was CO2. That won’t stop politicians from hijacking, emotionalizing, and clouding the issue to serve their own selfish local agendas. At stake is nothing less than the 10% of America’s GDP that the energy industry accounts for, and the moving of substantial economic amounts of activity out of Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana to the East and West coasts. Don’t expect this to happen without a knockdown, drag out fight. Since I believe that alternative energy will be one of the dominant investment themes of the coming new decade, and have the luxury of a science background, I will be wading through this morass attempting to provide readers with whatever insights I can. Watch this space, and keep that remote handy. For more iconoclastic and out of consensus analysis, please visit me at www.madhedgefundtrader.com .





Frontrunning: December 27

Courtesy of Marla Singer

  • Nigeria quick to point out supposed would be bomber snuck into country. (Scammers? Sure. Bombers? Niger[ia], please!) [reuters]
  • Mousavi’s nephew reportedly killed in Iran.  [reuters]
  • Gordon Brown sucks at economics.  (“The shadow [cabinet] knows.”) [timesonline]
  • 2009: South Korean group wins $40 billion UAE nuclear reactor deal.  (2011: South Korean group writes off $36 billion in UAE receivables) [reuters]
  • French group reportedly overbid by $16 billion.  (French management contract stipulated that reactors could only work for 30 hours per week)
  • Dubai Properties Group fires key executives, CFO.  (Senior employees “leaving for other opportunities.”  Read: “To head up UAE reactor project.”) [reuters]
  • China likes the Yuan right where it is, thank you very much.  (Timmy: “Pretty please? Aw, c’mon!  We’ll be your best friend!”) [reuters]
  • Housing prices, however, seem a bit high.  (Is that a bubble in your housing, China, or are you just happy to stimulate me?) [bloomberg]
  • Today in History: Afghanistan seized by Soviets.  (1979)

 





 
 
 

Zero Hedge

Americans' Economic Hope Has Collapsed

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Which came first, the confidence or the stock market rally?

One thing is for sure, the crash in stocks in December has crushed the hope of Americans that their economic future is going to be better under President Trump.

Overall confidence dipped to 58.1 - a 4-month low, but, U.S. consumers this month were the most downbeat on the economy since November 2016, a third straight drop after expectations reached a 16-year high just three months earlier, as the partial government shutdown wears on toward a fourth week.

...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Triple Breakout Test In Play For S&P 500!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Is the rally of late about to run out of steam or is a major breakout about to take place in the S&P 500? What happens at current prices should go a long way in determining this question.

This chart looks at the equal weight S&P 500 ETF (RSP) on a daily basis over the past 15-months.

The rally from the lows on Christmas Eve has RSP testing the top of a newly formed falling channel while testing the underneath side of the 2018 trading range and its falling 50-day moving average at (1).

At this time RPS is facing a triple resistance test. Wil...



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Phil's Favorites

Brexit deal flops, Theresa May survives -- so what happens now?

 

Brexit deal flops, Theresa May survives -- so what happens now?

Courtesy of Victoria Honeyman, University of Leeds

As the clock ticks down to March 29 2019, all of the political manoeuvring, negotiating, arguing and fighting is coming to a peak. In the two and a half years since the 2016 EU referendum, views on both sides have hardened and agreement still seems as far away as it was the day after the referendum.

With Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement disliked by all sides, and voted down by an unprecedented majority in the House of Commons, everyone is wondering what can and should be done next?

...



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Digital Currencies

Crypto-Bubble: Will Bitcoin Bottom In February Or Has It Already?

Courtesy of Michelle Jones via ValueWalk.com

The new year has been relatively good for the price of bitcoin after a spectacular collapse of the cryptocurrency bubble in 2018. It’s up notably since the middle of December and traded around the psychological level of $4,000... so is this a sign that the crypto market is about to recover?

Of course, it depends on who you ask, but one analyst discovered a pattern which might point to a bottom next month.

A year after the cryptocurrency bubble popped

CCN...



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ValueWalk

D.E. Shaw Investment Calls For Leadership Change At EQT

By ActivistInsight. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Elliott Management has offered to acquire QEP Resources for approximately $2.1 billion, contending the oil and gas explorer’s turnaround efforts have done little to lift the company’s share price. The company responded and said that a thorough review of the proposition is imperative in order to properly act in the best interests of shareholders, “taking into account the company’s other alternatives and current market conditions.” The news came only a month after Travelport Worldwide agreed to sell itself to Siris Capital Group and Elliott’s private equity arm Evergreen Coast Capital for $4.4 billion in cash and two months after Athenahealth was bought by Veritas and Evergreen for $5.7 bi...



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Insider Scoop

UBS Says Disney's Streaming Ambition Gives It A 'New Hope'

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related DIS Despite Some Risks, Analysts Still Expecting Double Digit Growth From Communications Services In Q4 ...

http://www.insidercow.com/ more from Insider

Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Jan 13, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

In last week’s recap we asked:  “Has the Fed solved all the market’s problems in 1 speech?”

Thus far the market says yes!  As Guns n Roses preached – all we need is a little “patience”.  Four up days followed by a nominal down day Friday had the market following it’s normal pattern the past nearly 30 years – jumping whenever the Federal Reserve hints (or essentially says outright) it is here for the markets.   And in case you missed it the prior Friday, Chairman Powell came back out Thursday to reiterate the news – so…so… so… patient!

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reinforced that message Thursday during a discussion at the Economic Club of Washington where he said that the central bank will be “fle...



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Members' Corner

Why Trump Can't Learn

 

Bill Eddy (lawyer, therapist, author) predicted Trump's chaotic presidency based on his high-conflict personality, which was evident years ago. This post, written in 2017, references a prescient article Bill wrote before Trump even became president, 5 Reasons Trump Can’t Learn. ~ Ilene 

Why Trump Can’t Learn

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore (...



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Biotech

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

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

 

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

Bacteriophage viruses infecting bacterial cells , Bacterial viruses. from www.shutterstock.com

Courtesy of John Bergeron, McGill University

Today, the scientific community is aghast at the prospect of gene editing to create “designer” humans. Gene editing may be of greater consequence than climate change, or even the consequences of unleashing the energy of the atom.

...

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Mapping The Market

Trump: "I Won't Be Here" When It Blows Up

By Jean-Luc

Maybe we should simply try him for treason right now:

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

The president thinks the balancing of the nation’s books is going to, ultimately, be a future president’s problem.

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the nationa...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

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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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