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Wednesday, March 29, 2023


Tuesday – Fox News says President Not to Blame for Oil Prices – America Must Conserve!

For once I have to agree with Fox (and thanks to D Virginia for the link):  

With gas at $3.87 and over $4 in California, New York and Illinois, Fox news says other journalists don't check "the substance of the accusations against the President," the media needs to "look at certain claims and promises to see what the facts are behind them."  And what are the facts that Fox News presents us with?  

  • Cal Thomas:  "No President has the power to increase or to lower gas prices – Those are market forces."  
  • Neil Cavuto:  "China and India are slopping up oil faster than we can these days and THAT is the not so sinister response to what's going on."
  • Cheryl Casone:  "At this point, it really is tough for this President, I have to be honest with you, because he really does not have any control over what's going to happen with the markets and with the economy and with oil prices and with supply and demand and gasoline – it really is out of this President's hands."  
  • Bill O'Reilly: "Yesterday oil hit a record high and politicians can't do anything about it."  
  • Joe D'Agostino (VP of NYMEX on O'Reilly): "The only thing we can do is start to use less energy."  
  • Bill O'Reilly: "If every American who owns an automobile or an air conditioner says "I'm going to use 10% less" – the prices then would fall… Politicians can't do this."  
  • News team:  "Get rid of gas guzzlers, buy decent insulation for your house and tell your local, elected officials to get on the stick and do some more mass transit/infrastructure spending because those kinds of fixes that can really help Americans."  
  • News team:  "Drilling an ANWR would reduce the price of oil by about 40 cents a barrel (1 penny per gallon) or maybe as much at $1.40 per barrel (3.3 cents per gallon)."  "If we drilled in ANWR we would get 4% of our daily consumption in oil."  "It would take 20 years for saving from ANWR drilling to be realized."
  • O'Reilly: "So the next time you hear a politician say he or she will bring down oil prices, UNDERSTANT IT'S COMPLETE BS!  If Americans want lower gas prices, cut back – that's what the candidates SHOULD be saying.  Sell those SUV's, ride a bike when you can.  If every one of us bought 10% less gas, prices would fall fast."  

I'm sure by now you've realized that sure, this was Fox – but it was Fox when George Bush was President and oil was $130 a barrel, on the way to $145.  If it sounds almost exactly the opposite of what Fox sounds like now that Barack Obama is President and oil is at $107 (17% LOWER than it was then) then you perhaps realize what a TOTAL PIECE OF CRAP, PROPOGANDA-SPOUTING, MANIPULATIVE HATE-FEST Fox news is and how you can't believe a single thing that is broadcast over their airwaves.  

This is a television station with no morals, no scruples, no concern for anything other than positioning their own candidates, right or wrong and painting a picture with words and images and "experts" who will back up whatever BS it is convenient for them to shove down your throat.  It's not journalism – it's an outrage!  

I especially love the part where O'Reilly essentially comments accurately on Newt's $2.50 per gallon gas promise – "COMPLETE BS!"  That sums Newt up nicely.  Oddly enough here's Bill O'Reilly – SAME GUY – on the SAME STATION – under a different President, discussing the SAME ISSUE:

To his credit, O'Reilly plays the part of the skeptic but Newt wins him over in the end and O'Reilly takes the opportunity, of course, to sell that Keystone Pipeline Fox is working so hard on.  Not one mention of conservation in the "drill baby drill" solution.  Is it still "complete BS"?  We report, you decide…

And why does Fox still call Newt "Mr. Speaker"?  The man was forced to resign in disgrace and was brought up on multiple ethics charges and paid a substantial fine.  Did we still call Agnew "Mr. Vice President"?  Do we call still call Rod Blagojevich "Governor"?  Do we still call Fox "News"?  

Clearly Fox thinks nothing of lying to their viewers.  Whether they were lying in 2008 or they are lying in 2012 – does it matter?  This is not news, this is a blatant propaganda network that is seeking to brainwash their viewers – and it works fantastically well.  I am constantly attacked by people who hit me with the SAME EXACT talking points over and over and over.  These are not original thoughts – this is just those little sound-bytes that are used by Fox and the Right in general over and over and over again until people simply believe them to be facts – no matter how ridiculous they are.  

The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.  Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.” – Joseph Goebbels

I could go on all day about the BS that goes on at Fox, the WSJ and every other media outlet Murdoch's slime trail passes over but really I was just killing a little time ahead of the 8:30 retail sales report.  In our Weekend Reading Post, I had said to Members in Chat at 1:42 am Monday Morning:  

Retail sales is 8:30 on Tuesday and, as I've noted, we had an extra day this Feb so 3.3% improvement is beat in plus inflation (unmeasured by the Fed but bumping up prices), plus very high gas costs plus huge improvements in auto sales should equal a very good sales report pre-market Tuesday so, if we do fall off today, it might be good to make an overnight bounce trade.

Unfortunately, we forgot to make that bullish bet and the Futures are indeed up half a point ahead of those numbers and ahead of the Fed as hope for QE3 springs eternal, no matter how many times the Fed tries to soft-peddle it.  We'll know in a few minutes what the headline number is and then I'll see if we can figure out what reality is but our knee-jerk reaction is going to be to flip short in the Futures if we get a nice spike up.  

8:30 Update:  Retail sales fell a bit short!  Up 1.1% vs 1.2% expected is no tragedy, unless you consider that last February had one less day than this one (3.3% more days this year) and that it says right in the first paragraph of the report that the data is not adjusted for price changes (ie. inflation).  So, unless you think inflation is lower than 1.1% – this report is really not very good.    

The key drivers were building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers sales were up 13.8 percent from February 2011 and gasoline stations were up 10.3 percent from last year.  We already knew HD and LOW and SHW were doing great as more people fix up their homes as they sure can't sell them while the banks are also fixing up the foreclosed homes they do hope to sell.  And, of course, I'm not entirely convinced that forcing consumers to spend $4Bn more Dollars on gasoline than they did last year is a "good thing."   

This is certainly not a bad report but that's not necessarily a good thing as it pushes the Fed back off the QE bandwagon as they have fewer and fewer reasons to "pump you up".   As you can see from our handy-dandy retail sales chart, a strong Retail Sales Report indicates a demand for Dollars and a demand for Dollars makes the Dollar go up.  Generally, that in itself is bearish for the markets, which is why we like to fade the initial positive reaction to a bullish Retail Sales Report as the Dollar tends to climb and wipe out the early gains.  

Also, let's note that the price of oil and gas is up 18% from $90 last February but the actual sales of gasoline are only up 10.3% so we are following Fox's advice (vintage 2008) and using less gas only the crooks at the NYMEX are just charging us more money per gallon to make up the difference.  How long can they keep this up before breaking down?  This morning at 4:52, my comment in Member Chat was

It was TOS that let me look at the futures in bed earlier and decide it wasn't worth getting up for other than the usual oil (/CL) short at $107 but if I still have to get up to tell you guys that one – I'm giving up!  

Dow (/YM) just now slipping below 12,450 so that line can be used and RUT 817 doesn't sound like a line but they consolidated there all night long so we may as well use it and Mr. Dollar is heading back to test 80 from 79.74 so I'm expecting a good dip from oil. Oh yes, and gold (/YG) is very playable below that $1,700 line these days.  

Fortunately, oil hung out near $107 right up until 8:35 so it wasn't only the early birds catching the worm this morning.  Already we are hitting $106 and that's a gain of $1,000 per contract on those (/CL) futures – not a bad way to get our day started but my target for the week remains at $102.50 but we are playing $105 for the bounce, which worked very well for us yesterday.  Gold is also doing well at $1,685 and we're also waiting patiently for the big drop there as the monkeys get tired of starting at their shiny bits of metal.  

Now we have the FOMC announcement at 2:15 to look forward to and Treasury has $21Bn worth of 10-year notes to peddle so TLT should be a nice pick-up this morning at $115.35 out of the box, probably with the weekly $114 calls at $1.45 for a quick run back to near $116 by 12:30.  So there's a nice trade to make this morning and we already knocked one out of the park in the Futures so no pressure on the rest of the day – we'll just see what happens…  


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PHil, when you figure out how to turn off Microsoft automatic update, let me know…I have never been so annoyed as by their unannounced and unsolicited upgrades that take over the computer just as you're working on something…but I haven't figured out how to turn off the auto update…there should be enough computer savvy ppl on this board to tell us how to do that I would think… 

It is hard to say what is most damning in this resignation letter from Goldman Sachs, published in the NY Times today, but here is the gist of it:
How did we get here? The firm changed the way it thought about leadership. Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.

What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm’s “axes,” which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) “Hunt Elephants.” In English: get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym.

Sorry I won't be around to discuss today, since I am heading to Albany to lobby for funding for low-income housing and homeless programs.  I don't expect much since our individual legislators don't matter much due to NY State's top-dominated budget process, but I'm always interested to see what happens at these events.  
I've been low key trading for the past month, busy with more homeless, plus several job interviews, so I may have big changes soon.  Like many of you, it is hard to wrap my mind around a bull market, retail rising, and my worst year ever helping people who are homeless and searching for low-income housing.  We are dealing with a new heroin epidemic and severe austerity from state and local budgets for many programs that serve the mentally ill.  Its hard to be a bull in a world where I'm walking through so much bear shit.

TLT continues its massive sell off in pre-market down another .95 – we have had a huge move in tlt.
Would be very interested in hearing member opinion about what is happening. – only slightly higher volume of 900K vs average of 780K 
Seems like it must be money that has been parked in bonds moving to stocks – 
Is this the retail investor finally moving to stocks – sign of blow of top – can only hope –

For those interested – yen is starting to drop like a stone

Phil – I have to sell some bullish puts to off set bearish positions.
Should I just look at the income portfolio – thanks 

  I had an Apr EDZ and TZA bull call spread on which I bought to cover the short call leaving naked the long call. So, I have 40 Apr EDZ 12 calls at $1.65 (now $0.9) and 40 Apr TZA 18 calls at $2.12 (now $1.15). Question for you is should I roll, DD or just wait? Don't see a great roll option at the moment. Thanks.

Disbabling Windows update
In Windows 7:
Go to Start Menu
Go to Control Panel
Select Windows Update (If your Control Panel  is listed alphabetically, this will be at the lower right).
Select Turn Off Automatic Updates, or Notify Before Automatic Updates.
Alternatively, prepare text in a text editor that provides automatic saving and then paste it into ultimate destination as required.

"…….. This is what I'm talking about, when volume selling comes into a BS market like this – you get moves like that – down 3% in 2 hours……. 
Futures ticked up on Dollar pullback to 80.70 but looks bouncy and mean here so be careful".
I miss those days when the market was much lower and you admonished 3/4 of the world for not recognizing what the other savvy quarter of the world apparerntly knew:  that there was huge value in the prices on offer back in 2010.  WE were the ones who were nuts for being so bearish, you told us. 
And sure enough the market kept on going with only one setback in the late summer of 2011.  Since then we are up 30%, AAPL has tripled, as well as others—- MOMOs, large caps, small caps, no caps.
The only single and simply remarkable advice that has been given for nearly two years now has been the Bear cartoon advising the dimwit to just BUY THE F'ING DIP.  All the other words, books, crash warnings, hyperinflation, deflation, stagflation, bloviation have been for nought.
But I just know that if I close my shorts,  within hours the Paul Farrells of this world will finally prove right, your own remarks to "BE CAREFUL" out there, and other similar bearish sentiments will at last emerge triumphant.
But a prehensile niggling in my brain says to bet it all, close the shorts, take what's left and put it all on AAPL calls and go away.


Morning.  Another student caught in a AAPL Bear Trap.  Have read your direction to Hoss & Maya.  Think I'm getting it.  But, still want to ask.  I'm stuck in this:
+10 Jan 13 300 Call (paid ~$100 when aapl ~$400)
-10 Apr 485 Calls  (have been rolling up and out as fast as possible, but the aapl train got away from me)
Can add more capital if I can use it to re-start writing weekly/monthly calls for income.  I do believe in a pull back, thus staying somewhat high delta on the short is my continued risk, but still a big time bull long term.  Thanks.

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