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G7 Thursday – Trump Talks Trade with World Leaders

Image result for trump g7 cartoonThe G7 starts today.

The market indexes are at record highs as Americans have total confidence in our President's ability to win the trade war as he sits down for a 3-day meeting with other World Leaders.  Trump has signaled his intention to continue pursuing an aggressive trade agenda even if it comes at the expense of America’s standing in the world.  The “World trade system is a mess,” Mr. Trump’s top economic adviser, Lawrence Kudlow, told reporters on Wednesday. “Trump is trying to fix this broken system.”

Of course, the "broken system" is the sole opinion of Team Trump while the rest of the World thinks it's America that is "broken" and that difference of opinion could turn very ugly if our leaders can't come to some agreements over the weekend. 

Tariffs imposed last week by President Trump on the EU and Canada have increased significantly tensions before the meeting,” a senior EU official said, adding that a breakthrough to ease trade tensions was unlikely. “We have extremely low expectations.”

Image result for trump trade cartoonThe consequences of the U.S. driving away allies, even if it wins short-term trade concessions, could do lasting damage to the strength of America’s coalition (see "4 charts showing why putting tariffs on your friends is a bad idea"). “If the U.S. loses their support, then it’s a different ball game at the global leadership level,” said Fred Bergsten, the founding director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.  At last week's meeting of Global Finance Ministers, all 6 other G7 Nations put out a joint statement rebuking Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum.  

US companies are also almost unanimously opposed to the tariffs but, so far, Trump has turned a deaf ear to all of them.  The markets have also turned a deaf ear to the Trade Wars – as well as every other thing that's going on in the World.  Bad news is good news, no news is good news and good news is good news as the Dow, the Russell and the Nasdaq are each up about 10% in Q2 while the S&P has moved a more modest 178 points up from 2,600, so that's "just" 6.8% in just over two months.

We keep taking short pokes and keep getting shot down but you have to have SOME shorts to protect your ill-gotten gains in your long positions.  With yesterday's surge, our $500,000 Long-Term Portfolio came in just under 25% up for the year at $623,873 (24.8%) and that's up $25,364 since our 5/17 Review while our $100,000 Short-Term Portfolio, which keeps our hedges has dropped to $171,650 – still up 71.6% for the year but down about $4,000 since the same day's reviews.  

That's how hedges are supposed to work – they are insurance policies and keeping our portfolios well-hedged is the only way we can sensibly keep long positions after they've already gained 20% for the year.  

Maybe this is a full-blown 1998/1999 rally but we've got PLENTY of longs so all we're worried about now is whether or not we have enough shorts.  We still like the 7,200 line to short the Nasdaq Futures (/NQ) and 2,780 is a great shorting line on the S&P (/ES) as is 1,680 on the Russell (/ES).  The Dow is simply too silly to short at 25,250 but I wouldn't mind taking another Dow Ultra-Short (DXD) spread like this:

  • Buy 100 DXD July $31 calls for $1.55 ($15,500) 
  • Sell 100 DXD July $32 calls for $1 ($10,000) 
  • Sell 5 DIS 2020 $90 puts for $5 ($5,000) 

That's net $500 cash and $3,112 in ordinary margin on the $10,000 spread that's currently 100% in the money.  Your worst case is you lose $500 and have to buy 500 shares of DIS for $90 ($45,000), which is something we'd love to do (you can subsitute any stock you'd love to own like LBrands (LB) 2020 $30 puts ar $4.20 or IBM 2020 $115 puts at $5).  Essentially, if the Dow is below 25,200 on July 20th (expiration day) – you can cash out the spread for $10,000 with a $9,500 cash profit and, if you want, you can then spend half of your profit to release your obligation on the puts.

DXD dis bottom out at $30 (split-adjusted) in late Jan, when the Dow ran up to 26,800 so it's by no means a "safe" bet – but it is a nice hedge and, certainly, if the Dow is busting up to 26,800 – it's not likely DIS is going to tank, so the net of the trade won't be so terrible.  Also, if the Dow does break up hard from here, we simply need to roll the 100 July $31 calls while they still have more than 0.55 in value to salvage that cash and build another spread. 

We'll keep track of this hedge  and adjust as necessary.


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  1. The Russell Rocket!

  2. Thousands dies in Puerto Rico because we were not ready and during a FEMA meeting Trump barely mentions it but boasts about fake accomplishments:

    But behind closed doors, hurricanes were the last thing on Trump’s mind, according to audio of the private discussion obtained by the Washington Post. The President jumped from subject to subject, making seemingly random requests of his Cabinet members and boasting about things he deemed accomplishments.


  3. Keep reading…

    What these studies show is that curiosity and effort together explain academic success more than intelligence alone. In other words, by becoming a learning machine you can overcome deficits in your natural abilities. Grit and inquisitiveness beat genetics.

  4. ~~ ZTE: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirms deal with ZTCOF that will remove sales ban; U.S. will implant compliance department into ZTE (ZTCOF); will replace Management and Board; ZTE will pay $1 billion in up front fines  

    ~~•This news should be positive for ACIA, IPHI, LITE, IIVI, OCLR, FNSR, FN, NPTN, MTSI, AAOI. These are all optical component manufactures that sell products to ZTE.
    •Other Related Stocks: NXPI, QCOM

    QCOM up big.  FNSR also looks to open higher.

  5. Good Morning.

  6. House GOP in eleventh-hour attempt for immigration accord

  7. Pruitt aide resigns after she describes personal errands

  8. A Midterms Snapshot--WSJ/NBC News Poll

  9. Dimon, Buffett Urge Companies to End Quarterly Earnings Guidance

  10. Comment content omitted because it is too long.

  11. My today's armchair is Sell the HKC 60/57.5 July strangler for 2.60 and buy the stock. Combined return 3.43%. I trust for my port this will be a longer type of play, where I intend holding the stock for many further Strangles to come.

  12. Son of a bitch!  The system lost my whole comment!  

    Anyway, good morning.  Stuff is happening – all caught up…

  13. No webinar this week – I'm way behind and need to catch up.

    Big chart – Hard to argue with an NYSE break-out – if we get it.

    And now the Nas takes a dive!  This market is nuts. 

    Grit/StJ – I agree with that.

    ZTE/Abo – N surprise there.  

  14. What's HKC Yodi?

  15. MAT has been on quite a run.

    BBBY showing good strength also.

    Will look to cover some with OTM puts, but keeping most.

  16. OTM calls, not puts.

  17. Any opinion on DNLI?

  18. Brazil getting spanked today?

  19. DNLI/Jabob – Sorry, don't know enough about them.  They've only been public a little while and I don't follow them.  Seems to me they bet the farm on their current trial but it's a coin flip to me.

    Brazil/Jabob – They were trying to sell off oil rights to pay down debt.  Guess it did not go well…


  21. thx Phil!

  22. FSLR really taking a beating, when does it stop?

  23. Ford recaptured $12

  24. Yodi – All the solar names are getting beaten down. Dclark had some good comments yesterday about that.

  25. And downgrades today on top!

  26. Stj, Yes thank you Mr TRUMP

  27. KHZ/Yodi – That's a good one.  Not as good as they seem as they had a huge tax benefit last year but good for $4Bn in earnings on a $70Bn valuation at $57.70.

    May as well keep tabs on them and sell 10 of the KHC 2020 $55 puts for $5.10 ($5,100) to remind us to buy a spread if they go lower and, if not – free $5,100!

    FSLR/Yodi – I'm sure you know I never liked them (and I love solar).  Their reliance on Tellurium to make cells has always made them unrealistic as a long-term investment.  

    First Solar tellurium contract could leave spot market short on supply …

    Submitted on 2018/03/12 at 10:12 am

    Cadmium/Fel – Very promising stuff but yes, Tellurium is a big problem.  FSLR uses it and constantly have trouble with supply since Tellurium is a very, very small byproduct of copper mining and there's no way to influence the copper mining so the supply remains limited – no matter how much they are willing to pay for the Tellurium.  

    The best panels on the market at the moment are not CdTe but non-toxic, non-rare silicon from Panasonicand SPWR.  Using Tellurium in solar panels is like using gold in stereo wiring – sure it improves performance, but it's too expensive to be a practical solution.  FSRL is catching up but, really, what's the point?

    You guys think I'm just rambin' when I say this stuff!  cheeky

    F/Mike – They were stupidly cheap at $10.50!

    Money/Scott, BDC – Well of course money if faith-based – it says "In God We Trust" right on it!  Originally, every state could coin money but that was a mess so there's a "Coinage Clause" in our constitution which grants Congress the sole power to coin money and regulate the value of coins both domestically and foreign so "money" is always worth whatever our Government says it is under the current law.  We accept that Government prerogative by being citizens of this country (or most of us do). 

    To say it's not a law, like gravity simply means it's not a physical law but it is like the law that when you pass go you collect $200 – those are the rules of the game you are playing!  You can choose not to follow those rules and print your own GoCoins and give yourself one whenever you pass go and, if you find people who are willing to give you real monopoly money for your GoCoins – then they have "value" or, if not, then you are just playing with yourself…

     None of that means you can't invest in GoCoins or any other crypto and BDC was right 5 years ago saying we should all buy the Top 50 coins – we all would have made a fortune but those were all stupidly cheap.  Now, not so much.  My objection is that the Government can shut the whole thing down any time and that's not a good basis for a currency – or any kind of investment, really but it's fine for fun money.  Our total investment in 150M Green Coins was $1,300 as we bought 4 BitCoins for $650 and trade 2 of those for 150M GreenCoins and then we cashed our 2 BitCoins for about $35,000 5 years later.  

    We still have the GreenCoins, which have gone up and down and PSW Investments is considering other coin investments based on which ones have a good amount of transaction volume (the flaw in GreenCoins – as we can never cash them out at a good price) but are still relatively inexpensive.  Still, the investment will be small – just some fun money and, as with BitCoin/GreenCoin – We'll quickly take half off the table when there's a good profit.  

    That is the sum of my concern about cryptocurrencies.  I don't think they'll replace Dollars because Dollars are backed by a $1Tn/yr military and cryptos are not.  QED.  

  28. KHC/Phil- I think we sold the 57.5 puts 2020 for ltp…

  29. Well, the other indexes are failing but you can still get this morning's DXD July $31/32 bull call spread for $1.31/90, so 0.41 on the $1 spread with DXD at $31.84.  10 DIS 2020 $90 puts can still be sold for $4.80 as DIS popped 0.45 but that's still $4,100 less $4,800 so a $700 credit at the moment for the $10,000 spread.  Let's add that to the STP! 

    We already have 50 Oct $32/36 bull call spreads at $1.55 – this is a short-term addition.  Since it's a $700 credit, we just dump the DIS puts (eventually) into the LTP so there's no way the STP can lose a penny on this trade and the LTP has plenty of money to buy more DIS (we have 15 2020 $90/115 spreads with 10 short $95 puts at the moment) - so win/win.

    KHC/DC – You are right, I forgot about those,  No second sale in the LTP if you already sold some!  

  30. crypto/Phil – You should get Greg to to a PSW ICO.  That is where the big money is.

  31. ICO/Tangled – Costs to much to launch a legal one and, ultimately, it's a bit of a scam and I don't want people overpaying for some random coin we launch.  The law is not too clear on those things so I wouldn't want to risk SEC issues over something like that.  The legal costs alone of defending charges can break the company!  In fact, we voted against FUNN (one of our investments we're on the board of) doing an ICO on similar grounds.  While it sounds like a great way to raise cash – there are too many ways it can come back to bite you.

  32. Ouch Coffee! going down…..

  33. KC/Phil- time to grab some Coffee futures?

  34. Ouch/Tsroy, Dave – Not ouch, yay!  Finally!

    Submitted on 2018/05/22 at 10:00 am

    Took the money and  ran on /KCU8 – now waiting for another good pullback.

    I was worried it was going to get way from us when it tested $125, now I'm waiting for the knife to stop falling so we can BUYBUYBUY again…

    Dave has the right idea.  Weak Dollar has me cautious going long a commodity at the moment.  

    Speaking of things we want to buy again when they are cheap – /SI starting to pull back.

    Gold has been way less volatile:

  35. Are most folks here still using TOS and paying for the ICE data feeds, or is there another solution? I haven't touched /KC since it stopped showing up on my screen.

  36. STP/Phil- I think there's a mistake in the latest hedge trade, selling 5 DIS 2020 $90 puts @ $4.8 will give you a credit of $2,400, unless you meant selling 10 puts.

  37. DIS/Dave – Sorry, meant to sell 10 2020 $90 puts for $4,800 in the STP.  

    TOS/Atilan – I pay whatever it is, not worth the hassle to save money for me. 

  38. AMD/Phil- I have 30 2020 $10 calls and I sold 30 28th June $13.5 calls. they are way ITM now with 22 days left, should I leave it till its much closer to roll them? 

  39. OK thank you. Will get that ICE stuff reactivated.

    Also thanks for mentioning the /SI range repeatedly – that's been a nice scalper both ways. 

  40. Cryptocurrency is not a currency. Even the IRS (if I recall, they are part of the federal government right?) has canonized bitcoin as an asset and gains are taxable as capital assets. What "cyrptocurrency" actually is, for the 10,000th time, is a software protocol where a distributed consensus mechanism adds an additional agreed-upon block of information to a publicly available database. So people are breaking the law for developing databases now? Once the database containing information is known, has some scarcity and can't be faked, it has value between peers. Like the Dixie Note in LA, it wasn't known at the time if it would catch on, but it did.

    The software protocol is open source (free) and there is no barrier to entry so anyone can start a GoCoin, but that doesn't mean anyone else in the world cares about it (valueless).

    If you want to know why the government can't figure out how to regulate crypto is because they haven't figured out what is yet (which we've figured out here, except for Phil). The IRS says it's an asset. The SEC regulates ICO's like equities (this is memorialized law, it is not ambiguous). The CFTC says they're commodities. Exchanges need to follow money transmitting laws (i.e., FinCEN considers it a currency-like mechanism). We know it's a new System of Trust that has characteristics of these four classes combined. It's a little bit commodity (gold for social groups), equity (social value of the group can change and pay dividends), money (transmitting ability) and asset (investment in the knowledge of a group). But it's exactly none of those things at the same time.

    The History of US Currency you presented leaves something to be desired. I would hope others are much more curious about it then that. 

  41. seems like the stick has returned every day around 2pm???

  42. there's no law against being paid in other currencies for "passing go" as a US citizen. For example, a consulting fee paid in yen earned here or in Japan or otherwise. There's a lot wrong with your post, there are no facts in it.. It makes me wonder what is really bothering you. 

  43. Phil, lately I've been selling GNC puts.  I listened to their presentation at the Morgan Stanley conference yesterday and reviewed their slide presentation.  I was somewhat favorably impressed, although a view these with a gain of salt.  Apparently the deal with Harbin is still on and awaiting approval.  When that deal was announced back in February, the stock shot up to $5.71.

    Lots of fleas, but stock looks cheap to me and I think it might have bottomed.   We'll see,

  44. Well, when all is said and done, the Dow is still up almost 100 though the Nas had a 1% pullback.  Really unplayable in this chop.

    AMD/Dave –  Fortunately, time is on your side and the June $13.50s are only $1.47.  It's really just a $3.50 spread that's in the money – you just have to wait a while to collect it.  On that note, consider AMD testing $15 to be your cushion and there's no reason to risk a sure $3.50 so I'd stick to conservative, quarterly rolls, like the Aug $15s at $1.37 so you pay 0.10 to widen your spread to $5 but you still have nice protection (and, if AMD goes lower, you can always 1/2 cover the 2020s). As to timing, keep an eye on the price of the roll and if it's staying in your favor – no hurry.  AMD over $15 would get me to pull the trigger sooner than later as the $13.50s have a better delta so keep in mind you are essentially bearish on AMD for the next 8 days by virtue of waiting for the roll.

    You're welcome Atitlan.  

    Not a currency/BDC – Then why would it replace the Dollar?  And no, they are not breaking the law UNTIL Congress decides to say they are – then they are in clear violation of the Constitution.   Hopefully the crypt keepers are wise enough to hand out lots of coins to their local Congresspeople, so they'll have some skin in the game…  I'm glad you think crypto is all things to all people, makes you right no matter what you say.  I say the law isn't clear but you say it's clearly a commodity and an equity.  I wait anxiously for your ICO.

    Stick/Jabob – After 2, before 9, around lunch….

    Bothering/BDC – Where did I say there's a law against getting paid in foreign currencies.  I simply stated the FACTS of the Coinage Clause and you go off on a rant as if I attacked your sister.  Calm down dude, you sound like you need deprogramming!   I'm sorry if offering a different view offends you so much but you are promoting positions I think people should be very cautious with and, since this is "Phil's Stock World" – I think I'm not going to just sit here and keep quiet to avoid challenging your belief system.

    GNC/Albo – I didn't get to it yet but I agree, they are way undervalued but it will take a while for people to catch on. 

  45. I'm not the one with a belief system

  46. belief system - Thanks Phil.

  47. Whhhaaatt???….. 

  48. Phil – I'm not lashing out or going after anyone's sister so please don't read that into my posts. You know I've always liked you and your readers and your morning posts for years. Even 1020 I was just yanking his chain (let's bury the hatchet bud! I apologize for my behavior). So I like your points and I'm writing about them here in a one by one fashion:

    Not a currency/BDC – Then why would it replace the Dollar?  

    The dollar is a unit of account inside of a System of Trust operated by the Federal Reserve. It is only a currency because the term "currency" is currently a very specific definition: units produced by the US Treasury. Fiat currency is a system of trust based on laws and nothing else. Since there is one federal law system it makes sense other entities within the nation cannot produce law-based currencies because they do not have jurisidiction. Thank you for pointing out the Coinage Act, as it is very interesting to read further into the subject. It may not have the absolute argumentative-winning authority you had hoped for, however.

    Any system has a certain aggregate efficiency. If it were more efficient to use horses as a currency it eventually would be so. Blockchain will become more widely adopted because it is a more efficient system of trust in servicing the new economy, a transtition that the US has unquetionably been the leader in. It's hard to say what "replace" means, and I think this comment is intentionally over-simplified. It's probably much more complicated in stages, e.g., emergence, co-existence, adaptation and dominance. For example, the US will probably need to adopt blockchain in some capacity becuase the rest of the world can choose to do so. Since the system is more efficient it will make the US less competitive. We vote for politicians ultimately so they get rotated out if they are passing laws that are a net diservice to our lives and liberty.

    And no, they are not breaking the law UNTIL Congress decides to say they are – then they are in clear violation of the Constitution. 
    I wonder what specific law you think they would pass that you have in mind? Regardless, the user would be in violation of the law, not the constitution. Whether the law is constitional or not would be determined by the courts.

    Hopefully the crypt keepers are wise enough to hand out lots of coins to their local Congresspeople, so they'll have some skin in the game…  
    Governments are made of people so this is obviously inevitable. I like this argument that you made, it's a good one, because it proves the ubiquity of a System of Trust "being more efficient" in a new way that I hadn't specifically made an example of previously: Congresspeople don't need to be gifted coins from the "crypt keepers," whatever that means. They can just go buy them. Once so, do they have the will to regulate it? Perhaps we can call this the "Caitlin Effect?"

    I'm glad you think crypto is all things to all people, makes you right no matter what you say.
    I said blockchain is a new System of Trust based on a software protocol and I very specifically always state that is all it is. In it's practce and use, it is showing socioeconomic characteritcs of several different classes that currently have clear, differentiated definitions in the context of the dominant System of Trust (fiats).

    I say the law isn't clear but you say it's clearly a commodity and an equity.  
    We agree the law is unclear. I said the (US) government says it is no less than 4 different things at once. 

    I wait anxiously for your ICO.
    I have specifically stated that I think "ICO's" are not a particularly useful embodiment of blockchain as it's specifically treating them as equities, and since these already exist, ICO's are a problem looking for a solution. It may serve to reduce legal overhead but in the US the SEC has indicated ICO's are regulated by them.

  49. From the coinage act link: Justice Stephen Field's blunt dissent [in 1884] declared, "If there be anything in the history of the Constitution which can be established with moral certainty, it is that the framers of that instrument intended to prohibit the issue of legal tender notes both by the general government and by the States; and thus prevent interference with the contracts of private parties."

    Also – from the Field's wiki page: "In 1859 Field replaced the former chief justice of the California Supreme Court, David S. Terry because Judge Terry killed a United States Senator from California (David Colbreth Broderick) in a duel and left the state." LOL … wow, just a different time I guess…

  50. BDC – No Worries. I have great respect for Phil and Everyone else willing to share their Wisdom…Thanks.

  51. Good morning and wheeeee! 

    Dow down 166 at the the open (so far) and other indexes back to yesterday's lows again.  I knew that Dow was going to snap!   Still, good to take the quick profits off the table as the news flow today could send us flying either way on rumors.  If /NQ fails 7,100 it's game on a gain for those shorts and 2,760 on /ES 25,100 on /YM and 1,660 on /RTY are the other bottom lines to watch.

    Good job on the discussion BDC – THAT is how I like to have a debate!

    As expected, the G7 is not helping matters and news that Trump isn't even planning on staying for the whole summit kind of drove home the point that he's a complete asshole, which finally spooked investors.  Keep in mind the Kim meeting is the 12th and today's the 8th and Trump has his own plane so using that as a reason to leave the the G7 early is a real dick move and a huge dis to the rest of the World leaders, who cleared their calendars until Sunday for the annual meeting that used to be considered the most important political event in the World.  


    Of course, Trump has to look like he's taking a tough stance and not trying too hard to make a deal because the other 6 World Leaders are firmly against him and this folks, is the weekend when Putin wins and the US officially breaks with it's former allies, who will stay another day and talk behind our backs and issue a joint communique minus the US for the first time ever.

    How would you feel about a guy who treats our neighbor and most trusted ally this way:

    Imagine spending you life as a politician and working your way into becoming a respected political leader – only to be insulted on twitter by this troll!  

    • Risk aversion has returned to the markets, with equities across the globe sinking overnight ahead of a contentious G7 summit in Canada.
    • In response to the combative comments issued by both countries, President Trump took to Twitter late Thursday to blame France and Canada of imposing massive tariffs on U.S. goods and accuse Justin Trudeau of "being so indignant."
    • At worst, the main outcome could generate an escalation of a trade conflict which has already seen a rapid proliferation of retaliatory tariffs.
    • Asia: Nikkei -0.6%; Hang Seng -1.8%; Shanghai -1.4%; Sensex -0.1%.
    • Europe: FTSE 100 -0.7%; CAC 40 -0.4%; DAX -1.3%.
    • U.S. futures: Dow -0.6%; S&P -0.6%; Nasdaq -1%.
    • Oil is down 0.4% at $65.72/bbl, gold is flat at $1303/ounce and the 10-year Treasury yield is down 3 bps to 2.9%.
    • Japan -0.56%.
    • Hong Kong -1.76%.
    • China -1.36%.
    • India -0.09%.
    • London -0.77%.
    • Paris -0.25%.
    • Frankfurt -0.56%.

    • Confirmed: Japan's economy contracted 0.6% on an annualized basis in the first quarter, as a weaker reading of private consumption offset a stronger one for capital investment.
    • The figure comes after President Trump and Shinzo Abe met at the White House, where the two countries agreed to hold their first bilateral trade talks under a new framework in July.
    • China's trade surplus with the U.S. jumped in May, rising 11.7% to $24.6B, worsening the imbalance at the center of tensions between the world's largest economies.
    • It also means for the first five months of the year, China’s surplus with the U.S. crossed the $100B mark.
    • The figures may reinforce Washington’s determination to move forward with new tariffs against Chinese imports as early as next week.


    Money is whatever the Government says it is:  Swiss vote on sovereign money system
    • Swiss voters are going to the polls Sunday to decide whether the country should switch to a so-called sovereign money system known as "Vollgeld," which supporters say would make for less dangerous credit risks.
    • The change means commercial banks would have a harder time extending credit, effectively creating cash, allowing only the Swiss National Bank to become the monopoly provider of Swiss francs.

  52. Good note on TSLA.  Even at 5,000/week production, Musk's claim that there are 450,000 people who put a deposit down on Model 3s means it will take 90 weeks to make them all!  That's if they ONLY produce model 3s going forward AND his Musk's target AND have no defects.  THEN it will only take 8 years for a person ordering a Model 3 today to get their delivery.  Sure, that's how people buy cars…

    Once they max out production in CA, it's a long hard road to getting to 10,000/day, which is still a 45 month wait for new buyers.  That's why this is happening:

    Apparently, 25% of the deposits have been refunded so far.  

    The good news is, that reduces the backlog…

    Interestingly, the author ends up drawing a more bullish conclusion but I think people are going to get fed up of this BS eventually.

    Still too low to short again…