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Terrific Tuesday – Shutdown II Averted (through September)

Image result for trump baby wall55 Miles, $1.4Bn.

If that's what it costs to keep the Toddler-in-Chief from throwing another tantrum, Nancy Pelosi says she's willing to pay it as a bi-partisan group of Senators and Congresspeople have finally hashed out the details of a funding bill that will keep our Government open for 6 CONSECUTIVE MONTHS!  Imagine being able to go all the way until September before our next shutdown crisis – what an accomplishment!  

Well, the markets seem to think so as the Dow popped 200 points in pre-market trading, mostly last night, when news of the deal spread.  Unfortunately, Trump will likely "prove" that the 55 miles of new wall is effective – simply because there are still 1,500 miles with no wall people can go through, so they simply won't try where the wall is.  Will Trump ever get a greenlight to fund the rest of the 1,500 miles at $25.5M per mile ($38Bn)?  That does seem like madness but we've now taken the first tiny step towards it.

Despite all the progress we're making in keeping out the tired, the poor and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, Small Business Optimism contines to decline, especially in Future Expectations, which are down 10% since the last reading.  That seems to be the general trend at the moment – people are content with the current conditions but they are worried that the country is going to Hell in a handbasket…

Europe is literally going to Hell in a handbasket and, when they get there, they'll meet China, who have already slowed down significantly in Q4 and Q1 is shaping up to be worse and it isn't all about trade, though that's a factor.  GM sold 25% less cars in Q4 in China than a year ago but they are not alone as the entire auto industry, including Chinese Auto Makers, sold 20% less cars in Q4 as the Government pulled back on incentives.  

Nonetheless, Chinese customers still bought $52Bn worth of iPhones in Q4, about 15% of Apple's total sales.  China is also very important to SBUX, UTX (60% of their Otis Elevator sales) and TIF, who saw a 9% increase in sales in China in Q4.  That's because, no matter what is happening on the ground, the rich are getting much, much richer!  As noted in Bloomberg, just 8 Asian Billionaires who are all over 90 control $125Bn in wealth but that's no big deal as just 400 Americans have more wealth than the Bottom 60% (192M of us) combined and the Top 1% of the United States have crossed over the 50% mark in their share of the wealth.  

Image result for wealth distribution us 2018 pie chart

So Communism can't stop the Top 1% from accumulating all the wealth and Capitalism, of course, encourages it and that's why Trump and the GOP are working so hard to villify Socialism and to stamp out any hint from the democrats of some kind of Wealth Tax – even though it would only affect those of us with more than $500M in assets, leaving them with just $450M in assets enabling the Government to redistribute that 5% (of the total wealth) to the bottom 99%, who only have 50% so it's like boosting everyone else's wealth by 10% while taxing 32,000 people (the top 0.0001%) 10%.  

Image result for wealth distribution us 2018 pie chartIs that really so unreasonable?  10% does seem like a lot but we're addressing many years of abuse in a system where over 90% of the income growth goes to the Top 10% and most of that falls into the hands of the Top 0.001%.  This has already been going on since Reagan and one little tax is not going to fix it – but at least it's a start!  

Unless you are completely blind, however, you have seen how the Top 0.01% have been buying their way into positions of power, even passing laws that allow their money to outweigh your votes in what used to be a pure Democracy.  The Top 0.01% have been waging a decades-long campaign to villify the Government and make you think that the Government is the problem and not the very people the Government is supposed to reign in on behalf of the people – "for the greater good" and all that other Founding Father claptrap we pretend to respect while we spit on the intent.

Image result for founding fathers socialismThe Constitution of this country was not drafted in 1776 nor in 1781 – that was the Articles of Conferderation, which did not allow Congress to impose taxes (or tariffs) and did not address the economic concerns of ordinary citizens, nor did it protect citizens from debts incurred during the Revolution, a problem Madison said "contributed more to that uneasiness which produced the Constitution (in 1789) and prepared the mind for a general reform” than any other problem.  As a result, the Constitution included protections for citizens facing bankruptcy, explicitly allowed Congress to collect taxes, and in general focused on fixing the problems that had become apparent in the Articles of Confederation

So 8 years after the Articles of the Confederation were drawn up, our founding fathers, through much debate, decided the country needed to be MORE SOCIALIST – not less!  It was Washington himself who created the post office in 1792, creating thousands of Government jobs right off the bat. 

Image result for founding fathers socialismJefferson had fought since the beginning of his political career for homesteading policies that would give away free land in the Western territories – which, in an era when land ownership often mattered as much or more than financial worth, could have easily been considered “political gifts” by his opponents. Yet Jefferson did this not only because he hoped to encourage Western settlement, but because he sincerely saw no contradiction between maintaining a “small government” and using the state to economically assist ordinary people. 

When Jefferson succeeded in creating a budget surplus, he quickly proposed that the funds be used to create a top-notch public education system, subsidize scientific and technological innovation, and build transportation and other forms of infrastructure that would strengthen America as a world economic power even as it provided jobs for members of the working class. He even hoped that America would one day embrace taxing the wealthy in order to finance programs that helped the general public:

“We are all the more reconciled to the tax on importations, because it falls exclusively on the rich, and with the equal partitions of interstate estates, constitutes the best agrarian law… Our revenues once liberated by the discharge of the public debt, and its surplus applied to canals, roads, schools, etc., the farmer will see his government supported, his children educated, and the face of his country made a paradise by the contributions of the rich alone, without his being called on to spare a cent from his earnings.”

Image result for founding fathers socialismEven Lincoln, the "founder of the Republican Party" said in his 1861 State of the Union message:

“Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

Our great thinkers were SOCIALISTS and the believed in redistributing the wealth because they had left the lands where wealth was concentrated in the hands of the few and they decided they would rather die fighting than allow that to happen in America.  

WTF happened to us?  

When did we let these idiots take over and corrupt everything we believed in?  


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  1. Good Morning

  2. China / Phil – You posted a good story this morning:

    Yet somehow, next GDP number will come at 6.5% as planned…

  3. Not good results from fund managers over the years. If you are going to go that way, might as well use indices:

  4. Good Morning!

  5. WTF?/Phil  Corporate America, the MSM (Murdoch) and the Internet….


    What did I forget?  ;)

  6. forget/1020, corn syrup

  7. Thomas Paine would not be happy – of course, ignorance is also found among the rich so maybe it's a plus in his book! And taxes are not oppressive on the rich so another box ticked there!

  8. Corn Syrup – I was ordering that by the truckload for the manufacture of fruit preserves and jelly during the eighties in San Jose, California.  :)   

  9. Who knew cheap food could dumb down the masses?  :(

  10. Good morning!

    Big Chart – Still need to clear those 200 dmas before we get all excited.  

    China/StJ – I pretty much ignore the official numbers and just watch the trends in shipping and manufacturing.  It doesn't effect the Global Economy if China's GDP is really 6.5% or 3.5% but it does affect US companies doing business in China – so that's what I care about.

    Indexes/StJ – Or indexes with hedges and option sales!

    LOL Mike – Don't forget Chem Trails – that's really trending now, my niece gave me a whole lecture on those!  

    Who knew/1020 – Er, MCD, KO, YUM…

  11. Who/Phil  I guess my cynicism does not shine thru like it used to… :)

    • With expectations for a Fed rate hike this year hanging by a thread, market watchers today will be tuning in to further hints on the outlook for monetary policy.
    • Most of the focus will be on Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who will be speaking at the Hope Enterprise Corporation Rural Policy Forum at 12:45 p.m. ET, as well as speeches this afternoon from Fed Presidents Esther George and Loretta Mester.

    • Stocks jump out of the gate with strong gains following news that U.S. lawmakers have reached an agreement in principle to avoid another government shutdown later this week; Dow and Nasdaq both +0.9%, S&P +0.8%.
    • The agreement still must be approved by Congress and signed by Pres. Trump.
    • European bourses are mostly higher, with Germany's DAX +1% and France's CAC +0.9% but U.K.'s FTSE trades flat; in Asia, Japan's Nikkei +2.6% and China's Shanghai Composite +0.7%.
    • In corporate news, Coty +13.6% after JAB Holding commenced a tender offer to acquire up to 150M additional shares of the company at $11.65/share in cash, and Elli Mae +21.4% after agreeing to be acquired by Thoma Bravo for $99/share, or ~$3.7B.
    • The early S&P 500 sector leaders are energy (+1.5%), financials (+1.3%) and materials (+1.1%), while real estate (-0.2%) and utilities (-0.1%) are the only groups trading with losses.
    • U.S. Treasury prices edge lower, bumping both the two-year yield up a basis point to a respective 2.49% and 2.67%; the U.S. Dollar Index -0.2% to 96.90.
    • WTI crude oil +2.7% to $53.82/bbl after the Saudi energy minister pledged to cut monthly production by an additional 500K bbl/day.
    • Tech crackdown? Online platforms including Google (GOOGGOOGL), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) should be regulated in how they distribute news content and these efforts should be enforced by a state regulator, according to a new U.K. government report.
    • It also said they should sign a "code of conduct" to govern their commercial agreements with publishers and called on the U.K.'s competition authority to investigate online advertising to "ensure fair competition."
    • "We now all need to hold our nerve," Theresa May will tell MPs today, as she pleads for more time to secure changes to her Brexit deal.
    • The EU has refused to reopen the divorce agreement as talks continue in Brussels, though May insists she can get legally binding changes to replace the contentious Irish border "backstop."
    • The British parliament is also set to hold a debate on Brexit on Feb. 14.
    • 7.335M job openings vs. 6.900M consensus, 7.1666M prior (revised).
    • December job opening rate 4.7%.
    • Press release
    • Chain store sales increased 4.6% for the week ending on February 9, according to Johnson Redbook.
    • Sales in February are expected to be up 4.9% during the month.

    Crude oil +2% as Saudi pledges to cut production by another 500K bbl/day

    • Crude oil prices are rising, as OPEC says in its monthly report that the cartel's production fell by nearly 800K bbl/day in January to 30.8M bbl/day, and Saudi Arabia pledges to cut output by at least 500K bbl/day more than it originally planned; WTI +1.9% to $53.42/bbl, Brent +1.9% to $62.68/bbl.
    • Saudi Energy Minister al-Falih announced the move, which would reduce Saudi production to 9.8M bbl/day in March, in an interview with the Financial Times.
    • Energy shares could enjoy an early boost from the news; XLE +1.3%USO +2.3% pre-market.
    • The OPEC monthly report provides the most official data so far that the cartel is fulfilling its pledge from late last year to absorb excess global oil supply through coordinated production cuts.
    • But OPEC also cuts its forecast for 2019 world oil demand, citing slowing economies and expectations of faster supply growth from rivals; the cartel now expects demand for its crude to fall to 30.59M bbl/day, 240K bbl/day less than predicted last month.

    Harmony Gold +2% as H1 profit plunges, operational cash surges

    • Harmony Gold (NYSE:HMY+2.3% pre-market after H1 profit plunged 94% Y/Y to 75M rand from 897M rand, but operations generated 1.1B rand in free cash flow following the inclusion of the acquired Moab Khotsong mine in South Africa and the return to full production of the Hidden Valley mine in Papua New Guinea.
    • HMY warned last week of a big drop in H1 earnings, citing higher costs, a weaker rand and higher depreciation costs related to the Hidden Valley operations.
    • HMY says H1 gold production jumped 34% Y/Y to 751K oz. and that it is on track to achieve yearly production of 1.45M oz. of gold.
    • Benchmark iron ore futures in Singapore plunged as much as 7% overnight to $82/ton, set for their first back-to-back decline since Vale's late January dam disaster, as investors weigh a likely shortfall against cooling demand in China.
    • "If there are no more additional closures or planned closures in Brazil, then there may be some kind of price correction," Richard Lu, analyst at CRU Group in Beijing, tells Bloomberg. "Some mills are already at break-even and steel demand is still weak."
    • Vale has flagged production cuts of as much as 70M tons in the wake of the dam disaster, prompting worries about a substantial loss of seaborne supply.
    • “We expect strong price volatility in iron ore markets as long as uncertainty remains on Vale’s iron ore production outlook,” says Commonwealth Bank of Australia's Vivek Dhar.
    • Vale's dam disaster has pushed up iron ore prices, but the main fallout may be the loss of high-grade supplies, which may force Chinese steel mills to change their recent operating preferences, writes Reuters' Clyde Russell.
    • Vale (NYSE:VALE) knew last year that the mining waste dam in Brazil that collapsed last month had a heightened risk of rupturing, according to Reuters, which cites an internal document it says is the first evidence that the company was concerned about the safety of the specific dam.
    • The document dated Oct. 3, 2018, shows Vale classified Dam 1 at the Córrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho as 2x more likely to fail than the maximum level of risk tolerated under the company’s own dam safety policy, Reuters reports.
    • Vale’s internal report placed the Brumadinho dam within an “attention zone,” saying it was necessary that “all prevention and mitigation controls are being applied,” Reuters says.
    • ine other dams in Brazil, out of 57 that were studied, were also placed in the “attention zone,” according to the report.
    • An analysis provided by the company that inspected the dam had warned of a high risk of failure if the dam did not drain water properly but ultimately certified the facility was stable.

    • Aurora Cannabis (ACBQ2 results: Net Revenue: C$54.2M (+82.5%); Cannabis net revenue: C$47.6M (+93.5%).
    • Net Loss: (C$237.8M).
    • Active registered medical patients of 73,579, up 239% from Q2 2018.
    • Outlook: Aurora will have ~25,000 kgs available for sale in Q4 (April to June 2019).
    • Shares are down 3% premarket.
    • Previously: Aurora Cannabis reports Q2 results (Feb. 11)
    • Aurora Cannabis' (NYSE:ACBconstruction of a 300,000 square foot expansion at the Edmonton International Airport is progressing well.
    • The new facility, named Aurora Polaris will allow for enhanced capabilities for the Company's logistics and warehousing needs.
    • Construction is anticipated to be completed in late 2019.
    • Shares are down 3% premarket.
    • Drug wholesaler McKesson (MCK +0.7%) is the lucky recipient of the first FDA warning letterunder the Drug Supply Chain Security Act. The notification pertains to a tampering incident involving opioids. Under the Act, drug makers, repackagers, wholesale distributors and dispensers are required to have systems in place to quarantine and investigate suspect and illegitimate medicines.
    • In this case, a pharmacy customer notified McKesson that three of its locations who received bottles of opioid drugs discovered that, when opened, did not contain any, the painkillers having been replaced with non-opioid drugs.
    • Morgan Stanley calls Tesla's (NASDAQ:TSLA) global network of 13K supercharger stations a "competitive moat" in comparison to other EV automakers.
    • "We estimate Tesla's chargers may account for 30 percent to 40 percent of total US charging outlets counted by the US Dept. of Energy," updates analyst Adam Jonas.
    • "Part of the strategic attraction to Tesla is its physical infrastructure footprint, which we believe, over time, can improve the customer experience, reduce friction points, and support the fleet management of many millions of Tesla vehicles on the road and in both captive and 3rd party commercial fleets," he adds.
    • Tesla has a total of about 21K destination chargers, including its stations at hotels, malls and retail outlets.
    • Shares of Tesla are up 1.12% in premarket trading to $316.34.

    Morgan Stanley downgrades Cisco before earnings

    • Morgan Stanley downgrades Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) from Overweight to Equal-Weight and drops the target from $51 to $49.
    • Analyst James E Faucette: "Cisco’s stock’s multiple has meaningfully converged with the market over the past 1.5 years, and we therefore think it is a good time to step to the sidelines."
    • Faucette says the firm's surveys suggest flattening sales for Cisco's Security business among resellers, which means Security isn't likely to offset hardware deceleration.
    • Cisco will report earnings tomorrow with analysts expecting $12.41B in revenue and $0.72 EPS.
    • Cisco shares are down 1.2% pre-market to $46.99.

    Pompeo: Huawei presence complicates U.S. dealings

    • Another hit to Huawei? U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has cautioned allies against deploying gear from the Chinese telecom equipment giant on their soil, which it believes could be used for espionage.
    • "If that equipment is co-located where we have important American systems, it makes it more difficult for us to partner alongside them."
    • Bad news for Huawei has generally been seen by investors as an opportunity for Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC).

    US iPhone users spent big on apps

    • U.S. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone users spent an average of $79 apps in 2018, up 36% Y/Y, according to a new Sensor Tower report via TechCrunch.
    • Gaming accounted for nearly 56% of the total spending. Entertainment apps grew per device spending 82% Y/Y to $8, and Lifestyle apps rose 86% to $3.90 with the gains likely due to Apple pushing developers to embrace subscription models.
    • Stronger app sales will help Apple's services segment, which the company increasingly needs to outperform as iPhone sales slow.
    • On the subject of iPhone slowdown, CEO Tim Cook tells NPR part of the lower sales in China came from the devaluation of the yuan. He says Apple responded by lowering prices "to be in accord with prices before the currency devaluation."
    • Cook: "We'll see how that works for us."

  12. I knew what you meant, 1020, I was just augmenting.  wink

  13. 6.994 on /NQ – When will they ever learn?

  14. They're very good at pumping us back to here but unable to close the deal:

  15. Gabor, IBM now I would start to put my foot in the water selling 2 only of your 5 calls Mar 22 for 1.45 offer!!!

  16. Gabor the Mar22 139 call!!!

  17. Phil 

    Good morning and hello!

    Not so terrific Tues for GILD

    Thinking of buying some 2021 calls and finance with half sale of puts. $64 has hel multiple times, I think.

    Your thoughts?

  18. Thanks Yodi,

    I have 5  2021 110/145 and 5 115/145. And 2 120 put.
    10 BCS alltogether. 

  19. Why Supersymmetry May Be The Greatest Failed Prediction In Particle Physics History

  20. STJ – so that breakdown of fund managers is basically saying use them to manage your fixed income but not your stocks? 

  21. Good surge off Powell comments, this market has a lot of friends lined up to push it higher.

    Fed's Powell says U.S. recession risk not elevated – Reuters



    POWELL: TAKES QUITE A WHILE FOR RATE MOVES TO AFFECT ECONOMY…unfortunately they affect the stock market immediately so we had to stop

    That's what we needed!

    GILD/Savi – They had a failed drug trial and that's why they are being killed today.  It's bad as it was going to be their next blockbuster but it is one of several similar attempts they are making in the same pipeline.  

    Gilead announced late Monday that its most advanced candidate, selonsertib, badly failed a late-stage trial. It adds to a growing roster of challenges for its incoming CEO, and to doubts about whether NASH is a golden goose for Gilead or anyone else. 

    Biopharma firms often sift through failed trials for positive nuggets. Gilead may be stuck digging for a while. A high dose of the drug barely managed to improve liver scarring more than a placebo, and a low dose did worse. In short, the drug doesn’t seem to do much, and a second large trial in different patients will also likely fail.

    Gilead is a liver expert. The firm made buckets of money with effective hepatitis C drugs. That hasn’t helped it in NASH so far. It has other candidates that work in different ways, and selonsertib may work as part of a combination. But Gilead’s choice to push this medicine forward was based on limited data, and this failure erodes confidence in the whole program. 

    This isn’t Gilead’s only recent trial flub or delay in the past few years. Its $12 billion acquisition of blood-cancer pioneer Kite Pharma Inc. has delivered sluggish sales of its lead drug and a big writedown after Gilead gave up on a pipeline project. Even the firm’s stalwart HIV franchise is facing more competition. O’Day  has plenty of cash to work with. But this latest failure adds to the pressure to do a deal and to the stakes for whatever he does.

    I think, if anything, I'd sell the puts and wait for more data to come in but also this is likely to lead to a downgrade so maybe just waiting is smarter.  When we have played GILD in the past, it's been around net $60.  Our current LTP spread is 25 of the 2021 $55/80 bull call spreads with 15 $67.50 puts we sold for $8.15 and we've been selling short calls along the way as more of an income play.  

    Fund managers/Crs – Don't use them at all if you can avoid them.  They don't outperform SPY and SPY has a 0.09% expense ratio AND collects dividends for you (1.89%).  

    SPY is the blue line so that's where you would be over the past 5 years – no better, no worse than the S&P but you have 2% annual dividends in your pocket.  As a long-term strategy, for a $100,000 portfolio I would:

    • Buy 200 SPY at $274 ($54,800)
    • Sell 2 SPY Jan $275 calls for $16.50 ($3,300) 
    • Sell 2 SPY Jan $260 puts for $11 ($2,200) 

    So you net into 200 SPY for $49,300 and, if called away at $275 you get $55,000 + about $6 in dividends is $1,200 so $56,000 for a gain of $6,700 (13.6%) or 6.7% of the whole $100K.  If you get assigned 200 more at $260 ($52,000), you'd have 400 shares at an average of right about $250 (including the $1,200).

    So the worst case is getting into SPY at $250, which is 10% lower than we are now or making 6.7% in year one.  It's a good, conservative strategy that will vastly improve over time as you re-invest the profits.  At $6,700 a year, in 7.5 years your have another $50,000 at work so your yield pops to 13.4% and then another $50,000 in 4 years and you're at 21.1% so 3 years later it's 27.5% and 3 years after that 34%.

    So, using $100,000 now, in 7.5 years you'll have $150,000 and $200,000 in 11.5 years and $250,000 in 15.5 years and $300,000 in 19 years and $350,000 in 20 years at which point you'll be collecting $7,000 in dividends alone and your 6.5% would be dropping another $22,750 into the fund so – by year 20, you will be returning about $30,000 a year off your $100,000 now.  

    And the nice thing is that stock prices and dividends tend to rise with inflation so 3 year's salary now and anyone can retire in 20 years – if they are patient!  It's a really great thing to do if you are still working as it requires very little effort to manage and, don't forget, we're keeping 1/2 of the $100,000 on the sidelines so we can ride out at least one crash relatively unscathed.  

  22. President Trump White House comments  

    Not happy with government funding deal; will build wall one way or another.

    Does not think there will be another shutdown.

    Will announce his final decision very soon.

    Things are going well with China.  Wants to make a real deal with China.

    Could extend March 1st deadline if close to a deal with China, but generally not inclined to do that.

  23. Phil; thoughts on a PSW style BFLY play in SPY instead?  Buy 2021 260/320 BCS for $28 15x ($42,000), sell the 2021 210 Puts for $10 5x ($5,000).  Net $37,000 with the potential to collect $90,000.  Sell periodic strangle 5x for $5 (example APR 262 Put and 283 Call for $5.25 or $2,600).  With only a 2% dividend wouldn't this approach be better?

  24. Phil/GILD


    Sold initial entry $55 puts for 5.80- 2021

  25. Could this be a blow off top ?

    Positive comments from Powell.

    Govt. shutdown averted.

    Trump says trade talks with China going well.

  26. Phil/Push it higher..

    except AAPL I think..damm..


  27. Option/alpha,

    Spy did my background on play as armchair trade brings only 1% per month. I feel not worth the capital outlay. To many eggs in on basquet. 54K!! Better of with your BCS but lower quantety.

  28. China/Albo – Trump said he has no meeting scheduled with Xi.  Hard to imagine how we're going to have a trade deal if those two aren't talking.   Also, Trump once again says China is paying these tariffs to us – constant lie and he's been corrected 1,000 times so he KNOWS he's lying when he says it over and over again.  Hard to see how this is in good faith…

    SPY/Options – We tried it once, it wasn't worth it as a butterfly but it's not a terrible play – just requires more work and is less conservative and above I was talking about a SIMPLE way to follow the S&P using options to slightly hedge.  Not everyone is an options trader, you know.  Short calls pay too little and there's ALWAYS a 10-20% correction that puts you behind and takes ages to catch up on.  

    Blow-off/Albo – Well it's where we usually top out.  

    AAPL/Pat – Lots of bad press this week.  

    Goldman warns that Apple is too dependent on Google for services revenue, and will need to roll out a 'Prime' bundle

    EU court to rule on legality of Belgian tax break, may affect Apple

    [$$] Apple Loses Ground to Huawei as China Sales Slump 20%

    Jim Cramer breaks down Apple's positioning in China

    IDC: Apple's iPhone Sales in China Are Getting Crushed

    That's just today!

    I love that Yodi doesn't get off the couch for 1% per month!  cheeky

    Let's not forget that historic stock market returns are 8.5% annually and even that turns $100,000 into $2.6M in 40 years.  

  29. Well that is why I call it an armchair trade, Need my 2% at least !!!!! Obviouly the puts at 250 a shot are always heavy to diguest

  30. Hey guys, don't forget to send those flowers and make reservations for Thursday.  Lots were sold out when I tried just now at my usual last minute.  

    I'm trying these this year – seems like fun:

  31. CMG having an interesting day:

    • Google (GOOG +2.6%)(GOOGL +2.6%) Cloud boss Thomas Kurian warns that the platform will become more aggressive during his presentation at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference.
    • Full quote: "We are hiring some of the best talent from around the industry to grow our sales organization, and you will see us competing much more aggressively as we go forward."
    • Kurian, a former Oracle exec who joined Google last fall after Diane Greene's departure, also says Google Cloud will "accelerate the growth even faster than we have to date."
    • Going forward, Google wants to focus on individual industries like financial services and work more with channel partners. The company is also introducing a Cloud for Life program
    • Boeing (BA +1.6%) says it delivered 46 aircraft in January, two more than a year ago, while European rival Airbus (OTCPK:EADSFOTCPK:EADSY) delivered 39 aircraft in January, up from 27 a year earlier.
    • Boeing tallied 43 net orders, including 18 for 787 Dreamliner jets as the company ramps up production rate for its wide-body aircraft to 14/month from 12 last year.
    • "There continues to be some pent-up demand" for the 787, says Jefferies analyst Sheila Kahyaoglu, adding that the order for the longest version of the 787 jets – the 787-10- is "notable given it is the first since June 2017 when Singapore ordered 19 of the variant."
    • The remaining Boeing orders are for a military version of the best-selling 737 aircraft, the P-8 maritime patrol aircraft, as well as commercial sales to unidentified customers.
    • MoviePass Films announces that it has begun principal photography on Axis Sally in Puerto Rico.
    • The production arm of Helios and Matheson Analytics (NASDAQ:HMNY) says the film is based on the true story of Mildred "Axis Sally" Gillars, who became known as the voice of Nazi propaganda targeted to American troops during WWII.
    • Al Pacino and Meadow Williams are starring in the drama.
    • Axis Sally is set to be released in 2020.
    • Source: Press Release
    • Minnesota's Gov. Walz says his administration will continue to pursue an appeal of the state's Public Utilities Commission approval of Enbridge's (ENB -1.5%) plan to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline, siding with environmental and tribal groups.
    • The state PUC approved the project last summer, but then-Gov. Dayton's administration appealed that decision in December; the Minnesota Court of Appeals last week dismissed the appeals as premature and sent the dispute back to the PUC for further proceedings, forcing Walz to take a stand.
    • ENB wants to replace Line 3, which was built in the 1960s, because it is increasingly subject to cracking and corrosion, so it can run at only about half its original capacity.
    • Aiming at Russia's actions toward Ukraine and the Sea of Azov, the U.S. and EU are close to agreement on another round of sanctions, reports the Financial Times.
    • The VanEck Vectors Russia ETF (RSX +0.7%) remains in the green for the day, but has given up a sizable amount of its gain. The ruble has weakened as well.
    • President Donald Trump says he's not happy about a tentative immigration deal reached by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, but he doesn't expect another partial government shutdown.
    • "I don't think you're going to see another shutdown," he told reporters at the White House.
    • He said he still had to read through the proposal.
    • The three major U.S. stock averages remain near session highs. Nasdaq +1.3%, S&P 500 +1.2%, Dow +1.3%.
    • Previously: Stocks surge after tentative government shutdown deal (Feb. 12)
    • Fed Chair Jerome Powell told students in Mississippi today that he doesn't see the probability of recession "at all elevated."
    • When asked what the Fed does in the case of a recession, he explained that the central bank typically lowers interest rates to stimulate the economy.
    • "It takes quite a while for the effects of lower interest rates, or higher interest rates for that matter, to get into the economy," he said.
    • "I would say fiscal policy — what Congress does with taxing and spending — is more powerful and more immediate," he added.
    • Source: Bloomberg First Word.
    • IBM (NYSE:IBMannounces that Watson AI services will now work on any cloud platform including those of rivals Amazon and Microsoft.
    • Watson AI tools include Watson Assistant, which helps create conversational services like customer service bots, and Watson OpenScale for improved AI deployments.
    • IBM will use the open-source Kubernetes software to link Watson AI to other clouds.
    • IBM shares are up 1.4% to $135.92.
    • A lawsuit against CBS over last summer's Les Moonves expose has been amended with a new claim that heavy insider sales of more than $200M add up to a fraudulent motive.
    • Plaintiffs brought putative class actions just after a New Yorker story last July detailed sexual misconduct allegations against then-CEO Moonves.
    • The complaint amendment now says the timing and amount of stock sales by Moonves, then-COO Joseph Ianniello and Chief Accounting Officer Larry Liding was knowingly wrong.
    • A chart of insider stock sales in 2017 and the first six months of 2018 point to $29M in sales from Ianniello, $2.3M from Liding, $155M from Moonves and more than $15M from former Chief Communications Officer Gil Schwartz.
    • Those sales were timed to capitalize on an inflated stock price before the publication of the New Yorker story, of which the defendants were aware by late 2017, the complaint says.
    • Small business sentiment in January the U.S. fell to its lowest point since the weeks leading up to the 2016 elections, the National Federation of Independent Business reports.
    • The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index slipped 3.2 points last month to 101.2, still above its historical average of 98.
    • Indicates uncertainty among small business owners due to the 35-day government shutdown and financial market instability, the NFIB said.
    • The NFIB Uncertainty Index jumped 7 points to 86, its fifth-highest reading in the survey's 45-year history.
    • NFIB says hiring, hiring plans, job openings remained strong; inventory spending and capital spending "were solid."
    • Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) will set up its Amazon Lockers on site at Coachella for the first time.
    • Customers can ship what they need to the Lockers for no additional cost during both weekends of the festival.
    • Amazon will also have a curated storefront to help concertgoers shop.
    • When the product arrives, Amazon emails the customer a barcode that is flashed at the Locker to unlock the door.
    • The 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will be held during the weekends of April 12-14 and April 19-21.
    • U.S. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone users spent an average of $79 apps in 2018, up 36% Y/Y, according to a new Sensor Tower report via TechCrunch.
    • Gaming accounted for nearly 56% of the total spending. Entertainment apps grew per device spending 82% Y/Y to $8, and Lifestyle apps rose 86% to $3.90 with the gains likely due to Apple pushing developers to embrace subscription models.
    • Stronger app sales will help Apple's services segment, which the company increasingly needs to outperform as iPhone sales slow.
    • On the subject of iPhone slowdown, CEO Tim Cook tells NPR part of the lower sales in China came from the devaluation of the yuan. He says Apple responded by lowering prices "to be in accord with prices before the currency devaluation."
    • Cook: "We'll see how that works for us."

  32. SPY / Phil – This is a good strategy and if you to be a bit more creative, you could use the 200 DMA on a weekly chart for buy and sell signals. There are only 6 of them in the last 20 years and it would have kept you out of the worse dips! Selling premium on top of that would improve performances over the index dramatically and avoided heartburn. And 6 trades in 20 years keeps the transactions costs low…And you can still sell long dated options. Might be worth an analysis during a long weekend.

  33. Several of my high yielding stocks doing well today.  Obviously speculative, but good risk/reward profiles, IMHO.

    ARCC    9.1 %       They reported a strong quarter yesterday and raised the dividend.

    CTL       14.8 %     They report tomorrow after the close.

    NGL       13 %        They reported a very strong quarter yesterday.  Flush with cash,  Lowered leverage.

    MORL    20%         2X Mort Reit Etn   Top holdings below  Many familiar names.

  34. SPY / Moving Avgs-

    This site runs a demo with DIA.  It sells if below the 200d SMA but only on month end.  Looks like it performed pretty well without a lot of trading-

  35. 200 dma/StJ – Good point, no sense in riding out the downturns. 

    Good set Albo.

    Good link Mike – see, there's lots of things you can do with CASH!!! that are pretty safe and produce nice returns.

    • Helios and Matheson Analytics (NASDAQ:HMNY) plans to delist from the Nasdaq at the end of the day, according to Bloomberg.
    • Shares of the MoviePass owner are expected to trade on the over the counter market.

    Good, F the Nasdaq!  No one had the stomach for another 250:1 split so they are just going to have to make money like a normal company for a while.  

    I love this:

    • In his State of the State address, California Governor Gavin Newsom announces he has asked his team to develop a data dividend for residents' personal data.
    • Full quote: "I applaud this legislature for passing the first-in-the-nation digital privacy law last year. But California's consumers should also be able to share in the wealth that is created from their data. And so I’ve asked my team to develop a proposal for a new data dividend for Californians, because we recognize that your data has value and it belongs to you."
    • The mentioned digital privacy law passed last summer gave consumers in the state more insight and control over the use of their personal data. Customers have the right to tell businesses to delete their data or not to share or sell the data.
    • While the data dividend mention was vague, the eventual proposal could cause headaches for data-dependent tech companies like Facebook (FB -0.1%), Google (GOOGL +2.4%), and Amazon (AMZN +2.7%).
    • Publishers are resisting Apple's (AAPL +0.7%) subscription news service and the tech giant's plan to keep about 50% of subscription revenue, according to WSJ sources.
    • Apple also likely won't share subscriber data with the publishers.
    • The "Netflix for news" product is expected to launch later this year as a paid product within the Apple News app. Apple could charge around $10 per month for users to access unlimited content from participating publishers.
    • The half of the subscription revenue Apple doesn't take would go into a pool to be divided between publishers according to the amount of time users engage with their content.
    • Talks are ongoing, but right now sources say The Washington Post and New York Times haven't agreed to the terms. WSJ says it has concerns, but recently had productive talks with Apple.

    If things are so great, why do the rats keep jumping off the ship?

    • Tesla (TSLA) vice president of global recruiting Cindy Nicola is leaving the company, sources tell Business Insider.
    • While the company has a high level of corporate turnover, Nicola was employed there for more than four years and praised Tesla in a statement to BI.
    • Tesla hasn't confirmed whether or not Nicola will be replaced.
    • Micron (NASDAQ:MU) continues to see a stronger second half for 2019, according to CEO Sanjay Mehrotra's comments at the Goldman Sachs technology conference.
    • Mehrotra says DRAM end market demand remains healthy while content in smartphones continues to rise due to advanced features.
    • But Micron will be working through its higher inventory levels in the first half, and the company expects overall bit output growth to drop "quite a bit" this year.
    • Source: Bloomberg First Word.
    • Micron shares are up 4.2% to $40.18.
    • Chevron (CVX +1.4%) CEO Mike Wirth says the company intends to stay in Venezuela and work closely with the U.S. despite the country's spiraling economic crisis.
    • Sanctions issued last month by the Trump administration mean U.S. companies cannot deal with any arm of the Venezuelan government or entities controlled by Pres. Maduro, whom it considers illegitimate, but CVX and some U.S. oilfield service companies including Schlumberger (SLB +2.2%) have been granted a license until July 27 on their operations within the country.
    • CVX is a joint venture partner with state-run PDVSA in Venezuela's second-largest upgrader, and a CVX withdrawal potentially could hand the venture to Maduro, which Wirth says would go against the spirit of U.S. sanctions.
    • French rival Total (TOT +1.1%) says it plans to pull all its employees from Venezuela as a result of the U.S. sanctions while possibly staying in its own Venezuela joint venture, with conditions, as it seeks to "understand what exactly" the U.S. sanctions are.

    • Lithium producers Albemarle (ALB -0.6%), SQM (SQM -1.7%) and Orocobre (OTCPK:OROCF-1.8%) are lower after Livent (LTHM -4.2%) reports disappointing quarterly results and forecasts a drop in Chinese lithium sales for the year because of uncertainty about the country’s electric vehicle subsidies.
    • "The Chinese consumers of lithium overextended themselves in 2018, built more inventory than they were comfortable with and had a harder time accessing credit," says LTHM CEO Paul Graves, who sees Chinese sales dropping below 20% of the company's total revenue in 2019 from 25% last year.
    • LTHM forecasts total 2019 lithium carbonate equivalent production of 22K-23K metric tons, which would be only a small increase from last year despite rising electric vehicle sales globally.
    • Graves, who became CEO last year when Livent was spun off from FMC Corp., said Chinese customers had provided verbal commitments on price and volume late last year but backed away when the company went to sign the contracts, unwilling to sign deals for either one year or longer-term unless the price was lowered.

    • S&P stopped right at the 200 dma (2,743).
    • Nasdaq right under 7,048
    • NYSE a bit under 12,500
    • Russell way under 1,587
    • Dow 350 points over 25,015 

    So watch /ES closely in the overnights, they'll show us the way tomorrow and Nas would confirm a bull move and anything red on /ES is going to be a bearish rejection and, since we're up 2% from 2,680 and up 4% from 2,640 I'd say 2,720 is the significant breakdown.  

  36. Why is it so controversial to say that when children die in an agency’s care and there’s no accountability, they shouldn’t have their budget expanded? People need to wake up. Trump’s not building a wall. He’s building detention camps for kids. And we’re falling for it.

    . wants to save an outdated federal coal-fired power plant. The plant's major coal supplier is a big Trump donor. And a "high rate" guest at the Hotel in DC.

    JUST IN: Trump calls on Omar to either resign from Congress or the House Foreign Affairs Committee


    Mr. President, Congresswoman apologized for using an anti-Semitic trope & demonstrated leadership. When have you ever apologized for your embrace of white nationalism & your exploitation & amplification of anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, racist, xenophobic, anti-LGBTQ hate?

    Unlike this President, Rep. demonstrated a capacity to acknowledge pain & apologize, use the opportunity to learn abt history of antisemitism,+grow from it while clarifying her stance.

    Students are going on strike around the world to demand action on climate change, in a movement led almost entirely by teenage girls.

    You know what will happen next – teenage boys will start protesting too – just to meet girls but that's how it all started in the 60s too – Viva la Revolution!

  37. Startling new numbers from the shutdown: – 62% of federal workers depleted all or most of their savings – 42% took on debt – 25% tapped their retirement accounts – 25% visited a food bank

    Meanwhile, across town from Trump's rally:


  38. (Reuters) – California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Tuesday the state will not complete a $77.3 billion planned high-speed rail project, but will finish a smaller section of the line.

    “The project, as currently planned, would cost too much and take too long. There’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency,” Newsom said in his first State of the State Address Tuesday to lawmakers.


    “Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to (Los Angeles). I wish there were,” he said.

    Newsom said the state will complete a 110-mile (177 km) high-speed rail link between Merced and Bakersfield. In March 2018, the state forecast the costs had jumped by $13 billion to $77 billion and warned that the costs could be as much as $98.1 billion.

    The publisher of the National Enquirer has been facing steep financial losses that have left the once-loyal keeper of Trump’s secrets with more than $1 billion in debt and a negative net worth via

  39. Lufthansa sues passenger who skipped his flight

  40. Smartphone Ownership Is Growing Rapidly Around the World, but Not Always Equally