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Happy Martin Luther King Day!

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963.It's Martin Luther King day so the markets are closed.

It's a good day to read his "I Have a Dream" speech – really is amazing when you think of the great social change in this nation that was set in motion by one man with a vision.  Here's a great video of the actual event.

It is a testament to the power and effectiveness of Dr. King's movement that, even to those of us who were alive at the time, it seems like it must have been another world where a man had to speak out against such injustice as if it wasn't obvious to the majority of people that segragation, whether by law or by practice, was an outrage.

Sadly, many of the lessons he taught us have already been forgotten, some great quotes:

  • Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.
  • Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.
  • It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.
  • The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.
  • Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.   
  • Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.
  • We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
  • The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.
  • A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.
  • A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.
  • One of the greatest casualties of the war in Vietnam is the Great Society… shot down on the battlefield of Vietnam.
  • Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
  • Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.
  • Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
  • The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
  • The time is always right to do what is right.
  • Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
  • Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
  • If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.

Dr. King also had a sense of humor:

  • I want to be the white man's brother, not his brother-in-law. 
  • It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.  

Doctor King imagined, over 50 years ago, that the lines in 2020 would still be drawn not only between black and white but between rich and poor as well.  He gave a speech in 1967 at Stanford University. It was called “The Other America.”  In it, King blasted “large segments of white society” for being “more concerned about tranquillity and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.”

Who will speak for the downtrodden masses in the 21st Century – how does one represent the bottom 99% when the smallest bit of fame is likely to take the speaker out of their ranks?  


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  1. VXX / Palotay – Interesting. I will have a look. On the other hand, this is not a surprise, I have been saying that this crowded volatility trade is what drove the VIX higher than what it would have been otherwise the past few years. For example, February 2018 when you could see the VIX spike from 30 to 50 AH when all these short volatility ETF (the leveraged ones) had to cover and ended up driving the VIX futures higher. A lot of these ETF are now less leveraged so the risk is lower. At the same time, if the VIX goes to 100, I assume that the rest of the market will be toast as well. VXX will not be the only thing blowing up your account. But cheap insurance is good!

  2. Phil – Also a good day to read On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder! An interesting window on what is happening around the world today. Great read.

  3. Snyder/StJ – I found it depressing as we're heading straight down that road again.  Great book, though.

    Good morning, by the way!

  4. Good morning – waddya mean, the markets are closed. According to ToS' home screen, the markets just opened and will close in 6.5 hours. How come there's no volume, though?  ;)

  5. Reading material for those looking for something to do today – Smart Portfolio Management – a classic from the PSW archives, written by Option Sage, but don't forget to read the comments section where Phil posts plenty of wisdom and quite a few gems.

    A good refresh at the start of the investing year.

  6. /NG getting no love this morning! And it's cold in the Northeast…

  7. Futures are open, not options or trading – supposedly.  

  8. /NG is getting crushed – just madness. 

    Search Results

    The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory release showed a larger-than-expected decrease in natural gas supplies. However, the positive sentiment was overwhelmed by mild winter weather forecasts amid strong production, which led prices to trickle down to their lowest level in more than three and a half years.

    Stockpiles held in underground storage in the lower 48 states fell by 109 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ended Jan 10, above the guidance (of 92 Bcf fall). The decrease was also higher than last year’s drop of 82 Bcf but came below the five-year (2015-2019) average net shrinkage of 184 Bcf for the reported week.

    The latest withdrawal puts total natural gas stocks at 3.039 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) – 494 Bcf (19.4%) above 2019 levels at this time and 149 Bcf (5.2%) over the five-year average.

    Fundamentally speaking, total supply of natural gas averaged 99.1 Bcf per day, down 1.3% on a weekly basis due to lower shipments from Canada even as dry production remained essentially unchanged.

    Meanwhile, daily consumption fell 2.2% to 111.5 Bcf compared to 114 Bcf in the previous week primarily due to weaker demand from the power and residential/commercial sectors.

    The demand for cleaner fuels and the commodity’s relatively lower price has catapulted natural gas' share of domestic electricity generation to 37%, from 25% in 2011. Moreover, new pipelines to Mexico, together with large-scale liquefied gas export facilities have meant that exports out of the U.S. are set for a quantum leap. Finally, higher consumption from industrial projects will likely ensure strong natural gas demand.  

    But thanks to soaring shale output, the United States has been the world's largest natural gas producer since 2009. Higher recovery rates from major unconventional fields have helped unleash record volumes regularly. As a matter of fact, the EIA forecasts that the United States is likely to have produced 92.1 billion cubic feet a day (Bcf/d) of dry natural gas in 2019, up from the 2018 average of 83.4 Bcf/d – a record high for the second consecutive year. The agency also projected that domestic gas output would rise to an all-time high of 95.1 Bcf/d in 2020. In other words, record high production in the United States and expectations for healthy growth through 2020 means that supply will keep pace with demand

    Natural gas might experience short-lived surge based on positive weather forecasts but any powerful turnaround looks unlikely at the moment. With output from shale formations swamping the market, there is little room for prices to improve meaningfully from their current levels.

    True, shale production growth is expected to slow this year but prices are unlikely to eclipse the $3 threshold on a sustainable basis, if at all, as upstream players will look to add volumes as prices improve.

    The bearish natural gas fundamentals and its seasonal nature is responsible for the understandable reluctance on investors’ part to dip their feet into these stocks. In fact, most gas-focused names took a pounding during the past year.

  9. /NG / Phil – Seems to make sense to focus more on people delivering gas rather than producers now. Delivery should not be as sensitive to price. But with volume growing (and export), these guys should do well for a while.

  10. NEW: Fact-checker counts 16K false, misleading claims by Trump in three years

    That's 8,000 in the past year!  At this pace, he's expected to lie 16,000 times to round out year 4 and, considering he's on trial – that sounds about right…

    He's sure on a roll today.  

    Image result for extrapolation cartoon

    These 2020 Ad spending #s are just off the charts:

    • Bloomberg: $235,543,844
    • Steyer: $149,727,295
    • Trump: $41,150,887
    • Buttigieg: $26,059,413
    • Sanders: $24,614,920
    • Warren: $15,774,869
    • Yang: $11,278,501
    • Biden: $9,118,760
    • Klobuchar: $6,875,507
    • Gabbard: $3,716,312
    • Bennet: $1,576,251



  11. Phil , Saguaro  /  UNG, Natural Gas -

     I entered the UNG Jan 17 2020 bull call spread for $15/$22 on Oct 1 based on Phil's suggestion in the Morning report, but got greedy thinking it'd go well over $22 by Jan 17 2020 expiration. 

    NG has been over $22 every winter for the past 5 years.

    I didn't roll.  During the past week, for much of Tuesday, I was breaking even for the net entry cost.  On Friday at expiry, I got back nothing just the broker fees.

    Does this mean Qatar is in big big trouble?  FIFA 2022 is in trouble also then! :(

  12. I think /NG prices are being driven down ahead of the rise in exports that will drive prices up.  Look what a great job "THEY" are doing of chasing everyone out of /NG investments…

    Wow, you actually rode that all the way down?  I hope you're not betting on that wold cup!