Posts Tagged ‘Stiglitz’

Weekly Wrap-Up – Buffett’s Daring Derivative Deal Does Well

I was going to talk about Buffett's annual letter to investors.

Fortunately, I procrastinated and other people did some detailed reporting like Ravi Nagarajan, Andy Fry, Scott Patterson and Joe Del Bruno – who does a great job of pointing out that Berkshire's 4th quarter results were propped up by Buffett's $1.05Bn gains in derivatives betting (something Buffett himself once called "weapons of mass financial destruction" but, as we well know – if you can't beat them…), which accounted for 1/3 of Berkshire's $3.06Bn profits

Buffett's biggest bet was selling a put against the S&P 500 back in March – a move I said at the time was BRILLIANT and Buffett himself now says about his own options trading:  "We are delighted that we hold the derivatives contracts that we do.  To date, we have significantly profited from the float they provide. We expect also to earn further investment income over the life of our contracts."  

What did Buffett do?  Exactly what we teach you to do here at PSW - he took advantage of an irrational move in the markets and SOLD INTO THE EXCITEMENT, getting a fat premium from some sucker that bet the S&P would not hold 666 5 years from now.  Buffett effectively sold $5Bn worth of puts that expires worthless at S&P 700 between 2019 and 2027, putting $5Bn in his pocket and holding aside $1Bn in margin, which is how much he's already ahead on the bet.  Like a good options trader, he has a plan and he's trading his plan, making sure his investment is on track and patiently letting time do it's work as it eats away at the put-holder's premium. 

What about the risk?  Well I can't speak for Buffett's stop-loss technique but we're talking about a company that has (had) $40Bn in cash using their excess margin to make a $5Bn bet that the S&P would not stay below 700 for 10 years.  Buffett and I both tell people – NEVER buy a stock (or sell a put against one) that you are not willing to own for 10 years.  The S&P was 5% below at the time and would have had to drop, perhaps, 20% more to cost him $1Bn so let's call the stop 550 on the S&P where Buffett risked 2.5% of his cash against a posible 400% gain on his $1Bn risk allocation over 10+ years.  While it is true that if the
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Thank GDP It’s Friday!

Wow, a 6% GDP!

I’m guessing as it’s only 7:30 but WOW!  What an amazing economy this must be in the fantasy-land where they concoct these numbers.  Let’s see, we have 138M working people so we must have added 8.6M jobs, right?  NO???  Well, then the people who are working must be putting in a lot of overtime, right?  No?  I know, everybody must be making 6% more money than last year!  No?  Well, then it must be coming through in benefits, right?  No?  Hmm, this is a hard game isn’t it?  I KNOW!!!  Housing prices – with China-like GDP growth our housing market must be red hot and surely our homes are up 6% in value!  No?  Damn, I feel like I’m playing deal or no deal and I picked the case with the penny

Just like our discussion about what total BS the CPI was – GDP is no different.  GDP is the sum of Consumption, Investment, Government Spending and Net Exports which means a combination of inflation and government spending can boost our GDP even as real consumption falls and the rising dollar papers over export losses.  In other words – I buy $100Bn worth of Toyotas (5M at $20,000 each) from Japan with the dollar at 85 Yen.  Now the dollar rises to 93 Yen and I’m "only" buying $90Bn worth of Toyotas (5M at $18,000 each) and our GDP for that segment is up 10%.  Wow – FANTASTIC! 

Are we happy?  Are more Americans working?  Is there more shipping?  Are there more sales at the Toyota dealership?  No.  Is Japan happy?  Not at all, they are getting less money for the same cars.  Another group that hasn’t been happy are the oil exporters, who shipped us an average of 10.5 Million barrels a day at an average price of $60 last year ($630M) and are now shipping us just 8.5Mbd at $80 last week ($680M).  Sure they are still getting their $680M a day by choking off production and creating false supply shortages, but they miss the days when they were able to charge us $100 for 11Mbd. 

Don’t worry my OPEC pals, JPM and the other oil manipulators are working very hard to make sure you once again have Billions of more American dollars that you can funnel to terrorists and this Democratic Congress turns the same blind eye to the shenanigans as the previous administration did so happy days will soon be
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Wednesday Rejection Weakness

So close but yet so far!

We set our bounce levels way back on Jan 25th and just yesterday I posted up the WEAK BOUNCE levels we need to see before taking our bullish betting to the next level but we have only skimmed along our lines, finishing yesterday at Dow 10,296 (down by 2), S&P 1,103 (down by 2), Nasdaq 2,190 (down by 10), NYSE 7,001 (up by 1) and RUT 614 (down by 6).  This may be seem like some pretty amazing targeting 10 days in advance but, actually, we could have predicted this move last year as it's nothing more than the same 5% Rule levels we've been using since the middle of last year.

That is why, we are not in the least bit impressed by close.  Close, as they say, is no cigar!  Don't forget those are the natrural dead-cat type bounce levels off the drop from the top that we are trained to IGNORE as they are meaningless in the grand scheme of things.  What is meaningful is when they we retake those levels and that means we found a true floor at 5% (see weekend chart)  NOT taking back AND holding our retrace levels means we are very likely to see phase 2 of our leg down and hit 10% drop levels of Dow 9,630, S&P 1,035, Nasdaq 2,088, NYSE 6,660 and Russell 585 so we will now become much more concerned by failure or those lower levels (10,058 on the Dow etc) which MUST HOLD.

We're not there yet, we MAY be consolidating along the 5% lines and that would be good, but unnerving.  We have our disaster hedges in place and we got our commodity rally so we can on some oil puts (what a joke at $77.50 already with yet another inventory build to be announced today) and perhaps even some gold puts as we test $1,130 (GLL $9 puts have very little premium at .90).  Our favorite hedge of the moment is once again EDZ, who are back to $5.50 thanks to a nice move up in Asia today.  March $5 puts can be sold for .45 and that's a very nice way to collect premium as EDZ has to fall 20% before you even owe the putter a nickel but the July $4/6 bull call spread at .85 pays…
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Singing “Davos Done and We Need Another Loan”

Debt-O, debt-uh-oh
Interest come and we need another loan
Debt-O, debt-uh-oh
Interest come and we need another loan

Work our lives just to lose our homes
Interest come and we need another loan
Stack default swaps till they come undone
Interest come and we need another loan

Come on Economists, tell us some more BS
Interest come and we need another loan
Come on Economists, tell us some more BS
Interest come and we need another loan

6%, 7% – it's a credit crunch
Interest come and we need another loan
6%, 7% – it's a credit crunch
Interest come and we need another loan

Debt-O, debt-uh-oh
Interest come and we need another loan
Debt-O, debt-uh-oh
When interest comes we'll need another loan

 

It was the best of times (with the IMF predicting 3.9% Global growth) and the worst of times (with Roubini saying we're all doomed) at Davos this week as the men who rule the world gathered to divide the spoils over card games while vying with each other for podium and TV time so they could talk their various books from the safety of the Swiss mountains.  Davos, a tiny village perched on a mountain with just two main streets, lacks the protests of other Global gatherings.  During the annual meeting, the town is taken hostage by thousands of police.  “Anyone who looks like a protester can be thrown off the train,” says Marco Leutholz, head of the local Socialist party (and that train often overlooks steep cliffs!).  Sir Howard Davies (director of the LSE) writes:

The mood is certainly better than last year, when the world was ending, but it is worse than at the beginning of last week. Alessandro Profumo of Unicredit acutely observed that Davos is likely to accentuate whatever mood you arrived in, rather as alcohol does, I guess. So those who arrived nervous about the economic prospects are leaving even more jittery. If you arrived feeling pessimistic, you will leave somewhere between suicidal and homicidal.

The market background has not helped. Anxiety about Greece has grown over the past three days. In the circumstances, it was strange to see both the Greek prime minister and his finance minister here. Maybe the subtext was to show that there can be no crisis if they are munching muesli


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Zero Hedge

Italian Cases Soar Past 300 As EU Stubbornly Refuses To Close Borders; 10 Dead: Live Updates

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Summary:

  • WHO warns the rest of the world "is not ready for the virus to spread..."

  • CDC warns Americans "should prepare for possible community spread" of virus.

  • Italy cases spike to 322; deaths hit 10

  • HHS Sec. Azar warns US lacks stockpiles of masks

  • Italy Hotel in Lockdown ...



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Phil's Favorites

World economy flashes red over coronavirus - with strange echoes of 1880s Yellow Peril hysteria

 

World economy flashes red over coronavirus – with strange echoes of 1880s Yellow Peril hysteria

Courtesy of John Weeks, SOAS, University of London

As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, travel restrictions are being imposed around the world. China is the main target, with various countries including Australia, Canada and the US placing different restrictions on people who have travelled through the country ...



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Biotech & Health

World economy flashes red over coronavirus - with strange echoes of 1880s Yellow Peril hysteria

 

World economy flashes red over coronavirus – with strange echoes of 1880s Yellow Peril hysteria

Courtesy of John Weeks, SOAS, University of London

As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, travel restrictions are being imposed around the world. China is the main target, with various countries including Australia, Canada and the US placing different restrictions on people who have travelled through the country ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Dow Industrials Reversal Lower Could Be Double Whammy for Stock Bulls!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Dow Jones Industrial Average “monthly” Chart

The Dow Industrials have spent the past 70 years in a wide rising price channel marked by each (1). And the past 25 years have seen prices test and pull back from the upper end of that channel.

The current bull market cycle has seen stocks rise sharply off the 2009 lows toward the upper end of that channel once more.

In fact, the Dow has been hovering near the topside of that price channel for several months.

But just as the Dow is kissing the top of this channel, it might be creating back-to-back “monthly” bearish ...



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Insider Scoop

Benzinga's Top Upgrades, Downgrades For February 25, 2020

Courtesy of Benzinga

Upgrades
  • Sidoti & Co. changed the rating for FormFactor Inc (NASDAQ: FORM) from Neutral to Buy. For the fourth quarter, FormFactor had an EPS of $0.41, compared to year-ago quarter EPS of $0.31. The stock has a 52-week-high of $28.58 and a 52-week-low of $14.20. FormFactor's stock last closed at $23.16 per share.
Downgrades
  • Dougherty downgraded the stock for Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE: PANW) from Buy to Neutral. Palo Alto Networks earned $1.19 in the second quarter. The stock has a...


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The Technical Traders

Yield Curve Patterns - What To Expect In 2020

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Quite a bit of information can be gleaned from the US Treasury Yield Curve charts.  There are two very interesting components that we identified from the Yield Curve charts below.  First, the bottom in late 2018 was a very important price bottom in the US markets.  That low presented a very deep bottom in the Yield Curve 30Y-10Y chart.  We believe this bottom set up a very dynamic shift in the capital markets that present the current risk factor throughout must of the rest of the world.  Second, this same December 2018 price bottom set up a very unique consolidation pattern on the 10Y-3Y Yield Curve chart.  This pattern has been seen before, in late 1997-1998 and late 2005-2008.

...

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Chart School

Oil cycle leads the stock cycle

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Sure correlation is not causation, but this chart should be known by you.

We all know the world economy was waiting for a pin to prick the 'everything bubble', but no one had any idea of what the pin would look like.

Hence this is why the story of the black swan is so relevant.






There is massive debt behind the record high stock markets, there so much debt the political will required to allow central banks to print trillions to cover losses will likely effect elections. The point is printing money to cover billions is unlikely to upset anyone, however printing trillions will. In 2007 it was billions, in 202X it ...

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Members' Corner

Threats to democracy: oligarchy, feudalism, dictatorship

 

Threats to democracy: oligarchy, feudalism, dictatorship

Courtesy of David Brin, Contrary Brin Blog 

Fascinating and important to consider, since it is probably one of the reasons why the world aristocracy is pulling its all-out putsch right now… “Trillions will be inherited over the coming decades, further widening the wealth gap,” reports the Los Angeles Times. The beneficiaries aren’t all that young themselves. From 1989 to 2016, U.S. households inherited more than $8.5 trillion. Over that time, the average age of recipients rose by a decade to 51. More ...



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Digital Currencies

Altcoin season 2.0: why bitcoin has been outgunned by crypto rivals since new year

 

Altcoin season 2.0: why bitcoin has been outgunned by crypto rivals since new year

‘We have you surrounded!’ Wit Olszewski

Courtesy of Gavin Brown, Manchester Metropolitan University and Richard Whittle, Manchester Metropolitan University

When bitcoin was trading at the dizzying heights of almost US$2...



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ValueWalk

What US companies are saying about coronavirus impact

By Aman Jain. Originally published at ValueWalk.

With the coronavirus outbreak coinciding with the U.S. earnings seasons, it is only normal to expect companies to talk about this deadly virus in their earnings conference calls. In fact, many major U.S. companies not only talked about coronavirus, but also warned about its potential impact on their financial numbers.

Q4 2019 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Coronavirus impact: many US companies unclear

According to ...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

 

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

Courtesy of  

The repo market problem isn’t the problem. It’s a sideshow, a diversion, and a joke. It’s a symptom of the problem.

Today, I got a note from Liquidity Trader subscriber David, a professional investor, and it got me to thinking. Here’s what David wrote:

Lee,

The ‘experts’ I hear from keep saying that once 300B more in reserves have ...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

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

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

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

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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