A Pretty Penny

What’s in the Szelhamos Portfolio?

Find a pennyMost of us who grew up when cash actually exchanged hands for things other than drug transactions, probably remember the old saying “Find a penny, pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck.”

Just as an aside, people who are accustomed to transacting their drug deals on the street rarely concurrently engage in reciting such pithy sayings.

Being somewhat analytical, I tried searching for any evidence that this old adage was actually data driven, but could find none.

In fact, I couldn’t even find anectdotal evidence.

Somewhat nervous about what my internet searching history may say about me, I want to warn people not to seach for “Penny Pick-up”.

In an age when absolutely everything is documented, videotaped and then posted on the internet you would think that the evidence would exist.

If not in the affirmative, maybe the data would exist to contradict the expression. But even a search through Tosh.0 archives could show no videos of someone picking up a penny from the ground and then getting flattened by a baby grand piano falling out of a window.

You also remember the old saying about how those pennies add up.

When I moved south of the Mason-Dixon line I first encountered the ubiquitous “take a penny, give a penny” dish in all of the 7-Eleven’s that lined every thoroughfare. None of the cash register people could explaiin the concept to me, but that was because most had only been in the country for two weeks or less and I definitely have an INS look about me.

I still have no idea of how that works or what utility it carries. My paranoia tells me that if I take a penny out of the dish, I’ll find out that it was all an FBI sting operation and I’ll be going away for a long, long time.

Every few years as the price of copper fluctuates, we also hear talk about discontinuing production of the penny, which in everything but the world of old sayings, is thought to be pretty useless.

Of course, useless as it may be, talk of discontinuing its production brings out all sorts of characters and experts on both sides of the argument. Equally compelling are the counter arguments related to the role of the penny in either promoting inflation or promoting deflation.

Like most economic arguments, just take your pick. When they say “A penny for your thoughts” they’re probably referring to the value placed upon financial and economic opinions.

But the value of those pennies, just like in the cult classic, Office Space, was really driven home today as trading was shortly halted in shares of both Visa and MasterCard.

I have a long history with both as an investor. MasterCard was actually the first stock that I sold call options on, probably some 5 years ago or so. For a while, I just concentrated on MasterCard, Apople and Google, all expensive stocks, as far as prices went, but all with great options premiums back at that time.

I’m still inappropriately seeking to exact revenge for not receiving an IPO allocation for Visa.

Bygones being what they are, I’ve almost continuously owned Visa shares since the IPO, but have not owned MasterCard in at least a year. In fact, my Twitter profile page is adorned with a Visa price chart as its wallpaper.

As with most everything I do these days in the markets, I don’t really seek much in the way of capital gains on the underlying stock. To me, the stock is just a means of delivering income. When it’s all said and done, I’m agnostic as to whether the stock moves up or down, just that it move somewhere and then eventually return near to where I got started with it.

Visa has been a great stock for behaving according to script.

Having just pocketed the premium for the options that expired on June 24 for Visa, which was a 1% gain, I sold $75 July 1 calls at about a 2.5% premium. My purchase price for the lot purchased on Jiune 20 was $74.06

Interestingly, the premium for the weekly July1st expiration was much better than for the end of cycle option on July 15th, due to the uncertainty that was being baked into the price related to the upcoming Federal Reserve rules decision on debit swipe fees.

Well, the rules came out today and trading was halted in both Visa and MasterCard as they gapped up significantly.

So while I’m on the hook for letting go of my Visa shares at $75, they closed the day at $87, up about $12, I won’t tell you how many shares I own, because I don’t want to short circuit my laptop with tears. Neither will I go to my Keurig and drown my sorrows in a nice hot cup of coffee, because the same thing happened not to long ago with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, as Starbucks became a Kissing Cousin.

It seems that pennies really do add up in the case of debit cards. The final Federal Reserve rules on swipe fees sets the per transaction cap at 21 cents, higher than the expected 12 cents, but still much lower than the banks had previously enjoyed.

But it wasn’t really clear why the stocks moved as they did, especially when JP Morgan released a statement that said that the won a battle in this decision, but lost the war.

That was a surprising kind of statement, because you don’t usually lose a war if you won the final battle.

And the retailers don’t seem to happy about the rules either.

But wait, if you order now, there’s more.

Why did MasterCard rise as much as it did, albeit a litlle less on a percentage basis than Visa? Especially since Visa has a very significant debit side business, whereas MasterCard doesn’t.

Why would American Express go up at all? Discover? really, Discover? Why did they go up? Did someone actually make a purchase?

In all, the reaction seemed overblown for all parties. But that seems to be par for the course. If I had some free cash right now, I would think about buying Visa puts, although i don’t buy puts as a general rule.

I have no idea how those pennies will ultimately add up, but then I realized that sometimes I play for pennies, as well. One of my trading rules in Option to Profit is to not let a penny here or there make a difference between executing or missing a trade.

I rarely get bogged down because of that level of greed. I just want to make the trade.

But where the pennies come in is on a derivative play of the Option to Profit strategy, one that is implemented during the last two days of an options cycle.

In this case, the cycle is this Friday, July 1st.

With both Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan up nicely today, well in advance of the Federal Reserve news, I decided to sell options expiring in just 2 days. $0.10 premium on JP Morgan and $0.44 on Goldman.

In the case of Goldman, the sum total was pretty much in pennies, as well, as I’m at my lowest holding of those shares in years. The JP Morgan total was better than that as I had 8 times as many shares.

Still, no big whoop. But whoops are like pennies. They do add up.

With a couple of days now left to go until this Friday’s expiration, I’m in the position of hoping for share prices to go down, not just on Visa, but on a few others after this past three day run-up.

But the nice thing is that even if they don’t, one of my other old reliable stocks from the past is probably at a good enough place now to warrant its repurchase, knowing that someday Visa will shed a few thousand pennies and be ripe for the taking, once again..

Pennies may be from heaven, but on days like this I curse the rogue angel that showered them down.

No matter. Tomorrow, I will again be a slave to the man and cut off from my sea of information, but at least a few of those employment related pennies will come my way.

All the more to buy you, my pretty.




Is Ignorance Good?

I spent much of the day in an unusual environment cut off from the simplest pleasures to which I have become accustomed.

I believe that it’s called “work”. Since it’s not really something that I have to do anymore, it’s not really servitude, it’s just work. Although I’ve been very fortunate in always having had good jobs and having been associated with very good people, it was still work.

Forget about the fact that for 20 of those years I actually expanded my mind, gained some professional stature and actually accomplished some worthwhile things, I would rather have been in my underground vault counting the day’s receipts and profits.

I continue to get a kick out of people who profess to really enjoy what they do for a living. Not that it isn’t possible, it’s just that it seems so highly unlikely.

Even Mel Brooks, who for a while really had his pulse on human behavior, got it wrong, when he said “It’s good to be the King”. I’m sure that these days, even King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia must wonder who’s serving whom when he has to release $135 billion in funds to pacify the populace with social program spending.

Not too long ago, one of my sons convinced me that I really needed to watch “It’s Always Sunny in Phildalephia”.

I was somewhat resistant because I don’t want to emotionally commit to a new show and then see it get cancelled. Besides, if it wasn’t on CNBC or Comedy Central, I wasn’t really interested.

Poor Paul Reiser. I still grieve.

But this carried very little liablity, because the show had already been on for 5 years or so and now was being run in syndication on Comedy Central.

IgnoranceNow, as I’ve become a fan, the characters of this show are the ulimate representation of ignorance.

Since I have been to Philadelphia, I agree with that characterization, but the weather forecast would be more accurate if the show was entitled “It’s Always Sunny in Riyadh”. Surely, ignorance knows no national boundaries.

Today, though, I was the “Mayor of Ignorance”.

For the previous 30 years I hadn’t really appreciated how delightful being a stay at home empty nester could be. The ability to trade as needed made staying a home a true and profitable delight. Maybe not as profitable as toiling away on a regular basis, but as a bonus, it’s something that is far from being “work”. I was actually getting a kick out of being me.

But today was different. As much as I looked around there wasn’t a single La-Z-Boy to be had. Although I did have a computer to call my own, there was no familiar background news of an ever-running television tuned to CNBC. I was beginning to question my decision to not drag along my laptop and stream CNBC through the Power E*Trade trading platform.

No coffee machine, no beautifully soft double ply toilet tissue and no dog in my lap.The people surrounding me were nice, but I had to wear socks and real shoes.

Still, trading opportunities weren’t denied to me.

Although I knew that the pre-opening was portending a positive open, I had no idea why the market performed so well throughout most of the day. I was cut-off from all forms of meaningful communication.

I was trading, but had no idea of why. All I saw were the price movements.

Early in the morning, I actually bought back the Freeport McMoran shares that had been assigned to me, yet at a price lower than the assigned price.

As Freeport then climbed later in the aftrenoon, although still trailing the market, I sold in the money calls with a Friday expiration. If I could get 2% return on every stock every week just by getting lucky like that, I wouldn’t have to write this blog. I wouldn’ty have to share my ignorance with anyone.

But I still wondered.

Was there news of a resumption of Chinese growth? Were copper prices going to sky-rocket? Was Pizar coming out with a Freeport McMoRan movie in 3-D?

No clue. I traded purely out of ignorance, fascinated by numbers red and green.

I also sold Visa call options expiring this Friday at an incredibly nice premium. Why were they so high relative to the next week’s premiums? Don’t know. Ignorance reigned.

Now before I try to portray ignorance as a bad thing, I did want to digress a bit toward my new found world of social media.

It was about 6 weeks ago that my son convinced me that I needed to “Tweet”.

Up until that point, I thought that Tweeting was only a means to let people know about the mundane things going on in Ashton Kutcher’s life.

He also convinced me to finally open up my “friend vacant” Facebook account and use it, together with my Twitter account to shamelessly promote my book.

Done and done.

On top of that, I just got a FourSquare account, as well, having entiltled my home address as “La-Z-Boy”.

Here’s where the ignorance is bliss part comes in, though.

Now that I have “friends”, I get to see what’s going on with them.

Most of all, I get to see what going on my my oldest son, who has always been quite the party animal. Fortunately, the youngest son is doing Army basic training right now, and it’s not very likley that he’s doing anything beyond the pale, other than learning how to impale.

Not only do I now know what my son is up to, I also get to see what his frends are doing. What kind of debauchery and havoc they are wreaking.

I’ve also learned alot about the world of Twitter hashtags and acronyms.

#PMGDDO is “Puking my God-damn dinner out”. It took a little bit of concerted effort to figure that one out.

Context is everything, especially if it ends up on your shoes.

Do I really need to know this?

Here’s one place that ignorance would be a good thing.

What little I could garner from today’s events came from the New York Times web site. I learned that Michelle Bachmann, who announced to the world on Sunday that she would be announcing her presidential candicacy yesterday, actually announced her candidacy yesterday.

Reading between the lines, it would have appeared that she did so on Sunday.

Reminds me of the extraordinarily unsuccessful bank robber who would pass a note to the teller:

“This is a stick-up. I’ll be back tomorrow at 10 AM to rob you formally”

When Chris Wallace asked Michelle Bachmann if she was “a flake” on his Sunday broadcast, he was also leaving a question on the table.

Yes, she’s ignorant, as well. Just listen. You’ll see.

But it doesn’t really seem to matter, as she is now an official candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, who somehow was able to participate in the recent Repu\blican presidential candidate debate without being a candidate.

Another place that ignorance seems to have reigned. Apparantly, being smarter than a 5th grader is not a requisite for a legitimate candicacy.

But as the day came to a close, ignorance didn’t seem to be so bad. No breaking news stories to deal with, no local cable advertisements and no disingenuous talking heads seeking the world’s approbation.

All of a sudden, I’m not so distressed about working again later this week and twice the week after.

By then, I should be FourSquare’s “Mayor of Ignorance”.




Is this some kind of a stuttering reference to “Weapons of Mass Destruction”?. Of course not. Szelhamos believed that you should never talk about sex, politics, religion or money. So it would be inappropriate to talk about WMD’s, due to the political controversy it evokes. Somehow, however, I can rationalize talking about money. Don’t ask me how, but is alright to do so. And somehow, Szelhamos could always rationalize talking about sex, politics, religion or money.

Guidelines were clearly meant to be broken.

WWMD?, quite simply is the question of the day. It stands for “What Would Moses Do?”. And that truly is an appropriate question for this coming day, a day of biblical proportion.

Everytime that I’m ready to make an investment or divest from one, first I just glance at the bracelet on my left wrist and ask “What Would Moses Do?”

Moses Parting the Red SeaAm I prone to exaggeration? What was so epic about any one day that you could even slightly consider it to be of such grand importance? Does it rank up there with the Great Flood? If there are parallels to that occasion, one thing that I know for sure, is that I would leave all of the seers and financial analysts behind. Let them fend for themselves. If our world doesn’t miss the dodo, it’s not likely that we will be less well off due to the extinction of that class of predator. My favorite was a few years ago, still before the sub-prime debacle whenone fine and esteemed analyst went from a new downgrade of IBM to a recommended buy, within a 24 hour period.

I used to pay much more attention back then.

To continue in the biblical metaphor arena, “what the market giveth, the market taketh away”. Just as Moses was the only one capable of parting the Red Sea, thereby taming it for everyone’s benefit, so too must we rise to the occasion to deal with today’s sea of red. Where there is red, there is opportunity, but not for the faint of heart.

Did you look at the action last week? It was awash in red and some green, and then red. If you were paying attention during the last hour on Wednesday, things can change rather quickly.

Moses never lost faith. Mine of course, is rooted in the world of pessimism and cynicism. But nonetheless, it is faith. Just faith that things will go badly.

The past two months have been abysmal. Even days when the early morning futures were pointing in the right direction would see my 5 digits gains evaporate into losses.

And those were the good days.

Every bit of economic and political news has been taken badly. Granted, there was a momentary euphoria over the prospects of a short term resolution to the Greek crisis, but ever since Bernanke’s press conference, we’ve been drowning in a sea of uncertainty.

Do you remember when the market loved China and Chinese stocks? I’ve never invested in any, but have consistently owned shares in companies that revel in worldwide economic growth. Rio Tinto, Freeport McMoran and Mosaic are currently in my portfolio. 

Well those three are good reasons why you really can’t love stocks. They are fickle.  Don’t get me wrong. I still am very appreciative of how they’ve treated me in the past,  but I have to stay distant. It’s much to easy to see your hopes and dreams dashed.

I suppose that my emotional attachment would be further dimished if I hadn’t been selling calls along the way, although so far, I haven’t dsold any on my Mosaic this options ctcle.

But I did so something very uncharacteristic for me today. It will probably lead to a bad outcome. But despite knowing that, I went ahead and followed a “stock tip” today. I’ve never done that before, but this one made sense.

The tip came from someone who has freely passed tips on before. Skeptical as I am, I never made a move on anyone’s “hot” tips. But what I have always done, upon anyone’s unsolicited recommendations, has been to follow that “tip”. Back in the days when I used to receive lots of cold calls from brokers, I would ask them to give my 5 stocks for recommended purchase and their time frames for reaching their stock’s target price. Those were in the days before Caller ID and Do Not Call Registries. My trusty spreadsheets proved to me that there was never a reason to stray from Bob Shapiro’s advice and to never disconnect the Caller ID.

Greatest invention, ever.

If you don’t know who Bob Shapiro was, get the Option to Profit book. His full identity is hidden in the book. I just called him “Bob”.

Since I couldn’t quite figure out how to make a subliminal plug for the book, I thought I’d just get right out there with it.

Anyway, this one particular tipster, has had a pretty good track record. In reviewing his past picks, it appears that he is a chartist. A technician. All of his picks have had very similar charts. Interestingly, his picks have all been very timely. But even more interestingly, they outperformed the market during its doldrums and vastly underperformed the market during its journey to new highs. In fact, during the recent stretch of up days, the market climb’s slope was the antithesis of the slope of his other recommendations. Those stocks all declined! He was a chartist and a market timer. As far as I know, he has no relationship with anyone on the Dow Jones board. I should say “allegedly”.

Today’s recommendations, and they are his and not mine, are Crocs and Hansen Natural. No fly by night companies. Okay, maybe they are. Both just off a 52 week highs. Interestingly, I just wrote about my expanded Crocs collection just a few days ago, even proudly mentioning my faux-fur lined ones.

But I demurred. Would Crocs be the right choice to wade across the Red Sea if Moses turned out to be a crock? Is that really what I wanted to be found in if my lifeless body washed up the shores of Jericho? And with a non-recyclable can of Dragonfruit Sugar-free clutched in my hand?


Then I remembered that I don’t believe in stock tips anymore.

Is this what Moses would have done in the face of a sea of red? Would he fully change his ways, views and beliefs? It’s sort of akin to worshipping at the feet of the golden calf. Would he have taken a tip from an idol worshipper?

I dont think so.

So how did it work out for Moses? It really depends on your perspective. He never made it to the Promised Land, although he made it possible for everyone else to get there. Maybe he should have changed his ways. Maybe he would have gotten to the Promised Land, although breaking those tablets was not a very wise thing to do. Figuratively, that was like dissing all of the commandments with one single action. Talk about efficiency. But he did make his point. At a price. A high price.

Come to think of it, if you threw a long maned wig on him and put a staff in his left hand, I think Ben Bernanke would make one fine Moses.

Me? I can change the definition of my Promised Land whenever I want. To me it’s a number. That number may be another two years until full retirement, it may be a 30th wedding anniversary, or it may be a cholesterol of 150.

Whatever it is, I’ll get there.

WWMD? He would make sure that even if he couldn’t get there, the others would. And that’s a good lesson, but there’s nothing wrong with getting there yourself and bringing others with you.

Next week, we answer the question, WWBD?


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What a Difference a Day Makes

Unless I’m missing the obvious, any consecutive two days in the markets these days would qualify for being the impetus for today’s blog title.

It’s becoming a truism that no two days are alike, unless you consider diametric opposition to be the sincerest form of flattery. A truism that’s repeated almost as consistently as hearing parents tell you just how incredibly different their children are in all aspects of their lives.

Wednesday was an absolute yawner. The fact that I was napping during the last hour of the trading session and missed that 60 point drop just means that it never really existed for me. When I woke up, nothing was really any different.

Today? Where do you start with decribing today?

Ted WilliamsWell, you probably need to start with some sort of baseline. What represents the world’s greatest change from one day to the next?

Some would argue that the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima was such an event that so markedly distinguished between before and after.

Others might point to the assasination of John F. Kennedy, the day that an entire nation lost its innocence and left Camelot, never to return.

I think that Ted Williams, the man with the golden voice, best describes the transition that can be seen from one day to the next.

The photo that you’re looking at is not the cryogenically gone bad head of the baseball Ted Williams. If your memory fails you, that’s the picture on the day he was spotted at the intersection off ramp.

Here’s what he looked like after you blinked your eyes just a few times: Ted Williams - What a Difference a Day Makes


Quite a difference, no?

Well how does yesterday’s market action stack up next to Ted Williams?

It certainly was no flash crash and we’ve certainly seen volatility in the markets before. But today was at the very least not like the day that preceded it.

Obviously, I’m not prone to hyperbole.In fact, no one is less prone to hyperbole than me.

Today’s action reminded me of speed dating, that is, if I did that sort of thing. We got to see a little of everything and exaggerated reactions to just about everything. There was also plenty of opportunity to make bad situational decisions.

Bad employment numbers, more Greek worries, less Greek worries, release of strategic oil reserves, resolution of Greek crisis, capture of Whitey Bulger and visions of Barney Frank and Ron Paul toking on a big one in a congressional hot tub.

These are a few of my favorite things.

I know that I’m not very smart when it comes to micro and macro-economic issues, but I’m still having a really hard time understanding the plunge in crude oil futures based on the graduated release of 60 million barrels of oil.

Oh, I see. A few days of reserves, over a few months.

Sure, that should tip the markets upside down. The fact that the Saudis had no great opposition to the symbolic move and the little bit of a squeeze it may theoretically place on Iran and Venezuela makes it all worthwhile.

Besides, now that I’ve had to modify my diet in response to the sludge like cholesterol induced blood that I have, I’ve cut out at least that much oil from my deep fryers in less time.

Maybe I’m just not following the right people on Twitter.

The only one that made the case that the reaction to the strategic oil reserve release was ridiculously overblown was Dennis Kneale from FOX News and FOX Business.

I’d say “Bravo”, but that’s an NBC property and they might take litigation against me for using that word in a direction laudatory of Dennis Kneale.

At least I can still say “WINNING” without hesitancy.

But maybe it was something Bernanke said in the after press conference party that got people worried. Do you think that maybe after a few kirs, he started spouting that not even QE 12 was going to get the economy out of the “Loo”?

Somehow, I have a hard time seeing that possibility. I know with great certitude, that the Federal Reserve Chairman would have used the word “crapper”, owing to his southern heritage.

I also know with great certitude that I never used the word “certitude” prior to last week.

Whatever the cause, the volatility was there today. One measure, the ProShares Short-term VIX ETF was all over the place today. It traded in an 8% range today, finishing just pennies off its lows. It’s June 2011 options were equally volatile, although that probably shouldn’t be overly surprising, should it?

Like Riverbed Technology and Home Depot, the VIX ETF was still up all day. I only mention the latter two, because I had mentioned this past Friday that I was planning to purchase shares in both.

As I further mentioned on Monday, I didn’t, having instead added shares in Halliburton, Freeport McMoran and Sallie Mae, instead. I’m not sure why I bother making those kind of disclosures.

Well, there’s always tomorrow. After all, isn’t that the theme?

In today’s trading, it seemed as if there were really two transformative events, or non-events.

The oil reserve release and the reported Greek financial crisis resolution.

A tale of two absurdities.

The belief that a cultural way of life enjoyed by Greek citizens will be abolished by decree and banking fiat is probably not terribly realistic. Just more of the same. Kicking it down the road.

The fact that the per capita debt of the United States is actually $1,000 more than that of Greek citizens can’t have too much relevance. Otherwise, we’d be doing something about it now, instead of tomorrow.

From my perspective, I don’t care if our injudicious and wreckless fiscal actions effect my great-great-great granchildren. My reasoning is that I’m not very likely to have that strong of an emotional connection to them to be worried about how they’ve been left holding the bag for our frivolous ways and neither will my own kids.

So let’s just do what we need to do today, to make tomorrow just another day of great denial.

Not denial of things that we value, like things, just denial of things that are irrelevent, like the concepts of truth and facts.

I guess in that way today and tomorrow don’t really need to be that different.



I don’t get bored very easily.

That’s in very clear contra-distinction to my Sugar Momma.

Selhamos used to describe her as having “a flea in her tuchas”, meaning she just couldn’t sit still.

Even Pigs need to YawnNever getting bored can either be a blessing or a curse. I see it as a blessing, others see it as a curse, because I’m more than content to just camp out on my La-Z-Boy and watch the leaves change as the seasons come and go.

I never find myself asking “so, what are we doing today?”

Some people find that level of commitment to inertia as being annoying, as opposed to one that respects the state of the established order.

But I was bored today. Very bored.

Not that I was planning to go anywhere today, because I rarely venture out between 9:30 AM and 4 PM, but I lent my car to a neighbor for the next few days as his needed some unexpected and major repairs.

Maybe knowing that I was homebound contributed to that feeling of boredom. A very strange feeling.

Obviously, the day in the markets did nothing to capture my interests. Not even that patented “Bernank-O-Meter” unveiled on CNBC could keep me from constantly checking the time. I never did figure out what exactly that Bernank-O-Meter was supposed to represent, but I was too bored to investigate.

Of course, that ticking clock in the lower right hand corner of the screen that counted down the 7 hours until the Federal Reserve Chairman’s press conference didn’t help to speed up the perception of time. It was soporifc. Must SleepTV, to put a spin on the old NBC slogan from years ago.

Logically, not much happened, as the countdown clock ticked away until the scheduled Bernanke press conference at 2:15 PM, after the FOMC meeting.

For the first 30 minutes not much happened during the press conference either. A series of heavily accented questions, none of which really pierced anyone’s armor, did little to move markets, although there was a very slow downward bias as time went on. However, as it became clear that the press conference was nearing its end without any incredible revelations, the direction slowly changed and started heading back to baseline.

In the meantime, once again giving into The Beast, I just had to make a trade.

I didn’t have much available cash, but I once again picked up some ProShares Ultrashort Silver and then just as quickly sold some in the money calls.

Sometimes dealing with things like currencies, Treasuries, puts and these Ultrashort products requires trading in a mirror or suspending yourself upside down in order to re-route your thought processes.

I’m a reasonably smart guy, have always had a way with numbers, even read Adler’s Number Theory in 9th grade, but I’ve always been a bit confused about currencies and Treasuries.

Of course I know the inverse association between interest rates and bond value and yes, I know that when the dollar goes down in value against the Euro for example, the dollar to Euro ratio goes up, etc., etc. and etc.

But I have to think about it. even if only for a second, I still need to divert some rapidly dimishing cortical resources toward interpreting the data.The basic question becomes, “Which way is up?”. That question makes me feel so stupid.

Basically, like most everyone else, the interpretation is on a dichotomous scale. Is it good for me or is it bad for me?

As boredom was setting in and the mind was shutting down, trying to make those interpretations was really unnecessarily difficult.

Going long the ProShares Ultrashort silver means that the bet is that the price of silver is heading down. Selling the call is a bet that the price of the underlying stock will stay flat or go down, which in itself means that the price of silver either stays flat or goes up.


I didn’t say that my trade combination had to make sense, but at least there were some trades, using the same logic as in the May 2011 cycle. In fact, I still don’t know if that trade combination makes sense. To know so, would require far too much thought. It did make money last time, so why not do it again. The logic behind the trades can wait, since the outcome is far more important than the process.

So, if the option is not exercised, that means that silver increased in value.

Maybe I bought the position so that I would put my mind into some kind of endlessly looped thought just to keep me from getting bored.

The problem is that I don’t really have the patience to try and understand what it is that I want and I’m apparantly past the prime of life when all of the nuances would have been intuitive.

So let’s just leave it at I traded, because the flea needed tickling.

By a couple of minutes after 3 PM, the press conference was over. I looked at my computer screen and decided that nothing worthwhile was going to happen and so I dozed off.

Barely an hour later, the market was down another 60 points.

It doesn’t appear that I missed anything during that inopportune time to sleep. The only trade that I had been looking at was one to sell call options on Praxair. I had been hoping for a move up to $105 and that never happened.

In a way, I’m glad that I fell to sleep. Had I not, I probably would have made the Praxair trade at a pice less than I wanted, just for the sake of making the trade, as if E*Trade would disappear without me and my totally unnecessary trades.

Interestingly, in my search for a germane photo to illustrate today’s topic, I couldn’t find a photo of a bull or a bear yawning. Plenty of babies, dogs, cats and other assorted mammals. I don’t know if there was some kind of hidden message there, because it seems as if yawning is a fairly universal action.

I never considered myself to be in the “pig” category when it came to investing. I’m really not certain why a pig needs to yawn, as if we really know the true utility of a yawn, but assuming that it’s from boredom, you would think that investing pigs would be in a perpetual state of yawning. Never satisified with the price of their stock and never excited about its trajectory. Always wanting more and more and ceratin that it’s going to happen that way.

What a sad state to be in. Seems that boredom may be the best way to express a world in which excitement may be just around the corner.

For me, that corner may arrive as early as tomorrow.

As for today, 80 points is like $153 million to JP Morgan. Nothing terribly exciting. There’s always tomorrow to see a really nice market gain or violate SEC and banking regulations in a really tremendous way.

So here’s to tomorrow. A day perhaps filled with excitement, meaningful trades requiring little thought and best of all, profits.

I’ll even take more meaningless and boring trades, if it means profits.

How piggish.