Some Days it Just doesn’t Pay

Today was one of those days that you just wished that The End of Days had actually occured.

As if a 280 point drop in the Dow Jones wasn’t enough, watching Trump eat his Pizza with a fork and knife in a prototypical New York Pizzeria joint was enough to question everything in life.

Trump PizzaDuring World War II, reportedly American GI’s tested suspected spies by peppering them with baseball related questions. That was one sure way to test someone’s stripes. If you fell for the old, was Joe DiMaggio your favorite Brooklyn Dodger question, your ass was toast. Especially if you answered “Yah”.

No doubt, after seeing Trump elegantly dining on Pizza, one would be well justified to question the nation of Trump’s birth. Even Kenyan’s know how to eat Pizza.

They certainly don’t stack their slices and they’ll usually walk the extra 20 feet to bypass the Albanian Pizza place for a chance to get some really authentic New York Pizza, made my authentic Italians.

Let’s be clear, The Donald’s excuse for using a knife, fork, spork, whatever, doesn’t hold up to well. He said that he eats it that way so that he can bypass the dough, to keep his weight down.

The stacking sort of speaks a different story, unless Trump uses one of those Intuitive Surgical Da Vinci robotics to extricate the mozzarella and tomato sauce from between the soggy crusted slices.

Palin Star of DavidAnd then, there’s this image of Sarah Palin with her daughter Piper apologizing for pushing a cameraman. Well, as if the Jewish people don’t have enough problems, Palin is wearing a huge Star of David.

It was pretty unmistakenable. Maybe she was just trying to be prepared for any possible host awaiting her upon last week’s cancelled Rapturapalooza.

Don’t know, but once again it has me questioning everything. I had no problem with a Tina Turner beating Ike Turner or baseball bashing Rod Carew wearing the Star of David, but this? Too much. Just too much.

These sights were no way to end an absolutely horrid day.

Like most days that the markets are opened, I eagerly look forward to the days’ action.

Today was no different.

But like most days recently, our Dachshund, Laszlo, has been waking up and howling at an obscene hour in the morning.

Letting my Sugar Momma sleep, I get up and let Laszlo out with the full intention of going back to bed.

That never happens. Just can’t do it.

And so, I wait more than 4 hours waiting for that opening bell with my days’ trading strategies all planned out. I was fully expecting a rebound in Research in Motion and another upward bump in Freeport McMoRan.

Besides, the pre-open numbers indicated only a mild drop. Plenty of reason for sustained optimism.

But for the first time in a very long time, the market acted in an appropriate fashion for the economic news at hand.

The ADP employment numbers and then the ISM (Institute for Supply Management) data were not very good. But instead of moving in the irrational direction, the market actually did what a normal person would have predicted.

Given yesterday’s 128 point climb, today’s numbers gave a good reason to take some profits, but it was really an overdone reaction.

Given that Friday are the official government job numbers, I can’t imagine another such reaction for the release of numbers that should roughly mimic ADP’s numbers. The caveat being whether there are substantive revisions to previous month’s data.

Unfortunately, I’m not very well hedged and today was quite a hit. Normally at this stage of the month I’m fully hedged, but I change gears a bit if the previous month didn’t have many assignments. That usually means that I’m holding positions that are in negative territotry and I expect price rebounds.

In a perfect world, I’d rather make profits from an always upward spiraling stock price, but that’s just not the way of the world. Sometimes stock prices move downward and options premiums offest those paper losses very nicely.

That was the case during the May 2011 options cycle. I chose to not write June call options on a number of positions until they exhibited some price rises.

That was the strategy that I used during the early period of the post 2009 recovery. Back then, I went for capital gains on the stocks and smaller call option premiums.

For the pasy year, however, especially when volatility was high, I was particularly happy with the options premiums that came with near the money strike positions.

So today ened up being a total disappointment.

Rather than rapture, today was definitely a day from Hell.

Trump, Palin, The Dow Jones and Laszlo.

But at least my day tomorrow will have a much better chance of improving.

Don’t think Rep. Anthony Weiner will be able to say the same thing, although I guess we both could be guilty of letting the dog out.

Trying to do my Peace


There was a time, not that long ago, that I actually cared.

I spent considerable time and effort advocating for equitable health care. I actually put my Masters in Public Health to reasonably good use, but then I joined the dark side.

I decided that I really needed to make some serious money and did so for nearly a decade, until I realized that I could make some serious money without really working.

But as a member of The Chosen, I carry guilt with me regardless of the decisions made, trying to somewhat assuage those feelings by supporting varied charities and then calling it a day.

If I made profits from shares on options on Altria or Philip Morris, you guessed it, Easter Seals and American Heart Association erased some of the guilt at only a small fraction of the profit.

These days,  I sit, I watch TV, I trade and then I shake my head in disbelief watching the world’s news unfold before my now passive eyes. I don’t really think about such heady issues as international conflict and world peace, although I do occasionally recall a long ago forgotten solution offered for achieving world peace.


Dean MartinMany years ago, and I do mean many, I had a comedy album, that I think was called “The First Family”. Regardless of the title, the album was about the Camelot presidency of John Kennedy, with the premise being that all of his high level cabinet appointees were Hollywood celebrities, portrayed by the impressionists of the day.


For me, the most memorable moment was the press conference question posed to Secretary of State Dean Martin.

 “Mr. Secretary, what is your answer for achieving world peace?”

 Secretary Martin replied “Wheat’s the answer, man. We need more wheat all over the world. ‘Cause the more wheat we grow, the more booze we gonna have. And if everybody’s drinking all the time, won’t be any fighting. Just hugging and kissing. Good night, everybody.” 

Well, yesterday was one of those days that I sat vacantly and did nothing but trade.

The market opened up with a bang. One blink of the eyes and we were already in triple digit terrority.

Thanks to E*Trade’s finally supporting weekly options trading my own trading activity has changed significantly. Rather than being concentrated to the first couple of days of each options cycle and then looking for opportunities to buy back and eventually resell those same options, I now can find opportunities nearly every day.

Best of all, when a position does get exercised, I suddenly find myself flush with cash to open up new positions or expand existing ones.

That was the situation today, on this first trading day of a holiday shortened week. I lost some shares in Freeport McMoRan, some Spiders and British Petroleum.

I took the opportunity to pick up some Praxair, which goes ex-dividend in a couple of days, new shares in Freeport McMoran, Research in Motion and Microsoft.

I know that those sound like odd choices.

If you follow the blog, you know that I like Microsoft, even if it moves nowhere. Selling call options ad nauseum and collecting its ever improving dividend is fine by me. Plenty to gain, with little to no risk.

RIM may be a value trap, but I think it was hit unduly hard yesterday due to Nokia’s troubles and besides, it has a nice call option premium. It will probably flame out one of these days though and maybe then Microsoft can get its phone strategy working

Why buy back Freeport McMoran? Because it is one of my favorite stocks always providing a thriling ride and rewarding options premiums, that also happen to come in the weekly variety.

So what’s today’s point, as I seemingly ramble?

There was really only one interesting news story today and like so many recently, it painted Goldman Sachs in a bad light.

This time, news came out that the Libyan Sovereign Fund, which was a Goldman Client lost about 98% of its value, as it was very heavily invested in financials, at the worst time you could pick.

Okay, the Libyans are big boys, but for some reason Goldman went through any number of potential permutations to make the Libyans whole again. Even for that very brief period of time when Qaddafi ostensibly behaved himself, I doubt that anyone in the world would shed a tear over their financial loss.

Now I’m really not that interested in the origins of Goldman Sachs. I’m currently long shares and have been so, off an on for about 3 years. In fact, I’m pleased to take a 10% hit in its recent stock price in return for Libya’s 98% hit.


However, I can guess that most people, especially the anti-Semites out there, fervently believe that the firm has Jewish roots. There’s certainly been no shortage of anti-semitic comments about Goldman’s role in the financial meltdown.

As I thought about Libya’s relationship with Goldman, I juxtaposed that with Saudi Prince Al-Waleed, referring to ex-Citibank “big macher” Sandy Weil, as his “good, dear friend”. I also recall the not so secret trip Weil made to Saudi Arabia at the depths of Citigroup’s own crisis.

Funny how money brings people together.

Sworn enemies, Jews and Arabs, bought together out of a mutual love of profits.

Obviously, the answer to world peace is prosperity. Okay, maybe a little wheat based alcohol, as well, but prosperity trumps everything.

As I sit and trade, my guilt is disappearing. I’m spreading prosperity one trade at a time.

The dark side is not so dark after all. It can be a fairly prosperous environment if you only let it be so.

Just doing my peace, is all.