Like most people who have a vested interest in life, I woke up this morning to the apparent good news that some kind of an agreement had been reached on the Greek crisis.
Most other natural laws were not being violated, according to the early morning news, but this was a real shock to the sytem of universal truths that we count on to make it from day to day. Otherwise, we’d all be stuck to the ceiling.
You’d be more inclined to believe that had Newton discovered the parachute before the Law of Gravity, things would be very different today for all of us.
Reportedly bond holders of Greek debt will take a 50% haircut. I still don’t completely understand what that means, especially since I’ve always been a bit mystified by the world of bonds and currencies. (See: I Don’t Understand Currencies)
Britain, which is putting up nothing in the bailout, simply called the EU’s key players “morons”, offered their advice and went back home. Much like Geithner did last month, except without the bangers and mash awaiting him at the airport.
That I understand.
I assume that when it comes to understanding words spoken with a British accent, the EU ministers are every bit as befuddled as when I watch such a movie without sub-titles. This past week it was “Another Year” at the Columbia Film Society.
Good movie, bad teeth
I think. At least about the former. As far as the latter goes, I’m quite certain of it.
So after a series of will she or won’t she episodes, it appears that Greece is safe for now, but will require restraints and some kind of a padded environment.
It’s so difficult to protect one from one’s self.
That final requirement was a victory for the French who demanded that Greece use French drywall in its renovation of the Parthenon and those other crumbling architectural blights, as undersurfacing for the padded elements. Besides, fixing up those walls should pull in lots of international tourist dollars into the Greek economy.
As most people in that upper 1%, upon hearing the news my first thought was obviously related to how can I benefit from this moment in history?
I knew that the answer was “not that much” since many of my holdings were spoken for by the lively options premiums I received on their behalf. Besides, I don’t think Netflix has large European exposure and doesn’t stream much across the pond.
It would have been nice if the EU Finance Ministers at least threw Netflix some sort of bone, perhaps endorsing its plan to split the subscriber base in two.
But that’s fine, because there’s always tomorrow.
Tomorrow is typically when details come and euphoria fades. Reality has a way of dashing hopes and dreams.
Just ask Kim Kardashian.
Sometimes, tomorrow is 30 minutes after earnings are released and guidance is given during the conference call. Tomorrow can come at any time, but it always gets here eventually.
At any rate, today is another of those rare days that I’m working. No windows, no streaming CNBC and no clue what’s going on other than the numbers on the screen, the preponderance of “greens” and an occasional glance at the New York Times website, which by the way, was brave enough to have an article today entitled “Banks Calmed, but Italy Still a Worry.”
I did try streaming, but had no speakers on the computer available to me. I watched the Herb Greenberg segment with Howard Lindzon, founder of StockTwits, but couldn’t read anyone’s lips, other than the one “motherf**ker” that I believe came from Lindzon’s lips as he was probably discussing someone who he believed didn’t understand the concepts of momentum and trend.
That may have been directed toward me, but you can never be certain.
As everyone back in Europe is self-congratulating themselves for a job finally done, we’ll probably skip the details and wonder what’s going to happen next.
One report I read said that this $1.3 trillion bailout sends the message that there’s resolve to battle the same demons in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, too.
I’m sure that the Germans love that thought.
They still believe that Mussolini was a drain on their glory and they’re probably anxious to help out an old and reliable ally.
All they would ask in return would be for Berlusconi to give them a few telephone numbers of some of his “aides”. Not for anything fiendish or inappropriate. Perhaps just to see if any needed escorts to their high school proms.
So with all of the difficulty and the various fit and starts to try and resolve the Greek crisis, where are the voices reminding us that the Greek economy is like a guppy in the fish bowl?
I certainly understand the concept of starting small and then exporting the knowledge base and experience to larger, but similar projects, but where is the capital coming from?
With recent reports that US banks are awash in capital, a natural consequence of not lending, and the lure of some lofty European bond returns, I hope that the enticements are recognized for what they are likely to be.
The nomination of Angelo Mozilo, as the United States non-voting representative to the European Central Bank is probably not a good sign.
Just in case, I’ve diverted my non-invested cash into something more safe than our own banking system.
I’ve just stuffed it into those coffers maintained at the Occupy Wall Street rallies, that presumably will be used for food and lodging over the winter, as Occupy Wall Street becomes a profession for some protestors. I’m even happy to support their annual trek down to warmer winter climates, as befits New Yorkers of all percentiles, as they take “Occupy Boca” to heart.
See? College was worth it, after all.
You’d really get that feeling if you bought Sallie Mae after the big hit it took on Tuesday. You would have been nicely rewarded as the reality hit.
Sometimes reality tells us that things are going in the right direction, or that at least things aren’t quite as bad as unbridled imaginations made them out to be.
Sallie Mae may be all that is evil in the world of higher education, but I can guarantee that there are at least some protestors somewhere that have benefited from Sallie Mae’s climb from a few dollars per share up to its current share price.
Of course, that conveniently overlooks the days when it was in the $50 range.
With the market spending much of the day in the 300 point higher vicinity, I did take some time to sell some more options. Halliburton, Rio Tinto, Cheasapeake Energy, Riverbed Technology, Freeport McMoRan and even Netflix.
I also bought some more ProShares UltraShort Silver ETF shares, demonstrating precisely the mechanism that I became so top heavy in these shares. Just little by little, with each rise in silver’s price, ‘ve been accumulating the short shares.
Up until the past few days that’s been a very good strategy, but so far, for this options cycle, I’ve only been able to hedge about 30% of my shares, so the precipitous drop in those shares in now limiting my portfolio gains.
Just a couple of weeks ago it was precisely the opposite.
The reason for the big difference?
But even with silver and gold, it’s appropriate to ask “Now what?”
Although working, I do have Twitter going and occasionally stop by to check.
There are lots of very happy people and only the occasional complaint.
That may be the kind of thing that Lindzon may have been talking about this afternoon, if only I’d had sound.
Although I understand the concepts of trend and momentum, I also understand the inviolate physical law of inertia. It takes a major event to stop momentum, but in the case of the markets, it only takes a trivial and unsubstantiated rumor.
And then there’s gravity, as well. Throw that into the mix.
At the very least, there’s probably little reason to ask “what’s next” when it comes to physical laws of the universe. Remember, Newton never did discover the parachute.
Unless someone corroborates the Italian demonstration of particles faster than light, there’s good reason to believe that there’s nothing next on the universal truths spectrum.
Instead, we’re off to Italy with a discerning and questioning eye, as there’s reason to doubt both the speed of neutrinos and the ability of the Berlusconi government to put forward a fiscally responsible plan.
What’s next? Not the basement, but I don’t think we’re headed for the penthouse quite yet, either.
Reality will be back, as will doubts, finger pointing and cold feet.
Tomorrow. And there’s no telling what that may bring, although trade for disappointment and pain.
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2011 TheAcsMan