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.


Making the Difficult Decisions

“That’s why you get the big bucks” was always the statement made when someone was ready to pass the buck on decision making. Maybe funny the first or second time that phrase was ever used. it no longer seems to elicit even a forced chuckle.

Most people recognize that behind those words are the human sins of jealousy and wrath.

Cynics always say that behind every joke is the truth.

Whereas I used to believe that there were only two kinds of people, the ones with tattoos on their knuckles and those without, I now have a very different outlook on society.

DecisionsWe’re essentially comprised of decision makers and those who would be quick to jump on the guy making the big bucks for a chance to make big bucks of their own.

For about 20 years I made decisions, but I never was faced with the aspect of someone waiting for a decision to go the wrong way for their own chance to become “the decider”.

I was lucky in that way.

For the past 10 years I really haven’t had to make much in the way of workplace decisions and I’ve come to like that kind of slothenly existence, even though that also qualifies as a human sin.

Actually, I haven’t even had to be in any kind of workplace other than my own La-Z-Boy for most of the past couple of years, thanks to Sugar Momma and her faith that I could be more than just a love machine.

Today was a bit different, as I was uncharacteristically faced with a number of looming important decisions.

It all started with the realization that I’d be cut off from information today, yet again. For the second time this week I was going to be working, but at least I wouldn’t have to make any workplace decisions.

What I had to decide was whether to bring my own laptop and modem to work today to complement the PC available to me. I thought that perhaps I would just stream CNBC and in someway recreate my at-home trading lair. I felt so lost on Monday without those literal and figurative tools of the trade.I just had to have more than one screen and just had to have the background noise, occasional gem of a segment and the screen crawl.

For a moment, I even thought about bringing the La-Z-Boy with me.

I stood over one of the laptops this morning, faced with the realization that in order to stream CNBC I would have to use the premium E*Trade platform, rather than the middle of the range one that I much preferred.

MarketTrader, the platform that I like has all of the views pre-arranged. Not much in the way of customizing necessary or possible. By contrast, the premium platform is fully customizable and can have as many pages as you like with their uniquely positioned and chosen tools and fields. Charts galore, research tools, pretty colors. You name it. Even the whistles have whistles.

It’s just E*Trade’s way of saying that frequent traders need and are more likely to appreciate a more advanced approach to trading. I suppose that’s true,  but to do so requires lots of decisions.

So, easy decision.

I wanted no part of having to accustom myself to a different interface, even if it meant that I would miss out on what was going on in the world.

But that’s why I get the big bucks, because I can make those kind of difficult decisions without agonizing myself into inaction.

With that problem solved it was time to lay out the day’s trading strategy. My illness requires that I make trades even if there is no rational reason for doing so.

I was fully expecting some kind of retracement today. If this was a dead cat bouncing it didn’t know the meaning of gravity. I actually had an image of Wile E. Coyote running past the edge of a cliff and somehow staying airborne until he realized there was nothing below him to stop the plummet.

But that’s not what happened. It was just more of that unbridled enthusiasm that Greenspan had warned us about and that we hadn’t seen for a while.

With the end of the trading week, I decided to follow yesterday’s theme of exalting the lowly penny.

Today, the bet being made was that the prices for British Petroleum, General Electric and QQQ would retreat from their current levels by the close of trading today.

For some reason I decided that would be a good idea, even in the face of advancing prices. After all, at some point, Wile E. has to drop.

Coupled with the fact that the premiums for barely a days worth of time were really low, it seemed that the correct decision would have been to just keep riding the horse that’s pulled us this high over the past few days.

Maybe making the difficult decision means making the wrong decision in the face of over-whelming facts, so obviously I was the perfect person to be making those decisions to sell call options on those shares.

My only connection to reality today was the Twitter feed that I was getting, but for some bizarre reason I seemed to be getting alot of re-tweets about horses today.


So Twitter wasn’t of that much help today.

I also noted two recurring rumors. One about Steve Jobs being hospitalized and the other about Tim Geithner stepping down as Treasury Secretary.

Since neither Apple nor the broad markets seemed to react to either of those rumors I decided to ignore them, even thought they kept coming fast and furious. At least the previous day’s rumor of Steve Ballmer stepping down from Microsfot had come to an end.

Then I went to StockTwits. Amazingly, then couldn’t find anyone similar to me to suggest that I follow.

Twitter always has plenty of suggestions, most of which fall into the lunatic range and so I don’t take their advice, but at least that counts as another decision on my part. 

In all, despite the 152 point Dow gain, I was underwhelmed, maybe because my earlier decision to sell call options for Freeport McMoran left me wishing that I hadn’t. I started questioning the decision to bearishly sell those call options and bemoaned the great likelihood that I wouldn’t be enjoying the full benefit of their substantial price rise these past few days.

Until it hit me.

 I came to the understanding that I was living the best of all worlds. Not only was I getting paid today to go through the motions of working, but I was also helping those pennies pile up in the background by making these non-sensical and uninformed trades.

But best of all came the ultimate realization.

What better position is there to be in than to not only be the decision maker but to also be the one passing the buck and then questioning the wisdom of the decision.

Now comfortably perched back in my La-Z-Boy I can appreciate that no one is going to pounce on me for having made a bad decision, if that’s the way it turns out by the time of today’s closing bell.

There’ll be plenty more bad decisions to come, but I’ve decided I can take that kind of responsibility.

And that’s my final decision. 



What do you do About Good Feelings?

Yesterday was an all around good feeling day.


First, more book sales showed up in the daily reports. Secondly, I didn’t show up in this morning’s New York Times obituary pages.

So that’s already a pretty good day.

But what I really mean is that time specifically between 9:30 AM and 4 PM. Those times both ended by the ringing of bells. For a change, it wasn’t an opening or closing gong representing some kind of Chinese reverse merger company, either. Just real authentic opening and closing bells at The New York Stock Exchange, with lots of green in between.

You know that kind of good feeling. The kind where you just want to roll over and go to sleep, with a big contented smile plastered on your face.

Maybe a generation ago you would have lit up a cigarette.

I snuggled a bit with my LCD monitor as I took in the numbers. I watched “40 Year Old Virgin” once again the other night and decided that I would limit it to snuggling until we have 20 straight advancing sessions.

If that day comes, I’ll probably unplug the monitor just to be on the safe side.

By the time I looked at the closing numbers and entered the day’s data into one of my spreadsheets I wondered when was the last time I had such a good day. With the S&P 500 up about 1.4% today, my holdings were up a full 3%.

Before you get overly impressed, don’t be.

Fortunately, there’s no requirement that I tell you how much they were down over the past two weeks, but to give you some idea, my big movers were the likes of Mosaic, Williams Sonoma, British Petroleum and Rio TInto. And that doesn’t take into consideration some of the losers I shed in the last couple of days like Research in Motion and Hewlett Packard.

I think you get the idea. They were pretty hard hit over the past couple of weeks. And they definitely had a lot of energy stored up in them for a bounce or two. I could care less about dead cats, as long as the bounce is in one direction only. Had Newtown bothered to hang around long enough, he would have seen some of those apples rise.

Curiousity did get the best of me and I saw that the last time I had a day quite this good was May 27th, 2010. On that particular day, the Dow Jones was up 284 points (3%) and the S&P was up 3.1%. Interestingly, yesterday was yet another of those index disconnects, as the Dow was up by only 0.9%.

Just like Monday’s market.

I have no idea what the significance of that kind of pattern is, not that two days makes for a pattern, but it must mean something, like maybe Hewlett Packard continuing to underperform.

The problem during the course of this feel good day was that I really didn’t know what to do.

You know, do you stay the night? Do you leave a $20 on the night table and discretely slip out? Do you go through gut wrenching pangs of guilt because you made some money while Sally Struthers is still trying to raise some for Biafra?

But when you predominantly sell calls on your holdings you’re never quite sure what to do or how to feel.. Normally, whenever possible, I try to sell calls into a rally. There’s no better way to get an optimum premium and thereby provide a better cushion for the inevitable price retracement.

That’s the intellect part of me.

But some of the prices had fallen so much, instead of thinking about generating options premium and perhaps also getting some small stock capital gains and maybe a dividend or two, I really wanted to hit those home runs.

That’s the emotional part.

The call writing strategy is one of singles. Just lots of them. But we were so far behind after the last couple of weeks, I really wanted to get back into the game quickly.

It’s tough when your intellect and emotion start doing battle. You know which one usually wins. That actually explains why there are ugly babies in this world. Well, that and alcohol.

Did you love her or did you love the sex? That sort of conflict. And you can’t answer “Both”.

But that’s exactly what I did. I hedged my hedges. Okay, there may have been sex involved as well.

I started by methodically looking at my purchase prices, especially for those that had multiple entry points. Having holdings like that isn’t unusual for me during a down market if I think my shares are being unnecessarily beaten down. So I just chase them to a degree and average down.

For example, instead of writing 40 Textron contracrts, I only sold 13 at a $23 strike. I won’t mind losing those if that means I’ll be able to get a decent premium on $24 or above Textron contracts.

I also sold a split amount of contracts on JP Morgan. But as the afternoon progressed, word came out that there would be an announcement about JP Morgan and the SEC. Soo I watched the shares fall in response and just bought back the call contracts making a decent profit for a couplel fo hours.

After it became pretty clear that the $154 million fine was a meaningless slap on the wrists, I re-sold the contracts.

The emotional side resisted doing the same for Mosaic and William Sonoma, but the intellectual side totally overwhelmed everything else and sold contracts on all of my Freeport McMoran and Rio Tinto shares.

There were some General Electrics thrown in, as well.

Unfortunately, I wan’t able to take my own advice about picking up shares of Riverbed Technology, as I opted for Halliburton instead, as  brothers from different mothers. Halliburton has done well, but Riverbed busted out today with a 6% gain.

But still, I felt good. Imagine that, compromised on my beliefs and I felt pretty good.

Today was unmitigated joy, tempered with a little pessimism and topped with a sea of green.

Nothing brings joy more than green. Of course, if that dead cat continues its one way bounce, that will really be one for the books.

Here’s to erasing May 27th, 2010 from my history books and for defeating the laws of gravity.

Sorry Isaac, but if it will make you feel any better, tomorrow we debunk the laws of conservation of matter and energy.

Why is there so Much Bad Consumer Investment Advice

I probably shouldn’t say anything terribly negative about some of the popular on-line investment sites for consumer investors.

It would be like biting the hand that feeds you or maybe defecating where you eat, depending on your level of adolescence. Given the fact that I used the word “defecating” instead of some readily available alternatives, I’ve demonstrated my maturity to my own satisfaction.

I’m a little reluctant to saber rattle  because as I’ve been trying to raise awareness of the Szelhamos Rules blog and the Option to Profit book, I’ve been posting comments pretty much everywhere that I can, as you’ve come to realize if you’re on Twitter. It’s the current day version of subway grafitti, except without any artisitc merit.

Rant baby RantSo instead, I’ll rant, because I don’t really understand the imagery behind saber rattling.

Many of the postings are in response to articles that appear on such consumer investor sites. Interestingly, I don’t have the same opinion about broadcast investment stories. That may be the case because so much of it is just background noise and there’s really no great way to respond in a timely fashion.

The real reason that I should consider treading lightly is that a disproportionate number of clicks on this blog site and resultant book sales have come from readers of those sites.

Thank you readers. Laszlo the Dog feasts again tonight owing to your largesse.

As I wrote that, the adolescent in me thinks “Large Ass”.

I know that’s not really funny, but it really is.

I’m at a midway point in the investor spectrum. Compared to the individuals that I follow on Twitter, I’m woefully inept, at least in terms of jargon, understanding of technical analysis and depth of social media following. Most of my Twitter followers are there because I strategically used hashtags on such words as “prostitute”, “Charles Manson”, “Filipino Mail Order Brides” and “TeaBagger”.

Lord knows it’s not content related.

On the other hand, I’m very satisifed with my trading results, so I’m not terribly concerned about being a rube in a sea of city boys. I know that there’s nothing terribly sexy about going to the bank with unrolled nickles and dimes, while wearing my Crocs. I suppose that I’d have greater self-esteem if I had a bunch of Benjamins and wore Bruno Magli’s, but I’m okay with my ghetto investor status.

But compared to the cross section that I’ve seen on such sites as SmartMoney.com, I have a highly fissured brain, at least when it comes to investing, or at least as it comes to the perception that the editors and writers have of their audience.

By the way, I’m not referring to the audience.

Oh, and I have two pair of Crocs, one being faux-fur lined.

What particularly bothers me is the quality of advice that appears on these sites. So much appears to be counter to what reality says is real.

If you read this, please don’t expect much in the way of documentation. I save the arguments that I can back up on my “Premium Content” site.

Today was the day that really broke the proverbial camel’s back. I didn’t really bother keeping a log of all of the articles over the past few weeks, but they’ve given me many opportunities to respond and trumpet my own philosophy in a “What you talkin’ bout, Willis” kind of tone.

If you were to glance at some of the articles appearing in the past week you would have walked away with the belief that the individual investor should look to time the market, insofar as to know which sector to invest in and when.

Good luck with that timing strategy.

You would also be lead to believe that some stocks with high P/E ratios had little downside risk. Really? Green Mountain Coffee Roasters? The next drop in that one should be reasonably vertical. One disappointing word from Starbucks and GMCR late climbers on are going to jump ship and there’s really not a lot of support between $45 and $80.

Today there was an article on a new retirement caluclator, as if there was a shortage of those. The message in the article was that the new retirement calculator would lead you toward a path based on irrefutable knowledge.

After all, numbers don’t lie. Unless you picked the wrong numbers.

That path is based on the same kind of warrantless assumptions that every other calculator is based upon. You really may as well load your thought processes down with “your number”, either being placed into a false sense of security or a state of steady panic, leaving you paralyzed to act either proactively or otherwise.

Instead, the article completely ignored the fact that the assumptions may turn out to be wholly inaccurate, and to my thinking, they completely ignored the steps to take to accumulate the funds necessary to have a fighting chance of making it to retirement.

What really galls me is that there is a consistent bias that the average investor class individual doesn’t have the ability to take responsibility for their portfolio and by so doing, they consistently steer people toward those paths that are littered with return reducing obstacles.

Roll over retirement plans are consistently treated as vehicles that should be maintained in the same  sub-standard performing accounts offered by the employer du jour. Brokerage house recommendations ignore the existence of discount brokers. Independent thought and reliance on developing personal investment skills is ignored.

The reality is that if the professionals were so good, there wouldn’t be the wide range of price movements seen, particularly over short periods of time. It’s not the little guy or the uninformed investor that’s been disrupting markets with ill timed and ill advised investments.

It’s the professionals. The very same that cloak themselves with the sophisticated tools, algorithms and investing instruments.

The very same professionals who just came out today with downgrades of Research in Motion.

They’re the smart ones, though. Besides being a weatherman, what other job can you be so woefully bad at, yet still be considered a shining star?

Yet, the general investing public is too often considered to be unable to behave in a discerning fashion. As if they don’t know what crap is (crap just being another synonym used by one of a certain level of maturity).

If I were conspiracy-centric, I would say that this is just another example of “The Man” trying to keep the little guy down. It is almost like the concept of the company store. You become so indentured to your overlords that you never even think about venturing out on your own, or you just can’t.

Fortunately, I don’t harbor that kind of mentality.

Today I practiced what I preached. I used proceeds from some of my assigned shares to pick up downbeaten shares in some other companies. I also dumped shares of dead money stocks to take advantage of the tax losses.

If warranted, I may buy them back within a tax deferred account and then avoid the wash sales rule.

Every single position that I picked up today, I had previously owned within the past few months. Visa, Halliburton, Sallie Mae and some more shares of Freeport McMoRan. These were now all down to prices that I had originally purchased them at over the past year.

All of life is a big cycle and stock prices are no different.

I quickly sold call options on Sallie Mae, Visa and Halliburton and used proceeds to pick up even more shares.

One of the articles that I saw today raised the question of whether individual investors should use on-line brokerage accounts. The emphasis, obviously was on the lack of hand holding. What they didn’t discuss was how that hand holding is so restrictive. Where in the world would you ever find a broker to pull off the kind of trades you need to protect your portfolio from the wild gyrations induced by the smart city boys with the Bruno Magli’s?

Even though none of the above may sound like a real rant, I should let readers know that 3 LCD monitors were harmed in the writing of this piece.


Check out Recent PortfolioTransactions