Monday, October 31, 2011

Calamity from Storm

Hello out there! I am writing this on my phone so it will be brief.

The snow storm was terrible here and my neighborhood is severely damaged. Power is out and best case is for a Thursday restoration. I have doubts.

The power outages are so widespread gas is in major shortage and I witnessed a scary situation at a gas station tonight. Police sirens and fire truck horns run all night here and its not a good time.

Luckily I had trees removed a while back and my Generac generator which runs on a natural gas underground line has me powered up. Still no cable so no computer. It could be much worse and its not really cold yet so that helps.

So no real blog posts, but I am tweeting stuff. Hope everyone in this storm is doing ok.

Have a good night.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Escape Velocity Friday

It actually snowed last night and we might even get a few inches tomorrow night! Readers know how much I despise the winter.

Rocket Market
October was lights out for markets as the S&P 500 rose over 14%, one of it's best month ever. The Reformed Broker has a great chart of the best months for the S&P via Bespoke Investment group showing them all there.

I covered why I believed a large move up was coming:
-Panic De-Selling October 17th
-Resolution is at Hand October 19th

I mentioned last night that I did not trade this move well in my trading account but what can you do.

Looking ahead if markets can consolidate and tighten up next week, a sustained move into the next month is the most likely outcome. I will have much more on this Sunday when it is homework night but until then here is a chart worth a look as I have been using it as my guide for this summer into fall season of chaos (click for larger view):

Friday Night Entertainment
As if everyone is not jubilant enough!

If We Don't Love our Humanity the Robots Win
Fellow 12631 member TDLAmagi tweeted this story today and it's just my kind of thing:
Scientists create brain-like, massively parallel computer from molecules
Using the chemical 2,3-dichloro-5,6-dicyano-p-benzoquinone(DDQ) and gold, the computer is fashioned! Read the piece as it's more complicated than that. Bottom line, quantum computers are coming and they will become self aware.

Picture Pages
Time to get your markers and your pencils.

Seems about right:
demotivational posters - SEEMS LEGIT
see more Very Demotivational

Messaging the truth:
mobile phone texting autocorrect - Adamantium Poop
see more

Film Clips
Some ideas for your NFLX or Red Box addiction.

"The Godfather III" gets a bad rap but I really think it was well done and a strong film. There are several key parts but I love when Vincent takes on the two assassins Zasa sent after him (and Bridgett Fonda eye candy):

"I'm gonna do something to convince you"

A made for TV movie (TNT) that did not suck was the supernatural "Purgatory". Featuring an all star cast, this film had a novel concept of former gunfighters (Wild Bill Hickock, Doc Holliday, Billy the Kid and others) having to serve out a penance period before being allowed into Heaven. Chance brings an outlaw bad into their town and it's just a great story. Highly recommend:

You will thank me later.

Rock Blogging
Making the music since 2007.

Why not a little mood music? Def Leppard and "Have You Ever Needed Someone so Bad":


Reader Watchtower was worried "Dreamboat Annie" by Heart was too mellow for Friday night. I play all kinds of stuff, no problem:

I love that tune actually.

I played the next tune a while ago and it got rave reviews. Since then I have many new readers (thanks! leave a comment!) and a number of quality Twitter followers. I am playing again so this gets heard. You will love this Phil Pearlman! Cover of "Tears of the Dragon":


My favorite Guns N' Roses song is "You Could be Mine" out of a sea of killer songs. Everyone hates this one because it was attached to Terminator 2. Too bad:

Ok, two left.

Got this one stick in my head on drive home so it's Santa Esmeralda and "Don't Let me be Misunderstood":

That will get you moving.

Last call, grab a drink and whatever else you need.

Alice in Chains, "Would?" is nasty fine:

Have a good night.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What Can be Said?

I just had a special 2 hour and 15 minute drive home! If that was not great enough I have to head out in an hour again! Just lovely.

What Can be Said?
It was a panic out there today on the buy side. Not much left to be said. I laid out this path in a couple posts over the past weeks, was not a huge surprise.

I got almost none of the massive rally in my trading account. I over thought things too much instead of sticking to my general ideas that I wrote out on the blog. Don't worry for me, I do have a long term account (4 times larger than trading) and I had a good summer there and caught a little of the latest and greatest rally. I am a far better longer term trader than short term, it's becoming very clear to me! I think I trade different when I choose to talk about it openly and that's something I will have to think about. Live and learn.

Anyways, markets set up now for either a repeat of last year end's epic run or some kind of collapse after a 20% move in under 30 days. Should be fun as always.

Have a good night.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pressed for Time

It's not been a great week so far, mostly due to things not related to the blog or markets. You know, real life and stuff. Short on time so just a few notes and then I am going to enjoy some quiet time and read stuff.

I sold out all three of my stock picks this morning. Yes, a couple hours before the crazy run up. I know, weak! AVA (-1%), TX (+1%), and SATS (-2.5%) were the final tallies. All three were not too close to my set stops, but market was looking ugly in the morning and I was going to be away most of the day and did not want to deal with some kind of wash out when I got back in the afternoon. Gun shy I guess.

Tomorrow is more Euro headlines and some GDP numbers. I am screening tonight to see what's interesting.

Have a good night.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Lesson from McGuigan vs. Pedroza

Traffic today was insanity. No accidents, no rain, and no reason.

The Lesson from McGuigan vs. Pedroza

The market had become very extended and a solid drop today was seen. The S&P closed at 1229 which is annoying if you, like me, were looking at the 1230 level as important. If my idea about making a run higher is correct there will have to be sideways movement to work off overbought situation. Another bout of heavy selling will damage even the stronger names on the tape.

Amazon (AMZN) missed earnings tonight and that is going to weigh heavy. The Euro situation went from poor, to bad, to a total mess during the day today. Robert Sinn has the goods here:
Postcard From Brussels
Europe’s leaders have agreed that they can’t agree on anything substantive and that they will have an endless series of meetings to talk about things which they have already talked about.

My three positions; AVA, TX, and SATS are still looking solid to me and holding above levels where I would sell them out. Tomorrow will be an important day so there is not much use going over things heavily with that in mind.

Instead allow me to use a boxing match from 1985 for a trader lesson.

In 1985 Eusebio Pedroza was the WBA Featherweight Champion. He had made 19 title defenses over 7 years all over the world. He was a true professional in every sense of the word and a future Hall of Famer. He accepted the challenge of defending the title in London against young Irish upstart contender Barry McGuigan.

At Loftus Road Stadium in London in front of a wildly pro-McGuigan crowd, Pedroza was knocked down in the 7th round and lost a unanimous 15 round decision. 19 title defenses and 7 years as champion were over.

Boxing observers were amazed as the fight went on at the calmness and professionalism exhibited by Pedroza. Both He and his corner kept their cool and tried their best to find a way to win a fight that they were over matched in. It was an amazing contrast to see as the crowd noise was deafening and the excitement was powerful, yet Pedroza remained collected through the entire fight.

That environment reminds me of right now. The noise and the pressure are running very high. Headlines are flying and it's easy to feel over matched by the market when companies blow earnings or the FED rolls out some new plan.

It's times like this that one needs to stay calm and execute to the best of their ability. Discipline is of paramount importance to navigate the current market. Professionalism and courtesy often go out the window as the reversals and volatility get more pronounced. Be in control of your plan and in control of your emotions. Be like Pedroza.

You can see the decsion read in the video below at the 4:35 mark:

Have a good night.

Monday, October 24, 2011

If the Big Picture is Confusing, try a Wallet Size

I still am not fond of Mondays.

If the Big Picture is Confusing, try a Wallet Size
I am going to be as honest as I can be (thanks James Altucher). It's confusing out there and I am confused.

The Euro debt mess never seems to move along. The slowdown in the US that was pronounced just a couple months ago has started to show signs of picking up. Stocks were breaking serious levels to the downside at the start of October, but now are moving through the upper end of the trading channel now. Safe to say I cannot have any certainty near term what is going on.

When the big picture is confusing, it can be helpful to go with a wallet size instead. On Monday October 17 I penned what I thought would be the dominant market force going forward:
The vicious rally seen over the past week or so has pulled major indices back from just about bear market territory to close to even for the year. Digest that little nugget for a second.
And I think there exists a chance for an even more extreme move
Maybe earnings season will go well this time around. Maybe the FED drops a bomb. Who knows, it won't take much. I think a run to the 200 MDA could happen fast (1275 - 1280) and if it does the chasing could be Lord of the Rings epic at that point.
So I was looking at psychology and blocking out all the other things as I looked at market action. The move since then has made sense through that lens.

I bought some positions today and those buys will help explain what wallet size pictures I am looking at right now. Click any chart for larger view.

I bought AVA this morning:
AVA is a diversified utilities company and has had good relative strength over the past months. The breakage to the upside of the triangle has volume behind it. This one is getting extended here, but the sector has been leading the charge. If it continues I will see higher prices. If it falters that may be an early tell on markets changing.

The second buy was for TX:
TX is a steel and iron company. I have been watching this one be accumulated for some time. I was looking for resolution out of the tight basing pattern and today may have pushed it through. Again, a leading look for the markets so far. This stock was found on an iBankCoin PPT screen that also gave me the stock BRO but I missed that one going crazy to the upside.

The last one is more of a speculative type of play, SATS:
Again, tight range was resolved higher, though the candle today gives me some pause. Another factor that made the pick attractive is best shown by a longer term chart:
When the price area of $25 is broken on this, it moves fast. Figured if animal spirits get involved it may move.

I was working on cement companies last night in the 12631 trading room and was liking CRH and that one was moving as well today (no position).

So what I have is a strong utility stock, a steel and iron company, and a technology speculative play. If the economy is indeed slowing and it's just a short covering low volume baloney rally then I would expect the steels to roll over fast. If fear grips the market selling high fliers like the utilities would probably happen. If no one wants to put money into anything speculative, then SATS will get creamed.

But if not, all these three have potential and all three will be my wallet picture going forward, they will tell me what I need to know.

Have a good night.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Mixed Bag

I finally have a few minutes this evening after doing stuff all day.

Asked and Answered
On Thursday night I welcomed all questions from anyone and promised to answer them all as best I could. Here we go.

StockSage1 (you can visit his site here) asked:
Which will come first S&P 1100 or 1300?
I think 1300, and not just because of Friday. As an aside, I also do not think the S&P will ever go below 1000 as long as the FED is so actively in market watch mode.

Loyal reader Watchtower asked:
Is Ag going to touch $25, move sideways, or resume it's climb
I was hoping for more than a few minutes of silver at $25-$27 to add some (I hold physical gold/silver in long term portfolio) but it did not happen. If market improves and fiat money bombs keep coming, silver will run up again but I think anytime it gets near $40 will be a sell as the memory of the last drop will be too strong.

Stagflationary Mark was wondering:
How many total fruit flies can 3 pounds of bananas (bought at Sam's Club) generate?
143 , +/- 5 flies

Jennifer Hillier asks:
What's your favorite thing about being a scientist? And what's your least favorite?
I love solving difficult problems. For years if the group is having an issue with a project, I am the last line of defense. I have yet to be unable to clone any gene in 13 years of doing it. The times when I have to get creative are the best.

The worst thing is the monotony of my job sometimes. I have to make DNA preps all the time and it's not glamorous or fun or interesting. Gets boring.

The Sovereign Bohemian asks:
What was the first stock you ever sold for a profit?
Back in 1999 I was at a hot biotech firm. Biotech was super hot and I bought stock in a competitor of my firm, Human Genome Sciences (HGSI). I bought some stock in fall 1999 around $40 I think and sold early 2000 around $100. Wild times, and I had a ton of stock options at my firm that I sold then too.

Reader Gawains asks:
As a geneticist, how much do you really know about DNA?
Too much.

Going further:
Do you actually believe in random mutation? I don't. It seems to me that transposons allow for a DNA molecule to not only determine which genes are transcribed and when, but also can affect the structure of the protein coded for.
Smart observation. It it believed that the system my which mammals make antibodies through gene shuffling was directly stolen from the transposon mechanism of action. Fascinating stuff, but that's a LONG blog post!

Thanks for the questions and always feel free to ask anything anytime.

San Francisco Financial Field
In March 2010 my friend Jake of EconomPic was looking for a new job in the San Fran area. He is still looking as of now and so I renew my request that if any readers are in a position to offer an opportunity I would look at it as a personal favor and would owe you one.

EconomPic's general resume can be seen here.
You can grab his contact information on his site. Here is his post about this from yesterday:
EconomPics of the Week: Get Me a Job in SF Edition

I am an old coin lover. I prefer Mexican and South American coins from before 1900. Just something about them. I buy certain kinds to have them, not for profit later. I enjoy holding them and thinking about where they have been and what they have seen.

When I do trading homework I usually have my 1869 Peruvian Un Sol coin in my hand. It's been a lucky coin for me. Here is what one looks like as my pictures of coins always come out terrible:

My favorite coins are the Mexican Zacatecas 8 Reale coins. I usually will only buy ones from the Zacatecas mint. Here is an example:
I have several and the earliest is an 1860 coin.

Have a good night.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Breaking Out on Friday

That was a long week! Hope you are all going to have some fun this weekend.

The Elusive 1230 S&P 500 Close
My post from Tuesday was a little early it seems, but I saw what I was looking for today. I don't want to go over everything, it's all in the Tuesday post. With the breakout here today I feel it is a very reasonable market to work quality set ups in. All this could change for various reasons, but this is about as good a spot as I have seen in 3 months. I will be doing plenty of work on Sunday night so check back then for market commentary. My number one pick is AVA.

Questions and Answers
Last night I opened things up for questions, and there were some good ones. I am sort of pressed for time and I want to spend time on all the questions so I will feature them all in a post tomorrow evening. Ask more if you like.

Friday Night Entertainment
Fun is well deserved tonight so put the charts and your worries away for a bit.

Famous Roles that Were Turned Down
Not every actor picks the best roles or films (see Adam Sandler or Jennifer Aniston). Here are some great ones from Glamorati:

Molly Ringwald: Vivian in Pretty Woman
Mel Gibson: Maximus in Gladiator
Keanu Reeves: Lead role in Platoon
Richard Grieco: Lead role in Speed
Will Smith: Neo in The Matrix (dumb ass!)
Julia Roberts: Lead in Basic Instinct (thank heavens, she is gross)
Tom Cruise: Lead in Donnie Brasco (No freaking way that would have worked)
John Travolta: Forrest Gump (NO WAY!)
Tom Hanks: Turned down the role of Ray Kinsella in Field of Dreams, Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption and the lead role in Jerry Maguire (who needs more Oscars?)

There are way more but that should get you started.

Visual Effects
Some things to see.

Eye Strain:
demotivational posters - CHALLENGE ACCEPTED
see more Very Demotivational

After years of marriage:
funny pictures history - We will call this one the reverse homemaker.
see more Historic LOL

Film Clips
So you know what to rent.

I am a big Billy Crystal fan and one of his best roles was in "Running Scared" with Gregory Hines. So see it already!:

"We're from Noise Busters, do you know where the Menudo concert is?" AWESOME!

Fitting for our current situation is the well known clip from the film "Network". The 'Mad as Hell' resonated then, and it still does. I will have more to say about the Occupy Wall Street movement this weekend but I can lead off with this clip:


Rock Blogging
Music is still free, and so I spread it around.

Jennifer Hillier pointed out a great live clip for Our Lady Peace and the song "Innocent". Nice:

My friend Gtotoy was looking for Jah Shaka meets Sly & Robbie with "Jail House Dub". It's funky, I can dig it:

Another lady's night pick, poet AMPoesy was looking for Amy Winehouse and "Back to Black" and it's a good one:

Sad story that one.

The Sovereign Bohemian was looking for "Driving Wheel" by Foghat and I know and like that tune:

A new friend (and I appreciate all the help in NYC!) is J. Hebron who runs the ultimate inside real estate and mortgage site The Basis Point and it is Rocktober over there! My contribution is not as much heavy metal, but the best KISS performance I have ever seen. Live version of "I Was Made for Loving You Baby":

Great stuff.

Only two left.

Always loved the Skid Row song "18 and Life" so go back in time:

Last tune.

Need some Rage Against the Machine, and a live FACE RIPPER of "Bullet in the Head" is the right fit:


Have a good night.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Go Ahead and Ask

I have been running errands this evening and I have to run out again in a bit so no post.

Get your Friday night requests in though, the show will be on tomorrow.

Go Ahead and Ask
Everyone has questions, I know I do, but not many answers. I am opening up the blog tonight (or via Twitter) to ask me a question about anything financial or anything you think I may have some idea about. Reasonable questions about myself will be answered, but you know how I am about being too open. I cannot promise a good answer, but I will take the best questions or all of them and see what I can do. Hit it.

Have a good night.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

False Start

In some insane gift from the Roman Gods, it was pouring out this afternoon yet my ride home was normal. Now I have to sacrifice a virgin or something.

False Start
In the last two posts I laid out an idea that animal spirits could get excited enough to play deaf to a multitude of macroeconomic pressures and start a bull run. After yesterday I felt today could be the day for an S&P close over 1230 and more on the way. Nope.

I opened up two positions this morning in the stocks TX and CVLT. TX had made a screen I used in the iBankcoin PPT (along with BRO which went much higher yesterday) and if things took off I figured that would as well. I picked CVLT because this stock leads the Nasdaq by a bit and would be my tell if things were turning south.

After a down open things came back up a bit. By 11am CVLT started flashing me warning signs and I closed it out down 1.2% and later on walked up my stop loss on TX and was closed out at about the same loss.

The point of this post is not to go over what news or what may have caused a sell off. When trading short term not much of that will matter. What matters is I had a clear goal here and a clear exit:
-If S&P closes over 1230 I would already be in two names I like for a run up
-If S&P loses 1220 I would exit no matter what

I stuck to the plan. Until things change and stay changed for a while this market is dangerous and should be treated as such.

That said, at some point things will change. I wanted to be open to the idea that a new leg higher was starting, but I was not hoping for one. I did not need a leg higher but I positioned if one was coming with strict risk control. That's all you can do.

Writer Eli Radke (who is very sharp, stop on by his site at the next link) wrote a great post the other night and in it he said:
"When you lose “too much” , you probably have not stopped losing."

Chasing old losses or hoping for something to happen will not work out. The worst in my mind is needing something to happen in markets. That is the most dangerous mindset to have.

Anyways, that's what I did today as far as market work. As things stand it's more wait and see. Patience is still the only commodity that is rising in value right now. Ticker for the patience futures is PAYSHINZ_F.

Have a good night.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Resolution is at Hand

Terrible traffic today so I am home late.

Resolution is at Hand
Last night I discussed the possibility that a slew of flammable components could get the markets running higher if there was some kind of spark to ignite them. Today there were two:
-Huge reversal in financial shares to the upside
-A probable Euro Zone debt package sized around 2 trillion Euro (WOW!)

The Euro debt agreement is in flux it seems with some denial coming out, but it's too late. Why? They have seen the numbers the market wants and will have to roll around to making it happen. Market expectations are a bitch.

Putting it all together the stage is set for some Panic De-Selling. Apple missed their earnings by a bit, so the Nasdaq is pressured right now in the futures. If that fails to stop a run higher tomorrow it will be telling.

I am not long term bullish here, nothing is getting solved really. As James Bianco stated, the common fundamental now is trillion dollar money bombs. If it falls, the correlated market will run. News won't matter, save a bona fide slowdown in China and how would we know that anyway.

Now this is not a done deal. An S&P close that sticks over 1230 is a must have here, and soon. You can see how annoying things have been trend wise in this chart of SPY:
You can see the upward GREEN channel was breached on 9/22. The downward RED channel was breached on 10/12. One can draw this very differently, but it is how I look at things.

A run to about 1280 could happen and that meets the 200 MDA. Looking out at just about 2 months left in year and being down for the year what might market players think about doing then?

In any case, I think resolution is close at hand. Maybe this week will give the answers needed to get more actively involved with the market.

Have a good night.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Panic De-Selling

Just getting caught up on reading things. Forgot my phone charger today and thus my battery devouring Droid phone was about dead by 10am.

Panic De-Selling
Today markets gave back some ground but it really does not affect my topic tonight. The vicious rally seen over the past week or so has pulled major indices back from just about bear market territory to close to even for the year. Digest that little nugget for a second.

And I think there exists a chance for an even more extreme move.

I was thinking about this late last week and it's not exactly a novel idea. Josh Brown touched on it this morning:
Futures Higher as G20 Leaders Demand Euro Zone Not Ruin the Q4 Rally
Everyone needs a rally this fall. Everyone.

They're making it happen. They'll tolerate no distractions. Lukewarm data points will be treated as positive data points and positive data points will be received orgasmically. Negative stuff will be tossed over the market's shoulder and dismissed as "priced in already". Watch the shift in psychology - "just give me a reason to buy, man, just give me a reason."

It can be strange to see but markets demand several weeks (months?) of bad data before they will even consider a slow down is possible. After a market drop though, the slightest "better than expected" or other minor positive data point will be seized by the balls as proof positive a rebound has arrived. The power of positive thinking I guess.

Below is a chart of the S&P 500 daily going back to July:
In late July when things started to tumble there was plenty of debate and discussion about various key levels of support on the way down. There are a bunch and everyone comes up with numbers differently. I have my major support levels marked by lines on the chart. You will notice the fall went right down and through 3 major support lines and stopped at the 4th(around 1120). That was Panic Selling. Get me out NOW, not later.

The big drop felt different to me than other corrections when it started, just more sinister. The latest market rally has my attention as well. It's a bit stronger and more pronounced than other attempts.

And this is all about psychology now. Fear of missing out on a huge run is palpable out there. Time is running out on the clock this year and performance has been flaccid. If the S&P stays above 1230 another time it could cause a rush back into the market.

You have the gunpowder that is performance anxiety. You have some jet fuel that is some kind of Euro fix (delay Greek debt haircuts, kick can, use small soothing words on markets). China could ease which is more scary than good but for the near term will be kerosene. All you need is a spark.

Maybe earnings season will go well this time around. Maybe the FED drops a bomb. Who knows, it won't take much. I think a run to the 200 MDA could happen fast (1275 - 1280) and if it does the chasing could be Lord of the Rings epic at that point.

If you are a follower of markets, you can feel the tension now. The only pent up demand in this economy is the desire to buy stocks going higher.

Will it happen? CROX and IBM did not help things tonight after the bell. The Occupy Wall Street (I will have much more on this during the week) thorn is starting to draw blood. Europe may screw the pooch once again. Risks abound as well as common sense but here we are anyway a spark away from a mad rush back through the exit doors many ran out not long ago.

And that is Panic De-Selling.

Have a good night.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lots of Moving Parts

Hopefully reader Gawains will still talk to me after the blown ending by the Dallas Cowboys against the New England Patriots. Patriots had ZERO reason to win that game, but things happen.

Lots of Moving Parts
I have thought about a post for a couple of days, but I think I will save it for tomorrow instead. Preview would be I wonder if we are at a point where all the charts/lines etc will not matter (think resistance and overhead supply) because it what I will call "Panic De-Selling". I will go over that thesis tomorrow.

As such, I will be screening stocks tonight in the iBankCoin PPT and talking ideas in the 12631 Pelican room. I do believe a "make no sense rally" up could take off from here just like the huge summer drop cut through long term support like it did not exist. More tomorrow night.

Auto Racing Tragedy
I know that driving at insane speeds around a track in a little car is not the safest way to do things, but the crash today in the Indy Car race at Las Vegas was horrific and terrible. Dan Wheldon lost his life in the crash. It is very sad. If you have ever lost a hero to such a tragic event then you know it's very painful. Best wishes go out to his family.

Have a good night.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Blow Off Top Friday

You may have noticed but it was a very busy week for me!

I wanted to thank everyone again for the great show at The Big Picture Conference. It was a special trip for me. This morning Barry Ritholtz himself linked to my NYC Trip review and that was cool as all get out.

I will have more to say on things market wise on Sunday. I am the "it's Friday so let it go" type. I will say the move today was very easy to see coming (I tweeted at mid day would be a huge finish to upside) and it's the psychology out there now that is making me nervous. Elation abounds as of tonight and many are sure it's all a big rebound from here. Maybe so, but the discipline that got folks hurt last big move down may be as easily hurt should markets again go for a ride down.

Blow Off Top Friday
Because we all work hard enough all week, a little fun is in order.

Long time readers know I have a Wikipedia addiction. While I knew of such things, last night I was mesmerized by the fact that years ago monster sized Ground Sloths roamed the Americas. How big? Check it:
The earliest megatheriid in North America was Eremotherium eomigrans which arrived 2.2 million years ago, after crossing the recently formed Panamanian land bridge. With more than five tons in weight, 6 meters in length, and able to reach as high as 17 feet (5.2 m), it was taller than an African Bush Elephant bull. Unlike relatives, this species retained a plesiomorphic extra claw. While other species of Eremotherium had four fingers with only two or three claws, E. eomigrans had five fingers, four of them with claws up to nearly a foot long.
Here is a model:

Visual Cues

Because you have probably read enough this week.

Starbucks lands in China (NOTE: Reader anon MS knows this location is in Palestine. I had assumed China, sorry!):
demotivational posters - SEEMS LEGIT
see more Very Demotivational
At least the Apple stores in China are real....

The timer function for pictures can have issues at times:
photobomb that guy - Get Me Outta This Friggin Place
see more This is Photobomb

Film Clips
Movie ideas for the masses.

Ok, this is not a movie but I wish George Lucas would just let the game developers run with a full length feature film! This is another trailer for the new game The Old Republic and it's smoking hot:

Love it.

You have not seen the classic film "Class"? Well maybe you should:

Make sure you check out all the big actors in the cast!

Rock Blogging
You want tunes and I provide them, free of charge.

I have a special send out tonight. Long time reader (I mean YEARS) Watchtower will be celebrating his birthday in a few days. Tradition states he leads off Friday night. Watchtower's wife has her birthday a few days after, so what does he do? He dedicates his pick and shout out to his dear wife! She must be a special woman.

For both of you:
And for Mrs. Watchtower from her husband, please enjoy "The Ghost in the Machine" covered by Duncan Sheik:

Happy birthday folks.

Fellow music lover (and a hell of a market operator) Gtotoy has not been feeling well for a bit with a bad cold. Hope a little "Madhouse" by Anthrax can help you along:

Get better!

Phil Pearlman was a huge fan of The Guess Who and thus I offer up a vintage "American Woman" performance in his honor:

Thanks Phil!

Reader Gawains requested Tesla's cover of "Signs" and that works:

But do they have a sports coat? BTW, I did not return mine, I like it!

The Sovereign Bohemian was looking for a little Steppenwolf with "Magic Carpet Ride" so take a ride!:

Good pick.

Ok, two songs left! What will it be?

How about Iron Maiden's classic "22 Acacia Avenue" for all the working ladies!:

Bruce Dickinson rules. End of story.

Last song! Grab a girl and a drink!

Need me some Concrete Blonde and the wonderful song "Joey":

Very nice.

Have a good night.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New York Stories

Yes, I have returned!

New York Stories
Some funny stuff and a Big Picture Conference recap.

Mean Fiddler Pub for Patriots vs. Jets
I arrived in NYC on Sunday and settled in to my room. The City is so fast and high energy I was a bit overwhelmed. Luckily my good friend David Batista was game for meeting up with me and showing me around New York! We walked past Times Square (so many people!) and eventually settled in at The Mean Fiddler Pub to watch most of the Patriots vs. Jets game. Crowd was disappointed as Patriots beat up Jets. I was not really watching as getting to know David was way more fun. Had a few beers and then grabbed some NYC pizza. Thanks David for meeting up and for being a good friend. I will be back again.

Lunch Time and Funny Story Number 1
On Monday I had the extreme pleasure of meeting up with Josh Brown for lunch at mid day. Also was lucky to meet Julian Hebron (The Basis Point) as well. I left to meet them at 12:30 with plenty of time to spare and was about two streets away when the biggest Columbus Day parade I have ever seen closed down 5th avenue! I had to fast walk down 7 streets to be able to cross, then come all the way back up. I was a few minutes late, but who could have known? Lunch was great and the discussion was very good. Thanks Josh and Julian!

Funny Story Number 2
The Big Picture Conference was on Tuesday. Registration was at 8am and the show started at 8:30. I got up early (6am) and got my stuff together to go. At last minute I pulled up the NY Athletic Club website (the location of conference) and of course for the first time I noticed the "dress code" button. Shit. I knew this was bad. Checked and of course you MUST have a jacket to get into the building! I did not pack one, it was like 84 degrees and I figured business casual. I called and the man on the phone was adamant about the jacket requirement. Uh oh.

Started searching for clothing stores near my hotel that opened at 8am. Only 1: Brooks Brothers! I took off to make sure I was there at 8am. On the third floor I explained my situation to the totally awesome sales man Michael. He said not to worry. I got this really nice sports jacket in 5 minutes at the low price of.....$400. Yikes, but I like the coat and I was good to go to the conference.

The Big Picture Conference Recap
This was a closed conference so I will not go ever every detail. I have 9 pages of hand written notes but this is a quick run down.

Catherine Mulbrandon
Catherine runs the site Visualizing Economics. She presented serious eye candy charts and diagrams which covered income in the United States, job growth/declines, and what was moving and by how much employment wise. A top notch level of work and it was very impressive.

Paul Brodsky
Paul Brodsky co-manages QB Asset Management. His big picture (pun intended!) view is well thought out. Loved the discussion of the concept of how much actual currency there is versus how many claims on that same money exist. It's a factor of almost 20X. This brings up my endless talk about the notional view of money. There was much, much more but I would leave it with his idea that he does not need to promote gold, central banks are doing that all by themselves. Classic.

Barry Ritholtz
The host himself and author of The Big Picture. We were treated to plenty of important mental aspects of trading including herding, group think, recency effects, and more. Spoke about how people rely on and prefer stories or narratives instead of looking at data. Thought provoking stuff.

Joe Saluzzi and Sal Arnuk
Partners for Themis Trading, this presentation was very important. Both men went over the structure of the market as it ties in with HFT trading. Pointed out that the NYSE does not really do trades anymore, but instead sell orders and information for profit. They covered SMART routing and the role of Dark Pools. Fascinating stuff and I have copious notes to go through from this section.

Markets and New Media
Moderated by Kelly Evans, the panel was Josh Brown, Joe Wiesenthal, Dan Gross, and Todd Harrison. Josh thought that social media is a perfect fit for finance. Dan Gross noted that it allows faster and cheaper transmission of information but also noted that republishing without credit is an issue for writers/services that rely on ad revenue. That is an issue. Todd Harrison notes that Minyanville (and everyone) have to respond to innovations to keep up pace. Wiesenthal remarked on news feeds he follows, and I have seen Joe Tweeting at 4am with the latest news. We also learn that Josh Brown wants to be the blogging Walter Cronkite.

Market Turmoil Panel
Some big guns here. Moderated by Aaron Task (whom I used to read a decade ago on!) and featuring Kevin Lane, Peter Boockvar, and John Roque.

Task really went right for it asking for best ideas form each panel member. Roque felt that the recent rally had legs to get higher near term. Boockvar was very honest and said looking out 2 months he is not sure what will happen (me neither, nobody does!). Great talk about correlation. Panel felt that at a real low, correlation will go down across all asset classes. Gold was strongly favored by Roque. Solid talk about US Treasury market being manipulated by FED so it's not the same indicator it once was. There was a ton more but that's a good taste.

James Bianco
Leader of Arbor Research, James Bianco was LIGHTS OUT! Correlation between assets is because they all share the SAME fundamental now, trillion dollar bailouts with no end. Mentions the importance of "Thrust Days" (9:1 ration of up stocks to down and vice versa). Usually 1 every three years, there have been 12 since this past summer!

Notes that spending on the 2007-2011 crisis has been 6 times bigger than any previous crisis (wow!). Bianco believes the FED cannot raise rates anytime soon, and he means years not quarters. I have plenty more notes but those are some bullets.

Cult of Personality
Josh Brown moderated this panel including James Altucher, Howard Lindzon, and Henry Blodget. Altucher leads off with an outrageous statement! I tweeted "WTF did @jaltucher just say!" but he makes it work. Lindzon makes it clear he will tweet for a money as long as it's the right price (kidding Howard!). Blodget recounts how hard it was to get a second chance in the business. Altucher says honesty is the absolute best way to keep and build credibility. F - bombs were flying as well. A lively panel!

Fireside Chat with Doug Kass
Doug Kass of Seabreeze Partners joined Barry Ritholtz for an extended question and answer session. Kass covered the 10 points he watched to think the 2009 market bottom was real, a huge call. Asked about his stance that technical analysis was "voodoo" Kass answered that it's 10 times more important to see that fundamentals lead charts to where they go, except at inflection points. I don't agree with that sentiment, especially now with so many technicians using them.

Kass notes that no new money coming into market; it's a bathtub that is losing water with all the splashing around which was a great analogy. He brings up the concept of "Screwflation" again. Kass notes that opportunistic traders will do better than buy them and forget it types for a while.

During lunch I got to meet and talk with James Altucher for a bit. I wished his wife Claudia well in her fight against Lyme disease. James is a class act, thanks James!

After all that, it was time for a little party at The Dream Hotel at the roof top bar.

I got to hang out with Phil Pearlman (thanks man, you rule!), Robert Sinn (he is so tall!), JC Parets (great tips on using multiple time frames for charts, thanks!), and the young gun Swoon (nice bringing charts to the party for everyone to review, too funny bro!). I finally got to meet Barry Ritholtz and amazingly he knew who I was and remembered a tweet I sent him about this sick as all get out Corvette.

Everything has to end and people filtered out after a while to go get dinner and what not. I realized two things; I had only eaten half a turkey sandwich at lunch and I had perhaps had a few too many wobbly pops with the boys. I was not feeling all that great and my phone battery died so I went back to the hotel to settle down and get ready to leave. I am mega pissed because I missed a chance to meet up with a long time influence of mine, Kevin Depew of Minyanville. I will try again Kevin!

Had a great time but always great to come home.

Have a great night.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Open Thread

Getting packed up and set up for the trip to New York tomorrow. This is an open thread to post anything interesting and I will be checking in on the comments over the next few days. Have a great week!

Have a good night.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Take a Break on Friday Night

I was able to find a dentist that could see my right away today. They re-cemented my crown and it feels fine. That was so annoying.

I may post something tomorrow night, but then I will be off until Wednesday as I trek to New York City for The Big Picture Conference.

Take a Break on Friday Night
Another wild ride today for markets. Up big, down big, it's all over the place. I am hopeful next week while I am busy some clarity will come. Earnings start in earnest next week, you know what to be looking for.

Ok, Of to the show!

Friday Night Entertainment
Let's see what I can find to present.

Hugh Ferriss - Charcoal Art
Stumbled upon some amazing work by Hugh Ferriss, whose works influenced the idea for the city of Gotham in the Batman series. Love the work, here are two examples:

Much more at this expansive link:
Hugh Ferriss: Delineator of Gotham

Fun with Photos
Let's see what we can see.

Serves him right for wearing that T-shirt:
demotivational posters - WELL...
see more Very Demotivational

Yes ladies, even across time and space and through a TV men can stare at boobs:
photobomb that guy - Doug Fister
see more This is Photobomb

Film Clips
What to see on movie night.

I love Tom Hanks and Leonardo in "Catch Me if You Can" and I highly recommend a watch:

"The Mask of Zorro" was very well done. Here at the start of the clip, a new Zorro is given the mask:


Rock Blogging
Musical chairs without the nasty competition since 2007.

One of the great things about being a blogger and having a solid reader base is that you get to see people go through life, just like you do. Luckily I have many long time readers and one great one is known simply as G. Back in 2007 (I think) G started reading and commenting as a young man very concerned about how things where going in the economic world. Later on, G joined the military and I was sad to not hear from him for a long time. He popped back up at "private G" and said he was doing well. As of late it is now Lieutenant G, and he is off to airborne special ops soon! Can you believe that! All my best G, and thanks. G asked for Skynet Symphonic (Terminator 2 Remix), so here it is:

Be safe my friend.

Author Jennifer Hillier requested some old school Adam Ant and "Goody Two Shoes":

No drinks even, Jennifer? Come on! You must do something bad!

Reader Gawains was looking for Slade and "Mama Weer all Crazee Now" and I did not know they did this song first (Thinking Quiet Riot):


"Blinded by the Light" by Manfred Mann was the pick from Sovereign Bohemian and features one of the most mixed up lines ever in music (its not wrapped up like a, well, Google it):

Ozzy's "Waiting for Darkness" is a tune I have always loved:

Ok, two songs left!

The Dan Band doing Bonnie Tyler's immortal "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and yes it's full of bad words:

Thanks go to the movie "Old School".

Last call! Grab a girl or the closest drink:

Ok, I stole this from The Reformed Broker! But what is better than elementary school ,kids doing a live "Enter Sandman"?:

That little girl plays a mean axe!

Have a good night.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Swinging Thursday

I was having a pretty good day until one of my dental crowns pulled off, now I am a bit annoyed. No matter, it's Thursday night. Have a mini vacation coming up starting Sunday in NYC. If you ever wanted to meet me, and you a fellow blogger/writer in NYC, well here's your chance.

Get your requests in for Friday night. Make it count!

Swinging Thursday
Markets are rolling this week and at this point meeting strong resistance overhead. We could discuss chart levels, sentiment, and other stuff but you have probably seen that all day. What I like about this week, and this is news, some stocks started to act somewhat normal, making trading them something I could do without being in fear a 20% drop in 1 minute was going to happen any second.

When swing trading (2 days to a week or two) I use Japanese candles coupled with the awesome iBankCoin tool, The PPT. This allows me to screen for the kinds of looks I want, and quickly. My way of picking stocks can work in almost any market, as long as there is some kind of trend. Up, down, or sideways is ok. Where candles become just things to try and set a room mood to get lucky in is heavy wash out down markets, rip roaring up markets, or 100 point S&P 500 range-bound sideways markets. They just don't work well and I know that. They have not been working for a while. I stopped trading while the drama happened.

They worked well this week.

Now you might think that of course in a melt up market they all worked but it has not been that way for all the rallies so far. This week was different.

I bought the stock NI on Tuesday and the stock CVLT on Wednesday. I sold NI for a +3.5% gain and CVLT for a +5.5% gain today. Here are charts for them with crappy arrows for entry and exit. I am short on time so it's the best I can do:
What was good about these two stocks is that they were the only two positions I had and I knew solid exit points, even if the market tanked, would hold. This allowed me to put more money into both than I would normally. They were large positions. NYC here I come with a bit of cash for the trip!

Right now I am thinking that it's best I am going on a mini vacation. Earnings get going next week and I cannot shake the feeling like things are still not fully priced in to the downside. That said, when my charts start working and news flow is neutral one can see how this market wants to run. It's just a tough show.

"Discretion is the better part of valor."

I don't need to catch THE bottom or even be close. When markets get settled I know I can work them, it's just still not time. Soon I hope, and I have a whole room of Pelicans to work with.

Have a good night.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Loss of a True Visionary

I got stuck with errands and things, so a bit short on time tonight. It makes little difference that I am not doing a post though, news has come that Steve Jobs has passed away.

I crack on Apple plenty and I will most likely never buy a product of theirs (I am too PC ingrained) but I am not stupid. Steve Jobs return to Apple marked some of the most innovative products of all time. Jobs was able to fuse the new era of Internet with products people wanted to use. I think it fair to say Apple has changed the world in the last decade, and probably most of that can be attributed to Steve Jobs.

If you want to see the news try out the very cool News feature at iBankCoin:
iBankCoin Financial News

Apple Inc has a memorial up on their main site tonight as well:
Apple Inc

Have a good night.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

Another banner drive home in the rain. Looking forward to a New York mini vacation without driving.

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired
"I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired; I used to go to bed so high and wired" -Ozzy, I Just Want You

This morning started off shaky for markets and the S&P 500 quickly fell to 1074, which was about 9 points higher than the 1065 I mentioned last night as a long term support area. Things rallied from there, but later in the day the all too familiar fade came, and things started looking very bad. Then what?

Markets exploded higher going into the close in a wild move of panic buying. There were some rumors of Euro banking bailouts and all that but it just seemed like shorts had packed it in for the day and maybe everyone was just sick of feeling sick about the markets.

I still have not seen the kind of wash out capitulation that would make me super constructive on things, and we may never get one at this rate. This action is not healthy, but it is what it is. Can it last a few days? I think it could and I even made a buy today.

I have been watching the stock NI for some time. Here is a daily chart and you can see the reversal candle today right at $20.50 which is a key price for this stock:
I bought some stock before the close. I am not ready to commit much to this market, it still has to negotiate some very serious hurdles, but for the time being it seems a run may be in place.

In case you want to get all glassy eyed and party with this market, I would point you to one of the best essay's I have ever read which was published today. Josh Brown's "Season of the Witch" is the absolute must read for anyone here. Small snippet:
Now there are those who look at the recent data and say that it is only a slowing of growth, not an actual economic contraction. "So what if year-over-year GDP declines below 2%," they'll say. My response is that they may be right - but they should be aware that every single instance of Y-O-Y GDP growth slipping beneath 2% since 1948 has led to a recession. Every single time we've slowed down to this extent in the last 60 years we've gone down to the zero line (11 instances) and into negative territory (10 instances). The ship is not so easily turned.
This earnings season upcoming will be the final arbiter for how active I want to be in the markets going forward. Sick of feeling sick about the market? I understand, and maybe a rally will improve morale out there. Just don't forget there is some important information coming soon that demands your attention.

Have a good night.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Worth Waiting For

It was a Monday. Enough said. Posting will be light this week as I have to take training for the incoming robots we are getting at work so I am not sure what time I will getting home most of the week. I am a part of the robot revolution cog, I have no choice!

Worth Waiting For
Markets took another hit today. There are plenty of danger signals and while I do not get the feeling that real fear has arrived, people are rightfully frustrated at how non-constructive the markets are for anything but quick trades. Even I, the most patient of the patient, am getting both bored and annoyed with all the churn.

I am going to start with a couple of charts and then discuss what could be waiting on the other side of this long market correction.

This is a weekly chart of the S&P 500:
The boxed areas are the bottoming process for the 2009 low (5 months)and the 2010 low (3 months). We have been going down for 2 months now in the current iteration of market chaos. I have noted 1065 as the next support line and that one goes back over a year. S&P closed at 1099 today.

The next chart is for the inverse S&P 500 index fund, SH:
The green arrow is when I had opened a position in SH. I was shaken out of that in my trading account (along with PSQ). I have noted that a run to the $50 range is likely.

So what do both charts say? Unless we are about to enter into some kind of massive recession, it is my stance that markets are closer to finishing up the downside move than just starting to crash. As Josh Brown says, a recession is not the end of the world, but they hurt.

Earnings season is starting next week (Alcoa: AA reports October 11th) and that is where there is going to be some clarity given to the markets. Has a slowdown started? How severe? What about guidance going forward? Big questions that need answers.

I have been in cash for the trading account pretty much all summer. This weekend I allocated more funds to the account. Why?

I think we are 2-3 weeks from seeing closure. My bias at this point is for a washout bottom to occur, then some basing through earnings season. With that pressure relieved, I think things can move higher. If not, and things deteriorate even more, then shorting via index funds is a viable way to make trades.

Keep in mind Europe is closer to bailout approval, the FED must be getting nervous (Bernanke speaks tomorrow, watch for some hints at QE3), and I think people are getting pretty sick of feeling like shit about the market. Very scientific, I know.

It's worth waiting for the other side of the tunnel here. Instead of scalping pennies on fast trades, better sentiment and better numbers could make good stocks move 10-25% in weeks going into years end. Maybe I can catch that move and then all the momentum players piling in toward years end can make finding winners easier than since the new year. It's very possible. In any case, a few more weeks of waiting and watching is not that hard to do. Plus if there is a crash, I would miss that too!

Have a good night.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday Stuff

Just hanging around on a Saturday night. Let's see what is interesting.

Reader Book Review for Jennifer Hillier's "Creep"
I believe I have the best set of readers out there. Many long time readers have been with me since the beginning (Watchtower, 4 years!). Reader Gawains is another long term contributor here in the comments section. I sent Gawains a copy of Jennifer Hillier's novel "Creep" a while back. He was kind enough to send me a review of the book (that I passed on to Jennifer) but I figured I would put in on the blog to highlight Gawains effort and a well written review of a book I really liked. Here is Gawains:

"Okay, let’s see. We’ve got sex addiction, serial murder, dead co-eds all over the place, a kill room, dismembered bodies in the basement, one in Puget Sound, anxiety, paranoia, lust, rage, stalking, obsession, disguises, rohypnal, kidnapping, bondage, sensory deprivation, adult diapers, psychological manipulation,, a professor with a serious problem, a fiancĂ© with performance issues, a graduate student with hidden secrets, a girlfriend who is totally depraved, a private detective who doesn’t see the big picture until it almost kills him, a last minute rescue (by a Texan with a Remington 700 no less—and for those of you who don’t know, in the original Dracula, what kills the evil vampire is not a cross or a stake, but a Texan with a Bowie knife), and another killer left on the prowl. Sounds like a mosaic of modern America.

When I was a kid, my mother and sister had this thing for serial killer books, true crime novels. They would read them, and every morning at breakfast they would talk about their nightmares. Hell of a way to start the day, you know. So, finally, I started reading them. Helter Skelter, Bundy, Gacey (to this day I am afraid of clowns), the Hill Side Stranglers (that one scared me the most), I read them all. It caused me many sleepless nights, so I am well versed on this particular pathology.

As an English professor, I didn’t really teach “English.” Yeah, sure, I gave the obligatory lessons on grammar, syntax, punctuation and spelling, when I noticed recurring mistakes my students were making. What I actually taught was The Scientific Method. I never taught creative writing, although I did teach some classes on literature, which is to say literary criticism and interpretation. The same pattern applies. The key to writing an effective novel is to create interesting and believable characters, put them in situations, and see what happens. Of course, the author has an idea in mind, but it’s all about how the story unfolds. My mother read this book in one morning. She couldn’t put it down, even blew off work to finish reading it. (If you had any idea how rare that is, you don’t know her; she’s a workaholic.) But she doesn’t read the same way I do. She reads the story. I look more at how the writer structures, organizes and develops the story.

What Ms. Hillier has done in this book is off the map. Her characters are twisted, the situation bizarre, and the outcome unpredictable. I found this book engaging, though I rarely read in this genre, which is the psychological thriller, but I found it interesting. There are many plot twists, unexpected developments due to misdirection. And at the end, nothing left but fear."


Odds and Ends
Random stuff for Saturday night.

-Centralia Pennsylvania has an underground coal fire that will burn for, well, forever.

-My friend David Batista knows way too much about the game Gears of War 3.

-Do you know who Xenia is? You do now.

-Enjoy this one in a million paper airplane shot!

Have a good night.