Sunday, May 20, 2012

The 10 Most Bad Ass Cars Real or Imagined

It has been perfect weather here all weekend. I have next week off and it's fishing time so expect to see picture blogs over the week, hopefully with fish in them.

Markets? They are a mess. Even if some kind of Central Bank action comes (that's how it's done since 2009, it's all them) it will take time for stocks to base out correctly for my kind of swing trading. As such, I will be very busy with new job starting the 29th so I will be limited in what I can do for a while.

This last week I took losses on some positions I tried out. I really thought things would settle out Monday or Tuesday at the latest. It did not happen. Lost -3.9% on SAM and -3.2% on AVNR. Still holding STKL and POWL but want to clear the books tomorrow.

Josh Brown wrote what I believe to be an important piece yesterday that should be your Sunday night reading if you have not done so:
An All-Time Low

It is a meaningful post in may ways, though I fear the "trader" types will walk away thinking no more than "this is the bottom! WOOT!" which is a waste of the effort. Have a long post in mind on that topic, believe it.

The 10 Most Bad Ass Cars Real or Imagined
Without doing my usual homework on Sunday night due to wild market, I thought a fun post would work.

Below are what I believe to be the 10 most bad ass cars of all time. Some are real cars that were made and some are from the imagination put into cinema. Let me know yours in the comments section.

10. Ferrari F355 Berlinetta (REAL)
This car came out in 1994 and I was in love. Check the link above for all the particulars but the engineering behind this one was sublime. Take the 5 valve per piston cylinder heads for fire raging free breathing:

Here is the actual car in all it's glory:
In 1997 the car line got the F-1 steering wheel mounted paddle transmission so it was even more like a race car.

9. The Wraith (An imaginary car, was a Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor)
Now what could be better than a car from the spirit world that allows you to take revenge against the men who killed you, one by one? probably not much and this car was dark and brooding:
An under rated film.

8. 1969/1970 Plymouth GTX (REAL)
I have to admit, this may be my most beloved muscle car. Loaded with a 426 Hemi and classic lines that make me sweat, this car just screams amazing:
Someday I WILL have one of these, Guaranteed.

7. 1963 Corvette Split Window Coupe (REAL)
Maybe the sexiest car ever to roll off a production line, I cannot say much, the pictures tell the story:

6. Time Travel DeLorean (Imaginary)
A flux capacitor, a little plutonium, and time travel is at hand! What's not to like?:

5. 1983 Dodge Ramcharger Truck (REAL/and some Imagination)
In the film "Lone Wolf McQuade" Chuck Norris plays a Texas Ranger with a supercharged Dodge truck. After being buried underground with the truck, McQuade fires her up, and well, see for yourself:
Longer version here. Total badass.

4. 1987 Buick GNX (REAL)
How can a Buick make the list? Simple, the Grand National came out in 1982 and the GNX in 1987 was easily one of the most fearsome looking cars of all time. I saw many of these growing up and they were always a showstopper. From Wiki, check it out:
Buick underrated the GNX at 276 hp (206 kW) and a very substantial 360 lb·ft (488 N·m) of torque. This was created to be the "Grand National to end all Grand Nationals." Changes made included a special Garrett T-3 turbocharger with a ceramic-impeller blowing through a more efficient and significantly larger capacity intercooler with a "CERMATEL (Ceramic/Aluminum) coated" pipe connecting the intercooler to the engine. A GNX specific EEPROM, low-restriction exhaust with dual mufflers, reprogrammed Turbo Hydramatic 200-4R transmission with a custom torque converter and transmission cooler, and unique differential cover/panhard bar included more of the performance modifications.
NICE! Some pictures:

3. 1955 Chevy Bel Air Coupe (REAL)
Before the well know 1957's came out, the 1955 coupe was a tight package of dynamite. Of course the modified versions are the hot cars and with an engine bay that could accept about any engine, this car is a tuners dream come true. Sexy beast:
Big block in that thing baby.

2. Maximum Overdrive Truck (Imaginary...or is it?)
So a comet passes Earth and imbues machines with thought. Silly I know, but what if? Here is the creepy truck

1. 1958 Plymouth Fury "Christine" (REAL car, imaginary powers)
A sick as all get out car, imbued with preternatural powers! I mean, it HAS to be number 1! See Christine in action:

So bad it's good.

Have a good night.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Compression of Time Frames and Risk Aversion

One day left at current job! I have all of next week off until after the holiday weekend before I start at the new place. A week of fishing is on tap. Weather should be good, no complaints. If any readers have tips on placing and using a minnow trap, please leave it in the comments or shoot me an email. I bought a trap so I can maybe get some live bait for some river drift fishing techniques I want to try out. Thanks.

Compression of Time Frames and Risk Aversion
Last Thursday I wrote a post about The Transmission of Information and how that may be skewing old reliable data sets and sentiment readings. Tonight I wanted to expand on that post while keeping it simple.

In last Thursday's post I wrote this section:
And so my question in light of the following:
-Zero lag for financial information flow
-What was once insider "knowledge" that had controlled dissemination now makes the rounds freely
-Financial conditions are no longer an "also ran" for the regular news cycle; after the banking crisis market stories very often lead national news broadcasts
-The reduction (maybe removal) of retail money from markets (Mom and Pop)

Could the speed of light transfer of information and the concentration of market professionals in the same pool of money be changing readings and metrics? Are investment time frames compressing because the window for an edge has become smaller?

As always Kevin Depew (now with Bloomberg Brief) figured largely in that line of thought and once again in an exchange today about how the parameters of "risk" have grown so much smaller. I was thinking about this once again. (It should be noted Kevin's writing way back in the mid 2000's and interaction with me inspired this writer to start my own blog.)

We are visual creatures and so I am posting the following two charts that I believe give an idea how both time frames and risk aversion have compressed.

SPY Weekly with notes (Click for larger view or view here):
SPY Daily with notes (Click for larger or view here):

Now I understand that in the wake of an epic credit collapse that market gyrations may be more wild than normal. I also understand that one can chart squiggly chart lines in many ways to present a point they want to see. That said, given the questions posted above the charts make a compelling case that things are moving faster and risk aversion is getting much more reactive. 

The AAII sentiment readings have been so bad, I actually wonder who they are talking to. The October lows were horrifying and to me the November wash out near Thanksgiving was about as bad as any time I have ever felt about markets. Real time indicators like regular bloggers and Twitter were at wits end at those points, but now I see eager buyers. Buyers ready due to......those indicators. Something is changing under the surface. The interface of social media, light speed information transfer, and much less 'dumb' money is making a learning computer that is reacting both faster and with more energy. The Robopocalypse has many faces I guess.

A clip from the film "Rounders" may best illustrate my point.

Who can forget when Mike makes his return trek to poker, goes down to Atlantic City, and finds he will be playing against, and with, the same set of New York ringers that dominate the money games in the big city? Of course some unlucky tourists make their way to the spider web, but strategy changes and opportunity is cut down because of a table full of pro's:


I fully admit I may be way off here, but it just seems to this writer that the game has been, and is changing. I have a few more thoughts on this and will go further in a future post.

Have a good night.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Transmission of Information

It has been a busy week back with activities and closing out shop at my current job before moving on to the new position. Sorry posting has been light, but just too much going on.

StockTwits Presents at Harvard University
Tuesday night offered a rare treat as I was able to attend a symposium at Harvard University conducted by some of the StockTwits writers. Named "Trading in the Wild" the presentation covered some big picture strategy and overall condition of markets for the younger students. You can see two wonderful recaps at the links below:
Investing Freak has a great recap with audio of the talks here:
Stocktwits Symposium With Josh Brown, J.C Parets, Todd Sullivan & Phil Pearlman
Eli Radke, whom I finally got to meet, has another well written article:
Brief Overview of @StockTwits Symposium at Harvard

Excellent job everyone.

The Transmission of Information
Between the symposium on Tuesday and a discussion I had today on Twitter with Kevin Depew about the recent spike in the AAII Investor Sentiment bearish readings (42% end of last week) I started thinking about how things have changed in the way information flows as well as possible changes in how people may be both reacting to, and responding to inputs market related.

This is a work in progress so tonight I just want to give a general idea about what I am thinking. A visual may help (for those mechanically inclined):

This is a continuously variable transmission.

Maybe you remember those old heavy clutch manual transmissions. Today's automatic transmissions are smooth but a CV transmission is the definition of silky. A CV trans also has less moving parts. It is able to respond to input instantly and adapt the drive to any need of the vehicle. Stay with me.

Today market information passes fast, and through such channels as blogs and Twitter the lag time for information flow has dropped to nanoseconds. Leigh Drogen's killer site Estimize even has begun to change reaction to earnings news by allowing the best stock watchers a forum to provide more realistic earnings numbers for comparison. It goes on and on.

And so my question in light of the following:
-Zero lag for financial information flow
-What was once insider "knowledge" that had controlled dissemination now makes the rounds freely
-Financial conditions are no longer an "also ran" for the regular news cycle; after the banking crisis market stories very often lead national news broadcasts
-The reduction (maybe removal) of retail money from markets (Mom and Pop)

Could the speed of light transfer of information and the concentration of market professionals in the same pool of money be changing readings and metrics? Are investment time frames compressing because the window for an edge has become smaller?

I will have more on this in a future post but sound off in the comments.

Have a good night.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

If It All Gets to be Too Much, One Thing at a Time

Where to even start? It has been a jumble of all kinds of things over the past two weeks. I will try and make some sense of it.

This blog is set up well for the point I am making in the title; there are going to be times in life that too many things are happening all at once. You cannot do everything all at once. When that happens you need to prioritize and have a plan of action to tackle things one at a time. Here is my list from last week.

Bahamas Vacation
Total rain out. My wife and I have been to the Bahamas 7 times and it has never rained like it was raining as we arrived. All forecasts agreed, no let up in the 8 days we were to be there. Arrived last Friday and it was Monsoon season or something! On Sunday I slipped and dropped like a stone on a concrete walkway. My upper arm looks like it was hit by a bus and I chipped my front tooth. Perfect.

We were able to get 5 days of our vacation transferred to a trip later in the year. Hopefully the weather will be better that week. We left Tuesday morning among flooded streets and an airport that was just able to get planes off. Huge disappointment with an added bonus of some needed dental work. I was able to get in to see my dentist and they fixed my tooth right up on Tuesday. One thing solved.

New Career Opportunity
I had mentioned I may have some exciting news and indeed I do!

I started a process of interviewing for a new job a few weeks ago. The role I was after fits my unique cloning experience so well I just knew this was the job I wanted. Bacterial pathway genetic engineering is something I really love and have some great experience performing. This job takes it to a whole new level of complexity. It's going to be a real challenge.

I was able to negotiate an accepted offer during the vacation week. I will start a few weeks from now. I am terrified and excited at the same time! Honestly it all came together so fast and so well I just feel a bit dizzy about it. I will be leaving my current company after 6 years. It's not easy or comfortable to do that. Sometimes worthwhile things are like that.

Market Observations
I never looked at one market quote nor read one market blog or article the week I was off. I never do. As such I know full well when I get back to the world I will not be able to jump right back in. I am a firm believer in "market feel" and when I am out of the groove for a while I do no try and run right back into the fray that is the markets. Trading does not reward being unprepared and it does not forgive cheaply those that forget it.

As such, I see that last week was the worst week of 2012. I am shocked because usually when I am gone markets fly higher as if to spite me. A well planned strategy with proper execution can bring profits in any market. I just don't happen to have one as things go right now. I know I cannot catch up, be prepared and feel confident to trade tomorrow. So I won't. I will get back in a groove and enter in when I am ready.

An aspect about markets and trading I found I loved long ago (and one it seems many overlook too often) is trading is one of the only forms of combat where you will dictate your own battlefield, choose the rules of your engagement, and decide the conditions of your involvement. In what other contest can you make similar claims?

After yard work all weekend I knew it was time for some fun. I rolled out the Big Steel Keg cooker to it's proper stand in the backyard now that Spring is here. It was steak and portabella mushroom slice night oveah heah:

Good stuff.

Have a good night.