Monday, May 24, 2010

Odds and Ends

Spain had a problem last week with a debt auction. They were supposed to sell 8 billion Euro in notes and for some strange reason (demand?) scaled it back to about 6.5 billion. Now some have called this a auction failure, how dare they. Maybe Spain should prosecute those dastardly enough to undermine the good of the people, huh? Or maybe Spain should enact a ban on calling a failed bond auction a failed bond auction. You can split hairs deciding whether or not it was a failure but just remember Spain is purportedly party to the group that will bail Greece out. too funny.

Greeks protested in the streets last week against the austerity measures to be imposed on them (re: no more retirement at 45) just as the German Bundestag houses were to vote on the bailout. The irony of this is just fantasticly humorous. Of course the vote went through as it was a bailout for German banks and nothing less.

Speculators are you adversary are they Ms. Merkel? Markets are out of control you say? I wish you best of luck against 'the markets' and might I suggest you pick up a mirror and look into it as it is brain dead politicians like you who are out of control rather than markets.

The Germans, not finished with their lunacy and while on a roll wen on to announce the banning of naked shorting which makes me recall the quote from Reminiscences of a Stock Operator;

"he who sells what isn't hisn, must buy it back or go to prisn"

Do you understand the type of risks short sellers take. Continue to hate them people, just remember when they are run out of town as the bad guy and they disappear you often can get this.

One thing I can assure you of is that these government leeches located all over the planet will continue to do the wrong thing everywhere and always while at he same time preserving their way of life remaining fat and happy suckling at the public tit.

Regular readers know my antipathy for the Ivory tower types who inhabit or rather infest the campus's of colleges nationwide. I have minced few words insulting imbeciles likes of Roger Farmer of UCLA and Ken Rosen of Cal-Berkeley and their ideas and remedies for our predicament. So much so I have considered sponsoring an Imbecile of the Year Award. I have refrained from giving the award out prematurely simply because as soon as I am convinced I have found richly deserving recipient, another one shows up and one-ups your winner. This morning we get that.

I owe much thanks to Mish over at his great blog Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis as he continually links great articles surrounding this economy. Over the weekend he had a great piece called Padded Pensions and What to do About Them.

In this piece there is a link to an article out of the NY Times Can States Fix Their Pension Problems? The article interviews quite a few people on the issue and what to do about it. While reading through it one recommendation simply jumped off the page at me.

One Alicia H. Munnell uttered the following statement;

"The key question is what should be done. A major increase in contributions is not realistic at this time. Because of court rulings, states and localities have virtually no ability to cut benefits for existing employees and may have only limited ability to increase employee contributions. And any changes for new employees will take a long time to have any substantial effect.

That means if funding levels are to be restored quickly, the money must come primarily from taxes. But the recession has significantly reduced tax revenues and increased the demand for services. Thus, finding additional taxes will be extremely difficult. The only real option is to wait for the market and the economy to recover."

I want you to read that last line again so it can sink in because originally I thought it was a misprint. Okay, slowly now...... the only real option is to wait for the market and the economy to recover.

What does one say about this other than to seriously consider asking Ms. Munnell for a urine sample to find out what type of mind altering drugs she is on. But first lets find out who Alicia Munnell is.

Well, she is Professor of Management Sciences at Boston College's Carroll School of Management. She also serves as the director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. You can read more of Ms. Munnell's eye popping resume here

What does one say to the parents out there sending your kids to Boston College and paying these type of fees other than suggesting they keep drinking the higher education kool-aid alongside all those fantastic school ratings reviews hence preventing septic shock to their system. In the least, in doing this, these parents can continue to brag about where their child is attending school to all their acquaintances at the country club, employment propsects be damned.

Do you see why I think a 6 figure investment in a college education taught by the likes of Rosen at Cal-Berkeley, Farmer at UCLA, and Munnell at Boston College, 3 members of my All-Imbecile Team is a colossal waste and one of the biggest scams operating?

Yes, lets wait for the economy and the market to recover good professor. Critical thinker are you? The only thing correct about higher education is that the people teaching it are high. Someone please explain to me why drug testing is not mandatory for these people because you cannot tell me she believes the garbage she is spewing about waiting for the market to recover for if so, then she is far denser than even I imagine. I think I have made my point and will leave the good professor alone.

Now, for those that missed it or for those that chose to dismiss it I suggest you re-read what shall now be referred to as the Glass Theatre Analogy:

“The biggest problem, getting back to Galbraith, is that in the process of facilitating sellers, all the new technology does not produce any buyers. I know most will disagree with that, but keep in mind that demand is a state of mind. It runs away at the first sign of trouble. Put another way, the same emotions that motivate sellers cause potential buyers to hold off. Sell is preordained, but buying requires a complex greed analysis. Which leads me to my “glass theater analogy.” We are all familiar with the most common analogy for panic: when someone yells “Fire!” in a crowded theater. The problem, of course, is that there are 50 rows of seats, but just two aisles leading back to two doors on the back wall. Grown men and women may trample small children to escape getting fried.

“There are a couple of problems extending that analogy to the stock market, so I made some changes in my “glass theater analogy”. The biggest problem in the market is that, even if you choose the aisle seat, last row, you can’t escape unless you can find someone to take your seat. As Galbraith pointed out so many years ago, you can’t be a seller unless someone else will buy. (What a dirty little secret!). Another big problem, considering the speed of the technology today, is the basic transparency. It’s as though the back wall of the theater were made of glass, and all the potential patrons can see what’s happening inside. It’s right there on their screen! Who is going to take your seat when they can see the carnage going on in there? Which leads me back to last week’s mysterious plunge. First of all, remember that reading Alan Abelson the Saturday before the 1987 Crash, he indicated we had already had it with the 230-point drop the week before. The newspapers last weekend sounded a bit like a post mortem too. “The SEC is trying to get to the bottom of it.” I can save them the trouble. What do you expect when your weapon has a seven cartridge magazine in the butt compared to a single load, wad and ball. You get 1000 points in 15 minutes. Wait until the human nature kicks in again someday, in a big way. It might become 5000 points. You could retrace this bear market rally in a hurry.

Good speculating to you all and please remember to never forget that "an investor is a speculator who made a mistake and will not admit it".

Open Positions:
Long 1 unit Direxion Large Cap 3X Bear ticker BGZ @ $19.34
Long 2 units Direxion Small Cap 3X Bear ticker TZA @ $12.06
Long 1 unit Direxion Emerging Mkts 3X Bear ticker EDZ @ $60.50
Long 2 units Direxion Financial 3X Bear ticker FAZ @ $19.65
Long 2 units Ultrashort Xinhua China ticker FXP @ $42.45
Long 1 unit Ultrashort Real Estate ticker SRS @ $49.10
Long 2 units Direxion Tech 3X Bear ticker TYP @ $10.52
Long 1 unit US Dollar Bull ticker UUP @ $22.52 stop @ $22.52
Long 1 unit ishares Barclays 20yr Treas ticker TLT @ 92.15 stop @ $92.15
Long 1 unit ishares Barclays 20yr Treas ticker TLT @ 93.48 stop @93.48

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