Category Archives: Anecdotes

In Perpetuity

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I am not a stranger to disappointment. There have been plenty of times in my life when reality did not meet expectations. This probably gives me plenty in common with other fellow humans. It’s certainly not like things always go my way. Far from it.

Being a trader, this is a phenomenon that is almost universal. People anticipate what they think is going to happen, they position themselves for it, and reality dictates whether or not they profit or not. It’s the nature of the beast.

October was an extraordinary month. It was tremendously exhilarating for the first half, and it was soul-crushingly difficult during the second (this is from a bear’s perspective; flip the descriptors for bulls). As deeply oversold as we were on October 15th (and with the VIX in excess of 30), I certainly expected some kind of bounce – and I made no secret of it – but I absolutely did not expect a bounce of this size and vigor. (more…)

The Urge to Relax

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There will be no actionable ideas in this post. It’s just me bitching. But I’m just tired of having to look behind my shoulder every single second in this market.

How I yearn for an opportunity to put on a bunch of positions, kick my feet up, and watch them 1026-relaxunravel (in a good way) over a multi-week period. I’m not asking for years. Or months. Just a few weeks.

Because, as it is now, things are changing radically day to day. One day ISIS and Ebola are causing the VIX to soar into the 30s. The next day, Yellen picks her nose and wipes it under the table, and the market interprets that as a dovish sign, thus sending the Dow up 300 points.

It’s unnerving. And I’m getting weary of it.

This morning, my energy shorts are doing great things for me (and my in-need-of-salve self-esteem), so it’s not that today is going poorly; quite the contrary. But I already am worried about that horrid little troll on Wednesday. She’s evil, and I truly hate her.

Anyway, I have to keep my wits about me and take things one position at a time. Stop by stop, these things have to tend to themselves. But, good God, after six years of this homo POMO crap (and, thank you Jesus, it ends today), I could really use a nice easy “drift”. I’m exhausted from worry.


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NOTE from Tim: off to my weekly recording session for my Panic book. I’ll be back this evening! Thanks, Mark……….

(For those who say I just don’t get it…Get this!)

Nothing brings on the chance for people to point fingers, or sing like schoolchildren the old, “Nah, nah, na, nah nahhhh!” when you’re in the public eye faster than saying one thing – and having the opposite happen.

I can not begin to count just how many people I know, (let alone only vaguely familiar with) that are looking at the financial markets today as they rocket higher wanting me to explain myself. My initial response almost to a person was, “What do you mean me? Ask your financial adviser!” That’s when I could see (if not feel through an email) the absolute frustration many are having.

All kidding aside, it is with good reason they’re upset. In actuality many are coming around to an all too frightening idea that many of the people they’ve listened to (or been advised by) as well as the explanations they have relied on as “fact” is dissolving right before their eyes. They are beginning to see for themselves 1+1 is not adding up to what they’ve been told. (more…)

Stone Knives and Bear Skins

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Well, in the heat of a very intense trading day, Comcast pooed all over itself and put many of their customers back into the stone age, including your beloved host. I managed to cobble together an Internet connection (at 10% the normal speed) and slogged through the day somehow or another. I’m delighted at how my long plays worked out (cough Slope Plus cough) and I entered 16 new short positions just before the close. I’m going to get in the line at the soup kitchen before they close, but I’ll be back later to share my thoughts.


Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy

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I hadn’t done any options trading for a while, but a few months ago, I dusted off my options account, put some money into it, and started trading it. The past few weeks have been particularly good to me, with the account up about 100%, but along the way (particularly the most recent week), I left a ton of money on the table.

There was one particular issue that left an impression on me: a NASDAQ put. Now, most of my options trading (which is brain-dead simple: buying puts on stocks that I think are going to fall and whose expiration is several months out) is focused on individual issues, not indexes. But on October 3, I decided to buy the $4050 put on the NDX. (more…)

Shorting the Box

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Although this will surely come as a shock to everyone, I am an anal-retentive, neurotic, hung-up, OCD-type who likes things really well-organized. This deep personality flaw compelled me to create Prophet (since I’m obsessed with data) and has driven me to the brink of insanity from 2009-2013, since the world Stopped Making Sense.

As I’m a neat freak, I figured my trip to The Container Store a few months ago would be a trip to mecca. Not so: because what outranks my obsession with order is cheapness thrift, and what I was confronted by was a huge store full of things that were easily double the price I thought they should have been. That, I suppose, is where their profits come from. (more…)