Slope of Hope Blog Posts

This is the heart and soul of the web site. Here we have literally tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. You can also click on any category icon to see posts tagged with that particular category.

A Fearsome Loss!

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After the market closed today (Monday), I saw on my news feed that Verifone Systems (PAY) had agreed to be acquired at a huge premium to its closing price, about 50% higher than the market. That’s not especially interesting news to anyone that doesn’t have a position in the stock, but I do. And it’s a short position. And that, as you might guess, is not a good thing.

I am sharing this bit of bad news as an object lesson in risk management, however. Because after I found this out, I asked myself the following questions and gave myself the following answers: (more…)

Obviously

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There are countless quotes, aphorisms, and bromides related to the world of trading. One of the best known is Joe Granville‘s: “If it’s obvious, it’s obviously wrong.”

Having lived with, considered, and occasionally applied this nugget of wisdom over the years, my conclusion is that what’s “wrong” is actually the quote itself. I believe its principal appeal is that it has that counter-intuitive, funny-because’s-it’s-ironically-true sensibility to it. Kind of like Mark Twain’s “….the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Har de har har. (more…)

Bouncey Bouncey Bouncey

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I cannot shake the feeling that the market gods are trying to trick me. I keep looking at these charts and wondering to myself, “there is NO WAY they are going to make it this obvious.” Because during the depths of the sell-off, the “obvious” move was a rally to the low 25000s on the Dow, which is exactly what happened. Now that we’ve recovered about 62% of the drop, the next obvious move is another plunge, taking out the lows from early February. If by some miracle that transpires, I will fall over backwards at how easy it SHOULD have been to trade (I’m too much of a worrywart to aggressively position myself, in spite of the aforementioned obviousness).

Here’s the DIA ETF, for instance. We’ve got a perfect shooting star reversal formation on Friday, and we’ve come full circle on the retrace back to where the serious fall commenced (at the arrow).

diatwo (more…)

What’s Hot & What’s Not in US Markets

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Depicted on the following graphs are percentages gained/lost in Major Indices and Major Sectors over a longer term (1 year), a medium term (year-to-date), and a short term (the past week).

They are presented, simply, to illustrate where they are relative to those three timeframes.

My only comments are as follows:

  • Major Indices: Utilities, Small Caps and Transports continue to underperform, and I’d monitor Small Caps, in particular, as I outlined in yesterday’s article, for further signs of weakness and an indicator of further equity risk-off activity.
  • Major Sectors: Energy, Consumer Staples, Health Care and Utilities continue to underperform, but I’d keep an eye on Financials for any evidence of further weakening, as I recently described here.

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