Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Your Fame and Glory

Today, I have finally decided to tell you that when it comes to your career as an analyst or portfolio manager, you are the problem. You want more assets to manage? You want to sell more subscriptions to your newsletter? Or even, you want to get a better job on the Street?

Short of skywriting your resume over Remsenburg and Asbury Park, or worse, taking out a Facebook ad to annoy your friends, what are you going to do to further yourself? Your momma already told you - network.  She did not mean to send invitations to famous people in your chosen field on LinkedIn, either.

Getting you name out there is hard and getting harder now that so many industry publications have either shrunken budgets or shuttered windows (alas, poor SFO, I knew you well). You can intern on a trading desk for no money. You can go to the Money Show and hope to get a word with your favorite speaker after he/she gives a presentation - you and every other trading nerd in attendance and I say that with extreme love for trading nerds.

You want to be on CNBC as a talking head? You want to see your name in the Wall Street Journal as a source? You would love to be the next Alan Abelson, wouldn't you?

Here is a news flash for you - journalists and producers need you. Do you think it is easy to put out "news" 12 times per day where there is no news at all? I myself put out five newsletter, two columns, a conference call, free charts  and assorting articles every week. Even a prime morning time financial TV show was talking about little Prince what's-his-name over in London. Filler, filler, salaciousness and more filler.

How do you reach them? Sure, you have sent your latest research opinion to Joe Reporter. You added him to your free media distribution list. You even used his Twitter handle in one of your dozens of daily Tweets. Guess what? None of that gets read. You are wasting your time and probably pissing off the journalist by filling up his inbox with your spam. Yes, spam. That's what it is when it floods his inbox.

Let me give you a tip from someone who needs sources to someone who wants to be a source. First of all, step back and let that line sink in. We need each other. But we are like two star crossed lovers on a daytime soap opera that just cannot get it together.The tension builds but  there is no climax.

From my point of view, there are plenty of others out there just like you. If Sidney does not feed me ideas, Sydney will (come on, you saw they are spelled differently).  How are you going to cut trough the clutter.

Let me say that I personally am not that important in your career but collectively we journalists from analysts to real news gathering reporters are. So what's the tip? Is it really that complicated?

Give us what we need.

No, we do not need your support and resistance levels on the S&P 500. We do not need your Elliott Wave count or your earnings projections or your business forecast. We need something unique and something important. We need events that happen beneath the surface that are potential game changers in the market.

Again, no, not Elon Musk is a visionary CEO. Not falling homebuilder stocks will be bad for the Dow. But something like, "we've seen this setup before and the market moved 15% in two weeks." Or the last time there was this much short interest......or volume was this way.....or the mother of them all, Peter Eliades' "sign of the bear" indicator where he noted that when market breadth goes dead flat for three weeks the market is about to collapse.

I am paraphrasing, of course, but bring me the next Hindenburg Omen. The next dead cat bounce. Or the next double reverse whirligig (it is not every day I get to quote a fictitious indicator from my second book).

Tell me that the last two serious market crashes - 1929 and 1987 - occurred a Fibonacci 55 days from an all-time high. It happened in July of this year without the crash but tell me anyway. It makes for a good story.

As I said, don't send your newsletter. Nobody has time to read it. Nobody has time to wade through the pig poop in there to find the truffle.  Instead, make contact with something useful and ask if it is OK to send a "special report" when there really is something big to tell my/our readers. And make sure it is special and not just a weekly brain dump. Think "spoon feed."

You will get quoted. And fame and fortune will soon flow your way. Well, at least the fame part. You can start your scrapbook of all your media citings to show your potential customers. At least your momma will be proud.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Uh Oh ObamaCare!

I've taken some heat from readers when I post something that is anti Affordable Care Act. Costs go up anyway, they say. More people will have access, the chime.

Well, I say 13ULL5h17 (that's B@$%^^T for you unwashed masses). Aside from doctors leaving the fold and insurance companies dropping those already covered - and aside from politics - here is a little tale hitting my wife's hospital.

Hello greatest staff in the world. I regret to inform you that we will be closing this hospital in two or three months - except for the Emergency Room (because we have to keep it open) and program X (because it makes us a lot of money). We will work to get all of you placed elsewhere, most likely in the flagship hospital in our hospital system.

Hmmmm, why are they closing? Well, for starters, insurance coverage for therapy will be significantly less under the new law and since we are primarily a therapy hospital, well, you know.

I had a long blog to write but frankly I am tired of even thinking about the path this county has been on since 9/11. Patriotism is awesome but the rest is draining.

The bottom line is that the hospital said that insurance coverage would be either dropped or limited on its patients and since hospitals are actually businesses they cannot eat the difference. They said it is directly a result of ObamaCare.

When will they wake up to understand that you cannot expand one part of the health care landscape and assume everything else will stay the same. Its a great plan if there are no ripples. But there are alway ripples.

You cannot get something for nothing.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Barry Goldwater, CMT

I often use a quote from Senator Barry Goldwater from his 1964 Presidential run. "I'd rather be right than President." Well, he was right - about not being President.

I used that line in a presentation to a San Francisco group a long while back and they grumbled when I merely said "he was right."  I had no dog in that fight so it was not a political statement. However, liberal San Fran apparently was not enamored with "Mr. Conservative," as he was called.

But I digress. The message here for traders is "I'd rather make money than be right."

I am convinced that gold will top 2K and stocks will go into one more cyclical bear market before the next great generational investing period begins. However, holding that view in 2013 clearly proved unprofitable and there is the message. Trader what is happening and not what should happen.

Again, I am convinced it will happen. But while we wait, we might as well exploit what is happening to make some money today.

As a financial journalist, I cannot flip flop in my positions. Nobody would pay to read my stuff and even the tire kickers, you know who you are, would no longer seek out my free offerings. However, traders can change their minds whenever they feel like it - rather whenever the market says to do so.

I was wrong to like Apple after it bonked to 450 but it's not far from there today. Not much damage.

I was wrong to think gold washed out on its first plunge to 1350 but guess what, it is not far from there today. Drawdown agita but only opportunity cost lost.

I was wrong to fight the Dow's trend earlier in the year but I did go with the secondary breakouts. Kicking and screaming and certainly not all in but enough to make some money.

I am alive to fight another day. Perhaps the reputation is besmirched a bit but alive nonetheless. Many a hedgie far smarter and better capitalized than me has blown up completely. Of course, it is not fair that they return with new suckers, er, investors, to do it again - or go into government.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ben Shalom Godot

Following the script of the 1953 play "Waiting for Godot," the bears continue to wait for the Fed to indicate once and for all that its open ended bond buying program will start to wind down. In the play, Godot never arrived. Worse, we are not even sure he ever existed.

Analysis of the financial markets no longer depends on the psychology of the masses. It does not depend on how corporations are developing new products or effing up the ones they already have. And it does not depend on international capital flows, unemployment and the rest of the dismal inputs that give financial news reporters something to say.

No, it all comes down to how one man thinks and can express himself. Our job as market professionals is to guess what pearls will emerge from his mouth before congress or the news media. Guess right and riches will follow. Guess wrong and you'd better practice your spatula technique.

Guess? Since when did I need an MBA and 27 years experience to guess what one man will do? They don't teach profiling at the NY Institute of Finance. They do suggest not buying only one stock and hoping. Rather, they suggest a basket to remove the risk of any one of them going belly up. 

That's what technical analysis is all about, you know. Figuring out what the masses will do based on what they have done in similar situations in the past and then assigning probabilities on the result all with the goal of making the buy, sell or hold decision. 

Yeah, it was a run-on sentence. Good writing skills don't make you money when you are guessing what the man with the most power in the world, under the deepest scrutiny, will say ahead of every other Tom, Dick and Tracy trying to guess the same thing.

It is nowt a quarter hour to the close. The Fed minutes are out and we find out that half of the board is chicken and the other half is blind. You can figure out which it which. The market sure could not as it jerked around for a solid hour. 

Now we wait for Godot to speak - again.