I'm essentially retired. My wife hates it when I refer to myself as being "semi-retired." I work on rare occasions. If it weren't for the varied attendant body aches and pains, I'd be very, very happy, instead of just very happy.
Ever since I've stopped the daily grind of making my living as a Pediatric Dentist (and yes, I do realize the duality of that description), I've also started referring to my wife as "Sugar Momma." She brings home a regular paycheck and perhaps coincidentally, enjoys being out of the house while I am in it. Other than her paycheck, it's just me, occasional subscribers, my computer and my discount broker.
Today, she bought home a squirrel and some acorns, while I tried to make some trades on this, the first day of the June 2012 option cycle. Every contribution is appreciated.
After about two weeks of downward price pressure on stocks, it was nice to see a sustained gain and a close at the high for the day. What was even nicer was to not hear any one refer to the day's action as being "A dead cat bounce."
I miss the days when I used to be paid in gold fillings. I admire the integrity and conviction of a toothless by personal choice Ron Paul. For those that revel in precious metals, today was a nice day to both sell calls in ProShares UltraShort Silver ETF (ZSL) and sell puts in its counterpart ProShares UltraSilver (AGQ), at least if done so shortly after the opening bell. Silver goes up and silver goes down, with great regularity and sometimes on an intra-daily basis.
Not that I did so, but someone more eager to trade could have closed out both of those trades today, taken profits and gotten themselves ready to do it again tomorrow and an attempt to find income generating opportunities.
Despite striving to create a regular stream of income to replace my paycheck, we've learned to economize in all aspects of our lives.
First, we sent our youngest son to a state university. Much less expensive than our previous attempts at educating one of our kids. Although during my initial consideration of James Altucher's treatise on why college is a waste, I dismissed his theory, now I'm not so certain. The man knows how to make a compelling case. Beyond that he must feel quite good when the panelists of CNBC's "Fast Money" try to mock him for his opinions that are frighteningly prescient.
Next, we insisted that he enlist in the army. Any army, as long as they had a tuition benefit. He's leaving for his advanced training on Thursday (May 24, 2012), having decided on the United States Armed Forces. They will be paying for his senior year of middle school.
Then we stopped checking the mail box and answering the telephone. I also conveniently forget to sign checks. There's a lot you can get away with if you blame it on age. Of course, you may already know that I use a discount broker. No need to splurge there, although it probably wouldn't hurt to cut down on my trading volume.
But even during times of belt tightening, man needs a respite from that daily grind, so with that mindset, Sugar Momma and I decided that we needed a vacation. Rather than our typical luxurious retreat and pampering, oh how I loved the chocolate hydrotherapy of our past life, the hot and cold running prostitutes and other regal amenities, we decided to be one with nature and went camping.
Among the things that I love and respect about my Sugar Momma is her ability to see outside the box, even if that's no longer an accepted hip consulting expression. The one thing that I would like to change about her is her inability to get out of the box when she accidentally gets caught in the raccoon trap that we now use for hunting and gathering.
Anyway, instead of buying an expensive tent, she suggested we use one of her bras for shelter. She was always good for such thoughts. Unfortunately, the royalties on her patented use of bras as 2 chinstrapped Yarmulkes for Orthodox Jewish people with hydrocephalus had by now gone dry, along with their Cerebro-spinal fluid.
(Too many obscure references?)
Regardless, another bra was a sleeping bag for two and a third one was used as a fishing net and it helped to feed an entire village.
What prompted that line of thinking was her discussion with a neighbor last night regarding an upcoming "girls day" when they were going to go shopping for custom made bras. That can only mean that two of my favorite stocks, although I have positions in neither at the moment, will be getting a good workout.
Kohls (KSS) is their likely stop and American Express (AXP) is the payment mechanism of choice. Despite telling her that the guy at Kohls claiming to be fitting them for their custom bras was actually a homeless guy, Kohls remains their first stop.
I have no clue what a custom made bra costs, but I'm guessing that her material costs alone will be substantial. Much less so for the neighbor. The two joked that they would tell the salesperson that they were sisters. I don't dare post their pictures, but trust me, they're not spitting images.
So as a result, I'll have to trade more for those luxuries in life.
Kohls is one of those stocks that the market is ambivalent about, wildly swinging from loving it to hating it, much as with Altucher. It is an absolutely wonderful stock on which to sell puts after it takes a pounding, whether deserved or not. If the put contract is assigned, it turns into an absolutely great stock on which to sell call options.
In the event of puts, I tend to favor one or two strike prices out of the money, while when selling calls the next out of the money or an in the money strike returns a very nice premium, as well as the opportunity to share in a dividend payment.
At Monday's close of $47.76, the $48 June 2012 option has a premium of $1.15 and the chance to pick up the $0.32 dividend if shares aren't assigned early on June 4, 2012.
All of those premiums come in handy when the American Express bill comes due.
Monday was one of those near perfect days that have been fewer and fewer recently. What seemed different was that there really was no jubilation. None of the talking heads seemed to be saying that we were heading even higher, or the typical "we've turned the corner".
That has to be bullish, but in my own proprietary indicator, I saw bearish signs and so I did what I usually do when the market has a strong upward move. I try capitalizing on the bullish sentiment and sell as many call options as I can while the premiums are moving higher.
But Monday was also a day to appreciate the hidden value of volatility trading vehicles, as my account was flush with cash after having all of my Barclays Volatility ETN (VXX) positions assigned. The cash came in very handy for picking up battered shares in positions that I already owned, such as MolyCorp MCO), JP Morgan (JPM) and Freeport McMoRan (FCX), a real "Who's Who" among recent losers.
In the event you're wondering what my proprietary indicator measures, it looks at the number of clicks on Google (GOOG) financial and stock related ads on my websites. The more clicks I get, the more likely that we're at some kind of a top. Who clicks on these kind of financial ads anyway, unless they think there's an opportunity awaiting them? Most likely those who are late to the party or party killers. When the tide starts looking for those opportunities it reflects a short term top. No offense to those of you that have clicked.
So as long as those clicks accumulate, I see that as a reason to sell the calls, collect the premiums and then not be surprised when the cooling sets in. When the clicks disappear, I'm ready to buy or add to positions.
Instead, I'm just going to take one of those idle bras and fill it up with Monday's trading profits and wait for the next boring opportunity.
Then I'll just perch my lazy boy on the La-Z-Boy to watch my wife run around the house trying to find all of her bras.
Priceless. Wait, that's MasterCard.