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George Acs  

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  • Personal Conflict [View article]
    Very nicely said considering it's only your first week as my publicist.
    Mar 9, 2014. 08:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Personal Conflict [View article]
    You don't really need to identify 10 or more stocks in a week, you simply need to identify as many as are needed to replace those that were assigned the previous week, plus or minus where you want your cash reserve to be after all weekly purchases are made.

    This past week I had 5 positions assigned and am willing to add up to 8 new positions, as I'm willing to take cash reserves down beyond where last week ended.

    I don't really use any screens. I try to stick with a universe of stocks that are reasonably well known to me from having incessantly followed them over time and try to pick some that may be ready to get back on a path from the past. The Bollinger Bands warrant not much more than a momentary glance to get a quick visual.

    But with that all done I do want to know of upcoming events, such as dividends or earnings that may get in the way of a perfectly thought out thesis.
    Mar 9, 2014. 08:40 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Personal Conflict [View article]
    Let's stick to business, forgetting about international politics for a while. Let others, whose pay grade covers such things, make the pro and con arguments reminiscent of the Cold War era.

    Back in those days in the early 1980s you were pretty much alone as an individual investor, if making option sales. I wish I had done so, instead fof just wondering why I hadn't so many years later. But back then there really weren't many "options."
    I suppose you're referring to having used time durations of longer than a month, although these days with weekly options available the past few years and now expanded weekly options becoming increasing available there are so many ways to approach the strategy, particularly if commission costs are a consideration. I don't really recall when LEAPS were first introduced, but I never considered implementing a covered option strategy until deep discount commissions became available.
    The costs still vary widely, even among discounters. However, even at the rate that you're getting, the economy of scale can be significant in forming what strategies you can use. For example, trading a single contract on both ends would entail a break-even of about $0.11/share. A 2 contract round-trip would have a break-even of just greater than $0.06/share. That would mean greater ability to take part in trades with very low premiums just to grab option income in instances of very low likelihood of assignment, otherwise. It also makes it easier to justify rolling over positions as contracts are expiring, so as to avoid the possibility of an adverse price movement the following week that might preclude the sale of a contract.
    Mar 9, 2014. 03:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Personal Conflict [View article]
    I agree that the IB interface leaves something to be desired, but for those trading in quantity and are still able to navigate that interface, the savings can be significant.

    I have a number of subscribers that have reported being very happy with IB.

    However, for those already actively trading, especially using covered options, the transfer to another brokerage can leave you in limbo for what seems like an eternity, unless you simply wire cash and systematically make the transition.
    Mar 9, 2014. 03:14 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Personal Conflict [View article]
    You may need to check some objective sources to help with your recollection of history. The ones you mentioned were certainly not democracies. They were all military dictatorships. To draw a parallel between Ukraine and any of those is ludicrous on any level. No wonder you wouldn't directly give examples in your initial comment and instead left it to the reader to fill in the blanks.
    I asked you to give such examples of one democracy invading the sovereign territory of another democracy, as you had suggested there were parallels in the West and the best you can do is Cuba, Grenada and Panama? Even if you could make an argument that Ukraine wa snot a democracy, how in the owrld can you draw the parallel?

    To suggest that the government in Ukraine is not a representative democracy is disingenuous. It's elected officials are functioning in a completely uninterrupted fashion as their leader fled the country, abandoned afterward even by his own party's MPs. Certainly the Ukraine Parliament is not the same rubber stamp institution as has evolved in Russia. Also remember that the only bloodshed came as a result of those supporting a President who had unilaterally changed the nation's strategic course and despite clearly instigatory attempts, Ukrainians and their military have resisted the bellicosity and provocations that are being used to give further pretext to actions illegal under international law.

    I'm not quite certain I understand your comment regarding the abdication. You do seem to acknowledge that's what it was. When was it suggested that his abdication was the cause of events? Only the Russian government has used that as one of the excuses for their own actions. You are also jumbling "events," and creating a flawed logic in your argument.

    In one case you suggest that he abdicated because of events in Kiev. Is that not the event that you are referring to as being responsible for his abdication? Certainly his abdication can't have been responsible for antecedent events. So one must assume that you are then arguing that his abdication could not have been a cause for subsequent events, yet it is part of the justification used by Russia to enter sovereign territory.

    Or are you then referring to the subsequent events of a fully functioning parliament in Ukraine in the pursuit of democracy?
    Mar 9, 2014. 03:10 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Personal Conflict [View article]
    Thanks, but I just noticed that the Comment to which I responded has been removed, though.

    I'm not certain why that's the case, as it was just an expression of opinion and nothing even remotely abusive. If believed, the comment came from someone in Ukraine, albeit with a perspective mirroring that which Russia is promoting, but done so in a fairly diplomatic manner.

    Now, I'm not in agreement that we have a "leftist press," as there's enough in quantity and variety to meet most everyone's particular perspective.
    As far as taking action, American history through most of its existence has been for the majority of its citizens to favor more isolationist and hands off approaches to problems on the other side of the world, even when truly horrible things are occurring. This isn't very different, except that nothing horrible has really happened, except in the abstract.
    Unfortunately, sanctions are meaningless unless there's broad participation and Russia has done very well by making much of Europe dependent upon it for its energy source, even though they have previously demonstrated that it's willing to use it as an economic weapon.

    Then again, by the same token, it has taken us a long, long time to start the process of breaking away from our own dependence on Saudi Arabia, who could easily fall back on old habits and use oil as a weapon. Clearly a nation's short term needs usually are more important to its leaders than strategic planning and long term stability.
    What I think will happen, if cooler heads prevail, is that everyone will make a big stink about what is going on, perhaps some sanctions and a loose patchwork of punitive moves will be taken, but nothing will change on the ground. Eventually, the world will forget, become complacent and move on, as Crimea, under whatever new designation it may have, will become a de facto part of Russia and its sizable ethnic Ukrainian and Tatar populations will be literally caught in the middle
    Mar 9, 2014. 02:20 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Personal Conflict [View article]
    I don't know how long you've been investing, but I had thought of doing covered calls way back in the 80s, but there was absolutely no way to do so for the average person.

    Back then, the break even on 200 shares of a typical $20-$40 stock was close to 10% (or higher) because of commissions. Add to that the costs of the option trades and there was just no way to do it in a profitable, much less, consistent fashion. Imagine having to see your $40 shares having to go to $44 to even make a single cent of profit. Of course, I won't even get into share pricing units. These days you can get down to a fraction of a penny, rather than dealing with bid and ask spreads of an eighth or more, not to mention getting your trades executed at market price, rather than limit orders.

    Even with the early discount brokers like Fidelity and Schwab, the fees for a covered option strategy were just too high unless you really traded in volume.

    These days there's obviously a range even among the discount brokerages, but even within that range all make it possible to incorporate a covered option strategy.
    Mar 9, 2014. 01:37 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Personal Conflict [View article]
    Certainly there is economy in scale. The more option contracts, the lower the cost per contract. However, I haven't found, nor heard from subscribers that commissions have been an impediment. Are you using a full service broker?

    You may want to take a look at this article to get some perspective http://seekingalpha.co...

    I tend to create a portfolio with individual lots typically representing 2-3% of the total, but will not exceed three lots. Generally, if I have three lots it is because the price has fallen on shares from the original lot, so the cumulative value of the 3 lots of a specific stock will usually be at the 5% level, rather than 6-9%.

    However, the total size of the portfolio is obviously a limiting factor, as you can't have both economy of scale in the number of shares and a wide distribution of positions. With that limitation, I would opt for fewer positions and more shares per position.

    With $250K, I would consider up to about 10 positions, thereby also allowing for some reasonable diversification among sectors. That would be approximately $25,000 per position and would allow 5 contracts on a $50 stock ( I don't use very many stocks below $20, although it's getting harder and harder to find those, anyway). However, I wouldn't go all in at a single moment in time, for fear of catching a market top just at the wrong time.
    Mar 9, 2014. 01:22 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Personal Conflict [View article]
    Yeah, we hit a bit above 60 yesterday and were inundated with deer as they found some grass peeking out from under the snow on some patches of our property.

    Given about 4 bouts of Lyme disease in our household and a dog that goes berserk whenever he hears or sees critters of all sizes, I could do with a quick thaw and those beasts heading back into the deep.
    Mar 9, 2014. 12:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Personal Conflict [View article]
    I've given up trying to compare LOW and HD on any fundamental merits.

    Your argument, or point of view, is exactly that which was made several years ago and was correct for a while until it wasn't.

    In all likelihood it will be true once again as the two companies keep competing and make one another better, as a result.

    Now, assuming that you went long LOW the last time it was down to $22.50 (Nov 2011), it has been neck and neck with Home Depot in performance, with Home Depot just slightly ahead.

    Now if you go back to July 2009, when Lowes was at $22.50 previous to the level in 2011, Home Depot's performance was nearly 100% greater than that of Lowes. So while the growth in Lowes from $22.50 is admirable, it's always relative.
    Mar 9, 2014. 12:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Personal Conflict [View article]
    Thank you.

    No, I didn't make the move on VFC last week, having opened only 5 new positions.

    The nice thing is that almost every opportunity comes back again, though.
    Mar 9, 2014. 12:20 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Personal Conflict [View article]
    What is pretty laughable is that at this moment the official Russian position is that Russia is not behind the presence, movement and build-up of troops in Crimea. They may play behind words and say that they are not in Ukraine, because they unilaterally don't recognize Crimea as part of Ukraine, but they take no responsibility for what everyone knows to be reality, without regard to other issues that may have equally valid points of view.

    The official Russian position, would have you believe that a heretofore unknown local defense militia has been able to assemble 20,000 or more members, bring out heavy armory, helicopters and fighter jets. Somehow this group of people was able to act in coordination and unison without ever being on anyone's radar? For Putin to suggest that the uniforms could simply have been bought in stores is mind boggling in its affront.

    So, who is anyone going to believe, when the most basic of elements is so plainly denied? Particularly since there is no evidence of any threats to citizens of Crimea nor of anything other than popular dissent making its voice heard? Clearly, the tipping point was the wanton shooting of protesters by police brought in from the east.

    I was born about 50 km from the Ukraine border. Having escaped from Hungary during the 1956 Revolution, in the past the Russian Army has not needed much of an excuse to send troops to quiet its neighbors. Sovereignty, apparently is not a word found in the local lexicon. I'm not certain what parallels you refer to in the western hemisphere that have had one democratic nation invade another democratic nation when their leader has abdicated his position in the middle of the night. 
    What I find fascinating is the continued reference to the West as acting as fascists and being referred to in terms reserved for use in describing the Nazis and that era. Yet the pretext by which Russia entered Crimea is precisely that which was used by Germany in the Sudentenland.
    Mar 9, 2014. 12:18 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Personal Conflict [View article]
    It keeps me off the streets.

    Ultimately, it becomes a question of whether the management results in achieving anything better than a passively managed portfolio. With nothing else to do with my time, I'll take the management excesses in exchange for the return, having lived in both worlds.
    Mar 9, 2014. 10:24 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Personal Conflict [View article]
    Thanks.

    You're right. There's very little likelihood of discovering an entirely new set of problems when it comes to investing. For the past 18 months we've essentially been doing nothing other than creating new highs and always in a position to complain if looking for new places to park cash.

    All in all? Not a bad problem to have.
    Mar 9, 2014. 10:22 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Personal Conflict [View article]
    My wife is a CA native and our plans are to move there in a year or two. If you spend your days trading there is nothing better than having your day end at 1 PM, especially since as you get older you tend to wake up earlier, anyway. A 6:30 AM market start is something that I would have thought disgusting at one time. Now? I'm all for it.
    Mar 9, 2014. 10:20 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
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