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George Acs  

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  • Predicting Is Hard Business [View article]
    Thank you.

    I have long believed and written that "validity" is something that's entirely lacking, particularly in technical analysis.

    If technical analysis was a medical diagnostic test, it would never be allowed to see the light of day in this country and in most parts of the world.

    To the best of my knowledge, no one has shown that there is acceptable sensitivity or specificity. Additionally, the number of false positive and false negative signals is enough to make you forever dismiss the diagnostic tools that so many rely upon.

    What there is, is plenty of anecdotal evidence representing the very best in cherry picking.
    Aug 10, 2015. 04:52 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • FTC's Open And Shut Case Vs. Herbalife Should Be Winding Down [View article]
    I don't know whether the author is actually short the stock or has been buying puts, however, the earliest disclosure goes back to January 2013 and states "I am short HLF." There is, however, no indication of when any position was opened, nor whether it had been changed during the subsequent 32 months.

    If short the stock there's also that pesky issue of $1.50 of dividends to add to the insult at the moment. Herbalife could add some pressure by beginning to shift some cash delegated to supporting share price and back into dividends. A monthly dividend would be an especially poignant swipe at those who had been holding short positions and incurring carrying costs, as well.

    After all, this has been a scorched earth kind of battle and both sides may be less than honorable, but I think that the short has been especially egregious while hiding under the cloak of protecting society. That should be something left to regulatory agencies and not to investors or hedge funds, who can easily have very mixed motives.
    Aug 10, 2015. 04:00 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • FTC's Open And Shut Case Vs. Herbalife Should Be Winding Down [View article]
    I guess that's a noble cause. I like your constructive perspective, although time will still tell, I hope that not too many were taken in by a pied piper still touting shorting the stock at $30. They might have wished they had gone with an HLF franchise instead.
    Aug 10, 2015. 03:32 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Predicting Is Hard Business [View article]
    For a covered option seller it's not so much trying to predict where markets are headed. It's more of a question of trying to manage positions and tread the water while the waves are getting formed.

    The real frustration in this market is that despite the uncertainty and despite the large moves in either direction, volatility remains extremely low and that keeps premiums low.

    There's no doubt that it is impossible to predict with "consistency," if that's the metric that you want to use. However, the recent behavior of the market hasn't only been hard to predict prospectively, it's even been hard to characterize retrospectively. That's an unusual combination.

    Yes, markets do tend to rise over time and that's difficult to contest. But what's equally difficult to contest is that the climb is rarely in a straight forward path. All I want is to try and capitalize on the side steps and the treading.
    Aug 10, 2015. 02:46 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Predicting Is Hard Business [View article]
    You are definitely right about that, but as always it's a question of balancing the risk for the lure of the premium.
    Aug 10, 2015. 02:39 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • FTC's Open And Shut Case Vs. Herbalife Should Be Winding Down [View article]
    Your point about the repetitive nature of the comments could then equally be applied to the articles themselves.

    Why write them at all anymore?

    But it's not just responding to counter points. There are no responses at all. Not to those in his court and not to those questioning his conclusions.

    You are right, though. There's lots of three ring nature to it. Maybe the ringmaster has gone off line to clean off after stepping in some of the stuff elephants leave behind
    Aug 10, 2015. 02:37 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • FTC's Open And Shut Case Vs. Herbalife Should Be Winding Down [View article]
    You're probably right about the eyeballs, but there is a balancing act at play. Seeking Alpha is definitely trying to get to a higher level and it's not easy to do that when passion takes over from objectivity.

    It's not necessarily a question of accuracy for any single article, which may always be difficult to evaluate in a timely manner. But in this instance there is a substantial single author series on Herbalife that offers plenty of material to prospectively evaluate newly submitted material and to then say "enough is enough" when duplicative material is presented for publication.

    There is a question of the sheer volume of the articles and their tone and then further ducking comments when purposefully inciting the readership.

    Recently one of those articles had to have its title changed after publication because it was so incredibly misleading and would have reflected very poorly on editorial standards had it been allowed to populate search engines. The editorial staff took quick action when it was pointed out to them that the title was highly inappropriate and deceitful.

    Eyeballs are great, but at what price?
    Aug 10, 2015. 02:12 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • FTC's Open And Shut Case Vs. Herbalife Should Be Winding Down [View article]
    With about 175 very provocative articles written about Herbalife during the course of the past 2 years, I'm somewhat amazed that in the course of nearly 500 comments in the last 2 such articles, the author has not seen fit to respond to even a single one of those comments.

    Is there nothing to contest, defend or expound upon? Or are the articles now simply a vehicle to express an increasingly subjective and heavy handed kind of dogma?

    The complete lack of response to readers may be especially telling of something (I don't know what, though), when one considers that all but about 20 of his nearly 1200 comments have been HLF related.

    Based on the articles, it's clear that the author hasn't said it all (although as HLF has moved higher, the flow of articles has significantly slowed), but he appears to have said it all when it comes to engaging in dialogue.
    I have been long shares for the past few months while remaining completely agnostic over the merits of its business strategy. I just want to make money in the process. I think that's very different from wanting to make money while trying to influence the process with many unsubstantiated claims, innuendo and allegations.
    Even if the claims are ultimately proven to be accurate these articles have been incredibly blatant in seeking to depress stock price under the guise of protecting a segment of the population that is characterized as being preyed upon.
    I hope that Seeking Alpha will learn that publishing such a series of articles is detrimental to its own credibility as it takes efforts to create a brand that is increasingly respected.
    Aug 10, 2015. 12:50 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Predicting Is Hard Business [View article]
    Yes, but once you account for the 2 to 1 split, then no.

    What AZN refers to as their "First Interim Dividend" which is the one generally in August, has been steady at this level since 2012. It's still at the same $0.90 amount when factoring in the stock split last month.
    Aug 10, 2015. 11:34 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Predicting Is Hard Business [View article]
    Ha, but I wasn't talking about me. I was talking about those poor guys who get paid sometimes obscene amounts to do the predicting and aren't necessarily held terribly accountable. I suppose I could have fit all of that into the title, but then there would be no reason to say anything else in the article.

    I guess I'm in the same figurative boat as you are. I'm retired and trying to make money with money and it is getting harder. I want more waves and more back and forth movements to drive that volatility up and make it easier for money to make money.
    Aug 10, 2015. 11:26 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Federal Reserve Takes A Vacation [View article]
    One of those financials that's down big and I think ready again is Blackstone. That's in this week's article that's still sitting in the queue. It's down about 13% from it's may high with about 9% of that since its earnings in July.
    Aug 9, 2015. 02:16 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Federal Reserve Takes A Vacation [View article]
    There are now lots of stocks that fit those criteria, including close to half of the DJIA.
    Aug 9, 2015. 01:00 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Federal Reserve Takes A Vacation [View article]
    It's a little ironic that the low volatility which creates the premiums creates a situation where getting it wrong is easier. Those implied price ranges get narrower and narrower and the margin of safety gets less and less.
    Aug 9, 2015. 09:19 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Federal Reserve Takes A Vacation [View article]
    I don't think anyone in their right mind would have called for a nearly 10% one day drop in DIS
    Aug 5, 2015. 03:27 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Federal Reserve Takes A Vacation [View article]
    That latter has probably always been true, but the former really does seem to be the unusual case these days. The options market is getting a number of these wrong, underestimating the event driven moves. Individual traders may be getting it right, but I think that there's lots of luck involved, much more so than is typically the case.
    Aug 5, 2015. 03:26 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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