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George Acs  

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  • Confusion Reigns [View article]
    I continue to think that Cramer has served a great purpose in emboldening the individual investor to take some charge of their own future. I think he offers lessons and thought processes far more than investment advice. In fact, application of those processes may very well bring an individual investor to a different conclusion than that Cramer offers for any specific stock.

    That's not very different from the battle of the analysts that occurs with just about every stock that is followed among the big firms.
    Jan 12, 2014. 07:43 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Confusion Reigns [View article]
    Maybe Citibank, but not Citybank.

    Dick Bove, the somehow still well regarded bank analyst who bounces from firm to firm, was hot on Citigroup until it was even obvious to those clinically dead that Citi was sliding down along with the rest. He swore up and down that the dividend was safe and that so was the 450 level.

    At least he was right about the latter after the 1:10 reverse split.

    When it comes to impending bubbles or crashes, most everyone gets caught up in the emotion and keeps believing that higher is the only direction possible. There were no shortages of stocks touted as being the sure fire way toward riches and no shortage of people offering to help you get there, whether in 2000 or 2007.
    Jan 12, 2014. 07:40 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Confusion Reigns [View article]
    "There's plenty of people that want to separate you from your money."

    Hey, that's me you're talking about.

    With regard to Rich W's comment, Cramer's really has an impossible task. He has to fill 5 days of programming and has to do so with passion and excitement. He always advises due diligence, but watching the ticker beneath the screen it's clear that is sometimes not the case.

    I certainly recall his unbridled enthusiasm for SHLD, but he just as certainly wasn't alone. Stocks don't get to $160 in a vacuum. However, to criticize his recommendation at the time is also living in a vacuum. Every trade has an expiration date, some are just longer than others. While it was hot, SHLD was red hot and made lots of people lots of money. When it turned cold it lost people lots of money. And then it made lots of money, lost lots of money on and on.

    Interestingly, if you compare the historical beta back in 2007 and 2008, SHLD would have been a less risky pick than GS. Beyond that they traveled in parallel until starting to diverge in late 2012.

    I doubt Cramer intended someone to hold for 5 years or more.

    I still think it's a sham of a retailer, but that doesn't preclude trading its shares for benefit or considering a purchase of any spin-offs, such as its automotive unit
    Jan 12, 2014. 01:14 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Confusion Reigns [View article]
    The way in which the market climbed higher in 2013 could only have been based on a certainty that it could only go higher. There isn't much in the way of rational explanation to account for the lack of any kind of meaningful respite to the climb.

    In 2013, the market went higher on 10 of 12 Employment Situation Reports. That's getting close to some kind of certainty on its own, but 2014 may be a new environment and new set of factors now being considered; among them, maybe interest rates. Thus far, 2014's Employment Situation Report is 0 for 1 in predicting a daily market climb

    I wrote in one article, some time ago, recalling that at one time I was trying to decide between SHLD and GS, which were both at around the same $160 or higher price, at the time. I only had money to make one or the other purchase.

    I decided on GS, but that was a rocky ride, as well. Timing is everything and it fared no better than SHLD in the near term. In fact, based on the option premiums that could have been had, I may have been better off with the SHLD shares.
    Jan 12, 2014. 10:52 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Suffering By Comparison [View article]
    Yes, I love it. Will be looking at both BBBY and SHLD for put sale opportunities.

    I'm still holding off on the $TGT. I still think it will make up for the past month.
    Jan 9, 2014. 04:55 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Suffering By Comparison [View article]
    The only time I consider owning SHLD is during the final week of a monthly option cycle and if it has fallen in share price leading up to that final week. It is and it has. Most often I think of selling puts when considering the trade.
    Jan 9, 2014. 12:37 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Suffering By Comparison [View article]
    I've been of the opinion for a while that JCP comps were going to be good and have been impressed with the people that have taken large positions. But the reality has been that they can't get that message out, even after their last quarter's comps, which were good.

    I'm reluctant to add to an existing position as the option market is implying a weekly 10% move but isn't really offering enough on the reward side for taking the risk.

    I am though suddenly getting interested again in SHLD, although at least JCP makes a pretense of being interested in retailing, while Sears doesn't even bother. They were really skewered by Rocco Pendola of TheStreet and Brian Sozzi last week and it got SHLD's attention and response.
    Jan 9, 2014. 11:44 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Suffering By Comparison [View article]
    Today is a strange trading day, so far. The market appears to be much weaker than the numbers are indicating, with 50% greater down volume and decliners than up volume/advancers. Anything that's going higher is a hero in this tape.
    Jan 9, 2014. 11:20 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Suffering By Comparison [View article]
    Yeah, I will miss it.

    I did something unusual for me and added shares without covering, as part of my speculative portfolio. I did so this morning, not having been smart enough to do so as you had, earlier. My most recent shares were assigned a couple of weeks ago.

    The option market isn't really seeing much chance of the price going beyond $20, but Citi suggested it could get $25.

    What perked my interest was recalling that HPQ was rumored to be interested in a buyout a few years ago and I thought that the downside was only about 15% to any speculative play, with about double the upside potential
    Jan 9, 2014. 10:15 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Suffering By Comparison [View article]
    As I look at those companies that have provided the most consistent returns from premiums and dividends (when available), they represent many of those companies that are on everyone's lists to avoid.

    The thing is that both sides can be right.

    If you're a buy and hold investor, or one who seeks to make a quick gain, then you should have stayed away from the likes of CAT, DE, COH, EBAY, JPM and so many others. However, if you're trying to amass income streams and outperform the market then you're right to have invested in them over and over.
    Jan 9, 2014. 07:37 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Suffering By Comparison [View article]
    The conventional wisdom, is by and large, based on the notion that you can't adequately analyze in depth so many positions and through the filtering process find a large number that are warranted to be owned.

    While I do follow what appears to be pertinent news regarding the companies that I consider owning, I don't do in-depth analysis, by any means. Instead, after a significant period of time, you get a "gestalt" about the company and how its price tends to act at certain times and what patterns it displays.

    As a result, I think that you own a portfolio of charts, rather than a portfolio of companies with fundamentals behind them.

    It sounds as if you are doing exactly that, knowing sentinel dates and being aware of whatever periodicity there may be in their past behavior. Ultimately, that doesn't take too much time, particularly as the stocks tend to be the same ones on a recurring basis.

    You can certainly make efforts to cut the number of individual stocks down by deciding from the outset how many stocks you want to hold and in how many want to participate.

    I tend to use 8 sectors and generally try to have some over and some under-represented, at any given time. For example, I'm low on Financials right now, while over-loaded in Energy. When it's time to re-allocate funds from assignments I typically look at sectors and then within a sector look to see if a specific position warrants adding more shares. Sounds as if you are also doing that.

    I tend to keep my lots separate and sell calls on individual lots. One possible way to cut down on the activity is to combine lots and sell calls based on average share price.

    Ultimately, the way to reduce the number of positions is to not immediately re-invest money from assignments and rather let it collect, perhaps making larger initial purchases of any given stock or sector. Hopefully with a lot of positions set to expire for you in January you'll have an opportunity to narrow your holdings.
    Jan 8, 2014. 08:06 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Suffering By Comparison [View article]
    Long closets? I suppose "quality control" could also mean ensuring that quality not exceed set limits.
    Jan 6, 2014. 10:49 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Suffering By Comparison [View article]
    Thank you.

    There's no doubt that buy and hold was a very low maintenance strategy in 2013, but for those using predominantly weekly options and re-investing aggressively, especially if hunting for dividends as well, it was a pretty good year, too.

    How good depends also on stock selection and not just application of a strategy.

    Ultimately, in the event of a market that moves only higher it's hard to compare results to a covered option strategy, because you would have to determine at what point you would have closed positions and taken profits in a traditional buy and hold portfolio.

    Essentially, the only real way is to follow each dollar. That is to track say $1,000 invested on January 2 through all of the different positions that it was used throughout the year.

    I don't know of anyone who does that, though. I take some solace in simply looking at the beginning and ending portfolio values and comparing the net change to the S&P 500.

    It's simple, but works and eliminates all of the fudging and guesswork about when you might have sold and taken profits and simply focuses on results.
    Jan 5, 2014. 05:51 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Suffering By Comparison [View article]
    I don't often think it's a good idea to follow the "smart money," but I do in the case of JC Penney. There is a lot of very smart money making a big bet on its turnaround. Ullman, while maybe not flamboyant, knows retail and JC Penney will re-create the niche that was destroyed
    Jan 5, 2014. 05:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Suffering By Comparison [View article]
    The issue over ethics tends to be short lived, as @zebra114 pointed out. There is always something new coming along the way to make the investing population forget about the various issues that arise from time to time that may impugn a company.

    China is really an interesting case on its own. I do agree, in general, believing that Baidu may be one of the very few with a reasonably clean sheet. However, I've noticed a fair number of opportunities over the years, recently with NQ and TTS, when ethical and accounting issues have been highlighted by know short selling firms and analysts. Those have provided opportunities to sell puts after the initial wave of selling, without real regard to the business or the validity of the accusations. In and out and then let the cards fall where they may. Mostly, those stories fade away, too, just like all others.
    Jan 5, 2014. 02:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment