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Jasper M's  Instablog

Jasper M
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Retired, 48, been making my own financial decision since I was 17. Every day, for the rest of my life, I will be a recovering Merrill Lynch customer. Proudest Financial Moments: Personal Best return on equity: 20/1, Leap Puts on Citi & GE, closed in late 2008 Personal best adjusted for... More
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  • Current portfolio
       For some reason, I am moved to enumerate my holdings.
       To ease digestion, I will divy them up a bit into groups.

       Bond-ish stuff:
       My biggest single position is in SHY, a fund holding Treasuries 1-3 years to maturity. No way that's going to yield flashy returns, but it Is participating gently in the general Treasury rise, And pretty much locked in 1% interest on top, so I am content with that.
        (I have been playing with Treasuries awhile, for modest gains [see my post titled "Dances with Treasuries"], but I can't stomach holding anything longer than 3 years now.)
        This position is partially hedged with 100 shares of SJB (inverse junk bond fund), and I am also short 100 shares of VKL (high-ish yield muni bond fund).
         My thinking here is that any interest rate shocks are likely to fall proportionately Much harder on the high end of the spectrum.

         Currency plays: One sided here, as I am a screaming Bull on the $US.
        400 shares of UUP (no, not perfect, but best available)/ I also have 13 Jan '12 calls on UUP @ 23.
        Also short 50 shares of FXE.

         Other foreign plays: 300 shares of PIN. India is the market where I think I have seen the closest thing to a tradeable bottom. This is a long term position; I've been in it for close to two years.

         Old bets on Financials:
         Small short position in CME, and 100 shares short on MCO. These are OOOLD positions (CME dates from '06!), that I just see no reason to close.
        Short 200 shares of PRU, well underwater. Holding some out of the money puts on BRK which will probably go out worthless.
         These last are legacy positions I just never closed. Like Reggie Middleton, I underestimated just how much damage the Fed was willing to do to the future in order to save the financial sector from the consequences of their own mistakes. But there seem to be nowhere for them now but down, so I'll hold 'em a bit longer.

       Miscellaneous bear bets:
         Short 200 shares MGM (who can afford to gamble, in luxury, no less?)
         Short 100 shares HOG (overpriced recreational item)
         Short 100 shares TWX (book keeping smells fishy, and their business model is suspect)
         Small odd lots short on APPL (cult, living on laurels) & AMZN (industry leaders need better morals), mostly just to say I am.
         Holding Jan. '12 puts in SHLD @30, for a possible splat after Thanksgiving. Probably overpaid for those. 

         The looonng view:
        I am holding Leap Puts (Jan. '13) on EBAY, GE, GS, & NFLX. Interestingly, with the exception of EBAY, most of these are within 20% of when I bought them.

        I am currently holding no speculative positions in silver, and no gold at all.
       I am currently stalking GM, and any commercial real estate firm that is building without a signed lease.

       I invite comment, ridicule, whatever.

    Jun 12 9:25 PM | Link | 2 Comments
  • Humorous digression
       Okay, this is supposed to be a place for financial blogs, but every tragedy needs a bit of comic relief now and then. So here I shall take a the lead of the inimitable WB7, and note that these days (and perhaps in all days), politics and finance are desperately intertwined, so both are fair game here.
       That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it!

       The rest of this is easy. Sometimes the material just write itself . . .

        I am not from New York, not acquainted with anyone there, so the foibles of a certain congress critter representing part of that state are not really my business. That said, if I Were from that area, if I was a constituent of that person, I would be disappointed. Yes, I can safely say, that if that Weiner represented me, I would be very disappointed in my Weiner. I would be disappointed that people saw my Weiner all mushy in public. I would be disappointed that my Weiner failed to stand up for the things that really matter.
        And I would be completely humiliated that the likes of Nancy Pelosi feel so superior to my Weiner that she would actually say she would prefer if my Weiner would withdraw.
        But I believe in the redemption of souls. If I was a New Yorker, I would hold on to the belief that my Weiner could be set back on the straight and narrow. So I would encourage those around to put a little pressure on my Weiner. Heck, I would even welcome someone giving my Weiner a good, long tongue-lashing. Preferably more than one someone. 'Cause I'm pretty sure that sort of thing would tend to straighten my Weiner out.
        Like I said, just writes itself.
       I would like to extend special thanks Rep. Weiner's family, for sending him off into the world with insufficient self control, and a tragically suitable name.

    Tags: Nancy Pelosi, WB7
    Jun 09 12:53 AM | Link | Comment!
  • What China AUGHT to do.
       Recently, we were treated to news that China is supposedly riding to the rescue of Europe, financially speaking. Again. After a moment's consideration, this appears to be the near precise opposite of what they Should be doing.
       And in using the term "should", I imply no reference to a higher moral compass. These are the Heirs of Mao – morality should not be expected to enter into their calculus. I am speaking of immediate results.

       If I were the Chinese governmnet's CIO, I would be counting the minutes until the Euro dies. For each paroxysm leading up to that debacle would drive more and more investors into the $US (Where else they gonna go – the Yen ?!) . . . allowing me to sell my US Treasury paper holdings into that demand, with minimal losses.

         So, why aren't they following such a strategy? Some fiendishly inscrutable master plan, to cause even more havoc? Unlikely. They're simply aren't smart enough to see their own interest in the matter. They're still communists, at the top, an authoritarian structure that defies reality. And they are deeply uncomfortable with the notion of the (inevitable) breakdown of centralized structures. So they rush to save the Euro, because they find the consequences of its death unimaginable and frightening, but also because is would be a manifest example of what awaits them, which they would rather not confront.

        When the ECB fails, and maims Chinese national finances in a notable manner on the way down, we will have two shows for the price of one.

    Tags: China, ECB, Euro
    May 30 6:48 PM | Link | Comment!
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  • Today I bought IBM an. '13 puts, strike 85. Under a buck!
    Jan 17, 2012
  • Yesterday, trimmed non-performers. Closed shorts on PRU, TWX, & HOG. Also sold my puts of SHLD & BRK. Ready to redeploy that capital.
    Oct 11, 2011
  • Hillbilly Stock Star: Eeeeeeeeeeew!
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