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Szelhamos Rules

Archive - Mar 6, 2012

Date

Is 2012 is the New 2011?


I've never been one to follow fads. I probably wouldn't even recognize the most outrageous of  fads even when at its full height.

The New Kids on the Block will be collecting social security before it dawns on me that they have come and gone.

I do recall occassionally having wondered why women weren't wearing lime green jump suits as much as they used to, but would never have noticed in real time that orange had become the new lime green.

Or maybe it was the other way around and lately, as it is, I haven't been seeing quite as many of those orange jumpsuits, either.

2012 is the New 2011For the most part social trends escape me from a cognitive perspective as well as from an application perspective. My inability to fathom the basic tenets that belie chart analyses are consistent with the fact that I'm "trend challenged."

But I am looking pretty sharp in my new Nehru jacket and that has to be worth something, especially in 1968 dollars.

I did notice, however, that on Monday we were poised for a triple digit loss, which would have been a first for 2012. As it would turn out, all bout 15 points of that loss were erased and 2012 just kept right on being 2012.

I had also noticed that the smartest of the smart had been calling for a return of the 2012 gains for the past 3 weeks. They did so based on the well known statistical model based on the spins of a roulette wheel, that demonstrably indicate a string of reds are highly likely to be followed by a black.

You can bet the house on that one.

But it was hard not to notice that Tuesday's open was going to be something new and harken back to something old.

2011.

That was a time, long ago, when markets would move in  large swings from one moment to the next, without readily apparent coercion.

Nostalgia is such a great thing. Even the insipid and tasteless can see wonderful in hindsight.

With the market turnaround yesterday, most reasonable people would have turned off their computer feeling quite good about the days' action and what it seemed to portend for the near future, especially since only Israel and Iran were on the "unwanted events" radar screen.

I had a reasonably sound sleep last night and noticed no unusual activity. There were no siren blasts nor unexpected bright flashes of light over the horizon. But just to make certain, I did check through my usual and reliable sources and was able to confirm that there was no over night nuclear holocaust or other worldwide natural disaster, before I went down the stairs.

The canary, however, was dead, but I didn't see the connection.

So of course, the expectation would be that today would just be another faceless day of trading. Just another in a long string of benign 2012 days.

They may have been boring days, but there is something nice when no one really gets hurt between the hours of 9:30 AM and 4 PM.

Bad enough that the market ignored that expectation as I saw the morning's futures indicating a triple digit loss, but based on the performance of my Aflac shares, down nearly triple the loss of the overall market, I would have been justified in believing some other horrible nature disaster occured in Asia.

Maybe the duck died. Maybe origami causes cancer, but I was already prepared to contribute to the relief effort.

But no, all was quiet and disaster free, even though it appeared that no one bothered giving the "all clear" to the precious metals markets.

So what happened? Why were we suddenly transported back to those wildly gyrating days back in 2011? Why were our markets hurled all the way back to levels last seen a couple of weeks ago, if our tribe elders' recounting of ancient history is to be believed?

Having listened attentively to the various experts, I'm of the belief that my own theory for the sell off has validity equal to theirs.

In fact, talk about trend and talk about correlation. Even I could see this one a mile away.

It seems pretty clear to me that every time Rush Limbaugh makes a public apology the market tumbles. What better example than today, fresh off the heels of yesterday's apology to the slut from Georgetown, who apparently wants the government to pay for her satin sheets and Alize.

His words. Not mine.

What else could it be? What else has changed so drastically in the past day to warrant a return to 2011? What were the smartest among us saying?

Worries about Greece? How is that new?

Not only is that old news, but the worry that the latest plan will meet some unpredicted obstacle has been entirely predictable throughout the lengthy process. Before you know it, the Europeans will be ready to intrerrupt yet another summer beach vacation to deal with the same Greek fiscal crisis.

Decreasing GDP growth in Brazil? Why is that a surprise? It's not as if a broken Conga Line can't be readily repaired.

Just as anectodal evidence of an improving economy in the US precedes the official numbers, last I heard, Brazil was the democracy that China isn't. Information on the streets doesn't have to be smuggled out. People are allowed to talk.

Sure, China stating yesterday that it's GDP may be as low as 7.5% came as a surprise, but that was yesterday.

One expert suggested that we needed 24 hours to digest that news and that it was only now weighing heavily on our markets.

Of course, yesterday, another expert commented that the market's late day recovery came as a result of having time to digest the Chinese GDP news and the realization that it wasn't really very bad.

That digestion excuse was later used by Limbaugh, as well. He claimed that he hadn't realized the extent and nature of his comments, particularly as they came as a spur of the moment stream of consciousness over the course of three days.

But I suppose his girth requires more time to digest three days worth of non-stop verbal assault.

Even with today's continued drop in the precious metals, my ProShares UltraShort Silver, although disproportionately too large a portion of my portfolio, was nowhere near large enough to offset everything else, most of which, unfortunately is not hedged.

Sigh.

Looking back at things, it seems that both lime green and orange were really pretty hideous seasonal choices, but there's no doubt that someday, maybe even in my lifetime, those colors will be the "new black."

But why return to 2011?

Even though it was marginally in the black and even though the buy-write strategy was a winning one for 2011, according to Barrons, 2012 has been so much kinder to the psyche.

That comes from me despite the fact that I continue to trail the overall market in 2012, after beating it nicely in 2011.

I'm happy looking forward, so there's not much reason to look back.

On the other hand, I did come in second place in a hula hoop contest at my then future mother-in-law's 60th birthday party, taking full advantage of that bit of nostalgia to garner some needed brownie points.

Had it not gotten entangled in that Nehru jacket, I may have placed first.

Somehow, it still all worked out.

So whatever becomes of today and whatever pattern may be created beginning today, I'll remain oblivious, as long as the sirens stay silent and the glow stays low.

There's always tomorrow or 2013. Whichever comes first.

 



 

 

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