I'm trading for 11 months with pretty good success. I never traded metals and forex before, just stocks. Today when gold started to consolidate at the last hour, I decided to scalp short it with a large amount, so I opened 100 lots. I haven't realised, in forex 100 (lots) doesn't mean "100 pcs", because I used to stocks and I went full retard without knowledge. Seconds later, I realised it means 10 million dollars (1 lot = 100.000, and I had 500x leverage). It moved up a bit and immediately I was down £4000. I scared as fuck and rather than closing the position quickly I hoped maybe I could close break even. The market closed, and I waited for the Asian session. The gold popped like never before, and I lost all my life savings (£55000) in less than two hours. (including the 1-hour break between sessions). If I count that I lost all my earnings as well, I lost around £85000. Here is the margin call https://imgur.com/a/XY5m4ZA https://imgur.com/a/VSgmCSs https://imgur.com/pRWl5g9 IC Markets closed my position partially in every 1-2 minutes until I shut it myself at £35. You know the rest of the story. I'm depressed, crying and shouting with myself. Yes, I know I was stupid, thanks. I just wanted to share this with you. Edit: WOW THANK YOU, GUYS! I haven't expected this, but you help me. Many of you asked the same questions, I answer it here: - I live in Europe, and we usually trade CFD's, not futures. - Currency in GBP. - As you can see, this account made on IC Markets. They not just allowing you a 500x leverage, it's the default. - You can ask me why I went against the market. Because gold is way oversold? Because I expected institutions would sell their shares before gold is hitting £2000, leaving retails hanging there. Also, as I said, I wanted to scalp, not riding the gold all the way down. If I had a loss of £100, I would close the position immediately. But when I saw the £4000, my heart is stopped, and my brain just freezes. - I went for a revenge trade with my last £2k, and I don't have to say what happened. I uninstalled the app, and I give up trading for a while. - Again, in the past months, I was cautious, I lost a significant sum in March, but I managed to recover. Made consistent gains, always with SL. This is just an example of how easy is to fuck up everything you did. - I didn't come here for some shiny digital medals. I can't tell about my losses to anyone who I know in real life. I would make a fool of myself. - Anyone who attacking me that it is a scam. Well, think what you want. I feel terrible and the last thing is to answer all the messages saying "You fucking karma whore". I don't give a shit about karma.
The dollar standard and how the Fed itself created the perfect setup for a stock market crash
Disclaimer: This is neither financial nor trading advice and everyone should trade based on their own risk tolerance. Please leverage yourself accordingly. When you're done, ask yourself: "Am I jacked to the tits?". If the answer is "yes", you're good to go. We're probably experiencing the wildest markets in our lifetime. After doing some research and listening to opinions by several people, I wanted to share my own view on what happened in the market and what could happen in the future. There's no guarantee that the future plays out as I describe it or otherwise I'd become very rich. If you just want tickers and strikes...I don't know if this is going to help you. But anyways, scroll way down to the end. My current position is TLT 171c 8/21, opened on Friday 7/31 when TLT was at 170.50. This is a post trying to describe what it means that we've entered the "dollar standard" decades ago after leaving the gold standard. Furthermore I'll try to explain how the "dollar standard" is the biggest reason behind the 2008 and 2020 financial crisis, stock market crashes and how the Coronavirus pandemic was probably the best catalyst for the global dollar system to blow up.
Tackling the Dollar problem
Throughout the month of July we've seen the "death of the Dollar". At least that's what WSB thinks. It's easy to think that especially since it gets reiterated in most media outlets. I will take the contrarian view. This is a short-term "downturn" in the Dollar and very soon the Dollar will rise a lot against the Euro - supported by the Federal Reserve itself.US dollar Index (DXY)If you zoom out to the 3Y chart you'll see what everyone is being hysterical about. The dollar is dying! It was that low in 2018! This is the end! The Fed has done too much money printing! Zimbabwe and Weimar are coming to the US. There is more to it though. The DXY is dominated by two currency rates and the most important one by far is EURUSD.EURUSD makes up 57.6% of the DXY And we've seen EURUSD rise from 1.14 to 1.18 since July 21st, 2020. Why that date? On that date the European Commission (basically the "government" of the EU) announced that there was an agreement for the historical rescue package for the EU. That showed the markets that the EU seems to be strong and resilient, it seemed to be united (we're not really united, trust me as an European) and therefore there are more chances in the EU, the Euro and more chances taking risks in the EU.Meanwhile the US continued to struggle with the Coronavirus and some states like California went back to restricting public life. The US economy looked weaker and therefore the Euro rose a lot against the USD. From a technical point of view the DXY failed to break the 97.5 resistance in June three times - DXY bulls became exhausted and sellers gained control resulting in a pretty big selloff in the DXY.
Why the DXY is pretty useless
Considering that EURUSD is the dominant force in the DXY I have to say it's pretty useless as a measurement of the US dollar. Why? Well, the economy is a global economy. Global trade is not dominated by trade between the EU and the USA. There are a lot of big exporting nations besides Germany, many of them in Asia. We know about China, Japan, South Korea etc. Depending on the business sector there are a lot of big exporters in so-called "emerging markets". For example, Brazil and India are two of the biggest exporters of beef. Now, what does that mean? It means that we need to look at the US dollar from a broader perspective. Thankfully, the Fed itself provides a more accurate Dollar index. It's called the "Trade Weighted U.S. Dollar Index: Broad, Goods and Services". When you look at that index you will see that it didn't really collapse like the DXY. In fact, it still is as high as it was on March 10, 2020! You know, only two weeks before the stock market bottomed out. How can that be explained?
Global trade, emerging markets and global dollar shortage
Emerging markets are found in countries which have been shifting away from their traditional way of living towards being an industrial nation. Of course, Americans and most of the Europeans don't know how life was 300 years ago.China already completed that transition. Countries like Brazil and India are on its way. The MSCI Emerging Market Index lists 26 countries. Even South Korea is included. However there is a big problem for Emerging Markets: the Coronavirus and US Imports.The good thing about import and export data is that you can't fake it. Those numbers speak the truth. You can see that imports into the US haven't recovered to pre-Corona levels yet. It will be interesting to see the July data coming out on August 5th.Also you can look at exports from Emerging Market economies. Let's take South Korean exports YoY. You can see that South Korean exports are still heavily depressed compared to a year ago. Global trade hasn't really recovered.For July the data still has to be updated that's why you see a "0.0%" change right now.Less US imports mean less US dollars going into foreign countries including Emerging Markets.Those currency pairs are pretty unimpressed by the rising Euro. Let's look at a few examples. Use the 1Y chart to see what I mean. Indian Rupee to USDBrazilian Real to USDSouth Korean Won to USD What do you see if you look at the 1Y chart of those currency pairs? There's no recovery to pre-COVID levels. And this is pretty bad for the global financial system. Why? According to the Bank of International Settlements there is $12.6 trillion of dollar-denominated debt outside of the United States. Now the Coronavirus comes into play where economies around the world are struggling to go back to their previous levels while the currencies of Emerging Markets continue to be WEAK against the US dollar. This is very bad. We've already seen the IMF receiving requests for emergency loans from 80 countries on March 23th. What are we going to see? We know Argentina has defaulted on their debt more than once and make jokes about it. But what happens if we see 5 Argentinas? 10? 20? Even 80? Add to that that global travel is still depressed, especially for US citizens going anywhere. US citizens traveling to other countries is also a situation in which the precious US dollars would enter Emerging Market economies. But it's not happening right now and it won't happen unless we actually get a miracle treatment or the virus simply disappears. This is where the treasury market comes into play. But before that, let's quickly look at what QE (rising Fed balance sheet) does to the USD. Take a look at the Trade-Weighted US dollar Index. Look at it at max timeframe - you'll see what happened in 2008. The dollar went up (shocker).Now let's look at the Fed balance sheet at max timeframe. You will see: as soon as the Fed starts the QE engine, the USD goes UP, not down! September 2008 (Fed first buys MBS), March 2009, March 2020. Is it just a coincidence? No, as I'll explain below. They're correlated and probably even in causation.Oh and in all of those scenarios the stock market crashed...compared to February 2020, the Fed balance sheet grew by ONE TRILLION until March 25th, but the stock market had just finished crashing...can you please prove to me that QE makes stock prices go up? I think I've just proven the opposite correlation.
Bonds, bills, Gold and "inflation"
People laugh at bond bulls or at people buying bonds due to the dropping yields. "Haha you're stupid you're buying an asset which matures in 10 years and yields 5.3% STONKS go up way more!".Let me stop you right there. Why do you buy stocks? Will you hold those stocks until you die so that you regain your initial investment through dividends? No. You buy them because you expect them to go up based on fundamental analysis, news like earnings or other things. Then you sell them when you see your price target reached. The assets appreciated.Why do you buy options? You don't want to hold them until expiration unless they're -90% (what happens most of the time in WSB). You wait until the underlying asset does what you expect it does and then you sell the options to collect the premium. Again, the assets appreciated. It's the exact same thing with treasury securities. The people who've been buying bonds for the past years or even decades didn't want to wait until they mature. Those people want to sell the bonds as they appreciate. Bond prices have an inverse relationship with their yields which is logical when you think about it. Someone who desperately wants and needs the bonds for various reasons will accept to pay a higher price (supply and demand, ya know) and therefore accept a lower yield. By the way, both JP Morgan and Goldmans Sachs posted an unexpected profit this quarter, why? They made a killing trading bonds. US treasury securities are the most liquid asset in the world and they're also the safest asset you can hold. After all, if the US default on their debt you know that the world is doomed. So if US treasuries become worthless anything else has already become worthless. Now why is there so much demand for the safest and most liquid asset in the world? That demand isn't new but it's caused by the situation the global economy is in. Trade and travel are down and probably won't recover anytime soon, emerging markets are struggling both with the virus and their dollar-denominated debt and central banks around the world struggle to find solutions for the problems in the financial markets. How do we now that the markets aren't trusting central banks? Well, bonds tell us that and actually Gold tells us the same! TLT chartGold spot price chart TLT is an ETF which reflects the price of US treasuries with 20 or more years left until maturity. Basically the inverse of the 30 year treasury yield. As you can see from the 5Y chart bonds haven't been doing much from 2016 to mid-2019. Then the repo crisis of September 2019took place and TLT actually rallied in August 2019 before the repo crisis finally occurred!So the bond market signaled that something is wrong in the financial markets and that "something" manifested itself in the repo crisis. After the repo market crisis ended (the Fed didn't really do much to help it, before you ask), bonds again were quiet for three months and started rallying in January (!) while most of the world was sitting on their asses and downplaying the Coronavirus threat. But wait, how does Gold come into play? The Gold chart basically follows the same pattern as the TLT chart. Doing basically nothing from 2016 to mid-2019. From June until August Gold rose a staggering 200 dollars and then again stayed flat until December 2019. After that, Gold had another rally until March when it finally collapsed. Many people think rising Gold prices are a sign of inflation. But where is the inflation? We saw PCE price indices on Friday July 31st and they're at roughly 1%. We've seen CPIs from European countries and the EU itself. France and the EU (July 31st) as a whole had a very slight uptick in CPI while Germany (July 30th), Italy (July 31st) and Spain (July 30th) saw deflationary prints.There is no inflation, nowhere in the world. I'm sorry to burst that bubble. Yet, Gold prices still go up even when the Dollar rallies through the DXY (sadly I have to measure it that way now since the trade-weighted index isn't updated daily) and we know that there is no inflation from a monetary perspective. In fact, Fed chairman JPow, apparently the final boss for all bears, said on Wednesday July 29th that the Coronavirus pandemic is a deflationarydisinflationary event. Someone correct me there, thank you. But deflationary forces are still in place even if JPow wouldn't admit it. To conclude this rather long section: Both bonds and Gold are indicators for an upcoming financial crisis. Bond prices should fall and yields should go up to signal an economic recovery. But the opposite is happening. in that regard heavily rising Gold prices are a very bad signal for the future. Both bonds and Gold are screaming: "The central banks haven't solved the problems". By the way, Gold is also a very liquid asset if you want quick cash, that's why we saw it sell off in March because people needed dollars thanks to repo problems and margin calls.When the deflationary shock happens and another liquidity event occurs there will be another big price drop in precious metals and that's the dip which you could use to load up on metals by the way.
Dismantling the money printer
But the Fed! The M2 money stock is SHOOTING THROUGH THE ROOF! The printers are real!By the way, velocity of M2 was updated on July 30th and saw another sharp decline. If you take a closer look at the M2 stock you see three parts absolutely skyrocketing: savings, demand deposits and institutional money funds. Inflationary? No. So, the printers aren't real. I'm sorry.Quantitative easing (QE) is the biggest part of the Fed's operations to help the economy get back on its feet. What is QE?Upon doing QE the Fed "purchases" treasury and mortgage-backed securities from the commercial banks. The Fed forces the commercial banks to hand over those securities and in return the commercial banks reserve additional bank reserves at an account in the Federal Reserve. This may sound very confusing to everyone so let's make it simple by an analogy.I want to borrow a camera from you, I need it for my road trip. You agree but only if I give you some kind of security - for example 100 bucks as collateral.You keep the 100 bucks safe in your house and wait for me to return safely. You just wait and wait. You can't do anything else in this situation. Maybe my road trip takes a year. Maybe I come back earlier. But as long as I have your camera, the 100 bucks need to stay with you. In this analogy, I am the Fed. You = commercial banks. Camera = treasuries/MBS. 100 bucks = additional bank reserves held at the Fed.
Revisiting 2008 briefly: the true money printers
The true money printers are the commercial banks, not the central banks. The commercial banks give out loans and demand interest payments. Through those interest payments they create money out of thin air! At the end they'll have more money than before giving out the loan. That additional money can be used to give out more loans, buy more treasury/MBS Securities or gain more money through investing and trading. Before the global financial crisis commercial banks were really loose with their policy. You know, the whole "Big Short" story, housing bubble, NINJA loans and so on. The reckless handling of money by the commercial banks led to actual money printing and inflation, until the music suddenly stopped. Bear Stearns went tits up. Lehman went tits up. The banks learned from those years and completely changed, forever. They became very strict with their lending resulting in the Fed and the ECB not being able to raise their rates. By keeping the Fed funds rate low the Federal Reserve wants to encourage commercial banks to give out loans to stimulate the economy. But commercial banks are not playing along. They even accept negative rates in Europe rather than taking risks in the actual economy. The GFC of 2008 completely changed the financial landscape and the central banks have struggled to understand that. The system wasn't working anymore because the main players (the commercial banks) stopped playing with each other. That's also the reason why we see repeated problems in the repo market.
How QE actually decreases liquidity before it's effective
The funny thing about QE is that it achieves the complete opposite of what it's supposed to achieve before actually leading to an economic recovery. What does that mean? Let's go back to my analogy with the camera. Before I take away your camera, you can do several things with it. If you need cash, you can sell it or go to a pawn shop. You can even lend your camera to someone for a daily fee and collect money through that.But then I come along and just take away your camera for a road trip for 100 bucks in collateral. What can you do with those 100 bucks? Basically nothing. You can't buy something else with those. You can't lend the money to someone else. It's basically dead capital. You can just look at it and wait until I come back. And this is what is happening with QE. Commercial banks buy treasuries and MBS due to many reasons, of course they're legally obliged to hold some treasuries, but they also need them to make business.When a commercial bank has a treasury security, they can do the following things with it:- Sell it to get cash- Give out loans against the treasury security- Lend the security to a short seller who wants to short bonds Now the commercial banks received a cash reserve account at the Fed in exchange for their treasury security. What can they do with that?- Give out loans against the reserve account That's it. The bank had to give away a very liquid and flexible asset and received an illiquid asset for it. Well done, Fed. The goal of the Fed is to encourage lending and borrowing through suppressing yields via QE. But it's not happening and we can see that in the H.8 data (assets and liabilities of the commercial banks).There is no recovery to be seen in the credit sector while the commercial banks continue to collect treasury securities and MBS. On one hand, they need to sell a portion of them to the Fed on the other hand they profit off those securities by trading them - remember JPM's earnings. So we see that while the Fed is actually decreasing liquidity in the markets by collecting all the treasuries it has collected in the past, interest rates are still too high. People are scared, and commercial banks don't want to give out loans. This means that as the economic recovery is stalling (another whopping 1.4M jobless claims on Thursday July 30th) the Fed needs to suppress interest rates even more. That means: more QE. that means: the liquidity dries up even more, thanks to the Fed. We heard JPow saying on Wednesday that the Fed will keep their minimum of 120 billion QE per month, but, and this is important, they can increase that amount anytime they see an emergency.And that's exactly what he will do. He will ramp up the QE machine again, removing more bond supply from the market and therefore decreasing the liquidity in financial markets even more. That's his Hail Mary play to force Americans back to taking on debt again.All of that while the government is taking on record debt due to "stimulus" (which is apparently only going to Apple, Amazon and Robinhood). Who pays for the government debt? The taxpayers. The wealthy people. The people who create jobs and opportunities. But in the future they have to pay more taxes to pay down the government debt (or at least pay for the interest). This means that they can't create opportunities right now due to the government going insane with their debt - and of course, there's still the Coronavirus.
"Without the Fed, yields would skyrocket"
This is wrong. The Fed has been keeping their basic level QE of 120 billion per month for months now. But ignoring the fake breakout in the beginning of June (thanks to reopening hopes), yields have been on a steady decline. Let's take a look at the Fed's balance sheet. The Fed has thankfully stayed away from purchasing more treasury bills (short term treasury securities). Bills are important for the repo market as collateral. They're the best collateral you can have and the Fed has already done enough damage by buying those treasury bills in March, destroying even more liquidity than usual. More interesting is the point "notes and bonds, nominal". The Fed added 13.691 billion worth of US treasury notes and bonds to their balance sheet. Luckily for us, the US Department of Treasury releases the results of treasury auctions when they occur. On July 28th there was an auction for the 7 year treasury note. You can find the results under "Note -> Term: 7-year -> Auction Date 07/28/2020 -> Competitive Results PDF". Or here's a link. What do we see? Indirect bidders, which are foreigners by the way, took 28 billion out of the total 44 billion. That's roughly 64% of the entire auction. Primary dealers are the ones which sell the securities to the commercial banks. Direct bidders are domestic buyers of treasuries. The conclusion is: There's insane demand for US treasury notes and bonds by foreigners. Those US treasuries are basically equivalent to US dollars. Now dollar bears should ask themselves this question: If the dollar is close to a collapse and the world wants to get rid fo the US dollar, why do foreigners (i.e. foreign central banks) continue to take 60-70% of every bond auction? They do it because they desperately need dollars and hope to drive prices up, supported by the Federal Reserve itself, in an attempt to have the dollar reserves when the next liquidity event occurs. So foreigners are buying way more treasuries than the Fed does. Final conclusion: the bond market has adjusted to the Fed being a player long time ago. It isn't the first time the Fed has messed around in the bond market.
How market participants are positioned
We know that commercial banks made good money trading bonds and stocks in the past quarter. Besides big tech the stock market is being stagnant, plain and simple. All the stimulus, stimulus#2, vaccinetalksgoingwell.exe, public appearances by Trump, Powell and their friends, the "money printing" (which isn't money printing) by the Fed couldn't push SPY back to ATH which is 339.08 btw. Who can we look at? Several people but let's take Bill Ackman. The one who made a killing with Credit Default Swaps in March and then went LONG (he said it live on TV). Well, there's an update about him:Bill Ackman saying he's effectively 100% longHe says that around the 2 minute mark. Of course, we shouldn't just believe what he says. After all he is a hedge fund manager and wants to make money. But we have to assume that he's long at a significant percentage - it doesn't even make sense to get rid of positions like Hilton when they haven't even recovered yet. Then again, there are sources to get a peek into the positions of hedge funds, let's take Hedgopia.We see: Hedge funds are starting to go long on the 10 year bond. They are very short the 30 year bond. They are very long the Euro, very short on VIX futures and short on the Dollar.
This is the perfect setup for a market meltdown. If hedge funds are really positioned like Ackman and Hedgopia describes, the situation could unwind after a liquidity event:The Fed increases QE to bring down the 30 year yield because the economy isn't recovering yet. We've already seen the correlation of QE and USD and QE and bond prices.That causes a giant short squeeze of hedge funds who are very short the 30 year bond. They need to cover their short positions. But Ackman said they're basically 100% long the stock market and nothing else. So what do they do? They need to sell stocks. Quickly. And what happens when there is a rapid sell-off in stocks? People start to hedge via put options. The VIX rises. But wait, hedge funds are short VIX futures, long Euro and short DXY. To cover their short positions on VIX futures, they need to go long there. VIX continues to go up and the prices of options go suborbital (as far as I can see).Also they need to get rid of Euro futures and cover their short DXY positions. That causes the USD to go up even more. And the Fed will sit there and do their things again: more QE, infinity QE^2, dollar swap lines, repo operations, TARP and whatever. The Fed will be helpless against the forces of the market and have to watch the stock market burn down and they won't even realize that they created the circumstances for it to happen - by their programs to "help the economy" and their talking on TV. Do you remember JPow on 60minutes talking about how they flooded the world with dollars and print it digitally? He wanted us poor people to believe that the Fed is causing hyperinflation and we should take on debt and invest into the stock market. After all, the Fed has it covered. But the Fed hasn't got it covered. And Powell knows it. That's why he's being a bear in the FOMC statements. He knows what's going on. But he can't do anything about it except what's apparently proven to be correct - QE, QE and more QE.
A final note about "stock market is not the economy"
It's true. The stock market doesn't reflect the current state of the economy. The current economy is in complete shambles. But a wise man told me that the stock market is the reflection of the first and second derivatives of the economy. That means: velocity and acceleration of the economy. In retrospect this makes sense. The economy was basically halted all around the world in March. Of course it's easy to have an insane acceleration of the economy when the economy is at 0 and the stock market reflected that. The peak of that accelerating economy ("max velocity" if you want to look at it like that) was in the beginning of June. All countries were reopening, vaccine hopes, JPow injecting confidence into the markets. Since then, SPY is stagnant, IWM/RUT, which is probably the most accurate reflection of the actual economy, has slightly gone down and people have bid up tech stocks in absolute panic mode. Even JPow admitted it. The economic recovery has slowed down and if we look at economic data, the recovery has already stopped completely. The economy is rolling over as we can see in the continued high initial unemployment claims. Another fact to factor into the stock market.
TLDR and positions or ban?
TLDR: global economy bad and dollar shortage. economy not recovering, JPow back to doing QE Infinity. QE Infinity will cause the final squeeze in both the bond and stock market and will force the unwinding of the whole system. Positions: idk. I'll throw in TLT 190c 12/18, SPY 220p 12/18, UUP 26c 12/18.That UUP call had 12.5k volume on Friday 7/31 btw.
Edit about positions and hedge funds
My current positions. You can laugh at my ZEN calls I completely failed with those.I personally will be entering one of the positions mentioned in the end - or similar ones. My personal opinion is that the SPY puts are the weakest try because you have to pay a lot of premium. Also I forgot talking about why hedge funds are shorting the 30 year bond. Someone asked me in the comments and here's my reply: "If you look at treasury yields and stock prices they're pretty much positively correlated. Yields go up, then stocks go up. Yields go down (like in March), then stocks go down. What hedge funds are doing is extremely risky but then again, "hedge funds" is just a name and the hedgies are known for doing extremely risky stuff. They're shorting the 30 year bond because they needs 30y yields to go UP to validate their long positions in the equity market. 30y yields going up means that people are welcoming risk again, taking on debt, spending in the economy. Milton Friedman labeled this the "interest rate fallacy". People usually think that low interest rates mean "easy money" but it's the opposite. Low interest rates mean that money is really tight and hard to get. Rising interest rates on the other hand signal an economic recovery, an increase in economic activity. So hedge funds try to fight the Fed - the Fed is buying the 30 year bonds! - to try to validate their stock market positions. They also short VIX futures to do the same thing. Equity bulls don't want to see VIX higher than 15. They're also short the dollar because it would also validate their position: if the economic recovery happens and the global US dollar cycle gets restored then it will be easy to get dollars and the USD will continue to go down. Then again, they're also fighting against the Fed in this situation because QE and the USD are correlated in my opinion. Another Redditor told me that people who shorted Japanese government bonds completely blew up because the Japanese central bank bought the bonds and the "widow maker trade" was born:https://www.investopedia.com/terms/w/widow-maker.asp"
Since I've mentioned him a lot in the comments, I recommend you check out Steven van Metre's YouTube channel. Especially the bottom passages of my post are based on the knowledge I received from watching his videos. Even if didn't agree with him on the fundamental issues (there are some things like Gold which I view differently than him) I took it as an inspiration to dig deeper. I think he's a great person and even if you're bullish on stocks you can learn something from Steven!
Would you like to entertain yourself with a story about one of the greatest schemes in the history and, maybe, learn a few plays? This story is about three brave autistic brothers, who almost cornered the entire commodity and how one (not so brave, but shrewd) bank did it without anyone noticing. As in any good fable – there’s a moral and a strategy that you could draw from it. The year is 1971. Nixon temporarily abolishes gold standard. And every temporary government program is never reversed, as you know. Trading price of gold went sky high: from 270s to 800s in two years or so. Enter Hunt brothers, sons of H. L. Hunt, oil tycoon, one of, if not the, richest man in the world at that time. Hunt family was, what one might describe as, right-wing libertarian and anti-globalist. They believed that Keynesian economics and the US shift to the left in the 60s will lead to the debasement of the US dollar and monetary collapse. Thus, return to the gold or silver standard was the way, as they thought. Allegedly, Hunts also had a feud with Rothschild family and other financial speculators, and were resentful towards the US government for doing nothing to protect their oil assets in Libya, confiscated by Gaddafi. So they started their move against America, alpha-silver bug style. In 1973 Hunts began buying all the silver they could. And, instead of just speculating futures contracts, they actually took delivery. Initial price was $1.5/oz. Silver was shipped to Switzerland in secretive and costly operations and stored in vaults (brothers feared confiscations – remember, private citizens were still prohibited from owning gold in the US). The following events are quite vivid and include the efforts to create a cartel similar to OPEC, talks with Iran and Saudi monarchs, pump and dump publicity and large scale purchases of miners. But we will spare the details, except one: Hunts even tried to corner the soy market at the same time. Reminds you how WSB slv gang quickly switched to corn gang. But the soy scheme didn't fly and they focused on silver only. Their efforts pumped the price to almost $50/oz by early 1980. At some point Hunts controlled around 230 million oz of silver and the majority of what was traded. Hunt brothers laughing at your pump&dump effort Of course, when you are such a smart ass, you become a target. Chicago exchange officials became very concerned citizens by 1979. They started issuing numerous regulations limiting the amount of market share one can accumulate in one hands. As all American concerned citizens, they had financial incentive to do so: Hunts managed to prove that Chicago exchange board members had short positions against silver. Finally, CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) issued a ruling that basically forced Hunts to liquidate part of their portfolio by February 1980. This sent silver prices down dramatically and brothers started to get margin calls which they could not cover. And so their story ended with bankruptcies and heavy fines for the family. Shortly after, Reagan and Volcker raised interest rates and silver price never recovered to $50/oz ever since. We skip to the year 2008. Global financial crisis is in full swing. Bear Stearns is royally fucked, as due to all bears. Before the music was over, they mastered paper speculation of futures contracts like no one else. Bear Stearns accumulated world biggest naked short position on silver. What could go wrong? Stonks go up, silver goes down. Until it reversed and silver skyrocketed from $11 to $21. This became one of the margin calls to screw Bear Stearns. JP Morgan is asked by the FED and co. to buy out BS and to save the entire market. Since BS's shorts are now deeply down - JPM gets the whole bank with pennies on a dollar. But the problem is that JPM themselves have massive naked short position on silver. Combined with BS it will exceed anything permitted by the CFTC. Since Obama administration was in a rush, they push CFTC to grant JPM basically a carte blanche to accumulate any position over the limit for a period of time. Period of time comes due and turns out that JPM not only didn’t trim the shorts significantly – they even bought more shorts at some point. Even with all the fines, it went very much their way, because in 2009 silver dropped. So they pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars. But come 2011 and silver spiked again, dramatically. JPM, now bleeding cash on shorts, could close short positions, like any of us would do, right? Nope, fuckyall says JPM and starts hedging short futures positions with… physical silver. 'But wouldn’t that be even more control over the commodity?' - you might ask. See, nothing in the rules of CFTC says you can’t do that, because to help cronies speculate with paper futures contracts, made of thin air, CFTC basically started treating physical silver and futures as two different instruments (it’s, actually, even more complicated than that: google difference between physical, eligible, registered and so on). In the next 9 years JPM becomes the world biggest holder of both short contracts and physical silver. The later they 'loaned' to SLV trust, of which they are custodian. This way upkeep of physical silver, which otherwise would be a liability for hedging, becomes an asset, because we, retards, who own SLV pay the maintenance. People are often confused here, because SLV is issued by Black Rock, not JPM. Well, there is a difference between being an operator of a financial instrument and being a custodian providing backing. Now, to confuse you even more – JPM is one of the major holders of Black Rock itself with 1.6% or sth like that. By estimates of Theodore Butler, JPM acquired 900 million oz of physical silver since 2011. That’s 4 times more than what Hunts owned. Just shows you, that banks can get a pass with something that even the richest individuals can not. And you have to give it to JPM - their play was very clever. Instead of risking it all on a margin call, they make money on every turn. As of 2020, JPM still holds both shitton of physical silver and short COMEX contracts. You can call this the most epic straddle of all time. With such mass they can swing prices in any directions and profit from this on any given day. Latest example you’ve seen on the August 11th. Why am I bothering your poor gambling soul with this wall of text, you might ask? Market makers manipulate the market as they please, what’s new about that? Well, here we come to the conclusions and a strategy. How can a small retard replicate what the big boys are doing? Conclusions:
There will not be a linear up or down with silver and the swings might be dramatic. The reason being not only the sentiment of investors, but the ease of manipulation that is eligible to big players.
If we believe that speculation will throw the price of silver in all directions – it is unwise to go only long or short on silver, especially on a short term;
What shall we do? a) Only long expiration dates and calls; no weekly expiration, not even monthly. Ideally – at least half year options; b) Go long on certain silver stocks. Maybe I’ll do a write up on good silver stocks to buy; c) Sell covered calls on long positions; d) Buy 1-3 month puts on your long positions as a hedge; Now, day trade with those positions: on red days sell your puts and buy back covered calls. On green days – reload puts and sell calls. Repeat until lambo. P. S.: I gathered these facts from the open sources, since these events were of interest to me. Some facts are intentionally oversimplified, google for more details, there are good reads. And feel free to correct me if you know contradictory facts. P. P. S.: JPM, plz don’t whack me.
I spent the last 6 weeks playing all 13 main series Pokémon games. Here's my experiences
Some of you may remember me. Most of you probably don't. I made a post about it six weeks ago, which you can find here, about how I was gonna play 13 of the main series Pokémon games within six weeks, which I did. I was gonna make weekly updates, but they got automatically removed for some reason, so that's fun So what I'm gonna do now is the biggest part of this whole 'project.' I'm gonna summarize exactly 306 hours and 35 minutes of gameplay within one reddit post. And if you're wondering how I know the exact times, I made a Google Sheet to document my journey, which you can see here, if you want all the boring numbers. If you don't want my summary of every single game, just scroll down to the bottom, where I'll share my thoughts about the whole ordeal. So let's get started on this, shall we?
Honestly, I enjoyed Blue a lot more than I thought I would, even though the flaws of Gen 1 were hard to ignore. And may I say, thank god for LP compilers and podcasts, because 95% of the time I was playing Blue and Crystal, I was listening to something else. There's only so much beep-boop music one man can take. Overall, it was a great start to this journey. Some miscellaneous notes I took while playing:
Wrap is terrible and can go die in a fire
Damn some of the old sprites were terrible
I used a Snorlax in the latter part of the game, which I nicknamed Monokuma. But I should've named it Critikuma, because he was ALWAYS hit by critical hits. I know that crits are more common in Gen 1, but I cannot stress enough how frequent he was slammed down to half health immediately. It was so bad I just boxed him partway through the Elite Four
I captured all 4 legendaries in this game within the span of a few hours. After that, I considered the game 'completed.' (more details on what I consider 'completed' later)
The team I used: Venusaur, Golem, Alakazam, Ninetales, Vaporeon, Snorlax
Crystal was where the... difficulties of this challenge started coming up. I actually started Crystal on July 6th, just after capturing Mewtwo, and I played up to beating Bugsy. Unfortunately, I stayed up way too late, and woke up with a massive headache. So I spent most of the next day unwinding and mentally preparing myself for what's coming up. The rest of the game wasn't too difficult... until the 10th. I wanted to stay on a '1 game per 3 days' schedule, and this was the last day for Crystal, and I was just started on the Pokemon League. I was a little underleveled, so I spent the first half of my day repeatedly grinding up farther and farther up until I beat Lance on my 5th or 6th attempt. So I had to speed through all the Kanto section to stay on track. Which I did, to my amazement. I beat all the Kanto gyms super fast, and managed to get to Red... and immediately got slamjammed by his Pikachu So this lead me to a question: 'when can I stop playing a game?' So I made this rule: Once I've beaten the Champion and the credits roll, I'm free to move on to the next game as I please. This is the hard rule I'm gonna adhere to. I don't want this to become stressful or a job, so I'm making this rule for my own sanity That all out of the way, here's a few notes I took while playing:
I think this game made me appreciate color again. You don't realize how much you miss color until you spend 3 days only looking at a monochrome screen
I find it so strange that Jasmine's Steelix is the same level as the boss of the radio tower, but you have to beat Jasmine in order for Team Rocket to attack
One of my team members was a Slowpoke/Slowking that was so ugly, anything with Self-Destruct or Explosion immediately went off. Fortunately my Gengar usually stepped in to block in, but goddamn it was uncanny how often it happened
Using Forretress before the invention of Gyro Ball was a mistake. He was always the least useful of my team, and I straight-up boxed him during the Elite Four and Kanto
The team I used: Typhlosion, Gengar, Slowking, Forretress (aka the mistake), Umbreon, Dragonair
If I had to create a line graph detailing my enjoyment of Emerald, it would be a line steadily going up... until Flannery, then just a slow painful crawl down to the end. I can't place an exact reason why, but this was the only game I played that I've actively disliked playing through. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say it's because the RNG of Pokemon finally broke me. If there's one lesson I took out of this, it's that you can NEVER chance it on Sleep/Paralysis/Confusion not working. If you wanna work past them, you just heal. And if you inflict it on an enemy, it just won't work. I know it sounds like I'm exaggerating for comedic effect, but this was way too true for me. And the critical hits in this game were maybe the worst yet, even more so than gen 1, although I realize that might've just been me I ended up using Rayquaza to speed through the Elite Four, because I was just genuinely exhausted of this game, and I did not want to try grinding through it. I'm gonna try to avoid using legendaries, but if I have to, I'm not gonna feel sorry about it That being said, here's some various extra notes:
Whoever decided that Flannery's Torkoal should be level 29 when everything else is 26 or less should be shot. Similarly, fuck Liza and Tate. I have no clue why these kids are the smartest goddamn trainers this side of Orre. Seriously, I spent 30 minutes of my precious time grinding up, and I was still 5 levels lower, and barely survived with my Skarmory. Fuck. Them.
On the other hand, I need to shout out my Skarmory, who was the absolute GOAT of my team. Seriously, I cannot overstate how great she was. I always liked Skarmory, but she has easily been one of my favorite team members so far.
Actually, my entire team was solid this time, although Skarmory ended up outshining them. Even Torkoal was a solid team member (a lot better than the Forretress, anyways)
I debated using Shedinja and Armaldo, but I dropped them. I evolved a Shedinja, but after the first few battles with her ended up unsuccessful, I boxed her for my own sanity. I also revived Anorith, but I boxed him after learning that he evolved at level 40. F in chat for Ninjask/Shedinja and Anorith.
The team I used: Swampert, Gardevoir, Breloom, Torkoal, Skarmory, Rayquaza
This game was a lot easier to play through than Emerald, fortunately, although I don't have a lot more to say. It was pretty fun, but my Blue playthrough might've been more enjoyable due to my choices in team members. I decided against capturing all the legendaries this time around, with one exception. I captured Articuno to replace my Fearow for the Pokemon League, since they were long outclassed by this point, and I couldn't cheese my way through Lance with poison-types this time. Still, my Fearow did better than the useless Forretress, so I still appreciate them. Overall, it felt like my Blue playthrough, except slightly worse. But it was still better than Emerald, so I won't complain That's pretty much all I have to say, so time for some extra points:
I have no clue why they made the L and R buttons bring up a tutorial menu. Maybe it's because I already know all of this, but it feels absolutely unnecessary
I am 90% sure that Magnitude can only be 7-10 when enemies use it, but only 3-7 when you use it. I have no proof to back it up, but that's what it feels like. Similarly, the chances of me switching my Pokemon, only for RoaWhirlwind to immediately drag them back out cannot be a coincidence
Holy shit, my Gyarados was the damn hero of this playthrough. Bulky as hell, hit hard with Surf despite it being a special attack, and when I gave them Secret Power, they paralyzed so often. Ever had a Gyarados that could paralyze? It's fantastic
On the opposite hand, my Dugtrio was good... up until I beat Koga, then they were useless. Even for Blaine, my Gyarados did most of the heavy lifting. They just could not take a hit, so they really underperformed
The team I used: Charizard, Fearow, Gyarados, Vileplume, Dugtrio, Magneton, Articuno
So this is my favorite Pokémon game, so I really tried to be impartial about it and treat it the same as the others... which didn't work, since it was the game I spent the most time on and explored the most in. Whoops! But I'm not ashamed; this was the best region out of everything I played. Honestly, I'm glad to know that my joy for this game wasn't just misplaced nostalgia, and still holds up to today. Although it was really unfortunate that I was having technical issues that I had to devote a lot of time to dealing with, otherwise I could've probably beaten this game in three/three and half days. I'll go into more details in the SoulSilver section. So here's some notes about my experience:
Replaying this game made me realize how great the ground type was in gen 4. Torterra, Gastrodon, and Garchomp, just to name a few
Team Galactic is still my favorite evil teams in the Pokémon franchise, mixing evil campiness and serious threat perfectly in ways the Team Plasma and Team Flare don't. Also their aesthetic is really cool
Did you guys know the Storm Drain only redirected water-type moves instead of absorbing it? I didn't, so imagine my surprise when I bring my Gastrodon into Wake's fight and get whooped
And while we're talking about my team, wow my choices made the Candice fight hard. If it wasn't for my Bronzong, it would've been a lot harder
The team I used: Torterra, Staraptor, Gastrodon, Bronzong, Garchomp, Porygon-Z
If I had to rank my favorite Pokémon games, SoulSilver would be in the top 5, only just below Platinum. So it sucks that my house was suffering internet outages (around the 19th-24th) while I was supposed to be playing this game. And since gen 4 is the slowest of all the games, that DOUBLY sucks. So I had to devote valuable time to fixing that, and ended up not getting to play the Kanto section of this game. That sucks, but since I already went through this with Crystal, so I'm not too fussed. Other than the circumstances, this wasn't too different from Crystal, although my team choices were a lot better Yada, yada, yada, notes:
This was the first game I decided to play as the girl player character this time, because she's the cutest thing in the entire franchise. This is not up for debate
I ended up bringing trading some stuff from Platinum, mainly Houndour and some evolution stones for my Togetic and Exeggcutor. I would've gotten the stones legitimately, but I'm on a time crunch here. I brought Houndour over because it's one of my favorite gen 2 mons, and the only way to get it before Kanto is by trading it in, and it's super easy to grab in Sinnoh, so... fuck it
I ended up keeping Metronome on my Togekiss for way too long, just because it was too much fun. It wasn't until after Clair that I ended up dropping it
Whoever decided that Koga's Muk should spam Minimize, gave it Black Sludge, use Toxic on everything, AND gave him a Full Restore... I hope your children hate you. I'm still upset just remembering it
The team I used: Feraligatr, Ampharos, Togekiss, Houndoom, Exeggcutor, Mamoswine
WHITE & WHITE 2
(I'm combining the two because I don't have a lot to say about them individually) So as a child, I really disliked White, because I was a child who couldn't appreciate how much effort was put into them, and I was upset I couldn't use any of my old favorites. But as an adult, I can really understand the work behind it, or at least behind White 1. Although I still say the lack of options in White 1 is a major downside, since anybody who's not challenging themselves are gonna have some combination of the same 15-ish Pokémon on the story campaign. But while the 2nd game has a better Pokémon choice, the story is also factually worse, so pick your poison. But back to the point, I really enjoyed these games. A lot more than I did when I was younger, anyways So here's my extra notes; two for each game: (White)
I thought Platinum and Soul Silver were rough with encounter rates, but good fucking lord, this game was bad. I could not count how many times I walked 1-2 steps into the grass (not running, walking) and got an encounter, often just after one encounter. I ended up yelling 'I TOOK ONE STEP' so many times
I really, REALLY hate the Reshiram vs Zekrom fight with N. Seriously, it's absolutely stupid. N's dragon has two extra levels, so it's guaranteed to outspeed you. And since the dragon's stats are near-equal, it's gonna do as much damage as you do to it, so there's next to no way you can beat it with just your dragon alone. Ugggghh
When I fought Elesa, she was a massive level spike, which I never got to overcome. But the game got easier, even if the numbers said I should be struggling. Maybe because trainers started to use less Pokémon, but I couldn't place my finger on it
I did a small challenge here: I used a Swoobat on my White 1 team, and a Crobat on my White 2 team, as a pseudo-experiment to see which one was better. Unsurprisingly, the better performer was my favorite Pokémon, Crobat. But Swoobat was still a favorite of mine, and performed a lot better than I thought they would
The team I used for White 1: Serperior, Swoobat, Excadrill, Scolipede, Carracosta, Chandelure The team I used for White 2: Emboar, Azumarill, Crobat, Sigilyph, Sawsbuck, Escavalier
A lot of my friends consider X/Y some of the worst games in the franchise, and while they may have a point, I still enjoy them a lot more than... another title we'll be talking about later. Personally, I think the gameplay is pretty much a straight upgrade from Black/White, although the story... UGH. Easily the worst. Especially Team Flare. I could make an entire post about them, but to simplify: They're a team all about style, yet their admins are way too overdesigned and forgettable to make a point. Instead of the cold uniformity of Team Galactic or the easily understood motives of Team Plasma, they're just a hot mess whose admins are completely forgettable. And Lysandre is just President Rose, but more obviously a villain and somehow more overdramatic I had a loooooot of notes about this game, mostly about Team Flare, but here's what I condensed it down to:
Did you know that you can buy Hyper Potions after getting the second badge? This is when your Pokémon are around level 25. Why the hell would you need a 200 HP heal at this point in the game?
Remember before you could save Xerneas/Yveltal, and you had to fight 4 admins, who collectively had 6 Pokémon? Why not just condense them into one admin, and actually give them a personality?
Ok, I really need to rant about Lysandre's final fight. He uses four Pokémon that're pretty much the same as the ones he uses when you first arrive in his lair, the background is a burning area for some reason, and he's wearing some stupid sci-fi nonsense that does nothing! I sweeped him with my Meowstic, who was five levels higher than his Gyarados
This was the first game I was a higher level than the Champion, and my Meowstic made Diantha trivial by just putting up Light Screen/Reflect and letting the others 1-hit ko 2/3rds of her team, with only her Gardevoir putting up any meaningful resistance. Seriously, this was the easiest game yet, by a large margin
The team I used: Chesnaught, Talonflame, Florges, Meowstic, Barbaracle, Goodra
(So a quick preface, I actually played Ultra Moon before Omega Ruby, since the cartridge I had was corrupted, so I played UM while I waited for my new cart to arrive. Just thought I'd mention it) So Alpha Sapphire was is in the top 5 games for me, alongside Platinum and SoulSilver. Which is why I'm kinda surprised that this is the game I spent the least time on (17 hours, 18 minutes), being one of the two games I spent less than 20 hours on. Which is absolutely strange to me, since I spent at least an hour grabbing useful TMs for the Elite Four and getting Heart Scales to remember moves, so it really should be higher. Whatever, what about the gameplay? Well, it was like Emerald, but the exact opposite, since I actually really enjoyed it. I don't have much else to say except Pelipper, Zangoose, and Cacturne were all surprisingly fun team members. Seriously, Cacturne might be my new favorite grass-type Extra notes, blah blah blah:
Why did they make the lower floor of Granite Cave inaccessible until you got the bike? I had to wait until I got the Mach Bike to go catch my Aron, and I have no idea why they did this. It's not like having one would be game-breaking, but whatever
I decided to catch a Manectric here, since I knew they could be Mega-Evolved in the main story. But they weren't too much stronger when they were Mega'd, so that was a little disappointing. Still, at least they were a strong team member overall
I didn't mention this in the X notes, but lemme clarify: I abused the hell out of the improved Exp Share, since it really helped me cut past any grinding, which is great, since I'm on a timer here
I tried to cheese the Steven fight by teaching my Cacturne Spikes, so imagine my surprise when his Skarmory also uses Spikes of his own. Touché, Mr. Stone
The team I used was: Blaziken, Pelipper, Manectric, Aggron, Zangoose, Cacturne
So I originally promised to play Sun and Ultra Sun in my original post, but some circumstances led me to cut it down to Ultra Moon. More details can be read about it in the Google Sheet, but trust me, I have my reasons. I decided to play the Ultra version because the bonus versions of the games are supposed to be the "definitive version" of the games. Not sure if I agree on that, since there's basically no difference between Sun and Moon and USUM, and what is different is sometimes worse than what it was. This isn't the time or place to review these games, but if you ever want to replay the Alola games, pick up Sun or Moon, and avoid USUM. As for my experience... I dunno, it was ok. I liked my team, had a few challenges, yeah yeah yeah. Look, this is like the 10th or 11th game I played, this whole thing's become routine at this point But at least I got a few notes to add:
I guess we'll slightly critique the story: I really hate the Aether Foundation. They're like Team Flare, but if they had Team Plasma as a side antagonist before they came out of nowhere. I adore Team Skull and how they're really sympathetic, but them Team Aether comes in, and then we're back to the typical Poképlot
And I'm still upset that they turned an eldritch horror story about an alien creature corrupting a mother into insane obsession into the standard evil dragon Poképlot. Also whoever came up with the Ultra Recon Squad should never work on Pokemon again
In the second visit to Aether Paradise, you fight three scientists, each with one Pokémon. Why not just one scientist with three? This bugs me so much, and I don't know why. Also, one of the double battles later had the same Houndoom/Manectric pair as one of the Team Flare admin fights, because thinking up another good pair of Pokémon that look good together costs too much/is too much work
I almost used a Lopunny on my team, but then I relaized I could use a Metagross instead. So I used a Metagross instead. But I am gonna include Lopunny on my team list because they did a lot of work
The team I used: Primarina, Lopunny, Alolan Muk, Ribombee, Alolan Marowak, Lurantis, Metagross
LET'S GO, EEVEE
UUGGHHHH. This is my least favorite game. I insisted on playing it, since it was technically a main series game, and that was a mistake. I forgot how hand-holding this game was. If you don't know what I'm talking about here's my example: In the original games, you could immediately go from Lavender Town to Celadon, and then go into the Rocket base, no problem. Here, you have to go up the tower, see that there's ghosts, and then leave the tower (which to my knowledge, no other dungeon in Pokémon ever does) then go see Jessie and James talk out loud about the ROCKET HIDEOUT in the CELADON GAMES CORNER. Then when you get there, you can get close to them, and they'll talk out loud about the HIDDEN HIDEOUT with the SWITCH BEHIND THE POSTER Also, the gym requirement thing is just dumb. The fact that the game requires you to have a grass/water-type to fight Brock or have a Pokémon at least level 45 before fighting Sabrina is insane, and makes it nearly impossible to lose. And Koga's requirement of catching 50 unique Pokémon is uniquely cruel in a game where there's only 150-ish Pokémon available, especially to people like me who just like to capture a core team and stop catching unique Pokémon Even besides those, the catching mechanic was broken. Seriously, it was terrible. I had to throw the ball at a 90-degree angle to throw the ball at a target just a little off to the side. One time, I tossed the controller upwards to throw the ball, and it was a perfect throw. Uggghh, I don't even wanna talk about my experience, I just want to complain. So whatever, I'm moving on, no notes this time The team I used: Eevee, Victreebel, Mr. Mime, Rhydon, Starmie, Magmar
I'll admit, I enjoyed this game more than I thought I would. Maybe it's just because it WASN'T Let's Go, or because it was so easy to grind up levels with wild area candies. Either way, this was my second-fastest game played, clocking in at exactly 20 hours played. If I devoted myself to it, I could've beaten this in two days. But since I've got nothing much else to talk about, I'd like to discuss the stories of these games. Because I think I've found the perfect metaphor for these "Poképlots." It's like there's a good story somewhere in there, but half of it we're told to stay out of because we're not adults, and the other half of the plot was ripped out of a better story and painstakingly refitted into the Poképlot format. And if you're wondering why I'm talking so much about the stories, it's because that's the only thing meaningfully different about these games at this point Alright, one last set of notes:
I hate Eternatus' design. Like, I understand that it's supposed to be like an unknowable alien creature, but it's so alien and incoherant that it's just a meaningless skeleton. I know it's supposed to be the bow to Zacian and Zamazenta's sword and shield, but it just doesn't work. It looks like something ripped out of a different JRPG. Even its name sounds out of place
Also the Eternamax fight is pointless, it should've just been a cutscene. Zacian and Zamazenta are the only ones who can do meaningful damage, me and Hop are just pointless additions
I think I've discovered the telltale sign for a pokemon antagonist. They show up for no logical reason in the early game, talk some exposition at you without any real interaction, then walk away
The thing that infuriates me most about this game is that for some unholy reason, some goddamn Burger King has some long-lost tapestry about ancient legend. Seriously, imagine going into a Five Guys, and seeing the Venus de Milo on top of some grill. WHAT THE FUCK. HOW ARE WE THE FIRST ONES TO NOTICE THIS???
The team I used: Inteleon, Boltund, Tsareena, Centiskorch, Perrserker, Grimmsnarl
So I ended up completing my challenge, but what was the point of this whole thing? Well, I wanted to try and revive my love for the Pokémon franchise, since the past few games have really burned me out on the series. So, did I accomplish that? Yeah! Despite all the hard times and frustrating moments, this was actually really fun. I feel like I should hate Pokémon now, since I've literally spent the last month and a half doing nothing but playing the games, but no. I came out of this whole challenge with a greater enjoyment of the series and a few new favorite Pokémon. So... mission accomplished! Although I don't think I'm gonna play any Pokémon games until the Sinnoh remakes come out (whenever that happens). I'm not burned out, but I think I need some time away at this point So... that's it. I'm done. It's over. Feels free to reply about how right/wrong I am with my opinions. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk EDIT: I'm glad this blew up, all the discussions I've been having have been super interesting, especially since we're talking about literally any Pokémon game right now. Thanks for making this post so incredible with your replies, guys. I'm happy my experiment was so interesting to read about
Would Biden move forward with Kamala's plan to tax stock trades?
Last July, Harris released a plan to provide “comprehensive health insurance that covers every American.” The way she planned to achieve that? By expanding Medicare. Unlike Bernie Sanders, though, Harris did not envision achieving this goal by taxing families making under $100,000. Instead, she planned to pay for “Medicare For All” by taxing Wall Street. Her plan called for a 0.2% tax on stock trades, a 0.1% tax on bond trades and a 0.002% tax on derivative transactions. She claimed these taxes would raise more than $2 trillion over the course of a decade. Critics of the plan argued that taxing financial transactions in this way could make it harder for Americans to build retirement savings.
The Rise and Fall of AMD (then Rise): What Happened?
With AMD shares hitting a new all-time high today on the back of an earnings beat and raised guidance (as well as Intel's 7nm delay), I thought it would be an opportune time to look back on how amazing of a turnaround story this has really been given that only 7 years ago the company's future was very much in doubt. In 2013, ArsTechnica ran a profile on how AMD took on Intel in the late 90s, experienced rousing success with its Athlon and Opteron chips, before over-spending and mis-executing its way into a free fall. Back then, AMD found itself completely out-maneuvered by Intel in the desktop, laptop, and sever markets and had largely been shut out of both smartphone and tablet production. This fascinating story features some matchmaking by Bill Gates, a failed attempt by AMD to acquire Nvidia when it traded under $15 a share, and a botched integration with graphics maker ATI Technologies. Warning: the two-part article, while super interesting, is absolutely on the lengthy side. For those of you who like the quick-hitters, I've summarized the highlights below. https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/04/the-rise-and-fall-of-amd-how-an-underdog-stuck-it-to-intel/
During the 1980s, AMD was a second-source supplier for companies using Intel processors. Companies like IBM didn't want to rely solely on Intel for one of the primary components in their computers, so they licensed AMD to produce versions of Intel processors. However in 1985, Intel stopped giving AMD its designs which forced them to reverse-engineer versions of Intel parts. By 1990, Merrill Lynch had declared AMD "dead", as the smaller company couldn't keep up with Intel product releases. This would not be the last time, as its aggressive pricing throughout the first half of the 90s had left AMD in a poor financial position.
In 1994, a tiny Silicon Valley outfit named NexGen began shipping a chip that was comparable to Intel's flagship Pentium. Microsoft CEO Bill Gates had taken an interest in NexGen, in particular, its brilliant CEO, Atiq Raza. Gates suggested that Raza speak to AMD since the company owned a chip fab but needed a better product to build in it. Raza met with then-CEO Jerry Sanders, who threatened to run NexGen out of business. Upon hearing about the exchange, Gates picked up the phone, called Sanders, and convinced AMD to purchase NexGen for $615mn in 1995. Soon after, Raza, dubbed by Sanders as the "Michael Jordan of microprocessor design", helped AMD develop the K6 - a major turning point for the company.
The K6 rivaled Intel on speed and price, and its revisions led to one of AMD's most successful architectures: K7, marketed as the Athlon. Athlon received "CPU of the Year" in 1999 from ArsTechnica and helped AMD grow sales from $2.5bn in 1998 to $4.6bn by 2000. With the company having just pulled in nearly $1bn in profits, Sanders rented out San Jose's entire HP Pavilion (now the SAP Center) for a party in which he paid for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill to perform and proclaimed AMD's share price would soon hit $100.
Around this time the company started spending too much and spreading itself too thin. AMD was making most of its profit from memory, but was also dabbling in logic, microprocessors, and communication products. Sanders had also decided to build a massive fab in Germany with borrowed money. Despite this, AMD continued to find technical success. AMD utilized the Athlon to develop a similar architecture that was more useful for severs. The new product, Opteron, led to AMD capturing an estimated 25% of the server market by 2006 all the while Intel struggled to produce a chip that could compete with the performance advantages of Opteron.
While on the surface AMD seemed to be firing on all cylinders with its popular Athlon and Opteron chips, the company was a financial mess behind-the-scenes. The company announced net losses of $61mn in 2001, $1.3bn in 2002, and $274mn in 2003. The main culprit? Investments in fabs that grossly overshot initial cost estimates. Between its two locations in Germany, AMD invested roughly $4.6bn.
AMD's competitive edge with Opteron coincided with some low points for Intel that forced the company to re-imagine its architecture altogether. The result was the release of the Intel Core microarchitecture in 2006. Core enabled Intel to take back the performance crown in the PC market, and it proved more power-efficient than AMD's laptop chips right when laptops began to outsell desktops for the first time. Intel compounded the pain by strategically releasing frequent upgrades and forcing AMD to play catch-up yet again.
Though AMD's CPUs consistently improved, over time they became shut out of the high-end market once more and were relegated to compete mainly on price, mirroring the company's early struggles. As Intel churned out its best product in years, AMD began trying to swallow another company whole. In 2006, AMD saw an opportunity for the future by integrating a memory controller into the CPU. However, the company needed the graphics and chipset experience to make it happen.
The solution was to purchase Canadian graphics company ATI Technologies for $5.4bn - or roughly half of AMD's market cap. This came after AMD had approached Nvidia as its first-choice takeover target. At that time, Nvidia was trading under $15 a share. But Jen-Hsun Huang, Nvidia's outspoken CEO, insisted on running the combined company — a non-starter for AMD leadership. While ATI's technology was considered superior to Intel's, the integration process proved disastrous from the start. Employees from the two companies divided into green (AMD and CPU) and red (ATI and GPU) sides, prioritizing needs of their individual products, and causing major delays time and time again.
With problems executing and stagnant sales, AMD ended 2007 with more than $5bn in debt and lost $3.3bn on the year after having taken a write-down charge for its acquisition of ATI. The company was having serious difficulty affording the costs of its fab facilities, when the entire industry endured a sharp downturn in 2008 that caused the stock to plummet from $20 to $4 a share.
AMD had no choice but to spin off its foundries in 2009 (AMD spun off GlobalFoundries in 2009), weakening its competitive positioning relative to Intel. Despite efforts to engineer higher quality products, its share of the PC and sever businesses kept declining and AMD was unable to achieve meaningful share in the ultrabook and tablet segments. The low-end CPU market sent margins tumbling and increased exposure to secular declines in PC sales.
By 2013, only one singular analyst on Wall Street was bullish on the stock — which had now fallen from $8 at the start of 2012 to just around $2. Yet after a major delay with the highly anticipated "Fusion" 32nm chip, the analyst noted that there were now liquidity concerns due to the declining PC market. Even former CFO Fran Barton thought AMD had next to no future in its battle with Intel: "...the game's been played."
Flash-forward to today and AMD just delivered its highest CPU revenue in over 12 years, has taken CPU market share for 11 straight quarters, and currently enjoys double-digit server processor market share. Whether you're an investor or not, bullish or bearish, that is one hell of a comeback. Hats off to Lisa Su and the entire AMD team.
Richard Dobatse, a Navy medic in San Diego, dabbled infrequently in stock trading. But his behavior changed in 2017 when he signed up for Robinhood, a trading app that made buying and selling stocks simple and seemingly free. Mr. Dobatse, now 32, said he had been charmed by Robinhood’s one-click trading, easy access to complex investment products, and features like falling confetti and emoji-filled phone notifications that made it feel like a game. After funding his account with $15,000 in credit card advances, he began spending more time on the app. As he repeatedly lost money, Mr. Dobatse took out two $30,000 home equity loans so he could buy and sell more speculative stocks and options, hoping to pay off his debts. His account value shot above $1 million this year — but almost all of that recently disappeared. This week, his balance was $6,956. “When he is doing his trading, he won’t want to eat,” said his wife, Tashika Dobatse, with whom he has three children. “He would have nightmares.” Millions of young Americans have begun investing in recent years through Robinhood, which was founded in 2013 with a sales pitch of no trading fees or account minimums. The ease of trading has turned it into a cultural phenomenon and a Silicon Valley darling, with the start-up climbing to an $8.3 billion valuation. It has been one of the tech industry’s biggest growth stories in the recent market turmoil. But at least part of Robinhood’s success appears to have been built on a Silicon Valley playbook of behavioral nudges and push notifications, which has drawn inexperienced investors into the riskiest trading, according to an analysis of industry data and legal filings, as well as interviews with nine current and former Robinhood employees and more than a dozen customers. And the more that customers engaged in such behavior, the better it was for the company, the data shows. Thanks for reading The Times. Subscribe to The Times More than at any other retail brokerage firm, Robinhood’s users trade the riskiest products and at the fastest pace, according to an analysis of new filings from nine brokerage firms by the research firm Alphacution for The New York Times. In the first three months of 2020, Robinhood users traded nine times as many shares as E-Trade customers, and 40 times as many shares as Charles Schwab customers, per dollar in the average customer account in the most recent quarter. They also bought and sold 88 times as many risky options contracts as Schwab customers, relative to the average account size, according to the analysis. The more often small investors trade stocks, the worse their returns are likely to be, studies have shown. The returns are even worse when they get involved with options, research has found. This kind of trading, where a few minutes can mean the difference between winning and losing, was particularly hazardous on Robinhood because the firm has experienced an unusual number of technology issues, public records show. Some Robinhood employees, who declined to be identified for fear of retaliation, said the company failed to provide adequate guardrails and technology to support its customers. Those dangers came into focus last month when Alex Kearns, 20, a college student in Nebraska, killed himself after he logged into the app and saw that his balance had dropped to negative $730,000. The figure was high partly because of some incomplete trades. “There was no intention to be assigned this much and take this much risk,” Mr. Kearns wrote in his suicide note, which a family member posted on Twitter. Like Mr. Kearns, Robinhood’s average customer is young and lacks investing know-how. The average age is 31, the company said, and half of its customers had never invested before. Some have visited Robinhood’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., in recent years to confront the staff about their losses, said four employees who witnessed the incidents. This year, they said, the start-up installed bulletproof glass at the front entrance. “They encourage people to go from training wheels to driving motorcycles,” Scott Smith, who tracks brokerage firms at the financial consulting firm Cerulli, said of Robinhood. “Over the long term, it’s like trying to beat the casino.” At the core of Robinhood’s business is an incentive to encourage more trading. It does not charge fees for trading, but it is still paid more if its customers trade more. That’s because it makes money through a complex practice known as “payment for order flow.” Each time a Robinhood customer trades, Wall Street firms actually buy or sell the shares and determine what price the customer gets. These firms pay Robinhood for the right to do this, because they then engage in a form of arbitrage by trying to buy or sell the stock for a profit over what they give the Robinhood customer. This practice is not new, and retail brokers such as E-Trade and Schwab also do it. But Robinhood makes significantly more than they do for each stock share and options contract sent to the professional trading firms, the filings show. For each share of stock traded, Robinhood made four to 15 times more than Schwab in the most recent quarter, according to the filings. In total, Robinhood got $18,955 from the trading firms for every dollar in the average customer account, while Schwab made $195, the Alphacution analysis shows. Industry experts said this was most likely because the trading firms believed they could score the easiest profits from Robinhood customers. Vlad Tenev, a founder and co-chief executive of Robinhood, said in an interview that even with some of its customers losing money, young Americans risked greater losses by not investing in stocks at all. Not participating in the markets “ultimately contributed to the sort of the massive inequalities that we’re seeing in society,” he said. Mr. Tenev said only 12 percent of the traders active on Robinhood each month used options, which allow people to bet on where the price of a specific stock will be on a specific day and multiply that by 100. He said the company had added educational content on how to invest safely. He declined to comment on why Robinhood makes more than its competitors from the Wall Street firms. The company also declined to comment on Mr. Dobatse or provide data on its customers’ performance. Robinhood does not force people to trade, of course. But its success at getting them do so has been highlighted internally. In June, the actor Ashton Kutcher, who has invested in Robinhood, attended one of the company’s weekly staff meetings on Zoom and celebrated its success by comparing it to gambling websites, said three people who were on the call. Mr. Kutcher said in a statement that his comment “was not intended to be a comparison of business models nor the experience Robinhood provides its customers” and that it referred “to the current growth metrics.” He added that he was “absolutely not insinuating that Robinhood was a gambling platform.” ImageRobinhood’s co-founders and co-chief executives, Baiju Bhatt, left, and Vlad Tenev, created the company to make investing accessible to everyone. Robinhood’s co-founders and co-chief executives, Baiju Bhatt, left, and Vlad Tenev, created the company to make investing accessible to everyone.Credit...via Reuters Robinhood was founded by Mr. Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, two children of immigrants who met at Stanford University in 2005. After teaming up on several ventures, including a high-speed trading firm, they were inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement to create a company that would make finance more accessible, they said. They named the start-up Robinhood after the English outlaw who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Robinhood eliminated trading fees while most brokerage firms charged $10 or more for a trade. It also added features to make investing more like a game. New members were given a free share of stock, but only after they scratched off images that looked like a lottery ticket. The app is simple to use. The home screen has a list of trendy stocks. If a customer touches one of them, a green button pops up with the word “trade,” skipping many of the steps that other firms require. Robinhood initially offered only stock trading. Over time, it added options trading and margin loans, which make it possible to turbocharge investment gains — and to supersize losses. The app advertises options with the tagline “quick, straightforward & free.” Customers who want to trade options answer just a few multiple-choice questions. Beginners are legally barred from trading options, but those who click that they have no investing experience are coached by the app on how to change the answer to “not much” experience. Then people can immediately begin trading. Before Robinhood added options trading in 2017, Mr. Bhatt scoffed at the idea that the company was letting investors take uninformed risks. “The best thing we can say to those people is ‘Just do it,’” he told Business Insider at the time. In May, Robinhood said it had 13 million accounts, up from 10 million at the end of 2019. Schwab said it had 12.7 million brokerage accounts in its latest filings; E-Trade reported 5.5 million. That growth has kept the money flowing in from venture capitalists. Sequoia Capital and New Enterprise Associates are among those that have poured $1.3 billion into Robinhood. In May, the company received a fresh $280 million. “Robinhood has made the financial markets accessible to the masses and, in turn, revolutionized the decades-old brokerage industry,” Andrew Reed, a partner at Sequoia, said after last month’s fund-raising. Image Robinhood shows users that its options trading is free of commissions. Robinhood shows users that its options trading is free of commissions. Mr. Tenev has said Robinhood has invested in the best technology in the industry. But the risks of trading through the app have been compounded by its tech glitches. In 2018, Robinhood released software that accidentally reversed the direction of options trades, giving customers the opposite outcome from what they expected. Last year, it mistakenly allowed people to borrow infinite money to multiply their bets, leading to some enormous gains and losses. Robinhood’s website has also gone down more often than those of its rivals — 47 times since March for Robinhood and 10 times for Schwab — according to a Times analysis of data from Downdetector.com, which tracks website reliability. In March, the site was down for almost two days, just as stock prices were gyrating because of the coronavirus pandemic. Robinhood’s customers were unable to make trades to blunt the damage to their accounts. Four Robinhood employees, who declined to be identified, said the outage was rooted in issues with the company’s phone app and servers. They said the start-up had underinvested in technology and moved too quickly rather than carefully. Mr. Tenev said he could not talk about the outage beyond a company blog post that said it was “not acceptable.” Robinhood had recently made new technology investments, he said. Plaintiffs who have sued over the outage said Robinhood had done little to respond to their losses. Unlike other brokers, the company has no phone number for customers to call. Mr. Dobatse suffered his biggest losses in the March outage — $860,000, his records show. Robinhood did not respond to his emails, he said, adding that he planned to take his case to financial regulators for arbitration. “They make it so easy for people that don’t know anything about stocks,” he said. “Then you go there and you start to lose money.”
The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) es una compañía multinacional estadounidense dedicada principalmente a los medios de comunicación masivos y a la industria del entretenimiento. Su sede está en Burbank, California, EEUU. La compañía cotiza bajo el ticker DIS, en Nueva York, a un precio de US$ 127,44 al 23/8/2020. Goza de un tamaño prominente, teniendo 223 mil empleados y una capitalización de mercado de 230.292M de dólares. Disney integra el índice Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) desde 1991, y también integra el S&P 100 y el S&P 500. Evaluando más en detalle el desempeño de la acción, la acción cotiza US$ 127,44 al 23/8/2020. Hace aproximadamente un año, el 26/8/2019 la acción cotizaba a US$ 137,26 lo que representa una caída aproximada del 7,15% anual (TTM). La caída es mas pronunciada YTD, Disney cotizaba US$ 148,2 a principios de año, por lo que al día de hoy la caída seria del 14%. No obstante, la acción a recuperado bastante valor después de la caída pronunciada que sufrió en Febrero-Marzo, llegando a cerrar a US$ 85,76 el 23/3/20 (habiendo subido un 48% desde entonces). Es para destacar que desde dicha caída se vio un significativo incremento en el volumen operado del papel. Mirando brevemente las medias móviles, vemos que la cotización actual esta por encima del promedio de 30 días (US$ 122,73), del de 90 días (US$ 115,98) y de 200 días (US$ 124,12). Con respecto al mercado, al 25/8, desde comienzo de año Disney se desempeñó por debajo del S&P 500 (5,7%), y del DJIA (-2,15%), con desempeño de -12,42% YTD. La compañía fue fundada en 1923 por los hermanos Walt y Roy Disney. A lo largo de su historia, Disney se consolidó como líder en la industria de animación estadounidense y luego diversificó sus negocios dedicándose a la producción de películas live-action, televisión y parques temáticos. A partir de 1980 Disney creo y adquirió diversas divisiones corporativas, para penetrar en mercados que fueran mas allá de sus marcas insignia orientadas a productos familiares. Disney es conocida por su división de estudios cinematográficos (The Walt Disney Studios), que incluye Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures y Blue Sky Studios. Otras unidades y segmentos de la compañía son Disney Media Networks; Disney Parks, Experiences and Products y Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International. A través de estas unidades, Disney posee y opera canales de televisión como ABC, Disney Channel, ESPN, Freeform, FX y National Geographic, así como también venta de publicidad, merchandising y música. También tiene divisiones de producción teatral (Disney Theatrical Group) y posee un grupo de 14 parques temáticos alrededor del mundo. Es evidente la complejidad de las operaciones de Disney, por lo que vale la pena ir un poco mas a fondo en la composición de los segmentos operativos de Disney, en base al reporte anual de 2019 (mas representativo que el ultimo reporte trimestral en medio de la pandemia), donde encontramos cuatro segmentos relevantes. El primer segmento, denominado “Media Networks”, compuesto principalmente por los canales domésticos de TV, este segmento generó 24.827M US$ de ingresos en 2019 (un 34,7% del total). El segundo segmento es el de “Parks, Experiences and Products”, compuesto por los parques temáticos, resorts y cruceros de las compañías, así como también de las licencias de los nombres, personajes y marcas de la compañía y de los productos de merchandising propios, este segmento reportó 26.225M US$ de ingresos en 2019 (un 36,66% del total, el segmento mas relevante de la compañía). El tercer segmento, es el de “Studio Entertainment” que contiene las operaciones de producción de películas, música y obras de teatro, así como también los servicios de post-produccion. Este segmento reportó 11.127M US$ (un 15,55% del total). El ultimo segmento, quizás el mas interesante es “Direct-to-Consumer & International”, donde además de contener las operaciones internacionales de TV y servicios de distribución de contenido digital como apps y paginas web, se incluyen las unidades de servicios de streaming de Disney, compuestas principalmente por Hulu, ESPN+ y Disney+. Este sector reporto ingresos por 9.349M US$ (un 13,07%, enorme incremento respecto del 5,6% que reportó en 2018). Respecto a la distribución territorial de las operaciones, es notorio el bagaje del mercado doméstico (EEUU y Canadá) donde concentraron en 2019 el 72,6% de las operaciones. Vale destacar también que hubo un incremento significativo interanual de las operaciones en los mercados de Asia-Pacífico (del 9,3% al 11,2%) y en Latinoamérica y otros mercados (del 3,09% al 4,61%). En lo que respecta a la política de dividendos de la compañía, encontré registros de pago constante de dividendos desde al menos 1989. El ultimo dividendo fue el 13/12, habiendo pagado $0,88 y arrojando un dividend yield anual de 1,2%. La compañía decidió omitir el dividendo semestral correspondiente al primer semestre de 2020 por la pandemia del COVID-19. Evaluando un poco la posición financiera de la empresa, a junio de 2020, según el balance presentado, Disney tenia activos corrientes por 41.330M US$ y pasivos corrientes por 30.917M US$, lo que resulta en un working capital (activos corrientes netos, activos corrientes menos pasivos corrientes) de 10.413 US$. El working capital entonces representa el 33,68% de los pasivos corrientes (Con lo cual, el current ratio es de 1,34 apreciándose una mejoría respecto del 0,9 reportado en septiembre 2019). En relación con la deuda de largo plazo, la podemos estimar en 70.052M US$ (borrowings + other long-term liabilities), dado que en septiembre 2019 la cifra era de 51.889M US$, vemos que sufrió un aumento considerable (en el orden del 35%). Respecto a los flujos de efectivo de Disney, vemos que en lo que va del año fiscal (septiembre 2019-junio 2020) Disney reportó flujo de efectivo por operaciones por 5949M US$, casi lo mismo que reportó para todo el año fiscal 2019 (5984M US$). Viendo la evolución de 10 años del CF de operaciones:
CF de operaciones (mill. USD)
Dif. Anual %
Viendo la evolución en 10 años del flujo de efectivo de operaciones, vemos que en 2019 hubo una drástica reversión de la tendencia al alza que se venia reportando (con un 58,14% de caída interanual). Esto se debe en parte a la política de adquisiciones de la empresa, que vemos reflejado en el flujo de efectivo por inversiones, equivalente en 2019 a -15.096M US$ (muy por encima del promedio de 2010-2018, equivalente a -4179,4M US$). En lo relativo a las ganancias de la compañía, para el Q2 2020 Disney reportó pérdidas por 4721M US$ (contra una ganancia de 1760M US$ para el Q2 2019). La situación se atenúa considerando las cifras para los últimos nueve meses (Q4 2019-Q2 2020), donde Disney totalizó perdidas por 1813M US$. No obstante, la situación del COVID-19 distorsiona nuestro análisis a largo plazo, por lo que para analizar la evolución interanual desde los últimos 10 años, utilizare los datos de los reportes anuales (datando el ultimo de septiembre 2019).
Net Income (mill. USD)
Dif. Anual %
Como se puede ver en el cuadro, pese al revés sufrido por las obvias complicaciones de la pandemia, el historial de ganancias de Disney es sólido. La compañía tuvo en los últimos 10 años, 2 años de contracción en las ganancias (2017 y 2019), pero en términos generales, las ganancias crecieron a una tasa promedio del 13,02% los últimos 10 años. Para evaluar el crecimiento general estos 10 años, si tomamos el promedio de los primeros 3 años (2010-2012) y el promedio de los últimos 3 (2017-2019), las ganancias de Disney crecieron un 125,8%. Mirando un poco de ratios, analizaré el EPS (Earnings Per Share) de la acción. Para el Q2 2020, Disney presentó un EPS negativo, de -2,61, contra un 0,98 obtenido en el Q2 2019. Refiriéndonos al desempeño pre-pandemia, el EPS promedio anual de los últimos 5 años fue de 6,3 y el ultimo EPS anual reportado (septiembre 2019) estaba ligeramente por encima, alrededor de 6,68. En lo respectivo al Price/Earning, el P/E (TTM) al valor de la acción del 23/8 es de -208,9. No obstante, si eliminamos la distorsión producto de la pandemia, calculando las ganancias promedio de los últimos 3 años (de acuerdo con los reportes anuales), es de 18,38, lo cual es un valor aceptable dada la coyuntura de los últimos años. En lo que respecta al Price-To-Book (P/B) ratio, el book value a junio 2020, es de 50, por lo que el P/B (siempre al precio del 23/8) es de 2,54, un valor razonable dados los promedios de los sectores en los que Disney tiene incidencia. El ultimo ratio a analizar es Price/Assets (P/E*P/B) que, (usando P/E con promedio de las ganancias de los últimos 3 años) arroja un valor de 46,68. Sobre el soporte institucional de la compañía, Disney tiene un apoyo considerable, calculado en el 66,42% del flotante en manos de instituciones. Los tenedores líderes son Vanguard con el 8,22%; BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) con el 6,32% y State Street Corporation (NYSE:STT) con el 4,19%. Otros tenedores significantes (1-2%) son Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), MorganStanley (NYSE:MS) y Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE:BK). En lo respectivo al management de Disney, la primera consideración importante es respecto al legendario CEO de la compañía, Robert “Bob” Iger, quien, en febrero de este año, después de posponerlo por años, decidió dar un paso al costado como CEO de la compañía, dejando a cargo al director del segmento de Parques y Resorts, Bob Chapek. Esto duró poco, y en abril Iger volvió a tomar las riendas de la compañía. No obstante, es altamente probable que, una vez estabilizado el panorama Iger retome su frustrado plan de dar un paso al costado. En lo relativo a la compensación, Iger cobró 47.525.560 US$, los executive officers una remuneración promedio de 11.319.422 US$ y el empleado promedio de Disney cobró 52.184 US$. Una cosa que llama la atención del balance de Disney (septiembre 2019), es el incremento notorio del goodwill (de 31.269M US$ a 80.293M US$, un aumento del 157%). No obstante, este incremento puede deberse a la política de fusiones y adquisiciones de la compañía. Disney viene llevando en los últimos años una política de adquisiciones relativamente agresiva, ideada por el CEO Bob Iger, de las cuales podemos destacar 4 o 5 operaciones clave, la primera de ellas fue la adquisición de Pixar, la famosa empresa de animación que había despegado bajo la conducción de Steve Jobs y Ed Catmull, en 2006 por 7,4MM US$ (de esa adquisición se beneficiaron sacando películas muy exitosas como Up, Wall-E, Ratatouille, Toy Story 3, etc.). Otra adquisición clave, fue la compra de Marvel en 2009 por 4MM US$ (La última de sus películas Avengers: Endgame, la más taquillera de la historia de Disney, vendió entradas por 3MM US$). En 2012, Disney compró Lucasfilm (histórica productora de Star Wars), por 4,05MM US$, y posteriormente anunció una muy lucrativa tercera trilogía de Star Wars. Por último, en marzo de 2019, Disney concretó la adquisición de 2oth Century Fox, en marzo de 2019, por la extraordinaria cifra de 73MM US$, sus resultados aún están por verse. Analizar la competencia de Disney es algo trabajoso, dado la variedad de sectores en los que se involucra y la falta de compañías que abarquen tantos sectores como Disney. Considero que la compañía que más se aproxima en cuanto a sus operaciones y al volumen de las mismas es Comcast (NASDAQ:CMSCA), si bien Disney compite con numerosas empresas en numerosos sectores, como podrían ser, por ejemplo Cedar Fair (NYSE:FUN) o Six Flags (NYSE:SIX) en el negocio de los parques temáticos; ViacomCBS (NYSE:VIAC) o Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) en el negocio mediático; así como Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) o Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) en el negocio del streaming, sobre los cuales hablare más adelante. También compite con segmentos de negocios de conglomerados grandes como Sony (NYSE: SNE) o AT&T (NYSE:T). Observando a Comcast, el acérrimo rival, vemos que la capitalización bursátil es similar, siendo de 198.301M US$ para Comcast y de 234.538M US$ para Disney, así como los empleados, teniendo 190.000 (CMCSA) y 236.000 (DISN). El desempeño de ambas acciones es parejo, en términos generales Comcast tuvo mejor performance, sobre todo YTD (-3,47% contra -10,26%). En los márgenes y ratios también gana Comcast, supera ampliamente en gross margin (TTM) a Disney, con 56,78% contra 27,95% y en net margin (TTM) con 10,91% frente a un pobre -1,91%. El EPS (TTM) da 2,53 para Comcast contra -0,6 para Disney. Consecuentemente, Comcast pudo mantener un P/E positivo de 17,56. Si bien los números parecen positivos en la comparación para el lado de Comcast, me parece relevante destacar que lo mismo que fue su mayor ventaja comparativa (la composición de sus segmentos operativos), puede ser lo que la haga perder en la comparación a futuro, dada la absoluta supremacía que tiene la operatoria relacionada con la televisión, así como la falta de un segmento de negocios dedicado al streaming de video (sobre el cual también me referiré mas adelante). Para analizar el futuro, creo que es relevante hacer unas breves conclusiones sobre la actualidad. En primer lugar, los segmentos operativos mas afectados fueron el segmento de parques temáticos, resorts, etc. y el segmento de los estudios cinematográficos con lo cual los ingresos de Disney este último trimestre quedaron a cargo, principalmente, de los canales de TV (que sufrieron una breve baja del 2%) y de los servicios de streaming. Empezando por los sectores más afectados, respecto a la producción fílmica (Studio Entertainment), me parece que la situación no es crítica, claramente la situación de la pandemia redujo fuertemente los ingresos del sector (al haberse reducido lógicamente la asistencia a salas de cine). No obstante, el manejo del sector viene siendo exitoso hace años (en los últimos 2 años lanzaron 3 de las 4 películas más taquilleras de la historia de la compañía, Endgame, Infinity War, y el live-action de El Rey León), y no hay indicios de que esto vaya a cambiar en el futuro (hay un esquema de estrenos futuros interesante). En lo que respecta a los parques, las perspectivas no son tan buenas. La caída para el Q2 2020 fue del 85% en relación al Q2 2019. Es evidente que al haber una cuestión sanitaria de por medio, el turismo va a ser uno de los sectores mas afectados, habiendo sufrido una caída increíble en la primera mitad del año.  Actualmente, la actividad comercial de los parques temáticos está empezando a reanudarse, habiendo reabierto las operaciones en Walt Disney World en Florida, y estando a la espera de reabrir Disneyland en California, dada la incertidumbre de la pandemia. No obstante, la recuperación fue peor de lo esperado y a partir de Septiembre Walt Disney World recortará los horarios de sus parques. Asimismo, comparativamente, el desempeño de Universal Studios (propiedad de Comcast), parece ser mejor que el de Disney en esta reapertura. No obstante, es importante destacar el carácter de líder absoluto de Disney en este sector, con una competencia que difícilmente pueda igualar su posición, con lo cual si bien el desempeño en el corto plazo puede ser inferior al de la competencia, es altamente probable que recupere su posición dominante en el mediano-largo plazo. Es interesante ver, en tercer lugar, el segmento “Media Networks” que consiste principalmente en los canales de TV que Disney posee. Este sector no tuvo una caída significante (solo del 2% para el Q2 2020 en relacion al Q2 2019) en el corto plazo, pero en el largo plazo, es evidente que la tendencia del sector es a desaparecer. Las encuestas y reportes muestran un lento descenso año tras año de la audiencia, tanto de TV en vivo, TV diferida y radio. Con lo cual, a largo plazo, es previsible que este segmento sufra una disminución considerable en su volumen de operaciones. También es previsible (y así lo reflejan las encuestas), que el reemplazo de la TV tradicional sea protagonizado por los servicios de video streaming (VOD), es decir, por las operaciones del cuarto segmento (Direct-to-Consumer). Disney tiene hoy 3 servicios de streaming, Hulu, ESPN+, y Disney+ (ofrece los tres en un bundle que cuesta US$ 12,99). Como ya dijimos, el incremento de los ingresos por estos servicios durante el FY 2019 fue significante. Veamos la evolución de los subscriptores a estos servicios en lo que va del FY 2020 (es decir, Q4 2019, Q1 2020 y Q2 2020).
DDDD - Retail Investors, Bankruptcies, Dark Pools and Beauty Contests
For this week's edition of DDDD (Data-Driven DD), we're going to look in-depth at some of the interesting things that have been doing on in the market over the past few weeks; I've had a lot more free time this week to write something new up, so you'll want to sit down and grab a cup of coffee for this because it will be a long one. We'll be looking into bankruptcies, how they work, and what some companies currently going through bankruptcies are doing. We'll also be looking at some data on retail and institutional investors, and take a closer look at how retail investors in particular are affecting the markets. Finally, we'll look at some data and magic markers to figure out what the market sentiment, the thing that's currently driving the market, looks like to help figure out if you should be buying calls or puts, as well as my personal strategy. Disclaimer - This is not financial advice, and a lot of the content below is my personal opinion. In fact, the numbers, facts, or explanations presented below could be wrong and be made up. Don't buy random options because some person on the internet says so; look at what happened to all the SPY 220p 4/17 bag holders. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions on what you should do with your own money, and how levered you want to be based on your personal risk tolerance.
How Bankruptcies Work
First, what is a bankruptcy? In a broad sense, a bankruptcy is a legal process an individual or corporation (debtor) who owes money to some other entity (creditor) can use to seek relief from the debt owed to their creditors if they’re unable to pay back this debt. In the United States, they are defined by Title 11 of the United States Code, with 9 different Chapters that govern different processes of bankruptcies depending on the circumstances, and the entity declaring bankruptcy. For most publicly traded companies, they have two options - Chapter 11 (Reorganization), and Chapter 7 (Liquidation). Let’s start with Chapter 11 since it’s the most common form of bankruptcy for them. A Chapter 11 case begins with a petition to the local Bankruptcy court, usually voluntarily by the debtor, although sometimes it can also be initiated by the creditors involuntarily. Once the process has been initiated, the corporation may continue their regular operations, overseen by a trustee, but with certain restrictions on what can be done with their assets during the process without court approval. Once a company has declared bankruptcy, an automatic stay is invoked to all creditors to stop any attempts for them to collect on their debt. The trustee would then appoint a Creditor’s Committee, consisting of the largest unsecured creditors to the company, which would represent the interests creditors in the bankruptcy case. The debtor will then have a 120 day exclusive right after the petition date to file a Plan of Reorganization, which details how the corporation’s assets will be reorganized after the bankruptcy which they think the creditors may agree to; this is usually some sort of restructuring of the capital structure such that the creditors will forgive the corporation’s debt in exchange for some or all of the re-organized entity’s equity, wiping out the existing stockholders. In general, there’s a capital structure pecking order on who gets first dibs on a company’s assets - secured creditors, unsecured senior bond holders, unsecured general bond holders, priority / preferred equity holders, and then finally common equity holders - these are the classes of claims on the company’s assets. After the exclusive period expires, the Creditor’s Committee or an individual creditor can themselves propose their own, possibly competing, Restructuring Plan, to the court. A Restructuring Plan will also be accompanied by a Disclosure Statement, which will contain all the financial information about the bankrupt company’s state of affairs needed for creditors and equity holders to make an informed decision about how to proceed. The court will then hold a hearing to approve the Restructuring Plan and Disclosure Statement before the plan can be voted on by creditors and equity holders. In some cases, these are prepared and negotiated with creditors before bankruptcy is even declared to speed things up and have more favorable terms - a prepackaged bankruptcy. Once the Restructuring Plan and Disclosure Statement receives court approval, the plan is voted on by the classes of impaired (i.e. debt will not be paid back) creditors to be confirmed. The legal requirement for a bankruptcy court to confirm a Restructuring Plan is to have at least one entire class of impaired creditors vote to accept the plan. A class of creditors is deemed to have accepted a Restructuring Plan when creditors that hold at least 2/3 of the dollar amount and at least half of the number of creditors vote to accept the plan. After another hearing, and listening to any potential objections to the proposed Restructuring Plan, such as other impaired classes that don't like the plan, the court may then confirm the plan, putting it to effect. This is one potential ending to a Chapter 11 case. A case can also end with a conversion to a Chapter 7 (Liquidation) case, if one of the parties involved file a motion to do so for a cause that is deemed by the courts to be in the best interest of the creditors. In Chapter 7, the company ceases operating and a trustee is appointed to begin liquidating (i.e. selling) the company’s assets. The proceeds from the liquidation process are then paid out to creditors, with the most senior levels of the capital structure being paid out first, and the equity holders are usually left with nothing. Finally, a party can file a motion to dismiss the case for some cause deemed to be in the best interest of the creditors.
The Tale of Two Bankruptcies - WLL and HTZ
Hertz (HTZ) has come into news recently, with the stock surging up to $6, or 1500% off its lows, for no apparent fundamental reason, despite the fact that they’re currently in bankruptcy and their stock is likely worthless. We’ll get around to what might have caused this later, for now, we’ll go over what’s going on with Hertz in its bankruptcy proceedings. To get a clearer picture, let’s start with a stock that I’ve been following since April - Whiting Petroleum (WLL). WLL is a stock I’ve covered pretty extensively, especially with it’s complete price dislocation between the implied value of the restructured company by their old, currently trading, stock being over 10x the implied value of the bonds, which are entitled to 97% of the new equity. Usually, capital structure arbitrage, a strategy to profit off this spread by going long on bonds and shorting the equity, prevents this, but retail investors have started pumping the stock a few days after WLL’s bankruptcy to “buy the dip” and make a quick buck. Institutions, seeing this irrational behavior, are probably avoiding touching at risk of being blown out by some unpredictable and irrational retail investor pump for no apparent reason. We’re now seeing this exact thing play out a few months later, but at a much larger scale with Hertz. So, how is WLL's bankruptcy process going? For anyone curious, you can follow the court case in Stretto. Luckily for Whiting, they’ve entered into a prepackaged bankruptcy process and filed their case with a Restructuring Plan already in mind to be able to have existing equity holders receive a mere 3% of new equity to be distributed among them, with creditors receiving 97% of new equity. For the past few months, they’ve quickly gone through all the hearings and motions and now have a hearing to receive approval of the Disclosure Statement scheduled for June 22nd. This hearing has been pushed back a few times, so this may not be the actual date. Another pretty significant document was just filed by the Committee of Creditors on Friday - an objection to the Disclosure Statement’s approval. Among other arguments about omissions and errors the creditor’s found in the Disclosure Statement, the most significant thing here is that Litigation and Rejection Damage claims holders were treated in the same class as a bond holders, and hence would be receiving part of their class’ share of the 97% of new equity. The creditors claim that this was misleading as the Restructuring Plan originally led them to believe that the 97% would be distributed exclusively to bond holders, and the claims for Litigation and Rejection Damage would be paid in full and hence be unimpaired. This objection argues that the debtors did this gerrymandering to prevent the Litigation and Rejection Damage claims be represented as their own class and able to reject the Restructuring Plan, requiring either payment in full of the claims or existing equity holders not receiving 3% of new equity, and be completely wiped out to respect the capital structure. I’d recommend people read this document if they have time because whoever wrote this sounds legitimately salty on behalf of the bond holders; here’s some interesting excerpts: Moreover, despite the holders of Litigation and Rejection Damage Claims being impaired, existing equity holders will still receive 3% of the reorganized company’s new equity, without having to contribute any new value. The only way for the Debtors to achieve this remarkable outcome was to engage in blatant classification gerrymandering. If the Debtors had classified the Litigation and Rejection Damage Claims separately from the Noteholder claims and the go-forward Trade Claims – as they should have – then presumably that class would reject a plan that provides Litigation and Rejection Damage Claims with a pro rata share of minority equity. The Debtors have placed the Rejection Damage and Litigation Claims in the same class as Noteholder Claims to achieve a particular result, namely the disenfranchisement of the Rejection Damage and Litigation Claimants who, if separately classified, may likely vote to reject the Plan. In that event, the Debtor would be required to comply with the cramdown requirements, including compliance with the absolute priority rule, which in turn would require payment of those claims in full, or else old equity would not be entitled to receive 3% of the new equity. Without their inclusion in a consenting impaired class, the Debtors cannot give 3% of the reorganized equity to existing equity holders without such holders having to contribute any new value or without paying the holders of Litigation and Rejection Damage Claims in full. The Committee submits that the Plan was not proposed in good faith. As discussed herein, the Debtors have proposed an unconfirmable Plan – flawed in various important respects. Under the circumstances discussed above, in the Committee’s view, the Debtors will not be able to demonstrate that they acted with “honesty and good intentions” and that the Plan’s results will not be consistent with the Bankruptcy Code’s goal of ratable distribution to creditors. They’re even trying to have the court stop the debtor from paying the lawyers who wrote the restructuring agreement. However, as discussed herein, the value and benefit of the Consenting Creditors’ agreements with the Debtors –set forth in the RSA– to the Estates is illusory, and authorizing the payment of the Consenting Creditor Professionals would be tantamount to approving the RSA, something this Court has stated that it refuses to do.20 The RSA -- which has not been approved by the Court, and indeed no such approval has been sought -- is the predicate for a defective Plan that was not proposed in good faith, and that gives existing equity holders an equity stake in the reorganized enterprise even though Litigation and Rejection Damage Creditors will (presumably) not be made whole under the Plan and the existing interest holders will not be contributing requisite new value. As a disclaimer, I have absolutely zero knowledge nor experience in law, let alone bankruptcy law. However, from reading this document, if what the objection indicates to be true, could mean that we end up having the court force the Restructuring agreement to completely wipe out the current equity holders. Even worse, entering a prepackaged bankruptcy in bad faith, which the objection argues, might be grounds to convert the bankruptcy to Chapter 7; again, I’m no lawyer so I’m not sure if this is true, but this is my best understanding from my research. So what’s going on with Hertz? Most analysts expect that based on Hertz’s current balance sheet, existing equity holders will most likely be completely wiped out in the restructuring. You can keep track of Hertz’s bankruptcy process here, but it looks like this is going to take a few months, with the first meeting of creditors scheduled for July 1. An interesting 8-K got filed today for HTZ, and it looks like they’re trying to throw a hail Mary for their case by taking advantage of dumb retail investors pumping up their stock. They’ve just been approved by the bankruptcy court to issue and sell up to $1B (double their current market cap) of new shares in the stock market. If they somehow pull this off, they might have enough money raised to dismiss the bankruptcy case and remain in business, or at very least pay off their creditors even more at the expense of Robinhood users.
The Rise of Retail Investors - An Update
A few weeks ago, I talked about data that suggested a sudden surge in retail investor money flooding the market, based on Google Trends and broker data. Although this wasn’t a big topic back when I wrote about it, it’s now one of the most popular topics in mainstream finance news, like CNBC, since it’s now the only rational explanation for the stock market to have pumped this far, and for bankrupt stocks like HTZ and WLL to have surges far above their pre-bankruptcy prices. Let’s look at some interesting Google Trends that I found that illustrates what retail investors are doing. Google Trends - Margin Calls Google Trends - Robinhood Google Trends - What stock should I buy Google Trends - How to day trade Google Trends - Pattern Day Trader Google Trends - Penny Stock The conclusion that can be drawn from this data is that in the past two weeks, we are seeing a second wave of new retail investor interest, similar to the first influx we saw in March. In particular, these new retail investors seem to be particularly interested in day trading penny stocks, including bankrupt stocks. In fact, data from Citadel shows that penny stocks have surged on average 80% in the previous week. Why Retail Investors Matter A common question that’s usually brought up when retail investors are brought up is how much they really matter. The portfolio size of retail investors are extremely small compared to institutional investors. Anecdotally and historically, retail investors don’t move the market, outside of some select stocks like TSLA and cannabis stocks in the past few years. However when they do, shit gets crazy; the last time retail investors drove the stock market was in the dot com bubble. There’s a few papers that look into this with similar conclusions, I’ll go briefly into this one, which looks at almost 20 years of data to look for correlations between retail investor behavior and stock market movements. The conclusion was that behaviors of individual retail investors tend to be correlated and are not random and independent of each other. The aggregate effect of retail investors can then drive prices of equities far away from fundamentals (bubbles), which risk-averse smart money will then stay away from rather than try taking advantage of the mispricing (i.e. never short a bubble). The movement in the prices are typically short-term, and usually see some sort of reversal back to fundamentals in the long-term, for small (i.e. < $5000) trades. Apparently, the opposite is true for large trades; here’s an excerpt from the paper to explain. Stocks recently sold by small traders perform poorly (−64 bps per month, t = −5.16), while stocks recently bought by small traders perform well (73 bps per month, t = 5.22). Note this return predictability represents a short-run continuation rather than reversal of returns; stocks with a high weekly proportion of buys perform well both in the week of strong buying and the subsequent week. This runs counter to the well-documented presence of short-term reversals in weekly returns.14,15 Portfolios based on the proportion of buys using large trades yield precisely the opposite result. Stocks bought by large traders perform poorly in the subsequent week (−36 bps per month, t = −3.96), while those sold perform well (42 bps per month, t = 3.57). We find a positive relationship between the weekly proportion of buyers initiated small trades in a stock and contemporaneous returns. Kaniel, Saar, and Titman (forthcoming) find retail investors to be contrarians over one-week horizons, tending to sell more than buy stocks with strong performance. Like us, they find that stocks bought by individual investors one week outperform the subsequent week. They suggest that individual investors profit in the short run by supplying liquidity to institutional investors whose aggressive trades drive prices away from fundamental value and benefiting when prices bounce back. Barber et al. (2005) document that individual investors can earn short term profits by supplying liquidity. This story is consistent with the one-week reversals we see in stocks bought and sold with large trades. Aggressive large purchases may drive prices temporarily too high while aggressive large sells drive them too low both leading to reversals the subsequent week. Thus, using a one-week time horizon, following the trend can make you tendies for a few days, as long as you don’t play the game for too long, and end up being the bag holder when the music stops.
The Keynesian Beauty Contest
The economic basis for what’s going on in the stock market recently - retail investors driving up stocks, especially bankrupt stocks, past fundamental levels can be explained by the Keynesian Beauty Contest, a concept developed by Keynes himself to help rationalize price movements in the stock market, especially during the 1920s stock market bubble. A quote by him on the topic of this concept, that “the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent”, is possibly the most famous finance quote of all time. The idea is to imagine a fictional newspaper beauty contest that asks the reader to pick the six most attractive faces of 100 photos, and you win if you pick the most popular face. The naive strategy would be to pick the faces that you think are the most attractive. A smarter strategy is to figure out what the most common public perception of attractiveness would be, and to select based on that. Or better yet, figure out what most people believe is the most common public perception of what’s attractive. You end up having the winners not actually be the faces people think are the prettiest, but the average opinion of what people think the average opinion would be on the prettiest faces. Now, replace pretty faces with fundamental values, and you have the stock market. What we have today is the extreme of this. We’re seeing a sudden influx of dumb retail money into the market, who don’t know or care about fundamentals, like trading penny stocks, and are buying beaten down stocks (i.e. “buy the dip”). The stocks that best fit all three of these are in fact companies that have just gone bankrupt, like HTZ and WLL. This slowly becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, as people start seeing bankrupt stocks go up 100% in one day, they stop caring about what stocks have the best fundamentals and instead buy the stocks that people think will shoot up, which are apparently bankrupt stocks. Now, it gets to the point where even if a trader knows a stock is bankrupt, and understands what bankruptcy means, they’ll buy the stock regardless expecting it to skyrocket and hope that they’ll be able to sell the stock at a 100% profit in a few days to an even greater fool. The phenomenon is well known in finance, and it even has a name - The Greater Fool Theory. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next stock to go bankrupt now has their stock price go up 100% the next day because of this.
What is the smart money doing - DIX & GEX
Alright that’s enough talk about dumb money. What’s all the smart money (institutions) been doing all this time? For that, you’ll want to look at what’s been going on with dark pools. These are private exchanges for institutions to make trades. Why? Because if you’re about to buy a $1B block of SPY, you’re going to cause a sudden spike in prices on a normal, public exchange, and probably end up paying a much higher cost basis because of it. These off-exchange trades account for about one third of all stock volume. You can then use data of market maker activity in these dark pools to figure out what institutions have been doing, the most notable indicators being DIX by SqueezeMetrics. Another metric they offer is GEX, or gamma exposure. The idea behind this is that market markets who sell option contracts, typically don’t want to (or can’t legally) take an actual position in the market; they can only provide liquidity. Hence, they have to hedge their exposure from the contracts they wrote by going long or short on the stocks they wrote contracts to. This is called delta-hedging, with delta representing exposure to the movement of a stock. With options, there’s gamma, which represents the change in delta as the stock price moves. So as stock prices move, the market maker needs to re-hedge their positions by buying or selling more shares to remain delta-neutral. GEX is a way to show the total exposure these market makers have to gamma from contracts to predict stock price movements based on what market makers must do to re-hedge their positions. Now, let’s look at what these indicators have been doing the past week or so. DIX & GEX In the graph above, an increasing DIX means that institutions are buying stocks in the S&P500, and an increasing GEX means that market makers have increasing gamma exposure. The DIX whitepaper, it has shown that a high DIX is often correlated with increased near-term returns, and in the GEX whitepaper, it shows that a decreased GEX is correlated with increased volatility due to re-hedging. It looks like from last week’s crash, we had institutions buy the dip and add to their current positions. There was also a sudden drop in GEX, but it looks like it’s quickly recovered, and we’ll see volatility decreased next week. Overall, we’re getting bullish signals from institutional activity.
Bubbles and Market Sentiment
I’ve long held that the stock market and the economy has been in a decade-long bubble caused by liquidity pumping from the Fed. Recently, the bubble has been accelerated and it’s becoming clearer to people that we are in a bubble. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t short the bubble, but play along with it until it bursts. Bubbles are driven by pure sentiment, and this can be a great contrarian indicator to what stage of the bubble we are in. You want to be a bear when the market is overly greedy and a bull when the market is overly bearish. One of the best tools to measure this is the equity put / call ratio. Put / Call Ratio The put/call ratio dropped below 0.4 last week, something that’s almost never happened and has almost always been immediately followed up by a correction - which it did this time as well. A low put / call ratio is usually indicative of an overly-greedy market, and a contrarian indicator that a drop is imminent. However, right after the crash, the put/call ratio absolutely skyrocketed, closing right above 0.71 on Friday, above the mean put / call ratio for the entire rally since March’s lows. In other words, a ton of money has just been poured into SPY puts expecting to profit off of a downtrend. In fact, it’s possible that the Wednesday correction itself has been exasperated by delta hedging from SPY put writers. However, this sudden spike above the mean for put/call ratio is a contrarian indicator that we will now see a continued rally.
1D RSI on SPY was definitely overbought last week, and I should have taken this as a sign to GTFO from all my long positions. The correction has since brought it back down, and now SPY has even more room to go further up before it becomes overbought again
1D MACD crossed over on Wednesday to bearish - a very strong bearish indicator, however 1W MACD is still bullish
For the bulls, there’s very little price levels above 300, with a small possible resistance at 313, which is the 79% fib retracement. SPY has never actually hit this price level, and has gapped up and down past this price. Below 300, there’s plenty of levels of support, especially between 274 and 293, which is the range where SPY consolidated and traded at for April and May. This means that a movement up will be met with very little resistance, while a movement down will be met with plenty of support
The candles above 313 form an island top pattern, a pretty rare and strong bearish indicator.
The first line of defense of the bulls is 300, which has historically been a key support / resistance level, and is also the 200D SMA. So far, this price level has held up as a solid support last week and is where all downwards price action in SPY stopped. Overall, there’s very mixed signals coming from technical indicators, although there’s more bearish signals than bullish. My Strategy for Next Week While technicals are pretty bearish, retail and institutional activity and market sentiment is indicating that the market still continue to rally. My strategy for next week will depend on whether or not the market opens above or below 300. I’m currently mostly holding long volatility positions, that I’ve started existing on Friday. The Bullish case If 300 proves to be a strong support level, I’ll start entering bullish positions, following my previous strategy of going long on weak sectors such as airlines, cruises, retail, and financials, once they break above the 24% retracement and exit at the 50% retracement. This is because there’s very little price levels and resistance above 300, so any movements above this level will be very parabolic up to ATHs, as we saw in the beginning of 2020 and again the past two weeks. If SPY moves parabolic, the biggest winners will likely be the weakest stocks since they have the most room to go up, with most of the strongest stocks already near or above their ATHs. During this time, I’ll be rolling over half of my profits to VIX calls of various expiry dates as a hedge, and in anticipation of any sort of rug pull for when this bubble does eventually pop. The Bearish case For me to start taking bearish positions, I’ll need to see SPY open below 300, re-test 300 and fail to break above it, proving it to be a resistance level. If this happens, I’ll start entering short positions against SPY to play the price levels. There’s a lot of price levels between 300 and 274, and we’d likely see a lot of consolidation instead of a big crash in this region, similar to the way up through this area. Key levels will be 300, 293, 285, 278, and finally 274, which is the levels I’d be entering and exiting my short positions in. I’ve also been playing with WLL for the past few months, but that has been a losing trade - I forgot that a market can remain irrational longer than I can remain solvent. I’ll probably keep a small position on WLL puts in anticipation of the court hearing for the disclosure statement, but I’ve sold most of my existing positions.
As always, I'll be posting live thoughts related to my personal strategy here for people asking. 6/15 2AM - /ES looking like SPY is going to gap down tomorrow. Unless there's some overnight pump, we'll probably see a trading range of 293-300. 6/15 10AM - Exited any remaining long positions I've had and entered short positions on SPY @ 299.50, stop loss at 301. Bearish case looking like it's going to play out 6/15 10:15AM - Stopped out of 50% of my short positions @ 301. Will stop out of the rest @ 302. Hoping this wasn't a stop loss raid. Also closed out more VIX longer-dated (Sept / Oct) calls. 6/15 Noon - No longer holding any short positions. Gap down today might be a fake out, and 300 is starting to look like solid support again, and 1H MACD is crossing over, with 15M remaining bullish. Starting to slowly add to long positions throughout the day, starting with CCL, since technicals look nice on it. Also profit-took most of my VIX calls that I bought two weeks ago 6/15 2:30PM - Bounced up pretty hard from the 300 support - bull case looks pretty good, especially if today's 1D candle completely engulphs the Friday candle. Also sold another half of my remaining long-dated VIX calls - still holding on to a substantial amount (~10% of portfolio). Will start looking to re-buy them when VIX falls back below 30. Going long on DAL as well 6/15 11:30PM - /ES looking good hovering right above 310 right now. Not many price levels above 300 so it's hard to predict trading ranges since there's no price levels and SPY will just go parabolic above this level. Massive gap between 313 and 317. If /ES is able to get above 313, which is where the momentum is going to right now, we might see a massive gap up and open at 317 again. If it opens below 313, we might see the stock price fade like last week. 6/15 Noon - SPY filled some of the gap, but then broke below 313. 15M MACD is now bearish. We might see gains from today slowly fade, but hard to predict this since we don't have strong price levels. Will buy more longs near EOD if this happens. Still believe we'll be overall bullish this week. GE is looking good. 6/16 2PM - Getting worried about 313 acting as a solid resistance; we'll either probably gap up past it to 317 tomorrow, or we might go all the way back down to 300. Considering taking profit for some of my calls right now, since you'll usually want to sell into resistance. I might alternatively buy some 0DTE SPY puts as a hedge against my long positions. Will decide by 3:30 depending on what momentum looks like 6/16 3PM - Got some 1DTE SPY puts as a hedge against my long positions. We're either headed to 317 tomorrow or go down as low as 300. Going to not take the risk because I'm unsure which one it'll be. Also profit-took 25% of my long positions. Definitely seeing the 313 + gains fade scenario I mentioned yesterday 6/17 1:30AM - /ES still flat struggling to break through 213. If we don't break through by tomorrow I might sell all my longs. Norwegian announced some bad news AH about cancelling Sept cruises. If we move below $18.20 I'll probably sell all my remaining positions; luckily I took profit on CCL today so if options do go to shit, it'll be a relatively small loss or even small gain. 6/17 9:45AM - SPY not being able to break through 313/314 (79% retracement) is scaring me. Sold all my longs, and now sitting on cash. Not confident enough that we're actually going back down to 300, but no longer confident enough on the bullish story if we can't break 313 to hold positions 6/17 1PM - Holding cash and long-term VIX calls now. Some interesting things I've noticed
1H MACD will be testing a crossover by EOD
Equity put/call ratio has plummeted. It's back down to 0.45, which is more than 1 S.D. below the mean. We reached all the way down to 0.4 last time. Will be keeping a close eye on this and start buying for VIX again + SPY puts we this continues falling tomorrow
6/17 3PM - Bought back some of my longer-dated VIX calls. Currently slightly bearish, but still uncertain, so most of my portfolio is cash right now. 6/17 3:50PM - SPY 15M MACD is now very bearish, and 1H is about to crossover. I'd give it a 50% chance we'll see it dump tomorrow, possibly towards 300 again. Entered into a very small position on NTM SPY puts, expiring Friday 6/18 10AM - 1H MACD is about to crossover. Unless we see a pump in the next hour or so, medium-term momentum will be bearish and we might see a dump later today or tomorrow. 6/18 12PM - Every MACD from 5M to 1D is now bearish, making me believe we'd even more likely see a drop today or tomorrow to 300. Bought short-dates June VIX calls. Stop loss for this and SPY puts @ 314 and 315 6/18 2PM - Something worth noting: opex is tomorrow and max pain is 310, which is the level we're gravitating towards right now. Also quad witching, so should expect some big market movements tomorrow as well. Might consider rolling my SPY puts forward 1 week since theoretically, this should cause us to gravitate towards 310 until 3PM on Friday. 6/18 3PM - Rolled my SPY puts forward 1W in case theory about max pain + quad witching end up having it's theoretical effect. Also GEX is really high coming towards options expiry tomorrow, meaning any significant price movements will be damped by MM hedging. Might not see significant price movements until quad witching hour tomorrow 3PM 6/18 10PM - DIX is very high right now, at 51%, which is very bullish. put/call ratio is still very low though. Very mixed signals. Will be holding positions until Monday or SPY 317 before reconsidering them. 6/18 2PM - No position changes. Coming into witching hour we're seeing increased volatility towards the downside. Looking good so far
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