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Archive for February, 2007

Did you see the headlines?  Today, in New York, a whole herd of bears escaped and started wreaking havoc on Wall Street.  Traffic jams ensued; people were holed up inside buildings.  Some pedestrians were even eaten alive as they crossed the street!

Today, the markets suffered the worst day I have ever seen since I started trading.  There have been worse days, of course, but it’s the worst day I have seen since I have been involved (ie, since late 2004).

The Nasdaq suffered a 4% loss, the SP-500 3.5%, the Russell 2000 -3.8%, the SP-600 -3.6%, the Russell 1000 -3.4%.  Those are huge declines.  I’d been expecting a sharp decline but this is more than I expected.  The question now is how do I react?

I’m going to do some research.  I’m tempted to go back in and buy some shares on the correction up, but on the other hand this reversal looks pretty nasty.  I think there’s a little more ways to go down.

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As I said in my last post, the Hollywood establishment sure seems to be in love with Al Gore.  However, I doubt their actual commitment to the cause and they are probably doing it to make themselves more popular.

But this leads me to the next question – if global warming is real, why do so many people (for example, the US administration, some right-wing politicians) fight it and oppose taking action to fix it?

I can’t speak for others but I will speak for myself.  I don’t trust the political left (actually, I trust very few politicians, but I distrust politicians who attempt to expand the size of the government).  To me, buzz-words like "sustainable development" are euphemisms for globalized socialism. Socialism, and its ugly cousin in communism, are incredibly destructive forces because they are dripping in redistribution.  Redistribution is political poison because it concentrates power in the hands of a few – the rest of us get to be inconvenienced and pay more in taxes while the power brokers make a load of money.

Even more than that, the political left are the ones driving climate change measures and they generally cloak their political views under the guise of saving the environment.  They are typically anti-globalism, anti-trade, and anti-free markets, and are wrapping their political policies under noble causes like saving the environment.  They want carbon emissions to be capped and taxed because those greedy corporations are stealing too much money.  To remedy this (and all the other free market evils), more government is required to solve the problem.  Never mind that the government solution to the problem is usually worse than the problem itself…

So, for those of us on the right, our we don’t balk at environmentalism per se, we object to the political movement driving it.

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I actually watched some of the Oscars this evening (nothing else was on).  Man, the Hollywood types absolutely love Al Gore.  “You’re so inspirational!”  “You’re going to change the world!”  “Thank-you so much for bringing this to everyone’s attention, we couldn’t have done it without you!”

Hollywood’s latest obsession with global warming seems shallow to me.  Whatever happened to their crusades for fighting homelessness?  Or poverty?  Or fighting the fur trade?  They jump on the next fad social cause depending on what’s hot in the public’s eye (no pun intended… well, okay, maybe a little).

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Tomorrow, Thursday, is garbage day. In preparation for the affair, I decided to collect all the garbage in the house and put it at the end of the driveway the night before. I also planned to do the same for all recyclable materials (even though I think that recycling anything other than aluminum is a waste of time and money).

The problem is that I seem to have lost my blue box recycling… box. I have no idea where it went. Last Thursday, I got home late after a hockey but I specifically and visually remember getting home after the game, going to the end of the driveway, picking up the blue box and storing it in the garage. Yet, today, in the garage on the shelf above the snowblower, there is no blue box. That is completely baffling because I remember putting it there.

There’s three possibilities going on here:

  1. I put the box somewhere else in the garage other than where I think I put it.
  2. I moved the box during the week somewhere else in the garage. Why I would do this I have no idea, I only go in the garage to get to my car and feed the cat. I spend less than 5 minutes in there per week, particularly in winter.
  3. Somebody "broke" into the garage and stole my blue box.

Seriously, though, that is just weird. Am I really going that senile that I can’t remember what I did with the blue box?

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Today, Tuesday, Feb 20, 2007, marks a personal milestone for me in the stock market.  It is the first time I have ever had a stock go up in value by 100%.  I bought Intercontinental Exchange in early October $80 per share.  A little less than 5 months later it is currently trading at $162.  This represents my all-time best trade.

My previous record was Hologic (HOLX) which I closed for a 40% gain in about 4 months.  Most of my trade winners average 12% – 25% per trade.  Apple was up 60% for me, but that has pulled back to 40%.  I had a 40% gain in Google in Janaury 2006 in 2 and a half months, but that was erased in the span of a few weeks.

I bought a call option on Apple in March or April 2006, and it went up in value 100% in two and a half weeks (that is not a typo), from $750 to $1500 but I wasn’t able to keep any of the gains, a huge mistake on my part.  I don’t include options in my best and worst trades because the percent gains can fluctuate so quickly.  I’ve probably lost about 4 times as much trading options as I’ve made, though thankfully the losses are smaller.  I haven’t quite learned yet to take my gains quickly when I trade options.

Anyways, I’m glad I have decided to stay with the trend in ICE.  I expect to lose some of those gains on an inevitable pullback, but today I will bask in the glory of hitting triple digits.

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This past week, in a vote split mostly down party lines (although 17 Republicans voted for it), Congress passed a non-binding resolution stating that they disapprove of President Bush’s recent plan to increase the troop count in Iraq by 21,500.

In my opinion, this is merely political posturing. Why would Congress pass a non-binding resolution? They’re basically saying "We don’t like what you’re doing but we’re not going to stop you from doing it!" So why do it at all?

I think it’s because it allows the Democrats (whose base is totally opposed to the war) the ability to have it both ways. On the one hand, they can say to their base "Look what we’re doing, we’re saying we disapprove of the war!" and on the other hand, they’re not actually cutting off funding for it. Thus, they can also say that although they disapprove of the war, they are still supporting the troops by not restricting their funding. Then, however the war works out, they can say they were always on the winning side. If the US pulls out, it’s because of their foresight in the resolution. If the US eventually wins, they can say they forced the President to change strategies but never did anything to hurt the military.

It’s quite a nice hedge, really. On the other hand, I’d be willing to bet that if there were a bill to actually reduce funding for the military, there’d be a lot less Congressmen supporting it. You can also bet that there’d be a whole lot of filibustering in the Senate.

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I’ve been using the released version of Excel 2007 and I have discovered a bug.  I only discovered it yesterday but it is incredibly annoying.

Cells that are calculated based upon the contents of other cells do not update automatically when those cells change.  For example, in the attached image (1), I typed in 1 – 10 in a list and then used the Sum command to add them all up.

The answer is 55, which is correct, and that appears in image (2).

Next, in image (3) I change the value of cell A10 from 10 to 15 and pressed enter.  Note that the contents of A11 still says =SUM(A1:A15) and the contents of A10 have changed from 10 to 15, but the calculation of A11 still remains the same as if I never changed anything.

It does not update automatically until I go to the cell contents (ie, right beneath font) and press Enter.

This bug renders Excel almost unusable.

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