Apr

30

Gilead arguably has the best science in the business. But success in Biotech / Pharma is reserved for those who keep their customers alive, but milk them forever by not curing them of anything.

Hits against Gilead:

1. Gilead did not make any friends by creating the Gardasil vaccine for HPV, which killed the downstream pipeline for those companies that would have treated HPV for 40-50 years.

2. Gilead does not have deep hooks inside the FDA either

Regeneron on the other hand has deep contacts inside the FDA and also practices the milking-forever business model. If they package dried-prunes as a cure for Covid, FDA will merrily approve it.

Apr

30

 Sheltered Specs,

Thought you might enjoy this talk:

"Roland De Wolk and the Scandalous Life of Leland Stanford"

Sushil Rungta writes: 

Very interesting.

Just ordered the book also.

A subject of great interest to me.
 

Apr

30

Looking at Dow Jones there have been 17 declines from ATHs since 1900 over 22%. Only two have recovered high within 1 year. 1990 and 1998 had declines around 22% and recovered within 1 year. 1917, the year preceding the Spanish flu recovering the all time high took 2 years.

Apr

30

 Twenty years ago one fourth of all goods sold by the biggest hardware companies in the US were horse, buggy and wagon companies. But how would you like to have remained these twenty years a heavy stockholder in a buggy whip man.

Many years ago the Canal stocks were much in demand the same way google is today. Canal stocks were among the most conservative of investments suitable for widows and orphans. Most people who owned canal stocks put them away and forget about them. These canal stocks shortly started a descent to zero.

Two other great books for seeing the importance of adjusting to the new times are The Time It Never Rained and Monte Walsh. The Kelly book was recommended by Mr. Avella.

Apr

30

I'm also wondering about real estate. Here there's a moratorium on evictions, a moratorium on foreclosures. Naturally no one will pay either rent, especially rent, or mortgage, because they are out of a job, and the unemployment fund is dried up.

That puts pressure on the banks, and so on down the chain.

Ralph Vince writes: 

Yes. This is why I think the virus is NOT a problem to be concerned about. Everything is downstream from everything else, in a giant circuit that is the US economy.

It cannot be started simply by reversing the order of operations form which it was stopped. Some fraction of the machine will inevitably be "amputated," I fear, and never re start.

I wish I knew what size that fraction is.

Peter St. Andre writes: 

The following is speculation, but it seems to me that much of the retail sector will not return to "normal" for at least 12 months and possibly as much as 5-10 years because apparently a vaccine will be difficult to create and distribute (the previous record for developing a vaccine - for Ebola - was 5 years [1]). You can write off theatres, music clubs, and the like. Museums and gyms and restaurants and salons and such will be severely challenged and perhaps unable to generate even 50% of their previous revenue because of persistent social distancing and the fact that many former customers will simply stay away. Some of this activity will move onto the Internet, but many of these organizations will cease to exist. Will anything take their place? That seems unlikely, which means it seems likely that retail rents will plummet ~50% too, leading to widespread bankruptcies in the commercial real estate sector. And this doesn't count factories, office buildings, and so on. What are the downstream effects on REITs, banks, pension funds, property managers, service companies, etc.? Others on the list are more expert in these matters so I'd love to hear their perspectives.

Peter Pinkhasov writes: 

If one had to throw darts I would think major consolidations in retail, airlines and O&G coming. Big winners are still middle-man removing; anti-cartel tech giants.

Ralph Vince writes: 

None of this stuff you fellows are discussing are part of the major backbone of American manufacturing though — what you are mentioning, even airlines, are not even complicated processes.

I'm talking about, say, large, design- engineered products, often one-offs like huge power transmission componentry involving oddball power transmission devices ( say, rotary actuators) that, say, operate in unusual environments, involve many complex comppnents and engineered upstream.

So if the more simpler services of the economy will struggle to reopen, how will the manufacturing backbone, comprised of it's own, interdependent, rather circuitous food-chain, stand up this decade, or ever? If things had been lost to globalism, the propensity for more of that will be far greater now by sheer necessity.

K.K Law writes: 

"COVID-19 is attacking our defense supply chains and our nation's security"

Gordon Haave writes: 

Covid 19 isn't attacking them. Human decisions are.

Julian Rowberry writes: 

Exactly Gordon, the same goes for the recovery. It won't be held back by complex physical limitations, it'll be limited in varying degrees in different segments by human decisions (red tape, regulations, access, sentiment etc).

The two areas I see that are going to do well are those with political clout to enforce the flow of decisions in their direction. These segments will be hard to swim along with because they will be able to front run, maintain and work their syndicates. The other is those who are who break the paradigm with new ideas, businesses & services, that the gatekeepers don't see coming until it's too late.

Easan Katir writes: 

Anecdote, pointing to a trend ahead:

A business-owning friend voluntarily quarantined on his yacht in Sausalito called to talk about money. He said he had just had a zoom staff meeting, and everybody said they liked working from home, and hoped it would continue.

So among other effects, the govt decision to shut down accelerates the work from home trend. #WFH
 

Apr

30

"Mapping The World's Trade Domination: USA & China's Clout Since 1980":

"Our visualization compares the dollars traded between China and the chosen country to that same country’s trade with the U.S. For example, if country ABC did $100m in trade with China and did $200M with the U.S., the ratio would show 50% in favor of the U.S."
Top 5 U.S. Top Trade Partners in 2018 (Total Merchandise Trade, $M)
1. Canada: $617,382
2. Mexico: $611,528
3. Japan: $217,563
4. Germany: $183,558
5. Republic of Korea: $130,635

Top 5 China Top Trade Partners in 2018 (Total Merchandise Trade, $M)
1. Japan: $328,043
2. Republic of Korea: $312,520
3. Hong Kong: $312,258
4. Taiwan: $225,780
5. Germany: $184,368

Apr

30

Does anyone know if anywhere else in the world hospitals/ICUs were overrun?

After China, Italy, (Iran?), NYC?

I just checked South Africa: it seems not as severe as Italy.

Why aren't where any other extreme hot-spots?

Is it possible that the virus mutates itself to extinction? After the first jump from animals to human-quite deadly, each followup infection/generation gets less and less severe?

Denise Shull writes: 

It would appear Mexico City is over-capacity per Bloomberg.

Ralph Vince writes: 

The damage to thee economy, long-term, is immeasurable.

Who is going to go it there, borrow to their nose and beyond , risk everything, to create something now? Who, given the heavy boot of government at all levels, the precedent that has been set, all based on a comic book hoax?

Only this who have NEVER been in that situation, think the economy will just "reopen" and life go back to normal.

There is no engine now. 

Jim Sogi writes: 

Worse than the permanent damage to the economy is our loss of freedom. What good is all the money, nice house if you don't have freedom, freedom to travel.

We lost a lot after 911, but this feels more like a dictatorship by local governors and mayors.

Dylan Distasio writes:

If it's inflicted much longer, especially with weather warming up, and the economic hardships, people are going to openly ignore the mandates. It's already starting.

Apr

27

The future is different. It just started the 23rd of March. It is electrification, energy transition, home base work, clean air, shop online, 5G, IoT, renewable energy, robotics, individual skill development, online education, mastering of oneself. The new renaissance has already started. Who wouldn't want to invest money on such a bright bullish future.

Apr

27

 I wonder if meat is going to have similar problems as crude as someone here mentioned with the meat factories shutting down. Similar carrying issues. I'm vegan, so not too worried, but it could be a problem for markets and food supply in general.

Brennan Turner writes: 

I think the challenges in meat markets is just a blip and oil markets are not the best comparable.

Long answer: Meat processing plants will open back up as entire factories get sanitized. In the meantime, 3 options emerge for the remaining animals:

1.    Only cattle can be grazed (cheapest option for beef farmers but not an option for hogs or poultry)

2.    Put on low-weigh gain/maintenance rations (still expensive)

3.    Or be culled: 100,000s of animals (if not millions) in the U.S who are supposed to be moved to said plants but simply can't now. Any of these options represent a significant loss for the livestock producer. As plants open back up, in order to reduce COVID-19 contagion risks, it's unlikely they'll be going full tilt (maybe closer to 60-70% of capacity).

As a result, I believe a few scenarios will emerge in the coming weeks:

 1.    Those who can pay more for meat, will continue to do so, but with more and more people on the unemployment line, this number will drop which would lead back to lower meat prices in the medium term (I.e. 3-6 months).

2.    We're already seeing an increase in demand for the local butcher and thus, one area I'm watching closely is the D2C game (Direct to Consumer); I've already seen a few of my cattlemen friends around North America kill a few of their own animals destined for the plants, but instead of just dumping carcasses in the manure pit, they're capturing the surge in D2C demand from their local consumers. And yes, dumping animals in the manure pit is often how they're disposed of…great organic fertilizer for the crops!

3.    With less animals to feed, and/or animals on smaller rations, this is a significant hit to the feed line item for grains and oilseeds. Cash corn prices in many areas of the Midwest (usually the corn demand epicentre) are already below $3/bushel thanks to an ethanol market that needs 50-60% less corn than 3-4 months ago! Considering that less than 10% of farmers actually hedge in the futures markets, this means a lot of farmers are swimming pretty naked right now. My last point echoes Mr. Vince in that that the ripple effect will be deep and long. Small-town America in the agricultural heartland could see significant demographic changes: farmers can't afford brand new equipment or trucks or even eating out in town 1x/week with their family…lots of these local businesses depend on, at bare-minimum, a break-even agricultural economy and, without it, they won't be able to weather the storm coming).

Not to patronize any of the List, but this will be a major reset of the scales in the agricultural landscape. I think there'll be major regulatory changes to the meat processing sector i.e. in a intense twist of irony, I could see it moving to the extreme opposite of Chinese wet markets. Further, there's going to be a lot of blood on the streets and I'm skeptical that any bailouts for farmers won't be enough for many. Here in Canada, the government is only lending more money to an already over-leveraged farmer (but students are getting $9 Billion or $1,250/person/month, no strings attached!!!)

I left NYC in 8 years ago to go back to Saskatchewan and help my family's farm be a little more structured/professional. This spring, we plan to seed ~55,000 acres in Sask and 20,000 acres in North Dakota (combined, ~5x the size of Manhattan). Agricultural markets are unapologetically cyclical (as are almost all commodities). What we're seeing now is the exact reason I implemented some serious SOPs and a somewhat overburdening pay down of debt during the good times of 2012-2016. However, because we've done this, we'll be able to weather the storm financially, no matter how bad it gets. The high-interest rate environment of the 1980s continues to come to mind, although I haven't had a chance to dig into the all various ripple effects back then, but I think there could be some similarities.

Bottom line is that, much like many other industries, the agriculture's big players will get bigger as the under-capitalized and under-prepared have to throw in the towel (be it now, or when the further over-leveraging catches up with them). I'm undecided if we want to expand our farm further, but it's either that, or all the pensions and endowment funds will buy up the land around us (assuming they've got pocket change to play with still), and the farmer is toast in the long-run over impossible cash rent costs. Thus, to respond to the conclusions in the Bloomberg piece, the U.S. will not be alone in this restructuring of agricultural economies.

Stefan Jovanovich writes: 

Questions for BT: Could you explain why you think the cash cost for rentals will go up? Don't the consolidations suggest that there will be fewer smart operators like you and more absentee landlords like the British Land Companies in the last third of the 19th century? 

Brennan Turner replies: 

Institutional investors always have deeper pockets than the local farmer/investor. And they are far from absentee landowners, as many have ESG requirements these days and are very protective of their generational investment. (They're not making any more land!) Ultimately, there's way less leniency and whoever can pay, will usually pay. Land ownership/operator has gotten fairly ruthless these days.
 

Apr

26

We just witnessed an historic perturbation on the price of oil, a very inelastic supply/demand structure. How many other industrial commodities will or are experiencing this (and I'm sure there are scores of unlisted commodities used in the industrial process that we're not even aware of what's going on in those markets).

And market perturbations have a tendency two fishtail going forward depending how inelastic the supply-demand situation is there, that is there's a tendency to go shortage to glut2 shortage to glut the more inelastic the commodity is.

My argument is that there are downstream systemic prices that will be paid these perturbations will echo through the entire manufacturing system, with the more complex products dependent and more components certain to suffer.

Returning say to the actuator example, and I use this only as an example I don't know where these perturbations will be felt, but let's suppose something as simple as manufacturer of a seal or a type of seal in hydraulic component tree cannot be performed four. Because of the unavailability of a certain industrial commodity necessary in its manufacture. And again I'm not picking on hydraulic seals I'm using it as one example of what I'm talking about, so as to be clear.

A large supplier like a Parker or SMC they keep an inventory but it is tiny, most products in most industries done JIT.

And if a seal is unavailable suddenly aircraft is hydraulic system needs repair are down, as are drawbridges, heavy equipment, even garbage trucks, and at least half the elevators in the world - any of these devices and the systems whose operations are contingent on them, go down too until something as simple as seal manufacturer is reinstated once supply of a necessary upstream commodity for its manufacture becomes available.

Maybe hydraulic seals are a poor example but you see what I mean about the domino effect at play here, that oil price going negative last week was a huge warning of this sort of pending trouble.

Apr

24

One notes that the Dax was down 100 points around noon before the announcement of the unpower. It is amazing that the statistical tests are actually done for real in a case like this. It's a false sense of scientism…. but fortunately the flexions in Europe were able to get the news ahead of the 35 point drop.

Apr

22

A lovely grind for 100 NQ points starting at Europe's close, from round to round. It culminates with ecstasy just in time with the MOC's and proceeds to reverse 3/4's of the move in 15 min. What a script. The only persistent regularity of equity index futures is that they never go too far in a straight line, manage your inventory accordingly.

Apr

21

What are everyone's thoughts on this? It's down 50+% for the day already.

R. Dirani writes: 

The narrative has not changed. Pressure of crude should continue. Demand destruction has occurred to a great deal. Demand will take time to come back. 

Apr

20

It's a shame we don't have Mr. E around any more to put things in perspective. He loved to eat at the weaknesses of atheists and people of different romantic preferences and collectives of all stripe and he would have caught every move in the market the last two months while cornering the soybean crop. I remember I took him out to dinner one evening and there was an attractive younger female with us and he admitted that he controlled the entire soybean crop and had just visited all his holdings on a trip to the Midwest (with his girl friend whose fare back I paid) because she didn't want to wait 3 days for a reduced fare). The attractive female didn't even look at me the whole evening as she was totally fascinated with E.

Apr

20

A retired state epidemiologist/former chief scientist of of European CDC, says Imperial paper "no good" and that all countries will end up pretty much the same; i.e. lockdown measures only spread out the fatalities. Thinks real death rate will be 0.1%. Well worth the time listening to (Interview in English):

"Swedish Expert: Why Lockdowns are the Wrong Policy"

Apr

20

I looked for historical instances in which the S&P 500 made a 6-month low and was at least 10% higher 20 days later (with no new low in the meantime). I found 14 instances going back to 1982 and determined the net changes in the next 21 days and the next 63 days.

 
                       % change      % change
    Date              21 days later 63 days later
          9/10/1982         13.4%        16.6%
          8/21/1984         -0.9%        -4.9%
           1/5/1988         -2.6%        -0.6%
         11/12/1999          0.3%        -1.5%
           5/3/2001          1.2%        -3.1%
         10/19/2001          7.6%         4.4%
          8/20/2002        -10.4%        -4.2%
          11/6/2002         -1.3%      overlap
         12/19/2008         -6.3%        -8.5%
           4/6/2009         10.5%         6.4%
           8/2/2010         -6.6%         5.6%
         10/31/2011         -0.3%         6.1%
          3/11/2016          2.2%         4.3%
          1/24/2019          6.2%        10.9%

Average                      0.9%         2.4%
Standard deviation           6.7%         7.0%
N                              14           13
t                            0.12         0.19
Average of all periods          0.7%         2.0%

Results are consistent with randomness. Maybe the forward-looking statistics were more bullish a month ago.

Apr

20

"Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services Partner to Distribute More Than Half a Million Medical Supplies Confiscated from Price Gougers"

Victor Niederhoffer writes: 

The speculator as hero. The siege of Antwerp.

Rudolf Hauser writes: 

For the private sector to inventory supplies, etc. for potential future periods of shortages requires a return for their investment and the risk that such shortages will never happen. Someone or some organization should be able to charge higher prices during such a shortage so that they precautionary investment will be rewarded. That will encourage such future behavior to be warranted. There also is a worthwhile function when someone buys large amounts in areas with adequate supply in order to make then available in areas of shortages.

From a demand standpoint, pricing insures that those who get the most value from a scarce product will be buyers when it comes to most goods and services.

But things are different when after a crisis is clearly at hand, someone purchases large amounts with the intention of cornering a market and selling at inflated prices. Nor is price a fair distribution mechanism when it is a matter of life and death and it would have maximum utility for all and the ability to purchase is limited by the means to pay at one's disposal. The most basic human right is the right to survival in oth non-human animal world and in the human world. Any enforcement against price gouging should be limited to such agents, not those who purchased before a crisis situation was well known. Nor should agents who purchased before a crisis be forced to sell at any point in time. It is in their advantage to sell when the shortage is greater. If they hold off selling, it may be because they see an even greater need in the future, and they might just be right. In that case society would be better off if they hold off selling. When the future is so uncertain, better more judgements than fewer making such decisions. 

Apr

20

Sort by over 65 here and see that Italy is second only to Japan. The same sort puts most African countries at the bottom of the sort.

Demographic science aids in understanding the spread and fatality rates of COVID-19

Governments around the world must rapidly mobilize and make difficult policy decisions to mitigate the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Because deaths have been concentrated at older ages, we highlight the important role of demography, particularly, how the age structure of a population may help explain differences in fatality rates across countries and how transmission unfolds. We examine the role of age structure in deaths thus far in Italy and South Korea and illustrate how the pandemic could unfold in populations with similar population sizes but different age structures, showing a dramatically higher burden of mortality in countries with older versus younger populations. This powerful interaction of demography and current age-specific mortality for COVID-19 suggests that social distancing and other policies to slow transmission should consider the age composition of local and national contexts as well as intergenerational interactions. We also call for countries to provide case and fatality data disaggregated by age and sex to improve real-time targeted forecasting of hospitalization and critical care needs.

Apr

20

Happy to say that Mr. Greedometer Mr. Seymour is still going strong. He surprised me at a spec party when he came up to me and said that I said he shouldn't be on list. I said it couldn't be. then I realized it was him.

Steve Ellison writes: 

I still remember Sam Eisenstadt telling Mr. Seymour at the Spec Party that his work indicated a likely 10-15% increase in the S&P 500 during the following 6 months (this was in April 2014).

Apr

20

Some nice maps:

The Subways Seeded the Massive Coronavirus Epidemic in New York City

Jeffrey E. Harris

NBER Working Paper No. 27021

Issued in April 2020 NBER Program(s):Health Economics

New York City's multitentacled subway system was a major disseminator – if not the principal transmission vehicle – of coronavirus infection during the initial takeoff of the massive epidemic that became evident throughout the city during March 2020. The near shutoff of subway ridership in Manhattan – down by over 90 percent at the end of March – correlates strongly with the substantial increase in the doubling time of new cases in this borough. Maps of subway station turnstile entries, superimposed upon zip code-level maps of reported coronavirus incidence, are strongly consistent with subway-facilitated disease propagation. Local train lines appear to have a higher propensity to transmit infection than express lines. Reciprocal seeding of infection appears to be the best explanation for the emergence of a single hotspot in Midtown West in Manhattan. Bus hubs may have served as secondary transmission routes out to the periphery of the city.

Apr

19

A few of us were around during 1960-82. These were bad years in the US. There were riots in the cities, the Viet Nam war, presidents were assassinated, impeached, there was a serious threat of nuclear annihilation. The stock market ranged up and down 40% for close to 20 years. The 70's were especially bad.

Hernan Avella writes: 

Everybody anchors to the familiar, to the period of time that fits their model of the world or their desires. Ray Dalio thinks we are in the 1930-1945, Stefan thinks we are in the 1920's, Ralph Vince thinks this is 1987… I don't feel very confident in any narrow set of outcomes outside minutes or hours.

Apr

19

I have some questions regarding eurodollars and attempted to answer them myself: Why is GE quoted as interest rates, but de facto acts like a commodity ? Why were GE quotes up (rates on eurodollar deposits down) during the 2008/2020 crises. There was lots of cash demand.

- GE futures prices DO show de facto demand for cash (any fx cash offshore demand)
- GE is priced as rate to par of deposits
- GE reacts to or anticipates FED rates, as FED reacts to cash demand
- the rate of the deposits are not directly driven by supply and demand of global cash, but are driven by "external"/ non-eurodollar-mkt interest rates
- GE quotes can not be understand by the internal supply and demand of the eurodollar mkt conclusion: even GE-quotes are interest rates, GE-quotes act de facto like commodity prices, e.g. currently show huge cash demand.

Does you agree with my answers?

Apr

19

Another anniversary in history of American public violence: April 19th, Baltimore Riot of 1861

Apr

16

I suspect money from the Fed is at the root of this. Follow the money. I've been saying all along that they've been counting all death as coronas. That's why the other deaths in NY are down. The purpose is not only to get Fed money it's to embarrass the prez and increase the deep state. They're now saying he overstated vents needed was because of CDC estimates. It's a horse from the same garage. And has everybody seen the two love letters of Fauci to the cattle trader? How do you expect a 80 year old basketball player to change his stripes and inclination…I say it's the same as relying on the Chinese wall in merger negotiations at the big investment banks. Human nature never changes the incentive to make money or have sex.

Apr

15

1 barrel = 158.987 litres 20$/barrel=0.1258$/Litre

A bottle of water costs cheaper now. So do I drink crude? At least on the trading desk!

Massive contango. Next Month is 35% higher and the month after is 60% higher. Isn't this a free lunch? So one is wondering if it is free then is there something that I haven't figured out that can end up making me the lunch?

Isn't the senator's ratio of price of anything / price of gold in case of crude at an all time low?

Apr

13

 April 9th:

The best advice on the stock market during a "bear market" is contained in a book by Frank Kelly Why You Win or Lose: The Psychology of Speculation written in 1930 by a man who played the market during the 1929 crash and after and profited.

The advice is "the wrong behavior is almost sure to be seemingly logical behavior". Indeed one of the most charming things about the stock market is that one may prospect there by being illogical. The few who contrive to take more out of the market than they put into take more out by by going contrary to what would generally be accepted as logic. They do the opposite of what seemingly intelligent speculators are doing. Kelly gives many examples of this for the 1929 crash. Stocks go down on good news and up on bad news. A stock announces a dividend (earnings beat) and goes down but it rises when the dividend decreases (earnings masses) and goes up. Many other examples are given as to why the public buys stocks when the prices are near the top and sells them when prices are near the bottom.

No better example of the value of the illogical is given by the price behavior this week. For example, today. Friday March 7th, unemployment was at 8.5 million and 8 million more claims came in. What a time to take advantage of the coming carnage than that

At the beginning of the week the surgeon general reported that this would be a disastrous week or the hell of a week. Dr. Fauci in an interview give his usual prolonging the likely course of the recovery and downplaying the host of a cure within 4 months (why don't they confine him to jogging around a forlorn and distant track while others try to salvage any hopes of recovery). The drum beater of bad news continued during the week with headlines about retailers coming failure to meet debt payments and even online marketers were hurting because although views were up, advertising revenues were way down. Hardly a nook was spared. Typical was the highlight that airline leasing companies were in jeopardy to say nothing of the layoffs in Boeing and all travel companies.

No wonder the market has its best week in 48 years and that it is now 30% above its previous low. A content analysis of the negativity of news or headlines in the media this week would show this was the most negative on record. The WSJ was almost as negative as the NYT if that possible.

Is there any solution for succumbing to this all to human proclivity? Yes. A study of numbers will help. One example, it was 40 or so days without the stock market hitting a 20 day high. Such extended durations without a drink (or romance) are rare.

They have an expectation and Sharpe quite in line with what transpired. I could give many other examples. For example the big Friday decline that preceded the biggest rally ever. You have to be illogical and you can't assume that what happened in vivid memory continues.

Typical of all the bad news on the virus front was the number of new deaths and new reported incidents in NY reaching a maximum. (When will the common man understand that the more they test the greater than number of new virus will be found.

And the news that the after effect of ventilator cures are likely to be worse than shuffling off itself. As a benchmark the number tested is less than 10% of the population in almost all areas. The constant increase in the areas under lockdown and the extension everywhere. How illogical can you be?

T SUBSCRIBER 1 minute ago: "What we are doing is working," Dr. Fauci told reporters Thursday." Um, excuse me Dr. Fauci, you and your sidekick are strangling the economy of the US based on your euphoria over of this "pandemic". Mr. President, do what we elected you to do.

For all those against reopening the country until things are perfectly safe please educate yourself: (cont)

One more thing. Companies like Fedex and businesses like the professional sports have say 600,000 workers and the death rate is less than 10 deaths. How have they done it. They take care and use their common sense to distance.

Take manufacturing jobs 19 million or so. They are all used to tight work rules and restrictions on distancing. They would use choice and common sense to resume their jobs and pursuit of happiness. How did Mencken, Nock and Rand predict that we would give up all our liberties with a whimper.

What's amazing is that Kelly was able to profit by swing when commissions were so high unlike Livermore he was not born to commit himself in the Netherlands (never go near 62nd street). His swinging at least was with a several month holding period usually without margin.

Kelly didn't use margin and his average swing was 3 months hold so he didn't vig himself to death.

Follow @VicNiederhoffer on Twitter for more

Apr

10

 I bused today to Mexicali, Mexico out of Coronavirus curiosity. ­The Mexico border, despite all news and government reports, is wide open. There was zero wait, no questions, and no one even asked for an ID.

About half of the people on the streets are wearing masks. Vehicle traffic is a quarter normal. Buses are down but taxis still running. The city has ordered all businesses to close but about 20% of them have refused to comply without consequences. Hotel prices are halved. Taxi prices are halved. Street hookers ply their trade as usual.

There is no run on goods in the stores as there is in the U.S. That is not the Mexican mentality, according to the locals. They live for the day and let tomorrow take care of itself. Street vendors and shop sole proprietors who rely on daily sales to live hand-to-mouth are profligate behind masks.

I walked into the Walmart where customers are required to take a squirt of disinfectant on the hands and to enter singly and remain 6' apart from other clients and staff while shopping. This store and other chains are broadcasting on loudspeakers every five minutes, 'Mexicali is a dangerous place to be. The reason is because you are on the streets and not at home. Go home and remain there as soon as you finish shopping.'

Apr

10

The alleged reason why there is no more Coronavirus related deaths in Wuhan.

Apr

10

You recall they found a lot of iridium at the KT boundary in sediment, corresponding with the extinction of dinosaurs ~65M yrs ago. Luis Alvarez and others concluded that a decent size asteroid struck near what is now Yucatan around that time, resulting in mass extinction.

Long ago (but not that long) when I was involved with astrophotography I befriended* Gene and Carolyn Shoemaker. Gene's dissertation was on Arizona meteor (Barringer) crater, where he discovered "shocked quartz": quartz crystals with microscopically features diagnostic of a large impact. He and his wife spent their life searching for other such impacts, using satellite images and rock samples.

Early on they teamed up with Eleanor "Glo" Helin of Caltech (and my former neighbor), searching the skies for other possible earth-crossing asteroids (there are many of them). Every month taking images with the 18" Schmidt camera (telescope) at Mt Palomar, Gene built a microscope comparator to check images a few days apart to look for stars that moved (=asteroids or comets. Similar to how Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh using blink comparator). With this device the movement was seen as a 3D relief - like a star floating above the others).

Like many partnerships this ended in a feud, and the Shoemakers and Glo weren't on speaking terms. Caltech resolved it by giving one team the week before new moon (the dark part of the month), and the other after new moon. But Carolyn - who was not a professional astronomer (she met Gene when he was her brother's classmate at Caltech) - was very good at spotting these floating smudges, and went on to set the record of discovery of comets by a woman (Jean Mueller eventually broke this record - story for another time). The shoemakers went on to partner with amateur David Levy, who together discovered comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 - which impacted on Jupiter's atmosphere in spectacular fashion.

Anyway in those days there were cautionary calls for more programs to search for wayward asteroids that could impact the earth. Some suggested huge funding - to try to find these bodies early and also weapons that could be launched to deflect them away from the earth.

The Shoemakers are gone now (Gene died in a head-on collision in Australia while searching for impacts), and so is the impact worry. But imagine (if you will), that today's crisis - instead of a tiny virus - was an inbound rock 10 miles in diameter. "Why? Why Orangeman, didn't you fund X,Y,Z, when your top scientists said it was important? Why did you defund the 18" Schmidt on Palomar (a wonderful but obsolete instrument) when it could have saved us?

*I was using gas hypersensitized Kodak technical pan 2415 film, which they used as well. I did some studies on optimizing this process and that is how we met.

Apr

10

There is a very low but non-zero incidence of prosthetic joint infection with oral organisms. The vast majority are skin bugs (staph aureus, etc), but also colon, respiratory, and genital cooties on rare occasion travel the blood and land on a metal joint. Such transfers can also occur brushing and flossing, eating, defecating, or with sex. So for most people that’s a lot of antibiotics.

Mostly because of CYA, years ago the recommendation was prophylactic antibiotics prior to any dental procedure that could result in bleeding, such as oral surgery, tooth cleaning, etc. Then the dental and orthopedic organizations got together and said for the vast majority this was not necessary, in fact not advised - due to risk of allergic reaction and increasing bacterial resistance. The position paper said it should be reserved for high risk joint replacement patients, without exactly defining that risk. IMO patients with prior prosthetic joint replacements are high risk, as are others including poorly controlled diabetes.

That said most orthos want pts to keep doing this for ever, which reverts again to CYA.

There is a much stronger case for patients with prosthetic heart valves, though mainly the mechanical type.

Apr

6

It's been interesting to observe the performance of different "hedges" during the current drawdown. Up until Ronin demise Vol was your best friend. At that point long term bonds were 45 full points below max, and a rotation seemed sensible. A naive RPM type of approach would suggest that, with bonds 30 points above min and the potential effects of the stimulus start to sink in the minds of the collective…. perhaps gold will be a better partner for risk in the next sequence.

Apr

3

Some years ago during one of the golden years of the Speclist we had a discussion about data visualization. Edward Tufte's books about data visualization are among my favorites. Tufte described John Snow's map of the 1854 Broadstreet Cholera epidemic. Snow mapped each case and the location which ended up centering around the handle to the water pump everyone used. They removed the handle and the spread slowed.

I wish we had this data now which might lead to certain areas of disease spread that could help reduce infection transmission. More of a scalpel approach not a nuclear bomb.

Hernan Avella writes: 

Yes, this is the Taiwan and to some extent SGP approach. It's hard to predict if this is even an option in the west because allegedly #1 we can't get much more basic stuff done, and #2 it triggers the liberty/individuality ethos. At the same time, Mr. Snowden revelations show that #1 we can run a sophisticated surveillance system. #2 Most people don't care, not even the libertarians.

Apr

3

Deception in markets as in nature is business as usual. The geopolitical balance among global competitors (Russia, China, US) has been changing over the past years. The virus provides elements for an acceleration to this process. Quite significant are the implications in the EU because of the virus and the consequences mainly for weak economies like Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece. If the Europeans do not find cohesion and solidarity, the Euro might be at risk. China is using its soft power to influence relationships. Russia is interested in the disintegration of the EU to regain influence in Eastern Europe and undermine NATO solidarity. Quite significant that China and Russia are offering their aid when nations in Europe are closing their borders and every one is focused on their self interest. Challenging developments ahead.

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