Dec

31

UPDATE 1/31/2011:

Contestants Summary:

- 31 Spec-listers contributed to the 2011 Investment Contest with "specific" recommendations.

- Average 4 recommendations per person (mean of 4.2, median and mode of 4) came in.

- 6 contestants gave only 1 recommendation, 3 gave only 2 and thus 9 out of the total 31 have NOT given the minimum 3 recommendations needed as per the Rules clarified by Ken Drees.

- The Hall of Fame entry for the largest number of ideas (did someone say diversification?) is from Tim Melvin, close on whose heels are J. T. Holley with 11 and Ken Drees with 10.

- The most creatively expressed entry of course has come from Rocky Humbert.

- At this moment 17 out of 31 contestants are in positive performance territory, 14 are in negative performance territory.

- Barring a major outlier of a 112.90% loss on the Option Strategy of Phil McDonnell (not accounting for the margin required for short options, but just taking the ratio of initial cash inflow to outflow):

- Average of all Individual contestant returns is -2.54% and the Standard Deviation of returns achieved by all contestants is 5.39.

- Biggest Gainer at this point is Jared Albert (with his all in single stock bet on REFR) with a 22.87% gain. The only contestant a Z score greater than 2 ( His is actually 4.72 !!)

- Biggest Loser at this point (barring the Giga-leveraged position of Mr. McDonnell) is Ken Drees at -10.36% with a Z Score that is at -1.45.

- Wildcards have not been accounted for as at this point, with wide
deviations of recommendations from the rules specified by most. While 9
participants have less than 3 recommendations, those with more than 4
include several who have not chosen to specify which 3 are their primary recommends. Without clarity on a universal measurability wildcard accounting is on hold. Those making more than 1 recommendations would find that their aggregate average return is derived by taking a sum of returns of individual positions divided by the number of recommends. Unless specified by any person that positions are taken in a specific ratio its equal sums invested approach.

Contracts Summary:

- A total of 109 contracts are utilized by the contestants across bonds, equity indices (Nikkei, Kenyan Stocks included too!), commodities, currencies and individual stock positions.

- The ratio of Shorts to Longs across all recommendations, irrespective of the type of contract (call, put, bearish ETF etc.) is 4 SELL orders Vs 9 Buy Orders. Not inferring that this list is more used to pressing the Buy Button. Just an occurence on this instance.

- The Average Return, so far, on the 109 contracts utilized is -1.26% with a Standard Deviation of 12.42%. Median Return is 0.39% and the mode of Returns of all contracts used is 0.

- The Highest Return is on MICRON TECH at 28.09, if one does not account for the July 2011 Put 25 strike on SLV utilized by Phil McDonnell.

- The Lowest Return is on IPTV at -50%, if one does not account for the Jan 2012 Call 40 Strike on SLV utilized by Phil McDonnell.

- Only Two contracts are having a greater than 2 z score and only 3 contracts are having a less than -2 Z score.

Victor Niederhoffer wrote:

One is constantly amazed at the sagacity in their fields of our fellow specs. My goodness, there's hardly a field that one of us doesn't know about from my own hard ball squash rackets to the space advertising or our President, from surfing to astronomy. We certainly have a wide range.

May I suggest without violating our mandate that we consider our best sagacities as to the best ways to make a profit in the next year of 2011.

My best trades always start with assuming that whatever didn't work the most last year will work the best this year, and whatever worked the best last year will work the worst this year. I'd be bullish on bonds and bearish on stocks, bullish on Japan and bearish on US stocks.

I'd bet against the banks because Ron Paul is going to be watching them and the cronies in the institutions will not be able to transfer as much resources as they've given them in the past 2 years which has to be much greater in value than their total market value.

I keep wondering what investments I should make based on the hobo's visit and I guess it has to be generic drugs and foods.

What ideas do you have for 2011 that might be profitable? To make it interesting I'll give a prize of 2500 to the best forecast, based on results as of the end of 2011.

David Hillman writes: 

"I do know that a sagging Market keeps my units from being full."

One would suggest it is a sagging 'economy' contributing to vacancy, not a sagging 'market'. There is a difference. 

Ken Drees, appointed moderator of the contest, clearly states the new rules of the game:

 1. Submissions for contest entries must be made on the last two days of 2010, December 30th or 31st.
2. Entries need to be labeled in subject line as "2011 contest investment prediction picks" or something very close so that we know this is your official entry.
3. Entries need 3 predictions and 1 wildcard trade prediction (anything goes on the wildcard).

4. Extra predictions may be submitted and will be judged as extra credit. This will not detract from the main predictions and may or may not be judged at all.

5. Extra predictions will be looked on as bravado– if you've got it then flaunt it. It may pay off or you may give the judge a sour palate.

The desire to have entries coming in at years end is to ensure that you have the best data as to year end 2010 and that you don't ignite someone else to your wisdom.

Market direction picks are wanted:

Examples: 30 year treasury yield will fall to 3% in 2011, S&P 500 will hit "x" by June, and then by "y" by December 2011.

The more exact your prediction is, the more weight will be given. The more exact your prediction, the more weight you will receive if right and thus the more weight you will receive if wrong. If you predict that copper will hit 5.00 dollars in 2011 and it does you will be given a great score, if you say that copper will hit 5.00 dollars in march and then it will decline to4.35 and so forth you will be judged all along that prediction and will receive extra weight good or bad. You decide on how detailed your submission is structured.

Will you try to be precise (maybe foolhardy) and go for the glory? Or will you play it safe and not stand out from the crowd? It is a doubled edged sword so its best to be the one handed market prognosticator and make your best predictions. Pretend these predictions are some pearls that you would give to a close friend or relative. You may actually help a speclister to make some money by giving up a pearl, if that speclister so desires to act upon a contest–G-d help him or her.

Markets can be currency, stocks, bonds, commodities, etc. Single stock picks can be given for the one wildcard trade prediction. If you give multiple stock picks for the wildcard then they will all be judged and in the spirit of giving a friend a pearl–lets make it "the best of the best, not one of six".

All judgments are the Chair's. The Chair will make final determination of the winner. Entries received with less than 3 market predictions will not be considered. Entries received without a wildcard will be considered.The spirit of the contest is "Give us something we can use".

Bill Rafter adds: 

Suggestion for contest:

"Static" entry: A collection of up to 10 assets which will be entered on the initial date (say 12/31/2010) and will be unaltered until the end data (i.e. 12/31/2011). The assets could be a compilation of longs and shorts, or could have the 10 slots entirely filled with one asset (e.g. gold). The assets could also be a yield and a fixed rate; that is one could go long the 10-year yield and short a fixed yield such as 3 percent. This latter item will accommodate those who want to enter a prediction but are unsure which asset to enter as many are unfamiliar with the various bond coupons.

"Rebalanced" entry: A collection of up to 10 assets which will be rebalanced on the last trading day of each month. Although the assets will remain unchanged, their percentage of the portfolio will change. This is to accommodate those risk-averse entrants employing a mean-reversion strategy.

Both Static and Rebalanced entries will be judged on a reward-to-risk basis. That is, the return achieved at the end of the year, divided by the maximum drawdown (percentage) one had to endure to achieve that return.

Not sure how to handle other prognostications such as "Famous female singer revealed to be man." But I doubt such entries have financial benefits.

I'm willing to be an arbiter who would do the rebalancing if necessary. I am not willing to prove or disprove the alleged cross-dressers.

Ralph Vince writes:

A very low volume bar on the weekly (likely, the first of two consecutive) after a respectable run-up, the backdrop of rates having risen in recent weeks, breadth having topped out and receding - and a lunar eclipse on the very night of the Winter Solstice.

If I were a Roman General I would take that as a sign to sit for next few months and do nothing.

I'm going to sit and do nothing.

Sounds like an interim top in an otherwise bullish, long-term backdrop.

Gordon Haave writes: 

 My three predictions:

Gold/ silver ratio falls below 25 Kenyan stock market outperforms US by more than 10%

Dollar ends 10% stronger compared to euro

All are actionable predictions.

Steve Ellison writes:

I did many regressions looking for factors that might predict a year-ahead return for the S&P 500. A few factors are at extreme values at the end of 2010.

The US 10-year Treasury bond yield at 3.37% is the second-lowest end-of year yield in the last 50 years. The S&P 500 contract is in backwardation with the front contract at a 0.4% premium to the next contract back, the second highest year-end premium in the 29 years of the futures.

Unfortunately, neither of those factors has much correlation with the price change in the S&P 500 the following year. Here are a few that do.

The yield curve (10-year yield minus 3-month yield) is in the top 10% of its last 50 year-end values. In the last 30 years, the yield curve has been positively correlated with year-ahead changes in the S&P 500, with a t score of 2.17 and an R squared of 0.143.

The US unemployment rate at 9.8% is the third highest in the past 60 years. In the last 30 years, the unemployment rate has been positively correlated with year-ahead changes in the S&P 500, with a t score of 0.90 and an R squared of 0.028.

In a variation of the technique used by the Yale permabear, I calculated the S&P 500 earnings/price ratio using 5-year trailing earnings. I get an annualized earnings yield of 4.6%. In the last 18 years, this ratio has been positively correlated with year-ahead changes in the S&P 500, with a t score of 0.92 and an R squared of
0.050.

Finally, there is a negative correlation between the 30-year S&P 500 change and the year-ahead change, with a t score of -2.28 and an R squared of 0.094. The S&P 500 index price is 9.27 times its price of 30 years ago. The median year-end price in the last 52 years was 6.65 times the price 30 years earlier.

Using the predicted values from each of the regressions, and weighting the predictions by the R squared values, I get an overall prediction for an 11.8% increase in the S&P 500 in 2011. With an 11.8% increase, SPY would close 2011 at 140.52.

Factor                  Prediction      t       N    R sq
US Treasury yield curve      1.162    2.17      30   0.143
30-year change               1.052   -2.28      52   0.094
Trailing 5-year E/P          1.104    0.92      18   0.050
US unemployment rate         1.153    0.90      30   0.028

Weighted total               1.118
SPY 12/30/10               125.72
Predicted SPY 12/30/11     140.52

Jan-Petter Janssen writes: 

PREDICTION I - The Inconvenient Truth The poorest one or two billion on this planet have had enough of increasing food prices. Riots and civil unrest force governments to ban exports, and they start importing at any cost. World trade collapses. Manufacturers of farm equipment will do extremely well. Buy the most undervalued producer you can find. My bet is
* Kverneland (Yahoo: KVE.OL). NOK 6.50 per share today. At least NOK 30 on Dec 31th 2011.

PREDICTION II - The Ultimate Bubble The US and many EU nations hold enormous gold reserves. E.g. both Italy and France hold the equivalent of the annual world production. The gold meme changes from an inflation hedge / return to the gold standard to (a potential) over-supply from the selling of indebted nations. I don't see the bubble bursting quite yet, but
* Short gold if it hits $2,000 per ounce and buy back at $400.

PREDICTION III - The Status Quo Asia's ace is cheap labor. The US' recent winning card is cheap energy through natural gas. This will not change in 2011. Henry Hub Feb 2011 currently trades at $4.34 per MMBtu. Feb 2012 is at $5.14. I would
* Short the Feb 2012 contract and buy back on the last trading day of 2011.

Vince Fulco predicts:

 This is strictly an old school, fundamental equity call as my crystal ball for the indices 12 months out is necessarily foggy. My recommendation is BP equity primarily for the reasons I gave earlier in the year on June 5th (stock closed Friday, June 4th @ $37.16, currently $43.53). It faced a hellish downdraft post my mention for consideration, primarily due to the intensification of news flow and legal unknowns (Rocky articulated these well). Also although the capital structure arb boys savaged the equity (to 28ish!), it is up nicely to year's end if one held on and averaged in with wide scales given the heightened vol.

Additional points/guesstimates are:

1) If 2010 was annus horribilis, 2011 with be annus recuperato. A chastened mgmt who have articulated they'll run things more conservatively will have a lot to prove to stakeholders.

2) Dividend to be re-instated to some level probably by the end of the second quarter. I am guessing $1.00 annualized per ADS as a start (or
2.29%), this should bring in the index hugging funds with mandates for only holding dividend payers. There is a small chance for a 1x special dividend later in the year.

3) Crude continues to be in a state of significant profitability for the majors in the short term. It would appear finding costs are creeping however.

4) The lawsuits and additional recoveries to be extracted from the settlement fund and company directly have very long tails, on the order of 10 years.

5) The company seems fully committed to sloughing off tertiary assets to build up its liquid balance sheet. Debt to total capital remains relatively low and manageable.

6) The stock remains at a significant discount to its better-of breed peers (EV/normalized EBITDA, Cash Flow, etc) and rightly so but I am betting the discount should narrow back to near historical levels.

Potential negatives:

1) The company and govt have been vastly understating the remaining fuel amounts and effects. Release of independent data intensifies demands for a much larger payout by the company closer to the highest end estimates of $50-80B.

2) It experiences another similar event of smaller magnitude which continues to sully the company's weakened reputation.

3) China admits to and begins to fear rampant inflation, puts the kabosh to the (global) economy and crude has a meaningful decline the likes of which we haven't seen in a few years.

4) Congress freaks at a >$100-120 price for crude and actually institutes an "excess profits" tax. Less likely with the GOP coming in.

A buy at this level would be for an unleveraged, diversified, longer term acct which I have it in. However, I am willing to hold the full year or +30% total return (including special dividend) from the closing price of $43.53 @ 12/30/10, whichever comes first. Like a good sellside recommendation, I believe the stock has downside of around 20% (don't they all when recommended!?!) where I would consider another long entry depending on circumstances (not pertinent to the contest).

Mr. Albert enters: 

 Single pick stock ticker is REFR

The only way this gold chain wearing day trader has a chance against all the right tail brain power on the list is with one high risk/high reward put it all on red kind of micro cap.

Basic story is this company owns all the patents to what will become the standard for switchable glazings (SPD smart glass). It's taken roughly 50 years of development to get a commercialized product, and next year Mercedes will almost without doubt use SPD in the 2012 SLK (press launch 1/29/11 public launch at the Geneva auto show in march 2011).

Once MB validate the tech, mass adoption and revenues will follow etc and this 'show me' stock will rocket to the moon.

Dan Grossman writes:

Trying to comply with and adapt the complex contest rules (which most others don't seem to be following in any event) to my areas of stock market interest:

1. The S&P will be down in the 1st qtr, and at some point in the qtr will fall at least

2. For takeover investors: GENZ will (finally) make a deal to be acquired in the 1st qtr for a value of at least $80; and AMRN after completion of its ANCHOR trial will make a deal to be acquired for a price of at least $8.

3. For conservative investors: Low multiple small caps HELE and DFG will be up a combined average of 20% by the end of the year.

For my single stock pick, I am something of a johnny-one-note: MNTA will be up lots during the year — if I have to pick a specific amount, I'd say at least 70%. (My prior legal predictions on this stock have proved correct but the stock price has not appropriately reflected same.)

Finally, if I win the contest (which I think is fairly likely), I will donate the prize to a free market or libertarian charity. I don't see why Victor should have to subsidize this distinguished group that could all well afford an contest entrance fee to more equitably finance the prize.

Best to all for the New Year,

Dan 

Gary Rogan writes:

 1. S&P 500 will rise 3% by April and then fall 12% from the peak by the end of the year.
2. 30 year treasury yields will rise to 5% by March and 6% by year end.
3. Gold will hit 1450 by April, will fall to 1100 by September and rise to 1550 by year end.

Wildcard: Short Netflix.

Jack Tierney, President of the Old Speculator's Club, writes: 

Equal Amounts in:

TBT (short long bonds)
YCS (short Yen)
GRU (Long Grains - heavy on wheat)
CHK (Long NG - takeover)

(Wild Card)
BONXF.PK or BTR.V (Long junior gold)

12/30 closing prices (in order):
37.84
15.83
7.20
25.97

.451

Bill Rafter writes:

Two entries:

Buy: FXP and IRWD

Hold for the entire year.

William Weaver writes:

 For Returns: Long XIV January 21st through year end

For Return/Risk: Long XIV*.30 and Long VXZ*.70 from close today

I hope everyone has enjoyed a very merry holiday season, and to all I wish a wonderful New Year.

Warmest,

William

Ken Drees writes:

Yes, they have been going up, but I am going contrary contrary here and going with the trends.

1. Silver: buy day 1 of trading at any price via the following vehicles: paas, slw, exk, hl –25% each for 100% When silver hits 39/ounce, sell 10% of holdings, when silver hits 44/ounce sell 30% of holdings, when silver hits 49 sell 60%–hold rest (divide into 4 parts) and sell each tranche every 5 dollars up till gone–54/oz, 59, 64, 69.

2. Buy GDXJ day 1 (junior gold miner etf)—rotation down from majors to juniors with a positive gold backdrop. HOLD ALL YEAR.

3. USO. Buy day 1 then do—sell 25% at 119/bbl oil, sell 80% at 148/bbl, sell whats left at 179/bbl or 139/bbl (whichever comes first after 148)

wildcard: AMEX URANUIM STOCKS. UEC, URRE, URZ, DNN. 25% EACH, buy day 1 then do SELL 70% OF EVERYTHING AT 96$LB u http://www.uxc.com/ FOR PRICING, AND HOLD REST FOR YEAR END.

Happy New Year!

Ken Drees———keepin it real.

Sam Eisenstadt forecasts:

My forecast for the S&P 500 for the year ending Dec 31, 2011;

S&P 500       1410

Anton Johnson writes: 

Equal amounts allocated to:

EDZ Short moc 1-21-2011, buy to cover at 50% gain, or moc 12/30/2011

VXX Short moc 1-21-2011, buy to cover moc 12/30/2011

UBT Short moo 1-3-2011, buy to cover moc 12/30/2011

Scott Brooks picks: 

 RTP
TSO
SLV
LVS

Evenly between the 4 (25% each)

Sushil Kedia predicts:

 Short:

1) Gold
2) Copper
3) Japanese Yen

30% moves approximately in each, within 2011.

Rocky Humbert writes:

(There was no mention nor requirement that my 2011 prediction had to be in English. Here is my submission.) … Happy New Year, Rocky

Sa aking mahal na kaibigan: Sa haba ng 2010, ako na ibinigay ng ilang mga ideya trading na nagtrabaho sa labas magnificently, at ng ilang mga ideya na hindi na kaya malaki. May ay wala nakapagtataka tungkol sa isang hula taon dulo, at kung ikaw ay maaaring isalin ito talata, ikaw ay malamang na gawin ang mas mahusay na paggawa ng iyong sariling pananaliksik kaysa sa pakikinig sa mga kalokohan na ako at ang iba pa ay magbigay. Ang susi sa tagumpay sa 2011 ay ang parehong bilang ito ay palaging (tulad ng ipinaliwanag sa pamamagitan ng G. Ed Seykota), sa makatuwid: 1) Trade sa mga kalakaran. 2) Ride winners at losers hiwa. 3) Pamahalaan ang panganib. 4) Panatilihin ang isip at diwa malinaw. Upang kung saan gusto ko idagdag, fundamentals talaga bagay, at kung ito ay hindi magkaroon ng kahulugan, ito ay hindi magkaroon ng kahulugan, at diyan ay wala lalo na pinakinabangang tungkol sa pagiging isang contrarian bilang ang pinagkasunduan ay karaniwang karapatan maliban sa paggawa sa mga puntos. (Tandaan na ito ay pinagkasunduan na ang araw ay babangon na bukas, na quote Seth Klarman!) Pagbati para sa isang malusog na masaya at pinakinabangang 2011, at siguraduhin na basahin www.rockyhumbert.com kung saan ako magsulat sa Ingles ngunit ang aking mga saloobin ay walang malinaw kaysa talata na ito, ngunit inaasahan namin na ito ay mas kapaki-pakinabang.

Dylan Distasio comments: 

Gawin mo magsalita tagalog?

Gary Rogan writes:

After a worthy challenge, Mr. Rogan is now also a master of Google Translate, and a discoverer of an exciting fact that Google Translate calls Tagalog "Filipino". This was a difficult obstacle for Mr. Rogan to overcome, but he persevered and here's Rocky's prediction in English (sort of):

My dear friend: Over the course of 2010, I provided some trading ideas worked out magnificently, and some ideas that are not so great. There is nothing magical about a forecast year end, and if you can translate this paragraph, you will probably do better doing your own research rather than listening to the nonsense that I and others will give. The key to success in 2011 is the same as it always has (as explained by Mr. Ed Seykota), namely: 1) Trade with the trend.

2) Ride cut winners and losers. 3) Manage risk. 4) Keep the mind and spirit clear. To which I would add, fundamentals really matter, and if it does not make sense, it does not make sense, and there is nothing particularly profitable about being a contrarian as the consensus is usually right but turning points. (Note that it is agreed that the sun will rise tomorrow, to quote Seth Klarman) Best wishes for a happy healthy and profitable 2011, and be sure to read www.rockyhumbert.com which I write in English but my attitude is nothing clearer than this paragraph, but hopefully it is more useful.

Tim Melvin writes:

Ah the years end prediction exercise. It is of course a mostly useless exercise since not a one of us can predict what shocks, positive or negative, the world and the markets could see in 2011. I find it crack up laugh out loud funny that some pundits come out and offer up earnings estimates, GDP growth assumptions and interest rate guesses to give a precise level for the year end S&P 500 price. You might as well numbers out of a bag and rearrange them by lottery to come up with a year end number. In a world where we are fighting two wars, a hostile government holds the majority of our debt and several sovereign nations continually teeter on the edge of oblivion it's pretty much ridiculous to assume what could happen in the year ahead. Having said that, as my son's favorite WWE wrestler when he was a little guy used to say "It's time to play the game!"

Ill start with bonds. I have owned puts on the long term treasury market for two years now. I gave some back in 2010 after a huge gain in 2009 but am still slightly ahead. Ill roll the position forward and buy January 2012 puts and stay short. When I look at bods I hear some folks talking about rising basic commodity prices and worrying about inflation. They are of course correct. This is happening. I hear some other really smart folks talking of weak real estate, high jobless rates and the potential for falling back into recession. Naturally, they are also exactly correct. So I will predict the one thing no one else is. We are on the verge of good old fashioned 1970s style stagflation. Commodity and basic needs prices will accelerate as QE2 has at least stimulated demand form emerging markets by allowing these wonderful credits to borrow money cheaper than a school teacher with a 750 FICO score. Binds go lower as rates spike. Our economy and balance sheet are a mess and we have governments run by men in tin hats lecturing us on fiscal responsibility. How low will they go Tim? How the hell do I know? I just think they go lower by enough for me to profit.

 Nor can I tell you where the stock market will go this year. I suspect we have had it too good for too long for no reason so I think we get at least one spectacular gut wrenching, vomit inducing sell off during the year. Much as lower than expected profits exposed the silly valuations of the new paradigm stocks I think that the darling group, retail , will spark a sell-off in the stock market this year. Sales will be up a little bit but except for Tiffany's (TIF) and that ilk margins are horrific. Discounting started early this holiday and grew from there. They will get steeper now that that Santa Claus has given back my credit card and returned to the great white north. The earnings season will see a lot of missed estimates and lowered forecasts and that could well pop the bubble. Once it starts the HFT boys and girls should make sure it goes lower than anyone expects.

Here's the thing about my prediction. It is no better than anyone else's. In other words I am talking my book and predicting what I hope will happen. Having learned this lesson over the years I have learned that when it comes to market timing and market direction I am probably the dumbest guy in the room. Because of that I have trained myself to always buy the stuff that's too cheap not to own and hold it regardless. After the rally since September truly cheap stuff is a little scarce on the ground but I have found enough to be about 40% long going into the year. I have a watch list as long as a taller persons right arm but most of it hover above truly cheap.

Here is what I own going into the year and think is still cheap enough to buy. I like Winn Dixie (WINN). The grocery business sucks right now. Wal mart has crushed margins industry wide. That aside WINN trades at 60% of tangible book value and at some point their 514 stores in the Southeast will attract attention from investors. A takeover here would be less than shocking. I will add Presidential Life (PLFE) to the list. This stock is also at 60% of tangible book and I expect to see a lot of M&A activity in the insurance sector this year and this should raise valuations across the board. I like Miller Petroleum (MILL) with their drilling presence in Alaska and the shale field soft Tennessee. This one trades at 70% of tangible book. Ill add Imperial Sugar (IPSU), Syms (SYMS) and Micron tech (MU) and Avatar Holdings (AVTR) to my list of cheapies and move on for now.

I am going to start building my small bank portfolio this year. Eventually this group becomes the F-you walk away money trade of the decade. As real estate losses work through the balance sheet and some measure of stability returns to the financial system, perhaps toward the end of the year the small baileys savings and loan type banks should start to recover. We will also see a mind blowing M&A wave as larger banks look to gain not just market share but healthy assets to put on the books. Right now these names trade at a fraction of tangible book value. They will reach a multiple of that in a recovery or takeover scenario. Right now I own shares of Shore Bancshares (SHBI), a local bank trading at 80% of book value and a reasonably healthy loan portfolio. I have some other mini microcap banks as well that shall remain my little secret and not used to figure how my predictions work out. I mention them because if you have a mini micro bank in your community you should go meet then bankers, review the books and consider investing if it trades below the magical tangible book value and has excess capital. Flagstar Bancorp(FBC) is my super long shot undated call option n the economy and real estate markets.

I will also play the thrift conversion game heavily this year. With the elimination of the Office of Thrift Services under the new financial regulation many of the benefits of being a private or mutual thrift are going away. There are a ton of mutual savings banks that will now convert to publicly traded banks. A lot of these deals will be priced below the pro forma book value that is created by adding all that lovely IPO cash to the balance sheet without a corresponding increase in the shares outstanding. Right now I have Fox Chase Bancorp (FXCB) and Capital Federal Financial(CFFN). There will be more. Deals are happening every day right now and again I would keep an eye out for local deals that you can take advantage of in the next few months.

I also think that 2011 will be the year of the activist investor. These folks took a beating since 2007 but this should be their year. There is a ton of cash on corporate balance sheets but lots of underperformance in the current economic environment. We will see activist drive takeovers, restructures, and special dividends this year in my opinion. Recent filings of interest include strong activist positions in Surmodics(SRDX), SeaChange International (SEAC), and Energy Solutions. Tracking activist portfolios and 13D filings should be a very profitable activity in 2011.

I have been looking at some interesting new stuff with options as well I am not going to give most of it away just yet but I ll give you one stimulated by a recent list discussion. H and R Black is highly likely to go into a private equity portfolio next year. Management has made every mistake you can make and the loss of RALs is a big problem for the company. However the brand has real value. I do not want town the stock just yet but I like the idea of selling the January 2012 at $.70 to $.75. If you cash secure the put it's a 10% or so return if the stock stays above the strike. If it falls below I' ll be happy to own the stock with a 6 handle net. Back in 2008 everyone anticipated a huge default wave to hit the high yield market. Thanks to federal stimulus money pumping programs it did not happen. However in the spirit of sell the dog food the dog will eat a given moment the hedge fund world raised an enormous amount od distressed debt money. Thanks to this high yield spreads are far too low. CCC paper in particular is priced at absurd levels. These things trade like money good paper and much of it is not. Extend and pretend has helped but if the economy stays weak and interest rates rise rolling over the tsunami f paper due over the next few years becomes nigh onto impossible. I am going take small position in puts on the various high yield ETFs. If I am right they will explode when that market implodes. Continuing to talk my book I hope this happens. Among my nightly prayers is "Please God just one more two year period of asset rich companies with current payments having bonds trade below recovery value and I promise not to piss the money away this time. Amen.

PS. If you add in risk arbitrage spreads of 30% annualized returns along with this I would not object. Love, Tim.

I can't tell you what the markets will do. I do know that I want to own some safe and cheap stocks, some well capitalized small banks trading below book and participate in activist situation. I will be under invested in equities going into the year hoping my watch list becomes my buy list in market stumble. I will have put positions on long T-Bonds and high yield hoping for a large asymmetrical payoff.

Other than that I am clueless.

Kim Zussman comments: 

Does anyone else think this year is harder than usual to forecast? Is it better now to forecast based on market fundamentals or mass psychology? We are at a two year high in stocks, after a huge rally off the '09 bottom that followed through this year. One can make compelling arguments for next year to decline (best case scenarios already discounted, prior big declines followed by others, volatility low, house prices still too high, FED out of tools, gov debt/gdp, Roubini says so, benefits to wall st not main st, persistent high unemployment, Year-to-year there is no significant relationship, but there is a weak down tendency after two consecutive up years. ). And compelling arguments for up as well (crash-fears cooling, short MA's > long MA's, retail investors and much cash still on sidelines, tax-cut extended, employee social security lowered, earnings increasing, GDP increasing, Tepper and Goldman say so, FED herding into risk assets, benefits to wall st not main st, employment starting to increase).

Is the level of government market-intervention effective, sustainable, or really that unusual? The FED looks to be avoiding Japan-style deflation at all costs, and has a better tool in the dollar. A bond yields decline would help growth and reduce deflation risk. Increasing yields would be expected with increasing inflation; bad for growth but welcomed by retiring boomers looking for fixed income. Will Obamacare be challenged or defanged by states or in the supreme court? Will 2011 be the year of the muni-bubble pop?

A ball of confusion!

4 picks in equal proportion:

long XLV (health care etf; underperformed last year)

long CMF (Cali muni bond fund; fears over-wrought, investors still need tax-free yield)

short GLD (looks like a bubble and who needs gold anyway)

short IEF (7-10Y treasuries; near multi-year high/QE2 is weaker than vigilantism)

Alan Millhone writes:

 Hello everyone,

I note discussion over the rules etc. Then you have a fellow like myself who has never bought or sold through the Market a single share.

For myself I will stick with what I know a little something. No, not Checkers —

Rental property. I have some empty units and beginning to rent one or two of late to increase my bottom line.

I will not venture into areas I know little or nothing and will stay the course in 2011 with what I am comfortable.

Happy New Year and good health,

Regards,

Alan

Jay Pasch predicts: 

2010 will close below SP futures 1255.

Buy-and-holders will be sorely disappointed as 2011 presents itself as a whip-saw year.

99% of the bullish prognosticators will eat crow except for the few lonely that called for a tempered intra-year high of ~ SPX 1300.

SPX will test 1130 by April 15 with a new recovery high as high as 1300 by the end of July.

SPX 1300 will fail with new 2011 low of 1050 before ending the year right about where it started.

The Midwest will continue to supply the country with good-natured humble stock, relatively speaking.

Chris Tucker enters: 

Buy and Hold

POT
MS
CME

Wildcard:  Buy and Hold AVAV

Gibbons Burke comments: 

Mr. Ed Seykota once outlined for me the four essential rules of trading:

1) The trend is your friend (till it bends when it ends.)

2) Ride your winners.

3) Cut your losses short.

4) Keep the size of your bet small.

Then there are the "special" rules:

5) Follow all the rules.

and for masters of the game:

6) Know when to break rule #5

A prosperous and joy-filled New Year to everyone.

Cheers,

Gibbons

John Floyd writes:

In no particular order with target prices to be reached at some point in 2011:

1) Short the Australian Dollar:current 1.0220, target price .8000

2) Short the Euro: current 1.3375, target price 1.00

3) Short European Bank Stocks, can use BEBANKS index: current 107.40, target 70

A Mr. Krisrock predicts: 

 1…housing will continue to lag…no matter what can be done…and with it unemployment will remain

2…bonds will outperform as republicans will make cutting spending the first attack they make…QE 2 will be replaced by QE3

3…with every economist in the world bullish, stocks will underperform…

4…commodities are peaking ….

Laurel Kenner predicts: 

After having made monkeys of those luminaries who shorted Treasuries last year, the market in 2011 has had its laugh and will finally carry out the long-anticipated plunge in bond prices.

Short the 30-year bond futures and cover at 80.

Pete Earle writes:

All picks are for 'all year' (open first trading day/close last trading day).

1. Long EUR/USD
2. Short gold (GLD)

Short:
MMR (McMoran Exploration Corp)
HDIX (Home Diagnostics Inc)
TUES (Tuesday Morning Corp)

Long:
PBP (Powershares S&P500 Buy-Write ETF)
NIB (iPath DJ-UBS Cocoa ETF)
KG (King Pharmaceuticals)

Happy New Year to all,

Pete Earle

Paolo Pezzutti enters: 

If I may humbly add my 2 cents:

- bearish on S&P: 900 in dec
- crisis in Europe will bring EURUSD down to 1.15
- gold will remain a safe have haven: up to 1500
- big winner: natural gas to 8

J.T Holley contributes: 

Financials:

The Market Mistress so eloquently must come first and foremost. Just as daily historical stats point to betting on the "unchanged" so is my S&P 500 trade for calendar year 2011. Straddle the Mistress Day 1. My choice for own reasons with whatever leverage is suitable for pain thresholds is a quasi straddle. 100% Long and 50% Short in whatever instrument you choose. If instrument allows more leverage, first take away 50% of the 50% Short at suitable time and add to the depreciated/hopefully still less than 100% Long. Feel free to add to the Long at this discretionary point if it suits you. At the next occasion that is discretionary take away remaining Short side of Quasi Straddle, buckle up, and go Long whatever % Long that your instrument or brokerage allows till the end of 2011. Take note and use the historical annual standard deviation of the S&P 500 as a rudder or North Star, and throw in the quarterly standard deviation for testing. I think the ambiguity of the current situation will make the next 200-300 trading days of data collection highly important, more so than prior, but will probably yield results that produce just the same results whatever the Power Magnification of the Microscope.

Long the U.S. Dollar. Don't bother with the rest of the world and concern yourself with which of the few other Socialist-minded Country currencies to short. Just Long the U.S. Dollar on Day 1 of 2011. Keep it simple and specialize in only the Long of the U.S. Dollar. Cataclysmic Economic Nuclear Winter ain't gonna happen. When the Pastor preaches only on the Armageddon and passes the plate while at the pulpit there is only one thing that happens eventually - the Parish dwindles and the plate stops getting filled. The Dollar will bend as has, but won't break or at least I ain't bettin' on such.

Ala Mr. Melvin, Short any investment vehicle you like that contains the words or numerals "perpetual maturity", "zero coupon" and "20-30yr maturity" in their respective regulated descriptions, that were issued in times of yore. Unfortunately it doesn't work like a light switch with the timing, remember it's more like air going into a balloon or a slow motion see-saw. We always want profits initially and now and it just doesn't work that way it seems in speculation. Also, a side hedge is to start initially looking at any financial institution that begins, dabbles, originates and gains high margin fees from 50-100 year home loans or Zero-Coupon Home Loans if such start to make their way Stateside. The Gummit is done with this infusion and cheer leading. They are in protection mode, their profit was made. Now the savy financial engineers that are left or upcoming will continue to find ways to get the masses to think they "Own" homes while actually renting them. Think Car Industry '90-'06 with. Japan did it with their Notes and I'm sure some like-minded MBA's are baiting/pushing the envelopes now in board rooms across the U.S. with their profitability and ROI models, probably have ditched the Projector and have all around the cherry table with IPads watching their presentation. This will ultimately I feel humbly be the end of the Mortgage Interest Deduction as it will be dwindled down to a moot point and won't any longer be the leading tax deduction that it was created to so-called help.

Metals:

Short Gold, Short it, Short it more. Take all of your emotions and historical supply and demand factors out of the equation, just look at the historical standard deviation and how far right it is and think of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story and when he thought he was actually flying and the look on his face at apex realization. That plus continue doing a study on Google Searches and the number of hits on "stolen gold", "stolen jewelery", and Google Google side Ads for "We buy Gold". I don't own gold jewelery, and have surrendered the only gold piece that I ever wore, but if I was still wearing it I'd be mighty weary of those that would be willing to chop a finger off to obtain. That ain't my fear, that's more their greed.

Long lithium related or raw if such. Technology demands such going forward.

Energy:

Long Natural Gas. Trading Day 1 till last trading day of the year. The historic "cheap" price in the minds of wannabe's will cause it to be leveraged long and oft with increasing volume regardless of the supply. Demand will follow, Pickens sowed the seeds and paid the price workin' the mule while plowin'. De-regulation on the supply side of commercial business statements is still in its infancy and will continue, politics will not beat out free markets going into the future.

Long Crude and look to see the round 150 broken in years to come while China invents, perfects, and sees the utility in the Nuclear fueled tanker.

Long LED, solar, and wind generation related with tiny % positions. Green makes since, its here to stay and become high margined profitable businesses.

Agriculture:

Short Sugar. Sorry Mr. Bow Tie. Monsanto has you Beet! That being stated, the substitute has arrived and genetically altered "Roundup Ready" is here to stay no matter what the Legislative Luddite Agrarians try, deny, or attempt. With that said, Long MON. It is way more than a seed company. It is more a pharmaceutical engineer and will bring down the obesity ridden words Corn Syrup eventually as well. Russia and Ireland will make sure of this with their attitudes of profit legally or illegally.

Prepare to long in late 2011 the commercialized marijuana and its manufacturing, distribution companies that need to expand profitability from its declining tobacco. Altria can't wait, neither can Monsanto. It isn't a moral issue any longer, it's a financial profit one. We get the joke, or choke? If the Gummit doesn't see what substitutes that K2 are doing and the legal hassles of such and what is going on in Lisbon then they need to have an economic lesson or two. It will be a compromise between the Commercial Adjective Definition Agrarians and Gummit for tax purposes with the Green theme continuing and lobbying.

Short Coffee, but just the 1st Qtr of 2011. Sorry Seattle. I will also state that there will exist a higher profit margin substitute for the gas combustible engine than a substitute for caffeine laden coffee.

Sex and Speculation:

Look to see www.fyretv.com go public in 2011 with whatever investment bank that does such trying their best to be anonymous. Are their any investment banks around? This Boxxx will make Red Box blush and Apple TV's box envious. IPTV and all related should be a category that should be Longed in 2011 it is here to stay and is in it's infancy. Way too many puns could be developed from this statement. Yes, I know fellas the fyre boxxx is 6"'s X 7"'s.

Music:

This is one category to always go Long. I have vastly improved my guitar playin' in '10 and will do so in '11. AAPL still has the edge and few rivals are even gaining market share and its still a buy on dips, sell on highs empirically counted. They finally realized that .99 cents wasn't cutting it and .69 cents was more appropriate for those that have bought Led Zeppelin IV songs on LP, 8-track, cassette, and CD over the course of their lives. Also, I believe technology has a better shot at profitably bringing music back into public schools than the Federal or State Gummits ever will.

Other:

Long - Your mind. Double down on this Day 1 of 2011. It's the most capable, profitable thing you have going for you. I just learned this after the last 36 months.

Long - Counting, you need it now more than ever. It's as important as capitalism.

Long - Being humble, it's intangible but if quantified has a STD of 4 if not higher.

Long - Common Sense.

Long - Our Children. The media is starting to question if their education is priceless, when it is, but not in their context or jam.

Short - Politics. It isn't a spectator sport and it has been made to be such.

Short - Fear, it is way way been played out. Test anything out there if you like. I have. It is prevalent still and disbelief is rampant.

Long - Greed, but don't be greedy just profitable. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps was the pilot fish.

I had to end on a Long note.

Happy New Year's Specs. Thanks to all for support over the last four years. I finally realized that it ain't about being right or wrong, just profitable in all endeavors. Too many losses led to this, pain felt after lookin' within, and countin' ones character results with pen/paper.

Russ Sears writes:

 For my entry to the contest, I will stick with the stocks ETF, and the index markets and avoid individual stocks, and the bonds and interest rates. This entry was thrown together rather quickly, not at all an acceptable level if it was real money. This entry is meant to show my personal biases and familiarity, rather than my investment regiment. I am largely talking my personal book.

Therefore, in the spirit of the contest , as well as the rules I will expose my line of thinking but only put numbers on actual entry predictions. Finally, if my caveats are not warning enough, I will comment on how a prediction or contest entry differs from any real investment. I would make or have made.

The USA number one new product export will continue to be the exportation of inflation. The printing of dollars will continue to have unintended consequences than its intended effect on the national economy but have an effect on the global economy.. Such monetary policy will hit areas with the most potential for growth: the emerging markets of China and India. In these economies, that spends over half their income on food, food will continue to rise. This appears to be a position opposite the Chairs starting point prediction of reversal of last year's trends.

Likewise, the demand for precious metals such as gold and silver will not wane as these are the poor man's hedge against food cost. It may be overkill for the advanced economies to horde the necessities and load up on precious metals Yet, unlike the 70's the US/ European economy no longer controls gold and silver a paradigm shift in thinking that perhaps the simple statistician that uses weighted averages and the geocentric economist have missed. So I believe those entries shorting gold or silver will be largely disappointed. However in a nod to the chair's wisdom, I will not pick metals directly as an entry. Last year's surprise is seldom this year's media darling. However, the trend can continue and gold could have a good year. The exception to the reversal rule seems to be with bubbles which gain a momentum of their own, apart from the fundamentals. The media has a natural sympathy in suggesting a return to the drama of he 70's, the stagflation dilemma, ,and propelling an indicator of doom. With the media's and the Fed's befuddled backing perhaps the "exception" is to be expected. But I certainly don't see metal's impending collapse nor its continued performance.

The stability or even elevated food prices will have some big effects on the heartland.

1. For my trend is your friend pick: Rather than buy directly into a agriculture commodity based index like DBA, I am suggesting you buy an equity agriculture based ETF like CRBA year end price at 77.50. I am suggesting that this ETF do not need to have commodities produce a stellar year, but simply need more confirmation that commodity price have established a higher long term floor. Individually I own several of these stocks and my wife family are farmers and landowners (for full disclosure purposes not to suggest I know anything about the agriculture business) Price of farmland is raising, due to low rates, GSE available credit, high grain prices due to high demand from China/India, ethanol substitution of oil A more direct investment in agriculture stability would be farmland. Farmers are buying tractors, best seeds and fertilizers of course, but will this accelerate. Being wrong on my core theme of stable to rising food/commodity price will ruin this trade. Therefore any real trade would do due diligence on individual stocks, and put a trailing floor. And be sensitive to higher volatility in commodities as well as a appropriate entry and exit level.

2. For the long term negative alpha, short term strength trade: I am going with airlines and FAA at 49.42 at year end. There seems to be finally some ability to pass cost through to the consumer, will it hold?

3. For the comeback of the year trade XHB: (the homebuilders ETF), bounces back with 25% return. While the overbuilding and vacancy rates in many high population density areas will continue to drag the home makes down, the new demand from the heartland for high end houses will rise that is this is I am suggesting that the homebuilders index is a good play for housing regionally decoupling from the national index. And much of what was said about the trading of agriculture ETF, also apply to this ETF. However, while I consider this a "surprise", the surprise is that this ETF does not have a negative alpha or slightly positive. This is in-line with my S&P 500 prediction below. Therefore unless you want volatility, simply buying the S&P Vanguard fund would probably be wiser. Or simply hold these inline to the index.

4. For the S&P Index itself I would go with the Vanguard 500 Fund as my vehicle VFINXF, and predict it will end 2011 at $145.03, this is 25% + the dividend. This is largely due to how I believe the economy will react this year. 

5. For my wild card regional banks EFT, greater than IAT > 37.50 by end 2011…

Yanki Onen writes:

 I would like to thank all for sharing their insights and wisdom. As we all know and reminded time to time, how unforgiven could the market Mistress be. We also know how nurturing and giving it could be. Time to time i had my share of falls and rises. Everytime I fall, I pick your book turn couple of pages to get my fix then scroll through articles in DSpecs seeking wisdom and a flash of light. It never fails, before you know, back to the races. I have all of you to thank for that.

Now the ideas;

-This year's lagger next year's winner CSCO

Go long Jan 2012 20 Puts @ 2.63 Go long CSCO @ 19.55 Being long the put gives you the leverage and protection for a whole year, to give the stock time to make a move.

You could own 100,000 shares for $263K with portfolio margin ! Sooner the stock moves the more you make (time decay)

-Sell contango Buy backwardation

You could never go wrong if you accept the truth, Index funds always roll and specs dont take physical delivery. This cant be more true in Cotton.

Right before Index roll dates (it is widely published) sell front month buy back month especially when it is giving you almost -30 to do so Sell March CT Buy July CT pyramid this trade untill the roll date (sometime at the end of Jan or begining of Feb) when they are almost done rolling(watch the shift in open interest) close out and Buy May CT sell July CT wait patiently for it to play it out again untill the next roll.

- Leveraged ETFs suckers play!

Two ways to play this one out if you could borrow and sell short, short both FAZ and FAS equal $ amounts since the trade is neutral, execute this trade almost free of margin. One thing is for sure to stay even long after we are gone is volatility and triple leveraged products melt under volatility!

If you cant borrow the shares execute the trade using Jan 12 options to open synthetic short positions. This trade works with time and patience!

Vic, thanks again for providing a platform to listen and to be heard.

Sincerely,

Yanki Onen

Phil McDonnell writes: 

When investing one should consider a diversified portfolio. But in a contest the best strategy is just to go for it. After all you have to be number one.

With that thought in mind I am going to bet it all on Silver using derivatives on the ETF SLV.

SLV closed at 30.18 on Friday.

Buy Jan 2013 40 call for 3.45.
Sell Jan 2012 40 call at 1.80.
Sell Jul 25 put at 1.15.

Net debit is .50.

Exit strategy: close out entire position if SLV ETF reaches a price of 40 or better. If 40 is not reached then exit on 2/31/2011 at the close.

George Parkanyi entered:

For what it's worth, the Great White North weighs in ….
3 Markets equally weighted - 3 stages each (if rules allow) - all trades front months
3 JAN 2011
BUY NAT GAS at open

BUY SILVER at open

BUY CORN at open
28 FEB 2011 (Reverse Positions)
SELL and then SHORT NAT GAS at open

SELL and then SHORT SILVER at open

SELL and then SHORT CORN at open
1 AUG 2011 (Reverse Positions)
COVER and then BUY NAT GAS at open

COVER and then BUY SILVER at open

COVER and then BUY CORN at open
Hold all positions to the end of the year

WILD CARD
3 JAN BUY PLATINUM and hold to end of year.

RATIONALE:

. Markets to unexpectedly carry through in New Year despite correction fears.

. Spain/Ireland debt roll issues - Europe/Euro in general- will be in the news in Q1/Q2

- markets will correct sharply in late Q1 through Q2 (interest rates will be rising)

. Markets will kick in again in Q3 & Q4 with strong finish on more/earlier QE in both Europe and US - hard assets will remain in favour; corn & platinum shortages; cooling trend & economic recovery to favour nat gas

. Also assuming seasonals will perform more or less according to stats

If rules do not allow directional changes; then go long NAT GAS, SILVER, and CORN on 1 AUG 2011 (cash until then); wild card trade the same.

Gratuitous/pointless prediction: At least two European countries will drop out of Euro in 2011 (at least announce it) and go back to their own currency. 

Marlowe Cassetti enters:

Buy:
FXE - Currency Shares Euro Trust

XLE - Energy Select

BAL - iPath Dow Jones-AIG Cotton Total Return Sub-Index

GDXJ - Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners

AMJ - JPMorgan Alerian MLP Index ETN

Wild Card:

Buy:

VNM - Market Vectors Vietnam ETF

Kim Zussman entered: 

long XLV (health care etf; underperformed last year)
long CMF (Cali muni bond fund; fears over-wrought, investors still
need tax-free yield)
short GLD (looks like a bubble and who needs gold anyway)
short IEF (7-10Y treasuries; near multi-year high/QE2 is weaker than
vigilantism)


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61 Comments so far

  1. Galen Cawley on December 18, 2010 5:41 pm

    Please forgive this off-topic post but thought perhaps this might be of interest to Victor and others. I just started a book by the Trinity squash coach called “Run to the Roar: Coaching to Overcome Fear”. Too early to say if it’s any good, although no mention of Vic in the index does not inspire confidence.

  2. Brendan Dornan on December 19, 2010 1:56 pm

    China has a property, banking, and economic crises as the China Miracle is exposed as a fraud - Asian Flu 1997 : Russia 1998 as Europe 2011 : China 2012. Centrally planned economics is revealed to do nothing but tempt men in power into doing all that’s morally reprehensible. Foreign private and public investors are fleeced and tension between the US and China escalates as the PBOC looks to deflect attention.

    http://historysquared.com/2010/08/11/china-housing-bubble-the-emperor-wears-no-clothes/

    Falling copper, cement, and steel torpedoes debt laden industrials tied to exports to China on equity dilution, higher debt costs, and the loss of their largest customer.

    The dollar rallies sharply versus the Yen as US austerity takes hold and political turmoil in Japan intensifies. JGB’s sink as Japan’s march toward a domestic debt default nears the end as interest on debt begins to consume all of tax revenues.

    The Euro sinks as the crises spreads beyond the periphery to Italy and France, people realize that the troubled can’t lend to the more troubled, and talk of Germany leaving the Euro escalates.

    World War begins….oh wait, maybe a decade early. Equities have sharp corrections on these government events but recover as people realize the market based private sector runs their businesses infinitely better than the government does theirs.

  3. Epi Michael on December 19, 2010 2:10 pm

    Long commodity stocks…in particular gold…equity markets have not started to digest the operating leverage of these companies at this gold price!

  4. michael Bonderer on December 19, 2010 4:09 pm

    10 year JGB to yield 2.43%

  5. Marco Loureiro on December 20, 2010 10:26 am

    I would be extremely bullish natural gas.

  6. Thomas L. Knapp on December 20, 2010 5:30 pm

    “What ideas do you have for 2011 that might be profitable?”

    Residential real estate, but only with existing dwelling. Not derivatives, not bundles of mortgages, but the actual land/homes.

    The market’s starting to pick back up — I watched a bank refuse an only slightly short sale in favor of getting the property on a foreclosure recently — but there are still good deals to be had.

    Furthermore, Congress is toying with the mortgage interest tax deduction. If they drop it — or even if they don’t, due to the uncertainty — people are probably going to be buying existing homes instead of building.

  7. vic on December 20, 2010 10:29 pm

    for trades based on non tradable market things like residential real estate, could you kindly leave a metric to calcualate the p/l of your sagacity. vic

  8. Nick Pribus on December 21, 2010 9:58 am

    As Brenda says “Centrally planned economics is revealed to do nothing but tempt men in power” - perhaps “is revealed” should be changed to “was revealed” as this truth has been evident for some time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and all thinking people understood it intuitively long before that. I have never fed my portfolio with anything Chinese long maintaining that nobody makes money in China except the limited connected few Chinese in authority, and that Chinese growth is not profitable growth, what does it benefit a country to grow at 10% annually losing money all the time.

    For 2011, I am uber contrarian, short gold to buy shippers - tankers and dry bulk.

  9. Dmitri Borgmann on December 21, 2010 9:13 pm

    In the spirit of the Bertram Russell paradox and game theory more generally, my wager is that the best bet for 2011 will be the exact opposite of whatever prediction that Gary Rogan makes. see: http://www.dailyspeculations.com/wordpress/?cat=78

    I hope that Gary picks carefully, as my success is in his hands.

    Here is a simple explanation of the Russell paradox:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell’s_paradox

  10. D on December 22, 2010 2:46 am

    Short Gold
    Long Nikkei 250

  11. Craig Bowles on December 22, 2010 6:30 am

    Stocks are behaving normally as far as turning points go in the context of the economic cycle. The March09 low indicated the economy should hit a low four months later and it did in June. The June economic low indicated stocks should continue to do well into the tenth month of the recovery, etc. Now we’re in the post 2004 part where we normally get less than the first ramp up, so that would be still over 20%. Everything seems normal until you look at gold which should have done terrible up to this point. We’re only now getting into the economic cycle part where metals shine. Seems like all more of the same would be the normal course of things if you can forget everything that is in the news.

  12. Nim Chimpsky on December 22, 2010 1:46 pm

    My prediction is the opposite of whatever our frequent contributor and obfuscator Douglas Dimick conjures up with his brand of Santeria “Quantitative Relativity.” has to say. Will his hypothesis finally answer that age old question of “number of instances respectively in which things are thus and so, in which they are thus and not so, in which they are so but not thus, and in which they are neither thus nor so, it is required to eliminate the general quantitative relativity inhering in the mere thingness of the things, and to determine the special quantitative relativity subsisting between the thusness and the soness of the things.

    My entry, influenced from Douglas Adams “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,” http://preview.tinyurl.com/5m2vn and my answer must be 42. Draw your own conclusions, but 42 will be the number that’s on everyone’s lips on Jan 1, 2012.

  13. Lazlo Minks on December 22, 2010 3:18 pm

    I’m looking at hedging the inflation play. TIPS break-even spreads haven’t looked nearly as inflationary as commodity markets have the past year, therefore I am looking to go long the TIPS spread while hedging with a short position in gold. I don’t necessarily expect gold to go down, but I expect that if gold continues up the TIPS break-even spread will widen much more than gold increases relative to last year. Of course, getting the various position sizes right isn’t easy…

  14. Lazlo Minks on December 22, 2010 3:34 pm

    A simple metric for my hedge: 1% change in 10 year TIPS spread = $300 change in Dec 2011 gold futures. Long the spread and short gold. Since this is a hedged bet, position size is twice that of an unhedged position.

  15. Dave G on December 22, 2010 3:39 pm

    Like any good game we need rules and parameters for this contest. The way it was stated is simply too broad to identify a winner.

  16. jeff watson on December 22, 2010 4:17 pm

    Dave G is rght in his quest for rules. Also, should the predictions be actual trades, verifiable by a P&L or just predictions? Also, what constitutes a winner? Is a person who goes long silver on one contract, makes $30/0z for a profit of $150,000 doing any better than a person who puts on a Gold/Platinum spread with 100 contracts of gold and 200 contracts of platinum that might pull a million bucks out of the trade? Is the guy who buys one option for $1.00 and sells it for $6.00 any better? Some clarification would be nice for those who choose to participate, of which I will respectfully decline as I am a cash player and not a tournament player.

  17. vic on December 22, 2010 4:37 pm

    the contest will be judged based on year end to year end prices of the markets or stocks suggested based on a portfolio of 1 million dollars with 5 times leverage . MR. Ken Drees has volunteered to set more specific paramaters and judge it. I am putting the 2500 in escrow so that one need not concern onself with one’s solvency yet again. vic

  18. Mark Johnson on December 22, 2010 7:02 pm

    Hi Victor, I am not willing to part with my valuable information for less than 5k. Assuming that this is ok with you, I don’t wish to keep anyone in suspense.
    Being a Moving Sales Rep it seems like more people are moving into new homes and selling there prior homes. Also for the first time in a few years many people are now moving TO Las Vegas. I like the Vegas centered Casino stocks MGM and Boyd. Homebuilders SPF, BZH, PHM and KB. One biotech star scientific. Unfortunately for the contest sake, some of these have had a nice run over the last month however still down a terrific amount. Best Regards, Mark Johnson-White Glove Moving

  19. james on December 22, 2010 7:38 pm

    US Stocks will end the year mixed (+-3%) after taking a very hard hit somewhere at the end of the first quarter/beginning second quarter.

    Bonds will rally immediately, but will resume downwards in the middle of the year.

    Gold/Oil will start to crater starting first quarter and will stay at low levels creating a long base for the remainder of the year. There will be many false breakouts as the inflation meme (despite price action) persists. Gold slightly above 1000 and oil in mid to low 50’s.

    Educations stocks will actually start doing well, defying many (continuing) bearish predictions (including my own–as of five minutes ago)

    Natural gas co’s will be a relative outperformer. Companies like contango oil will go to 100.

    Tesla motors will suffer in the general stock decline (see above), but unprecedented orders for its powertrain mid-to-late year will cause the stock to break 50.

    Whitney Tilson gets his ass handed to him with his netflix short. He stops self-promoting for three months. He then realizes that he needs the web community respect in order to justify his ego and decides to host a permanent youtube channel. Netflix hits 250.

    Eagles get to superbowl, but lose.

  20. Ryan C on December 22, 2010 9:05 pm

    Based upon the optimism of futures traders I came across at a recent holiday party, my vote is to get long the EXQ which is the CBOE index of publicly traded exchanges. Yes, it’s quite the doubledown for a trader to get long such a thing but everyone I’ve met is expecting an amazing 2011 in trading. Expectations of the Fed to raise rates slightly at yearend should push volumes in every market.

  21. BG on December 22, 2010 9:29 pm

    I think in 2011 the little guy will start to feel the recovery. The profits held by the largest companies will start to spill over into the rest of the economy.

    One might want to buy small caps, although the ETFs and futures seem to be discounting this being up around 30% in 2010.

    So it may be better to find individual small cap companies who have a track record of success prior to 2007, defied the cynics and stuck with their entrepreneurial spirit by levering up and putting capital to work while its cheap and a management team passionate about the business.

    Certainly easier said then done to find such companies. One such idea is RICK. The company probably already trades at a discount due to the morally frowned upon industry it operates in, but it is a business as old as man with a proven track record. The CEO is the largest shareholder and has been expanding the operation despite the times with more planned. The CEO of the only other publicly traded company in this space is currently trying to take his own company private.

    Of course, at 85 million market cap if you tried to buy $5 million of RICK you would probably have to file a statement of ownership. So its best to spread it around a couple companies who share similar characteristics in different industries.

    So if anyone wants to share a good smallcap with me, I’m all ears.

  22. vic on December 23, 2010 12:33 am

    okay i am going to up the prize to 3250. your ideas are very good and worthwhile. and Mr. Drees is going to propose some rules which are good. But anyone who doesnt wish to follow them and whose idee fixee doesnt fit in the letter of the rules, we’ll still judge. and I’ll get some independent judges to help me out also. but all entries must be submitted before year end.vic

  23. vic on December 23, 2010 12:37 am

    Please know that I realize that a contest is completely different from actual trading, and that to maximize changes of winning a contest you could just sell do inordinately risky things that would have nothing to do with the real world. and that winning a contest like this has nothing to do with your ability. But many of the submissions have captured the spirit of what I had in mind, something useful and creative and sagacious about what to do in 2011 . and somehow we’ll come up with a fair way of rewarding your good efforts. vic

  24. Alec Misra on December 23, 2010 10:26 am

    Vic try KAZ (nyse). An unusual play in the energy and emerging markets sector. Personally id feel cheated if the comp were judged on anything other than a percentage move basis. After all what else is as simple and objective? Doesnt take account of VAR I know but we’re going for alpha here surely guys?

  25. Paul Wiedenhofer on December 23, 2010 11:49 am

    ECB raises, BOJ quietly coordinates intervention for material devaluation, as opposed to faux unilateral action for the purposes of perceived effort like we’ve seen. Simplicity returns, negative roll and carry start making less sense. Collapse of the EUR-such a compelling story, so much research that makes for great reads, so many products built by those that can market and sell the story, protection and insurance needed for the house because it must burn down. One problem, weak EUR correlates to lower equities, either a sea change happens or governments know they cannot allow it, not in their interest. The game must continue. Bull run in JPY reverts, EUR/JPY currently 108 1/2 to 135 by 2011 year end a la 1995.

  26. Ken Drees on December 23, 2010 11:54 am

    Proposed Rules for contest

    1. Submissions for contest entries must be made on the last two days of 2010, december 30th or 31st.

    2. Entries need to be labeled in subject line as “2011 contest investment prediction picks” or something very close so that we know this is your official entry.

    3. Entries need 3 predictions and 1 wildcard trade prediction (anything goes on the wildcard).

    4. Extra predictions may be submitted and will be judged as extra credit–will not detract from the main predictions and may or may not be judged at all.

    5. Extra predictions will be looked on as bravado–if you have it then flaunt it–it may pay off or you may give the judge a sour palate.

    The desire to have entires coming in at years end is to ensure that you have the best data as to year end 2010 and that you don’t ignite someone else to your wisdom.

    Market direction picks are wanted:

    Examples: 30 year treasury yield will fall to 3% in 2011, S&P 500 will hit “x” by june, and then by “y” by december 2011.

    The more exact your prediction is, the more weight will be given. The more exact your prediction, the more weight you will receive if right and thus the more weight you will receive if wrong. If you predict that copper will hit 5.00 dollars in 2011 and it does you will be given a great score, if you
    say that copper will hit 5.00 dollars in march and then it will decline to 4.35 and so forth you will be judged all along that prediction and will receive extra weight good or bad. You decide on how detailed your submission is structured. Will you try to be precise (maybe foolhardy) and go for the glory? Or will you play it safe and not stand out from the crowd? It is a
    doubled edged sword so its best to be the one handed market prognosticator and make your best predictions. Pretend these predictions are some pearls that you would give to a close friend or relative. You may actually help a speclister to make some money by giving up a pearl, if that speclister so desires to act upon a contest–G-d help him or her.

    Markets can be currency, stocks, bonds, commodities, etc. Single stock picks can be given for the one wildcard trade prediction. If you give multiple stock picks for the wildcard then they will all be judged and in the spirit of giving a friend a pearl–lets make it “the best of the best, not one of six”.

    All judgements are the Chair’s. The Chair will make final determination of the winner.

    Entries received with less than 3 market predictions will not be considered. Entries received without a wildcard will be considered. (this rule seems now to be over-ridden)

    The spirit of the contest is “Give us something we can use”.

    Ken Drees—

  27. Lazlo Minks on December 23, 2010 3:28 pm

    "2. Entries need to be labeled in subject line as "2011 contest investment prediction picks" or something very close so that we know this is your official entry."

    Subject line where?

    [Ed.: that is only for emailed entries.  If you submit an entry here we will know these are your picks, presumably].

  28. Epi Michael on December 23, 2010 7:04 pm

    1. S&P to remain rangebound between 1200-1250 first three months of year. Rising bond yields to fight resilient earnings. We then move higher steadily as M&A, private equity firms start to nibble. Likely mid year maybe a little earlier. A good strategy would be a bullish put spread in the options market. Second half ends stronger moving toward 1350+ in S&P so maybe unwind slowly moving into more bullish call options strat at this time.

    2. Gold stocks do well. Mid Caps outperform large caps in this sector. Potential spread trade long mid cap gold plays short large caps or simply outright basket of gold stocks.

    3. Bookstores or so called perceived old growth stocks do well. Barnes & Noble, Borders are helped by improving GDP numbers and a sudden realisation that books are not a dying breed but rather a GDP phenomenon.

    4. Private equity listed firms including Fortress and Blackstone beat S&P as they put money to work and re-think investment models going forward.

    5. Meat companies Tyson, Smithfield, Sanderson lag indices as they struggle to fend off rising input prices and translate this into higher meat prices.

  29. Carnal Stock on December 24, 2010 2:04 pm

    “S&P 500 will hit “x” by june, and then by “y” by December 2011″ - is this one prediction or two?

  30. Weyller Desir on December 30, 2010 1:49 am

    2011 contest investment prediction picks

    Us equities are out of gas:

    - NASDAQ will end the year down between 7 to 10 percent.

    - Forget oil at 150$ in 2011. Crude oil will retest 75$ but could still end up around 80$ by year-end.

    - The housing market has been on life support for some time. The new congress will make sure that lumber will comeback to earth at the 200 level by September 2011.

    And now for the freebies: GBP will end the year at the same current level. GOLD! Caution!!!! Do not get suckered into a short just yet. Wait for the end of 2011 for more clarity in that play.

    Good luck and happy trading.

  31. Lazlo Minks on December 30, 2010 2:12 pm

    2011 contest investment picks:

    1. Long dollar/euro all year long.
    2. Short 10 year treasuries all year long.
    3. When/if dec gold declines by > $200 from its 2011 high, short it for the rest of the year.

    Wildcard trade: Gold and oil will be the pilot fish for 2011. As long as EITHER dec gold or dec oil make new calendar monthly highs, sell volatility on the S&P 500. (because things are likely to remain in their current configuration). When/if both gold and oil fail to make new calendar monthly highs, buy volatility on the S&P 500 for the rest of 2011.

  32. Dennis Starr on December 30, 2010 2:38 pm

    2011 Contest Predictions

    1. Oil will rise to $130/bbl within the next 6 months and will be above $100/bbl on Dec. 31, 2011.

    2. The 2011 low for the EUR/USD will be 1.17.

    3. Before June 30, 2011 the EUR/CHF will trade below 90.

    Wild Card

    Spain defaults before March 31, 2011; the bailout package will exceed $500 billion.

    Extra Credit

    The 2011 high for the S&P will occur before June and will fall just short of 1,500; the low for the year will be 1,100.

    Best of luck to all!

  33. Craig Bowles on December 30, 2010 2:53 pm

    2011 targets would be: S&P 1585, 10-yr yield 5.10%, corn 6.80, beans 19.00, wheat 9.50, euro 1.37, usd/jpy 75, gold 3100, oil $177. While economic cycles vary and 2011 following the 1970s recovery would be negative for stocks, it’s good to know what a normal cycle would do. Since we’re in the second phase of a recovery (not unlike what followed the 2004 lull), I’ll just go with what the normal change is relative to what we saw in the first phase. Since the first phase was amped up, these numbers are so, as well. At least the Fed wants markets to act like a normal recovery, so you’d get stocks moving around half as much (% wise) as the first phase and interest rates moving twice as much. The reason gold has such a high target is that it is normally slightly negative in the first phase and normally outpaces that phase by 120% in the second up phase. Oil had a similar runup as the first phase. Other ways to use cycles would be assuming markets return to average returns rather than relative to the first phase, comparing from the previous entry into recession rather than trough, or comparing to historical inflation cycles. If the recovery fails, everything changes. Interestingly in recession, stocks average up 26% from the 3rd month to the 19th month, so investors have to be well ahead of the economy to benefit on the short side normally.

  34. Lazlo Minks on December 30, 2010 3:20 pm

    To clarify what I mean by “new calendar monthly highs”: the high in Jan should be > than the high in Dec, the high in Feb should be > than the high in Jan, etc. Relevant contracts to look at are Dec 2011 gold and Dec 2011 light crude.

  35. Andrew McCauley on December 30, 2010 7:08 pm

    2011 Contest Predictions

    1. Long Australian Materials Sector (XMJ.ASX)

    2. Long S&P 500 Index

    3. Long Oil

    4. Wild Card - Long Bailey Minerals (BAA.ASX) - Platinum in Colombia

    Thanks & have a wonderful New Year

  36. Steve Yang on December 30, 2010 10:20 pm

    2011 contest investment prediction picks

    (1) silver price hits $38 in first half the year, corrects to $29 and rises above $50 some time in the last three months of the year.

    (2) oil rises to $130 in first half of the year and falls to $90 by the end of the year.

    (3) 10-year treasury interest rate rises to 4.5% in first half of the year and falls to 2.80% by the end of the year.

    Wildcard:

    short BGU, DRN

  37. carnalstock.com on December 30, 2010 10:26 pm

    2011 Contest Predictions by Carnal Stock:
    Feb 2011: IWM 70
    Mar 2011: SPY 108
    Dec 2011: SPY 140

  38. Jason Douglas Brown on December 30, 2010 11:39 pm

    “2011 contest investment prediction picks”

    Swami Brown Speaking

    1st Prediction - US Equities begin massive Lobagola style retracement of the entire rally since March 6, 2009 beginning around Jan. 15 and lasting one solar year, followed by an amazing record breaking rally back to DOW 11,600 and SP 1260 starting around March 2012.

    2nd Prediction - Chinese Real Estate will be falling harder and faster than US Real Estate by mid 2011.

    3rd Prediction - AAPL will be the big holdout but will ultimately lose 50% by years end. Buy on the dip.

    4th Prediction (bravado) General (next few years) Hyper-inflationists, gold bugs and deflationists will all be proven wrong over the next several years. The market will figure out a way to make the expectations of the maximum number of market pundits/economists completely wrong, although one side or the other will appear to be right next year.

    Specific (next year or year and one half) This January, Elliott wavers will claims the 3rd of a 3rd has arrived along with “massive deflation” yet commodities will continue to hold up and gold will top $2000 by next year’s end. Both sides will claim victory for the correct portions of their predictions thus strengthening their case and subscriber base. Once gold tops $2000 and the DOW is under 7000 the hyper-inflationists, will one up each other over how high gold is going. “Gold is going to $3000″, “Gold is going to $5000″, “$10,000…” This is precisely when the gold bugs will get their little asses smashed in a gold Lobagola and the Elliott wave shorts will get killed just as they expect DOW400 right around the corner. The hedge fund industry will shrink to a normal size as the majority of players will have suffered catastrophic losses.

  39. Brendan Dornan on December 31, 2010 1:40 am

    “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” - Sir Isaac Newton

    • Thesis on China can be seen above or HistorySquared for additional details

    Getting specific:

    1. Credit Default Swaps on French, German, Italian Debt (FRTR CDS USD SR 5Y , GERMAN CDS SR 5Y, ITALY CDS SR 5Y on bloomberg)
    2. Short the Euro + Far OTM put options near parity
    3. Long Put X-Warrants or CDS on any Hong Kong or Chinese Property Developer (http://203.161.254.141/cgi-bin/dbank/statistics_f_e.cgi )
    3a. or Credit Default Swaps Chinese 5 year Government Debt (CHINAGOV CDS SR 5Y on bloomberg)

    • X Warrants, Long Term, Puts
    http://203.161.254.141/cgi-bin/dbank/statistics_f_e.cgi
    ○ Although it would take some work to get access to them, these instruments can have long term expirations of year or more with asymmetric payoffs. Combinations may provide better risk:reward trade structures. They are even more attractive when you consider that calls volume relative to put volume is seen at ratios of 10:1 ratios or more on some names.
    ○ There are many land, finance, and banks with tradable Warrants. Cheung Kong, Henderson Land, Sino Land, Poly Real Estate, Shui on Land, Sun Hung Kai, China National Building Material, China Overseas Land, Evergrande, Agile Property, HSBC, Hang Seng Bank, etc, etc .However, when you se e that over 80% of State Owned Enterprises, from railroads to soybean crushers are speculating on land, perhaps one doesn’t need to be picky.
    ○ Recent news
    § Vanke 10.19.10 (no warrants available)
    □ Vanke surprised many in the industry with the latest bids, which were 162.6 percent and 108.4 percent higher, respectively, than advertised opening bids for the auctions. And the combined price tag of more than 5 billion yuan is nearly equivalent to the current average floor-space selling price for all homes in Fangshan.
    □ Some in the industry speculated that Vanke paid a high price to help the local government push up land values. (which are up 800% since 2002)
    § Poly Real Estate (parent company available)
    □ Poly Real Estate Group Co. (SSE: 600048), China’s second-largest property developer by market value, bought a commercial and residential site for 1.2 billion yuan in Chengdu, the capital of southwest China’s Sichuan province, at a price lower than some analysts had expected but still 37.8 percent over the asking price.

    • Short Copper, Cement, Steel and anything related
    ○ From Oct 2009 article : “Rumours began circulating over the weekend that the Chinese regulator in charge of state-owned enterprises was considering giving certain companies — mainly airlines, steelmakers and other big users of derivative products — the unilateral right to default on those contracts.”
    § It never happened as the PBOC went for massive stimulus, but now that the government is tightening
    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/banking_and_finance/article6816445.ece

    Fallout to Effect Japan
    ○ Short Nippon Steel
    § $37 billion of sales and $16 billion of debt issued 10 year paper at 10 basis points over JGBs
    § Japan consumes 60 mt, down from 80-90mt
    ○ Short JFE
    § $41 billion of sales and $18 billion of debt
    § Both doing well on to exports
    § Utilization rates running at 90% and think China will never have a recession
    ○ Short Mittal
    § Long 1 year ATM puts
    ○ Put warrants on ShanSui Cement

    6. Extra Credit
    ○ Cleveland Biosciences (CBLI) - radiation treatment, terrorist attack hedge, contract with government

    • Hat Tip to Ken Rogoff, Pivot Capital, Hugh Hendry, Jim Chanos at Kynikos, Mark Hart John Brynjolfsson, Kyle Bass, John Burbank, Guggenheim, and Broyhill Asset

  40. Aris Papageorgakopoulos on December 31, 2010 3:55 am

    2011 contest investment top picks

    1.Eurodollar futures (ED reds) fall by 100bps. (yields rise by 100)
    2. USDYEN rises to 110
    3. Greek 10yr spread falls to 400bps over Bunds

    wildcard: SP biotech index SPSIBITR hits 2800 (+70%)
    happy new year all!

  41. vic on December 31, 2010 7:51 am

    The contest entries are so good, and have been so much in the spirit of really being useful and actionable, rather than just trying to win a contest, which would be so easy but wrongful by selling out of money puts on S@P futures eg. that the least I can do is raise the prize to 4000. “That’s rite ” , I can hear the contest entrants saying as Beethoven said to Countess Ragumusky when Schindler told him to thank the countess for letting him and his retinue use her mansion for the last 5 summers, (as only Beethoven who made me look neat could do ). ” Oh , Maestro, that was the least we could do ” , she said. “That’s rite “, Beethoven said. vic

  42. John Netto on December 31, 2010 8:21 am

    2011 Contest Entries:
    Since trading the markets is also about keeping an “Eye on Gambling”, I’ve decided to post my three biggest trades for 2011.

    1. Gold is currently priced at 1,052 Euros per ounce. I see the US Dollar making a comeback this year to retrace about 25% of its losses from 2010 on the heels of renewed growth in the US and a sense that the Fed will start to tighten during the June Fed meeting of 2011 impacting short term rates, as well as the longer end of the yield curve to continue under the selling pressure we have seen in the past six weeks. Along the same lines, the ECB will have to continue to remain steadfast in dealing with the peripheral sovereign debt concerns as the European crisis is not done impacting the heterogeneous currency.
    This on the backdrop of increasing growth in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) thereby allowing for both gold and the dollar to do well in the first half of 2011. I see Gold in Euros moving to 1350 in the first nine months and settling at 1275 at year’s end. This will create an extremely healthy risk-adjusted return by mitigating the dollar risk in the trade.

    2. The S & P 500, currently at 1250 is going to close the year at 1420 because the recession is over. The January effect will be powerful, with equities putting on gains between 3-4% in the month alone setting the stage for a robust revitalization of the American economy. Implied volatility will continue to compress in 2011 and the VIX (Volatility Index) will reach pre-financial crisis record lows of 11, less than three years following the bloodiest October in stock market history.

    3. Commodities continue to be all the rage, despite the dollar strengthening and rates rising as the global growth story becomes the prevailing sentiment. Copper will be above $6 a lb., Silver will see a move to $39, Gold will rally to $1800 an ounce, and Crude will hit and trade the $105 level. I do think we get a very tradable correction from May through August, as questions as to if we have come too far, too fast began to prompt investors to take profits. However, the longer term secular trend will ultimately help drive these markets back to new heights and continue rewarding traders and investors who used the dip as a chance to aggressively add to their positions.

    Good luck trading in 2011…
    We truly live blessed lives…

  43. John Netto on December 31, 2010 8:27 am

    Wildcard trade to go with my 3 trades above :
    The GDX, or Gold miners ETF, currently at $60.86 a share, outperforms the underlying Gold metal and rallies to $84 a share this year, before closing at $78, or putting on a healthy net 32 percent gain.

  44. dave goodboy on December 31, 2010 10:06 am

    2011 Contest Prediction Picks

    1. The DJIA will not surpass 12333 or break below 9997

    2. Chinese rare earth small caps will continue to climb: XING breaks $5.00 per share

    3. The public continues to lose interest in the stock market with the VIX will stagnate between 23.7 and 11.93

    Have a great New Year!

  45. michael Bonderer on December 31, 2010 11:55 am

    10-year JGB to yield 2.43% at 12.31.11.

  46. michael Bonderer on December 31, 2010 4:22 pm

    note to editor:

    to clarify my entry:

    Short 10-year JGB at 12.30.10 close of 100.64 (1.13%) and hold till 12.31.11.

    kindly put this in whatever form you wish to publish.

    cheers for ‘11

    MB

  47. N. Stewart on December 31, 2010 10:02 pm

    2011 contest investment picks:

    The overarching theme is that the “cost of living” arbitrage trade that has been the bread and butter of major corporations will begin to unwind. This is an overarching theme that goes beyond the year 2011.

    The typical worker (not an entrepreneur, govt. employee, or crony) has been caught between falling REAL wages in the private sector and the inflated, funny money sectors that the govt. throws money at (housing, medical care, education) that keep the cost of living “too high” relative to real productivity.

    If the America worker is to compete globally, wages must move to parity AND cost of living must move to parity on a global basis.

    This means american “financed” sectors like education and housing MUST FALL in value radically (in real, not nominal terms) RELATIVE to other goods, AND real wages must continue to fall, relative to the rest of the world.

    The easiest way out (politically expedient, less visible and understandable to the masses) is for the DOLLAR to FALL relative to real goods such that we begin to move towards global parity. Housing might not fall far (or might move up in nominal terms) however in relative terms it will decline.

    I see most assets going up relative to the dollar, however FX will not be the best way to play this long-term trend.

    There will be many cross currents in FX (great short term trading opportunities) for all of 2011!

    Bonds are now speculative vehicles! Sadly the public, which has in the last few years shifted so much wealth to bonds, will be smashed yet again. Pimco will be SMASHED! If not 2011, be patient!

    There is just too much paper/cyber money sloshing around in the financial system for it to be absorbed in a rational way!

    Investment choices for 2011:

    In this situation (Domestic economy forced to turn inwards) I believe that domestic energy resources will become increasingly valuable.

    1. Domestic Coal stocks (Such as AHGP,ARLP, PVR) I speculate that the CEO of AHGP/ARLP will crack the top 100 of the Forbes 400 rank.

    2. Domestic Gas/Oil LP stocks (Such as DMLP, other GAS LP Stocks)

    3. Offshore drillers (not truly part of the “domestic” only theme but included here). (Such as NE, RIG).

    These have had a good run recently, like the rest of the market. Any dip in the first or second quarter will create nice buying opportunities. The lp stocks have a high, typically tax free yield(return of capital/depreciation) which must be factored in to total return. (the down side of these stocks is having to fill out the K-1 form)

    What will begin to falter will be the big beneficiaries of global arbitrage: Domestic importers of foreign goods, such as much of retail. COGS will at some point EXPLODE for this sector. No one wants to believe it, yet it will happen! I never short stocks of good companies (Or any company, for that matter) However, I believe the long term winds will eventually hurt these stocks. These stocks are a game of chicken, do not be the last one out!

    Last:

    Community banks in a demographically favorable area (look up the data)of the country that did not experience much of housing bubble: I favor VERMONT. A representative stock would be MBVT. (small cap so only useful to very long term holding period or small timers) They have been and will continue to benefit from the rate policies intended to bail out the “liar loan fueled” cronies, while their own loan books are relatively solid. Increased regulation will be a negative, however I think the Feds will DO ANYTHING prop up this sector. Small Institutions in the right areas will avoid the major scrutiny while at the same time they will be benefiting from the pro-crony policies that will go right to the bottom line. Buying on pullbacks is the name of the game here for the duration of 2011. I suspect they will have a dividend increase some point soon.

  48. Adam G on December 31, 2010 11:43 pm

    2011 contest investment prediction picks

    1) The S&P 500 will end the year once again testing long term resistance around 1,500 (Cash level). Any pullback will hold above 1,175. Expect a 3-4 month pullback, beginning within the first two months of the year, then a sideways-up run into the 1,500 level by year’s end.

    2) Gold will sell off significantly. Look for front month Gold futures to trade to 1,050 by year’s end. Volatility will significant expand in the precious metals complex as well. Long vol structures will be rewarded.

    3) Domestic equities will outperform EAFE. For simplicity EFA/SPY currently = 46.30. Looking at 43.00 on the downside, then >= 55.00 for that ratio by year’s end.

    Wildcard) UNG will shut down by year’s end. Long deep out of the money puts. (Well… as deep out of the money as possible lol)

  49. Matthew on December 31, 2010 11:53 pm

    Buy and hold for the entire year:

    QUIK

    DRWI

    VHC

  50. John Knott on January 1, 2011 1:23 am

    2011 contest investment prediction picks

    1) Buy AIG and sell at 90.00 GTC.

    2) Buy C and sell at 10.00 GTC.

    3) Buy MOS and sell 120.00 GTC.

    All 3 weighted 33% each.

    The sell orders are to lock in said prices in case these stocks sell off hard after reaching their targets. I believe all targets will be hit sometime in 2011.

    Wild card is to buy ESI and sell at 98.00 GTC.

  51. Adam J Braus on January 1, 2011 1:44 pm

    I know I’m a day late, but I would like to submit a few predictions for the contest anyways, for fun.

    1: The Geithner effect: Finessing Sino-American relations, Geithner is able to convince China’s top export brass to change from export-growth into asset-purchase-growth economy. The Yuan closes 2011 at 20% higher against the dollar.

    2: The volt falls flat and GM dips dangerously low. Chinese investors (using that stronger Yuan) buy 25%. (Ford closes 2011 above 40)

    3: Google has been trying to convince everyone that they are NOT an energy company. As soon as the grid is open they will become an energy company and there revenue will grow X5. Google hits 1,000 before 2011. (this one might take more than a year for the grid to open up–nevertheless a good prediction!)

    good luck everyone!

  52. Lazlo Minks on January 1, 2011 3:07 pm

    This isn’t a prediction, merely a thought inspired by reading the many predictions here and elsewhere. I often ask: if I were the Market Mistress what would I do to make the maximum number of prognosticators incorrect?

    In this case, if I were the gold market, I would end 2011 exactly where I began it.

  53. Mark Johnson on January 1, 2011 4:46 pm

    2011 contest investment

    I am placing my Dec 22nd submission into proper format. Representing the retail side of the equasion, I am sure that no one here will actually use my picks. With the 4,000 first prize I am going for the home run and placing numbers with my picks.

    1. MGM Resorts International-Las Vegas is going to be very strong this year as the convention business is set to be the best in years and as a moving sales rep we are actually seeing people moving to las Vegas instead of out of Las Vegas. Jim Murren the ceo has done a great job restructuring MGM. Many great catalysts for this company-the known. They are refinancing city center and supposedly have a buyer for borgata and exit AC. MGM macau is starting to boom and a possible ipo and expansion. More interesting are the unknown surprise factors. Internet poker-harry reid was supported very strongly by Murren and MGM-IF he can pull the rabbit out of the bag and somehow push thru the bill MGM moves up sharply. As a general rule it doesnt hurt to have the Senate majority leader on your side period. Genting buys Kerkorians remaining 25% stake this year and the stock never looks back, and profits resume.
    MGM Resorts ends the year north of 35.
    2.Boyd Gaming-Pretty undervalued here as many are unsure of the locals market and AC. A big short interest is unwarrented as is the short interest in MGM. A few unexpected surprises will slaughter the short crowd.
    BYD ends the year north of 20
    3.SPF-They are well positioned for the home builder revival which comes this year. Despite the overhang, most folks love to buy a new home and spf is well positioned with Matlin patterson owning a chunk of the company.
    SPF ends the year north of 12.
    Wildcard-CIGX. many IF’S with this little company. Appeal coming up vs rjr-product to be given the thumbs up or down by the fda as mod tobacco product in feb. Alzheimers trial still far away.
    CIGX ends the year north of 6 after touching 10 during the year.
    Happy new year everyone.
    Mark Johnson
    White Glove Moving

  54. vic on January 2, 2011 9:04 am

    Very Good, as the Palindrome used to say to me no matter how bad the situation.We all created much value, our mission, from this contest. The ideas and trades of this year end round up and forecast have to be the best, and most prospectively useful and profitable that Ive even seen in my 50 years on Wall Street. The least I can do is to prepare a master list of all the recommendations and track it during the year for your collective use. If you like our collective wisdom, feel free to link it to your friends, (hopefully non flexionic as they have all too many of our collective chips already). Very Good and thanks much for your entering into the spirit of this humble effort. Vic

  55. Sam on January 4, 2011 12:42 pm

    “Two entries: Buy: FXP and IRWD”

    One of Dr Rafter’s selections, FXP, is liquid — and today is an opportunity for his enthusiasts, such as I, to enter at a meaningful discount to the year-end price -http://google.com/finance?q=fxp

  56. DT on February 22, 2011 4:50 am

    How can we participate in this contest? Still waiting to know..

    [Ed.: Sorry the contest entries were due by Dec 31, 2010, for the year 2011. It is too late to enter now, the year is already well advanced.]

  57. Jim Rickard’s on the Germany’s Takeover of Europe on July 31, 2011 12:48 pm

    […] This is consistent with European convergence, not breakup. The implication for investors is that the bonds of the core country’s will have a degree of convergence with the periphery’s as they are underwriting a lot of bad debt.  In exchange, the politicians get more power. The losers will be the taxpayers, who sacrifice economic freedom. This was the underlying reasoning behind the Neiderhoffer’s contest entry, where CDS on German, French, and Italian debt was entered.  AKPC_IDS += “2541,”;Popularity: unranked [?] […]

  58. Niederhoffer’s DailySpeculations Contest Entry Update on August 5, 2011 10:50 am

    […] Here is what I wrote earlier this year for the 2011 Neiderhoffer contest on Daily Speculations. […]

  59. Return of the The Deutsche Mark? on August 10, 2011 11:02 am

    […] The other day I gave an update on Victor Niederhoffer’s 2011 contest entries. In the actual contest write-up back in 2010, I wrote that as the sovereign debt crises in Europe deepens, “talk of Germany leaving the Euro escalates.” […]

  60. Brendan Dornan on December 27, 2011 2:01 pm

    (sent email also)

    Victor,

    Thank you very much for putting on the contest.

    The contest entry updates earlier this year did not include my entries, probably because the access to quotes for the instruments added an extra degree of difficulty, so allow me:

    1. Credit Default Swaps on:
    +99.44% : French Gov CDS
    +70.80% : German Gov CDS
    +99.88% : Italian Gov CDS :
    2. Short the Euro + Far OTM put options near parity
    +% : 1.3224 - 1.30469, not great: learned spot FX poor for tail event trades.
    3. Long Put X-Warrants or CDS on any Hong Kong or Chinese Property Developer
    +103.20% (20.64% X 5 for warrant use) Shanghai Property Index, (2759.58-2190.11):
    3a. or Credit Default Swaps Chinese 5 year Government Debt
    +118.26%: China Gov CDS

    Extra Credit:
    + 214.25% : Short Copper:
    4.4455-3.4695 NYMEX Copper HG
    ($111,375 - $86,725) = $24,650.00
    Short Iron Ore, Cement, similar declines (SWAPs would have done well)
    + 52% : Short Japanese Industrials via CDS
    Hugh Hendry’s fund is up and can be a proxy
    +32.96% peak, but plunged -60.80% below open : Cleveland Biosciences (CBLI)
    Although unsuccessful, CBLI spiked higher amid the Japanese Nuclear Meltdown, serving its purpose as a hedge

    Quotes :
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=CCHIN1U5:IND
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=CDBR1U5:IND
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=CFRTR1U5:IND
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=CITLY1U5:IND
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=SHPROP:IND

    Cheers

  61. Farok Lajos on January 1, 2012 3:49 pm

    How did the contest end? What was the result of the 109 positions? Back in January Vic prized the sagacity of the contestants, although the market was up 2% and the average position down -1.5% I hope they proved themselves by the end of the year….

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