The energy crunch in China and Europe may grow into a bigger trend worldwide. Its one of those small line notes you notice and go hmmm. Like the pandemic was in early 2020. Hmmm, shortage of masks. Hmmm, Shortage of gas, coal. Things that make you go hmmm.

Water shortages also coming up. See how this winter is. Reservoirs are quite low. Look at weekly chart of FIW water etf.

Jeff Watson adds:

I’m noticing many holes where product should be on shelving at every retail establishment we patronize. I’ve been waiting on a part for my Jeep that’s been on back order for 6months. Still see little to no ammo in stores. The system is full of hiccups.

Tim Melvin notes:

I saw a lot of empty shelf space at Costco last week. Very unusual.

Pamela Van Giessen writes:

No joke. We have a huge problem. This is what happens when the world gets shut down and everything is all covid fear all the time. No workers. Test school kids constantly and they will end up being sent home and parents won’t be able to work. Then stuff won’t get made or shipped to where it needs to be. Freight train, fully loaded, sat parked in Livingston MT for nearly 2 weeks. Just left the other day.

As someone running a business that relies on actual commodities (flour, sugar, etc) I find myself overbuying out of concern that I will not be able to get basic ingredients. I had a hard time getting boxes about 2 weeks ago. It’s ridiculous.

Laurence Glazier writes:

It’s getting reminiscent or the Atlas Shrugged movie.

Nils Poertner suggests:

UK is worth to watch as most things we are going to see here in Eurozone or you guys in the US are happening a touch earlier over there (UK being such a tiny, little, open, exposed, econ).

Laurence Glazier adds:

Yes, over here in London it's harder to get petrol (i.e. gas) for the car, less things available in online stores.

James Lackey writes:

I can get everything to build a car a bike or a motorcycle and mysteriously no spikes no single bearing or one simple chip - I call BS. This is almost as big as a Vatican scam.

Jeff Rollert adds:

The most common boat engine, the Merc Cruiser, is quoting deliveries of full engines for next summer.

Duncan Coker notes:

Motors being taken out of production. Sounds a lot like a book I know.



How do traders deal with sleep patterns or disruption? Especially with markets in different time zones, etc.

Circadian Rhythm and Sleep Disruption: Causes, Metabolic Consequences, and Countermeasures

Circadian (~24-hour) timing systems pervade all kingdoms of life and temporally optimize behavior and physiology in humans. Relatively recent changes to our environments, such as the introduction of artificial lighting, can disorganize the circadian system, from the level of the molecular clocks that regulate the timing of cellular activities to the level of synchronization between our daily cycles of behavior and the solar day. Sleep/wake cycles are intertwined with the circadian system, and global trends indicate that these, too, are increasingly subject to disruption. A large proportion of the world's population is at increased risk of environmentally driven circadian rhythm and sleep disruption, and a minority of individuals are also genetically predisposed to circadian misalignment and sleep disorders. The consequences of disruption to the circadian system and sleep are profound and include myriad metabolic ramifications, some of which may be compounded by adverse effects on dietary choices. If not addressed, the deleterious effects of such disruption will continue to cause widespread health problems; therefore, implementation of the numerous behavioral and pharmaceutical interventions that can help restore circadian system alignment and enhance sleep will be important.

Larry Williams comments:

That’s one of the hardest parts of this business 'secially when you live in 2 places.

Zubin Al Genubi writes:

Haha. I sleep when I trade. Wake up . Sell too soon.

Jeff Watson responds:

Sell too soon? My life story is that I always pay too much and sell too cheaply. It's a bad habit.

James Lackey adds:

In Ecuador your perfect 12 hours of sunlight all year 365 sure beats fall back to dark at 5pm here. The fall back time change and the further/ farther your from the equator is
More difficult than staying up 100 hours a few times a year.



in proper sell-off in equity, one eventually gets a massive backwardation - and we haven't seen this - almost the opposite- it slightly steepened yesterday - that is odd - and could mean a lot more stress but who knows, am not an equity guy just noticing it on the side and it needs to be tested more…

Zubin Al Genubi comments:

Decay of hi vol over time is a regular tendency. This leads to pennant like structures. The most dangerous time is at the expansion phase where the rate of expansion rapidly increases.

James Lackey responds:

This is a fabulous lesson for new specs that fall for the bear memes then get whacked post dip rally buying.

Look there are times for all things. We can make money short but it's so crazy risk dangerous and the vigorish is insane. I love Mr Vic's "never short" advice!

However if you must sell them without owning them I'd test when the vix is increasing in the short term ie today's vix is higher than 5 days ago then keep it to something like no more than a few trading days hod short et al.

My gist is paying huge vig and buying strength and selling weaknesses is the stupidest system ever! However I'm a man that made it happen and allot over many years even prior to my spec list school.

In closing don't lol but if you must: It makes sense to move all the contracts you can, all day every day when the vix is over let's say 25 and my hypothesis is when it's expanded rather than contracted.

With love honor and respect for those that trade for a living.

Nils Poertner adds:

whenever this graph (from Peter Garnry at Saxo Bank) is -20 or -30, it is possibly a contrarian buy.- that is how I read it. in other wards, in strong backwardation in the vix curve…eventually one needs to switch and be bullish - in context perhaps with other indicators? treat with caution - have not done study myself. always test for yourself



1. Human Error, James Reason. A rather disappointing academic treatise on cognitive analysis of how humans make errors which is really dragged down by obtuse academia speak. Two major sources of error are lapses and slips, and secondly errors of reason and rules. Slips are when you forget steps, lose your place, get distracted, fall into a habitual practice inappropriate for the situation. Errors of reason are using the wrong rule for the situation, where the plan does not go as expected, or the plan was wrong. When the rule doesn't fit, the expert acts like a novice.

There are the raft of heuristics. One is how humans utilize familiar patterns rather than calculate or optimize a current new situation. It is cognitively difficult to consciously think through a new situation.

An interesting section was about how the brain uses "autodrive" to do many familiar things to make room for conscious thought. I was driving down somewhere thinking, and look up and arriving at my destination, realize that I basically had no recollection of the drive there - just on autopilot. A lot of daily life is on auto pilot thus ripe for error.

It's a difficult read. Better to rent, than buy.

2. The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality, by Kathryn Paige Harden

A flawed book addressing a difficult subject. Galton's biggest failing was his theory on eugenics. One of Harden's main points is to debunk the misconception that the genetics of race has any meaning. Race is close to meaningless in genetics. For example, people with genes from people from Africa have a much larger variation in genes than in all the other races, and the categorization of Black and White becomes meaningless.

Genetics does have an effect on personal traits. It predicts certain diseases. The attempt at connecting genetics with achievement in education, life satisfaction, and wealth, suffers from too many variables to have any use.

Their statistical studies, not disclosed, I think will not be robust.

3. John Steinbeck, Sea of Cortez, recommended by Andrew Moe. A beautifully written book and a joy to read.

4. Yottam Ottolenghi, Plenty More. Highly recommended cook book with smashing recipes for vegetarian dishes with a mideastern influence. He has other cookbooks such as Jerusalem with recipes that are real home runs. I've made a number with great success.

5. Michael Lewis, The Premonition. Excellent book about the sad state of the lack of preparedness for a pandemic in the US. Outlines some of the goings on in California to deal with pandemics and disease. Lewis is a fine writer and easy to read.

Pamela Van Giessen comments:

Lewis is a facile writer who performs a parlor trick by bringing forward, in Vanity Fair like story telling, that which will convince you that his view is the correct view. He will not be remembered 100 yrs from now.

A reader writes:

There are three sentences in the short review of The Genetic Lottery that are utter nonsense:

"Galton's biggest failing was his theory [sic] on eugenics."
"Race is close to meaningless in genetics."
"The attempt at connecting genetics with achievement in education, life satisfaction, and wealth, suffers from too many variables to have any use."

These sentences could probably be accepted in, say, the NY Times given that and other leading publications' denial of much of genetic science, but not on this Spec List.

James Lackey appreciates:

Fantastic report! I dig Lewis because moneyball was a great movie lol but really love him because his Wife is so amazing that he must be a good dude to keep her.

Duncan Coker

Thanks for the list. Has anyone read the latest from Steven Pinker, Rationality? It seems like a more scientific analysis of what Kahneman failed to do. We humans have trouble with advanced probability in every day life, so appear to be irrational, but there is more to the story. Do the shortcuts we use help or hurt. Try doing Bayesian Analysis at the grocery story. I think Pinker is one of the best writers we have at present.

An excerpt from Pinker's latest:

Why You Should Always Switch: The Monty Hall Problem (Finally) Explained
By Steven Pinker



Zubin Al Genubi writes:

bullish tendency

Larry Williams cautions:

Yes but not very much for october

Big Al starts the analysis:

Simple test on SPY, all dates thru Sept, 2021, comparing first days of the month to all days:

All days
count: 7171
mean % move: 0.04%
sd: 1.19%

count: 341
mean % move: 0.25%
sd: 1.31%
z vs all: 3.28

Steve Ellison digs deeper:

Last 36 first days of the month, enough for significance and equal month weightings, but a short enough lookback to allow for ever-changing cycles, especially from prior knowledge of those who worked for the Chair: The average first day of the month is positive, but not significantly different from the overall upward drift of this period, t=0.68.

Date // Net change
10/01/2018 0.4%
11/01/2018 1.0%
12/03/2018 1.2%
01/02/2019 0.2%
02/01/2019 0.0%
03/01/2019 0.7%
04/01/2019 1.2%
05/01/2019 -0.9%
06/03/2019 -0.1%
07/01/2019 0.8%
08/01/2019 -1.0%
09/03/2019 -0.6%
10/01/2019 -1.4%
11/01/2019 0.9%
12/02/2019 -0.9%
01/02/2020 0.9%
02/03/2020 0.7%
03/02/2020 3.9%
04/01/2020 -4.7%
05/01/2020 -2.8%
06/01/2020 0.4%
07/01/2020 0.4%
08/03/2020 0.8%
09/01/2020 0.8%
10/01/2020 0.5%
11/02/2020 1.1%
12/01/2020 1.0%
01/04/2021 -1.5%
02/01/2021 1.6%
03/01/2021 2.3%
04/01/2021 1.1%
05/03/2021 0.3%
06/01/2021 -0.1%
07/01/2021 0.5%
08/02/2021 -0.2%
09/01/2021 0.0%

Average 0.2%
Standard deviation 1.4%
n 36
t 0.68
Average of all days 0.1%

Big Al continues:

Prompted by Steve's analysis, here is SPY broken into two-year periods, with September as the ending month. Shows the z of the FDOM moves for that period vs the SPY daily % moves for that period.

2yr end // z of FDOM
Sep-2021 0.69
Sep-2019 0.14
Sep-2017 1.67
Sep-2015 (1.18)
Sep-2013 0.16
Sep-2011 1.67
Sep-2009 (0.18)
Sep-2007 1.68
Sep-2005 2.88
Sep-2003 0.99
Sep-2001 0.85
Sep-1999 2.64
Sep-1997 2.56
Sep-1995 (1.23)



I've learned how to foil surf. (It was a brutal learning curve.) You can also downwind surf in open ocean swells on the open ocean, but it's tricky. You need to catch a chop that is steep enough to allow one to get enough speed to get flying on the foil. Once flying on foil, it is very fast and efficient and one can ride the open ocean like a bird.

The trick is to pick the right chops so as not to exhaust yourself paddling before flying on foil. There are 3 or more energy sources manifesting in the ocean wave pattern: (1) wind, (2) surface chop, (3) open ocean ground swell. The various energy sources create different wave energy patterns that overlap. At the intersection of 3 energy sources, a steep breaking chop is created which gives enough energy to paddle in and get up flying on the foil. This is the idea of a rogue wave, but on a smaller scale.

This practice can be applied to trading. As Larry Williams explained in his video on seasonality and cycles, there are energy currents and cycles in the market in seasonal wave patterns. Additionally there is energy in day to day price patterns and, as today, in monthly price patterns. It seems that occasionally three or more of these price patterns overlap and all the energy gets focused in one spot creating a good opportunity for a trade. An example might be 3 or 4 big down days, an x-day new low, an overnight drift pattern, and an end of quarter/month pattern, might all intersect for a good trade opportunity with lots of energy.



Friday predicts next week?

September 13, 2021 | 1 Comment

friday was a most unusual day: down 50 big from the open and set an x-day low but not a 29-day low. all things considered should be a great bull week next week, regardless of the reduction of progressivism and the rise of pele in the odds.

Vic's twitter feed

Zubin al Genubi follows up:

Friday-Monday regularity kicked in nicely. Little bit of sogi coffee action this week?



From Lee Child in Without Fail:

The thing about baseball is that the regular season is one hundred sixty-two games long. Way, way longer than any other sport. Any other sport has about half as many games as baseball. Basketball, hockey, football, soccer, anything. Any other sport, the players can start out thinking they can win every single game all season long. It’s just about a realistic motivational goal. It’s even been achieved, here and there, now and then. But it’s impossible in baseball. The very best teams, the greatest champions, they all lose around a third of their games. They lose fifty or sixty times a year, at least. Imagine what that feels like, from a psychological perspective. You’re a superb athlete, you’re fanatically competitive, but you know for sure you’re going to lose repeatedly. You have to make mental adjustments, or you couldn’t cope with it.

Stefan Jovanovich adds:

It's even worse. You go up to the plate knowing you are going to swing and miss or, at best, hit a foul many more times than you are going to hit a ball square into fair territory. And, then, on the ones you hit right, half will be outs.

Total # of games played in MLB and Negro League history: 232,680
Total # of perfect games, i.e., 27 outs, no hits, no walks, by losing team, no errors by winning team: 22
Ratio: Perfect to Played: 1/9.455045556128589e-5
[That is, 0.00946% of games played were "perfect". -Ed.]



In addition to the relentless new highs we saw a short while ago, there are sideways consolidation periods before an eventual break out.  It can be understandable after massive influx of liquidity, then an end to the surge.  The theory is that the economic momentum will shift to actual production.  Hopefully the supply disruptions will smooth out in a year or so.  I still can't get a hold of a jet ski or outboard. 
I am seeing help wanted signs all over, especially in restaurants which are now just opening back up. 
Timing wise, assuming the 2020 crash was our bear market, there could be  3 or more years of bull market ahead.  The average bull market lasts for 2.7 years. The average frequency between bear markets is 3.6 years.




May 2, 2021 | Leave a Comment

Zubin Al Genubi  writes:

The subject of Losing gets pushed under the rug in this woke world, but is an interesting subject and should be studied and examined.

Accepting loss, and understanding why is an important process.  Was the loss due to a mistake, lack of training, improper technique. Was the other guy just a better human or did he just work harder and longer, and try harder,?    Did you try your hardest? Was there some other mental stuff holding you back.  There are some tough questions, but questions that need to be examined to improve.

Sports competition is good for young people because it teaches how to lose.  A big part of sportsmanship is losing with grace.  

Some people really hate to lose, and it  holds them back.  I hear people verbally arguing, and rather than lose, they will start escalating and go for the jugular, and making personal attacks.  It's counter productive in life, in marriage, in business.  Fear of losing causes people to not try their hardest for fear that it will not be good enough and that they are inferior.  Fear of losing causes people not to take risks to avoid the pain of loss and the accompanying questions. Fear of losing is fear of realizing that you may not be good enough, and that your self delusion about yourself will be shattered.

Millennials grew up in the "everyone is a winner" generation, leading them to a sense of unjustified self entitlement and bewilderment at their lack of success.

A statistical    approach to losing is an excellent way to understand losing.  In a sample of  trials, some will be losers, some winners.  It has to happen. Hopefully you will have more winners over time, and the wins will be larger than the losses.  The distributions of a few big wins, which total more than many small losses are hardest. A common distribution is lots of small wins, and a few big losses which is related to the fear of losing issue.

Was the loss due to bad judging, prejudiced judges, corruption, bad system, unavoidable (shit happens)  type stuff.  In ski mountaineering, you can be cautious, but there is unavoidable objective hazard, such as an earthquake while you are in the mountains.  

There are some good tangents. Mitigation of risk is big.  The subject of luck is a good one.  There are many things you can't control: some are favorable, some not, and they affect you and your life.  Was your so called success due to luck or skill?. Its the black swan thesis. What percent is luck, and what part skill?  Did you overcome your circumstances, and handcaps, or did you squander your talents?

Though I don't about it gambling is a good field to study losing as discussed by Kelly, our friend, Ralph Vince..

James Lackey writes

What evidence do we have to support the statement about Millennials?

We know my kids yours brooks vics Stephan Gordon and I'm sorry how many others here..

Oh sure I knew your not talking about me us but….I've been mentoring just out of college kids or drop outs and I've never experienced the generalized view.

However my son does have cohort frustration.That's not a win loss handle it emotionally issue it's a work goal reality issue

Sorry if I hijacked your thread

Ken Sadofsky writes:

Is the list dissolving; the decency of adieSau. would have been appreciated.

Cheers for alice. 1939 5 top films n more. what would vic say?

James Lackey writes

Did you take my comments as not fit for British Navy dinner table?

I'm certain it is US Army Officers club cool. 

Please explain why. 



Here is another anecdote about the heating economy.  I put my old sailboat up for sale the other day.  I got 2 offers within hours of putting it up for sale. I am trying to buy another boat.  I saw a nice one that was put up for sale, and it sold in under 2 hours.  Just saw another one… same, sold in under 5 hours.  I hear the same thing from my real estate friends, and now in the news about homes going into overbids, no contingencies, panic type buying.  

In past cycles, I remember real estate going up 10% a month for months at a time. 
I guess the unemployment figures the other day were good and Labogola'd the market up in the afternoon, but the juice didn't last through to today.

Also,  I was looking at new jet skis, but there are none in stock…all used inventory sold out.  Looking at outboard motors.

Same thing, no inventory anywhere, long waits from factory.   



Zubin Al Genubi writes:

The all time usual rate is about 4% as I recall.

Jared Albert writes


The graphs are a ton of fun to flip through.




March 27, 2021 | Leave a Comment

Victor Niederhoffer  writes:

What can the physics of pressure tell us about markets.  when a large accumulation of sel orders is directed at one point the force /area is great as it is in a triple top or double top or break thru the sogi/ what other elementary physical principles apply to markets. 

Zubin Al Genubi writes:

I can venture to say the idea of Gravity does NOT work in markets. Looking at a chart one gets the illusion of height or that gravity might effect prices but it is an illusion and a dangerous misleading illusion.

Peter DeBaz writes:

I'm not a physicist, so I'm sure that any understanding I have of physics would make a pro scoff.  Financial "momentum" could be an expression of newton's first law.  VN's original idea could be a restatement of f=ma, newton's second.  And finally, "value" trading could be a violation of the second law of thermodynamics, which is why, one could argue, that it never worked (lol). 

Andrew Aiken writes:

Black-Scholes-Merton option pricing formula is a direct restatement of the heat (diffusion) equation:

ut − ∆u = f(x, t)

and later refinements such as Heston, which allows for pricing “jumps”, are extensions of this equation with additional conditions.

(I prefer to price options in a way that doesn’t underprice tail risk)



Jeffrey Watson writes:

This Surfline article delves into the reasons that while the waves people are riding are getting bigger and bigger, nobody has died while riding them in a long time. The author attributes this to better training, better conditioning, better equipment, and new safety measures with a team effort. 

Since getting wiped out in the market can be accurately be described with a surfing analogy, what methods have you implemented to protect yourself from a six sigma event in the market?



Zubin Al Genubi writes:

Using Ralph Vince's risk management tools.



100 pt Swings

February 1, 2021 | Leave a Comment

Getting to be a regular things recently.




January 30, 2021 | Leave a Comment

Zubin Al writes: 

At a surf break, the waves tend to focus and break in a small area ideal for taking off in a surfboard.  In a normal surf line up where the surfers wait for waves people crowd up, and informally queue up for their turn at the wave. However, 20% of the surfers usually get 80% of the waves.  These are the top feeders.  

I've learned how to foil surf on hydrofoils that fly above the water.  The take off spot is in a different spot that where the board surfers drop in, and the high speed and efficiency of the foil allow riding in places where the board riders don't and can't ride.  I can also ride breaks and wave conditions where board riders cannot and don't want to ride.  After close to 60 years surfing, its opened up a whole new world of surfing for me.  Due to the extreme difficulty learning to foil, and the very high expense of the equipment, there are only a handful of foil surfers around.  We reap uncrowded waves and   thrilling high speed rides flying above the water.  

In the ecology of the market, there are many niches.  Props to the GME traders who found a new niche.  In the law of changing cycles,though, the top feeders and brokers move to protect their niche in the greater picture of the market. 

The question is whether the de leveraging and higher margins and deposits for brokers in that niche will spread and affect the general market bringing it down a notch.

One theory I've had is that big waves correlate with high volatility.  Its pure superstition.  Under my theory, wive big waves down this weekend and with big waves possible Wednesday and Thursday market vol will be up midweek.  This is pure mumbo, never tested and just for fun.


Jeff Watsurf writes: 

I started foil surfing a few years ago, using a kite. A total game changer in my humble opinion.



Arc Sine Law

January 22, 2021 | Leave a Comment

50's gravitational effect in  effect today, together with the tendency toward new highs to continue.  Hard to believe but that  is what creates the wall of worry bull markets climb.



Zubin Al writes: 

Recently at a restaurant at lunch, two blue collar guys, one older, one
younger guy with a beard, both  in electricians uniforms sit down and  I
overhear the young guy explaining to the older guy about buying stocks,
and how if they double how much money he can make.  He says he doesn't
care how much it goes down, and that he will hold on.  The conversation
moves to Bitcoin, and the younger guy doesn't quite understand how it
works but that it keeps going up. To myself I'm thinking, "hmmm".  I
remember in late 1999 walking into the broker's office where I see a
young woman who I remember waiting tables there buying stocks.  I recall
taxi drivers during that same period talking stocks as conversation in
the cabs.

I wonder, is it different this time?

Dr Gangineni Dhananjhay writes: 

I have also got a similar experience in India. Near the brokerage
company where I regularly go to trade, I visit a Coffee stall. The
person running the coffee shop started giving stock advice. Which stocks
to buy and sell and general market opinion. I got afraid. Of course
this is an anecdotal evidence. I am seeing more of my relatives and
family members giving me stock advice. Time to be cautious ??

Jack Cook writes: 

For me, the Spring of 2001 'Aha Mr. Livermore, this is the top?  My
Masseuse was working on my lats and telling tales of retiring on all the
Cisco stock he had.

He is still my Masseuse.

Best in 2021


TikTok and Discord Are the New Wall Street Trading DesksCaitlin McCabe, Gunjan Banerji and Mischa Frankl-Duval-WSJ. A
new army of social media-enabled day traders is helping push stocks to
records and turning companies into market sensations. As trading by
individual investors boomed during the coronavirus pandemic, so has the
popularity of online communities where they gather. Platforms including
TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, Instagram, Facebook and messaging
platform Discord have become the new Wall Street trading desks.
Individual investors gather to talk about hot stocks like Tesla Inc.,
boast of gains and commiserate about losses. These investors do more
than just talk, though. They piggyback on each others' ideas and trades,
helping fuel the momentum that has propelled some companies to
triple-digit or bigger gains in 2020.



Perfect Example

January 5, 2021 | Leave a Comment

Victor Niederhoffer  writes: 

Of our favorite technique from street games " your own ma" the r's in Georgia  loudly proclaim that they voted r's but at the same time they are obviously string their hardest to sink the incumbent.  How can you fight the system when everyone is against you and they are hauling out every technique to make you look bad. Who is this notorious ballot stuffer that the   Georgia elected official had in a prominent position. And which the incumbent said was alone in the office with the suitcase of 100% voted or d's. the conference call claimed 7 or 7 deferent kinds of abuse and it was taken out of context by all media to say that the incumbent want just 11000 votes. I often was visited with a biased referee in squash who was against me because I was not from Merior or the prep schools or because I was Jewish. Osborne tried to help me. and I still remember how the finals of the championship was stolen from me when the referee called a ball down on me which he had never done. In other words, play was going on and there was no appeal but he shout out down. It doesn't seem important in retrospect but it prevent me from winning the world championship when I was 18 years old. the incumbent has to fight 4 millions against him and the forces against him are contagious to make matters worse.

Zubin Al  writes: 

Indeed, it’s the coordinated powers of the world against one man (a man in the most powerful position in the world). Trump has been an existential threat to China’s path to economic superpower status, an existential threat to the Climate Action 100+ coordination/cooperation, and an existential threat to the swamp. To what extent would they go to remove him?  It seems we are seeing it. “Whatever it takes.”  Tomorrow and the days ahead may be total chaos.



Zubin Al  writes: 

Each year I like to count the number of private jets parked during the holidays at the local FBO.  Many of the worlds richest people have homes here such as Bill Gates, Roberts of KKR, Charles Schwab, The Go Daddy guy, Dave Roux of Silverlake Partners…  and they all have private jets. The theory is that the rich know what's going on with the economy and is a tell for the future.

There are notably fewer jets this year. I counted 18 on Christmas and will update later today  on my way to foil big waves at the beach past the airport.  Usually the lot overflows to park jets on Maui and Oahu with 40 or more.

My take (and in theory the captain's of industry take)  is that this thing is not going to be over this next year, and will drag on.

Victor Niederhoffer  writes: 

Mr. Sogi I have had  numerous requests to interrupt you on my blog. when and  would you be a good time for that?

Zubin Al  writes: 

Usually around 1 pm Hawaii Time, maybe next week would be fine.  I just ask that you don't put me on the "spot" as you normally do when you ask me questions.  Pitch me some lobs for easy answers so I can avoid sounding too bad. 



Please only use wild salmon, never farm Salmon as the industry is infecting waterways with virus.  Sous vide Salmon for 30 min at 125F for flaky, lower for firmer wetter texture.  

Dengaku Miso Topping/ (BBQ sauce)  
3/4 cup less 1 Tbs white miso,  
2 egg yolks, 
2  Tbs Sake.  
2 Tbsps Mirin; 
2 Tbs sugar; 
7 Tbs dashi (Hondashi).  
Add one: toasted sesame seens, or grated rind of yuzu citron/lime, or fresh ginger juice.

Put miso in double boiler, and before putting over hot water blend in egg yolks, sake, mirin and sugar. Place over simmering water and gradually add dashi…stir til thick.  At the last moment add 1 seasoning.
Paint on sous vided salmon, and place on BBQ (or broil) for 30 seconds to a minute.
As we say in Hawaii, "Broke da mouth!"




October 23, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Zubin Al Genubi writes: 

Murakami writes,"convenient approximations bring you closest to comprehending the true nature of things.

Laurel Kenner writes: 

 Also:  Walter Mosley's two series of noir set in LA and NYC, with heroes East Rawlings and Leonid McGill.  Inherent Vice and the Crying of Lot 49, by the paranoid master Thomas Pynchon 

and Raymond Chandler for the ultimate portrait of prewar LA. 

Peter Saint-Andre  writes: 

My wife, who is a big fan of the Bosch series, also recommends the Joe

Gary Boddicker  writes: 

I’ll second the C.J. Box recco, but I’m biased. Chuck was my next door dorm neighbor many years ago at Denver U and a friend. He would disappear into his room (even in the midst of a party) and we’d hear the typewriter banging for hours as we waited in anticipation…out would come a double-spaced, creative, plotted, story…usually things had “gone Western” and the bad guys met a very satisfying end. 

He is a wonderful example of someone who always knew what he loved to do, kept working at it until he got a break, and is now among the best in his field. He’s been banging out one or two a year for many years now and you won’t be bored. Especially appealing to those who appreciate the modern West, it’s people, the outdoors, and a good story. 



Hi vol Big Bar

October 21, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Another regular thing lately is after big boys finish dumping their excess into the close, the after market slowly rises up again. Here the half round tractor beam is assisting.



Election Modeling

October 19, 2020 | Leave a Comment

For the encore, will do Tip Toe Through the Tulips, while wearing a tutu.  



Supply Chain

October 16, 2020 | Leave a Comment

A few months ago Ralph mentioned the possibility of supply chain disruptions. My seawater pump on my sailboat is leaking.  When I went to try order a new pump the supplier said there are no sea water pumps in the country, and the manufacturer has been shut down for 2 months due to covid.  I'm on a waiting list.  

I also questioned the effects on real estate. In Hawaii my broker friend tells me that buyers from the mainland are snapping up multimillion dollars houses sight unseen and that prices are strong. They must figure that if they work remotely, why not be in Hawaii.   They haven't experienced the time difference.  I'll tell you that waking up at 3am in the morning is not easy, and it also means you have to go to bed early, so its tough. But someone's got to do it. 
The Airbnb's are all shut down, so I think some of those are on market.   
Due to a lack of tourists and snow birds I'm guessing the rental market is not as tight as it was.  We have no horn honking tourists and no heavy traffic, so its quite nice.
 I'm pushing our candidates to ease off on the heavy dependance on tourism as it can be destructive and unreliable.  Better industries in tech, like the woman who won the Nobel prize discovering the Black Hole in the center of Milky Way at Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea.  A friend worked up there as a tech up there for his entire career.




October 13, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Zubin Al Genubi  writes: 

It looks like there are sharp steep drops and no other chance to buy, then an unrelenting drive upwards.  The election discussion, I think, is related and why SJ's call last election was important. The problem, for me,  is staying up all night.

Arthur Khaldarov  writes: 

There were other guys that predicted the opposite of SJ's call and right now we would've been quoting them.

…(obviously, if their prediction came true).

This list can tackle mini problems and become a great source of knowledge. Ideas are dime a dozen, but here we can analyze 3 a week and maybe have some home runs.

Ralph Vince writes: 

There is nothing to prevent others from contributing ideas here, market, electoral, whatever, and the political ones as well. 

there is not a limited number of messages per day or a limited number of topics.

There is however a limited number of people on this list, and only a subset who contribute. This argument rings of being dissatisfied that those who are contributing aren't being interesting enough. Those who have contacted you off list and complained about the electoral discussion have been welcome at any time to contribute all sorts of diverse topics here in addition to whatever is being discussed at the moment.



The asymmetry of real vol is always amazing with sudden drops and then the steady grind upwards.



Final Prediction

September 28, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Stefan Jovanovich writes: 

On election day Trump will be behind in every battleground state by a margin of at least 4 points.  The public polling numbers will look even worse than they did in 2016.  The current raw poll data - ignore RCP et. al. - shows Trump with a 40% chance of winning - which is what he had at this time in 2016.

I am betting against those odds and predicting that Trump will win, based on two assumptions about "events": 

(1) on Saturday he will choose Barbara Lagoa as his nominee and the Democrats will do a Kavanaugh melt-down that lock down Florida and gain Trump 2-4 points in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado.  It may even save Cory Gardner.  If he chooses Amy (Opus Dei) Barrett, he loses.

(2) the 3rd quarter GDP and economic numbers will be a blow-out that will ease the minds of the people who still resent Trump for allowing himself to be conned into betraying the people who earn a living outside of the corporate, government and non-profit moat - the land that I now think of as Oregano world..

Daniel grossman writes: 

Thanks Stefan.

I agree, Trump will win.  Although the Dems will put a tremendous final effort into PA and the Midwest swing states, so it will be touch and go.

Lagoa is the smart political choice.  Harder to attack a Wise Latina.

Zubin Al Genubi  writes: 

Stefan, Now that he chose Barrett do you and all you other Trump supporters on this list think he will lose?  And do you continue to think this is bearish?



Margins and Vol

September 24, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Zubin Al Genubi writes: 

Some brokers are increasing margin requirements ahead of continued and increased volatility forecast during the upcoming election.  

Some funky stuff ahead. Watch out.Interesting mid day turn Monday. Can't wait til the end of the day anymore with everyone jumping the gun.

Wonder again if 3350 will be a swing point.

Jordan Low writes: 

To be fair, the letter from Interactive Brokers explicitly mentioned the election as a rationale.



More Go

September 24, 2020 | Leave a Comment

So far today, bonds up stocks up….after a 10% correction.
I've been playing a bit more Go Make.  There is a funny switch between offense that switches back and forth between players, and also within the mind of the individual player. Go is a very binary game, yet as Wolfram, and Vince have demonstrated, even a simple binary function can create complex situations.
Speaking of stops, former List Member Seattle Phil, who also wrote a book on risk management, said that they will always find your stops. Like this morning where they searched out the round to clear off stops before taking it up.  The conclusion back then was that leverage was the key to risk management rather than use of fixed price stops.  Time stops for the expectation  period and leverage were the key to risk management.  I think this is where long term systems have a weakness.  



Trailing Stops

September 11, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Zubin Al Genubi writes: 

I would like some advice on trailing stops.  Lets say a guy took a trade, 3 down days, buy end of day, hold for expectation period of 1 day, sell half, set a trailing stop on balance.  Where?  low of day? break even? 20 period ema?  And how is best to move it up.  Low of day? Ema?  Fixed trailing?  I realize it is not efficient but selling at the expectation period would lose a run like last month from 3000 of 16%.   Things seem "trendy" now.  Appreciate any good ideas.  Can this kind of thing be tested?  I doubt it, because normal tests don't seem to catch trends as they tend to mean reversion.  Thanks.   

Sushil Rungta writes: 

I use a % trailing stop.  Usually, once I buy a stock, depending on the stock and the expected volatility, I place a trailing stop anywhere from 8% to 25%.  That way I do not lose any of the upside.  And the % trailing stop keeps moving higher if the stock keeps moving higher.

I am a novice and not meant to be advice.  Just shat=ring what I do

Ralph Vince writes: 

I think it depends on the particular market. For equities, I've found nothing worthwhile that constitutes a mechanical trend following methodology I would risk money on

I have a lot of experience looking for it though! Perhaps  a temporal solution is manifesting in the quities indexes right now, which will oly be evident at some future point in time?

Experience in the markets teaches us nothing, and I doubt it has any value whatsoever. If fact, there is a toxicity to it in that we begin to believe we know something that day one participants aren;t burdened with.

We are tasked with finding which of the 9 sections of the tic-tac-toe board a ball will (randomly) appear in. We choose the center. It comes up randomly in the NW corner. (It must like corners?). We choose the SW corner, it shows up in the NE corner. (see, it likes corners,) We select the SE corner. It comes up in the middle (Ah, two corners, then a middle…..) and on and on ad on. 


"I have a good sense for where that ball will come up as I;ve been doing this for years." Or, better still, "I have a good sense of where that ball will come up - it;s mathematical! It;s somewhat deterministic," (as said the man walking into the convenience store to pony up for his next magic powerball number combination).

In markets, If you find something that works, and is working, it's about to evaporate. This is why I've migrated to longer and longer-term views on things, as it results in a longer time until things evaporate. Everything we think is true in the markets, is a delusion of our own making. Even the notion of drift: in equities, vanishes - first, for  decades or so, then, with the next fall of an empire. The probability of a drawdown, of any given magnitude, approaches certainty as the length of time given for it to transpire increases.

Most things in markets (as in all of life) that are real, often tend to be dull and tedious, require work to get our arms around,  and reside nowhere near where we are looking.

Ralph Vince writes: 

The point is everything we are looking at in terms of timing mechanism is ephemeral. I like longer-term models because they might outlive me (e.g. be long S&P500 when 90 day bills /  S&P500 div yield >1.8, which has batted 9 of 9 since 1980, below) before collapsing. The flipside is a much shorter-term model that will work, until it doesn't, then won't, until it does again!

I have never encountered anything in terms of equitisinexes that works in terms of trend-following, save for the notion of long-term, upwards drift. But as I say, once you are comfortable that something will always work, it is likely near-finished. The buy all dips / drift works in our favor mentality is not immune, but has had the good fortune of being a lugubrious beast.




August 25, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Is really going vertical here.I remember some vertical markets in 99-2000. Tech then too.




August 20, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Zubin Al Genubi writes: 

Mountain guides are an elite group who guide people into the mountains and backcountry around the world.  They face high risk and uncertain conditions and their job is to mitigate risk while at the same time pushing the limits of their clients to reach higher heights.

A joke among the guides is that the most dangerous situation they can find themselves in is traveling in the mountains with a group of guides.  None of them want to speak up and point out the danger they are getting into for fear of stepping on the other guide's ego, or appearing foolish and other group dynamic issues.  In fact, group dynamics is one of the most dangerous elements in backcountry travel.  Such heuristic issues as who is the leader, fear of being considered scared (when in fact there is danger), fear of looking foolish, expert syndromes, group think, familiarity heuristics, get home itis, summit fever can contribute to disaster.

A lot of the new list members appear to be high level experienced market professionals from the looks of their intro cv's.  Chair is pretty laissez faire, but it's good to contribute without worry.  If you're wrong, someone will tell you how wrong you are here, or the market will, and that is good.  

Jeffrey Hirsch writes:

Eloquent summation Zubin and inspiring. I look forward to discovering and discussing my many flaws and errors



This mornings/last nights premarket bond run up, then closely followed by the spu opening run to  Chair's constructional round (eventually)… Similar to the big bond run, and the slightly lagged spu run up of Thursday: is it connected? regular?




August 19, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Zubin Al Genubi writes: 


They say there is a correlation between yield curve term structure and volatility. 

Larry writes: 

Curve is still up and positive




August 19, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Zubin Al Genubi writes: 

According to Chair's twitter theory the market should crash just before the election  to screw the incumbent. all the shorts (except Ralph) have gone bust. Ralph will hold and make another 400% on the break.

Covid should be bad and things will be shutting down again like Hawaii where government wants more control to convert business and get rid of excess foreign population. School kids will help the spread.

Localism and xenophobia trends should be strong and the China  cold war will depress business. Who will make our stuff? Not Detroit.

The 2-3 month away yield curve inflection reflects something about investors outlook in a negative vein short term. The inflections are new. The bull flattener scenario is in play and the long  yield continues to drop and the short end cannot.

This should give time meanwhile for  all time highs as the army of new daytraders and short covers buy at 9:45 everyday after the Euros sell US overnight. The 25 points swings are good  for daytraders.

Kevin Kirkpatrick writes: 

Regarding the supply chain in China, it is not just either China or the US. I don't have the latest update but perhaps the following article will provide some insight.


Cold war with China?!! It has moved beyond the stage of cold war. Trump administration has escalated its hostile actions against CCP but little has been reported by mainstream media and as a result most Americans have very little knowledge about what is going on around the world. I don't mean no disrespect but I tell it like it is. Trump administration finally realizes that talking to or so called negotiating with CCP will end up with nothing beneficial to the US. The most recent arresting of those CCP spies who have ties with People Liberation Army (PLA) is just the tip of the iceberg. I bet more arrests will happen. I can even say that most of the Chinese researchers coming from China in the major US research institutions have ties with the PLA and make them spies by definition. Will the escalation culminate in military conflict in South China Sea? The Jury is still out. I don't want war like many others. But sometimes it is a necessary thing to do to eradicate an enemy who is even much worse than Nazi Germany on many levels.



Laurel Kenner  writes: 

Gentlemen, your assistance is requested. As my son enters high school, I am earnestly seeding guidance on how to be a good mother during these next four crucial years. As I understand it, he needs validation and a clean house in all senses of the phrase, and not too much direct advice. I don't want him to become an adult with mommy problems, and I don't want him to go so wild that he spoils his later life. Specs, please share your thoughts. What are your most vivid memories of your mother during these years? How did she help or hurt? What makes a mother of a teenage son good or bad? 

kurtsskurtss writes: 

Avoid all lecturing/preaching/cajoling.  Instead, ask questions and try to act like a friend or confidante, way more than a parent.  If he trusts that you will not be judgmental, but instead will be a good listener and help him to recognize potential outcomes for various actions, he will be willing to share more of his life with you.  

Zubin Al Genubi writes: 

Give him well defined specific tasks he must do to get his allowance or a specified reward of his own choice. He can choose the tasks. Could be wash dishes twice a week or clean his room one a week. Could be all A's. Control behavior using incentives. Use of authority is useless as is an appeal to reason. Kids don't think. 

Write down the tasks on a calendar and check off performance as an agreed contract. Put in writing for bigger or long term rewards such as a car for no smoking or drugs till 16.  

Big AI writes: 

One thing i'll offer is this: once the average boy crosses the puberty

threshold, it's like somebody poured gas on him and lit him on fire.

most of his mental bandwidth becomes focused on girls and negotiating

all of that, especially in school where there are all these girls who

have crossed the threshold too.  and at the same time, this new

dynamic that is dominating his life is something he doesn't want to

talk to his mother about.

Paolo pezzutti writes: 

We are parents.  Not friends nor advisors nor confidants…..

Not even task organizers.  Our role in my view is to transmit values. Just that. Transmit values which are the main tools to live their life. They will then choose their objectives. Establish their priorities and tasks. Live their sex life. Values are the core issue.  

larry writes: 

Teach him to cook, wash clothes and iron.  It will make him self sufficient

Jonathan Bower writes:

I'll second this. Additionally, in Scouting many ideals are worthy of pursuit to round out a person's character and skills.



Hows the

July 21, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Haha.  I've been Foil Surfing on a foil board where you fly above the water at high speeds.  Its fun but the learning curve was very steep and it is the hardest thing I've ever done (except trading).  The wipeouts are brutal because you are high above the wave, which is also head high and moving about 20mph.  Kind of like jumping off the high diving board.  But since a foiler can ride a part of the wave no one else can ride, even though many people are out in the water surfing their regular old fashioned surfboards, I can have as many waves as I want.  It rides the rounded hump of the wave where it doesn't even break riding the energy of the wave which traveled 5,000 miles away from New Zealand.  

It goes to show that there is always a niche somewhere that is uncrowded just like in the markets.

Especially at the gravitational 3250.  I expect a crowd to gather there in the next few days.



Zubin Al Genubi writes: 

I heard an interview on NPR by a writer whose name I did not catch who agrees with Hernan's premise that China has surpassed the US. He attributes  to 2 really useless expensive US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and failure to spend those trillions on infrastructure and education in the US.  China had no wars and spent extensively on infrastructure .  You can see immediately on landing in Beijing the beautiful, huge airport.  Compare that with the dump that is JFK Airport in NYC.  When I visited China ten years ago, I saw ribbons of highway stretching out into the distance way out in the hinterlands.  

larry writes: 

Yea but NPR is anti usa most always

Kim Zussman writes: 

Zubin is, as always, a devoted son of Mao




July 20, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Solid breakout above prior post crash highs. Bit low vol, and up bonds.  3250 in play.

Hate to mention the big triangle.




July 20, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Zubin Al Genubi writes: 

I rode a bike through Tibet and Western Szechwuan when China was taking it over.  I saw convoys of trucks 20 miles long that stretched for hours pouring troops into the region. They just replaced the Tibetians.   There are over 1.4 billion people in China!  Just the sheer numbers mean a lot.

How many on the list have been to China?  It was much different than what I had heard or imagined.

larry writes: 

I was first there in 1980—what a different china then than now. Been there 10 time or so and each time is different



Recently the intraday momentum has been good with quite large moves, if you could be there to catch them.  Even the last few days with the odd tight ranges had nice regular range bound swings making for good day trading. The large daily ranges are good.  If one is able to hang on for a few days and trail a stop or some such technique some nice moves could be captured.   Back in the turn of the century during the high vol at the century highs with high valuations on stocks, hundreds of points were crossed.  If you could capture 60 percent of a swing you did well. I think the same holds true now with the large moves.   When I say things like this I always keep in the back of my mind  that the cycle is probably about over since its become so obvious that if I can see it, so can everyone else.



Zubin Al Genubi  writes: 

The martial artist who trains to kill and maim full time ought to beat special forces guy who has to diversify his training with guns, navigation, comm, explosives etc.   To generalize, the one who trains most to maim, disable and kill should win. A good reference is Musashi Miyamoto's Ringo No Sho, The Book of Five Rings.  Fighting is not always about head to head combat, but deception, surprise, unfair tactics, doing the unexpected.

Hernan Avella replies: 

A few notes on fighting:

1. Unconstrained fighting (using objects, eye gouging, groin shots, finger manipulation) is too chaotic, and for obvious reasons has never been studied systematically.  In an event of this nature, size, endurance and relevant experience with the setting are the most important variables. 

2.  In the hypothetical case where a person is limited to learn only one "martial art".  It's been more than proven that said martial art should be Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. For a high level excellent discussion on BJJ as a system, check the JRE podcast with the brilliant coach John Danaher.

3. The sport of fighting (MMA) is relatively new, it's as close as it can be to a real fight, a few constraints added to avoid catastrophic injuries and deaths, (and some nonsensical rules thrown in there to cater to the bureaucrats of the fighting commissions).  In it's short history you have seen the  quick evolution of the ruleset and the techniques.  Just like in markets, every little rule or artificial limit, causes an inefficiency to be exploited.

4. To be proficient at fighting you need to be able to understand all the intricacies of a fight in different planes:  Standing, on the ground, clinching. Each of these 3 planes have different details depending on the range of proximity to your opponent.  Additionally, fighting is not carried out in discrete steps along the different plains, so you have to develop a sophisticated game for the "transitions".  The number of scenarios quickly explode and a fighter needs to train so much to make a lot of this second nature. It really makes all the other athletic endeavors look easy.

5. Like in markets, the ever changing cycles are very important.  The key variable here is the different superior skills that are disseminated non uniformly. The video tape as a research tool has been instrumental to accelerate adaptation.  Since the early 90's, the sport has seen several phases, each one builds on the previous one:

    a.) Jiu-Jitsu is king. 

    b.) Wrestling and ground and pound and weight-cutting

    c.) The rise of the well rounded fighter

    d.) Sophistication of the striking game

 6. A few things have stood the test of time despite the quick evolution of the sport: 

      a.) Leg kicks, super debilitating they impede mobility and damage accumulates quickly.

      b.) Defensive Jiu-Jitsu (avoid getting blood flow to the brain from being stopped or your limbs twisted), it's easier to defend than to attack.

      c.) Takedowns and clinch game: He who can control the plain in which the fight takes place has an advantage

      d.) Genetic differences and/or performance enhancing drugs are always key.

Finally, practical advice.  If you are about to enter a physical confrontation and your future opponent has cauliflower ears. Don't walk, run!, your life is in danger

larry replies: 

Prison fighting is a separate art unlike any other as it must end instantly before guards come—perhaps the deadliest of all




July 13, 2020 | Leave a Comment

was a mean reversion pivot since July 3.  



"When stocks are doing well but investors remain skeptical about how long they will do well, stock and bond prices can rise together. This is because investors continue to put money in stocks but also put money into bonds just in case the stock market drops. This spreads the demand among stocks and bonds, and that demand causes prices to go up for each type"  

Herman mentioned bonds are higher than last time stock were up here  (3150 level).  What does that mean?  Lower chances of continued stock rise?  

Stocks up, bond down only a little?

Stocks down, bonds up a lot?

Variations on Chairs stock bond calendar.

Higher bonds would be bullish as chair tweets. 



Zubin Al Genubi writes: 

I've been eating plant based for 8 months.  I feel great, lost all body fat, breath better, sleep better. 

BBQ veges are very good with oil pepper, garlic baste.  Eggplant, onion, asparagus, squash, mushrooms,zucchini are great.  BBQ browning gives them a great taste.  I love to put them in a bun salthered with lots of dill based vege mayo, tomatoes, pickle, lettuce.  Its easy to broil them if you don't want to start up the barbie.  We just harvested the first round of sweet corn and it was fun and delicious.  The corn can go on the barbie in their husk to a light burn outside.  We just planted the second round of corn which will be ready in 60 days

Christopher Cooper adds: 

Interesting. I’ve had pretty much the same results, over the same timeframe, from a combination of working out more and time-restricted feeding. No other change in diet, which is carnivorous but moderately low-carb.

I’m down to the weight I graduated from high school with, 50 years ago. In my case, it’s the fat loss and exercise that is responsible for the benefits, not the diet.



There is a lot of long term uncertainty, and it seems a lot of daytrading going on. The vol is good again, finally, for day trading. The overnight moves can be pretty wild, so the day session seems a bit more smooth. Also staying up all night is hard nowadays. All the stupid daytrading tricks seem to be possible, MA, the wave bs, 50's effect, momo, maybe even the oscillator's. The little dino vol thing I posted seems okay for about 10 bars. Buy any dip seems to be good. Now that I can see it, its probably about to end. Also its a good way to pick up pennies until the freight train hits you.



Free Will is a popular idea, but in reality not nearly as achievable as we would like.

First, nature controls many aspects of your life: your genes, how you look, male/female, your wiring, predispositions, psychological traits. I would say this accounts for 40% of what you do, who you are. Then you have habits and training from youth which have become patterns that are all but impossible to overcome. Give that 25%. Add legal laws, social responsibilities and we're already at 80% determination.

Another big problem is just being aware of what is going on around you. Here are a couple of examples. Ever misplace your keys or iphone even though two minutes before you had them in your hand? Here's another example. I have an infrared floodlight. You can't see it at all at night. But when you look through the night vision scope its lit up bright as day. We just don't sense a lot of what is going on around us. Do you know what your wife is thinking? Here's another example. Can you control what and how much you eat?

Okay, we're up to 90% of what you are and do is controlled or you are unaware of it. You have all these emotions pushing you around. Then add in your wife, kids, work. That leaves us with 3% free will to do as we wish. Sure you can overcome some of it, some of the time, but not many people can, and its really really hard to overcome any of it.

If we could, it would be easy to buy low and sell high. It would be easy to be slim and buff. It's not. Free will is more of an illusion and philosophical concept than a practical reality. As Ralph mentions - patience and nerve. Overcoming the pain of exercising free will. These are part of the elements of free will. It's hard, if not impossible.



Many companies and law firms are considering cutting office space, cutting costs, cutting commuting. People are bailing out from cities. I wonder if mass transit, the auto culture, and even cities will go the way of the post office and wither away.



The flip side or cause of an asset shortage was too much money and liquidity. Money is nothing more than confidence and optimism and both have taken a hit from propaganda and governmental mismanagement and uncertainty about what a handful if governing idiots will decide for the rest of the world. Froth, exuberance are the ideas. Money just disappears now and I'm not clear on the mechanism except for asset prices and credit.



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

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

Ralph Vince writes: 

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

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

I wish I knew what size that fraction is.

Peter St. Andre writes: 

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

Peter Pinkhasov writes: 

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

Ralph Vince writes: 

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

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

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

K.K Law writes: 

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

Gordon Haave writes: 

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

Julian Rowberry writes: 

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

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

Easan Katir writes: 

Anecdote, pointing to a trend ahead:

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

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



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

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

Hernan Avella writes: 

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



An erudite spec corrected my error: it's the arc sine function.

Victor Niederhoffer writes:

But this is a statistical thing and not predictive other than randomness at any time of day for subsequent movements. There are reasons to hold till end of day relating to vig and margin calls but nothing relates to arc sign law.

Larry Williams writes: 

Large range days—up or down–are most apt top close at the extreme of the range. A good reason to hold to the close.

Jeffrey Hirsch writes: 

Super helpful today in the fund, Larry.

Larry Williams writes: 

Glad an old man can still be of assistance!



I've heard people are buying out the toilet paper at Costco which seems to me to be panic behavior.



The Fed balance sheet ticks up.

Gary Phillips writes: 

And if institutions are all in, long to the max %tile, there's record low short interest, the Fed is beginning to shrink their balance sheet and buybacks are going dark, who is left to buy?

Market's reaction to the weak unemployment # may just be the beginning of a larger sell off.

Zubin al Genubi writes: 

Add a hundred billion here, a hundred billion there and pretty soon you're talking some real money.



"An algorithm that learns through rewards may show how our brain does too"

Zubin Al Genubi writes: 

You can shape a child's behavior through positive reinforcement of successive approximations of the desired behavior. Attention is the greatest re-enforcer. Unwittingly parents shape bad behavior by paying attention to bad behavior. "Now Johnny, don't hit your sister, that is not nice" is reinforcing.



ES sliced rather easily through round with under 4k buying in night sesh. Seems like half round have more crossings.

Ralph Vince writes: 

That's the thing that always gets me about shorts…it seems so, so painful waiting…but when they go they take your breath away, and take back days and days of gains in very short order.

I have to live like a monk. I can't afford any nonsense, distractions or second thoughts, my systems telling me to make the decision here, stay short, hang on suffer it out…it's coming.



 I am in Hokkaido Japan enjoying deep powder in the back country.

Japan is beautiful and the people can be friendly, but in many ways there is a stultifying social pressure to conform.

Lack of immigration leads to labor shortages.

There is a sense of slow decay out here in the backwoods.

Here is a 20 year sideways Japanese stock market going nowhere.



"Recent Balance Sheet Trends"

Gary Phillips writes: 

And, if institutions are all in, long to the max %tile, there's record low short interest, the Fed is beginning to shrink their balance sheet, and buybacks are going dark, who is left to buy?

Market's reaction to the weak unemployment # may just be the beginning of a larger sell off.



 I've been vegan for 2 weeks and feel great.

Low inflammation and congestion, clearer head, breathing and sleep is better.

Good recovery from surfing sessions.

Trying a large variety of new food, new recipes and new sauces. Will post some vegan BBQ ideas.

It might be one of the best ways to longevity.

Laurence Glazier writes:

In composing music the devil is in the detail. The final 5% can make the difference between the mundane and the ethereal.



It has been more than a year since the S&P 500 went down 10%. In the nearly 17 years since March 2003, there have been 19 declines of 10% or more. There have been 82 declines of 5% or more.

Drawdown  Qty    Trading days Days since last
     5%      82            4234              64
    10%      19            4234             298
    20%       5            4234             259
    25%       2            4234            2731
    33%       1            4234            2831

Zubin al Genubi writes: 

Survivorship status is helpful.



 I became a vegan a month ago, but realized that 95% gives you 99% of the benefits and makes it a lot easier. This is true for a lot of things. The old saw says give it your all, but sometimes that is not the best.

In trading, of course, you never get it all, and trying for the last 5% can be very harmful. You never should go all in on margin and be the mouse with only one or no hole. In athletics they say give it your all, but most of the time you hold something back. You save up for the last push, for the trip home, for reserve to avoid injury, to maintain the balance of control over speed.

Few things require 110%. Dropping into a big wave requires complete commitment and going for broke. I'm sure there are others, but I can't really think of any. The margin of safety always trumps complete commitment.

In environmental clean up, the last few percent can cost more than the first 95%.



 There were over 55 big GS 4 and 5's double stacked up at the Kona FBO.

The overflow goes to Maui or Oahu.

There is a big sign for a another new FBO.

I only saw a couple small jets, mostly big new ones.

They all must be feeling pretty good this year.

I even heard some Air Force fighter bombers roaring around deafening everyone and burning up millions of dollars of fuel.



 Crew costs of $3,299 a day account for about 44 percent of total operating expenses for a large container ship, according to Moore Stephens LLP, an industry accountant and consultant.

Rolls-Royce's Blue Ocean development team has set up a virtual-reality prototype at its office in Alesund, Norway, that simulates 360-degree views from a vessel's bridge. Eventually, the London-based manufacturer of engines and turbines says, captains on dry land will use similar control centers to command hundreds of crewless ships.

Jeff Rollert writes: 

As a sailor, I highly doubt that in my lifetime at least for the 0.02% of the time a ship is in a storm.

There's enormous sensory information that come from standing on a ship and feeling how it takes a wave. You'd have to create something akin to a flight simulator which would be really expensive.

Plus, if your comment link goes down, you have an unguided missile. 

Peter Grieve writes: 

Plus, there will be less damage control ability and motivation on the crewless ship.

Maybe it's just an old man talking, but these newfangled AI contraptions seem crazy. The deployment predictions seem wildly optimistic. As you imply, things can get pretty routine when the sun is shining and traffic is light, but I can't believe that the AI will be as flexible as the human mind in dealing with emergencies. Not for 20 years, anyway.

I just attended a colloquium on neural shrubs, a modification of neural nets. The main point was that we won't know how neural nets make their decisions. It will practically take psychiatry rather than software engineering to understand the machine.

I'm worried that there will be disasters which will be covered up, to retain the cost savings. And who takes responsibility for machine decisions? Someone with no skin in the game, because they're not in the car or on the ship. Do failed captains have to drown themselves in a special room in the control center?

Peter St. Andre writes:

In his book The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, Nicholas Carr argues that if you don't stay engaged with the routine aspects of a task then you won't be able to handle an emergency.

For instance, perhaps you just sit back and watch your AI-powered car as it drives you around in clear weather on paved roads in a well-ordered city, but what happens if you end up on a narrow dirt road in a snow squall?

I suspect that, more and more, reality and the humans within it will need to conform to the expectations of the machines.

Zubin al Genubi writes: 

I’ve just experienced several VR experiences in LA. It is truly amazing. Very realistic.



 Each year Christmas trees arrive on our island in containers.

One year they ran out right after Thanksgiving and there was a scramble for trees.

The next year everyone brought in an extra supply of trees.

That year the lots were full of trees on Christmas.

And so it goes back and forth every year.

This year the prices shot up noticeably.

And so it goes with markets as well.



At the March '09 low, the S&P total market cap was about $5.3T (if I'm doing the math right).

Since then, according to Yardeni, the S&P has returned about >$4T to investors via buybacks and dividends.

Zubin al Genubi writes: 

Bonds moving with equity rather than opposite.



 Training for the Uphill Athlete: A Manual for Mountain Runners and Ski Montaineers by Steve House and Killian Jornet is a great book which discusses the necessity of long low intensity training to build up increased metabolic function.

Highly recommended.





 A Go grandmaster has retired because he believes that computers can never be defeated. What does that portend for individual, human participation in the markets? Are humans who manually enter trades destined to go the way of open outcry? Can humans have an edge over algorithms?

Bill Rafter replies: 

The following is guesswork. Anyone with a different voice is welcome to comment. (i.e., no need to flame)

I believe that the AI trading of the markets to date has centered on trades that have an almost zero risk of failure. Thus they have mainly worked in the extreme short run, mostly by picking off the marketmakers or the spread. There are many trading shops who do not permit their traders to take a position overnight.

Therefore if you wish to beat the algorithms you must pick a different venue, specifically longer-term trading. Maybe that's 4 days, and maybe it's 400 days, but it must be different from what the AI shops use. That of course means greater risk, but specs are in the business of taking risks.

Sooner or later, some of the AI people will invade this longer-term space, and they will do so by picking portfolios rather than individual stocks. But they cannot eliminate risk, and as long as risk remains, profit opportunities remain for the individual.

Larry Williams writes:

The basis of all profits is trend.

Trend is a function of time.

The more time in a trade the more potential for profits.

As long as losing trades are stopped out so they are not turned to big ones by time/trend.

Zubin Al Genubi writes: 

I believe humans can still beat computers in trading. Maybe one human can't beat one computer, but the computers as a group will have a distinct behavior that can be regularized and gamed. Its the group dynamic, as even computers will tend to a group think. This is especially true if they are learning, and if they are reactive. The fixed systems are still pretty easy to beat because they are still beating the same old dead horses. I've found, as Larry mentioned, that a longer time horizon seems to work better now days. Hard to out speed the computers. Probably easier to out wait them. For example I seem to use 4 hour / day bars now rather than 5 min/30min bars in years past.

Laurence Glazier writes: 

Such factors lean me more seriously to composing music than playing chess. What defines us as human?

Ralph Vince writes: 

I posit that about 50% of all human action is a feint, a misdirection of the opponent, a lie. Camouflage is the dress code on the planet, and we have a several million year jump at the game of deception the machines must learn, must catch up on.

The machines are so-far, trusted–trusted not to lie or deceive. Once they do, how will they be able to compete with us i that higher arena?

Even in music, Laurence, a variation on them, a little bending around of a melody, is a feint, an indirect lie, as it were.

Laurence Glazier writes: 

I've found fractal mathematical techniques of structuring music that have a ring of truth, however writing from inspiration, like painting from nature, must be a battle and a humbling one, with no concession to vacuous prettiness - nature's colour schemes seem always to work in the visual world, and I posit also in music, though I try to figure out more accurate methods of transcription.



 A corollary to understanding the spaces and times between events is the art of doing nothing.

In survival situations, when uncertain or becoming lost, its is good to do nothing. Get reoriented. Resting in the wilderness is a good skill. In Deep Survival by Gonzales, he describes many deaths by running around in circles until injury, hypothermia or exhaustion kills the hapless adventurer.

In markets one of the hardest lessons I've learned is how to and when to do nothing. When waiting for a good situation, don't throw on a couple trades to pass the time, make a few bucks, wait. Don't do stupid little day trades. Do nothing. When finally in a good position in size, don't start selling to early. Wait, do nothing. Clews called it "resting on your oars". Wait for your expectation period, or the end of the day, or your target, or your overplus. Don't trade because you think its work, from boredom or from fear. Sometimes don't even watch, because that might cause inappropriate action. I remember years ago in Australia, Larry Williams telling me that he didn't even watch during the day. I was astounded at the time. Its taken me about 20 years to figure it out.

Jeff Rollert writes: 

I. Could. Not. Agree. With. This. More.

It is a sign of maturity in a trader. 

anonymous writes:

In the markets, and in life itself in a broader sense.

In the Johnson era (Lyndon), at the largest Catholic school in the city ("The Zoo") we would be forced to march, single file, at lunch each Friday, to the adjoining church 100 yards or so from the school.

Antagonizingly, but appropriately, whistling the tune to "The Bride Over the River Kwai."

Entering the church, in it's large vestibule, often still taken aback by the heavy smell of incense from a morning funeral, a janitors closet off to our right. We would fall out of line, half a dozen of us, one-by-one, into the closet in a blink as we marched by it, down a little metal ladder to a tunnel that ran under the street and came up in a student union lounge at a Jesuit University across the street where we would emerge, liberated from mass and the ennui of Friday afternoon class.

One of our half-dozen or so escapes was it kid named Oswald, which was a bad name to have in the sixties. He lived with his seemingly hapless mother, and, well, rumor had it that…well, you know.
"Was that really his father?"

Anyhow, Oswald was a kid with a big, curly, head of hair that had a giant grey streak in it at 10 years old. He was an astonishingly good chess player, always studying the game. No one could last half a dozen moves against him. As odd as he was, I found him to be very insightful and enjoyed his company.

A revelation to me one day in hat student union lounge, a moment that would last with me for the rest of my life, was conveying to Oswald that: "the problem with just sitting in this student union lounge over here was that I feel like I'm not getting anything done today."

Oswald shot back: "are you crazy? Nothing bad can happen when you're here. Most days, the best thing to do is nothing."

It was a moment I have never forgotten, and most regrets anyone has in life are from pro-active episodes, not from sitting still. It pertains further to the markets, and, in a very pure way to money management especially with regard to maximizing certain performance measures. But that is another discussion for another day.



The biggest fade trade was election night.

Kim Zussman writes: 

Which has subsequently been reversed to the tune of 1000 SPU points.



I prefer After Action Report or AAR to "Post Mortem". Less ominous connotations. Lol.



What is the significance if any of recent money market stress and Fed actions?

Larry Williams writes: 

If it is a mini QE-4, as I suspect, bullish.

Peter Ringel writes: 

I had decreasing excess commercial bank reserves as bullish factor for equities, because it is an indicator of optimism.

People are less in cash and invest more and more in other assets.

Pete Earle writes: 

A colleague and I wrote an article about this two days back. "This is Not QE4, Yet"

Mr. Isomorphisms writes: 

If it's due to quarterly tax payments, why doesn't this happen every quarter?

Pete Earle replies:

It's not just because of taxes. Read the article.



 Dune by Frank Herbert, a classic

Children of Dune

Dune Messiah is a bit slow but you have to read it as part of the series

the Jon Reznick series, free on Kindle unlimited. He is a spy former Delta. Audio is free too.

the Scot Harvath series. Same spy military thriller suspense theme. Kick ass.

The Improbability Principle by Hand. Why do improbable events seem to happen so often. Large numbers, close enough, survivorship bias…

How to Take a Chance, Huff

Brief Answers to Big Questions by Hawking. I disagree with his Black Hole theory. I think they just infinitely compress space time and to a traveler into a Black Hole everything would seem exactly the same around him.



Here is a great article talking about how to model of extreme insurance claims with a much clearer explanation by using. QQ plot or frequency/magnitude plot to estimate thresholds. Market thresholds are easier to determine. What's your pain tolerance?



Friday's price action reminded me of the mountains where when the Orange-u-tan man twittered the market slid off 3 percent, rapidly at first at a vertical slope, and then as the day wore on, settling in at the angle of repose where no more loose debris slid off and the top of the sell off might have been at a lower angle than earlier in the day. Years ago Chair discussed vectors and some algos based on vectors that was promising, and this is somewhat similar. Better to stand in a place where further secondary avalanches or what is known as Hangfire doesn't threaten your position.

As I say in the mountains, as in the markets, you never know til you go.

Zubin Al Genobi writes: 

A mountainside with steep cliffs and loose scree below or snow tends toward the angle of repose which is the angle after which the loose material will no longer slide down the face. A pile of sand will have a certain angle of repose where the sand castle stabilizes for a time. For snow, typically slopes angled over 50 degrees tend to slough off. 38 degrees is the optimum angle for avalanches. A steep cliff will often slide down to where debris has piled up, and stabilizes at the angle of repose. When setting up a camp one wants to be at a point far enough away from the slide path that the run out of a avalanche debris will not bury the camp. A rule of thumb is that if the top of the slope is 17 degrees up by line of sight from the spot one might be relatively safe.

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