Never a Good Sign


I used to really dislike three day weekends.

Since my only hobby is watching the CNBC ticker, I feel a real void on days when the markets are closed. As if Saturdays and Sundays aren’t bad enough, the third day makes it truly insufferable.

I certainly don’t dispute the need to have national holidays nor do I dispute the specific events or concepts that we honor, but so much is lacking on those days.

For example, even inveterate viewers can stand to watch “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” only so many times as CNBC seeks to fill the air on the holiday schedule. Admittedly, though, I could watch the “Marijuana USA” special on an endless loop, as long as someone lets in the medicinal delivery guy when he knocks.

A few weeks ago, as Hurricane Irene was threatening to blow the roof off of the northeast, CNBC broadcast live on Sunday, a day normally reserved for broadcasting its public service imformercials. I’m not certain why I have bookmarked in my browser, but they showed a photo of the CNBC air mattresses after their deployment, to show just how seriously they were taking their commitment to breaking news.

Had Hurricane Irene posed a threat only to Florida or North Carolina viewers would still be able to learn about the many purchase opportunities available for their kitchen rotisserie. However, since Irene was headed for the northeast, the only part of our nation deserving of weekend coverage, that gratification had to be delayed.

Any other part of the nation and would have posted photos of CNBC hammocks.

Well, here I was, Labor Day and me without a job, by choice. What to do? What to do? Mind you, back when I was working, Labor Day and all 3 day weekends were a welcome event.

Today was Sugar Momma’s turn to take her visiting brother to the movies and they’ve left to see “The Smurfs Movie” prior to his departure for home tomorrow.

Me she sent to see “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” with him the other day. In the recent past, he and I had seen such delights as “Yogi Bear”, “Alvin and the Chipmuks” and “Marmaduke”. I don’t know why I listened to her this time, as I didn’t follow her advice last year to take him to see “Inception”. This time  I wanted to see the Smurfs, but will bide my time for appropriate revenge. That threat is probably empty as I still haven’t devised my revenge for the time she made me place a “to go” telephone order, that took about 20 minutes to complete, at a new Japanese restaurant where the staff didn’t speak anything resembling English.

That was 26 years ago. There’ll be hell to pay.

So that left me home alone with Laszlo the Dog and I was scratching my head and his back over a topic for today’s blog.

The most difficult blog of the week is always the first, as boredom and slow news days don’t lend themselves well to an interesting topic. The biggest story, the absence of Jerry Lewis from the traditional Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon wasn’t a real story, since the news was released months ago. Besides, despite the lack of transparency over the surprising decision, everyone, including Jerry Lewis, seemed to be focused on the main event rather than the behind the scenes drama.

Even the Twitter stream was slowing, but then again, I only follow 29 people and they seemed to be taking the day off bidding an official goodbye to yet another summer.

But there she was, Jane Wells.

Second time this week she provided topic inspiration and guidance. You can always count on her, even though if she ever ascends to elective office in the “Draft Jane Wells for President” movement,  she may ban corked bottles of wine.

I’d like to see her struggle with an screw top bottle of Australian wine and see how long it takes to realize that “righty loosey, lefty tighty”. Besides, is America really ready for a “Wine Party” candidate?

This time she tweeted that CNBC was live with European market coverage.

That Can't be GoodThat can’t be good.

I tried to tune into CNBC, but the Hammacher-Schlemmer Artificial Intelligence Remote Control seemed to know that was a likely error and instead suggested that I watch CNN on this market holiday.

So I had to try and figure out what the various buttons on the TV and cable box actually did and eventually found the proper sequence of clicks to summon up CNBC.

Do you see why I don’t like these 3 day weekends?

As it turned out the market equivalent of a hurricane hit Europe, with the FTSE 100 faring best, down only 3% for the day. You don’t want to know how the DAX did, but let’s say it dropped the equivalent of the savings afforded by one of those tax free shopping days.

The only thing in this financial natural disaster missing was video of George W. Bush patting the back of the Bank of Greece CEO and saying “Heckuva good job, Brownieopoulis”.

As it turned out, the Enron documentary was being pre-empted by a group of people with decidedly British accents, yet unaccompanied by sub-titles. There was a banger filled rotisserie grill in the background and I imagine air mattresses, as well, although there’s a very good chance that the British do not celebrate our Labor Day.

Sorry, Labour.

Luckily, numbers,charts and graphs are reasonably universal, as are the colors red and green.

Oh, I’m sorry again. Colours.

Conventional wisdom had it that following the terrible open in US trading on Friday, the market would recover much of that loss by the second or third hour of trading.

No one was more surprised than me that the conventional wisdom turned out to not be correct.

But I do have to admit that I fully expected, in the absence of any earth or market shattering news, our Tuesday trading to be positive.

Now, it’s not looking quite as good.

In hindsight, it’s unfortunate that the sell-off on Friday, taking a number of my holdings that were hedged by weekly options, ended up with them being slightly out of the money. As much as I enjoy being able to repurchase those shares on the next trading aday at a price lower than was assigned, that won’t likely be happening on Tuesday.

Only some of my Freeport McMoRan shares will be assigned, and there’s never any telling where those will trade, as they don’t particularly follow the market trend with any regularity.

At this point, it’s barely noon on Monday, the European markets are closed and the US futures are pointing down over 200 points.

Live CNBC coverage has now ceased, there’s still about 20 hours before our markets open and it promises to be a slow remainder of the day.

Who knows, between now and then some unforeseen good news may pop-up, like maybe capturing and killing bin Laden again.

Short of that it’s hard to see any good news offsetting those bad signs.

At least I got my CNBC fix today and have an idea of what to expect tomorrow.

As it stands, we don’t have anymore 3 day weekends for a while, but there will be another Sunday coming up next week.

From now on, I’ll be using CNBC as my guide for breaking weekend and holiday news. If there’s no Magic Bullet slicing and dicing its way through the weekend, take cover, it’s just not a very good sign.






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