Crumbs, Anyone


It’s that time of the month again.

No, I’m not being visited by Aunt Flo, as the euphamism would go, if indeed it were germane.

CrumbsNo, it’s the end of the September options cycle in just a few short days. Time to see if there are any crumbs left out there just waiting to be taken. And you do have to act quickly, because before you know it those crumbs get smaller and smaller, before they disappear entirely.

I suppose that since I now try to find as many weekly options opportunities as possible, that third Friday of each month has lost a bit of its significance. Now its more or less like any other Friday.

I’ve never had a visit from Aunt Flo, but I can’t imagine that her dropping by on a weekly basis would be very good.

In a way, I guess that’s as sad as when you know that Aunt Flo won’t be visiitng anymore. Fortunately, that single long hair on my chin that popped up after Flo disappeared is obscured by my full beard.

By the same token, most people I know no longer deal in euphamisms, anyway. They get right down to brass tacks, no sense beating around the bloody bush.

Hmm, now I’m not certain if the preceding itself was a euphamism for something, but no matter, I just like using uniquely British adjectives.

As I looked back at the monthly statistics for the past few years, I should have been tipped off that this wouldn’t have been the kind of month to e-mail home about.

It seems that the month following what turns out to be my best options premium month of the year is a dog.

And that was this month because that was last month.

Since options premiums keep me afloat, I have a need to trade, but times like these offer the biggest dilemmas.

Holding on to so many positions that are significantly below their purchase prices, it’s hard to justify trying to optimize options premiums by writng near the money contracts when their assignment would result in meanigful capital losses.

Although I always check my spreadsheets to see how much in accumulated premiums each position has captured, I still have a reluctance to take the loss, even when it is mitigated or even fully offset by those premiums.

I’m not beyond rationalizing my actions, though.

On days such as the first two trading days of this final week, you see the clock ticking away on the one hand, but you also see the possibility of that silver lining in depressed stock prices, or at the very least the lack of support in silver prices, as I own unhedged shares of an UltraShort Silver ETF.

Will there be some good news coming out of the European Union sending our markets for a nice climb? I sure wouldn’t want to miss out on recouping some of those paper losses, but those crumbs, those 0.5% options premiums, do I really want to leave those on the table?

The answer to those questions are “who knows” and “not really”

The full answer to the latter question is actually “not really, but I don’t want to feel like a schmuck”.

But you do have to eat, you can’t really let pride get in the way. As small as they may be, those crumbs can add up.

And so, in a measured reaction to a meandering day, I did get the opportunity to sell call options on JP Morgan, Freeport McMoRan, Halliburton, Williams-Sonoma and the Triple Q’s.

Actually, with the exception of Williams-Sonoma, if the others do get assigned, I’ll still be taking capital gains on the underlying stocks, so the risk will be determined by how wildly they may explode upward between today and Friday’s close.

Opportunities potentially lost. That ends up being the performance metric, but since I don’t harbor regrets, I also rarely learn lessons. You can fool me over and over again as long as those premiums add up and losses have some strategic value in reducing tax liability.

When I did add the crumbs up it was worth the risk, given the reward and the need to be able to feed Laszlo the Dog.

It’s either crumbs or go back to work, not to mention the shriveled carcass of a wiener dog.

Hmmm. Weiner dog.

If anyone reading this is old enough to remember Bob Denver’s character, Maynard G. Krebs, you would know my reaction to the very thought of “work”.

Whatever optimism there’s been in the markets during the last hour of each of the two past trading sessions it’s a little frightening to thank what it’s been based upon.

First, the rumor of Chinese intervention to buy Italian debt turned Monday’s market on a dime.

But you know that we’re really in trouble and living a life of deep delusion if we think that Chinese benevolence is going to be the remedy that saves the European Union’s financial systems.

Today’s good news was that there wouldn’t be a Greek default.

At least not today.

The other good news was that somone had interpreted something that Angela Merkel said as being of a positive note, regarding satisfying Finland’s need for Greek collateral.

When I wrote about what was wagging the dog the other day even in my wildest dreams I never would have guessed Finland.

But Finland, too, was just in search of crumbs. Whatever assets Greece actually has rights to, Finland wants it. After all, with its dying Nokia enterprise, what else does it have going for it? And besides, those reindeer need to eat, too.

So I know the feeling.

Wherever you can get those crumbs, get them.

Tomorrow? Who knows what tomorrow brings. New rumors, maybe some actual news, maybe not.

No matter. This week ends in a few days and a whole new world of opportunities comes along.

This time, I’m hoping for the whole loaf and will gladly take the crumbs, too.




Check out Recent PortfolioTransactions