It’s Getting Cold

What’s in the Szelhamos Portfolio?

I’m glad I’m sitting indoors today.

Even Laszlo the Dog doesn’t want to go outside. It’s cold, dreary and the grass is wet after a record 13 inches of rain in September. I suppose that dachshund bellies are close enough to the wet grass that they’d rather take a respite from romping on days like today.

Laszlo is sharing the La-Z-Boy with me.

My thoughts are with my kids who are going to the Sunday Night Football game, seeing the Ravens versus the Jets. It’s going to be very cold and with rain in the air. Not my kind of day or night.

Listening to the TV commentators repeat what great football weather it is, my thoughts turn in another direction:


Lately, the weather down here has been good for only one thing. Growing mushrooms.

Godfather's PizzaWatching Herman Cain jump out of a van and gather mushrooms from my lawn is a clear message that there’s been more than enough moisture and that economic times are truly trying.

Imagine if that image was really true. The very idea of paying for my own personal lawn grown mushrooms on a Godfather’s Mushroom Pizza is abhorrent to me, but not as abhorrent as eating a Godfather’s Pizza. It’s that same concept, that of paying a monthly fee for the right to use a debit card to spend your own money, that’s beginning to rub lots of people the wrong way.

I guess that Bank of America had that same Herman Cain image in mind. After all, what better strategy than to follow in the footsteps of a winner.

In reality, Herman Cain, instead of gathering other people’s mushrooms and offering them off for re-sale, is gathering votes in straw polls in Florida and Kansas, having just won the Kansas Women’s GOP Straw Poll, probably the most prestigious of all of the Women’s straw polls in the former dust bowl.

Bank of America.should consider using Godfather’s Pizza’s consulting firm. That firm is so out in front, they already have a fallback ad campaign if Cain falters.

In that event, look for life-sized posters of their new spokesperson, Chris Christie, who is already hunkered down in the Godfather’s test kitchen, but is coyly resisting the coaxing to come out.

As the sun is setting early in the eveningI know, from having lived a lifetime on the east coast, that when the cold rainy days in October arrive, it’s time to hunker down for the winter and resist the need to go out and face the elements.

Sure, there may be an occasional nice warm day, and sure, despite knowing better, there’s always the hope that winter will skip coming around this year, but that’s never the way it works out.

I keep thinking that when our youngest son finishes college in a couple of years, Sugar Momma and I will move to California, her home state.

But the other day she asked me what I would do if we moved to California. Would I still spend the entire day parked in front of the computer and the “annoying” people on CNBC?

The problem is that I don’t think that they’re annoying, by and large. I think Judge Judy is annoying, yet she doesn’t.

The reality though, is that I’m glad that I’m sitting indoors everyday. I don’t venture very far from my La-Z-Boy, especially during market hours. I don’t think that would change very much even after a move to a sunnier and warmer climate, although I might be more apt to head outside to shake off a particularly bad trading session. Maybe a quick glance at the ocean’s soothing shores or the sight of a drive by shooting would help to settle some frayed nerves.

This past Friday, after a particularly brutal week, where my “God’s Bounty” portfolio of Freeport McMoran, Mosaic and Rio Tinto was emasculated by some other deity, I needed that kind of light hearted romp. Even the Lord’s precious metals got swamped, but in hedging my bets, I went with Zoroaster, playing the short side of silver.

Turns out, the movie “Contagion” isn’t very funny. It also turns out that this monotheism may be a seriously cramping  belief system.

But early on Sunday, there was potentially good news, maybe even market moving news, hearing that Ali Baba is interested in buying Yahoo!

I don’t know what positions Malta or Estonia will take on a proposed buyout, but we need some good news soon.

As opposed to the upcoming winter, I know that spring is coming. I also know that despite global warming things won’t change that drastically during my lifetime to substantively change the natural order of things.

With that said, the natural order of things clearly included Yahoo! become a laughing stock and Ali Baba being in a position to buy it, hook, line and sinker.

But when it comes to the stock market, it appears that there is less and less concordance, correlation and connection.

News has become largely irrelevant, at least in terms of predicting market reaction.

The old adage, “Sell in May and go away” had been largely written off for years, just like “Dogs of the Dow” hasn’t worked terribly well of late.

But as we closed out the third quarter this past Friday, it seems that the old selling adage may have finally been a winner.

Does that mean “buy and hold” is coming back, too? Maybe Communist hunting is next.

I do know that “buy low and sell high” hasn’t been working out lately. Maybe that one will be back in vogue soon. Maybe even sooner than spring’s predictable blossoms.

Looking at the early Asian markets trading, right now it’s not looking very promising, as we get ready to start a new quarter.

Despite the paper losses of the past few weeks, for me its been a good options premium period. With three more weeks left to go for the October cycle, I’m already ahead of the September cycle.

That’s a small comfort, since September was the second worst month of the year, but I’m hopeful for some good opportunities.

Like some of the old stock market adages, it’s hard to know when to let go of the optimism. But by the same token, you can’t completely dismiss the optimism. Otherwise you’d have to face the dark side and become an avowed short seller.

I’m not going there. At least not yet, the deperation hasn’t hit that level.

This coming week our weather forecast is for a couple of nice, very warm days. Maybe a little bit of movement in Europe, a little bit of merger and acquisition news and a little bit of global warming can all help get rid of this gloomy and cold overhang.

In the meantime I’m going to watch the football game safely in the warmth of my home and look for my kids in the stands.

I know that it’s highly unlikely that I’ll spot them, but if you hope and wish for enough unlikely things, sooner or later one of them is going to happen.

I just hope it’s the right one.

Sorry kids. You’re on your own on this one. Hope you’re bundled up.


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