What the Hell?

Did you ever have one of those days where you weren’t quite certain what they did with the real you?
Why would unknowns just barge in and take you away? Even worse, what if they put an evil doppleganger in your place, sent to undo all of what you had done?
Sometimes that can be a good thing, but lately I’ve been pretty good.
As we started a new option cycle I had a chance to reflect on the past month.
Based on the by-laws, I have to reflect, even though I am by every stretch of the imagination a very shallow individual.
The stockade on the front lawn is a visual reminder of what happens when performance isn’t up to standards, so sometimes I’m forced to do some “window dressing” before the end of each options cycle.
But not this time.
Before presenting the findings to the Board, I had a moment of solitude and surveyed the process and how the previous month faithfully reflected the strategies that I had cobbled together over the years.
It’s always a good feeling when you beat the averages, especially when the numbers aren’t very good. Certainly the last cycle was a Jeckyl and Hyde kind of month.
As I finally began the presentation, Sugar Momma, who is a Board member, asked if I had done anything illegal. I suppose that was her way lof expressing how impressed she was with the guidance that I was offering.
I always insist on holding the monthly Board meetings with lights turned off so that she can’t read my facial expressions that might in some way belie the truth.
I looked at her, or at least in the direction that I knew she would be, wondering where in the world she would ever think to have asked that question.
So I asked.
Apparently she does pay some attention to the business news and knew about the Rajaratnam insider trading case, but she clearly never read my opinion on that travesty of justice. Why in the world she would think that those circles would travel down to me, to be in the presence of my La-Z-Boy escapes me, but I think she was being serious.
I reassured her that no insiders were harmed in the generation of the previous month’s profits and submitted to my nightly polygraph with more confidence than is typically the case.
But still, just because I believe that insider trading shouldn’t be a crime, doesn’t mean that I would choose to ignore the fact that imprisonment or such things is very real.
So the nice performance of the past month, complemented by very nice options premiums was all above board.
The only problem was that thanks to the unexpected and unwarranted rally this past Friday, I was now faced with replacing about 60% of my portfolio.
Looking at the Asian market performance before calling it a night on Sunday, I was expecting the possibility of a strong open on Monday.
On those Mondays that I’m in a position to refurbish the portfolio I don’t like up Mondays. I prefer manic selling Mondays and the likelihood of repurchasing some of my beloved babies that were taken from me in that nasty assignment process..
So I was pretty happy when I saw the US pre-open numbers, but that happiness didn’t last, because the market just focused on yet another promise of a promise overseas and capitalized on the lack of news.
Another triple digit gain.
When the real me was taken away and who was behind my abduction are still mysteries to me.
As I looked at the newly reconfigured portfolio after the close of Monday’s trading, I’m not certain who was calling the shots. It clearly couldn’t have been me
First of all, there’s still much left to be spent.
That’s just not like me.
Despite the fact that I know it’s a great idea to keep cash at hand to capitalize on an unexpected bargain, I rarely have the discipline to do that.
Put the money in my virtual pocket and its like every day is hookers and blow.
But somehow, by the end of the day, I still had about 40% of what I started with still staring at me.
So maybe some sense of rationality overwhelmed me and I did the right thing.
But then there’s that other thing.
Looking over the list of shares, the long time holdings had some new neighbors.
I tend to stay within a tight universe of stocks, not bringing new ones in very often. These days, I’ve become even more restrictive, trying to limit new purchases on;y to those stocks that hav eweekly options available for trading.
As far as the news one went, I’d actually owned two of them before, but three really stood out, as they were all reporting earnings this week.
I don’t usually play with earnings. Stocks will go in any direction you can imagine after earnings announcement.
Granted, that doesn’t take much of an imagination, as up, down and sideways are basically the only possibilities.
But even worse, I was looking at new neighbors that have a bit of controversy surrounding their names.
I hate controversy.
Remember that very first episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” when Lou Grant tells Mary “You have spunk….I hate spunk.”
But whoever it was that took my place today could care less about the rules of the road.
I understood why I repurchased shares of the ProShares UltraShort Silver ETF. I was able to get them below where they had been exercised. a 1)% monthly pemium for the near the money strike has been a good strategy with those shares over the past few months.
I even understood why I bought back my Mosaic shares at prices higher than where assigned.
What I don’t understand is how Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Amazon and Netflix made it in and through the gates.
As Netflix reported after the bell and lost about $30, the $8 weekly options premium didn’t seem like such a great deal in hindsight.
Listening to the universal blasting of the company just strengthens my resolve to find out whatever happened to me.
Having the next day’s expected action around your stock holding described as ugly and messy is a bit un-nerving
Years ago, when I was on the precipice of making a career change, I had to ask someone who certainly knew what a mid-life crisis was all about, whether he thought that I was going through one.
Sometimes you do things and are not quite certain of the reaons behind your actions.
He had a simple set of two questions.
“DId you, or are you thinking of getting a new car; and did you are are you thinking of cheating on your wife?”
In hindsight, the answer to at least one of those questions turned out to be “Yes”, but I can’t really recall which one.
But I cqan’t look to such a simple excuse as “mid-life crisis” to explain today’s actions.
Once the market opens, I’ll be regretting the Netflix purchase, but unless Apple pulls some amazing streaming delivery system out of its corporate butt as we await the specter of an Apple TV, Netflix may have had a strategic mis-step, but it’s not dead.
In the meantime, I still have quite a bit more that needs to be put to work and am hoping that the real me shows up the next few days, although we’ll see how Sugar Momma responds to the new me.
I just love it when she uses some of those advanced interrogational techniques.
What the hell?