If you’re a purist, you know that “reconnaissance” is a term that is applied to the gathering of information regarding an enemy. Although typically done covertly, it isn’t considered espionage since it’s carried out by combatants or agents of combatants.
Today started a period of reconnaissance for me, but I really wasn’t trying to gather information on enemies. The great thing about being anti-social is that you usually are short on the enemies side of the ledger as you are on the friends side.
Reconnaissance today started with evaluating the prospective daughter-in-law population.
As the first half of an 11 hour roundtrip today, I drove to New York City very early this morning to meet my son’s 6 AM flight returning from Israel. He had spent the last 10 days there as part of a great program called “Birthright,” which allows college and recent college graduates to make that trip at no cost along with others.
No strings attached.
When I initially dropped him off to begin the trip, I immediately noticed that within his group there seemed to be a very favorable female to male ratio.
Did I mention that all of the girls were Jewish? Did I mention that “favorable” meant many more females.
The group pictures that were posted online once they arrived confirmed that ratio and the one picture taken after romping through the Dead Sea gave me an opportunity to evaluate birthing stock.
Our evolutionary ancestors reportedly did that instinctively to ensure survival of the species.
Look, I figure if that was an important enough characteristic for our evolutionary ancestors to regard as being important, who was I to try and recreate the wheel?
So excuse me for staring.
Anyway, while the moon was still high in the sky, I had the opportunity to observe other parents waiting for their children also returning from their trip.
All prospective in-laws.
Years ago, probably before the age of 10, I can still recall asking Szelhamos how you could tell if she was Jewish, since the tell tale, albeit hidden physical characteristic that was a sign of the covenant was reserved for the male members of the tribe.
His response was simple, yet took me years to understand.
He was exhorting me to do reconnaissance of assets.
Clearly, I had no use for the ones that kept the bluetooth firmly attached to their heads and were chattering away for the additional hour’s wait, due to a flight delay.
That was a pretty ungodly hour to be blathering and I still find something unsettling about people that seem to be talking to themselves.
The fact that one of them may have had a cappuccino and had some residual foam around her mouth did nothing to ease my sense of unease.
As a pretty anti-social person, it does take a lot for me to respond to even the most enticing opportunities from polite people. It certainly takes much more for me to initiate any kind of interaction.
Scanning the terrain and eavesdropping on various casual conversations between people that had at least one thing in common, I actually inserted myself into a conversation and then commandeered it as I sensed good stock.
The subject was waiting for her daughter who, after quite a bit of comparing family histories, seemed to be a perfect daughter-in-law candidate.
It was amazing as two perfect strangers casually exchanged so much information, yet what was most encouraging was that the subject fully understood my reason for asking about her bra size.
But before her daughter appeared, my son made his exit from customs first, and as it turned out, my future daughter-in-law Hannah, wasn’t in his group. But no sooner did that news deflate my hopes, than a traveling companion came over and hugged and kissed my son.
She was then met by both of her parents.
I didn’t have the opportunity to do the same level of recon on them as I had on the nameless woman to my left, but they were definitely not on my enemy list and based on the most superficial of mating rituals that I’d observed, warranted consideration.
Following yet another long drive, this time home, I had little energy remaining to pay attention to the markets.
I did take note of the fact that by the end of the day my year to date performance fell slightly behind that of the market.
That’s what sometimes happens when you think of covered calls as your friends and I certainly spent a lot of time with them lately.
In an up market, as we’ve had for the past 3 weeks, they can turn out to be your enemy.
And so, reconnaissance is now in order.
Although perhaps tomorrow will be the hoped for day of a nice drop in the averages, despite Google’s after hours 6% drop, the better than expected earnings from Microsoft, Intel and IBM are likely to offset any weakness on the final day of the options cycle.
Right now, good earnings are my enemy. Funny had that changes, but look at how quickly some shares, such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs turned it around this week after earnings were released.
So my reconnaissace will be to scope out the area of available stocks that also happen to be well priced.
Did I mention that they didn’t have to be Israeli companies or even Jewish?
Each of the past 2 weeks I’ve had to replace about 25% of my holdings, but it appears as if now I’m looking at replacing more than 50%.
Collateral damage is expected when selling covered calls, but this month is turning out to deliver unexpected and last minute casualties. Options expiration is like calling a truce. Casualties are always hard to accept, but even more so if they occur right before the truce.
And so, new recruits are going to be need for my buying surge on Monday.
Good luck trying to find “bargains” right now as if just about everything has been running up as of late, so it may be difficult to find shares that have good birthing characteristics and could yield healthy profits in the short term.
Back when I was first getting started with the covered call strategy, I often found myself buying back contracts before expiration and then waking up Monday morning to see that the shares had fallen to levels below where they would have been assigned.
I don’t really look at stocks as enemies, but those acted as if they were just that.
If anything, though, stocks are your friends. You just have to show them a little respect and treat them properly and neither expect too much, nor too little of them.
Part of the “Birthright” program is for the group to spend a couple of days paired up with members of the Israeli Defense Forces, as guides. Military service is obligatory for that small nation and most everyone serves. Obviously, that’s very different from the United States.
It’s likely that very few of the IDF members have ever come across an American participant in the Birthright program who was also in the military, as is my son, who is in the National Guard, while going through college.
That created an additional level of bonding and comraderie for my son.
As it turns out, he referred to one of the young soldiers as his future wife.
Maybe my reconnaissance was unnecessary. Maybe all I really need to do is let nature work its magic.
I’m going to keep that in my mind as we enter the next week or two. Maybe it’s time to embrace a short term bull market and not search for just the right opportunity that reflects price stability and favorable options premiums.
Nah. I’ll just go with Szelhamos’ advice and look for the assets wherever they may be.
|January 19, 2012