It’s All About Appearances

As time goes on I’ve come to realize that what I once thought was my absolute grasp on the secrets of the Universe were just a prelude to the growing realization that I understand nothing.

Nothing at all.

What I’m also realizing is that during that period of your life when you are on the path of professional ascendancy or at least hoping to be on that path it’s not about substance at all.

It's All ABout AppearancesIt’s always about appearances. The appearance of substance is priceless.

Which essentially means that the world is divided into just two camps.

Those that are truly capable and those that aren’t, but may look good as they feign their way through the system and up the ladder.

For purposes of maintaining a dichotomy, I conveniently overlook those that are in no way capable, nor ever perceived as being capable.

I suppose that there could also be those that had been fully capable but got thrown to the curb as societ and technology passed them by.

Reserch in Motion seems to fall into that last category.

Just a few short days ago, after ridiculing the Research in Motion CEO’s performance on the evening of the earnings report that missed analyst’s estimates of $0.80 by 7/10’s of a cent, the shares recovered from their immediate plunge and actually closed the quarter, which happened to be the very next day, up $1.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re dealing with a $14 stock or a $600 holding, but a 7% move is a big deal, just as apparently a 0.875% miss in earnings estimates turns out to be and then doesn’t

I don’t own shares of RIMM, but I have to wonder how in the second day of the new quarter it could be back down to a point that it’s now trading 5% below its weekly low, which was already pretty low.

Did anything change?

Well Gene Munster, from Piper Jaffrey, who came out with a $1,000 price on Apple shares was quick to respond to a question regarding RIMM’s chances of surviving the Smart Phone Wars.


As in “No chance.”

To get an idea of Munster’s clout, just 3 short month’s ago he suggested fresh on the heels of Scott Thompson’s ascension as Yahoo’s CEO, that they would be a buyer of Netflix. That sent shares of NetFlix up about 10% over the course of the trading day.

Just as a reminder, Scott Thompson was the previous generation’s version of Thorsten Heins. Yu can decide for yourself into which camp of ability Thompson and Heiils are believed to fall, based on past and ongoing commentary.

Yahoo is probably still too occupied in its own internecine squabbles to have paid too much attention to Munster’s prediction.

But the chance of Yahoo purchasing Netflix?

Coincidentally, also “No chance,” although in that case that’s not exactly the way Munster phrased it or intended it.

The one thing that you can say about most every “Talking Head” on air. they at least look like they have credibility and substance.

As RIMM was closing out the quarter with every other stock we heard so much discussion about fund managers making purchases as window dressing, as if bragging about purchasing Apple at $620 was a badge of honor.

If Munster is right and Apple does break that $1,000 mark then it certainly would be a badge of honor, yet you do have to add the concept of window dressing to the list of  non-understandables.

“It’s all about appearances,” was the typical reason given for the kind of purchases that are made right before a quarter comes to an end.

It’s hard to imagine that fund managers would actually direct investing funds just to make the people that they clearly believe are idiots and incapable of seeing through “window dressing” toward those high profile stocks.

But appearances are important.

That’s why I just shaved off my monkeytail.

It’s not that I really cared how I looked, but more related to the fact that I needed to re-new my driver’s license this week and wasn’t really certain that I wanted to be looking at that monkeytail for another five years.

I can only assume that the Najarian brothers do not have a driving license between the two of them.

The fact that Sugar Momma didn’t want to look at it for even five minutes carries minimal relevance, but I have to give her credit for pointing out the drivers license issue.

As it easy as it was to remove the monkeytail and leave only the moustache behind, what’s not proving as easy is the ability to extricate myself from some holdings.

See no EvilDespites ome signifcant one or two day drops in gold and silver, the ProShares UltraShort SIlver ETF shares that I own, and which repsond well when the price of silver falls, has been in the doldrums for the past 2-3 months and has become dead money, as I’m unable to generate much in the way of call option premiums.

In fact, in the past two months I’ve generated more income by selling puts on the positions, but still nowhere nearly enough in quantity to offset the non-performing shares.

Although only for a couple of weeks, I’m feeling the same desire to figure out a way to rid myself of the Barclays Volaitility Index shares that are offering me little hope of a short term opportunity to recoup paper losses.

I’ve been thinking of drawing upon the strategy of many during the drastic 2008 market downturn, who simply chose not to open up their monthly brokerage statements. If they couldn’t see the evil that was being wrought on their portfolio balances, it just didn’t exist.

Interestingly, the strategy of seeing no evil is most often portrayed with a trio of monkeys.

Monkeys tend not to care too much about their appearance at least not to non-monkey audiences.

There’s probably a lot to be learned from their common sense approach to society.

In fact, put a suit on one, maybe add some sub-titles as they pontificate while pointing at a stock chart and even the most discerning of us might have a hard time telling the difference, other than sensing a greater show of humility.



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