Thursday, May 20, 2010

Approaching Flash Crash Bottom

I spoke to a couple of friends during the Flash Crash, indicating that the market would have to fall at least to those levels before we could see the correction dissipate, or at least calm down. We are now within a couple of percentage points of this reversal mark. While still bearish about the European prospects, and worried about the credit drought building there, I am now of the opinion that it is time to wade into higher quality stocks that have at least 65% of their revenues residing in North America, and are in less volatile sectors. National Presto, Laboratory Corporation of America, and Quest Diagnostics are some companies that appear qualify for purchasing at this time. I don't know where this market is headed, but companies with these characteristics should still profit during these times of economic uncertainty.

Full disclosure: I am long both NPK and LH at this time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A $1T waste of money???

The $1 trillion dollar measure to support the Euro, and Euro-zone countries did not address the fundamental and structural issues surrounding the countries that it intended to save, and, to me, this is the one reason I think it will not resolve anything. The political maneuvering of Angela Merkel (German Chancellor) did not save her from losing control of Germany’s upper house, nor will it have saved the slide of the Euro and the remaining Club Med countries’ debt problems. The ECB will have to devalue its currency intentionally to really show that it is taking action. Throwing money at this problem is only showing to the world that the southern European nations have influenced the north, and now the whole Euro-zone is willing to destroy their fiscal responsibility.

The Euro must establish and enforce new austerity measures on EVERY country within the Euro-zone, including the usually responsible countries of Germany, France and the Benelux region. It is time the Euro-zone take responsibility, and promote productivity, deleveraging and individual responsibility.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Germany's vote: The key to the next two weeks.

The unprecendented (we have never seen such a drop and immediate turnaround) action in the markets have led to many theories. Trader error, computerized trades, plunge protection team, etc. are all theories brought forward to explain what is a fat-tail event. At one point trading institutions were compounding the situation, and the Nasdaq and NYSE ended with their highest and second-highest volume totals respectively. The similarities to 2008 has been uncanny:

1. Iceland could be considered the Bear Stearns of sovereign economies. It fell first, and provided us with a sign of things to come.

2. The Club Med countries (Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, etc.) are all behaving similarly to the remaining financial companies in 2008. Their markets are all clearly falling, and they are bringing the Euro down with them.

3. Germany, one of the largest investing countries in Club Med, has hesitated in addressing the bailout. Like the US Senate, who hesitated on the economic bailout, members of Germany's controlling coalition are hesitant on accepting the bailout.

4. The feeling on the marketplace now appears in complete meltdown mode, and is now in a death spiral, with lack of confidence in counterparties and in the economies around the world.

With everything in turmoil, the biggest saving grace will be Germany's vote on the Greek bailout. If Germany votes unanimously to bail out Greece, it will provide some footing to the markets, and confidence that Germany will continue to support the Euro. If, however, German opposition and members of the key coalition decide to vote against the measure, either making the vote extremely close or even allowing the bailout to fail, the markets could go into freefall. With Germany investing in a substantial amount of the Club Med debt, I expect the vote to pass quite comfortably. But, I expect the markets to remain very skeptical of Spain, bringing them to the limelight in the next few weeks.

As I have stated before, I question the Euro's ability to survive the market action of the last 2 years (refer to my posts in October 2008 and January 2009). I personally feel that in order to survive, either all Euro countries need to accept devaluing the currency, or expelling the countries that cannot meet strict monetary disciplinary practices.

I am currently holding put options on NYSE:EWP (Spain) and NYSE:FXI (China), and intend on going short NYSE:EWG (Germany).