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The dollar standard and how the Fed itself created the perfect setup for a stock market crash
Disclaimer: This is neither financial nor trading advice and everyone should trade based on their own risk tolerance. Please leverage yourself accordingly. When you're done, ask yourself: "Am I jacked to the tits?". If the answer is "yes", you're good to go. We're probably experiencing the wildest markets in our lifetime. After doing some research and listening to opinions by several people, I wanted to share my own view on what happened in the market and what could happen in the future. There's no guarantee that the future plays out as I describe it or otherwise I'd become very rich. If you just want tickers and strikes...I don't know if this is going to help you. But anyways, scroll way down to the end. My current position is TLT 171c 8/21, opened on Friday 7/31 when TLT was at 170.50. This is a post trying to describe what it means that we've entered the "dollar standard" decades ago after leaving the gold standard. Furthermore I'll try to explain how the "dollar standard" is the biggest reason behind the 2008 and 2020 financial crisis, stock market crashes and how the Coronavirus pandemic was probably the best catalyst for the global dollar system to blow up.
Tackling the Dollar problem
Throughout the month of July we've seen the "death of the Dollar". At least that's what WSB thinks. It's easy to think that especially since it gets reiterated in most media outlets. I will take the contrarian view. This is a short-term "downturn" in the Dollar and very soon the Dollar will rise a lot against the Euro - supported by the Federal Reserve itself.US dollar Index (DXY)If you zoom out to the 3Y chart you'll see what everyone is being hysterical about. The dollar is dying! It was that low in 2018! This is the end! The Fed has done too much money printing! Zimbabwe and Weimar are coming to the US. There is more to it though. The DXY is dominated by two currency rates and the most important one by far is EURUSD.EURUSD makes up 57.6% of the DXY And we've seen EURUSD rise from 1.14 to 1.18 since July 21st, 2020. Why that date? On that date the European Commission (basically the "government" of the EU) announced that there was an agreement for the historical rescue package for the EU. That showed the markets that the EU seems to be strong and resilient, it seemed to be united (we're not really united, trust me as an European) and therefore there are more chances in the EU, the Euro and more chances taking risks in the EU.Meanwhile the US continued to struggle with the Coronavirus and some states like California went back to restricting public life. The US economy looked weaker and therefore the Euro rose a lot against the USD. From a technical point of view the DXY failed to break the 97.5 resistance in June three times - DXY bulls became exhausted and sellers gained control resulting in a pretty big selloff in the DXY.
Why the DXY is pretty useless
Considering that EURUSD is the dominant force in the DXY I have to say it's pretty useless as a measurement of the US dollar. Why? Well, the economy is a global economy. Global trade is not dominated by trade between the EU and the USA. There are a lot of big exporting nations besides Germany, many of them in Asia. We know about China, Japan, South Korea etc. Depending on the business sector there are a lot of big exporters in so-called "emerging markets". For example, Brazil and India are two of the biggest exporters of beef. Now, what does that mean? It means that we need to look at the US dollar from a broader perspective. Thankfully, the Fed itself provides a more accurate Dollar index. It's called the "Trade Weighted U.S. Dollar Index: Broad, Goods and Services". When you look at that index you will see that it didn't really collapse like the DXY. In fact, it still is as high as it was on March 10, 2020! You know, only two weeks before the stock market bottomed out. How can that be explained?
Global trade, emerging markets and global dollar shortage
Emerging markets are found in countries which have been shifting away from their traditional way of living towards being an industrial nation. Of course, Americans and most of the Europeans don't know how life was 300 years ago.China already completed that transition. Countries like Brazil and India are on its way. The MSCI Emerging Market Index lists 26 countries. Even South Korea is included. However there is a big problem for Emerging Markets: the Coronavirus and US Imports.The good thing about import and export data is that you can't fake it. Those numbers speak the truth. You can see that imports into the US haven't recovered to pre-Corona levels yet. It will be interesting to see the July data coming out on August 5th.Also you can look at exports from Emerging Market economies. Let's take South Korean exports YoY. You can see that South Korean exports are still heavily depressed compared to a year ago. Global trade hasn't really recovered.For July the data still has to be updated that's why you see a "0.0%" change right now.Less US imports mean less US dollars going into foreign countries including Emerging Markets.Those currency pairs are pretty unimpressed by the rising Euro. Let's look at a few examples. Use the 1Y chart to see what I mean. Indian Rupee to USDBrazilian Real to USDSouth Korean Won to USD What do you see if you look at the 1Y chart of those currency pairs? There's no recovery to pre-COVID levels. And this is pretty bad for the global financial system. Why? According to the Bank of International Settlements there is $12.6 trillion of dollar-denominated debt outside of the United States. Now the Coronavirus comes into play where economies around the world are struggling to go back to their previous levels while the currencies of Emerging Markets continue to be WEAK against the US dollar. This is very bad. We've already seen the IMF receiving requests for emergency loans from 80 countries on March 23th. What are we going to see? We know Argentina has defaulted on their debt more than once and make jokes about it. But what happens if we see 5 Argentinas? 10? 20? Even 80? Add to that that global travel is still depressed, especially for US citizens going anywhere. US citizens traveling to other countries is also a situation in which the precious US dollars would enter Emerging Market economies. But it's not happening right now and it won't happen unless we actually get a miracle treatment or the virus simply disappears. This is where the treasury market comes into play. But before that, let's quickly look at what QE (rising Fed balance sheet) does to the USD. Take a look at the Trade-Weighted US dollar Index. Look at it at max timeframe - you'll see what happened in 2008. The dollar went up (shocker).Now let's look at the Fed balance sheet at max timeframe. You will see: as soon as the Fed starts the QE engine, the USD goes UP, not down! September 2008 (Fed first buys MBS), March 2009, March 2020. Is it just a coincidence? No, as I'll explain below. They're correlated and probably even in causation.Oh and in all of those scenarios the stock market crashed...compared to February 2020, the Fed balance sheet grew by ONE TRILLION until March 25th, but the stock market had just finished crashing...can you please prove to me that QE makes stock prices go up? I think I've just proven the opposite correlation.
Bonds, bills, Gold and "inflation"
People laugh at bond bulls or at people buying bonds due to the dropping yields. "Haha you're stupid you're buying an asset which matures in 10 years and yields 5.3% STONKS go up way more!".Let me stop you right there. Why do you buy stocks? Will you hold those stocks until you die so that you regain your initial investment through dividends? No. You buy them because you expect them to go up based on fundamental analysis, news like earnings or other things. Then you sell them when you see your price target reached. The assets appreciated.Why do you buy options? You don't want to hold them until expiration unless they're -90% (what happens most of the time in WSB). You wait until the underlying asset does what you expect it does and then you sell the options to collect the premium. Again, the assets appreciated. It's the exact same thing with treasury securities. The people who've been buying bonds for the past years or even decades didn't want to wait until they mature. Those people want to sell the bonds as they appreciate. Bond prices have an inverse relationship with their yields which is logical when you think about it. Someone who desperately wants and needs the bonds for various reasons will accept to pay a higher price (supply and demand, ya know) and therefore accept a lower yield. By the way, both JP Morgan and Goldmans Sachs posted an unexpected profit this quarter, why? They made a killing trading bonds. US treasury securities are the most liquid asset in the world and they're also the safest asset you can hold. After all, if the US default on their debt you know that the world is doomed. So if US treasuries become worthless anything else has already become worthless. Now why is there so much demand for the safest and most liquid asset in the world? That demand isn't new but it's caused by the situation the global economy is in. Trade and travel are down and probably won't recover anytime soon, emerging markets are struggling both with the virus and their dollar-denominated debt and central banks around the world struggle to find solutions for the problems in the financial markets. How do we now that the markets aren't trusting central banks? Well, bonds tell us that and actually Gold tells us the same! TLT chartGold spot price chart TLT is an ETF which reflects the price of US treasuries with 20 or more years left until maturity. Basically the inverse of the 30 year treasury yield. As you can see from the 5Y chart bonds haven't been doing much from 2016 to mid-2019. Then the repo crisis of September 2019took place and TLT actually rallied in August 2019 before the repo crisis finally occurred!So the bond market signaled that something is wrong in the financial markets and that "something" manifested itself in the repo crisis. After the repo market crisis ended (the Fed didn't really do much to help it, before you ask), bonds again were quiet for three months and started rallying in January (!) while most of the world was sitting on their asses and downplaying the Coronavirus threat. But wait, how does Gold come into play? The Gold chart basically follows the same pattern as the TLT chart. Doing basically nothing from 2016 to mid-2019. From June until August Gold rose a staggering 200 dollars and then again stayed flat until December 2019. After that, Gold had another rally until March when it finally collapsed. Many people think rising Gold prices are a sign of inflation. But where is the inflation? We saw PCE price indices on Friday July 31st and they're at roughly 1%. We've seen CPIs from European countries and the EU itself. France and the EU (July 31st) as a whole had a very slight uptick in CPI while Germany (July 30th), Italy (July 31st) and Spain (July 30th) saw deflationary prints.There is no inflation, nowhere in the world. I'm sorry to burst that bubble. Yet, Gold prices still go up even when the Dollar rallies through the DXY (sadly I have to measure it that way now since the trade-weighted index isn't updated daily) and we know that there is no inflation from a monetary perspective. In fact, Fed chairman JPow, apparently the final boss for all bears, said on Wednesday July 29th that the Coronavirus pandemic is a deflationarydisinflationary event. Someone correct me there, thank you. But deflationary forces are still in place even if JPow wouldn't admit it. To conclude this rather long section: Both bonds and Gold are indicators for an upcoming financial crisis. Bond prices should fall and yields should go up to signal an economic recovery. But the opposite is happening. in that regard heavily rising Gold prices are a very bad signal for the future. Both bonds and Gold are screaming: "The central banks haven't solved the problems". By the way, Gold is also a very liquid asset if you want quick cash, that's why we saw it sell off in March because people needed dollars thanks to repo problems and margin calls.When the deflationary shock happens and another liquidity event occurs there will be another big price drop in precious metals and that's the dip which you could use to load up on metals by the way.
Dismantling the money printer
But the Fed! The M2 money stock is SHOOTING THROUGH THE ROOF! The printers are real!By the way, velocity of M2 was updated on July 30th and saw another sharp decline. If you take a closer look at the M2 stock you see three parts absolutely skyrocketing: savings, demand deposits and institutional money funds. Inflationary? No. So, the printers aren't real. I'm sorry.Quantitative easing (QE) is the biggest part of the Fed's operations to help the economy get back on its feet. What is QE?Upon doing QE the Fed "purchases" treasury and mortgage-backed securities from the commercial banks. The Fed forces the commercial banks to hand over those securities and in return the commercial banks reserve additional bank reserves at an account in the Federal Reserve. This may sound very confusing to everyone so let's make it simple by an analogy.I want to borrow a camera from you, I need it for my road trip. You agree but only if I give you some kind of security - for example 100 bucks as collateral.You keep the 100 bucks safe in your house and wait for me to return safely. You just wait and wait. You can't do anything else in this situation. Maybe my road trip takes a year. Maybe I come back earlier. But as long as I have your camera, the 100 bucks need to stay with you. In this analogy, I am the Fed. You = commercial banks. Camera = treasuries/MBS. 100 bucks = additional bank reserves held at the Fed.
Revisiting 2008 briefly: the true money printers
The true money printers are the commercial banks, not the central banks. The commercial banks give out loans and demand interest payments. Through those interest payments they create money out of thin air! At the end they'll have more money than before giving out the loan. That additional money can be used to give out more loans, buy more treasury/MBS Securities or gain more money through investing and trading. Before the global financial crisis commercial banks were really loose with their policy. You know, the whole "Big Short" story, housing bubble, NINJA loans and so on. The reckless handling of money by the commercial banks led to actual money printing and inflation, until the music suddenly stopped. Bear Stearns went tits up. Lehman went tits up. The banks learned from those years and completely changed, forever. They became very strict with their lending resulting in the Fed and the ECB not being able to raise their rates. By keeping the Fed funds rate low the Federal Reserve wants to encourage commercial banks to give out loans to stimulate the economy. But commercial banks are not playing along. They even accept negative rates in Europe rather than taking risks in the actual economy. The GFC of 2008 completely changed the financial landscape and the central banks have struggled to understand that. The system wasn't working anymore because the main players (the commercial banks) stopped playing with each other. That's also the reason why we see repeated problems in the repo market.
How QE actually decreases liquidity before it's effective
The funny thing about QE is that it achieves the complete opposite of what it's supposed to achieve before actually leading to an economic recovery. What does that mean? Let's go back to my analogy with the camera. Before I take away your camera, you can do several things with it. If you need cash, you can sell it or go to a pawn shop. You can even lend your camera to someone for a daily fee and collect money through that.But then I come along and just take away your camera for a road trip for 100 bucks in collateral. What can you do with those 100 bucks? Basically nothing. You can't buy something else with those. You can't lend the money to someone else. It's basically dead capital. You can just look at it and wait until I come back. And this is what is happening with QE. Commercial banks buy treasuries and MBS due to many reasons, of course they're legally obliged to hold some treasuries, but they also need them to make business.When a commercial bank has a treasury security, they can do the following things with it:- Sell it to get cash- Give out loans against the treasury security- Lend the security to a short seller who wants to short bonds Now the commercial banks received a cash reserve account at the Fed in exchange for their treasury security. What can they do with that?- Give out loans against the reserve account That's it. The bank had to give away a very liquid and flexible asset and received an illiquid asset for it. Well done, Fed. The goal of the Fed is to encourage lending and borrowing through suppressing yields via QE. But it's not happening and we can see that in the H.8 data (assets and liabilities of the commercial banks).There is no recovery to be seen in the credit sector while the commercial banks continue to collect treasury securities and MBS. On one hand, they need to sell a portion of them to the Fed on the other hand they profit off those securities by trading them - remember JPM's earnings. So we see that while the Fed is actually decreasing liquidity in the markets by collecting all the treasuries it has collected in the past, interest rates are still too high. People are scared, and commercial banks don't want to give out loans. This means that as the economic recovery is stalling (another whopping 1.4M jobless claims on Thursday July 30th) the Fed needs to suppress interest rates even more. That means: more QE. that means: the liquidity dries up even more, thanks to the Fed. We heard JPow saying on Wednesday that the Fed will keep their minimum of 120 billion QE per month, but, and this is important, they can increase that amount anytime they see an emergency.And that's exactly what he will do. He will ramp up the QE machine again, removing more bond supply from the market and therefore decreasing the liquidity in financial markets even more. That's his Hail Mary play to force Americans back to taking on debt again.All of that while the government is taking on record debt due to "stimulus" (which is apparently only going to Apple, Amazon and Robinhood). Who pays for the government debt? The taxpayers. The wealthy people. The people who create jobs and opportunities. But in the future they have to pay more taxes to pay down the government debt (or at least pay for the interest). This means that they can't create opportunities right now due to the government going insane with their debt - and of course, there's still the Coronavirus.
"Without the Fed, yields would skyrocket"
This is wrong. The Fed has been keeping their basic level QE of 120 billion per month for months now. But ignoring the fake breakout in the beginning of June (thanks to reopening hopes), yields have been on a steady decline. Let's take a look at the Fed's balance sheet. The Fed has thankfully stayed away from purchasing more treasury bills (short term treasury securities). Bills are important for the repo market as collateral. They're the best collateral you can have and the Fed has already done enough damage by buying those treasury bills in March, destroying even more liquidity than usual. More interesting is the point "notes and bonds, nominal". The Fed added 13.691 billion worth of US treasury notes and bonds to their balance sheet. Luckily for us, the US Department of Treasury releases the results of treasury auctions when they occur. On July 28th there was an auction for the 7 year treasury note. You can find the results under "Note -> Term: 7-year -> Auction Date 07/28/2020 -> Competitive Results PDF". Or here's a link. What do we see? Indirect bidders, which are foreigners by the way, took 28 billion out of the total 44 billion. That's roughly 64% of the entire auction. Primary dealers are the ones which sell the securities to the commercial banks. Direct bidders are domestic buyers of treasuries. The conclusion is: There's insane demand for US treasury notes and bonds by foreigners. Those US treasuries are basically equivalent to US dollars. Now dollar bears should ask themselves this question: If the dollar is close to a collapse and the world wants to get rid fo the US dollar, why do foreigners (i.e. foreign central banks) continue to take 60-70% of every bond auction? They do it because they desperately need dollars and hope to drive prices up, supported by the Federal Reserve itself, in an attempt to have the dollar reserves when the next liquidity event occurs. So foreigners are buying way more treasuries than the Fed does. Final conclusion: the bond market has adjusted to the Fed being a player long time ago. It isn't the first time the Fed has messed around in the bond market.
How market participants are positioned
We know that commercial banks made good money trading bonds and stocks in the past quarter. Besides big tech the stock market is being stagnant, plain and simple. All the stimulus, stimulus#2, vaccinetalksgoingwell.exe, public appearances by Trump, Powell and their friends, the "money printing" (which isn't money printing) by the Fed couldn't push SPY back to ATH which is 339.08 btw. Who can we look at? Several people but let's take Bill Ackman. The one who made a killing with Credit Default Swaps in March and then went LONG (he said it live on TV). Well, there's an update about him:Bill Ackman saying he's effectively 100% longHe says that around the 2 minute mark. Of course, we shouldn't just believe what he says. After all he is a hedge fund manager and wants to make money. But we have to assume that he's long at a significant percentage - it doesn't even make sense to get rid of positions like Hilton when they haven't even recovered yet. Then again, there are sources to get a peek into the positions of hedge funds, let's take Hedgopia.We see: Hedge funds are starting to go long on the 10 year bond. They are very short the 30 year bond. They are very long the Euro, very short on VIX futures and short on the Dollar.
This is the perfect setup for a market meltdown. If hedge funds are really positioned like Ackman and Hedgopia describes, the situation could unwind after a liquidity event:The Fed increases QE to bring down the 30 year yield because the economy isn't recovering yet. We've already seen the correlation of QE and USD and QE and bond prices.That causes a giant short squeeze of hedge funds who are very short the 30 year bond. They need to cover their short positions. But Ackman said they're basically 100% long the stock market and nothing else. So what do they do? They need to sell stocks. Quickly. And what happens when there is a rapid sell-off in stocks? People start to hedge via put options. The VIX rises. But wait, hedge funds are short VIX futures, long Euro and short DXY. To cover their short positions on VIX futures, they need to go long there. VIX continues to go up and the prices of options go suborbital (as far as I can see).Also they need to get rid of Euro futures and cover their short DXY positions. That causes the USD to go up even more. And the Fed will sit there and do their things again: more QE, infinity QE^2, dollar swap lines, repo operations, TARP and whatever. The Fed will be helpless against the forces of the market and have to watch the stock market burn down and they won't even realize that they created the circumstances for it to happen - by their programs to "help the economy" and their talking on TV. Do you remember JPow on 60minutes talking about how they flooded the world with dollars and print it digitally? He wanted us poor people to believe that the Fed is causing hyperinflation and we should take on debt and invest into the stock market. After all, the Fed has it covered. But the Fed hasn't got it covered. And Powell knows it. That's why he's being a bear in the FOMC statements. He knows what's going on. But he can't do anything about it except what's apparently proven to be correct - QE, QE and more QE.
A final note about "stock market is not the economy"
It's true. The stock market doesn't reflect the current state of the economy. The current economy is in complete shambles. But a wise man told me that the stock market is the reflection of the first and second derivatives of the economy. That means: velocity and acceleration of the economy. In retrospect this makes sense. The economy was basically halted all around the world in March. Of course it's easy to have an insane acceleration of the economy when the economy is at 0 and the stock market reflected that. The peak of that accelerating economy ("max velocity" if you want to look at it like that) was in the beginning of June. All countries were reopening, vaccine hopes, JPow injecting confidence into the markets. Since then, SPY is stagnant, IWM/RUT, which is probably the most accurate reflection of the actual economy, has slightly gone down and people have bid up tech stocks in absolute panic mode. Even JPow admitted it. The economic recovery has slowed down and if we look at economic data, the recovery has already stopped completely. The economy is rolling over as we can see in the continued high initial unemployment claims. Another fact to factor into the stock market.
TLDR and positions or ban?
TLDR: global economy bad and dollar shortage. economy not recovering, JPow back to doing QE Infinity. QE Infinity will cause the final squeeze in both the bond and stock market and will force the unwinding of the whole system. Positions: idk. I'll throw in TLT 190c 12/18, SPY 220p 12/18, UUP 26c 12/18.That UUP call had 12.5k volume on Friday 7/31 btw.
Edit about positions and hedge funds
My current positions. You can laugh at my ZEN calls I completely failed with those.I personally will be entering one of the positions mentioned in the end - or similar ones. My personal opinion is that the SPY puts are the weakest try because you have to pay a lot of premium. Also I forgot talking about why hedge funds are shorting the 30 year bond. Someone asked me in the comments and here's my reply: "If you look at treasury yields and stock prices they're pretty much positively correlated. Yields go up, then stocks go up. Yields go down (like in March), then stocks go down. What hedge funds are doing is extremely risky but then again, "hedge funds" is just a name and the hedgies are known for doing extremely risky stuff. They're shorting the 30 year bond because they needs 30y yields to go UP to validate their long positions in the equity market. 30y yields going up means that people are welcoming risk again, taking on debt, spending in the economy. Milton Friedman labeled this the "interest rate fallacy". People usually think that low interest rates mean "easy money" but it's the opposite. Low interest rates mean that money is really tight and hard to get. Rising interest rates on the other hand signal an economic recovery, an increase in economic activity. So hedge funds try to fight the Fed - the Fed is buying the 30 year bonds! - to try to validate their stock market positions. They also short VIX futures to do the same thing. Equity bulls don't want to see VIX higher than 15. They're also short the dollar because it would also validate their position: if the economic recovery happens and the global US dollar cycle gets restored then it will be easy to get dollars and the USD will continue to go down. Then again, they're also fighting against the Fed in this situation because QE and the USD are correlated in my opinion. Another Redditor told me that people who shorted Japanese government bonds completely blew up because the Japanese central bank bought the bonds and the "widow maker trade" was born:https://www.investopedia.com/terms/w/widow-maker.asp"
Since I've mentioned him a lot in the comments, I recommend you check out Steven van Metre's YouTube channel. Especially the bottom passages of my post are based on the knowledge I received from watching his videos. Even if didn't agree with him on the fundamental issues (there are some things like Gold which I view differently than him) I took it as an inspiration to dig deeper. I think he's a great person and even if you're bullish on stocks you can learn something from Steven!
Not sure if this is allowed, but fuck it, we're hurting and desperate times create desperate people who do desperate things. TL;DR: Local butcher shop with cheap prices. Trying to keep afloat and keep folks fed. Address at bottom. Sup ya'll, it's your favorite local meat boy (for those that don’t get it, here's my first post: original NYC meat boy post). Despite COVID cases in NYC having dropped a fair amount, a lot of businesses that have opened up aren't doing so hot, and still some are not going to open up ever again. While there's unemployment insurance for individuals, there really isn't much for small local businesses. I also know that the pandemic boost for UI is about to run out end of month, so if you're sweating about how you're going to eat, I got you. Most of America's economy began to feel the effects of The Rona around March of this year, but businesses located in Chinatown were fucked as early as January. America's reporting on COVID centered around China being the bad guy, which trends to loop all Asian Americans as "others" and "not really American." Chinese businesses tanked and hate crimes shot up. People within the community began their own self-imposed quarantine due to increased fear of being caught slacking by some racist fuckstick. Then came the formal lock down in March, which really flipped us over, bent us over the couch for good leverage, and fucked us deep and hard. At the time of 14JUNE2020, less than half of Chinatown's restaurants are open, and less than a third of total businesses are open (Bloomberg article supporting claim). Most funds meant as relief for small businesses got snagged by large corporations. And now all the SMEs are floundering. As of now, the end of July, still less than a third of Chinatown businesses have opened up, especially since most of them couldn't apply for any assistance due to language barriers. So again, here I am peddling my wares. I also have $9.75 left from someone that wanted to pay it forward earlier in the year for what it’s worth. We’re a small local meat shop. A butcher shop. A boutique culinary protein throwback to simpler times. Whatever the fuck you want to call it. We sell meat. You get the idea. Our prices are real fucking low. Lower than your self esteem. Lower than what your parents think of you. And that’s a good thing. Cause you like cheap things, you cheap fuck. Save all the money you can. While I can’t guarantee that we’re the cheapest you’ve ever seen, I can guarantee that we’ll be top five in cheapest prices in NYC. What do you want? Cause more likely than not, we got that shit. POULTRY. We got all kinds of birds. Chicken, silkies, qual, squab, duck, goose, stewing hens. Fuck you want? Still debating on whether drums or mid’s are better with your friends? Fuck around and cop a pound of each for under $5 per person: mid-wings are $3.89 a pound, drums are back to $.69/lb. Want more meat? Fine. A whole ass chicken leg and thigh, $.89/lb. You fuck with feet? It’s 2020, more power to you my guy. Chicken feet stands at $1.69/lb, duck feet at $1.49/lb. You into titties? Of course you're into titties: chicken breast coming in hot at $4.95 for a 2.2lb net weight bag. Into retirees and GILFs? All you Jack Black: Stewing Hens are two for $5.95. Haven’t gotten neck and head in a hot minute cause of COVID, or your Tinder and Hinge profile is just that basura? Say less: duck heads and necks at $1.39/lb. Into spawn kill? My guy: we got a dozen eggs for $2.95, 30 pack for $6.50. Duck eggs, six for $3.95. PORK. My man, let me tell you something. You fuck with pork chops? Even if you don't, for $2.39/lb, you fuck with pork chops. We got tenderloins for $3.19/lb. Bones for stock? $.99/lb. Let me guess, you miss eating authentic char siu over rice with the sauce from Chinatown. At $2.69/lb for char siu meat, you can afford to fuck up three times and still come out ahead instead of buying it from a restaurant. Since it's getting hot, you're going to want to throw BBQs, right? Hopefully they're socially distanced, everyone is responsible and wearing a mask, and all you motherfuckers got COVID tested prior. Got you some ribs for $2.89 a pound. You want some of them dim sum ribs? Them itty bitty, little tiny cuts of ribs? Small just like your feelings when your ex left you? $3.59 a pound. You been going through a rough time and need an ear to listen to you. $3.39/lb for pig ears buddy, say more. If you been fucking with feet and chicken and duck feet don't cut it, do it like J. Cole "so big it's like a foot is in yo' mouth" cause I got pre-cut pig trotters for $1.49 a pound. Oh, you deadass want the whole foot in your mouth? Weird, but we're being open-minded here: whole uncut pig trotters at $1.79/lb. BEEF. Let me guess: you haven't gotten enough foul language from this post and need a better tongue lashing? You filthy, sick, sorry, piece of shit. Beef tongues will run you $6.99 a pound. Or you want to boss up, but instead of being bad and boujee, you've been sad and boujee cause of COVID. Well, fear not, cause with femur bones at $1.95/lb, you can split them right down the fucking middle to get to that sweet, sweet, succulent marrow and feel like you're out brunching, spending $80 you don't have for a meal you can't afford to flex on hoes you couldn't really give less of a shit about. What's that? Pig trotters don't cut it? You trying to deepthroat the shit? I mean, do mama proud I guess. I got beef trotters/feet at $1.89 a pound. I mean, with skills like that, why you even buying from me? You belong on the yacht of some old rich man. But do you. Oh what's that? Your girl says your stroke game shit and you falling short of getting up in her guts? No fix for that, sorry, but you can cop honeycomb tripe or stomach at $3.39 a pound and know for a fact you can absolutely beat the ever living fuck out of these guts. You trying to fuck with flank steaks? $7.45 my guy. New York Strip? $8.99. T-Bone? $7.99. My bone? Ten camels. Where my Jamaicans at? Waa gwaan? I know oxtail is AT LEAST $6.75/lb where you’re at. We have them on deck for $5.99/lb. Or maybe you’re a rapper. You’re on SoundCloud pushing music and living out your mama’s crib. No shame, it’s rough out here King. Want to know how to really blow up? What did Eminem call himself in 8 Mile? That’s right, B-Rabbit. And you know what I got? Rabbit for $4.69 a pound. You are what you eat man. I’m not saying that eating rabbit will immediately blow your rap career the fuck up and give you the lyrical genius of Eminem, but I’m not saying it won’t either. For less than $5 a pound, you really gonna chance it? What if the other rappers cop it and you don’t and they blow up? Don’t get left behind my guy. You a King and King’s gotta do what they don’t want to do sometimes for the betterment of the folks. And the folks want to hear your music. Or maybe rabbit not your thing. You right, it’s too lean and lacks fat. Eat too much rabbit and nothing else and you’ll starve your body of fat. So how about goat? You want to be the GOAT, don’t you? Reddit’s even got a badge for it. If you want to be the Goat, guess what you gotta do? That’s fucking right, you are what you eat and here I am, your fucking pusher man for goat. You're fancy and trying to be boujee. Let me guess: lamb? Say less, I got you that bonjour hon hon hon rack of of lamb chops. Want a quarter of lamb? Got that too. All you gotta do is ask. I'm not going to really keep going down the list. You get the idea. I work at a fucking meat shop, I'm going to sell meat. I sell wholesale to restaurants and retail to walk-in folks. It's a pretty simple fucking concept. Is our meat fresh? As fresh as, if not more so, than any large chain due to constant turn over on wholesale side. Why are our prices so low? Because we're a small mom-and-pop brick and mortar shop. We're located in Chinatown. Ever heard of FUBU? Same concept: we're built by Chinese immigrants, for Chinese immigrants. Unfortunately, the Chinese population in NYC is one of, if not THE poorest communities we have. Raising prices will price out the community and jack the reason why we're even here: to feed the community. This also means that our margins are fucked, but we're making it work. Yes, we look janky asf. I know, we're not "modern" and our aesthetic looks like some tossed together shit from the 60's. Shit, our band saw is from the 80's. But we're clean, we're sanitary, we pass all health standards and inspections, and we're doing our fucking best. We're literally the definition of "no frills." To hear some say it, we'd be considered ghetto. I prefer the term resourceful, so fuck you. Because we're local and serve local, we only accept cash, EBT, SNAP, and debit. We don't do credit. Venmo is @FourSevenDivisionStreetTrading. PSA as the last one: if you think you can roll up to squeeze us, find out if you're a better shot than I am. Not my job to judge your life choices, but I will send you to someone who will. I'm the only person here that is fluent in English, so unless you're feeling real brave about pointing at shit and figuring it out, you speak a dialect, know how to read Chinese, or know what cut you're looking for, come on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons (02:00pm - 06:30pm) since that's when I'm directly on the floor. If you're a restaurant and you're looking to keep overhead low, PM me, I'll work something out with you. Our location is: 47 Division Street Ground Floor New York, NY 10002 B/D to Grand Street, F to East Broadway Our hours are: Monday - Saturday 0800am - 0630pm 23JUL2020 0323AM Edit: Added beef and lamb, added venmo acc, schedule and times. 25JUL2020 0015AM Edit: Changed schedule to add in Saturday.
The TSLA 2K Play - A Trade Retrospective on Taking a $.21 Credit to Make $8.34 More
There are different ways to play TSLA to $2000 this past week. Here’s my thought process on how I approached trading the move up, without paying a debit (but uses margin).
On Monday, August 17, besides TOS being absolutely atrocious, TSLA was lurching higher, and at around 11am PST or so, when it broke out to new highs, my thought was that there’s probably going to be a short squeeze again that takes us to $2000, the target that basically everyone was looking at. So, I looked to put on a play that captured something to that $2000 price level by Friday, Aug 21 expiration. I began by looking at the 1980/2000 long call vertical. At the time, that spread cost $2.28 debit. So if I were to just put on that vertical, I would be paying $2.28 to make potentially $17.72. But I don’t really like paying large debits (large is anything above $.25 per spread), especially for these types of short-term directional bets. So I looked for other ways to reduce the debit. Alongside the purchase of the long call vertical, I also sold the 1650/1625 put vertical, for $2.05 credit. The reason for placing the short strike of the put vertical at 1650 is that it was under Monday’s low, and the reason for the long strike at 1625 was that it made the put vertical wide enough to collect a decent credit. Now, the total debit on the trade became $2.28 (debit of 1980/2000 call vertical) - $2.05 (credit from 1650/1625 put vertical), or $.23. $.23 was pretty cheap, and honestly I could’ve stopped there. But as I was thinking about the trade, I realized I didn’t really like how the short put verticals actually added more downside risk to the trade. So I was thinking that as early as I could, I would buy back that short put vertical once it drained in value, as TSLA continued running up with the momentum it had. And given the huge upside momentum that day, I thought that TSLA would probably gap and continue higher the following day, or at the very least just move sideways, which would drain the value of the short put vertical and allow me to buy it back for a low debit. However, if I bought back the put vertical before it fully drained to 0, then my overall debit on the trade wouldn’t just cost $.23 anymore - it would cost more. So in the spirit of keeping the debit as low as possible, I needed to actually collect more credit from somewhere else, if I really didn’t want to pay for this trade. So, I decided that I was going to sell a call vertical above the 1980/2000 long call vertical. And a safe enough distance above the long call vertical, would be up at 2200, which gives me 200 points of runway above 2000. So I sold to open the 2200/2250 call vertical, for $1.27 credit. I felt safe about selling the 2200/2250 call vertical, because for it to really be at risk, TSLA would first need to move above 2000, the psychological level, and by the time it starts to get near 2200, the 1980/2000 call vertical will be 20 points deep ITM, so I have 20 points of coverage. Of course there’s still 30 points of risk (given that the 2200/2250 short call vertical is 50 points wide), but time is on my side. Assuming that TSLA even gets near 2200 on the last day, given how little time left there is, that short call vertical would probably be trading for maybe $10 or so, and the 1980/2000 long call vertical in front of that short call vertical, would be deep ITM and worth $20, so I can just close the entire spread at a profit anyway. So after selling that 2200/2250 call vertical, the trade went from $.23 debit to $1.04 credit (because $.23 - $1.27 = -$1.04, or $1.04 credit). Now I’m getting paid to play the breakout to TSLA 2K.
On Tuesday, TSLA gapped up higher, and right off the bat, the short put verticals basically drained from $2.05 to $.83. I closed that out to remove any downside risk, so that if TSLA decides to reverse and tank, or hang out sideways and never make it to 2000, no harm no foul, I have the upside play on for a credit. Recall that $.23 (the debit of the initial entry) - $1.27 (the credit collected from the sale of the 2200/2250 call vertical) + $.83 (the debit of buying back the short put vertical) is -$0.21, which is a $.21 credit, after adjustments. And now, I just have to manage TSLA to the upside. The result of this adjustment left me with a 4 legged spread where I’m long the 1980/2000 call vertical and short the 2200/2250 call vertical (this 4-legged spread is also called a condor, specifically a Call condor). Throughout Tuesday and all of Wednesday, TSLA just moved sideways, and I was fine with that. Others who purchased naked long calls far OOM were worried about the premium drain, but I was fine knowing that I got paid to play the move to 2K, whether it happened or not. It completely did not matter if TSLA moved sideways or tanked, because it wouldn’t negatively impact the equity curve. Another reason why I actually liked TSLA hanging sideways is that it gives TSLA less of a chance to surge higher and run over that 2200/2250 short call vertical with the time left before expiry.
Thursday was where the magic happened (for pretty much everyone). As we know at around 7:45 am PST, TSLA rallied from around $1900 to almost $2000, and the Call condor really started to expand in value. When TSLA was at $1990, the call condor spread expanded to $8.34. Recall that the cost on this trade (after the closing the short put vertical) put my cost at a $.21 credit. Now, I can sell this condor out and pocket another $8.34. That’s pretty sweet. Getting paid $.21 to make another $8.34. (At this moment, I noted what the legs were trading for. The long vertical of the condor was trading for $9.27, and the short vertical was actually trading for $.93. Recall that when I entered the short vertical on Monday, I actually collected a $1.27 credit on it. Now, even after the 150 point move up in TSLA, even after volatility expansion, that short vertical was still worth $.34 LESS - that’s the power of theta decay). So at that point, I pretty much just closed out the entire position. I was pretty happy with essentially getting paid $.21 to make another $8.34 (in hindsight, I could’ve milked another $11.66 per spread, but that’s besides the point).
What if TSLA decided to tank upon entry, jeopardizing the short put vertical? Upside conviction was strong, but I would have to buy it back and find a way to reduce the new debit on the overall trade.
What if TSLA decided to make a run up to $2000+ very early on in the week (ie. on Tuesday it runs up to $2100)? Then the 2200/2250 short call vertical would’ve expanded too much and offset the gains of the deep ITM 1980/2000 long call vertical. I would have to cough up the debit and buy additional call verticals to cover the upside. Perhaps a 20 or 30 point wide call vertical around the 2100 strike to cover the remaining upside risk, which would cost around $10-$15 debit. Then work to reduce that debit over the week.
But what if TSLA decided to tank below 2100 after adjustment above? Or lower to below 1980? Or even further down? Sell more 2200/2250 call verticals. Then sell out the long call vertical for whatever remaining debit. Then sell out the 1980/2000 call vertical for whatever value it has left.
So many adjustments. KISS. You will just get whipsawed and use up a ton of margin. It's just what I have to do. I have to be mechanical about the greeks and not play the hope card. This trading style is not for everyone and is not the holy grail.
DD - RXT, Amazon and Microsoft's Service Provider (Long Play)
Alright, listen up retards - this is some potentially good shit that you may be ignoring. Rackspace Technology (RXT) IPO'd August 5th at $16.85 to a lukewarm reception, mainly due to the fact that much more formidable companies were IPO'ing the same day or week (BIGC, RKT). Since then the shares have popped a bit - most likely closing today around 18.00.
What is Rackspace?
Rackspace is a cloud computing service provider. Since most of you can barely use a keyboard, I'll explain further. Their primary business comes from developing cloud solutions for clients utilizing third-party cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, etc.). In addition, Rackspace also provides long-term service for the systems that they develop. The industries that they are involved in is extremely diverse - from automotive maintenance to energy/government services. Rackspace also maintains partnerships with almost all of the aforementioned major cloud computing providers present in the industry. This allows them to more effectively bargain with the providers whose platforms they are using - granting them a more advantageous price point than other competitors. These partnerships also help to retain their customer base as it allows for more complex solutions to be developed for changing circumstances.
Ok, so what?
I believe that the major mistake individual investors are making when it comes to evaluating RXT is that they believe that they are competing instead of cooperating with the likes of Amazon and Microsoft. Rackspace's goal when it comes to dealing with these giants is to leverage their service's potential to obtain a better price point for their use of large provider's cloud platforms. This allows Rackspace to generate income not only on the service contracts they provide - but also on the margin that is created from the reduced costs of infrastructure. Because Rackspace is good at what they do, managing cloud infrastructure, these larger cloud providers see the potential to offload a part of their managed services to them at a better price - saving the cloud providers money and providing Rackspace with additional revenue. The truth of the matter, however, is that the more managed cloud business that these providers handoff to decrease costs, the more leverage and bargaining power Rackspace gains - further allowing Rackspace to reduce costs for the infrastructure they build.
Ok, fine. So what happens when Amazon and Microsoft start providing the service instead?
Fair question, you fucking retard. In short, they won't. It's far too costly for the meager payoff that they would get from it. Also, because of the fact that Rackspace is generating revenue from the reduced costs to build their systems, it may not be economically feasible for a larger cloud provider to get into this market. Amazon AWS cannot create a leverageable position in the market by utilizing all platforms simultaneously as they can only provide AWS - the same goes for Microsoft Azure, etc. The most likely way that one of these larger players would get into this market is buying out RXT, not forming a competitor from scratch. This seems likely as RXT is currently owned by Apollo Global Management (who took the company private in 2016). Apollo most likely took RXT public to recoup some of their initial investment, however, the company going public once again signals that the firm is willing to accept a buyout from another major player. Also, an additional note, RXT's current market cap is low - about 3.7 billion. For a company like Microsoft or Amazon, this is a drop in the bucket. If Rackspace continues to do what they do well and there is growth in the market they exist in - one of these larger players will absolutely buy out the firm.
Positions or ban faggot
I suggest going long on shares for this one. I know you autists like options plays and have the long term horizons of an onlyfans e-girl, but there's far too much potential long-term on this one to miss out on getting shares when they're cheap. If you have some real balls you can look into February 2021 options (2/19 25c) but they're currently not trading normally due to options being introduced recently for the stock. If you can get them cheap it might be worth it, but I would suggest just dumping money into shares. My suggestion would be to try to get in on shares at anywhere around 17.50 - 17.75, increasing position steadily up to 19.00 - 19.50. This stock has too much potential to ignore, and with only about 200M shares outstanding any good news / high profit will throw this thing to the moon. TLDR ; Buy the dips on RXT and increase position over time Edit: Thanks for the awards you fucking idiots
PRPL earnings is tomorrow, 8/13, after hours. Any other date is wrong. Robinhood is wrong (why are you using Robinhood still!?!). I'm going to take you through my earnings projections and reasoning as well the things to look for in the earnings release and the call that could make this moon even further.
I make the assumption that Purple is still selling every mattress it can make (since that is what they said for April and May) and that this continued into June because the website was still delayed 7-14 days across all mattresses at the end of June. May Revenue and April DTC: The numbers in purple were provided by Purple here and here. April Wholesale: My estimate of $2.7M for Wholesale sales in April comes from this statement from the Q1 earnings release: " While wholesale sales were down 42.7% in April year-over-year, weekly wholesale orders have started to increase on a sequential basis. " I divided Q2 2019's wholesale sales evenly between months and then went down 42.7%. June DTC: This is my estimate based upon the fact that another Mattress Max machine went online June 1, thus increasing capacity, and the low end model was discontinued (raising revenue per unit). June Wholesale:Joe Megibow stated at Commerce Next on 7/30 that wholesale had returned to almost flat growth. I'm going to assume he meant for the quarter, so I plugged the number here to finish out the quarter at $39.0M, just under $39.3M from a year ago. Revenue Expectations from Analysts (via Yahoo) https://preview.redd.it/notxd6hhbng51.png?width=384&format=png&auto=webp&s=aa0453414f467aa6c5bf72ce8a8046c0ae6e62a5 My estimate of $244M comes in way over the high, let alone the consensus. PRPL has effectively already disclosed ~$145M for April/May, so these expectations are way off. I'm more right than they are.
I used my estimates for Q3/Q4 2019 to guide margins in April/May as there were some one time events that occurred in Q1 depressing margins. June has higher margin because of the shift away from the low end model (which is priced substantially lower than the high end model). Higher priced models were given manufacturing priority.
Marketing and Sales Joe mentioned in the Commerce Next video that they were able to scale sales at a constant CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost). There's three ways of interpreting this:
Overall customer acquisition cost was constant with previous quarters (assume $36M total, not $93.2M), which means you need to add another $57M to bottom line profit and $1.08 to EPS, or
Customer Acquisition Costs on a unit basis were constant, which means I'm still overstating total marketing expense and understating EPS massively, or
Customer Acquisition Costs on a revenue basis were constant, which is the most conservative approach and the one I took for my estimate.
I straightlined the 2.2 ratio of DTC sales to Marketing costs from Q1. I am undoubtably too high in my expense estimate here as PRPL saw marketing efficiencies and favorable revenue shifts during the quarter. So, $93.2M General and Administrative A Purple HR rep posted on LinkedIn about hiring 330 people in the quarter. I'm going to assume that was relative to the pre-COVID furloughs, so I had June at that proportional amount to previous employees and adjusted April and May for furloughs and returns from furlough. Research and Development I added just a little here and straight lined it.
Interest Expense Straightlined from previous quarters, although they may have tapped ABL lines and so forth, so this could be under. One Time and Other Unpredictable by nature. Warrant Liability Accrual I'm making some assumptions here.
We know that the secondary offering event during Q2 from the Pearce brothers triggered the clause for the loan warrants (NOT the PRPLW warrants) to lower the strike price to $0.
I can't think of a logical reason why the warrant holders wouldn't exercise at this point.
Therefore there is no longer a warrant liability where the company may need to repurchase warrants back.
The liability accrual of $7.989M needs to be reversed out for a gain.
What to Watch For During Earnings (aka Reasons Why This Moons More)
Analysts, Institutionals, and everyone else who uses math for investing is going to be listening for the following:
Warrant Liability Accrual
Capacity Expansion Rate
CACs (Customer Acquisition Costs)
New Product Categories
Cashless Exercise of PRPLW warrants
Margin Growth This factor is HUGE. If PRPL guides to higher margins due to better sales mix and continued DTC shift, then every analyst and investor is going to tweak their models up in a big way. Thus far, management has been relatively cautious about this fortuitous shift to DTC continuing. If web traffic is any indicator, it will, but we need management to tell us that. Warrant Liability Accrual I could be dead wrong on my assumptions above on this one. If it stays, there will be questions about it due to the drop in exercise price. It does impact GAAP earnings (although it shouldn't--stupid accountants). Capacity Expansion Rate This is a BIG one as well. As PRPL has been famously capacity constrained: their rate of manufacturing capacity expansion is their growth rate over the next year. PRPL discontinued expansion at the beginning of COVID and then re-accelerated it to a faster pace than pre-COVID by hurrying the machines in-process out to the floor. They also signed their manufacturing space deal which has nearly doubled manufacturing space a quarter early. The REAL question is when the machines will start rolling out. Previous guidance was end of the year at best. If we get anything sooner than that, we are going to ratchet up. CACs (Customer Acquisition Costs) Since DTC is the new game in town, we are all going to want to understand exactly where marketing expenses were this quarter and, more importantly, where management thinks they are going. The magic words to listen for are "marketing efficiencies". Those words means the stock goes up. This is the next biggest line item on the P&L besides revenue and cost of goods sold. New Product Categories We heard the VP of Brand from Purple give us some touchy-feely vision of where the company is headed and that mattresses was just the revenue generating base to empower this. I'm hoping we hear more about this. This is what differentiated Amazon from Barnes and Noble: Amazon's vision was more than just books. Purple sees itself as more than just mattresses. Hopefully we get some announced action behind that vision. This multiplies the stock. Cashless Exercise of PRPLW Warrants I doubt this will be answered, even if the question is asked. I bet they wait until the 20 out of 30 days is up and they deliver notice. We could be pleasantly surprised. If management informs us that they will opt for cashless exercise of the warrants, this is anti-dilutive to EPS. It will reduce the number of outstanding shares and automatically cause an adjustment up in the stock price (remember kids, some people use math when investing). I'm hopeful, but not expecting it. The amount of the adjustment depends on the current price of the stock. Also, I fully expect PRPL management to use their cashless exercise option at the end of the 20 out of 30 days as they are already spitting cash.
I've made some updates to the model, and produced two different models:
Warrant Liability Accrual Goes to Zero
Warrant Liability Accrual Goes to $47M
I made the following adjustments generally:
I reduced marketing expenses signifanctly based upon comments made by Joe Megibox on 6/29 in this CNBC video to 30% of sales (thanks u/deepredsky).
I reduced June wholesale revenue to 12.6M to be conservative based upon another possible interpretation of Joe's comments in this video here. It is a hard pill to swallow that June wholesale sales would be less than May's. The only reasoning I can think of is if May caused a large restock and then June tapered back off. The previous number of $19.0M was still a retrenchment from the 40-50% YoY growth rate. I'm going to keep the more conservative number (thanks again u/deepredsky).
I modified the number of outstanding shares used for EPS calculations from 53M (last quarters number used on the 10-Q) to almost 73M based upon the fact that all of the warrants and employee stock options are now in the money. Math below. (thanks DS_CPA1 on Stocktwits for pointing this out)
Now that we have established that coliseum still has not exercised the options as of july 7, and that purple needs to record as a liability the fair value of the options as of june 31, we now need to determine what that fair value is. You state that since you believe that there is no logical reason that coliseum won't redeem their warrants "there is no longer a warrant liability where the company may need to repurchase warrants back." While I'm not 100% certain your logic here, I can say for certain that whether or not a person will redeem their warrants does not dictate how prpl accounts for them.
The warrant liability accrual DOES NOT exist because the warrants simply exist. The accrual exists because the warrants give the warrant holder the right to force the company to buy back the warrants for cash in the event of a fundamental transaction for Black Scholes value ($18 at the end of June--June 31st that is...). And accruals are adjusted for the probability of a particular event happening, which I STILL argue is close to zero. A fundamental transaction did occur. The Pearce brothers sold more than 10M shares of stock which is why the exercise price dropped to zero. (Note for DS_CPA1 on Stocktwits: there is some conflicting filings as to what the exercise price can drop to. The originally filed warrant draft says that the warrant exercise price cannot drop to zero, but asubsequently filed S-3, the exercise price is noted as being able to go to zero. I'm going with the S-3.) Now, here is where it gets fun. We know from from the Schedule 13D filed with a July 1, 2020 event date from Coliseum that Coliseum DID NOT force the company to buy back the warrants in the fundamental transaction triggered by the Pearce Brothers (although they undoubtably accepted the $0 exercise price). THIS fundamental transaction was KNOWN to PRPL at the end Q4 and Q1 as secondary filings were made the day after earnings both times. This drastically increased the probability of an event happening. Where is the next fundamental transaction that could cause the redemption for cash? It isn't there. What does exist is a callback option if the stock trades above $24 for 20 out of 30 days, which we are already 8 out of 10 days into. Based upon the low probability of a fundamental transaction triggering a redemption, the accrual will stay very low. Even the CFO disagrees with me and we get a full-blown accrual, I expect a full reversal of the accrual next quarter if the 20 out of 30 day call back is exercised by the company. I still don't understand why Coliseum would not have exercised these. Regardless, the Warrant Liability Accrual is very fake and will go away eventually.
ONE MORE THING...
Seriously, stop PMing me with stupid, simple questions like "What are your thoughts on earnings?", "What are your thoughts on holding through earnings?", and "What are your thoughts on PRPL?". It's here. Above. Read it. I'm not typing it again in PM. I've gotten no less than 30 of these. If you're too lazy to read, I'm too lazy to respond to you individually.
Margin Isn't Dangerous & Why I'd Still Use It If I Had Less Than $25,000
Cash vs. Margin
TL;DR- Use Margin if you're trading securities and either above or below 25k. If you know how to size positions, it won't matter if you move $4,000 into a trade or $4,000,000. As long as you sized the position correctly. If you're limited to 3 trades, then take 3 PERFECT trades: https://imgur.com/a/SpPOERQ I see lots of people discussing contrasting ideas although they attempt to justify using both. Here are some things I see said and written frequently from people that doesn't add up for me:
"Use a cash account to avoid PDT" - (Totally fine, in some cases such as certain options traders. Not if you're trading securities.)
"Risk 1% of your account" - (So if your account is at $25,500, I risk ~$255 and if I lose 2R I'm below PDT. Doesn't sound too great to me if I were to lose the first 2 straight trades.)
"Margin is a double-edged sword" - (It's only dangerous if you don't set hard stops or size your positions correctly.)
"Never take on a trade that is worth more than your account" - (I can agree if you were swing trading but in terms of IntraDay trading, this is hindering your ability to grow your account. If you're risking $100 on a trade that costs less than your account value.. then $25 on a trade because of your account value.. then you're adding unneeded variables. Remember: "Consistency.")
If I were to go back to when I was below $25,000 some years ago. I'd still use a margin account while being limited to 3 trades per week. Here's why:
Formulas you have to know: Position size formula = Risk ÷ Stop Size Stop Size Formula = Entry - StopLoss
Stock ABC, Entry = $10.00 StopLoss = $9.90 StopSize = 10¢ Risk = $100 In Live Trading: $100 ÷ $0.10 = 1000 Shares 1,000 shares at $10.00 = $10,000 position
Stock XYZ, Entry = $385 StopLoss = $383.00 StopSize = $2.00 Risk = $100 In Live Trading: $100 ÷ $2.00 = 50 Shares 50 shares at $385 = $19,250 position. *$10,000 CASH account: CANNOT trade Stock XYZ and must wait 3 days for his entire account to settle after trading Stock ABC. If it was a margin account, they'd still be able to take 2 more trades this week. *$10,000 MARGIN account: CAN trade Stock XYZ and can trade both scenarios while still able to trade 1 more time in a 5 day rolling period.
Then the next point made is, "Just won't trade anything above $20".
Ok. great rebuttal, but why? Let's remember this: StopSizes aren't always directly correlated to the price of a stock. YES you're more likely to have a wider StopSize on a higher priced stock and a tighter StopSize on a lower priced stock. But remember this: 1¢ of slippage on 1,000 shares is 10% of his risk ($10)... It will be even more slippage if his stop loss market order is hit. Even a Sell-StopLimit order will have slippage within the amount you allow for when you enter a position. Stock XYZ would have to be slipped 20¢ just to equate the amount of slippage on Stock ABC.Highly liquid and available stocks such as AAPL, AMD, NVDA etc don't have 20¢ spreads. Not even 10¢. Rarely 5¢. Most of the time. Just a couple cents. Of course there could be more right out of the open but the spread in my years of experience is tightened within 2 minutes of the open. Yes, these small amounts in pennies do hold lots of merit if you're looking at having any longevity in this business, it WILL add up over the years.
Both trades have the same risk [in perfect world theory].
If both stop market orders were hit (StopLoss). Both traders would exit with a $100 loss on each. Although 1 trade required $10,000 in capital and the other trade required $19,250 in capital. Use margin. If I had to go back to when I had less than $25,000 in my account, I'd still do it the same way I did it with margin. I highly suggest using margin even if you’re limited to 3 trades per week. I get asked all the time when I began trading. If you watched my last video, I showed my first ever deposit with Scottrade (Old brokerage that was bought out by TDA a few years ago) in 2015 although I don't consider that's when I started trading because I didn't treat it the way I do today. I really consider myself starting as a trader in 2017 when I: •Wrote a business plan •Understood statistics •How to research. All this being said, slowly over time I noticed that I am taking less and less trades and increasing my risk size. Why? EV: Expected Value. - Margin has zero negative effect if you're sizing your positions the same every time. Margin allows you to take on more expensive positions that are showing your edge. Bonus: Being limited to 3 trades a week isn't fun, I remember that feeling from years ago. Just remember to take 3 perfect trades a week. Sometimes "Perfect Trades" don't work out in your favor while some subpar situations hit target. Some weeks you might take your 3 "Perfect Trades" by Tuesday. Some weeks you might take only 1 "perfect trade". If you follow my watchlists on Twitter (Same handle as my Reddit), I keep my Day Trading Buying Power transparent. Not always is it growing perfectly linear. And not always am I posting every single day because sometimes, my edge isn't there. Just because the market is open doesn't mean you HAVE to trade. My watchlists aren't littered with 15+ tickers. Rarely do they have more than 7. That may work for other traders, but for me, I demand quality. It's either there or it isn't. No reason to force a trade. I'd rather focus heavily on a few tickers rather than spread myself thin across multiple. Trading isn't supposed to be exhilarating or an adrenaline rush. It can be boring. I said that in the post I wrote back in April. Also if you make money, even if its just $20 in a month. Take that money out and buy something. Shrine it. Cherish it. You ripped that money out of WallStreet. Be proud of it. It takes a lot of courage to do this business. Realize that the P/L is real money. Sometimes even just buying a tank of gas or a book will help you realize that. Spend it from time to time. Get something out of your trading account. You may or not be trading for long, get something that is tangible to always remember the experience in case you don't last. Make it your trophy. That's all I've got for right now. Maybe I'll make another post or 2 before the year ends. I hit my 1 year full-time mark in September. Best wishes! -CJT2013
$PSTG: PURE STORAGE for them, PURE TENDIES for you
This is actually my first DD I've ever posted so fuck you and forgive me if this doesn't work out for you.I've been looking at $PSTG for a while now and if my buying power didn't get so fucked from my decision to buy 8/7 UBER puts, I would have been already all over this play. What had got me looking into Pure Storage was an unusual options activity alert. I've looked into this company before but didn't entirely understand what they do. Now after looking at them again, I'm still not exactly sure wtf they do....BUT I've gotten a better clue. Basically what I got from my research is that these guys fuck with "all-FLASH data storage solutions (enabling cloud solutions and other low-latency applications where tape/disk storage does not meet the needs)."......and ultimately what this all means to me is that these are the motherfuckers making those stupid fast laser money printers with the rocket ships attached. And that's something I'm interested in. Now, here is the DailyDick you all degenerates have all been fiending for: Fundamentally: PureStorage remains one of the few hardware companies in tech that is consistently growing double motherfucking digits, yet remains constantly cucked and neglected by investors (trading at 1.9x EV/Sales). https://preview.redd.it/ek7ugjsewnf51.png?width=1118&format=png&auto=webp&s=f9c7e72c95e450a105e44223937422d896eeeb21 The 36 Months beta value for PSTG stock is at 1.62. 74% Buy Rating on RH. PSTG has a short float of 7.28% and public float of 243.36M with average trading volume of 3.16M shares. This was trading at around $18 on Wednesday 8/5 when I started writing this and as of right now, it's about $17.33 💸 The company has a market capitalization of ~$4.6 billion. In the last quarter, PSTG reported a ballin'-ass profit of $256.82 million. Pure Storage also saw revenues increase to $367.12 million. IMO, they should rename themselves PURE PROFIT. As of 04-2020, they got the cash monies flowing at $11.32 million . The company’s EBITDA came in at -$62.81 million which compares very fucking well among its dinosaur ass peers like HPE, Dell, IBM and NetApp. Pure Storage keeps taking market share from them old farts while growing the chad-like revenue #s of 33% in F2019, 21% in F2020, and 12% in F1Q21. Chart of their financial growth since IPO in 2015: https://preview.redd.it/gwlmy82v4nf51.png?width=640&format=png&auto=webp&s=b6508cd5f641da4086b70d8b8007da034e982fd7 At the end of last quarter, Pure Storage had cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities of $1.274B, compared with $1.299B as of Feb 2, 2020. The total Debt to Equity ratio for PSTG is recording at 0.64 and as of 8/6, Long term Debt to Equity ratio is at 0.64.Earning highlights from last quarter:
Revenue $367.1 million, up 12% year-over-year
Subscription Services revenue $120.2 million, up 37% year-over-year
GAAP operating loss $(84.9) million; non-GAAP operating loss $(5.4) million
Operating cash flow was $35.1 million, up $28.5 million year-over-year
Free cash flow was $11.3 million, up $29.0 million year-over-year
Total cash and investments of $1.3 billion
I bolded the Subscription Services Revenue bullet because to me that's a big deal. Pure Storage keeps them coming back with products such as Pure-as-a-service and Cloud Block Store and everybody knows that the recurring revenue model is best model. Big ass enterprises buy storage from vendors such as Pure Storage in the cloud to prevent vendor lock-in by the cloud providers. $$$ >!💰< What are Pure Storage's other revenue drivers? Well these motherfuckers also have the products to address the growth of Cloud storage as well as the products to drive the growth of on-prem storage. For on-prem data center, Pure sells Flash Array to address block storage workloads (for databases and other mission-critical workloads) and FlashBlade for unstructured or file data workloads. On-prem storage revenue is mainly driven by legacy storage array replacement cycle. https://preview.redd.it/01su6chrwnf51.png?width=1129&format=png&auto=webp&s=16e6a705f9392291bc0c3932c815802d9101365e So far, it seems like Pure Storage's obviously passionate and smart as fuck CEO has been spot on with his prediction of the flash storage sector's direction. Also seems like he's not camera shy either. Pure Storage's "Pure-as-a-Service and Cloud Block Store" unified subscription offerings is fo sho gaining momentum it. This shit is catching on with enterprises, both big and small. COVID-19 increased the acceleration of our digital transformation and the subsequent shift to the cloud. This increased demand in data-centers is going to drastically help Pure Storage's future top and bottom line. To top it off, NAND prices are recovering! (inferred from MU earnings). I expect Pure Storage to get some relief on the pricing front because of this which obviously in turn should improve revenues. PSTG's numbers look pretty good to me so far but are they a good company overall? Even when scalping and trading, I don't like to fuck with overall shitty companies so I always check for basic things like customer satisfaction, analyst ratings/targets, broad-view industry trends, and hedge fund positioning.. that sort of thing.Pure Storage stands out in all of these fields for me. https://preview.redd.it/4n0e5nve5of51.png?width=373&format=png&auto=webp&s=495416bb6f5a2dab77f3ac483ca4d9510b39037c Customers like Dominos Pizza and many others all seem to be happy AF with no issues. I can hardly even find a negative review online. Their products seems to be universally applauded. Gartner and other third party independent analysts also consider Pure Storage's product line-up some of the best in the industry. The industry average for this sector is a piss poor 65.Pure Storage has a 2020 Net Promoter Score of 86 https://preview.redd.it/3w51io8yvmf51.png?width=698&format=png&auto=webp&s=4f7d06825d0ad9d126216e5069af2f9c3636f86a Enterprises are upgrading their existing storage infrastructure with newer and more modern data arrays, based on NAND flash. They do this because they're forced to keep up with the increasing speed of business inter-connectivity. This shit is the 5g revolution sort to speak of the corporate business world. Storage demands and needs aren't changing because of the pandemic and isn't changing in the future. The newer storage arrays are smaller, consume less power, are less noisy and do not generate excess heat in the data center and hence do not need to be cooled like the fat fucks at IBM need to be. Flash storage arrays in general are cheaper to operate and are extremely fast, speeding up applications. Pure Storage by all accounts makes the best storage arrays in the industry and continues to grow faster than the old school storage vendors like bitchass NetApp, Dell, HPE and IBM. Pure Storage’s market share was 12.7% in C1Q20 and was up from 10.1% in the prior year - LIKE A PROPER HIGH GROWTH COMPANY.HPE, NetApp and IBM, like the losers they are, lost market share.According to blocksandfiles.com, AFA vendor market share sizes and shifts are paraphrased below:
“Dell EMC – 34.8% (calculated $766m) vs. 33.7% a year ago
NetApp – 19.3% at $425m vs. 26.7% a year ago
Pure Storage – 12.7% at calculated $279.7m vs. 10.1% a year ago
Leveraged ETFs aren't the best thing since sliced bread.
Recently I've seen a lot of discussion about how high leverage is the way to gain tons and tons of money and I'd like to push back against that a bit. Firstly before we begin see here: https://imgur.com/a/e2XMgT7 . This is a graph of GUSH, a 2x levered crude oil ETF. I've left out 2020 since there have been weird happenings and I don't want to base my arguments on specific events (its lost over 90% of its value since the end of the graph) but you can still see the precipitous drop over the 4 years, going from 80k to just under 1k even though oil itself didn't make any drastic changes in its price over the time period in the graph (the scale on the graph is logarithmic). This alone should be enough to send alarm bells ringing, how is it possible this ETF lost nearly 99% of its value when Crude Oil hardly shifted over the 4 year period? Yes, levered ETFs can be good to make a lot of money in a short period of time if you have reason to believe that a big market move is imminent, however they should absolutely not be held over long periods of time and unless you are active in the markets on a daily basis you should stay well clear of them. Furthermore the graph above was for a 2x levered ETF, not like a 10x leverage like there was some discussion about recently. There is a reason you can't just just go and buy arbitrary leveraged stuff (and no it is not to do with margin requirement, but instead the regulators forbid this for good reasons). Why is that the case? Lets do an example with Crude Oil. Suppose you have a Crude Oil 2x ETF with $1 billion in total assets and oil is trading at $100 a barrel. To maintain your 2x leverage you need to borrow $1 billion and buy $2 billion of oil. Firstly you have to pay interest on what you borrowed, but that is tiny these days and we will ignore it. Now you have $2 billion of oil, $1 billion of equity and $1 billion of debt. Suppose the next day oil goes up to $150 a barrel (a huge move, but bear with me). Now you have $3 billion of oil which corresponds to $2 billion of equity and $1 billion of debt. So oil has gone up 50% and your equity has increased 100%, so far so good, the ETF is doing what it is supposed to be. However now there is a problem, you have $2 billion of equity but only $3 billion of oil and so you are no longer 2x leveraged (to see this note that if oil goes up 50% again the equity won't double). To maintain your leverage you need to go off and borrow $1 billion more and buy more oil. Now you have $4 billion of oil and $2 billion each of equity and debt. Now suppose the price of oil goes back to $100 a barrel the next day. Now you have $2.66 billion dollars of oil and still have $2 billion of debt. So you only have $0.66 billion dollars of equity left. (Re leveraging properly will leave you with $1.22 billion dollars of oil and $0.66 billion dollars of debt). Note that over the course of these two days the price of oil is net unchanged, it started 100 and ended 100, however your 2x leveraged ETF has lost 33% of its value while a 1x leveraged ETF would still be worth the same today as it was 2 days ago. Obviously these changes are extreme but even the normal daily variance in oil price over a long period of time will destroy the value of this ETF through rebalancing, which is exactly what happened to GUSH, those 1% up 1% down days do really add up and so holding this ETF over a long period of time is just asking for your money to get destroyed since normal daily variance is a constant factor of how markets behave. You can see the effects over just 4 years with your own eyes. So, as they say with everything else, but I would add specifically for leveraged ETFs: Caveat Emptor.
DDDD - Retail Investors, Bankruptcies, Dark Pools and Beauty Contests
For this week's edition of DDDD (Data-Driven DD), we're going to look in-depth at some of the interesting things that have been doing on in the market over the past few weeks; I've had a lot more free time this week to write something new up, so you'll want to sit down and grab a cup of coffee for this because it will be a long one. We'll be looking into bankruptcies, how they work, and what some companies currently going through bankruptcies are doing. We'll also be looking at some data on retail and institutional investors, and take a closer look at how retail investors in particular are affecting the markets. Finally, we'll look at some data and magic markers to figure out what the market sentiment, the thing that's currently driving the market, looks like to help figure out if you should be buying calls or puts, as well as my personal strategy. Disclaimer - This is not financial advice, and a lot of the content below is my personal opinion. In fact, the numbers, facts, or explanations presented below could be wrong and be made up. Don't buy random options because some person on the internet says so; look at what happened to all the SPY 220p 4/17 bag holders. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions on what you should do with your own money, and how levered you want to be based on your personal risk tolerance.
How Bankruptcies Work
First, what is a bankruptcy? In a broad sense, a bankruptcy is a legal process an individual or corporation (debtor) who owes money to some other entity (creditor) can use to seek relief from the debt owed to their creditors if they’re unable to pay back this debt. In the United States, they are defined by Title 11 of the United States Code, with 9 different Chapters that govern different processes of bankruptcies depending on the circumstances, and the entity declaring bankruptcy. For most publicly traded companies, they have two options - Chapter 11 (Reorganization), and Chapter 7 (Liquidation). Let’s start with Chapter 11 since it’s the most common form of bankruptcy for them. A Chapter 11 case begins with a petition to the local Bankruptcy court, usually voluntarily by the debtor, although sometimes it can also be initiated by the creditors involuntarily. Once the process has been initiated, the corporation may continue their regular operations, overseen by a trustee, but with certain restrictions on what can be done with their assets during the process without court approval. Once a company has declared bankruptcy, an automatic stay is invoked to all creditors to stop any attempts for them to collect on their debt. The trustee would then appoint a Creditor’s Committee, consisting of the largest unsecured creditors to the company, which would represent the interests creditors in the bankruptcy case. The debtor will then have a 120 day exclusive right after the petition date to file a Plan of Reorganization, which details how the corporation’s assets will be reorganized after the bankruptcy which they think the creditors may agree to; this is usually some sort of restructuring of the capital structure such that the creditors will forgive the corporation’s debt in exchange for some or all of the re-organized entity’s equity, wiping out the existing stockholders. In general, there’s a capital structure pecking order on who gets first dibs on a company’s assets - secured creditors, unsecured senior bond holders, unsecured general bond holders, priority / preferred equity holders, and then finally common equity holders - these are the classes of claims on the company’s assets. After the exclusive period expires, the Creditor’s Committee or an individual creditor can themselves propose their own, possibly competing, Restructuring Plan, to the court. A Restructuring Plan will also be accompanied by a Disclosure Statement, which will contain all the financial information about the bankrupt company’s state of affairs needed for creditors and equity holders to make an informed decision about how to proceed. The court will then hold a hearing to approve the Restructuring Plan and Disclosure Statement before the plan can be voted on by creditors and equity holders. In some cases, these are prepared and negotiated with creditors before bankruptcy is even declared to speed things up and have more favorable terms - a prepackaged bankruptcy. Once the Restructuring Plan and Disclosure Statement receives court approval, the plan is voted on by the classes of impaired (i.e. debt will not be paid back) creditors to be confirmed. The legal requirement for a bankruptcy court to confirm a Restructuring Plan is to have at least one entire class of impaired creditors vote to accept the plan. A class of creditors is deemed to have accepted a Restructuring Plan when creditors that hold at least 2/3 of the dollar amount and at least half of the number of creditors vote to accept the plan. After another hearing, and listening to any potential objections to the proposed Restructuring Plan, such as other impaired classes that don't like the plan, the court may then confirm the plan, putting it to effect. This is one potential ending to a Chapter 11 case. A case can also end with a conversion to a Chapter 7 (Liquidation) case, if one of the parties involved file a motion to do so for a cause that is deemed by the courts to be in the best interest of the creditors. In Chapter 7, the company ceases operating and a trustee is appointed to begin liquidating (i.e. selling) the company’s assets. The proceeds from the liquidation process are then paid out to creditors, with the most senior levels of the capital structure being paid out first, and the equity holders are usually left with nothing. Finally, a party can file a motion to dismiss the case for some cause deemed to be in the best interest of the creditors.
The Tale of Two Bankruptcies - WLL and HTZ
Hertz (HTZ) has come into news recently, with the stock surging up to $6, or 1500% off its lows, for no apparent fundamental reason, despite the fact that they’re currently in bankruptcy and their stock is likely worthless. We’ll get around to what might have caused this later, for now, we’ll go over what’s going on with Hertz in its bankruptcy proceedings. To get a clearer picture, let’s start with a stock that I’ve been following since April - Whiting Petroleum (WLL). WLL is a stock I’ve covered pretty extensively, especially with it’s complete price dislocation between the implied value of the restructured company by their old, currently trading, stock being over 10x the implied value of the bonds, which are entitled to 97% of the new equity. Usually, capital structure arbitrage, a strategy to profit off this spread by going long on bonds and shorting the equity, prevents this, but retail investors have started pumping the stock a few days after WLL’s bankruptcy to “buy the dip” and make a quick buck. Institutions, seeing this irrational behavior, are probably avoiding touching at risk of being blown out by some unpredictable and irrational retail investor pump for no apparent reason. We’re now seeing this exact thing play out a few months later, but at a much larger scale with Hertz. So, how is WLL's bankruptcy process going? For anyone curious, you can follow the court case in Stretto. Luckily for Whiting, they’ve entered into a prepackaged bankruptcy process and filed their case with a Restructuring Plan already in mind to be able to have existing equity holders receive a mere 3% of new equity to be distributed among them, with creditors receiving 97% of new equity. For the past few months, they’ve quickly gone through all the hearings and motions and now have a hearing to receive approval of the Disclosure Statement scheduled for June 22nd. This hearing has been pushed back a few times, so this may not be the actual date. Another pretty significant document was just filed by the Committee of Creditors on Friday - an objection to the Disclosure Statement’s approval. Among other arguments about omissions and errors the creditor’s found in the Disclosure Statement, the most significant thing here is that Litigation and Rejection Damage claims holders were treated in the same class as a bond holders, and hence would be receiving part of their class’ share of the 97% of new equity. The creditors claim that this was misleading as the Restructuring Plan originally led them to believe that the 97% would be distributed exclusively to bond holders, and the claims for Litigation and Rejection Damage would be paid in full and hence be unimpaired. This objection argues that the debtors did this gerrymandering to prevent the Litigation and Rejection Damage claims be represented as their own class and able to reject the Restructuring Plan, requiring either payment in full of the claims or existing equity holders not receiving 3% of new equity, and be completely wiped out to respect the capital structure. I’d recommend people read this document if they have time because whoever wrote this sounds legitimately salty on behalf of the bond holders; here’s some interesting excerpts: Moreover, despite the holders of Litigation and Rejection Damage Claims being impaired, existing equity holders will still receive 3% of the reorganized company’s new equity, without having to contribute any new value. The only way for the Debtors to achieve this remarkable outcome was to engage in blatant classification gerrymandering. If the Debtors had classified the Litigation and Rejection Damage Claims separately from the Noteholder claims and the go-forward Trade Claims – as they should have – then presumably that class would reject a plan that provides Litigation and Rejection Damage Claims with a pro rata share of minority equity. The Debtors have placed the Rejection Damage and Litigation Claims in the same class as Noteholder Claims to achieve a particular result, namely the disenfranchisement of the Rejection Damage and Litigation Claimants who, if separately classified, may likely vote to reject the Plan. In that event, the Debtor would be required to comply with the cramdown requirements, including compliance with the absolute priority rule, which in turn would require payment of those claims in full, or else old equity would not be entitled to receive 3% of the new equity. Without their inclusion in a consenting impaired class, the Debtors cannot give 3% of the reorganized equity to existing equity holders without such holders having to contribute any new value or without paying the holders of Litigation and Rejection Damage Claims in full. The Committee submits that the Plan was not proposed in good faith. As discussed herein, the Debtors have proposed an unconfirmable Plan – flawed in various important respects. Under the circumstances discussed above, in the Committee’s view, the Debtors will not be able to demonstrate that they acted with “honesty and good intentions” and that the Plan’s results will not be consistent with the Bankruptcy Code’s goal of ratable distribution to creditors. They’re even trying to have the court stop the debtor from paying the lawyers who wrote the restructuring agreement. However, as discussed herein, the value and benefit of the Consenting Creditors’ agreements with the Debtors –set forth in the RSA– to the Estates is illusory, and authorizing the payment of the Consenting Creditor Professionals would be tantamount to approving the RSA, something this Court has stated that it refuses to do.20 The RSA -- which has not been approved by the Court, and indeed no such approval has been sought -- is the predicate for a defective Plan that was not proposed in good faith, and that gives existing equity holders an equity stake in the reorganized enterprise even though Litigation and Rejection Damage Creditors will (presumably) not be made whole under the Plan and the existing interest holders will not be contributing requisite new value. As a disclaimer, I have absolutely zero knowledge nor experience in law, let alone bankruptcy law. However, from reading this document, if what the objection indicates to be true, could mean that we end up having the court force the Restructuring agreement to completely wipe out the current equity holders. Even worse, entering a prepackaged bankruptcy in bad faith, which the objection argues, might be grounds to convert the bankruptcy to Chapter 7; again, I’m no lawyer so I’m not sure if this is true, but this is my best understanding from my research. So what’s going on with Hertz? Most analysts expect that based on Hertz’s current balance sheet, existing equity holders will most likely be completely wiped out in the restructuring. You can keep track of Hertz’s bankruptcy process here, but it looks like this is going to take a few months, with the first meeting of creditors scheduled for July 1. An interesting 8-K got filed today for HTZ, and it looks like they’re trying to throw a hail Mary for their case by taking advantage of dumb retail investors pumping up their stock. They’ve just been approved by the bankruptcy court to issue and sell up to $1B (double their current market cap) of new shares in the stock market. If they somehow pull this off, they might have enough money raised to dismiss the bankruptcy case and remain in business, or at very least pay off their creditors even more at the expense of Robinhood users.
The Rise of Retail Investors - An Update
A few weeks ago, I talked about data that suggested a sudden surge in retail investor money flooding the market, based on Google Trends and broker data. Although this wasn’t a big topic back when I wrote about it, it’s now one of the most popular topics in mainstream finance news, like CNBC, since it’s now the only rational explanation for the stock market to have pumped this far, and for bankrupt stocks like HTZ and WLL to have surges far above their pre-bankruptcy prices. Let’s look at some interesting Google Trends that I found that illustrates what retail investors are doing. Google Trends - Margin Calls Google Trends - Robinhood Google Trends - What stock should I buy Google Trends - How to day trade Google Trends - Pattern Day Trader Google Trends - Penny Stock The conclusion that can be drawn from this data is that in the past two weeks, we are seeing a second wave of new retail investor interest, similar to the first influx we saw in March. In particular, these new retail investors seem to be particularly interested in day trading penny stocks, including bankrupt stocks. In fact, data from Citadel shows that penny stocks have surged on average 80% in the previous week. Why Retail Investors Matter A common question that’s usually brought up when retail investors are brought up is how much they really matter. The portfolio size of retail investors are extremely small compared to institutional investors. Anecdotally and historically, retail investors don’t move the market, outside of some select stocks like TSLA and cannabis stocks in the past few years. However when they do, shit gets crazy; the last time retail investors drove the stock market was in the dot com bubble. There’s a few papers that look into this with similar conclusions, I’ll go briefly into this one, which looks at almost 20 years of data to look for correlations between retail investor behavior and stock market movements. The conclusion was that behaviors of individual retail investors tend to be correlated and are not random and independent of each other. The aggregate effect of retail investors can then drive prices of equities far away from fundamentals (bubbles), which risk-averse smart money will then stay away from rather than try taking advantage of the mispricing (i.e. never short a bubble). The movement in the prices are typically short-term, and usually see some sort of reversal back to fundamentals in the long-term, for small (i.e. < $5000) trades. Apparently, the opposite is true for large trades; here’s an excerpt from the paper to explain. Stocks recently sold by small traders perform poorly (−64 bps per month, t = −5.16), while stocks recently bought by small traders perform well (73 bps per month, t = 5.22). Note this return predictability represents a short-run continuation rather than reversal of returns; stocks with a high weekly proportion of buys perform well both in the week of strong buying and the subsequent week. This runs counter to the well-documented presence of short-term reversals in weekly returns.14,15 Portfolios based on the proportion of buys using large trades yield precisely the opposite result. Stocks bought by large traders perform poorly in the subsequent week (−36 bps per month, t = −3.96), while those sold perform well (42 bps per month, t = 3.57). We find a positive relationship between the weekly proportion of buyers initiated small trades in a stock and contemporaneous returns. Kaniel, Saar, and Titman (forthcoming) find retail investors to be contrarians over one-week horizons, tending to sell more than buy stocks with strong performance. Like us, they find that stocks bought by individual investors one week outperform the subsequent week. They suggest that individual investors profit in the short run by supplying liquidity to institutional investors whose aggressive trades drive prices away from fundamental value and benefiting when prices bounce back. Barber et al. (2005) document that individual investors can earn short term profits by supplying liquidity. This story is consistent with the one-week reversals we see in stocks bought and sold with large trades. Aggressive large purchases may drive prices temporarily too high while aggressive large sells drive them too low both leading to reversals the subsequent week. Thus, using a one-week time horizon, following the trend can make you tendies for a few days, as long as you don’t play the game for too long, and end up being the bag holder when the music stops.
The Keynesian Beauty Contest
The economic basis for what’s going on in the stock market recently - retail investors driving up stocks, especially bankrupt stocks, past fundamental levels can be explained by the Keynesian Beauty Contest, a concept developed by Keynes himself to help rationalize price movements in the stock market, especially during the 1920s stock market bubble. A quote by him on the topic of this concept, that “the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent”, is possibly the most famous finance quote of all time. The idea is to imagine a fictional newspaper beauty contest that asks the reader to pick the six most attractive faces of 100 photos, and you win if you pick the most popular face. The naive strategy would be to pick the faces that you think are the most attractive. A smarter strategy is to figure out what the most common public perception of attractiveness would be, and to select based on that. Or better yet, figure out what most people believe is the most common public perception of what’s attractive. You end up having the winners not actually be the faces people think are the prettiest, but the average opinion of what people think the average opinion would be on the prettiest faces. Now, replace pretty faces with fundamental values, and you have the stock market. What we have today is the extreme of this. We’re seeing a sudden influx of dumb retail money into the market, who don’t know or care about fundamentals, like trading penny stocks, and are buying beaten down stocks (i.e. “buy the dip”). The stocks that best fit all three of these are in fact companies that have just gone bankrupt, like HTZ and WLL. This slowly becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, as people start seeing bankrupt stocks go up 100% in one day, they stop caring about what stocks have the best fundamentals and instead buy the stocks that people think will shoot up, which are apparently bankrupt stocks. Now, it gets to the point where even if a trader knows a stock is bankrupt, and understands what bankruptcy means, they’ll buy the stock regardless expecting it to skyrocket and hope that they’ll be able to sell the stock at a 100% profit in a few days to an even greater fool. The phenomenon is well known in finance, and it even has a name - The Greater Fool Theory. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next stock to go bankrupt now has their stock price go up 100% the next day because of this.
What is the smart money doing - DIX & GEX
Alright that’s enough talk about dumb money. What’s all the smart money (institutions) been doing all this time? For that, you’ll want to look at what’s been going on with dark pools. These are private exchanges for institutions to make trades. Why? Because if you’re about to buy a $1B block of SPY, you’re going to cause a sudden spike in prices on a normal, public exchange, and probably end up paying a much higher cost basis because of it. These off-exchange trades account for about one third of all stock volume. You can then use data of market maker activity in these dark pools to figure out what institutions have been doing, the most notable indicators being DIX by SqueezeMetrics. Another metric they offer is GEX, or gamma exposure. The idea behind this is that market markets who sell option contracts, typically don’t want to (or can’t legally) take an actual position in the market; they can only provide liquidity. Hence, they have to hedge their exposure from the contracts they wrote by going long or short on the stocks they wrote contracts to. This is called delta-hedging, with delta representing exposure to the movement of a stock. With options, there’s gamma, which represents the change in delta as the stock price moves. So as stock prices move, the market maker needs to re-hedge their positions by buying or selling more shares to remain delta-neutral. GEX is a way to show the total exposure these market makers have to gamma from contracts to predict stock price movements based on what market makers must do to re-hedge their positions. Now, let’s look at what these indicators have been doing the past week or so. DIX & GEX In the graph above, an increasing DIX means that institutions are buying stocks in the S&P500, and an increasing GEX means that market makers have increasing gamma exposure. The DIX whitepaper, it has shown that a high DIX is often correlated with increased near-term returns, and in the GEX whitepaper, it shows that a decreased GEX is correlated with increased volatility due to re-hedging. It looks like from last week’s crash, we had institutions buy the dip and add to their current positions. There was also a sudden drop in GEX, but it looks like it’s quickly recovered, and we’ll see volatility decreased next week. Overall, we’re getting bullish signals from institutional activity.
Bubbles and Market Sentiment
I’ve long held that the stock market and the economy has been in a decade-long bubble caused by liquidity pumping from the Fed. Recently, the bubble has been accelerated and it’s becoming clearer to people that we are in a bubble. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t short the bubble, but play along with it until it bursts. Bubbles are driven by pure sentiment, and this can be a great contrarian indicator to what stage of the bubble we are in. You want to be a bear when the market is overly greedy and a bull when the market is overly bearish. One of the best tools to measure this is the equity put / call ratio. Put / Call Ratio The put/call ratio dropped below 0.4 last week, something that’s almost never happened and has almost always been immediately followed up by a correction - which it did this time as well. A low put / call ratio is usually indicative of an overly-greedy market, and a contrarian indicator that a drop is imminent. However, right after the crash, the put/call ratio absolutely skyrocketed, closing right above 0.71 on Friday, above the mean put / call ratio for the entire rally since March’s lows. In other words, a ton of money has just been poured into SPY puts expecting to profit off of a downtrend. In fact, it’s possible that the Wednesday correction itself has been exasperated by delta hedging from SPY put writers. However, this sudden spike above the mean for put/call ratio is a contrarian indicator that we will now see a continued rally.
1D RSI on SPY was definitely overbought last week, and I should have taken this as a sign to GTFO from all my long positions. The correction has since brought it back down, and now SPY has even more room to go further up before it becomes overbought again
1D MACD crossed over on Wednesday to bearish - a very strong bearish indicator, however 1W MACD is still bullish
For the bulls, there’s very little price levels above 300, with a small possible resistance at 313, which is the 79% fib retracement. SPY has never actually hit this price level, and has gapped up and down past this price. Below 300, there’s plenty of levels of support, especially between 274 and 293, which is the range where SPY consolidated and traded at for April and May. This means that a movement up will be met with very little resistance, while a movement down will be met with plenty of support
The candles above 313 form an island top pattern, a pretty rare and strong bearish indicator.
The first line of defense of the bulls is 300, which has historically been a key support / resistance level, and is also the 200D SMA. So far, this price level has held up as a solid support last week and is where all downwards price action in SPY stopped. Overall, there’s very mixed signals coming from technical indicators, although there’s more bearish signals than bullish. My Strategy for Next Week While technicals are pretty bearish, retail and institutional activity and market sentiment is indicating that the market still continue to rally. My strategy for next week will depend on whether or not the market opens above or below 300. I’m currently mostly holding long volatility positions, that I’ve started existing on Friday. The Bullish case If 300 proves to be a strong support level, I’ll start entering bullish positions, following my previous strategy of going long on weak sectors such as airlines, cruises, retail, and financials, once they break above the 24% retracement and exit at the 50% retracement. This is because there’s very little price levels and resistance above 300, so any movements above this level will be very parabolic up to ATHs, as we saw in the beginning of 2020 and again the past two weeks. If SPY moves parabolic, the biggest winners will likely be the weakest stocks since they have the most room to go up, with most of the strongest stocks already near or above their ATHs. During this time, I’ll be rolling over half of my profits to VIX calls of various expiry dates as a hedge, and in anticipation of any sort of rug pull for when this bubble does eventually pop. The Bearish case For me to start taking bearish positions, I’ll need to see SPY open below 300, re-test 300 and fail to break above it, proving it to be a resistance level. If this happens, I’ll start entering short positions against SPY to play the price levels. There’s a lot of price levels between 300 and 274, and we’d likely see a lot of consolidation instead of a big crash in this region, similar to the way up through this area. Key levels will be 300, 293, 285, 278, and finally 274, which is the levels I’d be entering and exiting my short positions in. I’ve also been playing with WLL for the past few months, but that has been a losing trade - I forgot that a market can remain irrational longer than I can remain solvent. I’ll probably keep a small position on WLL puts in anticipation of the court hearing for the disclosure statement, but I’ve sold most of my existing positions.
As always, I'll be posting live thoughts related to my personal strategy here for people asking. 6/15 2AM - /ES looking like SPY is going to gap down tomorrow. Unless there's some overnight pump, we'll probably see a trading range of 293-300. 6/15 10AM - Exited any remaining long positions I've had and entered short positions on SPY @ 299.50, stop loss at 301. Bearish case looking like it's going to play out 6/15 10:15AM - Stopped out of 50% of my short positions @ 301. Will stop out of the rest @ 302. Hoping this wasn't a stop loss raid. Also closed out more VIX longer-dated (Sept / Oct) calls. 6/15 Noon - No longer holding any short positions. Gap down today might be a fake out, and 300 is starting to look like solid support again, and 1H MACD is crossing over, with 15M remaining bullish. Starting to slowly add to long positions throughout the day, starting with CCL, since technicals look nice on it. Also profit-took most of my VIX calls that I bought two weeks ago 6/15 2:30PM - Bounced up pretty hard from the 300 support - bull case looks pretty good, especially if today's 1D candle completely engulphs the Friday candle. Also sold another half of my remaining long-dated VIX calls - still holding on to a substantial amount (~10% of portfolio). Will start looking to re-buy them when VIX falls back below 30. Going long on DAL as well 6/15 11:30PM - /ES looking good hovering right above 310 right now. Not many price levels above 300 so it's hard to predict trading ranges since there's no price levels and SPY will just go parabolic above this level. Massive gap between 313 and 317. If /ES is able to get above 313, which is where the momentum is going to right now, we might see a massive gap up and open at 317 again. If it opens below 313, we might see the stock price fade like last week. 6/15 Noon - SPY filled some of the gap, but then broke below 313. 15M MACD is now bearish. We might see gains from today slowly fade, but hard to predict this since we don't have strong price levels. Will buy more longs near EOD if this happens. Still believe we'll be overall bullish this week. GE is looking good. 6/16 2PM - Getting worried about 313 acting as a solid resistance; we'll either probably gap up past it to 317 tomorrow, or we might go all the way back down to 300. Considering taking profit for some of my calls right now, since you'll usually want to sell into resistance. I might alternatively buy some 0DTE SPY puts as a hedge against my long positions. Will decide by 3:30 depending on what momentum looks like 6/16 3PM - Got some 1DTE SPY puts as a hedge against my long positions. We're either headed to 317 tomorrow or go down as low as 300. Going to not take the risk because I'm unsure which one it'll be. Also profit-took 25% of my long positions. Definitely seeing the 313 + gains fade scenario I mentioned yesterday 6/17 1:30AM - /ES still flat struggling to break through 213. If we don't break through by tomorrow I might sell all my longs. Norwegian announced some bad news AH about cancelling Sept cruises. If we move below $18.20 I'll probably sell all my remaining positions; luckily I took profit on CCL today so if options do go to shit, it'll be a relatively small loss or even small gain. 6/17 9:45AM - SPY not being able to break through 313/314 (79% retracement) is scaring me. Sold all my longs, and now sitting on cash. Not confident enough that we're actually going back down to 300, but no longer confident enough on the bullish story if we can't break 313 to hold positions 6/17 1PM - Holding cash and long-term VIX calls now. Some interesting things I've noticed
1H MACD will be testing a crossover by EOD
Equity put/call ratio has plummeted. It's back down to 0.45, which is more than 1 S.D. below the mean. We reached all the way down to 0.4 last time. Will be keeping a close eye on this and start buying for VIX again + SPY puts we this continues falling tomorrow
6/17 3PM - Bought back some of my longer-dated VIX calls. Currently slightly bearish, but still uncertain, so most of my portfolio is cash right now. 6/17 3:50PM - SPY 15M MACD is now very bearish, and 1H is about to crossover. I'd give it a 50% chance we'll see it dump tomorrow, possibly towards 300 again. Entered into a very small position on NTM SPY puts, expiring Friday 6/18 10AM - 1H MACD is about to crossover. Unless we see a pump in the next hour or so, medium-term momentum will be bearish and we might see a dump later today or tomorrow. 6/18 12PM - Every MACD from 5M to 1D is now bearish, making me believe we'd even more likely see a drop today or tomorrow to 300. Bought short-dates June VIX calls. Stop loss for this and SPY puts @ 314 and 315 6/18 2PM - Something worth noting: opex is tomorrow and max pain is 310, which is the level we're gravitating towards right now. Also quad witching, so should expect some big market movements tomorrow as well. Might consider rolling my SPY puts forward 1 week since theoretically, this should cause us to gravitate towards 310 until 3PM on Friday. 6/18 3PM - Rolled my SPY puts forward 1W in case theory about max pain + quad witching end up having it's theoretical effect. Also GEX is really high coming towards options expiry tomorrow, meaning any significant price movements will be damped by MM hedging. Might not see significant price movements until quad witching hour tomorrow 3PM 6/18 10PM - DIX is very high right now, at 51%, which is very bullish. put/call ratio is still very low though. Very mixed signals. Will be holding positions until Monday or SPY 317 before reconsidering them. 6/18 2PM - No position changes. Coming into witching hour we're seeing increased volatility towards the downside. Looking good so far
So, I said I would write a post on this, here it is. The title was partly to get you interested and partly a little cheeky throwback to the bad old days when u/plucky26 went off meds… Anyhow, this is a longish post about FA and TA so scroll to the TLDR if reading isn’t your thing, or ignore it. Or if you know more about it than me put a comment in… FA: FA attempts to measure the intrinsic/inherent value of a stonk. You can do this a lot of ways but what your working out is whether the SP represents undeover value or fair value. A lot goes into FA, but if you want a basic cheat sheet then here it is: - What does the company do?
Who runs the company?
What direction are they heading?
Where have they come from?
How do they stack up against the competition?
What are the other economic/social/political factors that impact their future?
These are the 6 basic questions you need to answer when trying to arrive at a conclusion. So, how do we get answers? Reading mutha fuckers, reading…… You need to read and understand the product. That’s the answer to question 1. What do these fucks actually do, does anyone care, doe they make tendies? The answer to question 2 is probably the most undervalued thing in FA IMHO. People, more than products, leave a legacy they transport form place to place. DO NOT DISREGARD THIS STEP… If old mate is about to get bent over by the Feds for embezzlement, or his wife’s BF has filed a claim against him for watching them through the window, or if he has bankrupted the last 6 places he went then this will impact the SP once its out. Working out where they are heading runs parallel to the SP more than you might think. The market, in a broader context, is future based. There isn’t a shortcut around this step, its reading, reading reading bitches…. Although Stonk history tells you a story, its more useful for seeing what they have come up against in the past and how the SP reacted to it. What made it Dip, what made it rocket? What is the ROI? And more, all this historical shit gives you a template but not a guaranteed direction. Question 5 and 6 are where you start to delve into the nuts and bolts. P/E ratio’s, cash runways, market index rankings per sector and all the snooze button shit that hides the details. Im not going to describe what all this is, DR Google is smarter than me and I’m a few stubbies in already so I might lose track of what the fuck I am saying. Here is a great link https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/fundamentalanalysis.asp At the heart of FA is whether you believe the narrative the numbers and words tell you. IMHO if your only interested in FA, then avoid micro caps. 0.03c - 0.05c SP and a $300 -$500 SP is the same % difference but a world apart in the ability of a Stonk to fluctuate under their market cap and FA just doesn’t give you the type of info you need to accurately make a profit within those margins on micros. (Happy to be proven wrong on this if you think otherwise.) That’s fucking great pal you might say, but fast forward to the part where it gets me on the rocket ship before it blasts off…. Ok, well here is a clue. If you have read this far and your already impatient or scrolling down to the TLDR, FA might not be your particular brand of vodka. So lets get into the occult, the witchcraft that is TA…. TA: Being technically anal is actually easier than you might think. TA is about trends, historical data and volumes. Sure its about more shit than that but it also kind of isn’t. Its basically saying this stonk already has a template and I can predict where it will go next if I understand that template. When stonk go up, what does the chart look like? When stonk go down, what does chart look like? Yes, it involves funny squiggly lines and colors. You’ll also come across all sort of stuff like golden (showers) crosses, cups and handles, head and shoulders, descending triangles and other weird phrases but all they are really doing is describing a pattern. And patterns are predictable once you can see them. I am tempted to get super into these patterns, but this post is already long so here is a link: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/technical-analysis-of-stocks-and-trends.asp#:~:text=Technical%20analysis%20is%20the%20study,data%2C%20including%20price%20and%20volume.&text=The%20two%20most%20common%20forms,needed%20to%20make%20a%20profit. If you a commsex user, then send a tendie to chief Tom because as an avid reader of ASX_Bets he has clearly been up to the R&D spooks over there and told them to improve the graphs on the app. You can’t do the super technical stuff, but go backwards over any of last weeks rockets (CRO, HYD and some of the smaller cap ones) and go to the 1 day, 5 day and 1 month graphs respectively. Click on the chart style indicator (the funny line that looks like the ‘Stonks only go up symbol’) and change it to candlesticks. This gives you indicative buy/sell data in pretty colors so its easier to work out. Then look at the uppelower indicators, you can change it to show you volume, price tracking lines, Bollinger etc.. Have I lost you yet? That’s ok… Zoom out the 3 month charts with the same settings and OMG, a pattern emerges…. Zoom out again to 6 months, another pattern… Zoom back in, heres that funny old pattern again… But wait you say, this stonk keeps hitting a certain point on the graph, then those red columns get huge and it stays there or bounces down again. Hello resistance line, hello seller volume, hello traders with pre determined exit points. These guys are not super interested in the FA or the intrinsic value of a long term hold, they are interested in making the 5/10/15% what-the-fuck-ever percent and bouncing out. Hold the fuck on, when it hits a different level those green dildo’s start popping out in the bottom graph and it stays there for a bit then heads up again…. Aloha support level… Just go look at Zippy with the above parameters on commsex app, youll see exactly what short sellers, swing traders and the like see…. Fair warning: going backwards on the app helps you to recognize patterns but to do the proper witchcraft TA you need the proper tools and programs Yes matey you’ll be saying again, very interesting but how the fuck does this get me on the rocket ship before blast off? Well IMHO, there are 3 ways to board the rocket. 1: You have a mate who tells you or they post it somewhere. 2: You jump on after blast off and play the gambling game, freaking out when it dips and missing all your sweet tendies or pretending diamond hands are the only way and watching it dump then losing all your tendies, or bag holding forever. Or you get lucky and pop out at a high, but TBH your really only gambling (someone please comment ‘Sir, this is a casino, I love that shit 😊) 3: You do both of these methods.
FA alerts you to the stonk. You do the reading and think it’s a winner.
-TA sets your entry point so you board before take off and exit before crash landing.
FA helps you determine whether it’s a good hold as its got the legs to break multiple resistance levels over time
TA helps you recognize the famous P&D and set an exit point to bail before you become the proud owner of a piece of shit.
Both methods have their role. Yes you can use OBV and Fibbo numners to scan for potential like I do sometimes, but that’s a whole other spectrum of TA and its already past bedtime. FA IMHO is better generally for Mid/Large cap because they are generally less volatile and FA has seasons where its super useful (Earnings months etc…) TA is better for bouncy bounce plays on micros and mid/large. But don’t go neglecting either at any time, TA tells you things the FA misses and vice versa. You can always subscribe to a service that does this for you. Intellegent investor is good-ish, so is wallet investor. Motley fuckwit has some ok picks sometimes but gets the fuckin dick from me because they just don’t stop with the fucking propaganda…. Disclosure: Generally the posts on here do ok, but you gotta know when to get off… Unless your planning to holder forever like uncle Wazza, but that just doesn’t seem to be the vibe here… For what its worth , (before you all tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about) I have posted about 3 stonks on here in the last few months. (admittedly I shit-post a lot too…) AFG, which went up 18% 2 days after the post, then dumped and has dribbled ever since but if you’re a long holder you’ll do OK and… EDIT: up another 3.19% after this post... ICU, which is a micro and went up 15.5% the day after the post. Both were the result of FA/TA combination and both delivered tendies of the succulent variety. EDIT: ICU went up a further 52% 2 days since posting then retraced a touch... OPY which went from an open of 3.14 up to a high of 4.80 the next day, a 52.8% raise then leveled out around the 3.70’s EDIT: up another 13.7% since this post... Sorry about the long post, I got finished washing the wifes BF’s car early and he let me have the WIFI password… TLDR: Gamble if you want or learn some shit and make tendies… Edit: some really good comments below. I have made far more $$ by choosing good Stonks and holding them over the years than I have ever made day trading. FA is my primary method for choosing and accounts for probably 75% of my decision making and TA fills the gaps to help maximize profit making.
[Comic Books/Batman] A Death in the Family, or: How DC Comics Let a Phone Vote Kill Robin.
DC Comics has published literally thousands of Batman comics in the character's eighty-odd years of existence, but few are more infamous than A Death in the Family, when DC let fans decide whether Jason Todd, the second character to use the identity of Robin, lived or died. An apology in advance: many primary sources for this drama have been lost to the annals of history: this was the 1980s, the Internet wasn't really a thing yet, so fan discussion around comics mostly took place in Usenet newsgroups and comic book letter columns, both of which are very difficult to find archives of today. I've reconstructed the story as best as I can, but I wish I could find more quotes from fans at the time. Also, SPOILER WARNING. There are unmarked spoilers for Batman comics from the 1980s below this line. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Who was Jason Todd?
Jason Todd was a character introduced in 1983's Batman #357 by writer Gerry Conway and artist Don Newton and under the auspices of editor Len Wein, as a replacement for Dick Grayson as Robin. Grayson had outgrown the pixie boots and scaly shorts of the Robin identity, and graduated to his own identity as Nightwing, over in The New Teen Titans. But Conway felt that Batman still needed a Robin, so Todd was born:
Gerry Conway (writer, Batman and Detective Comics, 1981-1983): I always felt that Batman worked really well with a sidekick like Robin. My interest in the character was the version of Batman as a detective, the version of Batman as a guardian of Gotham. This was prior, I believe, to the deep-dive into the “dark knight” kind of concept of Batman, so, for that end, the idea of a younger sidekick who could bring out a little more levity in the character seemed useful. But Dick Grayson as a character had grown into a young adult and was integral to the Teen Titans series, and had his own life and his own storylines that were developing separately from Batman, and [he] couldn’t really play that secondary role that I was interested in exploring. 
Todd was introduced as the son of two acrobats who had been murdered by Batman's enemy Killer Croc, in a striking similarity to Dick Grayson's origin written forty years prior. Todd would officially become the new Robin in Batman #368, published February 1984, and would continue to go on adventures (written by Conway and then by Doug Moench) with Batman until 1986's Batman #400. During this period, he's probably best remembered for a. being involved in a custody battle between Batman and a vampire, and b. getting the drop on Mongul in the classic Superman story "For the Man Who Has Everything" by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons. But then the Crisis happened, and everything changed for Jason.
You don't have a comic book company for almost fifty years without running into some hurdles along the way, especially where characters and continuity are concerned. In 1954, psychologist Frederick Wertham published Seduction of the Innocent, a book asserting that comic books were harming the children of the day, causing them to turn into delinquents. As a result, the bustling superhero genre of comics at the time slowed to a crawl, with most of DC's (then known as National Periodical Publications) characters, such as the Green Lantern and the Flash, ceasing publication and being replaced with comics about talking animals, romance stories, and giant alien monsters. Just a few short years later, in October 1956, creators Robert Kangher and Carmine Infantino would introduce a new version of the Flash in Showcase #4, and the Silver Age of comics had begun. Eventually, the Golden Age Flash was reintroduced, and it was established that the Silver Age characters resided on Earth-One, while the Golden Age characters were from Earth-Two. Everything was fine and dandy, until DC decided things had become too confusing and that they needed to kill their multiverse. In 1986, DC published one of the very first comic crossover events - Crisis on Infinite Earths, an earth-shattering story that pitted almost every hero in company history against the threat of the Anti-Monitor. The outcome was that all the characters and stories from Earth-One, Earth-Two, and several other alternate Earths that had appeared over the years were consolidated into a single, streamlined universe, and with that came changes for several other characters, Jason Todd among them.
The New Jason Todd
After Crisis, new blood was in the Batman editorial offices. Former Batman writer Denny O'Neil had taken over as editor of the Batman family of titles, and he had a different opinion on Robin than that of Wein and Conway before him.
O’Neil: There was a time right before I took over as Batman editor when he seemed to be much closer to a family man, much closer to a nice guy. He seemed to have a love life and he seemed to be very paternal towards Robin. My version is a lot nastier than that. He has a lot more edge to him. 
In keeping with the desire for a darker, edgier Dark Knight (it was the 1980s, after all), this version of Batman debuted without a Robin by his side. Dick Grayson was still Nightwing, but Jason Todd was nowhere to be seen. This darker interpretation of Batman was only solidified once Frank Miller put his touch on the franchise with "Batman: Year One" in Batman #404-407, and the standalone graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, the impact of which cannot be understated.
The Dark Knight Returns was a pivotal moment in the formation of what we would consider a recognizably “modern” incarnation of Batman, someone who is brooding and dark, a loner who isolates himself from society to obsessively carry out his one man crusade by any brutally violent means necessary. It was also an important milestone for comics a medium when it landed on top of the Young Adult Hardcover New York Times bestsellers list—a feat it only qualified for thanks to its release as a trade paperback in bookstores. For the first time, mainstream audiences were zeroing in on Batman, and not because of a popular TV show or serialized movies, but because of a comic book. 2
Immediately following "Year One," O'Neil asked writer Max Allan Collins to reintroduce Jason Todd as Robin into the continuity, in a storyline titled "Batman: The New Adventures" starting in Batman #408. The new Todd was a delinquent orphan, caught by Batman when he tried to steal the tires from the Batmobile and taken in and trained to be the new Robin. At first, the change was controversial among the fandom, especially given the wildly contrasting takes between Mike W. Barr's softer portrayal of the Dynamic Duo in Detective Comics and the harsher portrayal from creators such as Collins, Jim Aparo, and Jim Starlin (best known now as the creator of Thanos) in Batman. But nobody was clamoring for his death yet, and the intensity of debates around the new Jason Todd, fought out through comic book letter columns, were milder in comparison to those around whether there should be a yellow oval on the Batsuit or not.  Over the next few years, fan hatred for Jason began to grow, as the new incarnation of the character was not only a replacement for a highly beloved character, but also had a lot of anger issues to sort through. But then came the boiling point - Batman #424, written by Starlin and pencilled by Mark Bright, released October 1988. In that story, Todd confronts Felipe, son of a South American diplomat who was heavily involved in the cocaine trade. Batman reasons that, because Felipe has diplomatic immunity, there's nothing he can do to stop him, but Todd thinks otherwise. Felipe falls from a skyscraper to his death, leaving Batman to wonder: "did Felipe fall... Or was he pushed?" (Starlin, for what it was worth, hated Todd from the get-go, and specifically wrote this story to play to the controversy:
Starlin: In the one Batman issue I wrote with Robin featured, I had him do something underhanded, as I recall. Denny had told me that the character was very unpopular with fans, so I decided to play on that dislike. 
He had also tried to have Todd killed beforehand, of AIDS:
Well, I always thought that the whole idea of a kid side-kick was sheer insanity. So when I started writing Batman, I immediately started lobbying to kill off Robin. At one point DC had this AIDS book they wanted to do. They sent around memos to everybody saying “What character do you think we should, you know, have him get AIDS and do this dramatic thing” and they never ended up doing this project. I kept sending them things saying “Oh, do Robin! Do Robin!” And Denny O’Neill said “We can’t kill Robin off”. 
A Death in the Family
By 1988, though, O'Neil had changed his tune. Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke had left longtime supporting character Batgirl crippled and confined to a wheelchair, to major praise from fans and critics alike, and there was blood in the water. Sales for Batman were at levels not seen for over a decade thanks to the works of Miller and Moore, Tim Burton's Batman feature film was on the horizon, far removed from the camp aesthetic of Adam West and Burt Ward and entirely Robin-free, and fan hatred for Todd was at an all-time high.
Jenette Kahn (publisher, DC Comics, 1976-1989; president, 1981-2003; editor-in-chief, 1989-2003) : Many of our readers were unhappy with Jason Todd. We weren’t certain why or how widespread the discontent was, but we wanted to address it. Rather than autocratically write Jason out of the comics and bring in a new Robin, we thought we’d let our readers weigh in. 
O'Neil and his team of editors brainstormed how they could remove Jason from the story, and the answer was clear: kill him, just as Starlin had suggested time and time again. Recalling the success of a 1982 Saturday Night Livesketch in which Eddie Murphy let viewers vote via phone on whether he would cook or spare a live lobester, O'Neil proposed a similar system to Kahn, who loved the idea. So, A Death in the Family began in Batman #426, written by Starlin and illustrated by Jim Aparo. When Jason receives word that his missing mother is alive, he follows a set of leads across the world to find her, only to discover that she was being blackmailed by the Joker. Jason's mother hands him over to the Clown Prince of Crime, and that's how Batman #427 ends. On the back cover of that issue, DC ran a full-page ad, proclaiming: "Robin Will Die Because the Joker Wants Revenge, But You Can Prevent It With a Telephone Call" and giving two 1-900 numbers: one to call to save Jason, and one to kill him. Two versions of issue #428 were written and drawn. One where Jason lived, and another, where he died. Both went into a drawer in O'Neil's desk, and the fans would choose which one would ever see the light of day. The fans went rabid. One letter, published in Batman #428, read as follows:
"Dear Denny, I heard some of what you are planning for "A Death In the Family" story line, including the phone-in number wrinkle, and I don't want to take any chances whatsoever. Kill him. Your pal, Rich Kreiner."
From 9:00 in the morning on Thursday, September 15, 1988 until 8:00 in the evening on Friday, September 16, fans could call in to either of the two numbers for fifty cents a call and cast their vote. In the end, the votes were tallied: 5,271 voted for Todd to survive, and 5,343 voted for him to die. By a margin of 72 votes, Robin died in the pages of Batman #428, beaten to death with a crowbar by the Joker. The image of Batman cradling Robin's dead body became immediately iconic.
Fan reaction to the story was mixed, despite the seeming fervor for Todd's death and the blood that was on their hands. The letters pages for Batman #430 (1, 2) show a mixture of celebration over Jason's death, remorse over individuals' decisions to vote for death, and hope that Robin's absence would lead to more mature Batman stories in the future. However, every issue of A Death in the Family was a best-seller, and a collected edition was rushed out in early December of 1988, only a week after the final issue in the arc was released to stores. But now that the fan feeding frenzy was (mostly) over, the media feeding frenzy had begun. You don't just kill Robin and get away with it without media attention. USA Today and Reuters ran articles on the story, and DC was besieged with interview requests from radio and TV stations.
O’Neil: I spent three days doing nothing but talking on the radio. I thought it would get us some ink here and there and maybe a couple of radio interviews. I had no idea—nor did anyone else—it would have the effect it did. Peggy [May], our publicity person, finally just said, “Stop, no more, we can’t do anymore,” or I would probably still be talking. She also nixed any television appearances. At the time, I wondered about that but now I am very glad she did, because there was a nasty backlash and I came to be very grateful that people could not associate my face with the guy who killed Robin. 
Internally at DC, there were suspicions that the vote had been rigged in some fashion.
O'Neil: "I heard it was one guy, who programmed his computer to dial the thumbs down number every ninety seconds for eight hours, who made the difference." 
But regardless of whether it was or not, Jason Todd was dead, and he would remain dead for as long as O'Neil stayed at DC - long enough for the phrase to be coined: "nobody in comics stays dead except for Uncle Ben, Bucky, and Jason Todd." But he wouldn't remain dead forever.
Jason would be succeeded by a new Robin, less than a year after his death. In a crossover storyline between Batman and New Titans written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by George Perez and Jim Aparo, entitled "A Lonely Place of Dying", the character of Tim Drake would be introduced. Unlike Todd and Grayson before him, Drake would challenge the assumptions made about the character of Robin - he figured out Batman's secret identity on his own, and deduced that Batman needed a Robin by his side, to ensure he wouldn't take unneeded risks. Gone were the short pants of yesteryear - Drake wore a full-body suit with an armored cape, and was more of a detective than a fighter. He debuted to mixed reactions, although fans soon grew to love him under the pen of Chuck Dixon, who would be one of the major architects of Batman in the 1990s. Todd would get a second chance at life seventeen years later. In 2005, writer Judd Winick wrote the storyline "Under the Hood," published in Batman #635-641, 645-650, and Annual #25. There, it's revealed that Todd returned to life thanks to an alternate version of Superboy punching reality (it's comics, don't ask) and the aid of R'as al Ghul's Lazarus Pits, and donned the identity of the crime lord the Red Hood in his quest for revenge against the Joker. Todd, as the Red Hood, persists as a popular character today, a lasting symbol of Batman's failure, as he operates as a pragmatic vigilante, willing to take risks Batman isn't. More recently, in July 2020, DC announced a Death in the Family animated interactive feature film in the vein of Black Mirror's "Bandersnatch" - again, viewers can choose whether Todd lives or dies, among other options. Edit: fixed a typo.
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