Mr. Sensitive

May 20, 2011

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: FSX — lbej @ 16:48

One of the primary drivers of investment and trade now is dollar supply and demand, particularly in relation to other major reserve currencies (Euro, Pound, Yen, and Renminbi, among others).  I’ve listened to a lot of back-and-forth on the relative merits or demerits of the various currencies, and increasingly the tone of the discussion has moved more towards a place where investors are encouraged to find the currencies that are least bad, with the implicit assumption being that none of them are any good.  That seems about right to me.  I think you should have the cash you need when you need it, and no more than that.  Why have more than a six-month supply of cash when you have no faith in the purchasing power of that cash any further out in time?  I’ve gotten more and more disdainful of money over time.  Paper money was dubious enough once it was no longer backed by any tangible asset, but now money is nothing more than data, no more tangible than computer code.  Doesn’t anybody really want to be paid in computer code?  Well, maybe Dustin, but anybody else?  Of course not.  But most of us are.  I think my cynicism is because I understand money too well, on a personal and technical level.  From the technical standpoint, I spent 11 years studying and sometimes policing the flow of enormous amounts of money, billions and tens of billions of dollars in the bank’s investment portfolio and trading accounts.  You look at a bank with $150 billion in assets, and only a small fraction of that is anything you can touch right at this moment.  Ninety-five percent of it is the discounted value of claims on projected future cash flows—and those cash flows themselves are denominated in the fiat currency of the U.S. government.  All that is, folks, is the collective agreement that you will be able to exchange your paper money or your data money for actual goods and services at some time in the future.  If we stop agreeing, the money is worthless and the assets disappear.  We saw it happen to the balance sheets of some of the largest banks in the world during the housing crisis in 2008: the mortgage-backed securities they held consisted of projected future mortgage payments, and when they were forced to recognize that many of those payments would never be made, the securities were suddenly worth dramatically less than they had been.  When the securities were subsequently written down in value, the banks’ equity had to be written down by the same amount to offset the asset writedown (that is, of course, why it’s called a balance sheet—it has to balance).  In some cases (WaMu, Lehman, AIG), so much equity was erased that the institution’s liabilities exceeded its assets, and some of the biggest firms in the world were insolvent overnight.  From a personal standpoint, I watched my mother go from being supposedly set for life to bankrupt in less than a decade, all because she managed her data money imprudently and inconsistently, and what she didn’t mismanage she pulled out of the ATM and straight-up wasted.  None of this is real and permanent, and that bothers me.  I’m not saying money doesn’t matter—it matters a lot, and that’s the problem.  You think I should covet something that matters a lot but that can disappear with nothing more than a change in assumptions or the push of a button?  And more of that is what will make me more secure in life?  No thanks.  You need to have some assets, too (and no asset is more versatile or valuable than a skill).  As a point both of principle and of paranoia, I prefer to hold on to things I can hold on to.  But maybe that’s just me.

So, LinkedIn happened; what’s the verdict?  Everybody watched the clown underwriters float a measly 10 million shares at $45, then gasped as the stock traded above $120 the morning of the IPO, and by the end of the day everyone who had something to say had said it, loudly, and probably more than once.  Is it a single-stock bubble?  Is it a harbinger?  Is it an indicator of the challenges inherent in valuing social networking companies?  Is it an artifact of the arcane process of sliver underwriting?  Yes.  Yes, it is.  The pop in the price of LNKD was ridiculous, and almost certainly wouldn’t have happened if the underwriters didn’t deliberately restrict supply.  Nevertheless, the company LinkedIn is a real company and is really worth something, unless it turns out that it’s not.  The interesting thing to me is what this might mean for the bigger social networking companies.  If LinkedIn is worth $9 billion (it’s not), then Groupon is worth $25 billion, Twitter is an easy $40 billion, and Facebook is worth, conservatively, $17 kajillion.  What do I think?  I hate them all, and I hate all this that is happening.  What’s a misanthrope to do?  If it weren’t for the inevitability of greed and egotism sabotaging these potential future Skynets from within, I would already have gone underground.  Literally, I mean.

The market’s doing nothing, big-picture, and neither is the FSX.  How about these closing numbers from the last three Fridays:1277.1, 1276.7, 1273.3.   Instead of talking about that, I will explain a little about how I decide which stocks to single out in the Advancers and Decliners.  Generally, I try to mention the top 3 to 5 stocks in each group, along with any that experienced wild intra-week swings.  Some stocks, however, are high-beta by nature and would not earn a mention for the same magnitude move as a lower-volatility stock.  The higher beta stocks usually need to register a 5% gain or loss to get a mention, and sometimes 10% is needed if I’m sick of writing about the same stock over and over again.  If you were wondering, the highest-beta stocks in the FSX are LEI, RBY, HWD, and now LEE.  Except for HWD, all of these are single-digit stocks and so a move of just $0.50 to $1.00 means a big shift on a percentage basis.  I wouldn’t mention these five names in the As or Ds unless they post +/-5%, or I just feel like it.  Lucas, honestly, needs to do +/-10% to make the list, all-over-the-place as he is.  In contrast, a 3% move in either of the turtle-esque Nicoles is a huge week.  This can change if the market dynamics change, but I try to keep everything in perspective.  And by that I mean that I try to keep the FSX in perspective; it’s epic explosions in my head all the time, no matter what.


  • LEE +0.0%.  I will say one more thing about myself, and then I will treat LEE the same as I do my brother in volatility, Lucas.  I seem to have bottomed here in the $0.90-$1.20 range.  The shorts have finally moved to the sidelines, content with having driven me down 70% in less than two months.  Nevertheless, they won’t soon forget their ghoulish feast and you can bet LEE will stay on their Bloomberg screens for many months to come, so that they can strike again if it shows signs of life.  Any potential bulls know that, and I think it will take major changes in ownership and capital structure to alter the dynamics—the market won’t come back to LEE unless and until the fundamental story changes. Like my sigil, I have begun to suspect that I’m a 2012 story, and I’m working my way around to getting comfortable with that.  I thought I could just switch gears and go on to the next thing this year while I raised a baby in the background, and that was stupid.  Not only is a baby anything but ambience, I have also started to really feel the effects of the last two bananas years.  Near-death and recovery, reviving my career and then ditching it, house restoration room-by-room, finally the end of my mother’s life and the beginning of my son’s—that’s a lot of serious stuff, and the passage through each of those trials left me in a different place rather than restoring any kind of familiar status quo.  When I came out of rehab, all the poison was gone from my mind and body and I felt stronger than I had felt in ten years; truthfully, I felt stronger than I probably really was.  I made good use of that momentum, I think, but the friction and drag has slowed me enough now that I feel like I’m just me again, no better and no worse.  If I have a hard day, I’m going to be tired by the end of it.  If I have a hard week, I’m going to be slayed by the end of it.  I don’t like that, but there it is.


  • Reagan (REGN) +7.3%.  I have been trying to figure out what Reagan’s problem is that she wrecks her bike and tears her legs and arms all up at least once an afternoon.  Then I discovered that a number of the scabs that I had believed to be biking injuries were in fact former bug bites where Reagan has dug little holes in her arms and legs with her violent scratching.  Add to that the legitimate bike scrapes and bruises, the contusions she gets from tripping on nothing and falling into everything, and she looks like a street fighter.  And not Chun Li, either.  What in the world upside could all of this battle damage have for little Reagan?  It could make her the next stage in epidermal evolution is what.  I now believe that Reagan is trying to transform her skin into a gnarled and impenetrable carapace, making her body invulnerable to lancing, slashing, and gouging injuries.  Many martial artists have done such things, you will observe.  True, but have any done it at the age of seven?  Having transformed herself while still an adolescent, Reagan may be seeking to embed the changes in her genetic code.  Then again, the ingredients may already be present in her genes.  God knows I run into every wall and door in the house at least once a week.
  • Jenny (LEN) +2.5%.  Jenny has the worst case of molluscum contagiosum our doctor has ever seen and her belly is covered in sores.  How could that be worse?  She could have only the second-worst case.  Then she would be almost as miserable but not nearly as legendary.  Bad is just bad, but the worst is also the best.
  • Charlotte (ICE) +2.4%.  Charlotte finally let go of the NYSE pipe dream this week.  The nice folks at the Justice Department finally weighed in on her bid (made in conjunction with the Nasdaq), and pointed out that a merger of up and down had a better chance of winning approval than a tie-up between NYSE and Nasdaq.  So that was that, and the market breathed a sigh of relief.  Charlotte was promoted at work, as well, and even if the politics and the people are stressful at times, she’s really well suited for the apparel business, and not so much for managing a global stock exchange.  The rally in ICE would have been even stronger, I think, if not for the nervousness of commodities traders, the folks upon whose animal spirits the company’s revenue depends.  If the bulls come back, we could see Charlotte back at $130 in no time.


  • Brinkley (BCO) -4.1%.  This week Brinkley rolled over definitively for the first time, and he’s showing a significantly better understanding of his hands and the diabolical things he can do with them.  With all that progress, he ought to be up, right?  Remember, the market is forward-looking; if he can grab his toy rings, roll over, and eat solid food, how much long before he can do push-ups, or run laps, or serve his father as aide-de-camp?  Not much longer, I say.  But this is the face of a gentleman who can handle whatever life throws at him, as long as life only throws toys.

  • The Marios (PBY -5.0%, SUP -5.6%).  I wonder if the NFL labor woes are beginning to affect the Family Stock Index.  Ruby has already taken it on the chin in 2011; her 20% YTD loss is bettered (worsered?) only by the Eure Bros.  Now, as hope for a timely resolution fades, Mario the Younger is coming face-to-face with the realization that the absence of fantasy football and actual football will leave him with hours and hours of unwanted time each week, time that he certainly has no idea what to do with.  As for Mario the Elder, no Steeler Club means a grumpy Ruby, in a much smaller house, no less.
  • Icarus (FLOW) -8.8%.  With the sudden divergence of Justin’s and Icarus’ market fortunes (WOLF +40% QTD, FLOW -17%), the longstanding, accepted theory that they are two parts of the same soul might be called into question.  That or I got the stock tickers wrong.
Name Ticker 5/20/2011 Change
Brinkley BCO $28.58 -1.21
Charlotte ICE $121.18 +2.86
Dustin DST $47.28 -0.04
Icarus FLOW $3.65 -0.35
Jenny LEN $17.96 +0.44
Justin WOLF $2.96 -0.02
Katie CATY $15.66 -0.08
Lee LEE $1.14 unch
Lisa LSI $7.51 -0.11
Lucas LEI $2.70 +0.06
Lulu LULU $96.29 +1.06
Marcus MCS $10.50 -0.10
Mario T.E. PBY $13.22 -0.70
Mario T.Y. SUP $21.30 -1.27
Marisa MOLX $27.26 +0.31
Nicole B. NI $20.37 +0.01
Nicole L. COL $61.66 -0.95
Reagan REGN $56.91 +3.88
Ruby RBY $4.56 +0.06
Wilson WILC $7.76 +0.04
Winston HWD $16.49 +0.95
Zero FRZ $3.02 -0.06
Zondro ZRAN $8.16 -0.25

August 20, 2010

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: FSX — lbej @ 17:18
Tags: ,

The overall market was solidly lower on the week, with the S&P 500 down by 1.3%.  Corporate profits continue to be strong if unspectacular, but concern about the health of the U.S. economy just grinds away at sentiment.  The disconnect between the welfare of American multinational corporations and the welfare of the American people is growing, and the market seems to believe, as I do, that the imbalance can’t persist forever.  Maybe it will be business as usual in ten years, or maybe not.  But one has to wonder how bad the prospects of ordinary people can become before they start really wondering how it is that the prospects of the companies whose products and services they buy can be so great.  If a Democratic politician ever manages to explain to the American people that benefits benefit them, regulations protect them, and corporations aren’t their friends, strange things could happen.  Yes, people are dumb and they generally don’t know what’s good for them, but you have to throw them a bone every now and then.  Republicans and their corporate masters are really hoarding the bones, and they may come to regret it.   But enough of that for today.  The bottom line is that multinational companies have decided they don’t need prosperity in the U.S. in order to make money, and either the market is slow on the uptake, or it thinks the strategy is wrong.  That’s how I explain the lack of reward from the market for strong profit performance.

The Family Stock Index just stinks, which is why I’m avoiding it.  While the 1.2% decline in the FSX is in line with the broader market, the Friday close of 915.36 is the second-worst in the index’ history.  Breadth was decent, with decliners besting advancers 11-to-9.  I guess it’s all my fault.


  • Lisa (KID) +9.1% (She was like a coiled spring after last quarter.  And school is starting back up, a positive for those of us besieged by kids on summer vacation.)
  • Marcus (MCS) +5.0% (Speaking of school, Marcus will soon be back at work for real.  He’s good at what he does, and the market does reward that sort of thing from time to time, believe it or not.)
  • Wilson (WILC) +4.3% (Classic relief rally.  Wilson was revealed as the secret hall-pee-er this week and I didn’t kill him.)


  • Reagan (REGN) -2.7% and Jenny (LEN) -4.2% (Obviously, they would rather watch documentaries with me that be educated by the State of North Carolina.  Sorry, girls, but it’s the law.)
  • ZERO -9.3% and Charlotte (BOOT) -10.3% (They are such caring people, really.  It’s going pretty well in Chicago, or so I hear, but they knew I was getting beaten up by the market and they didn’t want me to be the worst performer in the FSX for a second straight week.  Thanks for trying, guys.)
  • LEE -10.7% (Back to the levels I plumbed when I was knocked out with the last major gout attack.  Now I’ve got gout and mono, so when you think about it, I should be even lower than I am.  This is the market showing mercy, really.  Yet somehow I’m not grateful.)

What the dollars were:


Name 8/20/10 Change
Charlotte $12.08 -1.38
Dustin $41.67 +0.51
Icarus $9.67 -0.11
Jenny $12.77 -0.56
Justin $2.09 +0.06
Katie $10.17 -0.29
Lee $2.17 -0.26
Lisa $8.78 +0.73
Lucas $1.69 -0.01
Lulu $38.15 +0.27
Machis $8.69 +0.04
Marcus $11.45 +0.55
Mario $19.48 +0.08
Marisa $18.39 -0.28
Nicole B. $16.50 -0.07
Nicole L. $55.29 -0.17
Reagan $22.93 -0.63
Wilson $6.25 +0.26
Zero $0.32 -0.03
Zondro $4.87 +0.01

August 13, 2010

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: Comic Books,FSX — lbej @ 17:20
Tags: , ,

So that happened.  The economy is headed back into recession, Cisco’s customers are grumpy, and China and Apple maybe aren’t going to have a World’s Finest superhero team-up to save us all.  Stock prices were under attack last week, as if, perhaps, by weird alien creatures.

You know, for example.  The Family Stock Index took a real beating, losing 6.7% to close at 926.85, a performance significantly more dreadful than the 3.8% loss on the S&P.  Unlike last week, the breadth was terrible as well, confirming the downward move, with 19 of 20 components lower.  We’re now back at a one-month low.  I blame myself, or rather, the enemies secretly spritzing my headquarters with microbes.   On to the damage report.


  • Wilson (WILC) +0.7% (Yeah, I don’t know.  He looks a little better in light of all the hall-peeing from the other dog, but not a lot better.  He’d do it too except his pee is neon and I’d catch him.)


  • Katie (CATY) -11.7% (No kisses from me the whole week.  It’s got to be torture.)
  • Marcus (MCS) -12.8% (Not the best week for my bigger little brother.  Bad behavior from his not-soon-enough-to-be-ex-wife seems to have the perverse effect of invoking for him the times when she hasn’t been as unambiguously despicable, all four of them.  His corporate avatar doesn’t like it.  The market wants MCS to stay the course.  For the record, so do I.)
  • LEE -14.4% (Ten straight days with a fever now–a personal record.  Unfortunately, not the sort of record the market rewards.)

Dots and dollar signs:


Name 8/13/10 Change
Charlotte $13.46 -0.81
Dustin $41.16 -0.45
Icarus $9.78 -0.47
Jenny $13.33 -1.06
Justin $2.03 -0.18
Katie $10.46 -1.38
Lee $2.43 -0.41
Lisa $8.05 -0.71
Lucas $1.70 -0.19
Lulu $37.88 -2.18
Machis $8.65 -0.01
Marcus $10.90 -1.60
Mario $19.40 -0.67
Marisa $18.67 -1.66
Nicole B. $16.57 -0.23
Nicole L. $55.46 -3.01
Reagan $23.56 -1.29
Wilson $5.99 +0.04
Zero $0.35 -0.03
Zondro $4.86 -0.03

August 6, 2010

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: FSX — lbej @ 17:15
Tags: ,

The last few days the fever gets down into the 99s midday and I think it’s going to break, and then it doesn’t.  Right now I’m at doesn’t.  I’m not feeling the most insightful, but time is money.  No, wait.  Time is space.

Confused?  It was a confusing week in the market as well.  The S&P 500 finished 1.8% higher, but I didn’t sense much conviction in the week’s action.  To be fair to the market, my thoughts seem to be melting and melting doesn’t help with in-depth analysis.  The Family Stock Index lost ground on the week, down 0.9% to close at 993.62.  This comes after we ended the day on Monday above 1021, so the reversal is particularly stark.  I feel like crap, though, and rumor has it that Zero is sick as well, so maybe we got off lucky.  Advance/decline ratio was 3-to-2, after all, and I take that to mean there could be enough hidden strength to get us back over 1000 next week.


  • Lisa (KID) +5.3% (I said I thought Lisa was oversold last quarter and the market seems to agree with me.  Or maybe the weather was really nice at the beach this week.)
  • Reagan (REGN) +2.7%  (I’m making the children watch Ken Burns’ Civil War series with me this week, and Reagan is two-for-three on falling asleep.  The market likes her strategy.)
  • Marcus (MCS) +2.5%  (Another week, another solid gain.  Up 45% in a month.  Nothing to say that hasn’t been said.)


  • LEE -3.4% (I take this as an endorsement of my future plans, laid out at least in part this week.  Because I feel awful.)
  • Lucas (LEI) -13% (When you’re a kid there’s something ominous about turning the calendar from July to August, because you can see what’s coming.)
  • ZERO -15.7% (Not only is Zero sick, but he’s sick in German.  That’s like the worst kind.)

More numbers:


Name 8/6/10 Change
Charlotte $14.27 -0.41
Dustin $41.61 +0.53
Icarus $10.25 +0.19
Jenny $14.39 -0.38
Justin $2.21 -0.01
Katie $11.84 +0.08
Lee $2.84 -0.10
Lisa $8.76 +0.44
Lucas $1.89 -0.29
Lulu $40.06 -1.42
Machis $8.66 unch
Marcus $12.50 +0.30
Mario $20.07 +0.05
Marisa $20.33 +0.62
Nicole B. $16.80 +0.30
Nicole L. $58.47 +1.31
Reagan $24.85 +0.66
Wilson $5.95 +0.12
Zero $0.38 -0.07
Zondro $4.89 -0.03

July 30, 2010

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: FSX — lbej @ 17:30

It was another solid week for the Family Stock Index as we topped 1,000 for the first time since mid-June.  This week’s closing level of 1002.74 represents a 2% rise and caps an 8.6% climb for the entire month of July.  The broader market churned through a sector rotation, with the S&P 500 all but unchanged for the week.  The FSX also saw its share of differentiation; a 3-to-2 advance/decline ratio reveals a more mixed performance than the headline number suggests.  Charlotte and Zero did the wedding thing this week and the market weighed in vigorously.  But enough with the suspense.


  • ZERO +14%  (Congratulations from the market on officially joining the Urrrs.  Zero was already in the club, but now he stakes a legal claim to the vast fortune our parents didn’t leave us.  Wait…)
  • Lisa (KID) +7.1% and Dustin (DST) +6.3% (Lucas’ vacation in Hilton Head this past week wasn’t just a vacation for him.  And he wasn’t visiting by himself, either…)
  • LEE +6.1% and Katie (CATY) +3.8% (Jenny and Reagan did the Head as well.  I swear I’m not making this up.)
  • Marcus (MCS) +4.3% (The best performer on the week who didn’t ditch kids or tie the knot.  The market reminds us yet again that untying of knots can be a positive step as well.  I suppose it all depends on who one is tied to.)


  • All four of my pets were down, albeit fractionally.  One of them peed in my refurbished office yesterday, but as I don’t know which one, all four are still alive.  The market is saying that someone is playing a dangerous game here and will be headed to $0 if he or she is caught in the act.
  • Lucas (LEI) -2.6% (He must miss his parents, at least a little bit.  My kids, not so much.)
  • Charlotte (BOOT) -6.8% (I’m scratching my head on this one, because I think Zero’s dreamy.  Maybe the market is selling the news after buying the rumor.  Or maybe the market realized that the box of Magic: The Gathering Beta boosters that Charlotte has been hiding from me for 15 years now has to be shared with someone else.  I believe we have a winner.)

Tiny numbers:


Name 7/30/10 Change
Charlotte $14.68 -1.07
Dustin $41.08 +2.45
Icarus $10.06 +0.21
Jenny $14.77 -0.16
Justin $2.22 +0.01
Katie $11.76 +0.43
Lee $2.94 +0.17
Lisa $8.32 +0.55
Lucas $2.18 -0.06
Lulu $41.48 -0.47
Machis $8.66 +0.05
Marcus $12.20 +0.50
Mario $20.02 -0.17
Marisa $19.71 -0.16
Nicole B. $16.50 +0.01
Nicole L. $57.16 +0.40
Reagan $24.19 +0.18
Wilson $5.83 -0.07
Zero $0.45 +0.06
Zondro $4.92 -0.02

July 23, 2010

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: FSX — lbej @ 17:54

The week ended July 23 was a good one for the Family Stock Index.  The FSX easily outpaced the broader market, up 4.5% compared to 3.5% for the S&P 500, and with 18 of 20 components higher on the week.  The closing level of 983.14 represents a new one-month high and an advance of 10% from the July 2nd low.  Importantly, we showed considerable strength into the close, suggesting more fear on the part of shorts rather than longs heading into the weekend.  I believe that the psychologically important 1000 threshold on the FSX is solidly in play for next week.  Also, more companies reported decent earnings this week and fewer reported crummy earnings, if you’re into that sort of thing.


  • Marcus (MCS) +17% (Leading the pack for the second consecutive week, Marcus has jumped a bananas 36% from his low of $8.60 reached intraday July 7.  When you’re right, you’re right, and he’s right.  Sometimes the market is scary with what it knows and this is one of those times.)
  • LULU +10.4%, Zondro (ZN) +9.5%, and Marisa (MOLX) +6.9%  (There’s turning out to be a lot less war to the Pet Nasty War than expected.  Icarus was up only 3.5%, lagging the FSX, so I guess he just wishes he was here.)
  • LEE +8.6%  (People who don’t know me tell Katie I must be ecstatic to have learned this week that I’m going to have a son rather than a third daughter.  I didn’t think I cared one way or the other, but what do I know about my feelings?  More than Katie’s coworkers?  Yes.  More than the market?  Perhaps not.)
  • Mario (BRO) +6.5% (Warrants a mention here because he’s just a few cents away from a 52-week high, and the rest of us would have to jump 10% or more before we could say that.  What gives?  He was going to visit us, something that could only have improved his fortunes, so maybe the market bit on a head fake there.  Or maybe things are just going well overall.  That would be really boring, so I’m going with the head fake theory.)


  • Charlotte (BOOT) -16.6% (Much more fed up with those babies than anyone thought.  She bombed on earnings this week, too, or at least BOOT did.  Perhaps babysitting isn’t the kind of growth industry the market favors.  If Charlotte can just learn to make parts for the iPhone she should be set.  Babysitting in China might work too.)

The details:


Name 7/23/10 Change
Charlotte $15.75 -3.14
Dustin $38.63 +1.70
Icarus $9.85 +0.33
Jenny $14.93 +0.88
Justin $2.21 +0.14
Katie $11.33 +0.28
Lee $2.77 +0.22
Lisa $7.77 +0.42
Lucas $2.24 +0.00
Lulu $41.95 +3.95
Machis $8.61 +0.06
Marcus $11.70 +1.69
Mario $20.19 +1.24
Marisa $19.87 +1.28
Nicole B. $16.49 +0.88
Nicole L. $56.76 +2.60
Reagan $24.01 +1.53
Wilson $5.90 +0.11
Zero $0.39 +0.03
Zondro $4.94 +0.43

July 16, 2010

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: FSX — lbej @ 18:13

Up-and-down week for the Family Stock Index, a fate it shared with the broader U.S. equity market.   Q2 earnings and 2H expectations gave a lift to the market earlier in the week, only to see that momentum stymied by lackluster financial company revenues and business prospects.  The S&P 500 slipped 1.2% on the week, but the FSX underperformed with a loss of 2.1%.  The FSX printed an encouraging 977 on Tuesday, but its Friday slide into a 940.46 close was anything but inspiring.  Late day selling on Friday gives me a bad feeling about next week.  I’m switching blood pressure medicines right now so maybe the bad feeling has something to do with that as well.

Advancers (7 out of 20)

  • Marcus (MCS) +11%  (The market consistently favors news that is bad but manageable over uncertainty.  If the current plan goes forward, pain may intensify but the drain will lessen.  The market is forward-looking, and no one has a better reason to face forward than Marcus.)
  • Justin (WOLF) +7.3%, Charlotte (BOOT) +4.1%, and LEE +1.6%.  (My siblings and I have had a lot of emotional and practical garbage to slog through over the past two months.  That we were the four top performers on the week for the first time ever may suggest that the market sees light at the end of the dead-mom tunnel.  Fingers crossed that it’s not a train.  I was performing far better on the week before I quit my beta blocker today and then tried to assemble a bed.  That was worth a 7% smackdown from the market.)

Decliners (13 out of 20)

  • Zondro (ZN) -6.8%  (I only want three things from a pet: no aggression towards people; no peeing in the house; and no pooping in the house.  Wilson is not the best on the pee/poop score, but he’s usually very deliberate and punitive about it.  That, at least, I can respect.  It earns him a beatdown, yes, but respect as well.  Zondro is taking the Shakira approach–wherever, whenever.  I’m not sure if he throws in some of the hip action but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me.  My mother messed him up.  I am going to do my best to fix him, but if that fails, he’s going to get messed up in a different way.)
  • Lisa (KID) and Lucas (LEI), -8% and -11% respectively.  (Interesting that mother and son have been moving in tandem in recent weeks.  Maybe they’ve been bonding over the summer.)
  • ZERO -16% (The market wants this marriage thing to get done.  It wants Zero to be an Urrr.)

Fine print:


Name 7/16/10 Change
Charlotte $18.89 +0.74
Dustin $36.93 -0.40
Icarus $9.52 -0.24
Jenny $14.05 -0.52
Justin $2.07 +0.14
Katie $11.05 -0.35
Lee $2.55 +0.04
Lisa $7.35 -0.65
Lucas $2.24 -0.28
Lulu $38.00 -0.89
Machis $8.55 +0.04
Marcus $10.01 +0.98
Mario $18.95 -0.52
Marisa $18.59 +0.05
Nicole B. $15.61 -0.23
Nicole L. $54.16 -0.73
Reagan $22.48 -0.74
Wilson $5.79 +0.02
Zero $0.36 -0.07
Zondro $4.51 -0.33

July 9, 2010

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: FSX — lbej @ 17:56

Broad-based 7.4% relief rally for the Family Stock Index this holiday-shortened week, and for the U.S. markets overall (S&P 500 up 5.4%).  Now is the part where I punch this gift horse in the face.  First, this week’s gains didn’t make up the losses from last week: this Friday’s 960.43 close for the FSX is still solidly below the 975.86 we printed on June 25.  Second, everybody is on vacation.  Everybody.  August will be even lighter on volume, but I know bankers, and if they get a day off they take a week.  In defense of Wall Street, you can get smacked around on a trade for no reason other than you can’t find someone to take the other side of it, and if you’re trying to trade in size (you are) it’s a bigger gamble than usual.  Maybe you like that and maybe you don’t, and if you have actual work to do holiday weeks can be really productive.  But it’s a vicious cycle from a trading standpoint: you didn’t trade because you figured you couldn’t, and then you can’t because you didn’t.  The point is that an observer should be careful drawing conclusions about market sentiment when half the folks who are usually moving said market are out of the office.  Lots to talk about for the FSX even with only four days in play.


  • Lucas (LEI) +23% (Another twenty percent swing.  Can excitement be boring?)
  • Katie (CATY) +15% (Katie definitely gapped upward from a diameter standpoint this week.  She could very well be capturing a moon soon, and that’s got to be worth something.)
  • Lisa (KID) +15 (Could be a stealth play on SWVa if the Lucas trade gets too crowded.)
  • Charlotte (BOOT) +12.3% and ZERO +7.5% (Who’s the ball and who’s the chain?  More importantly, does China need more balls or more chains?  That’s really all the market cares about anymore.)
  • LEE +9%  (I can walk now.  Is that as valuable as generating a moon-ensnaring gravitational field?  Clearly not.)
  • Justin (WOLF) +1%  (Actually 4th from the bottom in relative performance, this is notable because Justin was down on the week before this afternoon.  Then he decided not to drive to Mississippi next week and the market immediately applauded.  If we learned nothing from my mother, we learned that Mississippi is always the wrong answer.)


  • Zondro (ZN) -3.2% (Only Zondro finished lower on the week.  Icarus keeps biting him in the neck, so there’s that.)

The fine print:


Name 7/9/10 Change
Charlotte $18.15 $0.47
Dustin $37.33 $1.50
Icarus $9.76 $1.05
Jenny $14.57 $1.99
Justin $1.93 $0.21
Katie $11.40 $1.15
Lee $2.51 $0.03
Lisa $8.00 $1.61
Lucas $2.52 $2.57
Lulu $38.89 $0.92
Machis $8.51 $0.55
Marcus $9.03 $2.41
Mario $19.47 $1.55
Marisa $18.54 $0.57
Nicole B. $15.84 $0.48
Nicole L. $54.89 $0.06
Reagan $23.22 $0.02
Wilson $5.77 $0.06
Zero $0.43 $0.03
Zondro $4.84 -$0.16

July 2, 2010

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: FSX — lbej @ 18:09

It comes right on the heels of the quarterly update, I know, but it was such a nasty week for the FSX that it warrants a post mortem of its own.  The Family Stock Index closed today at a new low of 894.14 after taking an 8.4% pounding over five brutal days that was notably worse than that suffered by market as a whole (S&P 500 -5%).  That suggests this week was appreciably worse than the third week of May, which is nonsense.  We are oversold, period.


  • ZERO +14.3% (This feels like the first swell portending a great flood.  At $0.40 and with a whopping 115 shares in the index, Zero could be this quarter’s Lucas.  Last quarter’s Lucas–Lucas–isn’t starting out so hot.)
  • Wilson (WILC) and Zondro (ZN) +1.4% (The pet conflict shows no sign of abatement.  I’m backing the cats and that’s all the market needs to get solidly behind the dogs.)


  • Marisa (MOLX) -7.5% and LULU -11.5%  (Litter box moved, Zondro getting bigger.)
  • Marcus (MCS) -13% (Uncertainty.  Oh so much uncertainty.)
  • Lucas (LEI) – 23% (The rest of us need to pull our own weight–point taken.)
  • And finally, LEE -22%.  (The Lexapro withdrawal isn’t fun and games and the current gout attack is now the longest and most painful I’ve had in three years, so 10 or 12 percent down would have been fair.  But this?  This is a vote of no confidence of the sort that brings down governments.  And you know what, Mr. Market?–I resent it.  There are some shorts out there who are going to get a gouty foot in the rear end when I find them.  You jerks better get ready to be squeezed.)

July 1, 2010

FSX Second Quarter Review

Filed under: FSX — lbej @ 14:14

The first quarter in the history of the Family Stock Index was a pretty wacky one.  Katie’s pregnant, Mom’s dead, and Marcus and his wife are separated.  That’s one up and two down by my math, and so it’s fitting that the FSX ended lower on the quarter.  I haven’t surveyed the rest of the family, but I wouldn’t object if the next quarter were a bit less eventful.

Overall, the FSX closed at 923.36 on June 30 after beginning the quarter at 988.84, representing a decline of 6.6%.  As a reminder, the base level of 1000 was set on April 9, so the 3/31 print of 988.84 was calculated after the fact.  We handily trumped the broader market, with the Dow Industrials down 10%, the S&P 500 down 11.9%, and the Nasdaq Composite lower by more than 12%.  I am not one to extol the virtues of relative performance: it doesn’t help a starving man to learn that his neighbor is hungrier than he is.  This performance is especially disheartening because the FSX was solidly positive just ten days ago, standing at 1034 before the open on June 21.

The following quarterly performance numbers were calculated for 18 individuals or duos.  I calculated blended returns for those individuals whose representative stocks were changed during the quarter.  Performance is not presented for members delisted during the quarter or for those added after the halfway point of the quarter.

Only five of the eighteen were positive for the quarter, and one was Icarus (up from 4 cents to 4 ½ cents).  This is a terrible advance/decline ratio and it belies the notion that the quarter was even worse than it looked.  The advancers were the following:

  • Lucas (LEI) +190% (He was up 300% two weeks ago, and has become quite the index tyrant over the course of the quarter.  I wouldn’t think ill of him if he took a victory lap or two.)
  • Jenny (TOOT/LEN) +42% (She’s a happy girl most of the time, and her speech teacher says she’s on track to graduate.  Life’s a lot better if you can pronounce Rs.)
  • Icarus (JDOG) +12.5% (Whatever.  How much of a Milkbone can you get for a half-penny?  Not much.)
  • Mario the Elder & Ruby (RUBO) +7.2% (A stalwart performance as usual.  I already knew how amazingly reliable my in-laws are, and I suppose the market gets it, too.)
  • Justin (THOR/WOLF) +6.5%  (Really powered by THOR this quarter, but I guess we all had to get through it however we could.  I’d have liked to be able channel a Norse god; some guys have all the luck.)

Everybody else is worse off for having lived through the last three months, although maybe there’s a better way to say that.  How about “underperformance?”  Seems to work for fund managers.

  • Mario the Younger (BRTHY/BRO) -2%  (Better as a BRO than a BRTHY.  Katie pronounced it “brothy,” which makes me think of soup.  Does soup ever have a really bad quarter?  I feel like soup always does okay.)
  • Wilson (WILC) -2% (I think he likes having Zondro around.  Wilson is always just a nudge away from a panic attack, though, so a positive quarter might be too much to ask.)
  • Katie (KT) -7.7% (In light of what she experienced with my mother this isn’t a bad number.  She’ll have a higher weight in the third quarter, both in the FSX and in actual pounds, the former as a result of the latter.)
  • Charlotte (TATT/BOOT) -9.7% (It’s not easy being the voice of reason all the damn time.)
  • Lulu (LULU) -10% (That stupid fat thing has no idea what’s coming.  Probably doesn’t care either.  Damn her.)
  • Dustin (DST) -13% (Lucas has to have been relying on someone to help him triple over three months.  The market thinks Dustin’s helping, but it clearly has other ideas about who must be bearing the load.)
  • Reagan (REGN) -16% (Therapy could’ve been more arduous than it was, but it still says quite a bit that she needed to go to therapy at all.)
  • Nicoles (NICE) -20% (I really think it’s that damn ticker.  I blame myself for this one.)
  • Marisa (HUN/MOLX) -23% (She hates the new dog.  She doesn’t even want to fight him, the raison d’être for her fat friend.)
  • Lee (LEE) -24%  (Yeah, I guess so.  If anybody out there runs across my armor, be a dear and let me know.)
  • Marcus (MCS) -27% (Just re-read the second sentence from the top.)
  • Lisa (KG/KID) -30% (Looks as though Lucas needs to practice sharing.  I hope it was an amazing Mother’s Day, at least.)
  • Zero (ZERO) -43% (Nice try, Zero, but you will find I am no baby-faced cadet.  This is a classic maneuver, and if you think I’m going to pursue your army into Russia in the winter, you’re mad.  Wait, what was I talking about?)
Next Page »

Blog at