WASHINGTON, October 4, 2012 – The stock market opened tepidly up, but it’s now banging the drum loudly, soaring to near the century mark on the upside as of 10:15 a.m. EDT. Could it be Mitt Romney’s clear victory last night over a fumbling Barack Obama who clearly needs a course in remedial math?
Nahh. According to CNBC, today’s edition of irrational exuberance is all due to that EuroMaster of the Universe, ECB head honcho Mario Draghi, who “said the central bank’s bond buying program had eased market tensions, even though it has not yet commenced. He also added the central bank is ready to buy the bonds of euro zone member countries that ask for it, leaving the door open to a widely expected Spanish bailout.”
You gotta give credit to financial journalists who invent stories where none are to be had. The market is juiced this morning because of a bond buying program that’s “eased market tensions even though it has not commenced.” [Italics by the Maven.] That’s sort of like John Kerry voting for something before he voted against it. Or, perhaps more pertinently, like the Nobel Committee awarding its Peace Prize to Barack Obama before he’d even finished moving Michelle’s wardrobe into the White House.
How can you accomplish something before you’ve even tried to accomplish something? Are these dudes serious? Ah, well, I guess they pay the CNBC writers the big bucks to fill virtual column inches on their websites.
Anyhow, in other news, factory orders have come in “mixed” in the latest reports, and, more importantly, we await with baited breath (whatever that is) the beginning of the third quarter earnings season, which is not expected to be too good. Which is, we think, why the market has been developing a pattern of jumping up many mornings only to get swatted down hard in the afternoon, commencing on or around the 2 p.m. time period. It’s sort of like a machine-driven version of Newton’s Third Law of Motion.
One wonders: do the algos and HFTs fake the market up in the morning so they can short in the afternoon. We’ll never know, because our protectors at the SEC have little interest in finding out lest they burn bridges with Wall Street elites who can pay former govies a lot more after they “retire” from the SEC. What a racket.
We don’t have much more to say today other than to report that we got our heads handed to us on a platter for getting involved in the LifeLock (LOCK) IPO. Priced below expected range at $9 per apparently overvalued share, down she went when the stock opened for trading, perhaps touching 9 at one point but ending up down in the $8.30 range, near which it wallows this morning with a negative tone.
Even though it’s a rather different animal, perhaps LOCK was being compared in advance to the fate of Carbonite (CARB) which has continued to decline to the $6 range at present, some 30% below where it was after that company’s anti-Rush Limbaugh grandstanding. Yeah, it’s personal security vs. data protection, but perhaps investors just aren’t seeing a future there, which is why LOCK has recently begun to branch out into related areas.
That said, LOCK will have to put up some numbers to erase its poor opening day and day after performance. Since we have to deal with a 30-day Schwab lockup, we can’t dump our small LOCK position for awhile. So we’ll evaluate after that point and let you know what we do. Add that to our Facebook experience and we have considerable egg on our face here.
That said, we more than made up for these twin IPO debacles with the IPO of fracking play Hi-Crush (HCLP). Given the hour of the day, we’re up nearly 30% on that slightly more than one-month ago play, and we still await our first expected dividend, estimated to be 8-9% on an annualized basis. We think we’ll hold on to HCLP for awhile, pending market direction, to see if it lives up to its promise.
Along these lines, we’re still looking at companion fracking plays U.S. Silica (SLCA) and Heckmann (HEK), the latter of which answers critics of fracking as it’s a fracking water treatment play that’s also getting into product transmission. We haven’t moved on these latter two, however, since there’s no dividend protection (unlike HCLP) and since we don’t know yet who’s going to win the fall Presidential sweepstakes. If it’s going to be four more years of Obamanation, though, any thought of fracking plays in the market will probably be terminated on the Maven’s list of possibilities.
Stay tuned, and let’s see what happens. No major reason to make any moves today, at least for now, so let’s try to enjoy the day.
Disclaimer: The author of this column maintains several active trading and investment portfolios and owns residential and investment real estate. He currently owns a small position in HCLP, which is discussed in this article.
Positions mentioned above describe this author’s own investment decisions and should not be construed as either buy or sell recommendations. The current market is highly treacherous and all investors travel at their own risk, so caution should be exercised at all times.
Illustrations, charts, commentary, and analysis are only the author’s view of current or historical market activity and don’t constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any security or contract. Views, indications, and analysis aren’t necessarily predictive of any future market or government action. Rather they indicate the author’s opinion as to a range of possibilities that may occur going forward.
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Read more of Terry’s news and reviews at Curtain Up! in the Entertain Us neighborhood of the Washington Times Communities. For Terry’s investing and political insights, visit his Communities columns, The Prudent Man and Morning Market Maven, in Business.
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