17 September 2008

Assorted Thoughts on Two Exhausting Days

First off, some associates (of Howard Stern, not Lehman Brothers) pulled some shenanigans that are worth your viewing.

This morning, I put off heading to the office to watch Governor Paterson give an impressive performance on CNBC, detailing his efforts to assist AIG in its attempts to stay liquid. And with the help of the federal government, it looks like AIG will survive.

Why did I buy AIG shares today? Unlike Lehman, I thought AIG was too big to fail. I also felt good about propping up the share price in my own very small way, as I know many people who work at AIG, or are AIG alumni.

I picked up shares at $2.30 and 2.74, for a cost basis of $2.52. Looking at the after-hours prices, this purchase looks like a wash for now. I'd be feeling warmer and fuzzier if I had dumped the shares at $4.50 a couple hours after purchasing them.

On a more uplifting note, I sold out the remaining ultra-short financials position in SKF right after the open at $141.49. Combined with Monday's sale of SKF at $125, I sold out the position at an average of $127.46 a share off of an original cost basis of $109.46. That $18 gain per share worked out to a percentage gain of 16.4%.

It's a good thing I sold out my SKF position. This volatile ETF traded in a $32 range today, closing at $118.66.

Now that I've introduced volatility into this meandering post, onto some volatility charts:

The extreme readings on the VIX and VXO volatility charts above suggest a near-term bottom, so I bought shares of UYG, the ultra-long financials ETF at $18.03

The last two days have been engrossing and exhausting. Reminded me of an excellent Wrens tune (This Boy is Exhausted) that you can hear in this fan-made video:

Some trite lessons learned during these last two days:

Stay calm, analytical, and centered as the market swings violently. I've tried to keep my eye on the horizon line, which is apparently suggested for those poor souls who suffer seasickness. Much like a rocking boat, I guess I enjoy the ride the market provides.

That old adage that inspired the name of this blog: "Bulls make money, bears make money, and pigs get slaughtered" has almost become a mantra. But not like that awfully tedious Chiodos song. (No link for that. Blog's gotta have standards.)

It's also a good idea to keep attuned to the bigger picture. And I mean looking at long-term trends on charts, not hugging loved ones or huffing the resplendent flora.

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