20 November 2008

Market Update and Portfolio Changes

The Gray Lady provides succinct commentary for the day's market action:

In a day dominated by fear and uncertainty, financial markets plunged in late trading, carving new lows, after spending much of the day bobbing between positive and negative territory. The Dow Jones industrial average was 444.99 points or 5.5 percent lower Thursday afternoon at the close. The wider Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was down 54.14 points or 6.7 percent, adding to its losses after tumbling 6 percent on Wednesday. The Nasdaq fell 5 percent.
Financial shares, which took the brunt of Wednesday’s losses, continued their bad streak on Thursday. Citigroup fell by double digits for a second day, to less than $5 a share, despite news that Prince al-Walid bin Talal of Saudi Arabia was increasing his stake in the troubled banking giant to 5 percent. Banks from Wells Fargo to Bank of America to JPMorgan Chase were all down in afternoon trading.

There's a helluva lot more reasons--all negative--contained in the Times' article. I couldn't bear to bear more bad news in this blog. And yes, that's a lot of bear.

On second thought, I couldn't resist disagreeing with the following passage:

“We think it’s going to continue to go lower,” said Ryan Detrick of Schaeffer’s Investment Research. “We don’t think people are scared enough. They’re just not showing enough fear. People are numb to this, they’re almost immune to it.”

C'mon, the VIX crossed 80 today. And the Big 3 CEO's have been sent back to Detroit with nothing but a homework assignment due December 2nd, ruining their Thanksgiving holidays.

I took advantage of another day of carnage and turned some more idling cash into shares:

Bought more UYG at $3.98 in the a.m. and at $3.64 in the p.m. (noticing a downward trend here?) for a new cost basis of that growing position of $5.14. UYG traded in a range of $3.62 to $4.73 today. I did harbor thoughts of unloading this morning's purchase at ~$4.80 for a quick intra-day 20% gain, but alas, UYG failed to scale those heights. Instead, I had an opportunity to buy shares near the close for even lower.

Bought shares of SSO, the ultra-long 2X S&P 500 ETF, in the last fifteen minutes at $18.98.

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