Archive for April, 2012
News hit the tape that MSFT will invest $300 MM into BKS to support the NOOK. While we are 1 hour from the 9:30 am ET open, BKS is up 92% on the news, which has obviously caught everyone off guard.
The short sellers are getting murdered as they are buying frantically along with the new longs and existing longs who want to add to their positions. Short selling involves borrowing BKS shares, selling them, and purchasing them back at a lower price. In that instance the trader keeps the difference and returns the shares to the lender.
That’s when things work out. When stocks rise against the short seller, s/he loses money. And since their is no upper boundary to the shares’ price, the risk is said to be unlimited.
To hedge against this risk while short, a trader can purchase call options above the market price to capture any violent reactions to the upside, such as the one we see this morning. This is the best option, literally and figuratively, to offset the risk to the upside.
Selling put options against a short sale is technically considered a “covered” position, but the trader only gets to keep the option premium. If the stock drops far enough, the put option will be exercised and the short seller will be forced to repurchase the stock thereby covering the short position. The option seller keeps the premium also.
But that typically amounts to a few dollars which the put seller will get to keep. However, against a $13 rise, keeping $3 in option premium is the proverbial set of steak knives.
Most traders are taught rightfully to place protected buy stops above the market to purchase the shares and offset the short sales. In instances such as today, there is oftentimes no liquidity since the whole world seemingly wants to buy the stock. Stop orders become market orders once the shares trade “at or through” the stop price that the trader delineates on the order ticket.
If I’m short at $15 and I’ve placed my protective Buy Stop at $18, once BKS trades at $18 or higher, I will get filled at the market. That could be significantly higher. The first trade might not go off until $22. That is “at or through” $18, so there will be significant “skid” or slippage as it’s called on my order. Slippage and skid is an expense to the trader.
A trader could have purchased a call with a $15 Strike Price so that all of today’s news would have been captured in the option premium, thereby benefiting and hedging the short seller for any damage above $15.
The only way to capture that $4 slippage is by owning call options to hedge your short position (especially over weekends). Owning options is a pure hedge. Selling options is a partial hedge strategy and is typically used as a strategy to generate more income.Read More
Best Buy is shuttering stores to help the beleaguered retailer shore up expenses.
Normally, layoffs and store closings will save money and are a step towards bringing the firm to higher earning per share (as well as cause a great deal of financial hardship for those laid off). However, I see this as a terrible leading indicator for what lies ahead for not only Best Buy, but other brick and mortar retailers.
One of the stores being closed in SoCal is literally right across the street from the UCLA campus in the Westwood section of Los Angeles. That would make you believe that they’d have 4 academic quarters of regular walk-in business from students who need and want the latest video game consoles, TV’s, cameras, and smart phones (UCLA is on a quarterly system, not trimesters or semesters fyi). And thus, if the foot traffic across the street from UCLA can’t sustain a physical location, the macro bet for me is that Best Buy’s days are numbered in all their physical locations.
The decisions that I make in Los Angeles to go ANYWHERE are always conjugated with 2 things: the time of day and the location. Depending on the time of day, you may actually be going against the traffic than be jammed in it. When this happens, it is manna from heaven from the traffic gods.
You may have heard that Best Buy is a showroom for shoppers to see the items they eventually go purchase on Amazon.com. That might be more of a foreshadowing than Best Buy wants to let on.
“No stock is too high to buy, nor to low to sell short.” Best Buy in this regard is a better sell.Read More
Tadas Viskanta is the author of all things Abnormal so to speak:
Read Abnormal Returns – the book
Read Abnormal Returns – his blog
Follow Abnormal Returns – his Twitter handle
His blog is a must read and I’ve been reading it forever. He asked me for a quote for the back cover and it was my honor to oblige him. Needless to say, his is a great book.
Read the book, Read his blog, and Follow him on Twitter.
Oh, and Listen to the podcast.Read More
It’s hard to turn on the radio these days and not hear Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know within 15 minutes. Here’s an interview I did with him in Los Angeles recently. He’s very talented and completely unassuming. He’ll be the musical guest on SNL tomorrow night and then at Coachella on Sunday.
You can read my entire Gotye interview at Huffington Post.Read More
Barron’s Striking Price columnist Steve Sears is out with a new book called The Indomitable Investor.
The book is a rich discussion about how the market and its participants are oftentimes at odds with one another, and the latter usually paying a hefty tuition bill.
Sears best quote from the book goes a long way to describing why that is the case: “Bad investors think of ways to make money. Good investors think of ways to not lose money.”
Here is the podcast that we recorded and in which we discuss the book and several other provocative ideas such as Warren Buffett, Apple (AAPL), the downside to too much social media, and the value of being skeptical of everything.
Read my article about the book To Invest Like Warren Buffett, Learn How To Sell at the Huffington Post.Read More