Crude Entrapment

Hey, everyone, just two weeks until we elect President Pandering Pantsuit! Are you excited as I am? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Anyway, my largest concentration of shorts remains in the energy sector. Crude has been in a tight little jail cell ranging from 49.62 to 52.22 for weeks now. We’ve got a shot of […]
Slope of Hope

AAPL Poised for Positive Earnings Reaction

Apple reports Q3 earnings after the close of trading on Tuesday. Wall Street always gets excited when AAPL reports, because investors and detractors are extremely passionate about the potential of the company — positive or negative. All eyes will be on the “line items:” + iPhone 7 sales + Units shipped… Macs shipped… iPads shipped […]
Slope of Hope

Groundhog Daze

The tape on ES/SPX has been really dull for a few months now. Usually when this kind of volatility compression happens we get a proportionate expansion in one direction or the other afterwards which restores the balance, but we haven’t seen that yet and I’m considering the possibility that may not have happened so far […]
Slope of Hope

The Current Message of Yield Curves: Inflation or Deflation?

With the state of post-Op/Twist systemic dysfunction, there are no absolutes, but… Generally, a rising yield curve (after years of Goldilocks and her favored declining curve) would signal changes in financial markets.  But it is not as simple as stating ‘the curve is rising… it’s bearish!’ or ‘the curve is rising… it’s bullish!’.  It is […]
Slope of Hope

Carl Hiaasen should be the official novelist for the Presidential Election?

Should each election have an official novelist? If so, I nominate Carl Hiaasen for Election 2016. What kind of novel goes with “Porn Star Becomes Latest Trump Accuser — Day After Launching Online Sex Store”? My vote is Razor Girl, about a young lady who makes her living with her pants down, though not in the most conventional ways.

Here are some excerpts:

The Tesla had no trunk, so Coolman was permitted to ride in the backseat. This slender bit of good fortune allowed him to press his case for mercy. Zeto remained cold to his pleas, but Merry seemed open to the idea of giving Coolman more time to raise some funds. “Say nobody comes through. How much you got in the bank?” she said. “It’s all frozen. I’m in the middle of a divorce.”

Had Amp owned a fully formed conscience he would have experienced at least a tickle of guilt for boning Rachel Coolman on the sly, but he’d lost not a minute of sleep. It had been her idea, after all, and Amp was but one of many to meet her for a quick one at the Wilshire. That she would pauperize her future ex-husband in court was a given—it was California, right?

“Has it been four hours?” Richardson checked his watch. “Four hours is when they say to panic.” “Then we’ll wait here together.” Deb opened a book and vaped on her plastic ciggie. If not for her own clandestine escapades—the kayak instructor, the Tantric landscaper, her stepsister’s podiatrist, and so on—she would have pressed more aggressively the issue of her fiancé’s infidelity.

She could envision a medium-length marriage—say five to seven years—based solely on the attractions of sex and money. [Note that seven years would be more prudent for establishing a claim to “permanent alimony” under Florida family law.]

The Pensacola condominium was titled in Miracle’s name, and there was already a Confederate flag on the bathroom wall. “Legally she owns the place,” Coolman said to Buck. “That’s how you wanted it, remember?” Buck slammed a fist on the table, which was so heavy it barely moved. Tears pooled in his eyes as he nursed his throbbing hand. Blister was sympathetic. “You was blinded by the pussy, that’s all. I been there, brother. Say hi to pussy, say bye-bye to common sense.”

[One error in the book is the assumption that an FBO would have a record of the passengers aboard a private plane on a domestic flight: “Yancy was irked that Burton hadn’t told him that Blister and the others were not aboard the gray executive jet that had departed the night before; by now the detective surely had obtained the passenger manifest from the pretty silver-haired woman at the airport.”]

Readers: What do you think? Do Hiaasen’s tales of Americans in Florida match up well to the spirit and focus of the election? Is there a better choice of novelist?


Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

Life as a union auto worker in the late 1970s

One subject that has come up in this election cycle is the purportedly Great Age of American Manufacturing and Middle Class Jobs that prevailed back in the 1970s. But what was it actually like back then? I recently did some work in Detroit on an inter partes review. One of the Detroit-based patent litigators with whom I was working was actually on the scene in the 1970s with summer jobs in two Ford plants. Other than pride in having built a lot of Fairmonts, what does he remember? “You couldn’t be fired unless you hit someone. You didn’t have to do anything. The worst that could happen to you was that you’d be reassigned to a different job.” When experts came in to evaluate how fast the line should move, everyone was told by union bosses to slow down. “They saw everything in slow-motion,” he said.

Meanwhile, what does it look like now that we’re getting our cars from factories in the South, in Mexico, and in Asia? Here’s a photo of peak morning rush hour traffic in Southfield, a suburban business hub:


Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

Vix Analog

As the VIX got pounded back into the sub-teens today, it occurred to me to compare the present activity to the period preceding the financial crisis. What I found was interesting. The chart below (click it for a much bigger version) shows 2003-2007 on the top and recent history on the bottom. You may notice […]
Slope of Hope

Meet The Team

Welcome to our new “Meet the Team” blog series, where we’ll spotlight the individuals at OptionsHouse who work behind the scenes to provide an outstanding customer experience.

First up is our dedicated Customer Service team. We know you take your trading seriously, and deserve the best support possible. This is why, in addition to our award-winning platform, we have assembled a service team that works tirelessly to provide assistance, when needed, at every step of the trading process.

OptionsHouse Customer Service – Key Characteristics:

  • Industry professionals with at least series 7 and 63 licenses
  • Based in-house, at our Chicago headquarters
  • 11.5 years of average support and trading experience across representatives

Our first profile will feature Paul, our Vice President of Relationship Management. An avid soccer and hockey player, as well as a musician, Paul is a natural team player, well-suited for the OptionsHouse Customer Service team.

  • Started his career on the floor of the Chicago Board Options Exchange in 1992
  • 18 years with proprietary trading firms and 6 years on retail trading
  • Experienced in options strategy development and education
  • Excels at solving issues for the sophisticated retail trader

What does Customer Service look like and what do you like most about the team?

First and foremost, we answer emails and phone calls from customers in a timely and genuine manner. We host support team-wide meetings to discuss, and eventually mandate, new policies that we think will help our customers. We find ways to build our team environment and camaraderie. We coach our support reps to help them find the best ways to go beyond simply answering questions and providing insights to customers, which creates an atmosphere that promotes teamwork and enables customer success.

As for what I like most, it’s definitely the people I work with and the people I work for. I’ve never worked with such a fun group that I care so much about—a team that wants to get so much done on behalf of our customers. We’ve got a great group, and we’ve worked long and hard to get it that way.

Further, it’s also exciting being the conduit between our customers and the rest of the company. I enjoy being an advocate for the customer and working with my team to help customers achieve lasting success.

What are the most commonly asked questions that come from customers?

Status requests: what’s the status of my deposit, withdrawal, account and so forth. However, we also have opportunities to add value in a more strategic way. I spend a lot of my time taking customers through the platform and breaking down trading strategies. It’s important to me that customers understand how to properly trade options, and how they can be a great tool for risk management or income generation. If you want to be a self-directed investor, it’s a great time to be one—if you’re armed with the right knowledge, support and technology.

How does the team collaborate to solve complex issues for customers?

We do the majority of our collaboration in real time. Having everyone in one room means we can quickly get together to sort something out, so that nothing is lost in translation or slowed by corporate red tape. As a rule, timeliness is a big priority. And, in addition to speeding things up, our proximity allows us to tap our collective knowledge. We’re very open and it’s great to draw on various opinions, viewpoints and experiences, and do so in real time.

What are some things that your successful customers have in common?

The main differentiator in my mind is that successful customers have a predefined exit strategy: they know when to take a profit and when to take a loss. You can’t be guided by a quick-win or greed mentality, or let your emotions overly influence your decisions.

To that end, the biggest differences I’ve seen between professional and retail traders are from an emotional standpoint. OptionsHouse provides a platform, tools and educational resources that allows customers to objectively review their trading.

Disclosure: The opinions expressed by the individual above do not necessarily represent or reflect the opinions of OptionsHouse.

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OptionsHouse Blog – OptionsHouse

A Surprising Blue Chip

Facebook has, against all odds, become just about the most reliable, stable, always-making-new-highs stock since Amazon came onto the scene. It’s actually pretty shocking to witness, since irrespective of market conditions, Team Zuck just keeps soaring. Remember this brilliant bit of journalism from four years ago? It was written the exact same month and year […]
Slope of Hope

After The Low Window

The low window on SPX ended on Friday, and there wasn’t much at the weekend to suggest that prices would go lower this week. With RUT testing main rising wedge support at the low on Friday and NDX retesting the all time highs today, there’s not much to cheer the bears that has happened since. […]
Slope of Hope

Merger Mondays are back!

Years ago traders became so used to hearing about merger activity conducted over the weekend that it seemed each Monday was carried the moniker of “Merger Monday”. Today is reminiscent of those days with 4 big deals hitting the headlines.

  • AT&T (T) confirmed the rumors from last week that it is making 85 billion dollar bid for Time Warner (TWC). The deal is expected to face harsh regulatory scrutiny and the TWC share price reflects the market’s doubts that this announced deal will be finalized.
  • Aircraft component maker Rockwell Collins (COL) 6.4 billion dollar deal for B/E Aerospace (BEAV)
  • TD Ameritrade (AMTD) announced intent to bid 4 billion for Scottrade which is privately held
  • and a Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, is paying 6.5 billion for a 25% stake in hotel chain Hilton (HLT) which it is buying from Blackstone (BX) a private-equity company.

Merger activity can have a positive impact on the macro market psychology as well with the thought process being if Company A believes Company B’s current stock price is a compelling value, maybe the entire market is likewise a value… Now you have to factor in that oftentimes the acquiring company is using their stock as currency for a purchase then you could land on thinking that Company A believes their own share price is highly enough valued to spend. This all comes back to the final truth in securities trading which is for every buyer there is a seller. With mergers remember that the trade has not occurred at the announcement of a deal, far from it. There is a long process involving required regulatory approvals both here and many times abroad and shareholder approvals needed at a minimum. But merger Mondays certainly get the excitement level ramped up to start the trading week!

This week, the earnings parade continues to gain momentum! You can quickly tell by how full the OptionsHouse Earnings Calendar is this week.


The heavyweights include:

In Technology:  

Apple (AAPL) on Tuesday after the market close (AMC)

Alphabet (GOOG) and Amazon (AMZN) on Thursday (AMC)


     General Motors (GM) and Caterpillar (CAT) Tuesday before the market opens (BMO)

     Boeing (BA) Wednesday (BMO)

     United Parcel Service (UPS) Thursday (BMO)


     Procter & Gamble (PG) Tuesday (BMO)

     Coca Cola (KO) and Mondelez Intl. (MDLZ) Wednesday (BMO)

     Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS) and Hershey Food (HSY) Thursday (BMO)


     Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) on Friday (BMO)


So there are plenty of chips, soft drinks and chocolate company earnings to snack on this week while you hop on the Cubs bandwagon and their quest to erase 108 years of frustration!

Hopefully we all can fly the  “W” flag for the market and for the Cubbies this week!picture1-1

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