Independent Analysis of DxOMark sensor tests

Peter van den Hamer, a Dutch physicist, has written a very interesting four-section (see the navigation buttons at the top) article looking at DxOMark’s sensor tests. This independent analysis indicates that the DxO guys are doing a pretty good job. My big Canon system, sadly, ends up in the “losers” category along with medium-format sensors. Nikon, Sony, and other users of the Sony sensors are crushing everyone else. van den Hamer notes that Olympus is beginning to close the gap. What he didn’t say is that they did this by buying sensors from… Sony (source).

[Separately, DxOMark has tested a new Nikon D5200 APS-C (smallish) sensor camera and the result was a 14 f-stop dynamic range (Canon SLRs manage between 11 and 12). What’s unusual about this test is that the sensor is made by Toshiba. So now there are at least two sensor manufacturers that can easily outperform anything that Canon makes in-house. As DxO says in their conclusion: “The new sensors comfortably out-perform the current Canon offerings in practically every metric.”]

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

The Weekend Trader – Breakfast With the Industry’s White Knight

Had a great breakfast in Boston yesterday with James Koutoulas and members of the Typhon Capital Management team where I presented him another check in support of the CCC.

We also reminisced about our collective battle on the MF Global front, discussed Typhon, and talked about the upcoming book which will contain a full chapter about MF Global with special acknowledgements to James and the entire Commodity Customer Coalition.

Continued thanks to the Bloomberg, New York Post, and Motley Fool media outlets who personally helped me get my story out on behalf of all customers.

Don Miller’s S&P Trading Tank

Macro Week in Review/Preview January 25, 2013

Written By: DragonFly Capital

Last week’s review of the macro market indicators suggested, heading into the shortened holiday week that the markets continued to look bullish. Gold looked set to continue higher within the sideways channel while Crude Oil continued its rise. The US Dollar Index seemed content to move sideways while US Treasuries were biased higher in the downtrend. The Shanghai Composite and Emerging Markets were biased to the upside on a break of their recent consolidations. Volatility looked to remain low and biased to move lower keeping the bias higher for the equity index ETF’s SPY, IWM and QQQ. There seemed to be some rotation from the IWM into the SPY and now the QQQ was clearly lagging in a consolidation zone, keep an eye on it.

The week played out with Gold drifting higher early only to crash late in the week while Crude Oil moved up but is pace is slowing. The US Dollar continued sideways while Treasuries hung on before losing ground Friday. The Shanghai Composite continued to consolidate in a tight range while Emerging Markets gave up some of their gains, down to support. Volatility remained at extreme lows. This allowed the Equity Index ETF’s to continue higher with the SPY and IWM making new multi-year highs but the QQQ still lagging in eh consolidation zone. What does this mean for the coming week? Lets look at some charts.

If you like what you see sign up for more ideas and deeper analysis using the Get Premium button above. As always you can see details of individual charts and more on my StockTwits feed and on chartly.)

The post Macro Week in Review/Preview January 25, 2013 appeared first on Dragonfly Capital.

Dragonfly Capital

Another reason to feel like a failure: Scientists say that women are easy to get into bed

The New York Times on January 12, 2013 published an article “Darwin was Wrong about Dating”. It says that the evolutionary biologists were wrong when they said that men were interested in spreading their genes by having casual sex whereas women were more interested in a stable relationship with a companion who will help rear their cihldren:

“Lately, however, a new cohort of scientists have been challenging the very existence of the gender differences in sexual behavior that Darwinians have spent the past 40 years trying to explain and justify on evolutionary grounds.”

If you’re a man and have had any difficulty in getting women to agree to sleep with you, reading this article would be a good way to feel worse about yourself. According to the eggheads with clipboards, it is not that women typically say “no”; they just happen to say “no” most of the time to you.

[On a more serious note, the article fails to consider changes in the incentive structure for women who have children without the continued voluntary assistance of the father. First of all, the social stigma of raising a fatherless child has been mostly removed. At lower paternal income levels, a variety of forms of government assistance will provide the single mother with roughly $ 45,000 per year in tax-free benefits, depending on the state (see this chart). That is more than the average American worker’s take-home pay. At higher paternal income levels, court-ordered child support payments may provide the non-working single mother with a substantially higher (tax-free) income than working at an average wage. Whereas an unplanned pregnancy would have at one time been a significant “cost” of a night of casual sex, both in terms of social stigma and financially, today in American society a pregnancy that results from casual sex may be a net benefit. After the obvious benefit that children are wonderful companions and a lot of fun (almost all the time anyway), the most notable part of this benefit is the cash component, yielding more than $ 1 million tax-free prior to the child reaching adulthood. There are a lot of things that Homo sapiens did not evolve to do while roaming the savanna of the East African Rift that today, for $ 1 million, you can get a Homo sapiens to do. So potentially there is no contradiction between the Darwinists and the scientists quoted in the New York Times article.]

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

If Guns are Cheap, Criminals Will Have Guns

by Mike Kimel

If Guns are Cheap, Criminals Will Have Guns

If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. We’ve all heard that many times. But is it true? Well, it is certainly a tautology. But there is another way to ensure that outlaws have guns. Namely, keep them cheap.

From the 2009 Firearms Used in the Commission of Crimes focusing specifically on guns used in the commission of crimes in rural parts of California:

Of the 147 firearms examined, there were 120 (81.6
percent) handguns, 13 (8.8 percent) rifles, 11 (7.5 percent) shotguns,
and 3 (2 percent) machine guns.

The 2010 version of the same report paints a similar picture:

Of the 175 firearms reported, there were 158 (90.3 percent) handguns, 12 (6.9 percent) rifles, 4 (2.3 percent) shotguns, and 1 (0.6 percent) full-auto firearm.

The reason handguns are more often used in the commission of a crime than other types of weapons is not because the typical criminal doesn’t think it would be tres cool to use a belt fed machine gun or a shoulder launched missile. Its because those types of weapons are very, very hard to come by. With some digging, you can get your hands on a belt fed machine gun, but you are very unlikely to do it for less than $ 10K for a cheapo model. Instead, what often happens is that armed criminals are most often armed with what one can best be described as lousy guns. Don’t believe me? Here is a post from someone who clearly cannot be described as pro-gun control, commenting on the list of top ten guns used in crimes according to the ATF.

Descriptions include:

An absolute piece of crap that sells for less than $ 120 retail. No real shooter would even warrant this “gun” as a legitimate target to even shoot at.

Here’s another:

Another piece of shit that sells for less than $ 110 retail, and is worth less than the pipsqueak ammunition you can try to feed it.

And another:

The cheapest 12-guage on the market, designed for people who cannot afford a real shotgun. Not even close to being considered a “fighting” shotgun. No offense to Mossberg, but there is a reason that  these Wal-Mart grade firepoles are given away at Ducks Unlimited as door prizes. Most do (and should) end up being traded up at gun shops for real shotguns.

Some of the other descriptions are even more creative. My favorite is number ten on the list:

This one takes the cake as the “most prone to never fire, ever” firearm that was ever produced. Apparently they had a street price of $ 60 in Miami at one point, which would have been better spent on a wristrocket or a billyclub if you planned to actually use one in a legitimate crime. They eventually had to fight lawsuits from prosecutors and criminals at the same time because of their inherent defectiveness.

To quote that post further:

Though most teenage gangbangers wouldn’t be caught dead with a Smith and Wesson .38 revolver, an old fashioned six shooter, it nonetheless claims the lead on the top ten list. That’s because there are literally millions in existence; Smith and Wesson introduced the .38 in 1899, and since then, models have proliferated, transforming the name “Smith and Wesson .38” into a generic label for a particular style of gun, even clones that aren’t made by Smith and Wesson. Similarly, the Smith and Wesson .357 revolver, which was introduced in 1935, and the venerable Mossberg shotgun made the list based on the sheer volume in circulation.

But street criminals are interested almost exclusively in semiautomatics, preferring their superior firepower. (Semiautomatics hold at least seven and often as many as ten or twelve rounds of ammunition. –Or 18 if you can spend the extra dinero made from a 7-11 heist on a Beretta)

Gun traffickers like to peddle cheap semiautomatics to teenagers because they can tack on a hefty mark-up (of ten bucks) and still offer a weapon that costs less than an upscale gun like a Ruger or Smith and Wesson semiautomatic. That’s why inexpensive semiautomatics dominate the top ten list. As it happens, many of the companies on that list have links to George Jennings, founder of the now-defunct Raven Arms and his clan. Jennings’ son Bruce founded Bryco in 1992. According to the ATF, Jennings’ son-in-law Jim Davis founded Davis Industries, and Lorcin Engineering was launched by Jim Waldorf, Bruce Jennings’ high school friend. These companies and several others also linked to Jennings are known in the trade as the “ring of fire.”

The point is, criminals use the guns they do because they’re available, and the guns that are available are usually available because they’re cheap.

Angry Bear

“Chronicles …” Sneak Preview #2

I thought seriously about not posting any text today, and instead simply post the attached photo which accurately depicts the theme of Wiley & Sons’ upcoming book which will detail the life and trading journeys of this trader.

The valleys, the bumps, and the plateaus. The beauty, the clouds, and the unknown where the road seems to end yet simply dips again before heading to another distant land. And finally, a higher mountain to the right if one chooses to continue further.

And as Amazon readies for the July 2013 book launch (just in case if you were wondering if this was real), I remain humbled and blessed by being provided such a forum from which I can tell the full and complete story.  From my early crushing life and trading setbacks and missteps to lessons that continue to this very day, it’s all there.  And while I thought it would be difficult to improve on the 1,100+ real time posts in this online journal to create something that once in print would forever stand the test of time and provide at least some small benefit to the trading community of both today and tomorrow, my hat goes off to the team at John Wiley & Sons for helping us do just that.

As many know, I’ve long advocated full transparency in an industry that is too often cloaked by smoke and mirrors. Yet while successfully navigating the financial markets reflects one of life’s greatest challenges – which the book addresses in spades – I document with strong conviction that it IS possible to achieve and retain success beyond which most will ever understand due to their lack of knowledge, personal initiative, circumstance, or simply vision. Why can I say this? Because at one time or another, I was that person lacking all four attributes!

Yes, there are no shortcuts along the way to reach those distant mountains. For we must travel the road as paved, consume the fuel, and believe the mountains aren’t simply painted on the sky. My goal in writing the book is to simply try to smooth the road just a bit such that your lows aren’t as low as mine, and your peaks are hopefully higher.

As for where I am on the road in the photo right now? I’m somewhere over that last green hill, but still driving & trading my way to that next destination.

P.S. For those on Facebook, we’ve launched a new Facebook page which we’ll update with publishing timeline updates and other trading tidbits from time to time, along with maintaining and stepping up our efforts on this site. And as always, email me at with comments or suggestions as we continue our mission of making each other stronger. Choosing “Like” on that site should activate the news feed at your end.

Don Miller’s S&P Trading Tank

Join Corey Thursday for Strategic Planning Four Speaker Webinar Event

I’m excited to announce that I will be presenting an informational webinar as part of a four-speaker event on Thursday, January 31st and I wanted to invite you to attend.

Sponsored by Real Traders Webinar, their January 31st event will include four back-to-back presentations under the topic “Strategic Planning and Precision Trading” and by registering, you will be able to attend one or all events in the live series.

I will be presenting at 2:00pm EST/1:00pm CST and the detailed schedule is listed below:

How To Time Your Entries With Swiss Clock Precision
Dr. Barry Burns Veteran Trader and Educator – TopDogTrading (12:00pm EST)

Dr.Barry Burns has continued in his father’s footsteps, a 70 year trading veteran, working with professional mentors and a Chicago floor trader as he developed his own methodology. Using an indicator already in your charting software, he will show you how to change the settings to pinpoint high and low trade signals with a technique he took two years to develop and uses every time he takes a stock, forex or futures trade.

High Probability Support and Resistance Trading With Options
Marc Nicolas – DayTradingZones (1:00pm EST)

Learn the unique combination of chart analysis with specific option strategies which Marc Nicolas trades and mentors for long term wealth. Marc is an 18 year trading veteran. He cut his teeth trading for JP Capital, a division of Andover Trading. Since 2002, he has mentored Overlaying Probability Trading Strategies for the eminis, forex, ETFs, stocks and options in the live markets, training total newbies to 25 year traders, some with institutional backgrounds such as Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank.

Evening Game Planning and Tactics for Trading the Next Day
Corey Rosenbloom – AfraidtoTrade (2:00pm EST)

Corey Rosenbloom is a Chartered Market Technician dedicated to helping traders overcome fears. He blends intermarket analysis and sector rotation concepts into his short-term and intraday trading strategies for gold, stocks, bonds, crude oil, and the US Dollar index. He will explain how to plan for the next trading day, how to recognize whether the session is heading to become a Trend Day or a Range Day and consequently which trades (and indicators) will work best.

Technical Insights from Pit and Floor Futures Trading
Tim Haefke – MrTopStep (Top Step Trading) (3:00pm EST)

Tim started in the business with Dean Witter over 20 years ago as head technician for their institutional group. His focus is the S&P, Nasdaq and 30 Year Bond. He will be explaining his technical basis and insight into futures trading from the pit and the floor.

I’ll specifically be discussing how to study charts in the evening to develop expectations and a “Game-Plan” for trading the next session.

Continuing the logic, I’ll discuss how to implement your game-plan in real-time as the intraday session develops into a Range Day, Trend Day, or Combination session.

I’ll also highlight the ideal trades and opportunities depending on how the day unfolds (and what to watch as the day progresses).

Thank you to Real Traders Webinar for arranging this event and I hope you can join us Thursday!


Afraid to Blog

Health Care Thoughts: PPACA Health Exchange Oops

by Tom aka Rusty Rustbelt

Health Care Thoughts: PPACA Health Exchange Oops

On March 1, 2013 employers were supposed to notify employees in writing of information relating to the health insurance exchanges, including a 1) description of services, 2) employee eligibility for a premium tax credit IF the employee purchases an exchange insurance product, and 3) the downside of the employee purchasing through the exchange.

On January 24th the Department of Labor announced the suspension of the notice rule, because there is very little guidance currently available, as the feds are behind on implementation actions and exchanges are still in a confused infancy.

It is possible the DOL will require the notices to be issued in late summer or fall, ahead of an October (?) startup.

I am now putting the probability of a major delay of exchange start ups at 30%.

Angry Bear

Navigating Summer Whipsaws

Traders encounter whipsaws, fakeouts and false breakouts throughout their careers. They shouldn’t be surprised though, because all we’re doing is playing an odds game and even a perfect trade setup can fall apart for no reason, and with little warning. This reminds us risk management is not optional if we intend to trade. It’s absolutely […]

S&P 500 Nature Voodoo Magic Stuff

Written By: DragonFly Capital

There are numerous opinions and charts showing that the S&P 500 looks bullish. I have put forth many myself either directly or through my new firm. And because that was not enough here is one more. A simple Harmonic ABCD pattern. From the June 2012 Low (A) to the September high (B) measures 207 points. Added to the pullback to the November low (C) gives a target for a top at 1551.12. The other method of extending the measurement in this chart looks at the pullback from (B) to (C), 63.1% of the (A) to (B) move. From there the reciprocal 158.4% is used as an extension

spx ab-cd

of the (B) to (C) leg. What target does that provide? Exactly the same 1551.12. You may also remember that Harmonics give an estimate for the time to get to the target as well. The time from (A) to (B) can be used to approximate the time from (C) to (D). This gives a target of March 1st or March 2nd. My son’s 8th Birthday and my daughter’s 6th Birthday! Wouldn’t that be a nice present.

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Dragonfly Capital Views Performance Through January 2013 Expiry

The post S&P 500 Nature Voodoo Magic Stuff appeared first on Dragonfly Capital.

Dragonfly Capital

The Netherlands’ role as corporate tax haven a “stain on the nation’s reputation”

by Linda Beale

The Netherlands’ role as corporate tax haven a “stain on the nation’s reputation”

As Europe, the US, and other countries continue to face sluggish economies in the midst of extraordinarily high corporate profits, substantial accumulation of new wealth in the hands of even fewer people, and inordinate influence of corporatist approaches on democratic governance, a public backlash is growing and legislatures are beginning to notice.

Here in the US, President Obama’s second inauguration speech acknowledged the necessity of cooperative approaches to the dire problems we face today.  Those problems– poverty, limited opportunity due to lowerclass status, lack of educational access, climate change and infrastructure needs–all relate to the increasing inequality among our people, the ability of the wealthy to buy secure and safe lifestyles for themselves while the majority are left to struggle with potential loss of jobs, homes and health.  People are starting to notice the inordinate power of huge multinational corporations and their owners due to the influence of wealth and the way the wealthy have been able to capture almost all of the gains of the last few decades for themselves.  Perhaps we are on the cusp of a new populism that will reclaim the American economy and the American system for ordinary people.

In the Netherlands, the backlash against unfair tax policies may be happening even more clearly than here.  The Netherlands has become an infamous tax haven for corporate giants (renowned for using the “Dutch sandwich” structure to avoid taxation).  Yahoo’s arrangement, described by Jesse Drucker in a Bloomberg story today, illustrates the problem perfectly.

Inside Reindert Dooves’ home, a 17th century, three-story converted warehouse along the Zaan canal in suburban Amsterdam, a 21st-century Internet giant is avoiding taxes.  The bookkeeper’s home office doubles as the headquarters for a Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) offshore unit. Through this sun-filled, white walled room, Yahoo has taken advantage of the law to quietly funnel hundreds of millions of dollars in global profits to island subsidiaries, cutting its worldwide tax bill.
The Yahoo arrangement illustrates that the Netherlands, in the heart of a continent better known for social welfare than corporate welfare, has emerged as one of the most important tax havens for multinational companies.

Jesse Drucker, Yahoo, Dell Swell Netherlands $ 13 Trillion Tax Haven, (Jan. 23, 2013).  Many of the Dutch companies created by MNEs like Yahoo, Google, Merck, and Dell are sham companies that “only exist on paper”.  $ 10.2 trillion dollars went through 14,300 of those sham companies in 2010. Id.  Merck has 54 subsidiaries in the Netherlands and routed more than 7 billion euros in royalties between 2002 and 2010 through an Amsterdam subsidiary that has no employees.  Id.

The Labour Party and People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy took power in November and are “fed up with these so-called PO Box companies”, according to a parliamentarian from Labour.  Id.  Another parliamentarian (from the Dutch Socialist Party) noted that while governments are cutting their budgets, multinationals are avoiding taxes, and the Netherlands is functioning as a connecter to the tax havens.

The anti-tax avoidance concern is growing across advanced nations. As the article notes, the European Commission, has also noted the problems with tax avoidance and evasion and has advised its member states to adopt anti-abuse rules.  Similarly, the OECD is discussing a proposal to make it harder for companies to use shams like the Dutch sandwich structure to shuffle profits into tax haven islands and avoid taxes in OECD countries.  And the UK has scheduled a second parliamentary hearing this month on the issue.  Id.

Tax treaties are supposed to protect companies from double taxation on the same income by two different jursidictions, but tax lawyers have developed sophisticated structures that allow companies to enjoy double non-taxation.  The article describes Dell’s use of a Netherlands subsidiary (with no Netherlands employees) to claim credit for about three-fourth’s of Dell’s worldwide income and achieve substantial tax savings–about $ 4 billion since 2004.  Id.  The US Is challenging Dell’s claim that it is appropriately using the Netherlands and Singapore arrangement to avoid US taxes.

And of course these same MNE giants are the ones that are accumulating billions overseas on which they are seeking special legislation to allow them to repatriate cash to the US at low (or negative) taxes. See earlier Angry Bear and ataxingmatter posts on this issue.

Hopefully, even the Republicans in Congress will realize that this corporate game of tax avoidance using international subsidiaries that have no employees is a sham and will take action to eliminate loopholes that permit hugely profitable companies to pay minimal corporate taxes.

cross posted with ataxingmatter

Angry Bear