Not Without a Fight

I can’t say I’m surprised, but ANY little weakness in this market gets gobbled right up. Below is the NQ (it’s actually gone up MUCH higher than this represents). The only thing keeping me from feeling like a total knob right now is that, when faced with the decision whether to short MORE this morning […]
Slope of Hope

Knife Fight at 2150

Just a quick post today as I’m not feeling well and my ability to multitask declines sharply when I’m feeling under the weather. I’ve mainly been calling the turns on the epic knife fight at 2150 today and if you aren’t following my twitter you’ll have missed that. I’m going to just use the SPX […]
Slope of Hope

Female airline pilots fight to get paid more than men

“When the Pilot Is a Mom: Accommodating New Motherhood at 30,000 Feet” (nytimes) is about women who want paid maternity leaves:

At Delta, a group of women pilots have banded together through a private Facebook page and have approached their union with formal proposals for paid maternity leave — unheard-of at the major airlines — because they say they would like to stay home to breast-feed their babies.

Airlines have always compensated crew members per flight hour, which includes time spent on the ground after the door is closed. This is why pilots and flight attendants are so happy when the door is closed and the plane is pushed back from the gate. Now they are getting paid. If the result is sitting on a taxiway for three hours while thunderstorms clear that works out a lot better from the crew’s perspective than sitting in the comfortably air-conditioned terminal.

As few men will be able to quality for “maternity leave” (but perhaps some will in our age of flexible gender?), the result of this change would be that women would be paid more than men for doing the same amount of flying. (A friend points out that women are already paid more in most jobs because, in addition to being paid for more time off work (maternity leave, sick days), they also receive the expected value from filing a gender discrimination lawsuit.) For a given level of experience, airlines already do pay women more. A woman can be hired if she meets the FAA minimums for hours of flight time; a man will have to compete with other men and may require an additional 1,000 hours of flying experience (2-3 years) in order to be hired.

My favorite part of the article:

Consider what it took for First Officer Brandy Beck, a 41-year-old Frontier Airlines pilot, to pump breast milk. Once the plane was at cruising altitude and in autopilot mode, she would seek the agreement of her captain to take a break. In keeping with Frontier policy, the remaining pilot was required to put on an oxygen mask.

Next a flight attendant — to prevent passengers from approaching the lavatory — would barricade the aisle with a beverage cart. Then the attendant would join the captain in the cockpit, in keeping with rules that require at least two people in an airline cockpit at all times.

Only then could Ms. Beck slip into the lavatory for a 20-minute pumping session.

“It’s by far not my favorite place to make my child’s next meal,” Ms. Beck said. “But it’s a sacrifice I knew I would have to accept because I came back to work.”

In other words, it is not the fellow pilot who sacrifices by being forced to wear an oxygen mask for 20 minutes. Nor is it the passengers who sacrifice because they can’t use the bathroom, because they have to wait longer for assistance from flight attendants, or because if there is an emergency they won’t have as good a chance of getting out of the plane alive.

[Currently there is at least one way for a woman to get an airline paycheck in exchange for maternity. If she has sex with a senior captain, for example, she’ll be entitled to $ 40,000 per year in tax-free child support for 23 years under the Massachusetts guidelines (see the chapter on Massachusetts for a woman who did just that… three times). This will comfortably exceed after-tax compensation for a junior airline pilot (see “Professional Pilot Salary Survey 2016” and also this sample of first-year airline pilot salaries) and does not require investing $ 100,000 in flight training, working 22 days/month, 16 hours/day, or sleeping in Hilton Garden Inns (except perhaps once).]

Separately, Facebook apparently values workers who identify as “white, male” more than workers who identify as non-white, non-male, or both. “Facebook’s Point System Fails to Close Diversity Gap” (WSJ) tells the story:

Two years ago, Facebook Inc. offered its in-house recruiters an incentive to help diversify its largely white, largely male workforce.

Previously, recruiters were awarded one point for every new hire. Under the new system, they could earn 1.5 points for a so-called “diversity hire”—a black, Hispanic or female engineer—according to people familiar with the matter. More points can lead to a stronger performance review for recruiters and, potentially, a larger bonus, the people said.

When the numbers didn’t move, Facebook sweetened the deal. Starting last year, recruiters earned two points for a minority hire, or twice as much as for white or Asian males, who already were well-represented within its technical ranks.

Even so, Facebook has shown little progress. Last month, the company said 4% of its U.S. employees were Hispanic and 2% were black, the same as the two prior years. Women made up 33% of its global workforce, up from 31% in 2014.

Intel Corp. has paid its employees double referral bonuses for women, minorities and veterans. Other companies take into account how many women top managers hire when calculating their bonuses.

Why wouldn’t the company simply pay the desired workers more? Would it be illegal for Facebook to offer higher pay to the workers that it wants to hire and who have a higher value to the company than white male workers?

Also, in our transgender age, why wouldn’t recruiters game the system by asking interviewees to identify as female? (See this Sacramento Bee article for how California National Guard recruiters responded to financial incentives by helping themselves to “an estimated $ 100 million in dubious or illegal payments.”)

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

Fight for Social Justice can consume 100 percent of a nation’s GDP?

The May 9, 2016 “Letters from our readers” section of New Yorker raises question: can a society eventually spend 100 percent of its time, and therefore GDP, fighting about social justice?

New Yorker is magazine that crusades against injustice, e.g., the existence of Donald Trump, (actual) Republicans, single-gender bathrooms, etc. Yet all three of the letters published on May 9 complain about the magazine’s insufficient zeal in the crusade. The first letter attacks an author and the editors for not looking at misogyny in an article previously discussed here. The second letter talks about “privileged male sexual behavior.” The third letter complains that a poem was “offensive and racially insensitive.”

Obviously this is just one magazine but I wonder if this shows us what the country will be like once the current generation of college snowflakes is 50. Will they spend all of their time criticizing each other for social justice thoughtcrimes?

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

Anticipate the Food Fight! Options versus History

Written By: DragonFly Capital

Two giants of the processed food world, Campbell’s Soup, $ CPB, and HJ Heinz, $ HNZ, report earnings Friday morning before the open. They did not make the cut for an earnings trade but that does not mean you should not be prepared for them after they report. Each offers an opportunity to turn a quick buck depending on whether you believe in history or the options market. Let me explain.

Campbell’s Soup, $ CPB

Campbell’s Soup, $ CPB has been making a series of lower highs since falling from a retest of the Diamond Top breakdown at 33.50 the first of the year. It is now finding resistance at the 32 area with all of the Simple Moving Averages (SMA) above it. The volume at price bar shows that there is major trading history between here and 32.75 and a look to the left reveals part of that from the March through May 2011 timeframe. The Relative Strength Index (RSI) is bearish but trying to move higher into bullish territory while the Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) indicator is positive and growing. These support more upside. This stock has had an average move of 2.9% each of the last 6 earnings reports making for an expected move of about 92 cents tomorrow. The Options market basically agrees with that pricing in an 85 cent move in the February 32 Straddles. An upside bias with an expected 92 cent move. This would be near the middle of the previous Diamond on the upside and the November low on the down side. What are you going to do if it starts higher?

HJ Heinz, $ HNZ

HJ Heinz, $ HNZ, starts with a similar set up. Consolidation with lower highs right around the SMA’s after coming off of a high at the beginning of the year. It too has an RSI that is begging to break above 50 and then move into bullish territory and a MACD that has crossed positive, but a lot of previous price history at the current level. Also a slight upward bias. This name has had much more muted reactions to earnings though with an average move of only 1.2% in the last 6 quarters or 61 cents in today’s price terms. But the options for this name are protecting against a move of over 4 times greater at $ 2.75. Id there really something special going on with Ketchup this quarter? The options implied move would take it to retest the high of the year, or the December low. Once it gives you a direction it might be worth taking a ride.

Dragonfly Capital

The MF Global Fight Continues

A great Reuters piece today on James Koutoulas today, who continues to lead our Commodity Customer Coalition team

I’m still working the presses and members of Congress at every turn, and am constantly reminding the CFTC that unless they speak openly, Commissioner incompetence is reinforced, and the growing rumors of an industry cover-up will only fuel.

The CME also continues to advocate their responsibility … last I checked from my days as an auditor, just because someone hands you a report (bogus or otherwise), you never trust it and always tie to bank accounts and beyond.  Please stop chanting about the great job you’re doing … customers remain sleepless by the loss of $ 1.2 Billion and the tremendous decline in Exchange volume is speaking for us.

Right now, Twitter is the best way to follow me to stay current.

Key meeting with the Trustee today as the critical January 31 claim date approaches.

Don Miller’s S&P Trading Tank