Wrap – Week Ended 3/13/09


First on the agenda this weekend I want to run a PSA. The guy that helps me run the site, adding bells and whistles from time to time and generally making sure things hum along, has a request for funds to get broadband access for a base in Afghanistan. His note follows and since neither the $787 billion "Stimulus Plan" or the $400 bsome odd billion budget with 9,000 earmarks in it saw fit to raise the $4,500 for this I thought you might be interested. Scott's note follows:

Hello, folks.

Recently I took on the project of trying to get my brother-in-law some
Internet access. Most of us wouldn't be dealing with quite the problem
in obtaining this as he is. You see he's out in

d (there are probably too many a's and
l's in there) in Afghanistan as part of 20+ person unit on the front,
doing things like defending our way of life.

In order to chat with his fiance', he's got to stand in line to use a
shared computer with pretty crappy access. Or to email his mother or
father or sister. He's got a few guys in his unit that are going to be
there while their babies are being born this summer, and boy would
they like to see the little buggers as live as possible.

How is this possible, you ask? Enter the magic of broadband Internet
connections. Without getting into the gory details, suffice it to say
that I've got them, and I'm looking at raising $4500 to enable them to
get this shipped, installed and activated for them. That provides them
the first few months of service, after which the guys in the unit will
be taking it over.

Yep. $4500. Well, ok. Not $4500. $4479.35, precisely.

I know all about the economy and lack of money, yes, but I'd like you
to take a moment to think about this, and I would like you decide
whether you would like to contribute to this cause, or not. And,
really, with my stellar, internationally-renowned nagging ability, and
mind-like-a-steel-trap and award-winning grudge-holding, can you
really afford NOT to participate? 🙂

I've looked at having this sponsored by some companies, but there have
been political considerations (quite literally) in some cases,
cashflow issues in some other cases, and lack of interest in some
cases. I'm waiting to hear back from a couple, still, but I'm losing
hope on that front.

Therefore, I'm starting a grassroots campaign to raise this money.

This message went out to about 45 people, and I'll be sending out some
more. I'd appreciate it if:

a) You could forward this to anyone who might be interested in contributing
b) You could find it in your heart to do so

This is going to happen, one way or the other. The question is just
how large of a dent it ends up making in my pocket.

I hope this note finds you all well, and my brother-in-law, the
Airborne 101 and me all thank you for your time in reading and
considering this.

If you are interested, please respond to me, here. I will keep the
interested parties updated on how many people are interested, and
where our totals are at any given time. In a perfect world, I can get
100 or so people interested at $45 each. I doubt it.

Scott Whitney


Scott Whitney
c/o Journyx, Inc.
9011 Mountain Ridge Drive
Travis Building, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78759

On to the wrap ...


1 &2) Equity Markets Rallied, Energy Sectors Followed, Commodities Ignored. At least if the commodities in question were oil and gas. As expected, oil rallied and fell and rallied as the various pre meeting rumors came out before the OPEC meeting today. Were it not for Sunday's Vienna producer meeting the energy sectors would likely have outperformed the broader market. But the twinge of doubt that there will be any new cut or that it will be insubstantial and the memory of the December 17 in which OPEC missed an opportunity to really get a firm grip on oil by playing games with the quota numbers kept prices from advancing beyond the opening index rallies.

3) Rig Counts Continue to Plummet. No reason to think we will see a recovery in rigs anytime soon. See the tailend of Friday's post for a look at that Canadian rig count (part Spring breakup, part low prices). Friday's post also had a look at rigs vs production response and I'll update that and post again on Monday but the phrase "we live in historic times" comes to mind.

4) Gas In Storage Remains Bloated. What more is there to say? Oh right, check the Friday post.

5) Green Is ... Good?! First time in recent or long term memory the green ETFs really shined (pardon the pun but mostly due to solar.)  (FLSR) rallied hard, filling the gap down that followed their 4Q beat and misinterpreted guidance and word of a coming Sempra contract for the largest solar installation in the States to date didn't hurt.  The solars in particular have been beat down, selling away from a miniscule, New-Green-Friendly early year rally that left investors looking at the stimulus with its solar and wind friendly incentives and the global economic melt and giving more importance to the latter. A bottoming or flattening or troughing (call it what you will) in oil prices first and then in natural gas prices, will help stablize the shares of the solars as well. I continue to go with the low cost producer here, the one winning the truly notable contracts, (FSLR).

Holdings Watch

  • (FSLR) - Speaking of FSLR, I cashed out of the higher strike $140 calls for an 82% loss this week  but continue to hold lower strike calls here., Going into the last week before expiration, in the ides of March with such a volatile name ($10  swings in a day hardly raises an eyebrow) is a little bit like playing Russian roulette with Putin after he checked the chambers for you but I still feel confident in my pre / post earnings call there and besides, I plan to reposition the lower strikes early this week into Aprils.

  • (PQ) - Out half PQ for $2.01, up 93% from purchase on Tuesday. That’s a lot faster and a lot better than I would have thought the stock could do. I'll watch the second half of this trade. To see the write up on why I grabbed the low priced stuff along with a model click here.



6 Responses to “Wrap – Week Ended 3/13/09”

  1. 1
    zman Says:

    OPEC leaves quotas unchanged, vows to more strictly comply with prior cuts. Will meet again May 28. Should be a positive for the equity markets, slightly negative for crude early in the week.

  2. 2
    zman Says:

    Oil trading off $2.15 at just over $44 tonight.

  3. 3
    choices Says:

    Z-I’m trying to determine what the Russians are up to vis-a-vis crude production-this is the only thing I could find at present.


  4. 4
    choices Says:

    z-have you looked at MCF recently-I did not find anything with your search engine


  5. 5
    zman Says:

    Choices – thanks, had not yet seen that take on Russia, good article that one.

    Re Mcf – Interesting company, huge option spreads have kept me away, I do like their style, I don’t like the anti-hedge policy (as I recall it) and in general, I’m not a big fan of the Shelf. But if you made me own stock in one of the shallow water guys it would probably be them.

  6. 6
    BirdsofpreyRcool Says:

    Sounds like Ben is the one to calm markets. Didn’t see it, but heard he said some positive things on 60 Minutes last night. And the POTUS is on Jay Leno tonight.

    Tech Trader says simply to buy the morning pullback for a rally into lunch. Doesn’t have any colour for the 2nd half of the day.

    Credit Markets better this morning. Bank bonds especially outperforming. On the other hand, the Empire Manufacturing Index came in at a whopping down 38.23… vs the down 30.8 expected and down 34.65 in Feb. Apparently, no one is making anything in upstate New York.

    Also, Net long-term capital flows from Foreign Investors in January was negative… by a lot. Net outflows from the US of $43.0B vs expected net inflows of $45B and and net inflows in December of $34.8B. I would think that would (should) spook the US Treasury market a bit.

    IG 233 -3bps from Friday’s close

    HY 70.5 +.625 from Friday’s close… nice to see a 70-handle again.

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