15 Sep

We Made It to Chile – A Small Tale of Three Continents

As I hinted this (northern hemisphere) summer, we decided a few months ago to relocate to Chile, the most stable, secure and less corrupt country in Latin America (see for instance recent coverage in The Economist). Well, now it’s done as of last Sunday. We’re in Renaca on the Pacific coast, 90 minutes from Santiago and less than three hours from pretty good ski options. Not only does Chile have great geography and climate to offer, but it seems one of the rare countries these days that hasn’t decided yet to melt down into a police nanny state. Since all we want is to be left alone, that’s an attractive value proposition. The best resource to prepare such a relocation ended up being the All Chile forum.

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13 Apr

Quotetracker Keeps Improving

It’s been a couple of years since I last played with Quotetracker ("a Windows program that provides streaming real-time quotes, Live intraday charts with Technical Indicators, Level II quotes, Time and Sales, alerts, news monitoring, and everything else you may need to effectively trade in today’s market") so I’m glad to see it’s still alive and kicking, with new releases churned out frequently. This is the kind of application where the browser (in the current state of affairs) can’t compete.
Here’s what’s new in the latest beta. For some reason I can get real time quotes through my TDW account but I can’t log in to trade. I hope it’s only a temporary problem. Question of the day: is it time to short IPIX now that squeezed shorts have pumped up the stock? It’s tempting, but the danger with shorts is timing. The Days to Cover had been increasing strongly as of lately (above 5 days as of mid March, hence the squeeze), but I wonder how to get the same information in real time.
Update: I tried to short 100 IPIX at $21.9, but my broker can’t find shares to borrow to execute the trade, so I guess there still are many shorts out there.
04/14/04 update: I could borrow 100 shares at $19.4 today, now (after hours), they lost $5 a share. Hopefully I can buy to cover at $12 or less tomorrow, for some fast, easy pocket money. Viwes.com used to provide short interest data, but they stopped doing so last year.

16 Nov

Protecting the Value of your Home

eFinance Insider:

"Tom Skinner, and his Washington, D.C. based firm, Real Liquidity LLC, is working to address the risk of price declines in residential real estate by developing innovative financial products that allow homeowners to "hedge" out some or all of their real estate market risk with "puts". Puts, which are essentially derivative insurance policies that go up in value when the value of an asset goes down, have long been available for equity and other liquid financial products, but never for real estate assets. Now, for the first time,

21 Feb

Tech Firms Fight Shift In Rules On Options

WaPo:

"Technology executives are mobilizing to block congressional efforts — a reaction to the Enron Corp. scandal — to change how companies account for stock options, a coin of the high-tech realm that some worry may distort a corporation’s true financial picture. […] Take Cisco Systems Inc., the Silicon Valley networking giant. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2000, it reported operating income of $4.6 billion. But had the cost of options been factored in, its operating income would have been $2.74 billion, according to an analysis by the brokerage firm Bear Stearns & Co."

07 Feb

Overture lost 41% yesterday

Big plunge just on the Earthlink deal. Shows again how much the stock market is uninformed. The fact that Google was about to compete with Overture was known since late December. Some uncertainty should have been factored in the price. OK, they lost a deal. I expect a bounce back. In fact, it already came back from 17.92 to 19.77 after hours, but I don’t have available cash at hand to act on it. $24 within 5 days would mean a cool 20%. There’s already been so much volume (biggest day ever) on the way down yesterday, I figure people really over-reacted.
Update (at about 1PM EST): Day’s Low: 19.30, Day’s High: 23.20, Volume 10.77 Mil, it sucks to be right without cash ready at hand. The intraday chart shows it wasn’t even hard to get under 20.5 this morning.
02/13/02 update: Numbers Go Over the Top at Overture. The only comfort I take from seeing OVER climb to $28 is saying to myself: "I would have sold at $22.5 anyway".
02/19/02 update: OVER even got as high as $33. See A Momentum Investor Who’s Sticking to his Guns.

06 Feb

Amazon.com: The Euro to the Rescue

Fortune:

"The fact is, the weak euro–which lowered Amazon’s interest payments on its debt by a full $16 million–accounted for a good bit of the company’s surprise performance, rather than stellar operating margins or the triumph of the kitchen appliance business. Without this gain, as Amazon openly acknowledged in its earnings release, the company would have posted a net loss of $11 million."

Indeed. From Amazon.com’s latest 10K: "We may be adversely affected by foreign currency exchange rate risk. Our 6.875% Convertible Subordinated Notes due 2010 ( 6.875% PEACS ) are denominated in Euros, not U.S. dollars, and the exchange ratio between the Euro and the U.S.dollar is not fixed by the indenture governing the 6.875% PEACS."
02/21/04 update: with the steep decline of the dollar, this is still interesting to follow up. Of course in the short term Amazon is making more dollars out of its European sales, but they’re also paying more interests on that debt, plus they stopped their currency swap so they’re exposed to more volatility. I guess they know what they’re doing, I’m out of my depth here. See their 2003-09-30 10-Q.