What's Frank Thinking? rss
CAB - a financial camoflouged boat missed?

 

Monday, April 27, 2015, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, USA 
 
Okay; the dock is in, our plants will go into their springtime pots this week, the lawn's double-seeding is about to be done (today), lakeside and barbeque decks both power-washed, the summer toys are all off their battery-tenders and up-and-running, and the pontoon boat will be in the water later this week! Springtime in Rhinelander is A LOT of work, but all well-worth-it. As the perennials and lilacs also begin their self-directed yearly beautification program, all of the late spring budding and blooming will eventually turn into another wonderfully colorful Northwood's summer. 
 
Our trips to Auto Zone (AZO), Home Depot (HD), Walmart (WMT), Kohls (KSS), Shopko, and Menards will be dramatically reduced, as will the annual spring/summer expenditures. Out of all the Northern Wisconsin stores that welcome our money every spring, we have never had an AutoZone position. But in the 10-years we have owned the Rhinelander home, had we bought the stock in 2005 - considering all the times we had to replace the battery in a car, truck, boat, golf cart, skooter or ATV, all of the dollars spent would have been MORE than made up for in stock appreciation and options premium. AZO has gone from $75 to over $700! Now we know why this year's new golf cart Duralast battery was $121.31! How the heck can AZO be a $702 stock you are now wondering. Well, we clearly aren't the only ones buying overpriced stuff, as there are always shoppers in their Rhinelander outlet, and there are less than 32 million shares outstanding. Perhaps a stock split in the making? Maybe some short puts if it EVER downticks? 
 
We have, however, had positions in Home Depot, buying the stock several years ago. We remember thinking, after waiting in line on a beautiful spring day to buy several hundred dollars worth of plants, why not own a piece of this company. The shares were bought that week in the mid-30 handle and after a few years of dividend collecting and option strangle sales and rolls, the stock was called away at $60.00. We continued spending thousands of dollars a year at HD, and now, with the stock near $120, looking back we regret allowing the exercise to occur. Of course since the HD was called it has never had any sizable sell-off allowing any puts to be sold or stock to be bought back, making this past weekend's trip to the Rhinelander store a little more painful. We have also mentioned the Menard's boys and their crazy-busy Rhinelander store; continuing to wait for them to go public, so we can own a piece of our favorite Northwood's home improvement store. 
 
It has been a great spring, and the summer looks to be wonderful. The Walsh's Lakeside air is clean, Lake Thompson's waters clear, and the skies about as blue as-can-be. This Northwood's majesty makes missing out on a few Wisconsin related stock/options profits more palatable, if not completely financially forgotten. In fact, the lake is calling out to us for a later-in-the-week boat ride. Do we get a line wet? Gosh, that reminds us of Cabela's (CAB), that stock has also made a musky-sized move in the last few years. Yes, despite all of our trips to their great Wausau store almost every time we are down there, we have never had a stock/options position. Yes, so-to-speak, another financial boat missed, this one in camouflage! If any of these companies, that we continue to do business with, ever take any measurable down-tick (or go public), we might have to do a buy/write or just sell some out-of-the-money puts. 
 
"They just know where to grow, how to dupe you, and how to camouflage themselves among the perfectly respectable plants. They just know, and therefore, I've concluded that weeds must have brains. - Dianne Benson 
 
Follow us on Twitter (TWTR): whatsfrankthink, like us on Facebook (FB*) - Frank Walsh Prescott, AZ or on Linkedin (LNKD), and join us in the online Swim Lesson chat room - everyday at 10:30 AM Central time.
The list of upcoming Market Drive events is now on the TDAmeritrade web-site - go to www.tdameritradeconferences.com/marketdrive, login and sign up.  
Anyone without a TDAmeritrade (AMTD*) account can open a PaperMoney account - go to www.thinkorswim.com
 
FHW 
(* = FHW position)
fhwoption@hotmail.com 
What's Frank Thinking? | 4/27/2015 7:28:03 AM | 0 Comments
Earnings Thursday Tidbits - Pay attention!

 

Thursday, 4/23/15, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, USA
 
- Tomorrow is weekly expiration, if you have anything that is in-the-money (ITM) or close and don't know the stock ramifications - call the trade desk at 866 839 1100. 
- Today's birthdays: William Shakespeare (1564); Simone Simon (1910); Bud Wilkinson (1916); Shirley Temple Black (1928); Roy Orbison (1936); Tony Esposito (1946). Deaths: Brian Boru (1014); William Shakespeare (1616 - his 52nd birthday); William Wordsworth (1850); Otto Preminger (1986); Howard Cosell (1995). One year ago the SPUs (/ES) were trading in the 1867 range, they were just over 2100 overnight and look to open near 2093. 
- Stocks rallied on Wednesday (4/22/15) as the onslaught of mostly mixed corporate earnings reports continued. (S&P 500 +0.51%, Dow +0.49%, NASDAQ +0.42%). McDonald’s (MCD +3.13%) and Visa (V +4.07%) led the major indices higher. Crude-oil futures (/CLM5*) dropped 0.8% to $56.16 a barrel, and are currently testing the $56 level. Small-cap stocks also gained: Russell 2000 (RUT +0.11%). The VIX fell 4.08% to 12.71. The housing sector got good news, with home sales, mortgage apps, and the Price Index all rising. The housing numbers might have sent the bonds lower, with the 30s (/ZBM5*) dropping precipitously - taking their yield up to 2.65%, the 10 and 5 year's yields also rose (1.97% and 1.39% respectively). The metals and grains were mostly lower, with gold (/GCM5*) back down under 1,200 - currently trading slightly higher, to 1190. Asian markets, both the Nikkei (+ 1.13%) and Shanghai (+2.44%) composites, were tagging multi-year highs with good export numbers leading the way, whereas European markets were mostly lower (FTSE - 0.49%, DAX - 0.60%).  
- Today's possible movers: FB*, LULU*, SKX - take note TMac!, EBAY, MSFT*, GOOG, LVS*, F8, GM*, INTC, CAT*, NCR, ORLY, LLY.
- Today's economic events:
Initial Jobless Claims
Manufacturing Index Flash
Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index
New Home Sales
EIA Natural Gas Inventory
Money Supply
Fed Balance Sheet
- Notable earnings before today's opening: ABBV, AEP, ALK, ALXN, ASPS, AVT, BAX, BBT, BCC, BEAV, BHE, BKU, BMS, BTU, CAB, CAM, CAT*, CFX, CLFD, CLI, CMS, COL, COR, CSL, DAN, DGX, DHR, DLX, DNKN, DOW, DPS, 
DPZ, DST, EQM, EQT, ERIC, FAF, FCX*, FNB, GM*, GMT, GPK, GRA, HP, HSY, HUB.B, IQNT, IR, IVC, JAH, JCI, JNS, KKR, LAZ, LLY, LTM, LUV, MDP, MDSO, MHO, MJN, MMM, MO*, MTH, NDAQ, NUE, NVS, NWE, ORI, PENN, PEP, PG, PHM, PII, PNK, PRLB, PTEN, RS, RTIX, RTN, SFE, SNA, SQNS, STC, SUI, SWK, SXC, SYNT, UAL, UNP, USG, UTEK, WBC, WCC, WNS; 
and after the close; ACTG, ALGN, ALTR, AMZN, AWAY, BAS, BCR, BGS, BJRI, BLDR, CB, CBI, COF, CPHD, CVTI, CYN, DGII, DV, EFII, ELY, ETFC, ETH, FET, FICO, FII, FR, FSL, GHL, GIMO, GOOG, HA, HBHC, HBI, HUBG, HWAY, 
JNPR, KLAC, KN, LSTR, MKTO, MMSI, MSCC, MSFT*, MTSN, MXIM, MXWL, N, NEM*, NTGR, P, PEB, PFG, QDEL, QLIK, RGA, RHI, RMD, RSG, SBAC, SBUX, SFG, SHOR, SIVB, SPNC, SRCL, SWN, SYA, SYNA, TRN, UIS, VCRA, 
VRSN, WIRE, WRE.
 
"Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.”
"Tis best to weigh the enemy more mighty than he seems”
"Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall” -- William Shakespeare 
 
- If you are looking for a fabulous full-day of stock/options/futures education, please sign up for one of the upcoming Saturday events. The next show is in Philadelphia (5/17) .www.tdameritrade.com/registerformarketdrive  
And also look for us in the daily Swim Lesson chat room 10:30 - noon CT. Like us on Facebook (FB*) -- https://www.facebook.com/frank.walsh.169 or follow us on Twitter (TWTR) at whatsfrankthink or on Linkedin (LNKD). Anyone without a TDAmeritrade (AMTD*) account can open a PaperMoney account - go to www.thinkorswim.com  
 
FHW
(* = FHW position) 
fhwoption@hotmail.com 
What's Frank Thinking? | 4/23/2015 8:15:01 AM | 0 Comments
12 options exchanges = better fills!

 

Wednesday, 4/22/15, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, USA 
 
Gemini? Miami? Anyone else getting great options fills on exchanges almost anywhere other than our old home the old Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE*). The Windy City was not only the city of our birth, youthful education, professional sports career, and place of employment for just about our entire life, but used to be THE main city in the world for options and futures trading. Now we have Lenexa, Kansas' (BATS) and, other than the CBOE, another 10 options exchanges. Yes, that is correct, there are now an even dozen places to trade options. Well, many are not actual "places" but fully electronic exchanges, that maybe taking the other side of your trade, with no floor trading "muss-or-fuss" and expense. 
 
The CBOE might still claim to be the "founder and creator of listed options, and the largest options exchange in the US", but over the recent past it seems that a larger percentage of our equity "fills" are being done on other exchanges. And, to quote trading floor pal Jimmy Boyle (JMY), "we have absolutely no problem with that!" In fact, the options game has become, how can we say this in a gentile manner, a much fairer game for the retail customer because of some former CBOE pals of ours that have actually gone out and built their own exchanges (thanks MIAX's Shelly B.!). Yes, added competition in just about any industry generally makes it better for the consumer, and as retail customers, we "consume" a lot of options!
 
So, next time you get an incredible fill on a roll or some other options trade, make a note of where the other side was done. Whether the MIAX, BOX, BATS, ISE, or wherever, price improvement is HUGE in this industry, and in our almost 40 years in the business we have NEVER seen such great fills on the retail side of the coin. Gone are the extremely restricted trades limited only to the good-old trading floor market makers and their crazy wide bid/ask spreads. Yes, we have to admit that we were one of those somewhat spoiled Market Makers in those heydays of on floor trading. But we spent the last 20 years of our CBOE career filling orders as the first Independent Floor Broker in the giant-sized, hyper-active, volume-driven OEX pit. In fact, if you traded the OEX back in those wild days - '80s and '90s, and we filled your order, your odds were pretty good that, even then, you too got some price improvement. Being an Independent, we HAD to get better prices for our customers, whether retail, institutional or market maker. Always attempting to keep our relatively large "deck" of orders in tact, we ALWAYS "squeezed" our orders. In fact, the maket makers that lived-off our order flow called us "Mr. Whipple" as in the Charmin squeezer of TV commercial fame, and that actually made us proud and our customers happy.  
 
"Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”-- Helen Keller 
 
- Please join us in the daily Swim Lesson chat room - 10:30 -noon CT. And if you are looking for a fabulous full-day of stock/options/futures education, - sign up for one of the upcoming Saturday Market Drive events. The next show is in Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York. Go to https://wwws.tdameritradeconferences.com/marketdrive/
Like us on Facebook (FB*) -- https://www.facebook.com/frank.walsh.169 or follow us on Twitter (TWTR) at whatsfrankthink or on Linkedin (LNKD). 
Anyone without a TDAmeritrade (AMTD*) account can open a PaperMoney account - go to www.thinkorswim.com 
 
FHW 
(* = FHW position)
fhwoption@hotmail.com
What's Frank Thinking? | 4/22/2015 7:56:34 AM | 0 Comments
Tuesday (4/21/15) Tidbits

 

Tuesday, 4/21/15, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, USA 
 
- Births: Charlotte Bronte (1816); Don Tyson (1930); Iggy Pop (1947); Ed Belfour (1965). Deaths: King Henry VII (1509); Mark Twain (1910); John Keynes (1946); Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder (1996). It was on this day, in 1828, that Noah Webster published his 1st dictionary, and in 1862 Congress established the US Mint in Denver, CO. The 1st Polaroid camera was sold on 4/21/1948, and in 1956, Elvis Presley's 1st hit record, "Heartbreak Hotel", became Billboard's #1. Last year the SPX was in the 1865 area, today it is approaching 2105.
- After the relatively strong sell-off on Friday (4/17 - 2101 to 2064) stocks staged a rally on Monday (4/20), with IBM (+3.42%) and Microsoft (MSFT*+3.10%) leading the major indices higher, taking the SPUs (/ESM5*) back up close to the 2100 level (S&P 500 +0.92%, Dow +1.17%, NASDAQ +1.27%). The SPUs have traded as high as 2105 in the Monday/Tuesday overnight session. Crude-oil futures (/CLM5*) were also higher on Monday (up 1.2% to $56.38 a barrel), taking much of the energy sector higher. Small-caps also gained, with the Russell 2000 (RUT +1.04%). The VIX fell 4.25% to 13.30, and is looking back down at the 12 handle after almost touching 15 on Friday's sell-off. Earnings season is now in full swing, with a couple hundred announcements this week alone. If you have any short-term options positions in anything with numbers coming out - PAY ATTENTION! Gold (/GCM5*) is back up near 1200 and silver (/SIK5) is hovering around $16, after being over $17.00 at the end of March. The softs commodities; corn, wheat and beans have all been sliding, it is snowing again in Rhinelander, but much of the Midwest weather has been relatively springlike, keeping the grains in a flat to lower range (/ZCK5, /ZWK5 and /ZSK5).
- Today's possible movers: FTNT, AAPL*, BAC*, TEVA, CYBR, MYL, FB*, NVDA*, SAP, NSC*, NFLX, UA, GE, YHOO.
- Today's economic event:  Redbook Chain Store Sales (8:55 ET)
- Notable earnings before the opening: ABG, ACI*, AMTD*, ARMH, ATI, BHI, CLS, CP, CS, DD, DOV, EAT, EDU, FITB, GCI, GPC, HOG, ITW, JAKK, KMB, KSU, LECO, LMT, LPT, MAN, MLNX, MTG, NTRS, NVR, OMC, PCAR, PNR, RF, SAH, SAP, SBNY, SNV, TCB, TRV, TTS, UA, UTX, VZ*, WIT; and after today's close: ACE, ADTN, AMGN, BRCM, CAMP, CMG, CREE*, DFS, DLB, EWBC, FTI, FULT, HTS, IBKR, ILMN, INFN, IRBT, ISRG, MANH, NBR, PFPT, SMCI, SYK, URI, VASC, VMW, YHOO, YUM, ZIXI.
 
“Life is so constructed, that the event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation.” -- Charlotte Bronte
 
- Remember to sign into the daily live Swim Lesson - found up on the Support/Chat tab, running between 10:30 - noon CT. The list of upcoming Market Drive events is now on the TDAmeritrade web-site - with the next show in Philadelphia on May 16th. To sign up for one of the upcoming Market Drives go to www.tdameritrade.com/registerformarketdrive, or for the upcoming Money Shows go to www.moneyshow.com 
If you are not a TD Ameritrade / thinkorswim (AMTD*) customer you can open a PaperMoney account at www.thinkorswim.com 
- Like us on Facebook (FB*) -- https://www.facebook.com/frank.walsh.169 or follow on Twitter(TWTR) at whatsfrankthink, or on Linkedin (LNKD).
 
FHW
(* = FHW position)
fhwoption@hotmail.com 
What's Frank Thinking? | 4/21/2015 7:28:07 AM | 0 Comments
Options hucksters, shysters and shills?

 

Monday, April 20, 2015, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, USA 
 
A couple of weeks ago while on the bike at the Rhinelander Anytime Fitness we were once again amazed at a CNBC created TV celebrity / options "expert" talking about a large call options trade (buy) in a very popular underlying. Of course we had to go home and check ALL of the other options in that particular equity. It took us less than 2 seconds to see the other sides of the trade that the "expert" who was claiming what a "bullish" trade the call buyer was initiating, and what a total scam he was trying to pull-off! Yes, he was correct in mentioning the large up-tick in volume on that day, but THAT was the only thing he was correct on, and he didn't mention that much of the added volume was because of the near terms being rolled to the next cycle. My, my, my, we thought, what a "huckster" clearly trying to get the public behind this so-called bullish options trade. The calls that were bought were actually part of a four-way trade, in which the same strike puts (staddle) were also bought (both to close!), while the next cycles same strike same strike calls and puts (straddle) were sold (both to open). It was nothing more than a short straddle being rolled out further in time! Proving that the options "expert" was either incompetent or a scoundrel!  
 
According to the TV "expert", it was a giant bet on a big move to the upside. In actuality the straddle "roller" was merely continuing his stance in which a big move in either direction would NOT be in his favor. We thought the various regulating bodies in the business had put an end to the stock market "shills" and "shysters" about 20 years ago? The disclosures usually pasted on the screen as to the talking heads stock positions don't cover all the bullish vs bearish "calls", but if you have an online brokerage account with a firm like TDAmeritrade (AMTD*) you can check just about anything the celebrity shill is claiming. Large option trades, or what some call "oddities" are not usually that "odd" in that in any size they always have another side. Actual stock/options/futures traders, with real skin-in-the-game, will always check any "size" trade in anything they trade, knowing that the only people truly in-the-know on the buy/sell are the traders on each side of the trade. 
 
Bottom line, as always, and as we constantly stress, TRADE WHAT YOU KNOW, KNOW WHAT YOU TRADE, TRADE SMALL, STAY SMALL, and DO NOT LISTEN TO ANY CELEBRITY "EXPERTS"! 
 
"We all live under the same sky, but we don't all have the same horizon." -- Konrad Adenauer
 
Follow us on Twitter (TWTR): whatsfrankthink, like us on Facebook (FB*) - Frank Walsh Prescott, AZ or on Linkedin (LNKD), and join us in the online Swim Lesson chat room - everyday at 10:30 AM Central time.
It was great seeing all the folks at the Detroit Market Drive, the next one is in Philladelphia on May16th. See you there - go to www.tdameritradeconferences.com/marketdrive, login and sign up.  
Anyone without a TDAmeritrade (AMTD*) account can open a PaperMoney account - go to www.thinkorswim.com
 
FHW 
(* = FHW position)
fhwoption@hotmail.com 
What's Frank Thinking? | 4/20/2015 7:01:32 AM | 0 Comments
April expiration Thursday - PAY ATTENTION!

 

Thursday, 4/16/15, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, USA
 
- Today is April monthly expiration Thursday - be careful out there! Make sure if you carry any positions in this cycle that are ITM (In-The-Money) or close to it, that you understand the ramifications - if any questions call thinkorswim (AMTD*) at 866-839-1100 or ask on Live Support found on the Support/Chat tab.
- Today's birthdays: Wilbur Wright (1867); Charlie Chaplin (1889); Spike Milligan (1918); Kareen Abdul-Jabar (1947). Deaths: St. Bernadette of Lourdes (1879); Babe Ruth (1948); Cheyenne Brando (1995). It was on this day in 1900 that the US Post Office issued their 1st book of stamps at .03 cents each, and in 1922 Annie Oakley set a shooting record by breaking 100 clay targets in a row. The 1st televised baseball game was on 4/16/1940 - the Chicago Cubs vs the Chicago White Sox on WGN in an exhibition game. On this day in 1961 the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 4 games to 2, winning the Stanley Cup, starring Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita, the Chicago Stadium was rocking for a certain Windy City 10-year old's first hockey game! 
- US equities were mosty higher Wednesday, as rising oil prices (/CLM5* +5.8* to 56.39 a barrel) took the energy sector up with it, but oil is currently trading down a buck to 55.35. (S&P 500 +0.51%, Dow +0.42%, NASDAQ +0.68%). Intel (INTC +4.26%) and Caterpillar (CAT*+2.60%) led the major indices, along with the entire oil patch. Small-cap stocks were also higher - Russell 2000 (RUT +0.79%). The VIX fell 6.07% to 12.84. Mortgage applications declined 2.3% last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, but this number could up-tick on any hint of a rate hike, which now might not come until September. Despite the mortgage app downer, the Housing Market Index rose to 56 from a downwardly revised 52 in March. US Treasuries bounced all-over-the-place but closed relatively unchanged Wednesday after disappointing data on industrial production and manufacturing, but they are rallying again in the early session - back up to 164'18. The metals were higher as gold (/GCM5*) continues to hang just over $1200, and silver (/SIK5) hangs around the $16.50 level. The 30-year Treasury yield rose ever slightly to 2.56%, and the 10-year and 5-year yields dropped to 1.90% and 1.32% respectively. The data on consumer prices and consumer sentiment will be released on Friday, which could move the treasuries on option expiration Friday, and we will be traveling to Detroit in the afternoon - ufdah!   
- Today's possible movers: PM, BLK, MCD, FB*, NFLX, MO*, GWW, PBR*, GS, LULU*,SNDK, MCP* - yes, that is Molycorp!
- Today will be a big day for economic events:
Housing Starts
Initial Jobless Claims
Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index
Philly Fed Business Outlook
EIA Natural Gas Inventory
Fed's Lockhart: U.S. Economy and Monetary Policy
Fed's Loretta: U.S. Economy and Monetary Policy
Money Supply
Fed Balance Sheet
 
Notable earnings before today's opening: ADS, BLK, BX, C, FCFS, FCS, FRC, GS, GWW, HOMB, KEY, PBCT, PM, PPG, PVTB, SHW, SON, TSM, TZOO, UNH, WBS; and after the close; AMD*, ASB, AXP, CCK, CE, CYT, EGP, MAT, NOW, SLB.
 
"Money can't buy friends but it can get you a better class of enemy." -- Spike Milligan 
 
- If you are looking for a fabulous full-day of stock/options/futures education, please sign up for one of the upcoming Saturday events. The next show is this Saturday in Detroit (4/18), then Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York. www.tdameritrade.com/registerformarketdrive   Like us on Facebook (FB*) -- https://www.facebook.com/frank.walsh.169 or follow us on Twitter (TWTR) at whatsfrankthink or on Linkedin (LNKD). And also look for us in the daily Swim Lesson chat room 10:30 - noon CT. Anyone without a TDAmeritrade (AMTD*) account can open a PaperMoney account - go to www.thinkorswim.com  
 
FHW
(* = FHW position) 
fhwoption@hotmail.com 
What's Frank Thinking? | 4/16/2015 8:15:59 AM | 0 Comments
Tax Day - a look back at thinkorswim/AMTD

 

TAX DAY - Wednesday, April 15, 2015, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, USA 
 
A timely reprint from this same time frame some three years ago - as we are on Tax Day and an anniversary of a thinkorswim (AMTD*) merger.
 
On the road again?  Now where is FHW going? A tax time trip to Chicago has become almost a necessity (taken last week), but the usual accounting-based trip has been somewhat altered this year to include some family business and a thinkorswim (AMTD*) party for founders Scott Sheridan and Tommy Sosnoff. "No way it has been 13 years!" (now 16!) is the commonly heard phrase whenever we tell anyone how long thinkorswim has been in existence. But that was about the time when we flew to Chicago to meet with old trading floor pals Tom Sosnoff and Scott Sheridan; moved some customers with a handshake, and our future with thinkorswim took us out of the more-or-less happy retired ranks on Mockingbird Lane in Paradise Valley, Arizona into the group of what we consider the finest, brightest and most honorable bunch of investment folks in the industry (still do)
 
Gosh, now that we look back, it also seems like only yesterday that thinkorswim merged with Investools -under the Nasdaq stock symbol IEDU, but that was in September of 2006,  with the completion of the deal in February of 2007 changing the stock symbol to SWIM. We will be meeting with our Chicago-based accountant in the morning, and he will certainly mention the incredibly short time-frame for all of the extremely important deals, including the most recent take-over by TD Ameritrade (AMTD*). In fact, to further our accountant's complaints, it was less than two years later (January 2009) that AMTD acquired thinkorswim in a cash and stock deal aimed at taking the parent company further into the booming online options business, and stepping up their active trader activity with what most in the industry consider the finest online trading platform - thinkorswim's (still is)
 
When the AMTD deal transpired, we recall our accountant saying "FHW, you didn't change jobs on the floor for almost 25 years, and since you met up with these thinkorswim guys, it seems like things change every couple years." "Is that such a bad thing?" we responded. "As long as you are happy and keep paying the bills, it's okay," the numbers cruncher said. The most outrageous part of all these corporate deals is the manner in which the once-tiny thinkorswim has grown from literally a few customers in 1999 to about 80,000 when taken over by TD Ameritrade. Today it includes about 6.5 million customers and hundreds of billions in client assets. Even more amazing is the fact that, despite all of the changes and ridiculously rapid growth, we are still happy with the entire situation and the ever growing group of people both inside and outside the company(still are).
 
Over the course of these interesting years we have scribbled hundreds of corporate stories in our What's Frank Thinking column (now blog), but can't think of any companies that have grown as successfully - so big so fast. Perhaps there have been a few, oddly enough Krispy Kreme donuts (KKD) and their growth story immediately comes to mind, but that tale was not as smooth or as sweet as the thinkorswim/AMTD saga, that thankfully FHW and millions of others have lived through - very successfully. Thanks Tom and Scott! 
 
Tom and Scott have now moved on to tastytrade and dough, but the new "brass" at thinkorswim Chicago are also old trading floor friends. Joe "JJ" Kinahan and Steve "Q" Quirk, and a few others have made the transition as smooth as possible and continue to "run" the firm in the same style as the former leaders. Trust, honesty, family, loyalty, hard work and excellent service are still the key elements at thinkorswim/TDAmeritrade, and as long as we are all around, they will remain. And yes, we are still proud to think that we were a small part of the founding of what many in the industry thought to be a "flash in the pan" miniscule niche Chicago brokerage firm. Yup, those may have been the same investment "experts" that called for the SPUs to hit a top at 1,500. 
 
"...in doubt a man of worth will trust to his own wisdom.” - J.R.R. Tolkien
 
- Please join us in the daily Swim Lesson chat room - 10:30 -noon CT. And if you are looking for a fabulous full-day of stock/options/futures education, - sign up for one of the upcoming Saturday Market Drive events. The next show is this weekend in Detroit (4/18), then Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York. Go to https://wwws.tdameritradeconferences.com/marketdrive/
Like us on Facebook (FB*) -- https://www.facebook.com/frank.walsh.169 or follow us on Twitter (TWTR) at whatsfrankthink or on Linkedin (LNKD). 
Anyone without a TDAmeritrade (AMTD*) account can open a PaperMoney account - go to www.thinkorswim.com 
 
FHW 
(* = FHW position)
fhwoption@hotmail.com 
What's Frank Thinking? | 4/15/2015 7:59:41 AM | 0 Comments
Tax Day eve.

 

Tuesday, 4/14/15, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, USA 
 
- Births: Junius Morgan (1813); Loretta Lynn (1935); Pete Rose (1941). This was the day, in 1814, the Napoleon abdicated and was banished to Elba Island, and in 1836 the US Congress formed the Territory of Wisconsin. President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth on 4/14/1865, and in 1910 President Taft began the tradition of throwing out the first ball on MLB's opening day. The Titanic struck it's fateful iceberg on this day in 1912, and John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" was published in 1939. 
- After the SPUs (/ESM5*) tested 2100 a couple of times, US stocks lost a little ground on Monday ahead of first quarter earnings reports this week. (S&P 500 -0.46%, Dow -0.45%, NASDAQ -0.15%). General Electric (GE -3.09%, sorry Joe K) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ -1.48%) weighed on the major indices, while Netflix was up over $20 on an upgrade from UBS. Crude-oil futures (/CLK5*) - were slightly higher to $51.91 a barrel, and are currently trading just over 52.40. Oil has risen over $5.00 since last Monday, so look for springtime upticks at the pump. Please remember that the May /CLK5 contracts will flip to the Junes (/CLM5) next week. Small-cap stocks were mostly higher: Russell 2000 (+0.06%). The VIX climbed 10.81% to 13.94. In economic news, the Fed number crunchers reported the U.S. budget deficit rose a staggering 43% year-over-year to $53 billion at the end of March.  The softs commodities; corn, wheat and beans have all been sliding, as the Midwest weather has been relatively calm, and are much lower than where they were last week. (/ZCK5, /ZWK5 and /ZSK5).
- Today's possible movers: AAPL*, BAC*, JPM, CREE*, CAT*,FB*, NVDA*, TSLA, NSC, NFLX, LULU*, PBY.
- Maybe we should start a monthly "pin" game to see what stocks can hit a certain number on expiration Friday - watch for AAPL*, F*, DAL*, MSFT*, PBR*, CREE*, GRPN*SINA*, YOKU* and lots of others that are close to whole (half) numbers to somehow manage to end the week (month) close to a certain number, ie Ford at 16, AAPL at 125, CREE at 35 etc...
- Today's economic events:
NFIB Small Business Optimism Index
Producer Price Index
Retail Sales
Redbook Chain Store Sales
Business Inventories
- Notable earnings before the opening: FAST, JNJ, JPM, SJR, WFC; and after today's close: CSX, INTC, LLTC .
- Remember to sign into the daily live Swim Lesson - found up on the Support/Chat tab, running between 10:30 - noon CT. The list of upcoming Market Drive events is now on the TDAmeritrade web-site - with the next show in Detroit this Saturday - hope to see you there. To sign up for one of the upcoming Market Drives go to www.tdameritrade.com/registerformarketdrive, or for the upcoming Money Shows go to www.moneyshow.com 
If you are not a TD Ameritrade / thinkorswim (AMTD*) customer you can open a PaperMoney account at www.thinkorswim.com 
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"I'm just like everybody else. I have two arms, two legs and four-thousand hits.” - Pete Rose 
 
FHW
(* = FHW position)
fhwoption@hotmail.com 
What's Frank Thinking? | 4/14/2015 7:57:52 AM | 0 Comments
Year-over-year...

 

Monday, April 13, 2015, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, USA 
 
This is part of a blog from almost exactly one year ago. My how some things have changed, yet some things remain relatively constant (current numbers in brackets)... 
Three full months into the new year, and things are moving along quite nicely - thank you very much. Apple (AAPL*) has been in a relatively tight range - a great candidate for selling verticals on both sides, with legs, and then rolling week-to-week (AAPL* was about 75 a year ago - is now about 127!). Alcoa (AA*) has been between 11.50 and 12.50 since the year began (AA is now trading exactly where it was a year ago!). TDAmeritrade (AMTD*) is near 34.00 (AMTD* is now about 37). Bank of America (BAC*) is around 17.00 (BAC* is now closer to 16). Delta (DAL*) is 34 ish (DAL* is now 43). Facebook (FB*) has been severely selling off, but still hanging close to 60 bucks (FB* is now trading closer to 82 after recently being over 86!). InterOil (IOC*) is close to 63.00 (IOC* is now closer to 48). LuluLemon (LULU*) has rallied nicely from her bottom (okay, pun intended!), having gone from 44 to 53 since February (LULU* is now trading close to 69). Sina (SINA*) and Youku (YOKU*) have been all over the place with a lot of negative news out of China (SINA* was about 60 a year ago, is now near 37; YOKU* was close to 25 but is now close to 15!). The iShares Silver Trust (SLV*) started 2014 near 19.00, and, after moving up over 21 at the end of February, is now back to about 19.00 (SLV is currently trading about 16.50). Blackberry (BBRY*) has also sold off, but anywhere near 9.00 for the next few months would be just fine with us (BBRY* is still in the $9- $10 range). Ford (F*) has fallen from 17.00 to 15.50, but that is also a nice relative range for our accounts (currently thankfully F* remains in that range). And General Motors (GM*) between 30 and 40 for the rest of the year, yes, nine months, would be just perfect! (and thankfully GM remains in that range!) Cree (CREE*) has fallen from 75.00 to 55.00 since September, also not a bad thing (CREE* is now in the 35 handle). Gold (/GCM4) is currently about 1300 (now trading closer to 1200). Oil (/CLK4) is back over 101, and Natural Gas (/NGK4) is stuck near 4.50 (/CLK5* is now in the 51 handle and Nat Gas has also been about halved). The 30-year bonds (/ZBM4) looked like they wanted to run-up to 135 a few days ago, but are back closer to 133 (the 30s /ZBM5* are now trading closer to 163!). 
 
Yes, we are still in all of the above positions, along with some additional, while some now have short overall deltas and some long. Last year, mostly because of some dramatic changes (read: oils drop) was not a good year for FHW, but this year has started off just fine - thank you very much!
 
"There can't be 365 days in a year, it seems like only yesterday that you were bitching about 1984!" (HUH to BAM OEX crowd March 1986) 
 
Follow us on Twitter (TWTR): whatsfrankthink, like us on Facebook (FB*) - Frank Walsh Prescott, AZ or on Linkedin (LNKD), and join us in the online Swim Lesson chat room - everyday at 10:30 AM Central time.
The list of upcoming Market Drive events is now on the TDAmeritrade web-site - go to www.tdameritradeconferences.com/marketdrive, login and sign up - hope to see you this weekend in Detroit. Also look for us in the daily Swim Lesson chat room 10:30 - noon CDT. Anyone without a TDAmeritrade (AMTD*) account can open a PaperMoney account - go to www.thinkorswim.com
 
FHW 
(* = FHW position)
fhwoption@hotmail.com 
What's Frank Thinking? | 4/13/2015 7:39:12 AM | 0 Comments
Rock & Roll inflation?

 

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015, Chicago, Illinois, USA 
 
In our Chicago St. George high school days we were in a great local rock & roll band; playing school dances, sock-hops and the like, we had a good-sized following from around the Chicagoland area. "A Slice of Heaven" never made it big time, mostly playing Chicago and suburbs, although we did stray as far as rock & roll hot-beds LaSalle/Peru, Illinois and Kansas City one forgetful weekend. Our earnings in the late-60s were considered strong, considering our only costs, after the musical equipment was accumulated, was the cost of filling up our vehicles - oftentimes a borrowed panel van or small truck. Gasoline was about .25 cents per gallon at the time, so a couple of bucks moved us to-and-from our "gigs", and our usual $20 - $25 per band-member payout was appreciated with an extra "set" if possible. 
 
The band was a five-man crew, so $100 - $125 was our typical nightly reward, and sometimes partially spent after the show on pizza and beer. Yes, we were underage, but there were ways, and some of us even played 16-inch slow-pitch softball ("Clincher") at the same time for a tavern in Chicago, that allowed us some post-game brews. Times have changed since those 1960s - YA THINK? To prove our point in a fun and financial rock & roll sense, consider not only our hard-earned music money, but the major bands of the times. The biggest event back-then was the Woodstock Festival of 1969, and although we weren't lucky enough to attend, we had several Chicago friends who made the trek to Max Yazgur's farm. The cost of a three-day pass for that incredible rock & roll extravaganza was $18, as opposed to this summer's Chicago Lollapalooza being $275.
 
So yes, there has been rock & roll inflation. The even more amazing statistics have to do with the payouts to the musical acts. Jimi Hendrix was the highest paid act at Woodstock, hauling in $18,000, we don't know how much Jimi would command in today's market, but a half-million bucks a performance wouldn't shock us. Santana only made $750! Sha-na-na only $700! Our little Northwood's town of Rhinelander has their own week-long summer music event - The Hodag Country Music Fest. A nine-day pass for this year's festival would cost $120, and the approximate 40,000 fans in attendance are there for just about the entire time. Do the math! Even at an average of $100 for 30,000, the festival's owner, who happens to be a pal of ours, has about $3 million a summer to spend on country music acts. And that isn't counting the concessions and beer sales! So yes, the live music game has changed dramatically - even in little Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Every time we check the monetary musical math we wonder what would have been had our little Chicago rock & roll band stayed in the business. Maybe a reunion? I think I can still sing and bang a tamborine. How about it Pat B (owner of Hubbard Street Studios)? Pugs? Prof? The gym at Notre Dame in Niles is calling out to us!  
 
- Please join us in the daily Swim Lesson chat room - 10:30 -noon CT. And if you are looking for a fabulous full-day of stock/options/futures education, - sign up for one of the upcoming Saturday Market Drive events. The next shows are in Detroit (4/18), Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York. Go to https://wwws.tdameritradeconferences.com/marketdrive/
Like us on Facebook (FB*) -- https://www.facebook.com/frank.walsh.169 or follow us on Twitter (TWTR) at whatsfrankthink or on Linkedin (LNKD). And also look for us in the daily Swim Lesson chat room 10:30 - noon CDT. Anyone without a TDAmeritrade (AMTD*) account can open a PaperMoney account - go to www.thinkorswim.com 
 
FHW 
fhwoption@hotmail.com
(* = FHW position)
What's Frank Thinking? | 4/8/2015 8:08:04 AM | 0 Comments