On a humorous note, this CNN money article compares the percentage of cat ownership to stock ownership (link).
Less than 15% of U.S. households now own any individual stocks, more than 30% own at least one cat. No wonder virtually no one seems to talk about the stock market any more.
What are the reasons? Some explanations include: the big market down turn in 2008/2009, overall meager stock market returns since 2000 with some big down drafts, the events surrounding the IPO of Facebook and how so many small investors felt cheated, the Flash Boys book author telling everyone that the stock market is rigged.
With only about half the population saving any significant amount of money, the other 45% or so have no money to invest any where. I'll spare you the soapbox speech on the 45% non-savers.
Back to the stock market, there is some selling with a small down week. I see these like the little thunderstorms that come and go in some parts of the country. They dump a lot of rain real quick and then are gone. Sometimes a person can have bad luck and get soaked. We will see if it turns into something more serious.
I feel more discomfort during the week as AMGN, MSFT, XLU flirt with the strike prices of my short call options and ASH, GLD threaten on the short put side. I continue to feel out of synch with the markets. I have been clanking the timing on my entries and exits, often selling near the lows, buying near the highs. Fortunately the market moves have been small.
There were significant declines in bonds (TLT), gold (GLD), and REITs (IYR). Silver is now down for the year, after being up over 15% in February. I am under water on my recent GLD position. It has been a water torture decline, dripping lower a bit each day. With a small decline in stocks for the week, bigger drops in bonds and gold, cash was king for the week (that or being short gold or bonds).
Here are this week's trades:
Fri Sell BRKB Sep 140 calls @136.9. I hedge my short puts in Berkshire Hathaway by selling calls for a tiny premium.
Wed Sell SLB Oct 115 calls @103.3. I hedge my net long position in Schlumberger by selling calls for a tiny premium.
Sell SPY Sep 202.5 calls @199.0. Ditto on the S&P 500 etf, selling calls for a tiny premium.
Sell NKE Oct 72.5 puts @82.4. New long position in Nike. NKE recently broke out of a chart base.
Mon Sell MSFT Oct 43 puts and Sep 45 puts @46.6. Rebalance short September strangles on Microsoft by selling September and October puts. This is another runner where the short calls are in the red.
Sell APC Oct 90 puts @106.4. I open an October position in Anadarko Petroleum on today's dip.
long GLD MRK NKE
net long APC ASH BRKB DIS IWM JWN SLB SPY
net short MSFT XLU
net neutral AMGN FB FDX HON SWK VRSN