Intel and Altera, 1 Minute View

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Unusual activity late in the day ... news that Intel in talks to buy Altera ... again starting with the 15:32 bar you'd have to shift to your tick charts (not possible with a $9.99 datafeed) ... both good plays for fast boys. Intel on top, Altera on bottom.

Update: I looked at the scanner results from Friday and XLNX was actually as active as Intel ... if you had bought XLNX instead of INTC or ALTR (perfectly reasonable idea) you wouldn't have made any money. I'd love to see a tick chart for the last half hour of trading, but don't have the data.

HOT Heats Up, 1 Minute View

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Unusual activity in Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (HOT) ... scanner beeped at 12:20 PM ... that 13:45 high should read $86.76 on chart (typo) ... fairly weak into the close so about half the gains taken back, but still should have been a good play for those on the ball. There's no news ... someone called SunTrust apparently said HOT worth $100+ as takeover, but I haven't seen the report, not sure if that's what drove this.

Banshee -- Season One

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Thanks to my Twitter buddy, JackInFlorida, and others for recommending Banshee ... I enjoyed the first season.  The story is a little dumb (ex-con becomes small-town sheriff), and they try to make it more believable by basing it in Amish country (ya know, no cellphones, computers, etc.), but it's still silly.  

And the violence, oh my god, it's just over the top.  It's like X-rated violence, pornographic violence.  Every episode has at least one extended fight scene or gun battle which ends with everyone covered with vast amounts of blood, dripping from heads and mouths.  It's gory, not for the squeamish or sensitive.

But it's also funny.  Lots of clever lines and amusing situations that are well done. It's campy, which balances out the ultra-violence. The lead male isn't going to win any acting awards, but the lead actress isn't bad, a La Femme Nikita type, ya know, eastern European bones. The villains are all good, older guys who are still ripped (they're not Americans, that's why), which is nice to see. Remember my big objection to House of Cards is seeing pudgy, effeminate Kevin Spacey playing a tough guy. Anyway, give it a try if you haven't seen it ... here are my selected screenshots.

Biotech HOLDRs, the Long View

Added on by C. Maoxian.

I'm old enough to remember when the Biotech HOLDRs came out in late 1999 ... I guess they're a Van Eck product now.  The most liquid biotech ETF is IBB, followed by XBI.

Merrill Lynch Introduces Single Security Representing 20 Biotech Stocks 
Monday, November 22, 1999 05:59 PM 
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated today announced the launch of Biotech HOLDRs(SM), a new security representing undivided beneficial ownership interest in the common stock of 20 specified companies involved in various segments of the biotechnology industry. 

Today, 4.5 million Biotech HOLDRs were priced for initial sale to the public at an aggregate offering price in excess of $490 million. Trading of Biotech HOLDRs begins on Tuesday, November 23, 1999, on the American Stock Exchange under the symbol "BBH." Newly issued Biotech HOLDRs will be available on a continuous basis. 

Kraft Buyout

Added on by C. Maoxian.

I do own some KRFT since I'm an old MO shareholder ... no idea how much of course, just stuck in a drawer and forgotten about.

Captive Order Flow

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Selected bits from Interactive Broker's latest 10-K, bold [and comments in brackets] are mine:

"Market Making—Timber Hill ... Most of the above trading activities take place on exchanges and all securities and commodities that we trade are cleared by exchange owned or authorized clearing houses. Recently, the emergence of High Frequency Traders and others who compete with us but do not regularly provide liquidity [zing!] have put our market making operations under pressure and its relative significance has diminished."
...
"Market Making
Historically, competition has come from registered market making firms which range from sole proprietors with very limited resources to large, integrated broker-dealers. Today, Timber Hill's major competitors continue to be large broker-dealers, such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Citigroup, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and niche players such as Citadel, Susquehanna, Virtu, Wolverine Trading, Group One Trading, Peak6 and Knight Capital Group. Some of our competitors in market making are larger than we are and have more captive order flow, although this is less true with respect to our narrow focus on options, futures and ETFs listed on electronic exchanges.
The competitive environment for market makers has evolved considerably in the past several years, most notably with the rise in high frequency trading firms ("HFTs"), which transact significant trading volume on electronic exchanges by using complex algorithms and high speed execution software that analyzes market conditions. HFTs that are not registered market makers operate with fewer regulatory restrictions and are able to move more quickly and trade more cheaply. This issue is currently an area of focus amongst regulators who are examining the practices of HFTs and their impact on market structure."
...
"We face competition in our market making activities.
In our market making activities, we compete with other firms based on our ability to provide liquidity at competitive prices and to attract order flow. These firms include registered market makers as well as high frequency trading firms ("HFTs") that act as market makers. Both types of competitors range from sole proprietors with very limited resources to a few highly sophisticated groups which have substantially greater financial and other resources, including research and development personnel, than we do [you mean the "niche players" listed above?]. These larger and better capitalized competitors may be better able to respond to changes in the market making industry, to compete for skilled professionals [better nerds], to finance acquisitions, to fund internal growth and to compete for market share generally.
HFTs that are not registered market makers have certain advantages over registered market making firms that may allow them to bypass regulatory restrictions and trade more quickly and cheaply than registered market makers at some exchanges. We may not be able to compete effectively against HFTs or market makers with greater financial resources, and our failure to do so could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. As in the past, we may in the future face enhanced competition, resulting in narrowing bid/offer spreads in the marketplace [aren't narrowing spreads good for the little guy?] that may adversely impact our financial performance. This is especially likely if HFTs continue to receive advantages in capturing order flow or if others can acquire systems that enable them to predict markets or process trades more efficiently than we can."
...
"Market making segment results declined in 2014 due to the continuation of a difficult operating environment for market makers with strong competition from high frequency traders (HFT's) and historically low volatility levels, which depressed our trading gains."

WSOP 2014, Selected Hands

Added on by C. Maoxian.

I got around to watching most of the 2014 World Series of Poker final tables ... I didn't watch too much of the three- and two-handed play at the end (though that can also be very interesting). Here are screenshots of a few of the hands that I enjoyed watching:

Youku Tudou At All-time Low

Added on by C. Maoxian.

YOKU put out this press release on Thursday evening and held a conference call at 9 PM (eastern time).  There was a chance to get short above $15 after hours, but there was next to no liquidity and I don't know how easy it is to locate shares to short. I'm interested to talk with people who traded this one on Friday (or Thursday night). 

Amicus Coronado, 1 Minute View

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Two biotech stocks (surprise!) unusually active today ... would have been hard to make money in Amicus (FOLD) if you weren't in there pre-open ... Coronado (CNDO) gave back a lot into end of day, but probably still a profitable play for alert traders.

Gold Miners Pop, 1 Minute View

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Fed day, everything moves, Gold Miners moved the most ... NUGT is the triple leveraged long play (its opposite is the more cleverly named DUST). Would like to see all the trading between 14:00:00 and 14:01:00 but can't do that with a $9.99 data feed. Even paying $9.45 would have made sense carrying into end of day.

General Cable Pop, 1 Minute View

Added on by C. Maoxian.

I don't have the scanner results from yesterday since I was busy streaming TV shows (bandwidth priorities!), but I assume it would have caught BGC ... rumored buyout.

Click to enlarge, as always (helps if you have big monitor, not a phone or tablet)

TV I've Watched Recently

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Going to list all the TV I've (recently) watched (alphabetically) with my brief comments.  I need recommendations from people who agree with both my likes and dislikes.

  • Breaking Bad (loved it, watched from start to finish)
  • Boardwalk Empire (liked this one, watched it all)
  • Borgen (liked the first couple seasons, refused to start third as I feared would jump shark)
  • Bosch (wasn't too thrilled with first (and only?) season)
  • Broadchurch (not bad, final episode was a cop-out)
  • Broen/Bron (the Danish/Swedish show ... liked it)
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm (funny but cruel, Larry David the poster boy for anti-Semitism)
  • Dexter (watched a couple seasons and liked it then quit when it had no clear arc)
  • Game Of Thrones (quit after a few episodes, not into the fantasy thing)
  • Girls (I think I've seen every episode, no matter how much pain inflicted)
  • Happy Valley (kind of liked it)
  • House of Cards (it's slick, still watching, though dreading inevitable shark jump)
  • Lilyhammer (loved the first season, haven't tackled the later one)
  • Louis (love this show, seen every one, very painful in parts)
  • Mad Men (liked it, have seen every episode)
  • Orange Is The New Black (watched one or two episode and quit)
  • Orphan Black (watched one episode, didn't like it)
  • Please Like Me (from Down Under, only one season, that's all the juice it had)
  • Rectify (really liked season one, I guess there's a season two now?)
  • Scandal (tried to watch it, bouncy cam, quit after a few minutes)
  • Shameless (quit after two episodes)
  • The Americans (watched season one, didn't hook me for some reason)
  • The Fall (Scully with British accent, ultimately disappointing)
  • The Good Wife (watched quite a few episodes, though I'm not sure why, Margulies of course)
  • The Sopranos (loved it, watched from start to finish)
  • The Walking Dead (only watched part of one episode, didn't like it)
  • The Wire (liked it, even the season everyone else hated)
  • Top of the Lake (watched one episode, didn't like it)
  • Transparent (liked this one, looking forward to second season)
  • True Detective (had some good episodes, neat vibe, but ultimately disappointing)
  • Veep (funny, but often cruel humor)

Shameless -- Season One

Added on by C. Maoxian.

I've only watched the pilot so far, but wanted to put this up as a placeholder.  Initially not thrilled with it. The story of an alcoholic father and his brood of children who have to fend for themselves on the (white) south side of Chicago. Everyone is attractive, except for William Macy, and generally cheerful despite the poverty ... I find that offensive. If you want to see real poor whites, tune into Cops.

I'll soldier on and try to watch the rest of season one.

OK, I watched episode two and decided to stop. Yes, there are some funny lines, some amusing situations, but the root of the story is poverty and alcoholism and dysfunction ... and if you're playing that for laughs, it doesn't work for me ... it's unseemly. In addition to everyone being above-average attractive, they're also fairly articulate. Poor white families don't talk like these people do.  Also how the show handles sex (and homosexuality) and race (his youngest baby boy is half-black), it kind of grosses me out. Not sure who the target audience is, I guess Millennials ... probably squarely aimed at Millennials. Not my bag.

Movies Watched -- Jodorowsky's Dune

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Kind of interesting, the story of a sci-fi movie that was never made ... Jodorowsky seems like a lovable lunatic ... he assembled a crew of talented characters in the mid-1970s, especially the artists HR Giger, Jean 'Moebius' Giraud, and Chris Foss, to work on his vision -- the storyboards they created are amazing.  Hollywood wisely didn't touch the project because they anticipated it would go over budget and wouldn't be 90 minutes long. There was a Dune movie made, directed by David Lynch, but it was a disaster.

I was interested to know what drugs were being consumed by everyone back then ... did Jodorowsky have some source of amazing Mexican weed? Recommended if you're interested in movie history. 

"Dees bastards with dee sheet, I mean dee money, wouldn't fund my insane, drug-addled vision!"

Pandora Pop, 1 Minute View

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Supposedly a rumor of a buyout ... Pandora's Music Genome Project is valuable ... not sure who would buy them though, Apple? Day traders don't care ... it's just a trade.