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Stopped Out: Hertz (HTZ)

I hit my stop loss in HTZ at yesterday’s close.

music selection:  “Fell In Love With A Girl” — The White Stripes

My stop loss for Hertz (HTZ) was set at 18.05.  Shares closed over that price Thursday afternoon.  I still believe in the thesis but I’m going to honor my stop.  I bought to close all 554 shares at 18.79 for a cash outlay of 10,409.66.

My loss is 2,409.36 on a basis of 8,000.30.  That is a loss of 30.12% or 36.04% annualized.  The trade was in force for 305 days.  I am still in CAR, AMG, F, GM, COF, CNQ, S, and SC short positions.  Time will tell the tale.

Devour your prey raptors!


Hertz Soars

My short position in HTZ took it on the chin today.

music selection:  “Hologram” — Katie Herzig

I have shorted 554 shares of HTZ for a total “cost” basis of 8,000.30.  The thesis is subprime auto lending is creating a bubble in used car prices.  Since car rental companies can largely be thought of as leveraged plays on used car pricing, they are a good way to short the used car segment.

HTZ reported earnings today and it was a big whiff.  They missed EPS by a mile and fell short on the top line too.  Almost inexplicably, the market sent shares up 23% on the news.  There is another news item that seems to be in play.  Uber is getting out of the car leasing game and is pushing drivers with poor credit towards car rental companies recommending that lease older model rentals on an hourly basis.  The market thinks this could save the car rental companies from being ravaged by weak used auto pricing.

In total, I am down 1,733.48 on the position or 21.67%.  I still believe in this short but I will honor a 25% hard stop.  I’ll buy to close if shares close above 18.05.  They are 17.57 as of this writing.

CAR moved up in sympathy but only about 5%.  I have a lot more room to run in that short.  Also, I am sticking with my GM and F shorts.  Uber’s decision seems to offer little solace to the big automakers.  In addition, I have a short position in COF which is partly driven by their aggressive subprime auto lending.  Crashing used auto prices wipes out their collateral and puts them at risk.

Devour your prey raptors!


Update UVXY

I rolled my UVXY puts to a lower strike.

music selection: “Hologram” — Katie Herzig

I originally purchased my puts at the 13 strike (pre-split) on 14FEB2017.  I paid 8.20 a share.  I sold today for 9.15.  The trade was in force for 175 days and yields 24.16% on an annualized basis.  I have two other UVXY trades closed this year for 26.92% and 65.43%.  That brings my average annualized returns to 38.84%, which is a really good result.  I ordinarily do this with a 10% allocation in my portfolio so I am adding around 388 basis points to the portfolio on the year.

I bought new puts, this time for a reduced 8% allocation.  I paid 10.25 a share.  I bought 24 puts at the 20 dollar strike for $24,600.  Target return is 50% annualized.  I will be looking for more hedges in coming weeks.

Devour your prey raptors!


Tightening Trailing Stops

I tried to close UVXY today but couldn’t find a buyer at an attractive price.

music selection:  “Planet Caravan” — Pantera

weigh-in:  205.0 +0.6

We have gone a long time in this bull market with a correction of at least 10%.  Perhaps, it is a record length of time.  Measures of investor complacency such as the VIX are at record lows.  I think it is time to play a little defense.

Except for three positions in oil and gas that I entered with larger than normal trailing stops, everything is at a 25% trailing stop loss.  Today, I updated my spreadsheet to calculate a 15% trailing stop loss.  Nothing was triggered for an immediate sale.

Most of my short positions are currently in the red but I’m holding them open.  They should perform well when the inevitable 10% or larger correction finally arrives.  I am also being strategic to raise cash.  When I unload my UVXY puts, I’ll redeploy at a 8% portfolio allocation instead of 10%.  I want to have some dry powder to write puts with when the correction comes as steep (irrational?) risk premiums will be on offer.

In the meantime, I am well positioned to play defense.  Approximately 40% of the portfolio is in fixed or semi fixed income type positions.  Another quarter or so is in strong dividend payers.  My projected twelve month dividends, distribution, and interest income is 27,254 or 110% of my projected budgetary need.  I’ll continue collecting some modest options trading income, but now is not the time to go all in with selling options as the remarkably low VIX is suppressing premiums.

I hope to be back tomorrow with a successful UVXY trade.  Depends on finding a willing buyer.

Devour your prey raptors!


Financial Transparency as of 31JUL2017

The month of July is in the bag.

music selection:  “Desire” — Lemmy Kilmister & Richie Kotzen

weigh-in:  204.4 (2.0) – w00t, new record low.



Wells Fargo (taxable): This finished the month at 31,443, up from 30,941 last month.  The account is up 2,309 on the year or 7.93%.

Interactive Brokers (taxable): This finished the month up 1.89% at 306,652.  The account is up 37,126 on the year or 13.77%.

Interactive Brokers (tIRA): This one was up 3,088 dollars to 152,775.  Gains for the year come to 12,558 or 8.96%.

Checking: Cash on hand is up 676 dollars to 12,259.  The change in cash since the beginning of the year is 3,816 or up 45.20%.

Total Liquid Networth is up 9,994 on the month to 503,129.  I broke the half a million milestone!  Total gains for the year are 55,809 or 12.48%, which annualizes to 21.39%.



No real changes here.

Home – Paid

Car – Paid

Income tax liability is still tracking around 11,000 for the year and I should have that much prepaid by the January 15 deadline.  If the market kicks me in the teeth on any of my long or short positions, I’ll take my lumps and harvest the tax loss to reduce this burden.



I am budgeting 25,000 for annual spending.  Against a liquid networth of 503,129, my withdrawal rate is 4.97%.  Under 5% for the first time!  Projected twelve month dividends, distributions, and interest come to 27,524 or 110.09% of budget.  I picked up an additional 1,812 in options income for the month.  I’m averaging 2,080 a month or 99.85% of expected budget.  My budget is covered more than twice before considering the effect of any capital gains.  A nice place to be in.



Expenses came to 1,696 for the month.  This is slightly better than my 1,711 average so far this year.  My road trip with Dad has been postponed to September and I’ll incur some additional expenses during that time but it shouldn’t be too bad.  National park fees are covered by Dad’s senior citizen benefit and we’ll be splitting hotel fees.  That should be offset by no air-conditioning expense for the home as I’ll flip that breaker to the OFF position for the duration of the trip.  Should finish the year under budget barring any unforeseen major expenses.


Devour your prey raptors!


Four New Options Trades

I bid on six trades and completed four.

music selection:  “Gemini Dream” — The Moody Blues

weigh-in:  206.4 (2.8) – A good week.

Six positions expired over the weekend.  I was able to reestablish four but two more offered no attractive bids.  PSEC and ORCL both expired out of the money and left me with an opportunity to write new puts.  I was unable to find a bid that allowed for my minimum 12% annualized return on put writing. I’ll move these two to the watch list and look for better opportunities in the future.  I have four covered call trades to share with you instead.

SM Energy has disappointed but I’m working to make the trade profitable.  I sold SM170818C00022500 for 10 cents a share.  The trade will be in force for a short 26 days.  It yields 6.24% annualized.  After this trade, I am down 19.73% in the trade since inception.  I’ll need some stability in the market for WTI crude to make a full recovery.

Shares of CNNX were narrowly assigned over the weekend. I sold CNNX170818C00020000 for 55 cents a share.  Like SM, the trade will be in force for only 26 days.  It yields a tasty 38.61% annualized.  The underlying yields over 5% but it is a 50/50 proposition at this point whether I will actually collect a distribution before being called away.  The call yields are compensating me plenty well enough though.

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is another trade that has been disappointing.  Shares moved against me almost immediately after opening a position and have been slow to recover.  I sold ADM170901C00045000 for 15 cents a share.  The trade will be in force for 40 days and yields a paltry 3.04%.  All in, I am now only down 4.47% on the trade in total.  A break even result is highly achievable.

EOG has been treating me pretty well.  This is a best in class shale driller in the Permian Basin of west Texas.  They should remain profitable down to a WTI crude price of 35 a barrel.  I sold EOG170901C00095000 for 2.20 a share.  This trade will be in force for 40 days and yields a desirable 21.13% annualized.  This position is 6.79% in the green after accounting for options premiums received.  I should be able to play this one profitably for months.

All together these four options trades yield a simple average annualized return of 17.25%.  I think that is pretty good considering half the positions have moved against me and I’m still handily beating the long term average return of buy and hold index investors.  It leaves me puzzled that so many people think indexing is the only rational strategy.

I’ll be taking a road trip vacation to the mountain west with my father, Lizard King Sr, next week.  Further blog updates will be highly dependent on finding reliable Wi-Fi.

Devour your prey raptors!



Update Short Position Capital One Financial (COF)

Capital One reported earnings and the markets are cheering.

music selection:  “Sign of the Gypsy Queen” — April Wine

I hold 61 shares short of COF in my main investment account.  The basis is a little over 5,000 dollars.  Yesterday after close, Capital One reported quarterly earnings and surprised to the upside.  Shares are up over 8% on the day.  I am now 328 dollars to the red.  I will continue to hold the short until 102.70 (a 25% hard stop).  I think I am still right about deteriorating credit quality in the auto loan and credit card loan books and that I am just “early” to the party.

Zacks had this to say: “increasing expenses continue to hurt Capital One’s profitability. Also, deteriorating credit quality remains a major near-term concern. In fact, asset quality is likely to continue to remain under pressure due to losses in the auto portfolio and U.S. card business.”  It should be noted that COF actually increased its provision for loan losses in response to growing default rates.  Net charge offs have increased 66 basis points year over year.  All this while deposits held at the bank fell 1%.  If this trend continues, Capital One could face a liquidity crisis that will reward shorts well.

Devour your prey raptors!


Upgrading my MLP ETF from AMLP to AMZA

I sold AMLP.

music selection:  “Whiskey River” — Willie Nelson

I like the MLP space for high yields and steady growth.  This is a sector that is poised for long term growth as hydraulic fracturing continues to revolutionize domestic oil production.  All of that oil and gas has to be transported and stored.  The MLP companies serve that role and get a tax advantage as well.  For more than a year, I have been invested with twice my normal allocation size in AMLP.  AMLP is a diversified basket of MLP companies currently yielding a little more than 7%.  I sold today at 12.07 booking a 413 dollar capital loss that was more than covered by past distributions and options premiums.

Today, I upgraded to AMZA.  It is a similar basket of diversified MLP companies but it is actively managed and uses up to 33% leverage to boost returns.  I bought 2,039 shares at 9.80 a piece for a total investment of 19,982.20.  The new ETF boasts a yield of 21.22% or about three times what I was earning with a similar 20k or so investment in the MLP space.  My 12 month distributions were below my annual budget as of this morning but is now at 107.83% of budget.  I will sleep well tonight.

Devour your prey raptors!


Written Put Blackstone Group (BX)

BX puts expired on Saturday.  I wrote new ones.

music selection:  “Suite Sister Mary” — Queensryche

weigh-in:  209.2 +0.4 – Too much BBQ!

Blackstone Group is quite a lot like a publicly traded hedge fund.  They take in funds from accredited investors and deploy it primarily in real estate investments.  We can participate in the fees they charge by buying the stock.  It is a high yielder but we can do better with options.

I sold BX170825P00034500 for 90 cents a share.  The trade will be in force for 40 days and yields 23.80% annualized.  It also enjoys 2.67% downside protection against a drop in share price.  Assignment will result in a yield over 10% plus the opportunity to profit again with covered calls.

In other news, UVXY split 1:4 today.  Long puts are well in the green but I think I can do better by holding a little longer.

Devour your prey raptors!






PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (PMT)

Today is ex-div day for PMT and my shares were called away.

music selection:  “Good Times” — Chic

One of the risks you take with writing a covered call is that shares can be called away early on or before the ex-div date to allow the counterparty to collect the distribution.  Whenever the dividend rate is higher than the remaining time value on the contract, it makes sense for the counterparty to exercise.  I came away with a capital gain but missed collecting a second distribution.  I was well compensated for taking this risk however.

The shares were originally purchased on 9JAN2017 at 16.69 a share.  They sold today for 17.50.  Along the way, I collected covered call premiums of 25 cents, 10 cents, and 35 cents.  I also collected one 47 cent distribution.  That is a total of 1.98 a share over 183 or 23.66% annualized.  I did quite a lot better than regular holders of PMT over the period and had lower risk at the same time thanks to my premium income.  That is exactly the way covered calls are supposed to work.

I wrote a new cash secured put on PMT this morning.  I sold PMT170818P00017500 for 38 cents a share.  That trade will be in force for 39 days and yields 20.32% annualized while enjoying 4.04% downside protection against a downward move in the underlying.  Twenty percent is an excellent return and well outpaces the long term average of buy and hold S&P investors.  I’m happy with this risk-reward profile.

Devour your prey raptors!