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January 28, 2018 | Stock Market Redeemed by Its Looniness

Rick Ackerman

Rick Ackerman is the editor of Rick’s Picks, an online service geared to traders of stocks, options, index futures and commodities. His detailed trading strategies have appeared since the early 1990s in Black Box Forecasts, a newsletter he founded that originally was geared to professional option traders. Barron’s once labeled him an “intrepid trader” in a headline that alluded to his key role in solving a notorious pill-tampering case. He received a $200,000 reward when a conviction resulted, and the story was retold on TV’s FBI: The Untold Story. His professional background includes 12 years as a market maker in the pits of the Pacific Coast Exchange, three as an investigator with renowned San Francisco private eye Hal Lipset, seven as a reporter and newspaper editor, three as a columnist for the Sunday San Francisco Examiner, and two decades as a contributor to publications ranging from Barron’s to The Antiquarian Bookman to Fleet Street Letter and Utne Reader.

The stock market was at its looney best last week as things drew to a close. It was like a Friday from the good old days. AMZN was up nearly 25 points, Facebook made a psychotic lunge for $190 just to screw with the heads of traders short call options at that strike, and the broad averages turned their nearly vertical climb into a fully vertical one.  Casino mega-mogul Steve Wynn became the latest powerful white guy to be snared by sexual-harassment jihadis, and a Japanese biggie in the cryptocurrency world fessed up to having somehow lost $400 million worth of tokens. If you were short Wynn Resorts or Coincheck Inc. you had a great day. As for the rest of us — or at least those of us who hang out in the Rick’s Picks chat room — there was nervous anticipation as the E-Mini S&Ps climbed toward and then exceeded a level that had looked promising for a top.  Yes, it’s true: We never learn.

But fixating on possible tops does alleviate the boredom of watching the market do the same thing every day, rising as predictably as a cloud of methane above a cow pasture. We also attempted a ‘Friday Jackpot Bet’ on Facebook that was based on a suggestion from a chat-room denizen. The call options we bought traded as low as 0.05 in the opening minutes when Wall Street’s reptilian masters let Facebook shares drop like they were radioactive.  The calls rocketed to 0.18 just a few minutes later when the stock bounced weakly. But because we’d paid 0.10 for them, not 0.05, we were ultimately unable to even double our money, let alone octuple it as is more typical for this type of bet. Oh well. The experience was sufficiently interesting that we’ll likely give it another try in the future. Please join us if you can’t resist betting on trifectas and hard eights. And don’t forget to vote for Rick’s Picks in FXStreet’s 2018 ‘Best’ Awards.  Click here for a ballot and instructions.

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January 28th, 2018

Posted In: Rick's Picks

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