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February 27, 2022 | Playing Ukraine Forward as a UFC Fight

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.

Few expected Ukraine to put up such a fierce fight, least of all Vladimir Putin. Despite his overwhelming advantage of firepower and troops, he and the rest of the world might have known better, given the reputation Russian soldiers of all stripes earned in battle during the last century. Setting ethnic Russians against one another was bound to produce a bloody battle rather than an overnight victory such as Bush achieved shelling Baghdad. As a result, Putin has had to pull out all the stops with a veiled nuclear threat in order to show the world that he has the power to decide the war’s outcome if and when chooses.

However badly he wants to re-unite the republics under the flag of Mother Russia, fulfilling what he regards as the destiny of a once glorious and powerful USSR, Putin could never have been eager to have Russians spill each other’s blood in his quest to rewrite history. It has cost him a reported 4,300 troops already, with corresponding losses on the other side, significant physical damage to Ukraine’s physical infrastructure, and an enormous refugee crisis for the country’s civilian population.

Nukes? Yeah, Sure…

Putin reportedly has put nuclear forces on standby, but the possibility he will use them seems remote. Supposedly, the Russian leader is already considering talks with Ukrainian President Zelensky, even though casualties so far are just a small fraction of what they’d be if a nuclear device were to be used. Putin had seemed astute enough in the past to avoid making idle threats, especially grandiose ones, but in this instance he has shown himself to be no better at wielding a big stick than Biden.

In these weekly commentaries, I usually attempt to predict how U.S. markets will react to the significant geopolitical events of the day. Since no one other than perhaps Fox commentator Victor Davis Hansen is capable of hazarding a respectable guess about what the invasion will bring in its wake, we might expect U.S. stocks to open with somewhat more confusion than usual this evening. How will a CNN junkie, with a presumptive average IQ of 86, trade the news? That is the question you must answer if you want to get the jump on index futures as they start the new week. My guess is that shares will open at least moderately lower and grope their way to the usual, criminally rigged bottom sometime in the early dawn on Monday. The invasion of Ukraine is just a top-of-the-card UFC fight as far as the blithering morons who mainstream the news to a world equally clueless about how to react to it are concerned. My market advice is to take the odds and buy stocks on weakness.

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February 27th, 2022

Posted In: Rick's Picks

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