Monday, December 19, 2011

Alpha-D Updates For 12/19/11

I made very simple changes to my portfolio today.  My covered calls on GDX and FXI expired unexercised.  I renewed them with monthly expirations.  The underlying equity positions have fallen from the last price I paid for them, so the possibility that these calls may be exercised raises the further risk that I will either realize a tax loss or repurchase them at a disadvantageous price.  Such is the nature of equity investing with covered call writing.  I'm fine with that.

I also remain the proud owner of some California muni bonds that will mature in 2012.  They are useful as a deflationary hedge.  I bought them at a premium to their face value because their coupons were higher than going rates on Treasuries.  The premium nets out against other capital gains; the cash flow from interest is tax free.  It is difficult to justify further purchases of fixed income products in a macroeconomic environment where central banks worldwide seem determined to devalue fiat currency.  Bonds and cash do poorly when such conditions persist.

I continue to be intrigued by the relative performance of FRO and SFL, two shipping twins I've been watching for years.  I missed my chance to buy SFL in 2008 when it was dirt cheap but now I'm tempted to go for it.  Bear in mind that the lesson of 2009 is that stocks can go even cheaper, so I'm willing to wait.  I'm also strongly considering taking a bearish position on YRCW (actually YRCWD for a while) by either buying puts or going short the stock.  I posted an update on YRCW last week and I'm finally tempted to actually make some money from this trucker's sad decline.  I'll let you know what I decide in a day or two. 

That's all for now.  Check back later for more genius updates.  I might as well remind people that my disclosures are not investment advice.  Consider my discussion to be a form of entertainment.  I don't give advice on what other people should do with their money.  I certainly don't take advice on what to do with mine.