Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More Fund Updates - (a) Foreign Investors (b) Broker Dealers (c) Commentary on New Site

Just finished up a long conversation to get clarification on multiple issues - some bad news, some good news.

Foreign Investors

My apologies on this one - I was given advice a few years ago the fund could cater to foreign investors.  It appears there are issues with that, although my 3rd party back office team is going to look into the issue to see if there are any long term solutions to allow it.  But for now, unless you are a U.S. citizen living abroad OR a foreign national with a U.S. tax ID living in the states you won't be allowed to invest in the fund.  That's disappointing since I enjoy my foreign readership and it makes up some 20% of current traffic.

Broker Dealers Part I

This is a circus.  The whole landscape has changed and based on discussions today the decision for the 12b-1 has been made for me.  A lot of broker dealers - especially the popular ones - have made wholesale changes on how they approach the business - i.e. a year ago TDAmeritrade, Etrade, and Scottrade were all covered under a blanket agreement and I simply had to pay for transaction costs (i.e. when an investors buys or sells, I pay the commission to these firms).  That's completely out the window now - with many of the changes happening in the past 2-3 months.

(1) Fidelity and Schwab we've discussed the issues - see post earlier today.

(2) Scottrade has abandoned their own platform and now uses Schwab - hence rather than being the low cost option it's part of the syndicate.  So there is no longer a low fee (for the fund) way to get into Scottrade and it might as well be called Schwab for my purposes.

(3) TDAmeritrade apparently saw the success of Fidelity and Schwab and decided it wants in on the action.  A complete change.  While the up front fees are not as high as the other two, they now will be taking a portion of the annual expense ratio for themselves which is a brand new thing.  (A year ago this was not at all part of the discussion)

(4) Etrade: the only one of these majors who still goes under the old system; i.e. the fund only has to reimburse the brokerage for commission costs.

So out of these "top 5", of which 3 were safe havens even 6-9 months ago, now all that is left is a low cost option (on my end) is Etrade.  Considering the heft of TDAmeritrade and Scottrade in terms of pecking order of online brokers - along with Fidelity and Schwab... well as I said above, the 12b-1 issue becomes more clear.  The price to pay to be listed anywhere has risen significantly.

Based on the above, I would encourage investors who are on the fence and have not yet switched money to open a direct account with the fund upon launch if possible - unless you are with Etrade or considering them.  Although the way things are headed, everyone wants in on the action and I bet Etrade goes the same route as everyone else sooner or later.  Ugh.

One other important notice - there is a lag between when the fund is "live" and a review period for each of these brokerages to approve the fund.  (or in theory they can reject the fund)  But generally it is 4-6 weeks of review.  What  does this mean?   Since many of my investors are going to be coming through broker dealers I can request the fund not go live until some period after SEC approval. (I was under the impression the fund was "on" the moment the SEC approved, but that is not true based on clarification received today)  If most of the monies were coming through via direct investments it would not be an issue; but since a lot is coming through brokers it probably will make sense for me to wait about 4 weeks post SEC approval to turn the fund "on".   Another ugh.

Broker Dealers Part 2

These are the brokerages people have asked me about - some of them are Canadian which going back to point one is a moot point at this moment, so I am skipping them.

USAA - yes, upon approval

Interactive Brokers - awaiting response

ThinkorSwim - See Ameritrade

Penson Financial - yes, upon approval

OptionsHouse - trades through Penson Financial

Zecco - trades through Penson Financial

OptionsExpress - appears to be similar structure to Etrade for approval

TradeStation - does not actively solicit mutual funds; only 1% of business

TradeKing - trades through Penson Financial

Vanguard - you guessed it; saw the mad money being made at Schwab and Fidelity and wants in on the action - same problems there.

Bank of America - awaiting response

Barclays - foreign so might be a moot point

Multiple Canadian brokers - at this time, a moot point

Commentary on New Website 

This was the lion's share of today's discussion due to the complications and scarcity of examples.  From 40,000 feet potential exists for commentary but it cannot be on mutual fund website.... instead more of "Mark's site".  Disclosures that this is the writer's personal opinion and not that of mutual fund or advisory firm must be everywhere.  There are many issues over and above that, but in the grand scheme it can be done but at arm's length from mutual fund.... and very carefully.

Direct Accounts

One other issue that came up recently and in the discussion.  We won't have the technological capability to open a direct account online in the near future but a "to do" list item.  Further with new regulations any IRA Rollovers or the like need to have signature guarantees so the online option is moot to some degree for retirement accounts due to the changing rules.  But for regular accounts it was a possibility and an option I would have liked to have but not something the 3rd party back office will offer in the near term.  

You will be able to download applications, prospectus, rollover forms and the like in pdf files from the fund website (and then mail the documents in) or if you prefer call shareholder services for the old fashioned method to receive the documents (snail mail).



Well so far an identical day to yesterday thus far.... I was wrong on the chances of the 2 days being the same.

Debating a 12b-1 Fee to Help Defray Costs of Fidelity and Schwab Supermarket Listing

I am debating a 12b-1 fee to help defray the costs required to be listed on the Fidelity and Schwab supermarkets.  Initially I was against the idea of a 12b-1 fee as I thought of it solely as an expense item charged to investors for advertising, which I felt should not be a cost borne on investors. 

Per the SEC
  • This category identifies so-called "12b-1 fees," which are fees paid by the fund out of fund assets to cover distribution expenses and sometimes shareholder service expenses.  "12b-1 fees" get their name from the SEC rule that authorizes a fund to pay them. 
  • "Distribution fees" include fees paid for marketing and selling fund shares, such as compensating brokers and others who sell fund shares, and paying for advertising, the printing and mailing of prospectuses to new investors, and the printing and mailing of sales literature.
  • The SEC does not limit the size of 12b-1 fees that funds may pay. But under FINRA rules, 12b-1 fees that are used to pay marketing and distribution expenses (as opposed to shareholder service expenses) cannot exceed 0.75 percent of a fund’s average net assets per year.  

However after further investigation it seems many funds are using it for the other reason - "compensating brokers.... who sell fund shares." 

Specific to most funds (and myself) is the Russian mafia known as the Fidelity and Schwab fund supermarkets.  Like Ebay they own the marketplace - you have to go to Ebay to sell stuff since that is where the buyers are.  Same for a mutual fund - tons of investors now reside on their supermarkets... I get emails each week asking why I am not listing there.  In many funds 80%ish of their asset flows come from those supermarkets - especially if you are a no load and not the type of fund family huge enough to be in 401k plans.

These 2 firms charge an arm and a leg (and parts of the torso) - essentially for every dollar invested via their supermarket they take 0.4% of the expense ratio for themselves.  Aside from Paypal this could be the best business model in the world.  So as a small stand alone fund I was resigned to the fact I could not get on the platforms until I was much larger since I can't afford to give away such a huge portion of my revenue.   But that's where the 12b-1 fee can help - potentially.  While in theory it can go up to 0.75% that's an outrageous level, and most 12b-1 fees seem to be 0.25%.  Hence you can use the 12b-1 to help defray the costs to the Russian mafia and then be responsible for 0.15% (rather than the full 0.4%) out of pocket.

So at this time I am doing more research on the 'up front costs' (aside from the ongoing 0.4% theft fee, there is also an 'up front' shakedown from both Fidelity and Schwab just to be listed on their networks).  Then I have to figure out what it takes to be a NTF (no transfer fee) fund versus not.

There is an excellent piece from 2004 at Forbes if interested in the topic...


[Videos] Bethany McLean - All the Devils are Here

Bethany McLean is the co-author (along with Joe Nocera) of a book getting great reviews as the most comprehensive overview of the financial crisis we've papered over just escaped: All the Devils are Here.  McLean is one known as one of the best business writers, being instrumental in bringing the Enron story to light via an infamous Fortune article at the beginning of the decade.  It is hard to imagine now with the benefit of hindsight but at the time Enron was the golden child of the post NASDAQ bubble crash stock market - so with a little help (prodding) from hedgie Jim Chanos, Bethany went to work.

Long story short she has the chops.  The 2 authors did a piece on the Jon Stewart show a few weeks ago but it wasn't that insightful - instead I brought over a few videos from TheStreet.com in which the very pragmatic McLean says it how it is.  When listening to her I hear much of the things I say.... I continue to be amazed that bright, insightful people can agree on so many issues this country faces but the stranglehold at the top by the business-politico cabal, does not allow for any real change.

p.s. oh where have you gone dear Stan O'Neil?  [You're Fired! Now Here is $160M to Help Ease the Pain]

Video 1

Video 2:


Back to Back Stick Saves?

I am hesitant to use historical precedent nowadays because the market beast acts very different than it used to, but after yesterday's miracle rally on no news in particular ...which added some 15 S&P points off the intraday low, we typically should not expect a repeat in back to back days.  Hence the market should be more vulnerable today...in theory.  Thus far action this AM is identical to yesterday morning....but markets rarely pull the same stunt off twice in a row.  That said one gets very impatient waiting for this support at the 50 day to finally break....the urgent buyer is relentless.


Groupon - From Startup in 2008 to Potential $5-$6B Buyout by Google in 2010

While the opportunities are perhaps less than they were 25-35 years ago, there still is an ability for nearly overnight manic wealth in the country.  Groupon, founded in 2008, is rumored to be the next takeover by Google (GOOG) for the cool price of $5-$6B.  Talk about 'jackpot'.

You'd think Google could build a similar structure over the next 18 months for a fraction of the cost, but I guess they believe in first mover advantage.  The valuation seems insane - for a reported $345M in revenue, this price would be roughly 15x sales at the low end of the rumored bid.  But in a world of cheap money and the ability to issue a stream of stock certificates to pay for it, I guess valuation is relative - right AOL Time Warner?  (to be fair, in this specific case Google is sitting on a mountain of cash...north of $30B)

Via NYT:

  • Google is near a deal to acquire Groupon, the pioneering online discounter, for as much as $6 billion, people with direct knowledge of the matter told DealBook on Monday. A deal, in the $5 billion to $6 billion range, could be struck as soon as this week, these people said, cautioning that the talks still could fall apart.
  • Since its founding in 2008 by Andrew Mason, Groupon has been growing at a nearly unprecedented pace. The company, whose name is a combination of “group” and “coupon,” specializes in providing customers with discounts purchased in bulk. Subscribers receive notifications of one deal a day, tailored to their location and profile.
  • The average Groupon deal offers between 50 percent to 90 percent off retail goods and services, from restaurant certificates to sky diving lessons. It has grown beyond local merchants to encompass national retailers like the Gap, which offered a nationwide deal this summer. (On the day of the Gap promotion, Groupon sold 440,000 units and generated $11 million in revenue.)
  • Groupon’s success has helped turn the company into a cash-generating machine, signing up more than 12 million registered users and reaping more than $350 million in estimated annual revenue.
  • Over recent weeks, Groupon has been the subject of scores of takeover rumors. Both Google and Yahoo were among the company’s top suitors, according to the people briefed on the matter, with the latter prepared to pay about $2 billion. But Groupon’s founders rejected the approach as too low.
  • As Yahoo’s approach sputtered, Google made an initial bid of $3 billion to $4 billion, these people said. But in the face of Groupon’s resistance, Google raised its offer to between $5 billion and $6 billion. The company is unlikely to offer more than that, according to one of the people with knowledge of the deal.

No position


Monday, November 29, 2010

Netflix (NFLX) is a Widow Maker... for Bears

I guess the surge in online shopping means Netflix (NFLX) needs to be bid up $7...

What's that?

Netflix isn't really a retailer and doesn't run Black Friday or Cyber Monday specials because those have nothing to do with the business?

Nonsense.  They do "online stuff"... and the stock only goes up - therefore I want my Salesforce.com Netflix (dot) Inc.  It's only up 100% since August... keep buying, the possibilities are endless!

Netflix to $300, when it can begin postulating a hostile bid for Apple.

No position


On the Safety of Government Work....

(Ironic timing alert - I wrote this post before hearing about the Obama pay freeze for federal workers this afternoon... should help close the gap between federal and private worker pay in about 25 years; average hourly pay for country as whole in monthly jobs data is in the mid $18s aka $37K) [USA Today Nov 10th - More Federal Workers' Pay Tops $150,000]

I'm beginning to read much more in the mainstream media about the structural changes occurring in the workforce, which I highlighted in 2007.  [Dec 8, 2007: Do the Bottom 80% of Americans Stand a Chance?]  While we can discuss the impact of growing income inequality and the disassociation between private and public sector wages / benefits, as the unions last refuge in the country is the public sector, that is a discussion for other days.  What I wanted to focus on today was the safety (relative) of government work; by safety I mean job security.  I was reading a Bloomberg piece more related to potential defaults of municipalities when I saw some fascinating statistics so I did further digging in terms of complexion of the U.S. workforce and how the different tracts of employees have fared in this recession.  In a limited scope of time I was not able to dig through the BLS website to find the appropriate report(s) so instead I'll cite a few articles/studies which more or less reach very similar figures.

First the complexion of the U.S workforce after the recession (current)

Total nonfarm payrolls: 130.2M

Private: 108.0M (83%)
Public - Federal:  2.84M (2.2%)
Public - State:  5.14M (3.9%)
Public - Local:  14.32M (11.0%)

The state and local figures can be broken down into (a) non education and (b) education but for current purposes there is no need.


Public sector work will always lag behind private sector in terms of timing of reductions because until revenue drops (due to lower tax receipts in the private sector) there will be no reason to right size.  Via these different papers and articles we can measure the depths of the labor force change in all 4 subsectors above versus peak employment.  In the private sector peak employment was December 2007.  In the state and local government it was August 2008 (example of the 'lag' I spoke of above).  In the federal government?  Well excluding the effects of the temporary census worker there was no peak in this niche... employment shows constant growth.  This is the one bulletproof sector of the economy - no mass layoffs, no right sizing, endless ability to deficit spend, no salary givebacks, no benefits reductions, etc.

Long time readers will recall I've said in many pieces to send your kids into government work; the old contract was in return for security of public work (which this piece demonstrates still holds true) you receive a lower than market level of pay and benefits.  That contract has been ripped apart by globalization - the private sector has been traumatized while most public work continues pay/benefits in its own cocoon.  Indeed, the pay is now on par or better than the private sector; benefits are equal or better in many cases (this depends in part in which arm of government you are in), and the largest advantage of public work in our new and volatile globalized economy is the safety factor - job security.  Here there is no comparison, nor argument - and finally we have the numbers to prove it.  But of course there is even a pecking order in government - and it's basically top down.
  1. Federal
  2. State
  3. Local
In sum, the farther you are from the local taxpayer the safer you are.  And the better your pay, and benefits.  Indeed things are so out of whack at the federal level that the average worker in this niche of society has BENEFITS that now approach the average WAGE in the private sector.  [Aug 11, 2010: Federal Workers Benefits Now Approaching Parity with Wages in the Private Sector]   One really should think about that previous statement before they jump to the rest of the piece.

In essence the government in sum - and especially at the federal level and to lesser degree state - is being run not unlike the auto manufacturers with out of line (versus 'the new paradigm private market') wage and benefits, with one caveat. [Jan 24, 2010: For the First Time, More Union Workers Work in Government versus Private Sector   An endless ability create more revenue via taxing the populace and/or deficit borrowing - hence no moment of truth or wall to hit like the auto companies eventually did.  [Mar 11, 2010: America's 3 Wealthiest Counties Now Ring Washington D.C.]  But let's not digress too much re: pay/benefits... how does the job security factor measure up amongst these 4 groups?

We have to exclude the federal government worker which never had a reduction in workforce - this is the prime group to be in, in modern America (outside the financial oligarchy or CEO class of course).  Employment is UP 3.2% since the peak of private sector employment in December 07....i.e. during the worst recession since the Great Depression, federal government added jobs.  So let's look at the other 3 groups.

Private sector drop at lowest level versus peak employment (December 07): -7.3%
Public - Local drop at lowest level versus peak employment (August 08):  -2.4%
Public - State drop at lowest level versus peak employment (August 08): -0.7% to -1.2%* 

*I have 2 sources of data telling slightly different stories on the state numbers.

Again the same trends we see in pay and benefits show up in the job safety.  The farther you are from the actual taxpayer the safer your job.  Ironic.   And ANY job in the public sector is far more safe than the private sector.  At the trough level, about 1 in every 12.5 jobs in the private sector was erased from the economy.   In the worst off public subsector (local) it is roughly 1 in 40.  At the state level closer to 1 in 90 jobs was/is threatened.  No comparison.  To repeat, this used to be fine when the pay and benefits lagged the private sector - it was a trade off.  Now all the pros are in the public sector.   Greece like.


Let's be clear as the lagging sector, public employment has yet to bottom out and could (should) regress from here versus peak employment.  But the stimuli sent from federal government the past 2-3 years has helped to contain job losses - the big question here is will a GOP/Tea Party growth in power allow for continued state (and to lesser degree municipal) backdoor bailouts in the next year or three?  We'll see.  But this is interesting data that I had not seen before and bears out my message to readers and their college or high school aged children.  Get into government work, this is what our system encourages despite talk of 'free market capitalism' and 'private business is #1' and nonsense of that type - the incentive system says "Be like France".  Further, the higher up the food chain (federal...then state... then municipal) the better.  One day the 'ponzi' ends as not enough of the private sector will be around to support the public but based on the action of the past 3 years, that's where the Fed comes in to buy ever more amounts of debt the Treasury issues as we all watch in wonderment at the American miracle.  At 17% of labor force in public sector we still are well behind the Greeks and Portuguese!  As for us remaining suckers in the private sector?  We have to await the next big bubble Greenspan Bernanke creates - whether overseas or here, although each iteration of the central banker bubbles are creating less and less jobs.  And the bursting bubbles are not so fun either, but hey beggers can't be choosers - just another reason to avoid the private sector workforce in Americe.

Sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words:

Where would a sensible person want to be, even assuming pay and benefits were equal? 

[click to enlarge]

In sum, this is "the system", not an opinion piece.  We can complain about the system but it is not changing, especially with the reserve currency (hence the ability to spend like teenagers without any oversight) and more and more of our private sector outsourced overseas, and replaced by what I call the pseudo public sector (healthcare and education).   This is where ALL the job growth has been the past decade.   Which is in itself a ponzi as it requires taxable income to subsidize schools, Medicare, and the like.

(this chart is a year old - I am sure it even more skewed now)

Frankly, aside from those who are successful in small business or reach high levels of private finance and similar white collar work, the public sector (and pseudo public) appears to be the last great place to build a upper middle class existence.

[As an aside, we have another bubble forming in higher education - i.e. our university system.  If you can believe it the rise in tuition the past 10-15 years is actually outpacing that of healthcare.  It is just not as highly publicized but you can see the total non reaction in state education employment - chart below -  during the Great Recession as evidence of a market based system out of whack.  Please note healthcare and higher education are our 2 most subsidized expenditures - and both have the highest rates of inflation that are completely disassociated with organic wage growth of the average American.  Wages rising 2-3% but tuition and healthcare 8-12% annual? Coincidence?  I think not.  Another ponzi.  Maybe President Jeb Bush will freeze tuition at $62,000 a year for undergrad at your local state college circa 2019.]

[click to enlarge]

Source data:
Bloomberg - Default is Dirty Word to America's Willing and Able
Barron's - Job Losses No Private Affair
Rockefeller Institute of Government - Cuts in Local Government Employment Accelerated Sharply in September.

Bookkeeping: Buying Some Silver via Ultra Silver (AGQ)

Why not buy the best performing ETF of the year - it's like buying Netflix (NFLX) after a multi hundred percent run; everyone is doing it.    I missed my limit purchase order on Silver Wheaton (SLW) by about 50 cents a week and a half ago (had an order waiting at $30) so I've been silver-less since.  

Therefore, I'll be going with the metal itself, and use Ultra Silver (AGQ) as a proxy for Silver ETF (SLV).  Silver just keeps running nicely along its 50 day on pullbacks.

Putting a 2% position on (will be closed Friday when I sell everything) ...

Long Ultra Silver in fund; no personal position


America Has Less Manufacturing Jobs Today than Before the War

Yes you heard me.

No not that war.  Nope not that one either.  Nope not that one.  Yes... *that one*!  The United States today now employs less people in manufacturing than anytime since 1941.  This is even more staggering when you consider there were 132M Americans in the 1940 census... and we have a good bit over 300M today.  So more than double the population (and I'd model double the work force), but less of these type of jobs. 

An amazing chart in John Mauldin's weekly letter showing why we are having increasingly jobless recoveries.

[click to enlarge]

Where there once was a massive uptick in employment when the manufacturing economy kicked in (as it has done the past 12 months), now we have the surge in activity and profits to shareholders - but much of the resultant employment pickup is in some distant land.  Of course those that remain within our borders are much more productive worker bees as well.

This is either an incredibly debilitating chart (if you are labor) or pleasing (if you are an owner of the means of production - "darn expensive Americans").  Since a lot more Americans are labor than owners of capital you can see the effects on the larger society... one of the many underpinnings of the income inequality chasm that has burst to the scene the past few decades.

Either way, it is jaw dropping.  We can see the great sucking sound Ross Perot warned us about in the early 90s really took off in the 2001 recession where 3M plus manufacturing jobs went away... and during the 4-5 year ensuing recovery in the general economy, there was no bounce in mfg jobs as has been the history of the country earlier in the century.  Then when this Great Recession began, another 2.5M or so washed away.   If the pattern of 2003-2006 repeats, these won't come back in large number either - they are permanently affixed in a factory town in China.  These are the structural changes I often speak of. 

Whatever happens long term, America is running the largest economic petri dish ever known to man.   In theory the Chinese middle class will rise and demand goods from America (that's what the ivory tower economists say) and we all live happily ever.  But they never quite connect the dots to ask why they would demand goods from us, when the means of goods production is increasingly headed *there*.  Or heck, buy from Germany.

Viva la Service Economy, because frankly that's what we're hitching the entire (labor) wagon to.

Chart below courtesy of Calculated Risk blog

What are You Buying Online Today?

I read 220M Americans went shopping post Thanksgiving.  Considering the population is a bit over 300M, and excluding the infirm and toddlers, it appears I was the only able bodied adult who did not shop.  Therefore as my patriotic duty I need to buy some Chinese goods online today... but aside from a UPS Battery backup for office computer as required by (yet another regulator), I don't have any good ideas.

I want to be "all American" and the only way is to pervert a holy holiday into a shopping experience - therefore to support the Chinese middle class I need to get going. And today is supposed to be the day for slackers like me who can spend 'mad money' with 18 key strokes or less.  So let me know what you are buying; maybe I'll get an idea of something more fun than a UPS.

Persistent Buyer Shows Up on Each Test of the 50 Day Moving Average

Doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where 'the buyer' is sitting almost every day for the past 2 weeks.  Bears have no game until this level can be broken.  We continue to sit in a range of low 1170s at the bottom and 1200 at the top; this is now a full 2 weeks in 'the range'.  It continues to look like a head and shoulders formation with the right shoulder forming but the wildcard is all the data coming later this week - much of it with the potential to surprise to the upside. 

In theory, the more times you test a level the more apt it is to finally break... but I've seen a lot of theories go out the window in the abnormal market of the past 2 years.

Gaps at S&P 1090 and 1110 continue to sit out there from nearly 3 months ago.

No position


Top 30 Performing 'Liquid' ETFs in 2010

With a month to go, I thought it would be interesting to screen on what ETFs have done the best year to date.  There are a bevy of ETFs (overkill) and many languish with puny volume and hence for even a moderate sized investors are difficult to move in and out of, so I had to devise some sort of cut off.   Aside from daily volume, I like net assets under management - however Finviz.com does not have that choice as a parameter.  Hence we're limited to volume; I used 100K.

Here is the list with some discussion below

Ticker Company Return YTD  Volume 
AGQ ProShares Ultra Silver 115.49%                851
BHH B2B Internet HOLDRs 68.89%                104
TQQQ ProShares UltraPro QQQ 63.49%                284
SIL Global X Silver Miners ETF 59.09%                445
SIVR ETFS Physical Silver Shares 58.33%                402
SLV iShares Silver Trust 57.98%          21,728
URTY ProShares UltraPro Russell2000 54.65%                104
GDXJ Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF 51.13%             2,217
EPU iShares MSCI All Peru Capped Index 50.56%                299
PALL ETFS Physical Palladium Shares 50.54%                263
DGP PowerShares DB Gold Double Long ETN 48.98%             1,023
THD iShares MSCI Thailand Invest Mkt Index 46.13%                293
DRN Direxion Daily Real Estate Bull 3X Shrs 46.07%                965
UGL ProShares Ultra Gold 45.86%                234
GXG Global X/InterBolsa FTSE Colombia 20 ETF 44.39%                151
MWJ Direxion Daily Mid Cap Bull 3X Shares 42.59%                139
IDX Market Vectors Indonesia Index ETF 41.24%                226
ECH iShares MSCI Chile Investable Mkt Idx 40.76%                313
TNA Direxion Daily Small Cap Bull 3X Shares 38.19%          11,761
URE ProShares Ultra Real Estate 36.85%             1,247
MVV ProShares Ultra MidCap400 36.45%                205
FDN First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index 35.02%                250
XRT SPDR S&P Retail 33.78%          10,561
EIDO iShares MSCI Indonesia Invstble Mkt Idx 33.09%                237
AMJ JPMorgan Alerian MLP Index ETN 32.73%                827
XXV iPath Inverse S&P 500 Vix S/T Fut ETN 31.25%                170
UWM ProShares Ultra Russell2000 31.16%             2,802
FRN Guggenheim Frontier Markets 30.35%                145
UYM ProShares Ultra Basic Materials 29.20%             1,411
EWM iShares MSCI Malaysia Index 29.00%             2,943

Note - the 2nd best performer of the year is a old school Business to Business (B2B!) Internet ETF (this is from the late 90s).  So many companies that were once in this ETF went bust in the post 90s bubble that this ETF only holds 2 names  - Ariba and Internet Capital Group.  Now that's old school.

Excluding that gem, and removing the "Ultra" ETFs from the conversation we can see a lot of emphasis on metals (precious or otherwise - with silver the star) and foreign emerging markets; especially of the Asian and South American kind.   It seems 2009 was the year of the 'BRIC' - whereas 2010 is the year if the smaller fry in the same regions. 

The triple and double real estate funds (usually full of REITs) was a surprise to me, considering this group had a whopper of a year in 2009 off the March lows.  XXV is a new name to me - essentially it bets against market volatility (usually expressed via VIX).   What I am curious about if the structure of the fund is as faulty as VXX ETF or indeed it bets in opposite direction of VXX and hence benefits from how poorly that ETF is designed.

Massive Week for Economic Data

Economic data has not meant much the past 3 months as generally the theme has been QE2 is everything (until about 3 weeks ago) and everything else is just minor details.  Data the past few months has has been better than the late summer doldrums when fears of imminent double dip fears hung over the market.  Not better in the sense that we're getting the typical surge off deep recession lows, but better than going back into a recession.  (it's all relative)  With a rebound in Chinese economic activity and a seasonally stronger part of the year in the consumption driven domestic economy, I expect data to continue to be 'stronger' through early 2011.   After the global push to feed the holiday U.S. consumption machine finishes up - along with a spate of seasonal hiring - it will be interesting to see how the economic figures fare post February '11.  Even more so if China continues a stronger path of tightening to rein in their inflation issue.


This week is the doozy of each month - Chinese PMI, US ISM figures, and monthly employment data.  I have no feel for the ISM data as some months it has totally been out of line with regional Fed reports, but I suspect the monthly employment estimates will undercount the surge of temporary retail hiring; combined with the nonstop (through recession or not) increase in birth death model adjustments, we could see a surprise Friday to the upside.  (of course next spring all these employment figures will be revised to their annual benchmark - at which point I expect to see a slew of downward revisions as many of the birth death model jobs disappear...well after the time the market reacts positively to them, of course!)

Thursday is also chain store sales (not an economic report, but of course especially closely watched this month).  Keep in mind, sales has little to do with profit; if I discount 60% I can sell a lot of Chinese stuff....

Tuesday - Chicago PMI (9:15 AM), Consumer Confidence (10 AM)
Tuesday overnight - Chinese PMI [Purchasing Managers Index]
Wednesday - ADP Report (8:30 AM), Productivity & Costs (8:30 AM), ISM Manufacturing (10 AM), Construction Spending (10 AM)
Thursday - Weekly claims (8:30 AM), Pending Home Sales (10 AM)
Friday - Monthly Employment (8:30 AM), ISM Non-Mfg (10 AM), Factory Orders (10 AM)

Key numbers:
ISM Mfg consensus 57.0 versus previous 56.9
ISM Non-Mfg consensus 55.0 versus previous 54.3
Monthly Employment consensus 168,000 versus previous 151,000 with 9.7% unemployment rate

The high end on the range on the jobs figure by economists is 200,000 - whatever ADP comes in at Wednesday we can usually add 60-90K extra (which usually measures nicely with the birth death model) - hence an ADP figure north of 100K means we could see close to 200K jobs added the way the federal government guestimates.  The market won't care if any of it is seasonal as that will be the best figure in a long while.  That said, we continue to experience epic drawdowns in labor force participation - the only reason the 'official' unemployment rate is not 2%+ higher.  True health would be 250K+ type of monthly job figures combined with a return to some sort of normalized labor force participation.  But the stock market's bar is far lower than 'true health' as we've seen the past 1.5 years.

Bondholders Win Again v Taxpayers in Ireland, Continuing 3 Year Winning Streak; and Germany's Call for Some Form of Free Markets Takes a Hit Over the Weekend

I won't spend much time on the well telegraphed Irish* bailout - just as I won't about the coming Portuguese bailout and I assume not too far off Spanish bailout.   What we saw over the weekend was yet another victory in a stirring string of bondholder versus taxpayer.  Somehow we have created a world where the bondholder cannot lose (only exceptions the past 3 years have been General Motors and Lehman Brothers) - every financial or sovereign debtholder on the globe has the moral hazard in place that they can invest without fear of losses.  The taxpayer will bear the brunt - heads you win, tails you still win.
  • Under pressure to arrest the threat to the currency before markets opened and prevent contagion engulfing Portugal and Spain, EU finance ministers endorsed an 85 billion-euro ($115 billion) loan package on Sunday to help Dublin cover bad bank debts and bridge a huge budget deficit.

*a quick aside - who exactly is being bailed out here?  Not so much "Ireland, Inc" but the bondholders.  And who are the main bondholders?  Banks.   Even more incestuous is the banks being bailed out are many times headquartered in countries providing a good part of the bailout funds.  See how circular it is?

Further, the 'temporary' (3 year) bailout fund, has now been made permanent.  Viva Bailout Globe.


Perhaps more sad was a little mentioned 'loss' this weekend - that is the leader of some form of functioning free markets, the United States socialist democratic Germany was rebuked per the language coming out aside the bailout.  Here is the backstory as I've touched on within some earlier pieces - part of the panic of late is the mere idea that Germany indicated it wanted private investors to bear risk starting in 2013.  Perish the thought!!!
  • ........ talk of private investors having to take losses, or "haircuts," on the value of sovereign bonds, helped drive Ireland over the cliff.
Yes indeed, they would have to be subject to the same risks we as peons are... bad investments could lead to losses.  The horror of it all.  The bond market did not like this idea... after all it adds to 'uncertainty' and if you follow American politics you know every problem in America is now due to uncertainty - certainly nothing to do with decades of structural imbalances.

So these flightly investors who demand the taxpayers of the world make sure they never lose a penny by buying bonds in countries with high risk, stamped their feet.  And it looks like Germany lost this weekend and now we will have a 'case by case' review post 2013.  Granted that adds more uncertainty... but let's not let dogma get in the way of a good backstop.
  • ....euro zone officials agreed that after 2013, bondholders could face losses in future bailouts, but only on a case by case basis, taking into account guidance from the International Monetary Fund and its experience in previous debt crises. This was a caveat that France had advocated as a way to calm investor anxiety. 
  • Berlin had wanted the automatic involvement of the private sector in sovereign debt defaults, while Paris preferred a more flexible system. 

Translation - we are going to live under a mirage that private markets still matter.  However, the private market is so trained on moral hazard (which Alan Greenspan let out of the genie bottle in the late 90s with the bailout of Long Term Capital Management), it refuses to parlay its dollars into any market it can now actually lose money.  

So to review, in normal functioning markets risk has a price.  In the golden world of bond investing every bond on earth seems to now be backstopped by a central bank or rescue authority.  Hence everything is mispriced, because moral hazard runs through every vein of our 'free markets'.  This mispricing is seen as "a sign the markets are functioning and all is well".   You sitting there with your silly Etrade account are subject to risk.  If however you were one of the globe's oligarchs you do not face such issues - everything is a one sided trade.  Except after 2013.  When Germany wanted a free market to actually exist ... but that was too extreme per the push back this weekend.  Instead it looks like bondholders will still be taken care of because surely we know when the can is kicked to 2013 'case by case' will mean 'well we need to make an exception on this one... and that one... and that one too...".  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

WSJ: Emerging Wild Card - Inflation in Emerging Markets

As predicted once QE2 was clearly the next step by Ben and his merry band; back in September.  Ironically the lack of velocity of money in the U.S. due to the debt overhang is not creating the effects Ben believes will happen domestically - but it sure is overseas.

Now via WSJ this virtuous circle of exported inflation by central bankers into Asia seems to be "working" ... now it will be interesting to see if the Chinese eat the inflation themselves or try to export into U.S. Walmart stores via higher prices. 

  • While many investors have been fixated on the European debt crisis, concerns have been quietly building about the potential for inflation problems in emerging markets.
  • The fear isn't that emerging-market countries will return to the kind of hyperinflation that was so damaging in the past. Rather, the worry is that high food and energy prices, combined with capacity constraints and the Federal Reserve's easing move in the U.S., will force emerging-market central banks to raise interest rates more aggressively than is currently expected.
  • That's especially the case in some Asian countries, which are seen as having kept interest rates inappropriately low because of concerns about the strength in their developed-market trading partners, such as the U.S.
  • "They probably have let inflation go further than they otherwise would," says Robert Horrocks, chief investment officer at emerging-markets specialists Matthews Asia Funds. As a result, "there is a real risk that these economies get overheated."
  • That could throw a monkey wrench into the expectation that emerging-market assets and commodity prices will rise as investors chase high-yielding assets. It could also create periods of disruption that send investors to safe-haven assets like the U.S. dollar, defying broad-based expectations that emerging-market currencies will rise.
  • "Over the next six months, the biggest single issue investors will need to factor into their decisions is how inflation is likely to affect the landscape," saysRichard Yetsenga, global head of emerging-markets currency strategy at HSBC in Hong Kong.
  • There's a "growing urgency" among Chinese officials to get monetary policy to a more appropriate stance, analysts at RBC Capital Markets wrote in a research note published Friday.  "This should prompt more decisive action in the weeks and months ahead," including multiple interest-rate increases, the RBC note predicted.  China's tightening, and expectations for more, have contributed to declines in Chinese stocks, with the Shanghai Composite Index down 12% this year. 
  • Indonesian shares are up 44% this year, Thai stocks are up 35%, and the main stock indexes in India and Singapore are up more than 9%. As a result, says Matthews's Mr. Horrocks, "there's no valuation cushion" for stocks should central banks of these countries become more aggressive than expected in tightening monetary policy. "Valuations are anywhere from 10% to 20% above long-term averages," he says.
  • Based on officially set rates, in South Korea the real interest rate is negative 1.6% and in Singapore it is negative 3.3%—both very accommodative levels, notes Natalia Gurushina, director of emerging-markets strategy at Roubini Global Economics. In contrast, she says, the real interest rate in Brazil is 5.6%. 
  • "On average in emerging Asia…there's more room to normalize rates," Ms. Gurushina says. This should play out first with higher long-term interest rates—and lower bond prices—in countries facing inflation pressures. Yields would then move higher across all maturities as monetary-policy tightening becomes more aggressive.
  • For emerging-market economies, food and energy prices play a bigger role in inflation pressures than in developed economies. This has been a big problem for countries such as Indonesia, where inflation is at 5.7%, and India, which saw inflation surge well into the double digits over the summer before settling back to 8.6% in October.
  • "People are not focused enough on the rise in commodity prices…and what that does in emerging-market economies," says Ruchir Sharma, head of global emerging-markets equities at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. "Beyond a certain point, a rise in commodity prices is not conducive to emerging markets."

[Nov 16, 2010: Shanghai Plunges as China Contemplates Price Controls as Hot Money Inflows Stoke Inflation]
[Nov 2, 2010: Australia and India Continue to Hike Rates in the Face of Central Bank Easy Money Campaigns in U.S., Japan, (and UK Soon)]

Quote of the Month in Detroit News Front Page Story on Black Friday; Speaking of Which - Massive Hype over Shopping Leads to Resounding +0.3% Year over Year Gain in Sales

To hear the CEO's and retail analysts exalting the 'super cool' action they were seeing in the malls of Cramerica Friday you'd think sales would have skyrocketed versus moribund 2009 levels.   After all, with the recovery in full swing and year over year comparisons very easy, we might be speaking 4% gains? 5%? Maybe 6%? (after all 7M American households are living 'mortgage free')

Bring out the Kool Aid folks - year over year Black Friday sales SURGED 0.3%.  Granted, accounting for inflation that means sales fell year over year, but let us not have these slimy facts deter us from the celebration going on during wall to wall shopping coverage on CNBC.

Via AP:
  • Shoppers crowded stores on Black Friday but spent just a little more than last year on the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, according to data released Saturday by a research firm.  
  • Retail spending rose a slight 0.3 percent, to $10.69 billion, compared with $10.66 billion on the day after Thanksgiving last year, according to ShopperTrak.


And this from the front page of the Detroit News yesterday, showing American are sick of 2 years of living within their means and trying to match revenues with expenses (the 'guberment' don't do it - so why should we!)  Enough! We're fed up!

  • "I've been shopping since yesterday," Donna Hamie of Dearborn Heights said Friday afternoon as she toted Macy's bags around the Somerset Collection in Troy. "We've spent a lot of money that we don't have. This is more of us spoiling ourselves right now." 

So with people spending money they don't have AND countless millions spending money that once used to go to their mortgage payment [Jun 2, 2010: (Even More) Anecdotal Benefits of Strategic Default], we still were only able to do a +0.3%.  Gosh, one wonders what happens when everyone once again has to live in a home they are actually making the mortgage payment on AND they are only spending money they have.

Conclusion? Buy stocks.  America is back to its old ways. Remember, when the credit card bills come due just explain it away as saying the banks tricked us into buying e-gadgets and shoes and bags this Christmas. No different than how they tricked us into buying homes we could not afford AND tricked us into taking 3 cash out refinances on said homes to get the granite countertop and take the cruise... and the new car.  Damn banks, always tricking us.  Can't wait for the future HAMP plan for credit cards... we'll call it the "Obama Christmas Spending Protection Act of 2012".  This will allow anyone who overspent on Christmas to receive a federal grant to offset the trickery by the banks and their 8 point credit card disclosure font, who via gunpoint took us to the malls and caused us to buy stuff.

Updated Position Sheet

Cash: 74.5% (v 68.9% last week) 
24.6% (v 30.3%) 
0.8% (v 0.8%) 

This data is updated weekly and can be found on 'Performance/Portfolio' menu tab on thewebsite. As always the total gain/loss (both dollars and percentages) only apply to the open portion of the position; it is does not apply to portions of the position sold earlier. 

[click to enlarge]

LONG (1 photo file)



Friday, November 26, 2010

Refinement of Trading Strategy on New Website

At the top of the FMMF page I have a tab called 'Investing Philosophy' which I wrote nearly 3 years ago and had never updated until 3/21/13. Please go there for the latest and greatest!

Some Poor Sales the Past Few Weeks

Both Citrix Systems (CTXS) and Tibco Software (TIBX) were sold out of the portfolio when they broke some minor support roughly 2 weeks ago.  In retrospect both decisions were poor as the stocks have rebounded nicely.   Tibco I can live with as an error as I was probably too eager to sell, but the Citrix Systems situation is the type that makes one scratch their head - the stock closed below a key technical level (50 day moving average) then reversed course as if it never happened.  It looks like someone was playing a game with this one.  Seeing a lot of these strange upward reversals after technical breaks, in this epic run off the late August lows. 

That is part of the push pull when you sell merchandise that breaks support to protect against further losses - sometimes those names do a 180 degree turn once you've been 'shaken out' and make you look a fool.  But the frequency of this happening has been very high the past few months.

No positions


Bookkeeping: Taking More Profits [25%] on Acme Packet (APKT)

Some of this is academic  as I'll be selling all positions a week from now, but pretending I will not, I am taking another 25% of Acme Packet (APKT) off the table.  It is breaking out in a flat tape (positive) but is now 11% above its 20 day moving average. 

Long Acme Packet in fund; no personal position


Nonstop Global News Events Distract from Normal U.S. Holiday Market Cheer

Normally this is a quiet happy week for the domestic markets, but the news flow overseas has been non stop.  First Ireland, than North Korea, and now it appears there are discussions (of course denied) that the EU wants to front run the bond vigilantes and convince Portugal it needs a rescue asap. [Nov 19, 2010: Once Ireland Gets Its Bailout, Let us Prepare for the Portugal Bailout - Never Hurts to Start Early]
  • The Financial Times Deutschland newspaper reported Friday that euro-zone nations are leaning on Portugal to seek aid in order to prevent the much larger economy of Spain from having to do the same.
Of course we know the game plan of these countries from Dubai, to Greece, to Ireland .... it is the same game plan of the U.S. banks (think Bear, Lehman, Merrill, Washington Mutual) or the GSEs (think Hank Paulson's bazooka):  "deny, deny, deny".  Until it course you can deny no longer... than accept the bailout (ex-Lehman)
  • Portugal's finance minister said the country is rejecting the idea floated by some fellow European Union countries that it should take a bailout to keep the debt crisis from spreading.
Replace the word Portugal with Ireland and change Nov 25th to Oct 25th.  Rinse. Wash. Repeat.


Once more let me emphasize NOTHING is being solved other than kicking the can down the road.  The debt is still there; it is just being moved from one shell to another (just as in the U.S.).  The lack of ability to pay back that debt is still there.  Until *SOMEONE* takes a haircut in the creditor class, the problems ensue - they just get swept under the rug via David Copperfield magic, as we sing kumbaya.  

Of course the end game here is Spain.  (whose market is down roughly 2.6%)   Ironically, the country is supposed to be offering a large proportion of the "bailout" funds the Europeans came up with 6 months ago to protect the 'weak sisters'.
  • “Markets are trying to push Portugal under the umbrella of the fund in order to relieve pressure on Spain” said Heino Ruland, strategist at Ruland Research. “The problem is that the more countries are part of the fund, the fewer are contributing to it. If Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain are all eventually under its protection, the contribution from Germany, France and Italy would skyrocket. Italy couldn’t handle it,” he added.

Since debt holders are no longer allowed to take the pain (most of the debt holders being European banks.... ) we have to keep asking the German people to keep writing checks, one country at a time.  (the finances of Italy and France are not exactly 'good')  The greatest irony of all is if each of these countries were independent of the EU they could simply print money, devalue their currency, ruin their savers and there would be no crisis - it's working like a charm for the U.S.

  • In a radio interview on Friday, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero absolutely discarded the idea that Spain needs a rescue plan.
Did I mention rinse, wash, repeat?


As for the U.S. market we clearly are in a 30 point range here between the 50 day moving average on the bottom and S&P 1200 at the top as of the past 2 weeks.  More broadly a range of the 50 day moving average on the bottom and yearly highs at 1225 on the top... but we've condensed that in the smaller range for now.  Buying the bottom of this 30 point range and selling the top has been the way to go the past week and a half.   It continues to look to me like we are forming a right shoulder in the head and shoulders formation, which should lead to an eventual break of the 50 day moving average and further downside... but days like Wednesday don't make it easy on anyone.

Huge news flow next week with China PMI, U.S monthly employment (which I expect to do well during the holiday season as a mass of temporary hires moves into the malls), and US ISM figures.  Oh yes, and various bailouts.

My Favorite CNBC Morning Each Year

Folks based on anecdotal evidence of our 6 reporters standing in pitch dark in various mall parking lots across the US of A we at CNBC can declare once more in 2010 that the US consumer is back and it is going to be a great Christmas season.

(Please note we will file this exact same report for the next 50 years just as we have the previous 20...just change the year and the reporters faces.  Bottom line: buy stock, all is well.)


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Final Pledge Update November 2010

This is the final update we'll be doing on pledges before 'go time'.   I've tried to clean up the list and eliminate those I have not heard from in the past 5-6 months, especially on the top end since that makes a dramatic difference in the total amount, so this is as accurate as it is going to get without spending another week checking through countless emails.   Taking a step back, it's a remarkable tally with over 410 investors... that's a 25% increase since May 2010.   The grand total is not far from $11.5 million; that does not include about $1 million I erased in my review of people who I probably lost during the process due how long this has taken me.   I don't blame them, anyone who has stuck around more than 8-9 months has far more patience than me (I'm a type A personality) ;)  Assuming some proportion of people lost in the shuffle over the years, this total should ensure I make to a break even level in the $7-$8M range and I might even be able to take a salary within a year.  (as a great TV philosopher once said: boo yah!)

Anyhow as I try to say often (but not enough) thank you for all those who (a) trust 'the small guy' enough and (b) had the patience along the way - some of my readers have been here since fall 2007, and quite a few began pledging from spring 2008 forward.  Plenty of others from 2009.  So I suppose those of you joining in the festivities in 2010, got the 'easy road' - only 11 months or less of waiting.


For newer readers here is my usual spiel:

If you are a person potentially interested and new(er) to the website, here are the pertinent posts to become familiar with the specifics.

  1. The overall goal and why I'm aiming for $7 approx million way back in early 08! [Jan 7, 2008: Reader "Pledges" Toward Mutual Fund Launch]
  2. Frequently Asked Questions [May 26, 2008: Frequently Asked Questions
  3. Why I need your state [May 23, 2008: Investment Pledges by State] Keep in mind a state's eligibility can be turned "on" overnight once we're up and running
  4. Most recent updates  [Nov 4, 2009: General Updates]
  5. Our story in Barron's [A New Kind of Fund Manager]
  6. Open an account direct or with a brokerage - which ones? [List of Brokers of Future Investors]

    Format for fund pledge: first name, last initial, pledged amount, and state you live in. To be clear, you are not sending me money that I'm going to hold until launch when you 'pledge' - you are simply making a verbal commitment: "when you are up and running, I have $X amount ready to invest". You can attach a comment to this post or as most people do, send me an email (my email address is found on the upper right of the blog) with the above information. I'd prefer an email if possible.

    Initial investment minimum will be $2500.  All types of accounts accepted just as any mutual fund.

    I've changed the format slightly for this last go around.  I've subtotaled all pledges by state (or foreign) so we can incorporate the individual pledges and the state totals in 1 format.   If you are unfamiliar with the reasons for the state designation I have to pay a fee to open in every state, which is why most small independent mutual funds only open in a few states.  No need to pay fees in states you do not have investors.  To make a break even proposition on the fees I generally need $45-$50K in investments, whether it be from 1 person or 10 people.   Therefore I am bucketing states in 3 ways:
    1. States that will be open before launch
    2. States depending on 1-2 large investors - these will be open immediately upon that investor buying shares.
    3. States with some activity but not yet near the threshold
    To be clear, once a state gets the required amount of money, the lights can be turned on within hours so please don't view it as a deterrent if your state is not in the first two groups above.

    One last key point - it is important to receive funds as soon as possible upon launch as (a) I can't buy, short anything without capital and (b) my expenses start immediately even if I have $0 in the brokerage to work with.   More nagging like this once we get closer to D-day.

    Here is the master list, sorted by location


    Name Amount State/Country
    John R 3,000 AK

    3,000 AK Total
    Bob B 50,000 AR
    A K 20,000 AR

    70,000 AR Total
    Armour B 50,000 AZ
    Alan N 15,000 AZ
    Pat L 10,000 AZ
    Ron G 10,000 AZ
    Werner C 10,000 AZ
    Jake P 10,000 AZ
    Tony B 10,000 AZ
    Ed S 5,000 AZ

    120,000 AZ Total
    Charles Y 100,000 CA
    F.A. 100,000 CA
    Diane H 100,000 CA
    Arun G 100,000 CA
    BMW 100,000 CA
    Zheng W 100,000 CA
    Alec / Cindy C 60,000 CA
    Art H 50,000 CA
    Brian L 50,000 CA
    Shang C 50,000 CA
    Scott W 50,000 CA
    Gang 50,000 CA
    Z G 50,000 CA
    Radha K 50,000 CA
    Chris B 50,000 CA
    John L 50,000 CA
    Kurt C+1 40,000 CA
    Dave H 40,000 CA
    Resmi A 40,000 CA
    Greg W 35,000 CA
    Rich P 30,000 CA
    Walt C 30,000 CA
    Jason N 30,000 CA
    Greg B 25,000 CA
    Tom L 25,000 CA
    Dana K 25,000 CA
    Brian C 25,000 CA
    Steven L 25,000 CA
    Dean D 25,000 CA
    Richard K 25,000 CA
    Robert A 25,000 CA
    Wesley W 20,000 CA
    Charles L 20,000 CA
    Judy M 20,000 CA
    Jason Z 20,000 CA
    JL 20,000 CA
    Tim D 20,000 CA
    Ben C 15,000 CA
    Dan A 10,700 CA
    Ron W 10,000 CA
    Sunil K 10,000 CA
    Anatoly S 10,000 CA
    Burt B 10,000 CA
    Raj 10,000 CA
    Marvin L 10,000 CA
    Mike C 10,000 CA
    Rohit G 10,000 CA
    Saran S 10,000 CA
    RJ V 10,000 CA
    Dinesh S 10,000 CA
    Andy K 10,000 CA
    Dan L 10,000 CA
    Peter L 10,000 CA
    Chris T 10,000 CA
    Tristan B 10,000 CA
    Ravi M 10,000 CA
    Henry C 8,500 CA
    Ervine H 7,500 CA
    Akash A 6,000 CA
    Nicholas M 6,000 CA
    Benjamin W 5,000 CA
    Ted C 5,000 CA
    Shannon V 5,000 CA
    Alven Y 5,000 CA
    Piyush M 5,000 CA
    Paresh P 5,000 CA
    Dinesh K 5,000 CA
    Naresh P 5,000 CA
    Jay S* 5,000 CA
    George  5,000 CA
    Ross T 5,000 CA
    James H 5,000 CA
    Adam S 5,000 CA
    George H 5,000 CA
    Dan W 5,000 CA
    Jay C 5,000 CA
    Julio S 5,000 CA
    Jason P 5,000 CA
    Robbie E 5,000 CA
    Dustin N 5,000 CA
    James W 5,000 CA
    Henry C 3,000 CA
    Sosho 3,000 CA
    Mark H 3,000 CA
    Giancarlo S 2,500 CA
    John G 2,500 CA
    Peter S 2,500 CA
    Tony G 2,500 CA
    Steven H 2,500 CA

    2,025,200 CA Total
    Alecia C 75,000 CO
    David H 50,000 CO
    Michael G 40,000 CO
    Adam B 20,000 CO
    Dieter  5,000 CO
    Seth 3,000 CO

    193,000 CO Total
    Chris M 50,000 CT
    Don C 25,000 CT
    Michelle T (Bob) 20,000 CT
    Mike H 15,000 CT
    Richard N 10,000 CT
    Boris S 2,500 CT

    122,500 CT Total
    Mark B* 25,000 D.C.
    Elaine C 20,000 D.C.
    Eloise  20,000 D.C.

    65,000 D.C. Total
    Tom E 5,000 DE

    5,000 DE Total
    Patrick L 100,000 FL
    Ron S* 100,000 FL
    Stephen F* 50,000 FL
    JoeM 50,000 FL
    Dave C 25,000 FL
    Gordon P 25,000 FL
    JH 25,000 FL
    Calvin K 25,000 FL
    Chris I 20,000 FL
    Mark R 20,000 FL
    Vic C 10,000 FL
    Wes T 10,000 FL
    Olivier N 10,000 FL
    George 10,000 FL
    Kevin D 5,000 FL
    Matt D 5,000 FL
    Bob H 3,500 FL

    493,500 FL Total
    Sandy S 150,000 GA
    Sean A 20,000 GA
    Andrew L 5,000 GA

    175,000 GA Total
    Jeff M 35,000 IA
    Mark L 2,500 IA

    37,500 IA Total
    Ian J 5,000 ID

    5,000 ID Total
    Vivek G 75,000 IL
    Eric N 50,000 IL
    Art K 30,000 IL
    Randy K 30,000 IL
    Leo S 15,000 IL
    Jeff B 15,000 IL
    Jay S 10,000 IL
    Jitender S 10,000 IL

    235,000 IL Total
    David S 50,000 IN
    Ben 10,000 IN
    Gary 10,000 IN
    Matt L 5,000 IN

    75,000 IN Total
    Mark S 100,000 KS
    Jake R 50,000 KS

    150,000 KS Total
    Bruce L 25,000 KY

    25,000 KY Total
    Gary J 100,000 MA
    Don D 50,000 MA
    John B 50,000 MA
    Tim S 50,000 MA
    RL 30,000 MA
    Vincent 20,000 MA
    Bill H 5,000 MA
    Junaid B 5,000 MA
    Bruce W 2,500 MA
    Ash T 2,500 MA

    315,000 MA Total
    Mark P 30,000 MD
    MB 20,000 MD
    Tim C 20,000 MD
    Raeann 10,000 MD
    David D 5,000 MD

    85,000 MD Total
    Ralph B 50,000 MI
    Mark 45,000 MI
    May L 30,000 MI
    Elia K 25,000 MI
    Mike M 25,000 MI
    Y.O. 15,000 MI
    Brian C 10,000 MI
    Rich S 5,000 MI
    Garret B 2,500 MI

    207,500 MI Total
    David Y 50,000 MISSING
    Tom K 50,000 MISSING
    Kevin S 50,000 MISSING

    150,000 MISSING Total
    Tim C 21,000 MN
    Tom S 20,000 MN
    Scott L 7,500 MN
    James W 5,000 MN
    Mark M 5,000 MN
    Ritchie H 2,500 MN

    61,000 MN Total
    Neil B 50,000 MO
    Jeff S 20,000 MO
    Nathan J 10,000 MO
    Marshall H 5,000 MO
    Tom E 5,000 MO
    Ralph A 5,000 MO

    95,000 MO Total
    Jerry C 30,000 MT
    Tom M 10,000 MT

    40,000 MT Total
    Scott G 80,000 NC
    Anita W 70,000 NC
    Brian H 35,000 NC
    Rosemary D 15,000 NC
    George L 10,000 NC
    Brian C 5,000 NC
    Colleen P 5,000 NC
    Paul F 5,000 NC
    Joshua R 5,000 NC
    Anli S 5,000 NC
    Dominic P 3,000 NC
    Lenin T 2,500 NC
    Anthony G 2,500 NC

    243,000 NC Total
    Raja S 20,000 NE

    20,000 NE Total
    Laura Z (CA 11) 50,000 NH

    50,000 NH Total
    Frank G 500,000 NJ
    Richard H 100,000 NJ
    Hui C* 100,000 NJ
    Vijay K 75,000 NJ
    David B 50,000 NJ
    Lisa W 50,000 NJ
    Pranav S 30,000 NJ
    Henric B 25,000 NJ
    Frederick S 20,000 NJ
    Tony D 15,000 NJ
    Andy/Diana H 12,000 NJ
    Eric W 10,000 NJ
    Adam B 10,000 NJ
    Jack L 10,000 NJ
    Harry F 10,000 NJ
    Ryan T 7,500 NJ
    Howard A 5,000 NJ
    Josh R 5,000 NJ
    Albert W 5,000 NJ
    Alex B 5,000 NJ
    Rama R 4,000 NJ
    B Shah 2,500 NJ
    Jordan L 2,500 NJ

    1,053,500 NJ Total
    Ted W 2,500 NM

    2,500 NM Total
    Andrew 100,000 NV
    Arun K 25,000 NV
    Tom S 25,000 NV
    Michael S 5,000 NV
    John S 3,000 NV
    Dennis T 2,500 NV

    160,500 NV Total
    Bob M 200,000 NY
    Norman L 100,000 NY
    Dena M 90,000 NY
    Janette C 50,000 NY
    Josh S* 50,000 NY
    Jon L 50,000 NY
    Peter G 25,000 NY
    Joe S 25,000 NY
    Rob T 20,000 NY
    Tim C 20,000 NY
    Marc E 20,000 NY
    Ken T 15,000 NY
    Gary M 10,000 NY
    Chris Y 10,000 NY
    Chris W 10,000 NY
    Omer 10,000 NY
    Eric H 10,000 NY
    Darren T 7,500 NY
    Rob #2 6,000 NY
    Atul R 5,000 NY
    Felipe V 5,000 NY
    Matt Z 5,000 NY
    Tariq 5,000 NY
    Joe C 5,000 NY
    Mark N 3,500 NY
    Bill A 2,500 NY

    759,500 NY Total
    David O 100,000 OH
    Dale K 50,000 OH
    Justin K 30,000 OH
    Rose N 20,000 OH
    Steve N 20,000 OH
    Adam M 10,000 OH
    Robert S 5,000 OH
    Dan W 5,000 OH
    Tom K 5,000 OH
    Eric R 5,000 OH

    250,000 OH Total
    Blake V 250,000 OK
    Nelson W 10,000 OK
    Dilip K 5,000 OK
    Ryan  3,000 OK

    268,000 OK Total
    Joe V 50,000 OR
    Darin P 20,000 OR
    Bob D 15,000 OR
    Jim C 5,000 OR
    Ted S 5,000 OR
    Michael G 2,500 OR

    97,500 OR Total
    Mark C 50,000 PA
    V.K.K. 20,000 PA
    Bill G 10,000 PA
    Jatinder M 10,000 PA
    Joe C 10,000 PA
    Walter/Mary B 5,000 PA
    Nathan S 3,000 PA
    Maki S 3,000 PA
    David M 2,500 PA

    113,500 PA Total
    Robert T 75,000 RI
    Heidi H 25,000 RI

    100,000 RI Total
    Robert D 300,000 SC
    John P 117,000 SC
    Doris S* 100,000 SC
    Bruce W 50,000 SC

    567,000 SC Total
    Steve 100,000 SD
    Bryan W 100,000 SD

    200,000 SD Total
    Dave S 20,000 TN
    Matt S 10,000 TN
    Ben M 10,000 TN
    Link M 10,000 TN
    Pankaj S 5,000 TN
    Lukas V 5,000 TN
    Kevin O 5,000 TN
    Brandon R 2,500 TN

    67,500 TN Total
    Ian* 50,000 TX
    Coby S 50,000 TX
    Doug M 40,000 TX
    Prince H 40,000 TX
    Shane V 25,000 TX
    Kenton K* 25,000 TX
    Ron W 25,000 TX
    Jason K 25,000 TX
    Samba V 20,000 TX
    Greg R 20,000 TX
    Robert T 20,000 TX
    Chip W 20,000 TX
    "Phong" 10,000 TX
    AZ 10,000 TX
    Alex T 10,000 TX
    Joe P 10,000 TX
    Jason D 5,000 TX
    Glenn J 5,000 TX
    Brian J 5,000 TX
    C Dilber 5,000 TX
    Chris R 5,000 TX
    Alok K 5,000 TX
    H.S. 2,500 TX

    432,500 TX Total
    Greg P* 300,000 UT
    Scott V 30,000 UT

    330,000 UT Total
    Madhu I 50,000 VA
    Brian D 50,000 VA
    Mike M 50,000 VA
    Jake D 37,500 VA
    Don G 25,000 VA
    Chair 25,000 VA
    TK 25,000 VA
    Zhong L 10,000 VA
    Matt G 10,000 VA
    Paul Z 10,000 VA
    Jack T 10,000 VA
    Kenneth Y 10,000 VA
    SJ A 10,000 VA
    Derek Y 10,000 VA
    Robert W 10,000 VA
    Lisa 5,000 VA
    Andrew 5,000 VA

    352,500 VA Total
    Kevin L* 130,000 VT
    Ron 20,000 VT

    150,000 VT Total
    Scott R 115,000 WA
    David I 100,000 WA
    Eric S 50,000 WA
    Chip P 30,000 WA
    Sean K 25,000 WA
    Cathy K 20,000 WA
    "Himalayas" 20,000 WA
    Linda A 15,000 WA
    Tyler 10,000 WA
    Danny N 10,000 WA
    Dylan L 10,000 WA
    Scott C 10,000 WA
    Ryan C 10,000 WA
    Charlie W 5,000 WA
    James L 5,000 WA
    Gene G 5,000 WA
    Liem 4,000 WA
    Seth Q 3,000 WA
    Mike H 2,500 WA

    449,500 WA Total
    Joe H 28,000 WI
    Erle H* 25,000 WI
    Karl W 25,000 WI
    Gary S 10,000 WI
    Jason E 5,000 WI

    93,000 WI Total
    Jason 10,000 WV
    Karl K 2,500 WV

    12,500 WV Total
    Ken 250,000 Z-Foreign Z-Hong Kong
    Juan D 100,000 Z-Foreign Z-Espana
    Adrian C 75,000 Z-Foreign Z-Romania/EU
    NT & JB 50,000 Z-Foreign Z-Canada
    Rob K 50,000 Z-Foreign Z-Canada
    Philip W 50,000 Z-Foreign Z-Espana
    Nick E 30,000 Z-Foreign Z-New Zealand
    Kumar K 25,000 Z-Foreign Z-India
    Shlomo S 25,000 Z-Foreign Z-Israel
    Anil 25,000 Z-Foreign Z-Switzerland
    Nestor T 25,000 Z-Foreign Z-Uruguay
    Anurag V 20,000 Z-Foreign Z-Germany
    Tomaz K 20,000 Z-Foreign Z-Slovenia
    S.E.H. 12,500 Z-Foreign Z-Singapore
    Stan T 10,000 Z-Foreign Z-Canada
    Steve L 10,000 Z-Foreign Z-Canada
    Kaz O 10,000 Z-Foreign Z-Canada
    Johannes K 10,000 Z-Foreign Z-Germany
    Barry R 10,000 Z-Foreign Z-Ireland
    Antoine F 10,000 Z-Foreign Z-Luxembourg
    Andre R 10,000 Z-Foreign Z-Portugal
    Howard L 10,000 Z-Foreign Z-UK
    Stockspeter 7,500 Z-Foreign Z-Canada
    Brian M 5,000 Z-Foreign Z-Canada
    David G 5,000 Z-Foreign Z-Singapore
    Harsh N 5,000 Z-Foreign Z-UAE
    KP 5,000 Z-Foreign Z-UK
    David X 5,000 Z-Foreign Z-UK
    Duncan M 5,000 Z-Foreign Z-UK
    Vivian W 5,000 Z-Foreign Z-UK
    Brad W 4,000 Z-Foreign Z-Canada
    Junyuan 2,500 Z-Foreign Z-Singapore
    Ward P 2,500 Z-Foreign Z-Sweden

    889,000 Z-Foreign Total

    11,414,700 Grand Total

    Gobble Gobble - have a good Thanksgiving and see you Friday


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