Posts by Pras Subramanian
- Breakout1 day ago
Eying an opportunity to stick it to Vladimir Putin, hawkish Republicans, and Democrats from energy-rich states are pushing the administration to loosen exports of natural gas for shipment to Ukraine and other countries dependent on Russia. Currently exports of natural gas are limited to countries that are free trade partners with U.S., but lawmakers see an opportunity for domestic energy producers to benefit, as well as put pressure on Russia.
- Breakout4 days ago
A day after reminding everyone that Sochi was in the rear-view mirror and that the real Vladimir Putin was back, the modern day ‘czar’ of Russia eased off his hard stance today, claiming he doesn’t want to use force in Ukrainebut reserving the right to do so. Russia maintains it’s forces in Crimea, but is sending troops at the border back their bases after ending a “military exercise.”
- Breakout5 days ago
Vladimir Putin’s land grab in the Crimean region of Ukraine has sent European (^STOXX50E) and emerging markets (EEM) spiraling lower. With fresh claims from Kiev that Russian troops have now seized border posts in Crimea and are demanding that Ukrainian forces abandon Crimea entirelely, the situation is stoking fears of further escalation.
U.S. markets (^GSPC, ^DJI) are acting negatively as well, sliding further on reports of the Russian demands. Zachary Karabell of Envestnet doesn’t doubt there are real concerns, but questions how much we can read into it this complex situation.
- Breakout9 days ago
If you’ve seen Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street , based on the book by Jordan Belfort of the same name, you most likely hold one of two diametrically opposed opinions on the film. Either you think it’s a hilarious, over-the-top re-enactment of Wall Street’s party culture of the 90s, or a dark and debauched look at men who had no shame in committing securities fraud, as well as checking their morals at the office door.
Judging by box office numbers, the film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill has been soaring like a high-flying technology stock, and has also been a big winner for Scorsese’s portfolio, as it is now his top-grossing film.
[ Related: Oscar predictions from the Yahoo Movies experts ]
- Breakout10 days ago
A president on the lam and an angry Russian bear looking to assert his authority on a wayward former territory. Although the situation gets murkier in Ukraine, the prospects of contagion coming from the former Soviet state seem minimal, judging by global market reaction. The question for investors is why the Ukraine situation differs from Greece’s insolvency, or on a smaller scale, Cyprus’s banking failure, when European markets roiled from the daily drip of bad news coming from these two small countries.
- Breakout12 days ago
It’s been three years since Hosni Mubarek was ousted during the Arab Spring. Then last summer, protesters forced the Egyptian army’s hand and President Mohamed Mursi was also sent packing. Now comes today’s big news of Egypt’s government resigning, creating an opening for a powerful army chief to run for president.
No doubt this is a situation with a lot of uncertainty, but for the speculative investor the setting could be one with a huge reward. “In general with the markets, you want to be long doubt, and short hope,” says Jonathan Hoenig of CapitalistPig Hedge Fund in the attached video. “There’s probably no more doubt anywhere across the world than when it comes to Africa, and Egypt specifically.”
- Breakout16 days ago
Facebook’s (FB) Mark Zuckerberg is quickly making a reputation for himself as a CEO ready to put his money where his mouth is. Pundits thought he was crazy to spend big dollars on the trendy photo-sharing app Instagram. Now a massive $16 billion bid for messaging app WhatsApp has investors shaking their heads again, with the stock lower today after hitting an all-time high yesterday.
Still, we are left to wonder if Zuckerberg is on to something, and many believe $16 billion for a messaging app is a good buy, one focused on explosive growth.
- Breakout16 days ago
Doug Kass probably isn’t a happy man at the moment. The Seabreeze Partners founder publicly stated he was shortone of the top momentum names in the market, Tesla Motors (TSLA), going into earnings, presumably on valuation concerns. As we have noted many times on Breakout (case in point, Amazon), being short a company that’s radically upending an industry on valuation concerns is a recipe for something called “a bad time.” (UPDATE: Kass just doubled-down on his Tesla short.)
- Breakout17 days ago
Chalk up another victim to the polar vortex. U.S. housing starts plunged 16% in January, most likely due to the frigid conditions blanketing most of the country, in particular the midwest. January's drop, the biggest in nearly three years, also marked a third month of declines for housing permits.
Even with today's sobering news, strategist Ryan Detrick of Schaeffer’s Investment Research sees market sentiment as a strong reason to like the housing trade going forward, but in not the way you might think.
Back in 2012 when housing had a great year, Detrick notes in the attached video that traders were in fact placing bearish bets through ‘put’ options on the housing sector. Conversely, in 2013 when housing had a substandard year, many traders had heavily invested in ‘call’ options, or bullish bets on the housing. As Detrick sees it, the masses are usually wrong on these directional bets and typically it pays to be contrarian.
- Breakout22 days ago
What a week for Bitcoin. First, the popular digital currency suffered a massive cyberattack on its public register or ledger, via a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack on Bitcoin exchanges. The ledger notes every bitcoin transaction, and malicious parties were entering fake transactions and mucking up exchange data. Now using the same exploit, hackers ripped $2.7 million worth of Bitcoin from Silk Road 2.0, the successor to the illicit marketplace Silk Road.