Your Almost Daily Bit of Wall Street Wit & Wisdom

Obvious Man

Obvious Man, from Wiley Miller’s Non Sequitur comic strip h/t, Andrews McMeel Publishing

“This is the greatest non sequitur in finance.”
— Jim Grant, editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer

The venerable Mr. Grant is referring to bonds priced to yield less than zero.

Deutsche Bank data shows negative yielding debt has topped $15 trillion, representing 25% of all outstanding bonds.

Negative interest rates are not good. They reflect and forecast trouble.  They have serious consequences for investors and sovereign nations.

Who would buy negative yielding bonds?  See the Greater Fool Theory.

Don’t be a fool and don’t be cruel.  Spread some kindness today.

Best regards,




Your Daily Bit of Wall Street Wit & Wisdom

Russell Sage

Russell Sage, circa 1870 h/t Hulton Archive/Getty Images

“He wears no crown upon his royal head,
But many millions in his purse, instead;

He keeps no halls of state; but holds his court
in dingy rooms where thrift and greed resort;

In iron chests his wondrous wealth he hoards;
Banks are his parlors; brokers his lords,

Bonds, bills, and mortgages, his favorite books,
Gold is his food, and coiners are his cooks; …”
— John G. Saxe, The Money-King, 1854

Saxe’s lengthy mid-nineteenth century poem is descriptive of the exalted financial state of the European banking families considered to be “Money-Kings.”

In 2019, many of the poem’s couplets ring familiar with today’s growing problem of income inequality.

It’s something to consider, when considering those running for office.

Best regards,


PS My father, Paul Sarnoff, authored a biography of Russell Sage, published in 1965, Russell Sage: The Money King.  Sage banked the tycoons and helped shape the Industrial Revolution.  He became one of the wealthiest people in US history.

Your Daily Bit of Wall Street Wit & Wisdom

bonsai tree

Japanese Black Pine, Japanese Friendship Garden, San Diego, h/t

“To me, the poor are like Bonsai trees. When you plant the best seed of the tallest tree in a six-inch deep flower pot, you get a perfect replica of the tallest tree, but it is only inches tall. There is nothing wrong with the seed you planted; only the soil-base you provided was inadequate.

Poor people are bonsai people. There is nothing wrong with their seeds. Only society never gave them a base to grow on.”
― Muhammad Yunus, Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism

Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus founded the Grameen Bank and pioneered the concepts of microcredit and microfinance to fight poverty.  Yunus realized that people were not poor because they were stupid or lazy.  They worked long, hard hours, performing complex, physical tasks.  Their growth was stunted, because their financial institutions did not help them widen their economic base.

The poor had no control over capital.  Grameen reversed conventional banking practice by removing the need for collateral and created a banking system based on accountability , mutual trust, creativity and participation.  In his book, Banker to the Poor: Microlending and the Battle Against World Poverty, Yunus wrote,“…it is the ability to control capital that gives people the power to rise out of poverty.”

Eradicating poverty provides a path toward peace.

Bonsai is the ancient Asian art of cultivating trees in trays.  The shallow confines of a small pot prevent the tree’s roots from spreading.  Pruning techniques help bonsai mimic the shape and scale of naturally full size trees.

Enjoy a peaceful weekend!

Best regards,


Your Daily Bit of Wall Street Wit & Wisdom

Roaring 20s

Actress Betty Field dances the Charleston during a poolside party scene from the 1949 movie The Great Gatsby (Bettman / Getty)

“The financial community is now secure in the knowledge that the most powerful banks in the country stand ready to prevent a recurrence of panic.”
— New York Times, 10/24/1929, h/t John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Great Crash of 1929

This past week’s release of the minutes from the late-January meeting of the Federal Reserve’s policy-making committee reflected a dovish Fed friendly to the markets.

Perhaps overly so.

We shall see.  In any event, keep calm and enjoy your weekend.

Best regards,


Your Daily Bit of Wall Street Wit & Wisdom

The First Bank of the United States

The First Bank of the United States, h/t National Park Service

“The stock market took a dive today. It was so bad, Goldman Sachs had to lay off three congressmen.”
— Jay Leno

Often, there’s a sad truth in humor. That’s the case here.  The market’s recent rebound has coincided with the US government shutdown, hmm…and boosted by sovereign central bank monetary stimulus.

The unfortunate cycle is politicians care about big banks thriving and big banks care about keeping politicians elected.  Whom they don’t seem to care about is you.

George Carlin spoke well on this subject.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Best regards,


King Dollar’s Crown Wobbles

Brian Dykstra portraying King John

Photo by Teresa Wood, Brian Dykstra as King John, h/t

by Steven Sarnoff

As the stock market’s decline intensifies, one wonders what central bankers will do.  Will they coordinate to take down the US dollar?  Their objective would be to boost their balance sheets and pump out enough liquidity to prop up ailing share prices.

Will Treasury Secretary Munchkin Mnuchin again call the PTT (Plunge Protection Team)? Stocks are sliding hard.  It will likely take a sizeable sovereign effort to turn the state of the market.

Continue reading

A Step Ahead, Covering Our XLF Play

Grabbing Great Gains Before Financials Fall

by Steven Sarnoff

Japanese Candlestick charts are a superior way to depict market price movement, because they vividly depict and reveal the human behavior (buying and selling) that drives price direction.  They often send up early warning signs of coming turns in price.  The chart is never wrong, only the analysis.

On a day when the Financial sector took it on the chin and fell hard, our readers are glad they were able to grab their gains (+82% in a little over a month) before many market participants felt the pain.  With markets closed tomorrow, here’s a walk through how we exited a step ahead of the crowd.

Continue reading

Crazy Like A Fox


Crazy Like A Fox, art by Terry Fan

by Steven Sarnoff

Today was the worst day of the year for stocks, but not too shabby for OPTIONS HOTLINE subscribers. The Superleverage power of my method was on display, as our recommended Citigroup May $60 put, triggered 03-20-17 at $2.00, traded 03-21-17 at $3.30, +65% in 1 day, on a 3% move in the underlying shares, with an always known and strictly limited risk!

On Sunday, 03-19-17, I emailed my readers, “Professionals have seen the recent sector underperformance and are fading the financials. Some may call that crazy, but it may just end up being crazy like a fox.”

Continue reading