3 February 2017: Alternativnyye fakty

According to Russian’s Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat), the Russian economy is recovering quickly from a recession. This is very surprising, since no one saw that hopeful news coming, not even the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation. The growth must have happened in the last part of the year, mainly out of sight of Russian consumers, department stores, economists, etc. Is there a Trump effect going on, even in Russia? Or are the Russians learning quickly from the US President, who knows that you’ve got lies, bloody lies and alternative facts (or as they are called in Russia: “aльтернативные факты“)?

white-chapel-logo-smallUS indices hardly moved yesterday. The S&P 500 posted a small gain (+0.06%), the Dow (-0.03%) and the NASDAQ (-0.11%) recorded small losses. Volatility was slightly higher: the VIX gained 1%. Our UVXY ETFs made a modest gain of 1.4%. Return since the start of our model is now at 179%.

Trading signal: due to a change of momentum, White Chapel gave a trading signal at the end of Thursday’s session: an “I” (inverse) signal. As a result of that, we sold our volatile positions (UVXY ETFs @ $23.48) this morning and bought inverse ETNs (XIV ETNs @ $62.58).

Accumulated capital at close of previous trading day

Return since start

Return this year

Return this quarter

$27,894

+178.94%

-30.80%

-30.8%

Our initial capital was $10,000 at 1 January 2016. Our average Annual Return is 156%.

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René’s Reflections @ Friday: Ignorance

Whenever I visit the city center of my hometown, I tend to go by foot, instead of by car. The three mile walk to town (and back) easily surpasses the recommended level of daily physical activity for adults. This keeps at bay any feeling of guilt that might arise in the occasion of finding myself being a couch potato in the evening. Apart from that, it also enables me to become more aware of my surroundings, as well as to be more receptive of new impressions. Many of my “Friday’s Reflections” have sprung from such walks. Today’s reflections fall into this category.
Yesterday, just before arriving in the city center, I had to stop in front of a traffic light in order to cross the canal that separates downtown from residential neighborhoods. I know this traffic light all too well. It has the nasty habit of making you feel being ignored. It has this little red button that, when pressed, brings traffic to a halt so pedestrians can cross the intersection. In any modern city, the processes that are set in motion after such a button is pressed, are fully automated, computerized, and efficiently executed. Yet, somehow I get the feeling that my hometown is the exception to the rule. Yesterday again, nothing seemed to happen, even after I pressed the button twice.
During the long waiting times I often imagine what exactly happens after I press this red button. I wouldn’t be surprised if it triggers a text message to be sent to some city clerk’s cell phone: “Some pedestrian requests crossing busy intersection.” The city clerk is just about to help a customer at the counter, as he reads the incoming message on his phone. The clerk raises his eyebrows. “Just a moment please,” he asks his customer, “I have an issue to address. Please take a seat, I will get back to you in a minute.” The clerk then picks up his phone and calls his colleague at the Urban Traffic Department. “Hello, this is…” the clerk starts. “You have reached the Municipal Office. Thank you for calling. Please state your name, and the department you wish to be connected with.” The clerk sits up and clears his throat. “John. John Doe. Urban Traffic Department please.”
The phone rings ten times and the clerk is just about to give up, as someone finally picks up the call. “Hello, this is…” the clerk starts again. But he is interrupted by another automated answering machine message. “You are connected to the Urban Traffic Department. At this time, we are unable to process your request. All of our personnel are currently unavailable. Please try again later, or leave your message after the tone.”
Then, just as I was wondering how long I was standing in front of that red traffic light, a well dressed man in his mid-fourties appeared next to me. He looked at the red traffic light, then at my face. “Did you press the button?” he asked. “Yes, I did.” He looked first at his watch, then at the traffic light, and finally at the red button, which he then pressed, as if he didn’t hear what I had just said. Within seconds, the traffic light turned green. The man turned to me again and said, with a hint of wonder on his face: “See? You forgot to press it!”
As he crossed the zebra crossing, his cell phone rang. He spoke in such a high volume that you had to listen in, whether you liked it or not. From what he said, it dawned on me that he worked as a professional at the local court. “Oh my God,” I thought. “Please let this man not be a judge!”