It’s been a long time since my last update. I took the month of June off for vacation in New York as well as a Sheridan reunion in Chicago. Upon my return I was facing the huge task of moving my mother from a large home into a small retirement apartment. It is amazing how long it takes to dispose of much of a lifetime’s worth of accumulation. So I decided to take July off as well as it would be too distracting to trade with that huge task facing me. Then August happened, with unprecedented whipsaw swings. Trading the wild swings was just too hard for my frame of mind. I guess I needed a little more time off anyway.
There are times when technical analysis can help to make trading decisions, and then there are times when market uncertainty along with multiple standard deviation moves makes even the best analysis extremely challenging. We are in a period now that makes trading, at least for swing and position trading, very difficult. It could last a while longer. I plan to sit this out until I see more normal markets return. Whatever comment I could make on the market would probably be invalidated by the market action the next day, as these triple digit swings continue to knock traders off both sides. Perhaps day-traders are having fun with this.
Regarding gold, that asset bubble became much larger than I thought possible. Nothing much has changed my opinion. I good washout was not a surprise. A clue, as I’ve mentioned many times, was the huge divergence between the price of gold and the price of the gold miners. Many believe that relationship no longer is valid, but I think they we justifying the divergence, thinking, as always happens at tops, that “this time is different.” I’m still a bull long term. When the radio ads disappear I’ll jump back in.
Just a side note for any bloggers out there, I had a terrible run-in with Getty Images. I helped a nursing organization put up a small website. The site was for about 30 nurses in the Northwest to announce meetings and collect via PayPal their $12 membership fee. Nothing was being sold on this site, and the organization is non-profit. On the home page we put up a generic photo of the Seattle skyline copied from Google images, with no reference to a photographer, photo bank, copyright, or anything. The organization received a very nasty letter from Getty Images demanding that the photo be taken down and also demanded a settlement amount of about $1200 for the past usage of the image, and the threat that if payment wasn’t received within 14 days that the matter would escalate and the organization would face a lawsuit. Now I can understand that if someone were profiting from the use of one of their copyrighted photos that a demand for settlement would be in order. But if a small non-profit website accidentally put up a photo, I would think that a cease and desists letter would be in order. But a threat and demand for $1200 is more like extortion. The photo was immediately taken down, of course, but Getty Images would not remove the demand for the money. After many back and forth emails, they asked for proof of their non-profit status, which was supplied. Getty then cut the demand settlement in half. Then I got involved and went through the entire Getty archive of Seattle skyline photos, and could not find an exact match between the image they accused the nurses of using and any of the images in their catalogue. I sent them an email with my findings and said the nurses would settle if they could explain the discrepancy between the image they used and the one they accused them of using. As it turns out the image the nurses used was shot at a different time of day, had a different cloud pattern in the sky, had more of the skyline than the Getty image. It was obviously a completely different image. So they eventually acknowledged their error and said they would drop the case. But it left a really bad impression of Getty Images. As a result I took down all the images on my website, just in case one happens to be something that is in the Getty Images data bank. I did a Google search and found horror stories of people using a simple little image on multiple pages and then were handed a bill for tens of thousands of dollars. One was even a student project with no commercial intent, and Getty Images wouldn’t budge on their demand. They are really bastards. So if anyone is reading this, make certain you have no images that can in any way be linked to Getty Images. They’ll find the images eventually. They apparently have some way they scan the entire internet looking for matches. I suppose that method isn’t so perfect, as in the case of the nursing site where they made an error. But it was a real pain to sort it out with them.