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OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – ESCAPE FROM STALAG SULTANATE, Part 1
That reminds me of a story. “HELLFIRE AND DALMATIANS!” I shouted to no one in particular. “What’s the problem, dear?” Esme asks in that way she has of telling me to calm down without having to say it directly. “This bloody fucking country. A day late and several dollars short.” I fume. “Can’t get a new liquor license because of the bloody COVID. Can’t go to a hotel bar and have a snort because of the bloody COVID. Can’t even slip across the border to Dubai and soak up some room service and buckets of complimentary cocktails because of the bloody COVID.” Yes, the Sultanate of Oman, in its infinitesimal wisdom, has traditionally followed other GCC countries by at least three months in making any sort of proclamations regarding this latest bugaboo: the hideous, deadly, itchy, loathsome, and possibly serially bent, noxious, pandemical COVID-19; aka, this pandemic’s entry for flu. Their response is one of immense knee-jerk without first having thought of the consequences. “Bloody lockdown, 2100 to 0700. What is this, the whole fucking country’s been bad and now being sent to bed without any supper?” I wondered aloud. “Idiot benchodes.” Even Esme couldn’t come up with a rejoinder to that. “Plus they close all the bars. And all the hotels. And the fucking bottle shops. It’s not enough that these fucking Muppets jack the ‘sin tax’ on booze and cigars by 100%, now they’re not even legally available.” I swore. Of course, once you’ve spent even a small portion of the time that I have in the Middle East, you have your connections. Your system. Your access to the seedy underbelly of any society; the venerable Black Market. Jesus Q. Christ on toast with baked beans, fried tomatoes, black pudding, and mushrooms, I could get most anything in the Middle East, be it legal, shady, or just plain illegal. However, before you all recoil in horror that the venerable Dr. Rocknocker dabbles in the prohibited, just remember: the ends always dojustify the means. “I'm telling you, Esme dear; this Gulf story is getting too complicated. The weasels have started closing in.” I complain to Es as she hands me a fresh drink. “Do you think…?” Esme asks expectantly. Esme is more than ready to go. I’ve used this place as a base of operations for years whilst I wear out the Omani legal system suing those asswipes that think just because they’re local and I’m a kafir, they’re immune to the law. I’ve spent a long, profitable and time-consuming period of the last few years proving them wrong. But, time was marching onwards. I agreed with Esme, we’ve milked this particular cash cow dry. It was time to hitch up our bootstraps, call it a day, and get the hell out of Dodge. But not before I took care of a few loose ends. Now, the country had recently lost its venerable Sultan, who croaked back in January of this year. Sultan Qaboos was a good egg, friend to expat and local alike. Did a shitload of good for this benighted Middle East sandpit. Dragged it kicking and screaming out of the 12th century into, well, not exactly the 21st, but a whole hell of a lot closer. He realized that he needed revolutionary, not evolutionary change in the country. By revolutionary, he needed American, British, Canadian, and the like Western Expats here to do the heavy thinking and lifting and Eastern Expats like Indians, Bangladeshis and Nepalese to do all the scut work. Yeah, I know. That sounds racist as fuck, but sometimes that’s the way the ball bounced. Simple evolution of society where Omanis graduated the local equivalent of grade school, through high school, into University, and finally into Entry level jobs in the oil and gas industry wasn’t going to cut it. Took too long and the country needed a serious cash flow now. So, that’s what he did. And it worked a treat. Then he died. And his chosen took over. Except his chosen was pretty much antithetical to everything the previous and very revered and successful, Sultan wanted. Soon, there are 100% ‘sin taxes’ aimed directly at the western expats. Tourists included. Then there’s quotas and ‘Letters of No Objection’, which are impossible to get so that the Eastern Expats can’t switch jobs. Then, there are Sultanic proclamations of new taxes on tourists, new taxes on fast food, new taxes on this, that and the other. Then there’s, in his own words, “Oman is for Omanis”, blatantly ridiculous and xenophobic Omanization, and the general swipe at all expats. “GET OUT.” This was the clear message of the new sultan. He wanted to take over and possibly nationalize all the oil workings in the country. Ask Venezuela, Iran, and Myanmar how well that worked out for them. Then he wants all expats out on their asses. He wants Omanis to take over all the jobs, even though they’re nowhere near educated nor experienced enough for the positions. Then take up the massive GDP slack in lower oil production and oil prices with tourism. Given everything else, that last line should be enough to get him off the throne. He’s fucking nuts if he thinks people are going to want to cruise or overland anywhere near a place where foreigners are seen only as a cash supply, are despised, and would welcome these all new 100% tax levies. Be that as it may, Esme and I decided that we have had enough of 135O F summer temperatures, virtual house arrest under the guise of a COVID lockdown, and idiots who were the only ones stupid or twisted enough not to vamoose when the great, big bloody letters were clearly written on the wall. But, there was the physical act of getting out of the country. Now, I had plenty of strings which I could pull, but I decided I’d start low and save those until we really needed them. So low, in fact, we went to the US Embassy in Muscat. “How low can you go?” reverberated through my head. What a haven of sad-sacks, flubadubs, and third rate hobbyists. Was either Esme or I surprised that when we finally secured an invitation to the embassy, that required a bit of string-pulling with the ex-Ambassador to Oman, now in Kabul; that besides the peach-fuzz faced Marine guarding the place, we were the only Americans in the joint? “This is American soil!” I laughed, as I pulled out a huge Cuban cigar and was immediately told to extinguish it. “We’re as American as apple pie and napalm! We file our fucking 1040s every April; I pay my fucking long-distance taxes and demand US assistance to vacate this gloomy place of sandy, sweaty, sultry Sturm und Drang!” “Shut up, Rock”, Esme chided me, “They don’t understand English. Much less, the florid English the way you trowel it on.” “Fuckbuckets”, I remonstrated. “Here I had memorized the whole Patrick Henry speech he made to the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775, at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia. Troglodytes. No admiration for the classics.” “Rock, dear?” Esme noted, “It’s almost 1100 hours. Best to get to our appointment.” True, our appointment was slated for 1100 hours. But around here, anything starting within three hours of the stated time was considered close enough. We dragged ourselves, none too cheerfully, to the waiting room. Once we pried open the door, there was the usual “If you hear a high pitched wail, hit the deck” signs, and other things one could do while kissing one’s ass goodbye if there was a terrorist attack, we had a whole new slew of bullshit with which to deal. “Social distancing. 6 feet. Or if you’re from Baja Canada, 1 cow’s length.” “Must wear a mask. Bandanna, bandoliers, and large-caliber weapons or sombrero optional.” “No sitting. Faux Naugahyde seats are too difficult to sterilize. You must stand at attention, do not talk amongst yourselves, and remain patient until your number is called.” “Well, fuck!”, I snorted quietly, as I raised my first secret flask in rapt attention to our old glory of red, white, and blue. “Good thing they didn’t say nothin’ about getting a load on. If I’m going to be treated like cattle, I’m going to at least have something to chew on in the process.” “Oh, lord”, Esme grumbled, “You didn’t bring that Japanese Rye Whiskey with you, did you?” “ルハイム”, I said, which is Japanese for “L’chaim”! “Oh, hell”, Esme grinned as she borrowed my flask, “This is going to be a long day.” I began to protest but remembered that I was wearing my Agency-issued field vest. I must have had at least 5 or 6 more flasks lurking around in those pockets somewhere. Funny aside: they don’t bother with my going through an X-ray machine nor do they confiscate my phone, radio, knives, nor other field equipment when I go to the US Embassy. It took them almost two solid hours last time, and by the time they got to my Brunton Compass, emergency flasks, a few spare blasting cap boosters, and saw the label sewn into the back of my vest, they decided they’d just send Rack and Ruin some evil Emails and let me pass unmolested. “I’ll drink to that”, I say as I raise a flask as the locals raise an eyebrow. “Courtesy of Atheists International. We’re here for your children…” The collective gasps and growls indicate they weren’t happy with me or my betrothed. “Don’t care, Buckwheat”, I smiled, “Never did, never will. We’re out of here for good. You can curse my name all you want then. But, then again, why you standing in the American Embassy trying to get a visa to visit the land of the great evil empire?” All the locals and most of the Eastern Expats crowded into a corner as far away from us as they physically could. “BOO!” I snickered over a shot of Wild Turkey 101 Rye. “Now serving number 58! Number 58!” came the call over the tannoy. “Look at that”, I remarked to Es as I stashed both our flasks, “It’s only 12:35. Record time.” We both shimmy into the glass-fronted and presumably bullet- but not C-4 resistant- glass. We pick up the telephones there and acknowledge that we are who we said we were. The East Indian fella, one Harsh Talavalakar, behind the multiple layers of glass asked us why we were here. “Didn’t you read the appointment card?” I asked, “We’re here to have Uncle Sam get us passage out of this sordid and sultry place.” “You are American citizens?” he asked, vacantly. “That’s what it says on appointment cards and these here blue passports,” I replied. “Well, how was I to know?” he scoffed, returning to his half-consumed powdered sugar doughnut. “Maybe read the appointment card and see that we are US Citizens here on the behest of Ambassador Bethesda Orun?” I replied. “Like I have time to read everything that comes across my desk”, he scoffed again. I tapped on the glass to make certain I had his full attention. “Look here, Herr Harsh. I’m not sure how you got this job at the American Consulate but want to be very clear with you. My wife and I are residents of this place for the last 20 years. We’re American citizens of very high standing and have more high powered connections than an Arduino in a nuclear power station. We have direct connections with Langley, Virginia and if you want to retain your cushy job, you’ll put down that fucking doughnut and pay very rapt attention to the two Americans standing here who are getting more and more irritated with some Indian benchode that doesn’t think he has to really do his job. You savvy? You diggin’ me, Beaumont” I guess the benchode got his attention. The two scowls he received from Esme and myself sort of cemented the idea that we’re not too pleased and not with to be trifled. “Yes, sir?” he said, “And ma’am”, as Harsh quickly corrected himself as the doughnut disappeared. “We want out. Gone. Vamoose. Outta here. AMF. You got me?” he nods behind the shatterprone glass. “Now I know the borders are sealed and the airport’s closed, but fuck that. We want out and we want gone for good. I can’t make that much simpler or clearer. Get after it, son.” I said, as seriously as I could. “Well, sir”, he began, “ The airport’s closed…” “Are you deaf or born stupid and been losing ground ever since?” I asked, rhetorically. “I know that. We all know that. My HAT knows that. So, what devious little plan does the US Embassy have in store in just such an unsavory situation?” “Well”, he chokes a bit, “There’s this unofficial lottery where America citizens are issued random numbers and if their number comes up, there are seats made available on special clandestine charter flights.” Considering that Es and I are some of the last American citizens left in the country, I thought our chances might be pretty good. “OK”, I said, “Let us have two of your finest numbers.” “Yes, sir”, he said, “That will be US$500 total.” “Excuse me?” I said. “Oh, yes”, he smirked, “US$250 per number. Chances are you’ll never be called, but with these numbers, at least you stand a chance.” “OK”, I said, “Forget the numbers. I want your name and operating number. I’ve got a report to file that’s due in Virginia before breakfast.” “Oh, sir”, he smirked more, “I cannot release that information. Thanking you. Now be having a good day.” And he slammed the supposedly bulletproof shield between himself and Es and me. “Bulletproof? Maybe. Nitro proof? No fucking way.” I groused as I fished out a couple of blasting cap superfast boosters. “Calm down, dear”, Esme smiled to me as we walked out, “When he wasn’t looking, I took his picture, got his operating number, and full name. In fact, I think I got some information on where he lives…” In the cab on the way back to our villa, I reviewed and confirmed Es’s subterfuge. Flasks number 6 and 8 needed serious replenishment by the time we arrived home. “That’s fucking right, Ruin.” I yelled over the phone, “We need extraction. And now. Along with our personal effects and a few hundredweight of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ boxes of stuff we need to be transported.” “Well, Rock”, Agent Ruin replied, “That’s a tall order. Usually, extraction is for one person and the stuff they’re wearing. Tell you what. Let Rack and I work on it for a week or so. We’ll arrange transport of your personal effects, then we’ll see about getting you and Esme to Dubai. At least there, you can order a plane. Hell, knowing you, you’ll get Tony Stark to fly in and provide door to door service. Sit tight. We’ll be back in touch.” “Good!” I say as I slam the phone down. With these newfangled cellphone telephone instruments, they lack the same sort of satisfying “KER FUCKING CLANG” the old landlines used to have. “Es!”, I yelled, “Start packing. We’re due out of here within a week.” That meant we needed to do some packing triage: • Things going home with us. • Things being shipped. • Things being sold. • Things being left behind. • Things no one was about to get their furry little mitts on. “Oh, fuck!”, I startled. I had just remembered the John Wick-ian stash of various explosives, and adjunct materials I had buried in the basement. Obviously, I couldn’t take it home with me, I couldn’t sell it, and I sure as festering frothing fuck wasn’t going to leave it here. I needed to call one of my more shifty and swarthy friends and arrange for passage out to the deep, dark desert. Around the area where the new sultan had opened a couple of brand new landfills. Looks like I was going to expand them a few meters once we disposed of the few hundred kilos of accumulation I attained over the last few years. See, I’m a packrat. I never leave nor toss anything that might be convenient. Might have a benefit. Might prove to be useful sometime down the line. So, I’ve accumulated a bit of kit. Like…well…a few hundred sticks of Du Pont 60% Extra Fast Dynamite. A couple dozen spools of Z-4 Primacord, in various degrees of fullness. A shitload of C-4; enough bricks for a Floydian wall. A couple, well, a dozen, well, two dozen cases of binary liquid explosives. Hey, this stuff is hard to come by… Continuing, several thousand blasting caps and superfast flash blasting cap boosters. Some mercury fulminate. Some nitrogen triiodide. A couple tens of pounds of PETN. An equal amount of RDX. A few Erlenmeyer flasks full of shit even I’m not certain of what it is… Oh. And a few kilos of freshly decanted, raw nitroglycerin; packed in sturdy wooden boxes lined with new fuzzy lamb’s wool. Not that much. Just 10 or 12 kilos. Yeah. I can’t leave that here. Even a small accident with this stuff would lay waste to not only our villa; but my landlord’s villa with whom we share a common wall. Besides, as Omanis go, my landlord was the only dishdasha dressed denizen for which I had any respect or admiration. He was a good guy. I needed to return his villa at least in some semblance of what I received when we first rented from him. So, I had to dispose of many, many billions of kilojoules of potential energy. I needed to do this out in a distant and far away from prying ears and eyes regions and I needed a truck to haul this stuff out to the range. To be continued…
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Wall Street Week Ahead for the trading week beginning June 29th, 2020
Good Saturday afternoon to all of you here on StockMarket. I hope everyone on this sub made out pretty nicely in the market this past week, and is ready for the new trading week ahead. Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for the trading week beginning June 29th, 2020.
Fragile economic recovery faces first big test with June jobs report in the week ahead - (Source)
The second half of 2020 is nearly here, and now it’s up to the economy to prove that the stock market was right about a sharp comeback in growth. The first big test will be the June jobs report, out on Thursday instead of its usual Friday release due to the July 4 holiday. According to Refinitiv, economists expect 3 million jobs were created, after May’s surprise gain of 2.5 million payrolls beat forecasts by a whopping 10 million jobs. “If it’s stronger, it will suggest that the improvement is quicker, and that’s kind of what we saw in May with better retail sales, confidence was coming back a little and auto sales were better,” said Kevin Cummins, chief U.S. economist at NatWest Markets. The second quarter winds down in the week ahead as investors are hopeful about the recovery but warily eyeing rising cases of Covid-19 in a number of states. Stocks were lower for the week, as markets reacted to rising cases in Texas, Florida and other states. Investors worry about the threat to the economic rebound as those states move to curb some activities. The S&P 500 is up more than 16% so far for the second quarter, and it is down nearly 7% for the year. Friday’s losses wiped out the last of the index’s June gains. “I think the stock market is looking beyond the valley. It is expecting a V-shaped economic recovery and a solid 2021 earnings picture,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA. He expects large-cap company earnings to be up 30% next year, and small-cap profits to bounce back by 140%. “I think the second half needs to be a ‘show me’ period, proving that our optimism was justified, and we’ll need to see continued improvement in the economic data, and I think we need to see upward revisions to earnings estimates,” Stovall said. Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, said she expects the recovery will not be as smooth as some expect, particularly considering the resurgence of virus outbreaks in sunbelt states and California. “Now as I watch what’s happening I think it’s more likely to be rolling Ws,” rather than a V, she said. “It’s not just predicated on a second wave. I’m not sure we ever exited the first wave.” Even without actual state shutdowns, the virus could slow economic activity. “That doesn’t mean businesses won’t shut themselves down, or consumers won’t back down more,” she said.
In the second half of the year, the market should turn its attention to the election, but Sonders does not expect much reaction to it until after Labor Day. RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Democrat Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by 10 percentage points, and the odds of a Democratic sweep have been rising. Biden has said he would raise corporate taxes, and some strategists say a sweep would be bad for business, due to increased regulation and higher taxes. Trump is expected to continue using tariffs, which unsettles the market, though both candidates are expected to take a tough stance on China. “If it looks like the Senate stays Republican than there’s less to worry about in terms of policy changes,” Sonders said. “I don’t think it’s ever as binary as some people think.” Stovall said a quick study shows that in the four presidential election years back to 1960, where the first quarter was negative, and the second quarter positive, stocks made gains in the second half. Those were 1960 when John Kennedy took office, 1968, when Richard Nixon won; 1980 when Ronald Reagan’s was elected to his first term; and 1992, the first win by Bill Clinton. Coincidentally, in all of those years, the opposing party gained control of the White House.
The stocks market’s strong second-quarter showing came after the Fed and Congress moved quickly to inject the economy with trillions in stimulus. That unlocked credit markets and triggered a stampede by companies to restructure or issue debt. About $2 trillion in fiscal spending was aimed at consumers and businesses, who were in sudden need of cash after the abrupt shutdown of the economy. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both testify before the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday on the response to the virus. That will be important as markets look ahead to another fiscal package from Congress this summer, which is expected to provide aid to states and local governments; extend some enhanced benefits for unemployment, and provide more support for businesses. “So much of it is still so fluid. There are a bunch of fiscal items that are rolling off. There’s talk about another fiscal stimulus payment like they did last time with a $1,200 check,” said Cummins. Strategists expect Congress to bicker about the size and content of the stimulus package but ultimately come to an agreement before enhanced unemployment benefits run out at the end of July. Cummins said state budgets begin a new year July 1, and states with a critical need for funds may have to start letting workers go, as they cut expenses. The Trump administration has indicated the jobs report Thursday could help shape the fiscal package, depending on what it shows. The federal supplement to state unemployment benefits has been $600 a week, but there is opposition to extending that, and strategists expect it to be at least cut in half. The unemployment rate is expected to fall to 12.2% from 13.3% in May. Cummins said he had expected 7.2 million jobs, well above the consensus, and an unemployment rate of 11.8%. As of last week, nearly 20 million people were collecting state unemployment benefits, and millions more were collecting under a federal pandemic aid program. “The magnitude here and whether it’s 3 million or 7 million is kind of hard to handicap to begin with,” Cummins said. Economists have preferred to look at unemployment claims as a better real time read of employment, but they now say those numbers could be impacted by slow reporting or double filing. “There’s no clarity on how you define the unemployed in the Covid 19 environment,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank. “If there’s 30 million people receiving insurance, unemployment should be above 20%.
This past week saw the following moves in the S&P:
The economy is moving in the right direction, as many economic data points are coming in substantially better than what the economists expected. From May job gains coming in more than 10 million higher than expected and retail sales soaring a record 18%, how quickly the economy is bouncing back has surprised nearly everyone. “As good as the recent economic data has been, we want to make it clear, it could still take years for the economy to fully come back,” explained LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “Think of it like building a house. You get all the big stuff done early, then some of the small things take so much longer to finish; I’m looking at you crown molding.” Here’s the hard truth; it might take years for all of the jobs that were lost to fully recover. In fact, during the 10 recessions since 1950, it took an average of 30 months for lost jobs to finally come back. As the LPL Chart of the Day shows, recoveries have taken much longer lately. In fact, it took four years for the jobs lost during the tech bubble recession of the early 2000s to come back and more than six years for all the jobs lost to come back after the Great Recession. Given many more jobs were lost during this recession, it could takes many years before all of them indeed come back.
The economy is going the right direction, and if there is no major second wave outbreak it could surprise to the upside. Importantly, this economic recovery will still be a long and bumpy road.
Nasdaq - Russell Spread Pulling the Rubber Band Tight
The Nasdaq has been outperforming every other US-based equity index over the last year, and nowhere has the disparity been wider than with small caps. The chart below compares the performance of the Nasdaq and Russell 2000 over the last 12 months. While the performance disparity is wide now, through last summer, the two indices were tracking each other nearly step for step. Then last fall, the Nasdaq started to steadily pull ahead before really separating itself in the bounce off the March lows. Just to illustrate how wide the gap between the two indices has become, over the last six months, the Nasdaq is up 11.9% compared to a decline of 15.8% for the Russell 2000. That's wide!
In order to put the recent performance disparity between the two indices into perspective, the chart below shows the rolling six-month performance spread between the two indices going back to 1980. With a current spread of 27.7 percentage points, the gap between the two indices hasn't been this wide since the days of the dot-com boom. Back in February 2000, the spread between the two indices widened out to more than 50 percentage points. Not only was that period extreme, but ten months before that extreme reading, the spread also widened out to more than 51 percentage points. The current spread is wide, but with two separate periods in 1999 and 2000 where the performance gap between the two indices was nearly double the current level, that was a period where the Nasdaq REALLY outperformed small caps.
To illustrate the magnitude of the Nasdaq's outperformance over the Russell 2000 from late 1998 through early 2000, the chart below shows the performance of the two indices beginning in October 1998. From that point right on through March of 2000 when the Nasdaq peaked, the Nasdaq rallied more than 200% compared to the Russell 2000 which was up a relatively meager 64%. In any other environment, a 64% gain in less than a year and a half would be excellent, but when it was under the shadow of the surging Nasdaq, it seemed like a pittance.
The US equity market made its most recent peak on June 8th. From the March 23rd low through June 8th, the average stock in the large-cap Russell 1,000 was up more than 65%! Since June 8th, the average stock in the index is down more than 11%. Below we have broken the index into deciles (10 groups of 100 stocks each) based on simple share price as of June 8th. Decile 1 (marked "Highest" in the chart) contains the 10% of stocks with the highest share prices. Decile 10 (marked "Lowest" in the chart) contains the 10% of stocks with the lowest share prices. As shown, the highest priced decile of stocks are down an average of just 4.8% since June 8th, while the lowest priced decile of stocks are down an average of 21.5%. It's pretty remarkable how performance gets weaker and weaker the lower the share price gets.
It's hard to believe that sentiment can change so fast in the market that one day investors and traders are bidding up stocks to record highs, but then the next day sell them so much that it takes the market down over 2%. That's exactly what happened not only in the last two days but also two weeks ago. While the 5% pullback from a record high back on June 10th took the Nasdaq back below its February high, this time around, the Nasdaq has been able to hold above those February highs.
In the entire history of the Nasdaq, there have only been 12 periods prior to this week where the Nasdaq closed at an all-time high on one day but dropped more than 2% the next day. Those occurrences are highlighted in the table below along with the index's performance over the following week, month, three months, six months, and one year. We have also highlighted each occurrence that followed a prior one by less than three months in gray. What immediately stands out in the table is how much gray shading there is. In other words, these types of events tend to happen in bunches, and if you count the original occurrence in each of the bunches, the only two occurrences that didn't come within three months of another occurrence (either before or after) were July 1986 and May 2017. In terms of market performance following prior occurrences, the Nasdaq's average and median returns were generally below average, but there is a pretty big caveat. While the average one-year performance was a gain of 1.0% and a decline of 23.6% on a median basis, the six occurrences that came between December 1999 and March 2000 all essentially cover the same period (which was very bad) and skew the results. Likewise, the three occurrences in the two-month stretch from late November 1998 through January 1999 where the Nasdaq saw strong gains also involves a degree of double-counting. As a result of these performances at either end of the extreme, it's hard to draw any trends from the prior occurrences except to say that they are typically followed by big moves in either direction. The only time the Nasdaq wasn't either 20% higher or lower one year later was in 1986.
In the mid-1980s the market began to evolve into a tech-driven market and the market’s focus in early summer shifted to the outlook for second quarter earnings of technology companies. Over the last three trading days of June and the first nine trading days in July, NASDAQ typically enjoys a rally. This 12-day run has been up 27 of the past 35 years with an average historical gain of 2.5%. This year the rally may have begun a day early, today and could last until on or around July 14. After the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000, NASDAQ’s mid-year rally had a spotty track record from 2002 until 2009 with three appearances and five no-shows in those years. However, it has been quite solid over the last ten years, up nine times with a single mild 0.1% loss in 2015. Last year, NASDAQ advanced a solid 4.6% during the 12-day span.
Tech Historically Leads Market Higher Until Q3 of Election Years
As of yesterday’s close DJIA was down 8.8% year-to-date. S&P 500 was down 3.5% and NASDAQ was up 12.1%. Compared to the typical election year, DJIA and S&P 500 are below historical average performance while NASDAQ is above average. However this year has not been a typical election year. Due to the covid-19, the market suffered the damage of the shortest bear market on record and a new bull market all before the first half of the year has come to an end. In the surrounding Seasonal Patten Charts of DJIA, S&P 500 and NASDAQ, we compare 2020 (as of yesterday’s close) to All Years and Election Years. This year’s performance has been plotted on the right vertical axis in each chart. This year certainly has been unlike any other however some notable observations can be made. For DJIA and S&P 500, January, February and approximately half of March have historically been weak, on average, in election years. This year the bear market ended on March 23. Following those past weak starts, DJIA and S&P 500 historically enjoyed strength lasting into September before experiencing any significant pullback followed by a nice yearend rally. NASDAQ’s election year pattern differs somewhat with six fewer years of data, but it does hint to a possible late Q3 peak.
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Micron Technology, Inc. $48.49
Micron Technology, Inc. (MU) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Monday, June 29, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.71 per share on revenue of $5.27 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.70 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 71% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $0.40 to $0.70 per share. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 29.00% with revenue increasing by 10.07%. Short interest has increased by 7.6% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 8.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 0.9% below its 200 day moving average of $48.94. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, June 11, 2020 there was some notable buying of 46,037 contracts of the $60.00 call expiring on Friday, July 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 4.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.4% move in recent quarters.
General Mills, Inc. (GIS) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:00 AM ET on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.04 per share on revenue of $4.89 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.10 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 69% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 25.30% with revenue increasing by 17.50%. Short interest has decreased by 9.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 2.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 7.8% above its 200 day moving average of $54.91. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, June 24, 2020 there was some notable buying of 8,573 contracts of the $60.00 call expiring on Friday, July 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 6.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 3.0% move in recent quarters.
FedEx Corp. (FDX) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.42 per share on revenue of $16.31 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.65 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 61% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 71.66% with revenue decreasing by 8.41%. Short interest has increased by 10.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 43.9% from its open following the earnings release to be 7.6% below its 200 day moving average of $140.75. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, June 25, 2020 there was some notable buying of 1,768 contracts of the $145.00 call expiring on Thursday, July 2, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 4.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 7.7% move in recent quarters.
Conagra Brands, Inc. (CAG) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:30 AM ET on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.66 per share on revenue of $3.24 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.69 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 66% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 83.33% with revenue increasing by 23.99%. Short interest has decreased by 38.3% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 6.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 6.4% above its 200 day moving average of $30.68. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, June 11, 2020 there was some notable buying of 3,239 contracts of the $29.00 put expiring on Thursday, July 2, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 4.7% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 10.8% move in recent quarters.
Constellation Brands, Inc. (STZ) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:30 AM ET on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.91 per share on revenue of $1.97 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.12 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 53% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 13.57% with revenue decreasing by 13.69%. Short interest has increased by 20.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 25.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.2% below its 200 day moving average of $178.34. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, June 9, 2020 there was some notable buying of 888 contracts of the $195.00 call expiring on Friday, October 16, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 3.1% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.7% move in recent quarters.
Capri Holdings Limited (CPRI) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:30 AM ET on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.32 per share on revenue of $1.18 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.34 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 39% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $0.68 to $0.73 per share. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 49.21% with revenue decreasing by 12.20%. Short interest has increased by 35.1% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 56.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 44.0% below its 200 day moving average of $25.67. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, June 4, 2020 there was some notable buying of 11,042 contracts of the $17.50 put expiring on Friday, August 21, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 10.8% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 6.7% move in recent quarters.
X Financial (XYF) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 5:00 PM ET on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.09 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 25% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 55.00% with revenue increasing by 763.52%. Short interest has increased by 1.0% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 1.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 37.7% below its 200 day moving average of $1.47. Overall earnings estimates have been unchanged since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 4.9% move on earnings in recent quarters.
Acuity Brands, Inc. (AYI) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 8:40 AM ET on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.14 per share on revenue of $809.25 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.09 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 42% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 51.90% with revenue decreasing by 14.60%. Short interest has increased by 48.5% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 2.4% from its open following the earnings release to be 23.4% below its 200 day moving average of $110.25. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 9.2% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.2% move in recent quarters.
Methode Electronics, Inc. (MEI) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:00 AM ET on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.77 per share on revenue of $211.39 million. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 45% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 24.19% with revenue decreasing by 20.53%. Short interest has increased by 6.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 1.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 9.0% below its 200 day moving average of $32.97. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 18.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.1% move in recent quarters.
UniFirst Corporation (UNF) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 8:00 AM ET on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.17 per share on revenue of $378.28 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.25 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 44% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 52.44% with revenue decreasing by 16.63%. Short interest has decreased by 2.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 14.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 8.4% below its 200 day moving average of $186.14. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 7.0% move on earnings in recent quarters.
2 months back at trading (update) and some new questions
Hi all, I posted a thread back a few months ago when I started getting seriously back into trading after 20 years away. I thought I'd post an update with some notes on how I'm progressing. I like to type, so settle in. Maybe it'll help new traders who are exactly where I was 2 months ago, I dunno. Or maybe you'll wonder why you spent 3 minutes reading this. Risk/reward, yo. I'm trading 5k on TastyWorks. I'm a newcomer to theta positive strategies and have done about two thirds of my overall trades in this style. However, most of my experience in trading in the past has been intraday timeframe oriented chart reading and momentum stuff. I learned almost everything "new" that I'm doing from TastyTrade, /options, /thetagang, and Option Alpha. I've enjoyed the material coming from esinvests YouTube channel quite a bit as well. The theta gang type strategies I've done have been almost entirely around binary event IV contraction (mostly earnings, but not always) and in most cases, capped to about $250 in risk per position. The raw numbers: Net PnL : +247 Commissions paid: -155 Fees: -42 Right away what jumps out is something that was indicated by realdeal43 and PapaCharlie9 in my previous thread. This is a tough, grindy way to trade a small account. It reminds me a little bit of when I was rising through the stakes in online poker, playing $2/4 limit holdem. Even if you're a profitable player in that game, beating the rake over the long term is very, very hard. Here, over 3 months of trading a conservative style with mostly defined risk strategies, my commissions are roughly equal to my net PnL. That is just insane, and I don't even think I've been overtrading. 55 trades total, win rate of 60%
33 purely directional trades - 57.5% win
18 long call or long put positions, +692, 55% win
15 call or put verticals, -121, 60% win
22 neutral / other trades
13 iron condors, +345, 77% win rate
7 strangles, -163, 71% win rate
1 straddle, -310, 0% win rate
1 butterfly, -83, 0% win rate
PTON call purchased and held through earnings, sold the morning of announcement +410
Trading the range on the daily chart in GLD from 158 up to 165, a mix of various calls +245
NKLA 30 put purchased before the close on the day it went north of 100, just a pure fade +215
EWZ 22/26 strangle that I held just way too long as it beat me up day after day from May 20-Jun 3, -316
ZM pre earnings vertical, fading another 2 SD move (the day it hit 200 for the first time). Was expecting a post-earnings selloff given the magnitude of the up move. Stock basically hasn't had a down tick since. Max loss -247
EWW 29 straddle, put on around the same time as the EWZ strangle. Rolled from Jun to Jul to no avail. Out at a -310 loss.
This is pretty much where I expected to be while learning a bunch of new trading techniques. And no, this is not a large sample size so I have no idea whether or not I can be profitable trading this way (yet). I am heartened by the fact that I seem to be hitting my earnings trades and selling quick spikes in IV (like weed cures Corona day). I'm disheartened that I've went against my principles several times, holding trades for longer than I originally intended, or letting losses mount, believing that I could roll or manage my way out of trouble. I still feel like I am going against my nature to some degree. My trading in years past was scalping oriented and simple. I was taught that a good trade was right almost immediately. If it went against me, I'd cut it immediately and look for a better entry. This is absolutely nothing like that. A good trade may take weeks to develop. It's been really hard for me to sit through the troughs and it's been even harder to watch an okay profit get taken out by a big swing in delta. Part of me wonders if I am cut out for this style at all and if I shouldn't just take my 5k and start trading micro futures. But that's a different post... I'll share a couple of my meager learnings:
Larger bid/ask spreads make it almost impossible to trade the higher priced names, even if you have a correct assumption. I have traded some bigger underlyings during this time like LULU and NVDA. They are just tough fills, both getting in and getting out. I almost want to say that you shouldn't even bother trading underlyings bigger than a 10 cent bid/ask spread with a small account.
Get an idea of the timeframe you're interested in holding before putting anything on. Have a plan for entering and exiting everything that goes beyond "I'll take this trade off at 50%". You can use TA, you can use a news catalyst, a binary event, just have something. Countless sources out there talk about trading a plan. It doesn't have to be the perfect plan, it just has to be "a" plan.
Undefined risk trades in tiny accounts need hard stops. Yes, some of the studies say that you'll do better without having fixed stop loss rules (50% of max loss, 100% of max loss) -- but what the studies don't say is the effect that it will have on you, mentally. I got pretty bent out of shape over how badly EWZ and EWW went against me -- much more than I expected. It made no sense, as I've lost way more on the turn of a card in .5 seconds and been unfazed. I was unprepared for the mental toll that it took waking up day after day, watching positions move further and further against me. Great time to be short calls during the mother of all rallies.
My initial plan for undefined risk trades in my account was that I would only do them in ETFs. Logic being that I'm just not going to wake up to an accounting scandal or a buyout and take a $1k loss on the chin. I later expanded my range into lower priced underlyings like BBBY, TLRY, and yes, AAL. But these ETFs can and do move (I learned the hard way) and can soak up a surprising amount of BP. It might be better to have 5 iron condors taking up $1000 of BP @ 200 each instead of 2 strangles @ 500 each.
My new questions :
My big wins felt like I simply leaned on my TA background or got lucky. My big losses, I sure felt like I earned those, through mistakes I've definitely since identified. The stuff in the middle, I'm just not sure. I'm up money, but it feels like I'm just spinning my wheels. My win rate is good, but I still struggle with expectations about how quickly a trade should progress. What is the next step of the process for a newer options trader? I've read some stuff on narrower spreads + more contracts vs. wider spreads and fewer contracts. Is there a number where I should just keep doing what I'm doing until I reach a specific # of occurrences? Should I even think about branching out into different strategies yet (ratio spreads, jade lizards, etc) or continue to work on these basics?
I still feel like I am super weak in delta management. In some cases I feel like I've taken a loss simply because I didn't know what the proper management techniques were. I understand the concept of rolling out in time for a credit, but I just don't think it's in my nature to hold trades for longer than a month, and even that is hard for me. At what delta is it appropriate to start thinking about hedging?
Every time I put on a credit spread for a 2-3 day move and am directionally correct, I often wish that I had just bought a naked option. I've caught several big moves this way in things like AAPL; most recently I bought the FB dip to the 50 day MA around 215 and took it off today at 225 (which was always my plan) -- it leads me to wonder if my expectations for credit spreads are completely out of line. I can't lie, it feels bad to catch a 10 point move and only make $40, haha. What is the ideal timeframe for a credit spread to be left on? Is it better to just buy premium with a stop loss and have a more profitable risk/reward equation for situations like the above where the only intent is to hold for a couple days?
Here's a random question -- other than when the BPR hit is too much (ie names over $50) for undefined risk, would you rather hold 1) a strangle for 10-14 days or 2) an iron condor for 25-30 days? So far my criteria for IC vs strangle has largely been driven by the risk profile and BPR and not so much profit potential in X number of days. If you're collecting the standard 1/3rd on the IC and taking the trade off at 50% (if you're lucky) , it seems like it takes about a month to get there, most of the time.
That's enough of this wall of text for now. If you made it this far, I salute you, because this shit was even longer than my last post.
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Selling your Covered Call - Thoughts on How to Select Your Strike and Expiration
Congratulations! You are a bag holder of company XYZ which was thought to be the best penny stock ever. Instead of feeling sorry, you consider selling covered calls to help reduce your cost basis - and eventually get out of your bags with minimal loss or even a profit! First - let's review the call option contract. The holder of the call option contract has the right but not the obligation to purchase 100 shares of XYZ at the strike price per share. This contract has an expiration date. We assume American style option contracts which means that the option can be exercised at any point prior to expiration. Thus, there are three parameters to the option contract - the strike price, the expiration date and the premium - which represents the price per share of the contract. The holder of the call option contract is the person that buys the option. The writer of the contract is the seller. The buyer (or holder) pays the premium. The seller (or writer) collects the premium. As an XYZ bag holder, the covered call may help. By writing a call contract against your XYZ shares, you can collect premium to reduce your investment cost in XYZ - reducing your average cost per share. For every 100 shares of XYZ, you can write 1 call contract. Notice that that by selling the contract, you do not control if the call is exercised - only the holder of the contract can exercise it. There are several online descriptions about the covered call strategy. Here is an example that might be useful to review Covered Call Description The general guidance is to select the call strike at the price in which you would be happy selling your shares. However, the context of most online resources on the covered call strategy assume that you either just purchased the shares at market value or your average cost is below the market price. In the case as a bag holder, your average cost is most likely over - if not significantly over - the current market price. This situation simply means that you have a little work to reduce your average before you are ready to have your bags called away. For example, you would not want to have your strike set at $2.50 when your average is above that value as this would guarantee a net loss. (However, if you are simply trying to rid your bags and your average is slightly above the strike, then you might consider it as the strike price). One more abstract concept before getting to what you want to know. The following link shows the Profit/Loss Diagram for Covered Call Conceptually, the blue line shows the profit/loss value of your long stock position. The line crosses the x-axis at your average cost, i.e the break-even point for the long stock position. The green/red hockey stick is the profit (green) or loss (red) of the covered call position (100 long stock + 1 short call option). The profit has a maximum value at the strike price. This plateau is due to the fact that you only receive the agreed upon strike price per share when the call option is exercised. Below the strike, the profit decreases along the unit slope line until the value becomes negative. It is a misnomer to say that the covered call is at 'loss' since it is really the long stock that has decreased in value - but it is not loss (yet). Note that the break-even point marked in the plot is simply the reduced averaged cost from the collected premium selling the covered call. As a bag holder, it will be a two-stage process: (1) reduce the average cost (2) get rid of bags. Okay let's talk selecting strike and expiration. You must jointly select these two parameters. Far OTM strikes will collect less premium where the premium will increase as you move the strike closer to the share price. Shorter DTE will also collect less premium where the premium will increase as you increase the DTE. It is easier to describe stage 2 "get rid of bags" first. Let us pretend that our hypothetical bag of 100 XYZ shares cost us $5.15/share. The current XYZ market price is $3/share - our hole is $2.15/share that we need to dig out. Finally, assume the following option chain (all hypothetical):
Purely made up the numbers, but the table illustrates the notional behavior of an option chain. The option value (premium) is the intrinsic value plus the time value. Only the $2.5 strike has intrinsic value since the share price is $3 (which is greater than $2.5). Notice that intrinsic value cannot be negative. The rest of the premium is the time value of the option which is essentially the monetary bet associated with the probability that the share price will exceed the strike at expiration. According to the table, we could collect the most premium by selling the 110 DTE $2.5 call for $0.95. However, there is a couple problems with that option contract. We are sitting with bags at $5.15/share and receiving $0.95 will only reduce our average to $4.20/share. On expiration, if still above $2.5, then we are assigned, shares called away and we receive $2.50/share or a loss of $170 - not good. Well, then how about the $5 strike at 110 DTE for $0.50? This reduces us to $4.65/share which is under the $5 strike so we would make a profit of $35! This is true - however 110 days is a long time to make $35. You might say that is fine you just want to get the bags gone don't care. Well maybe consider a shorter DTE - even the 20 DTE or 50 DTE would collect premium that reduces your average below $5. This would allow you to react to any stock movement that occurs in the near-term. Consider person A sells the 110 DTE $5 call and person B sells the 50 DTE $5 call. Suppose that the XYZ stock increases to $4.95/share in 50 days then goes to $8 in the next 30 days then drops to $3 after another 30 days. This timeline goes 110 days and person A had to watch the price go up and fall back to the same spot with XYZ stock at $3/share. Granted the premium collected reduced the average but stilling hold the bags. Person B on the other hand has the call expire worthless when XYZ is at $4.95/share. A decision can be made - sell immediately, sell another $5 call or sell a $7.5 call. Suppose the $7.5 call is sold with 30 DTE collecting some premium, then - jackpot - the shares are called away when XYZ is trading at $8/share! Of course, no one can predict the future, but the shorter DTE enables more decision points. The takeaway for the second step in the 2-stage approach is that you need to select your profit target to help guide your strike selection. In this example, are you happy with the XYZ shares called away at $5/share or do you want $7.5/share? What is your opinion on the stock price trajectory? When do you foresee decision points? This will help determine the strike/expiration that matches your thoughts. Note: studies have shown that actively managing your position results in better performance than simply waiting for expiration, so you can adjust the position if your assessment on the movement is incorrect. Let's circle back to the first step "reduce the average cost". What if your average cost of your 100 shares of XYZ is $8/share? Clearly, all of the strikes in our example option chain above is "bad" to a certain extent since we would stand to lose a lot of money if the option contract is exercised. However, by describing the second step, we know the objective for this first step is to reduce our average such that we can profit from the strikes. How do we achieve this objective? It is somewhat the same process as previously described, but you need to do your homework a little more diligently. What is your forecast on the stock movement? Since $7.5 is the closest strike to your average, when do you expect XYZ to rise from $3/share to $7.5/share? Without PR, you might say never. With some PR then maybe 50/50 chance - if so, then what is the outlook for PR? What do you think the chances of going to $5/share where you could collect more premium? Suppose that a few XYZ bag holders (all with a $8/share cost) discuss there outlook of the XYZ stock price in the next 120 days:
Person A does not seem to think much price movement will occur. This person might sell the $5 call with either 20 DTE or 50 DTE. Then upon expiration, sell another $5 call for another 20-50 DTE. Person A could keep repeating this until the average is reduced enough to move onto step-2. Of course, this approach is risky if the Person A price forecast is incorrect and the stock price goes up - which might result in assignment too soon. Person B appears to be the most bullish of the group. This person might sell the $5 call with 20 DTE then upon expiration sell the $7.5 call. After expiration, Person B might decide to leave the shares uncovered because her homework says XYZ is going to explode and she wants to capture those gains! Person C believes that there will be a step increase in 10 days maybe due to major PR event. This person will not have the chance to reduce the average in time to sell quickly, so first he sells a $7.5 call with 20 DTE to chip at the average. At expiration, Person C would continue to sell $7.5 calls until the average at the point where he can move onto the "get rid of bags" step. In all causes, each person must form an opinion on the XYZ price movement. Of course, the prediction will be wrong at some level (otherwise they wouldn't be bag holders!). The takeaway for the first step in the 2-stage approach is that you need to do your homework to better forecast the price movement to identify the correct strikes to bring down your average. The quality of the homework and the risk that you are willing to take will dedicate the speed at which you can reduce your average. Note that if you are unfortunate to have an extremely high average per share, then you might need to consider doing the good old buy-more-shares-to-average-down. This will be the fastest way to reduce your average. If you cannot invest more money, then the approach above will still work, but it will require much more patience. Remember there is no free lunch! Advanced note: there is another method to reduce your (high) average per share - selling cash secured puts. It is the "put version" of a cover call. Suppose that you sell a XYZ $2.5 put contract for $0.50 with 60 DTE. You collect $50 from the premium of the contract. This money is immediately in your bank and reduces your investment cost. But what did you sell? If XYZ is trading below $2.50, then you will be assigned 100 shares of XYZ at $2.50/share or $250. You own more shares, but at a price which will reduce your average further. Being cash secured, your brokerage will reserve $250 from your account when you sell the contract. In essence, you reduce your buying power by $250 and conditionally purchase the shares - you do not have them until assignment. If XYZ is greater than the strike at expiration, then your broker gives back $250 cash / buying power and you keep the premium. Early assignment - one concern is the chance of early assignment. The American style option contract allows the holder the opportunity to exercise the contract at any time prior to expiration. Early assignment almost never occurs. There are special cases that typically deal with dividends but most penny stocks are not in the position to hand out dividends. Aside from that, the holder would be throwing away option time value by early exercise. It possibly can handle - probably won't - it actually would be a benefit when selling covered calls as you would receive your profit more quickly! This post has probably gone too long! I will stop and let's discuss this matter. I will add follow-on material with some of the following topics which factors into this discussion:
Effect of earnings / PR / binary events on the option contract - this reaction may be different than the underlying stock reaction to the event
The Black-Scholes option pricing model allows one to understand how the premium will change - note that "all models are incorrect, but some are useful"
The "Greeks" give you a sense about how prices change when the stock price change - Meet the Greeks video
Position Management - when to adjust, close, or roll
Legging position into strangles/straddles - more advanced position with higher risk / higher reward
Open to other suggestions. I'm sure there are some typos and unclear statements - I will edit as needed! \I'm not a financial advisor. Simply helping to 'coach' people through the process. You are responsible for your decisions. Do not execute a trade that you do not understand. Ask questions if needed!**
With the potential of earning big money, binary options trading has removed in a big way all around the globe. From a number of binary options brokers in 2008, we have about hundreds of these available currently. You will be entrusting your cash to a broker to keep on the trade. Hence, it is very important that you identify the best binary options brokers from the other small and unreliable ones. The trading of Binary Options first commenced in 2008 at the Chicago Board of Exchange. Such as the name suggests, Binary Options, are derivative contracts with only two possible outcomes at the expiry of the contract i.e. you receive cash/ asset if the contract is'in the amount of money'or nothing otherwise. For instance, suppose you buy a phone option of ABC Ltd.' s share at a strike price of $30 and a binary payoff of $300 binary options brokers. If the stock price is above $30, your contract is'in the amount of money '. By'in the amount of money'contract, we mean that you are in a gain situation as you can buy the stock for the strike price of $30 and sell it at an increased price (the current price) and produce a profit. In this scenario, in a binary option contract, you receive a fixed binary payoff of $300. In most other scenario, you receive nothing and lose the purchase price of the contract. The underlying asset can be stocks, indices, commodities and currencies. Making consistent profits out of trading in binary options depends upon the accuracy with which you may predict asset movements over the word of the contract. Following are some important strategies for narrowing down your search to the best binary options brokers: • Choose a controlled broker: A regulated broker is the one which has obtained a license and is governed by the concerned regulatory authority. Picking a regulated binary options broker will benefit you in many ways such as, payment protection in case of the broker's insolvency, proper usage of funds and authenticity of the contracts. • Access: There are some brokers who prohibit US investors from trading in binary option contracts. If you should be a US investor, you would want to check this first before proceeding to evaluate the broker on other parameters. • Track Record: Pick a broker with a minumum of one year of reputable dealings. Avoid deciding on new brokers. The more experienced the broker, the higher will be its credibility as it has had the oppertunity to survive in this industry. • Reputation: Before selecting any broker, ensure that you check the user reviews/ complaints which will give a fair idea of the trustworthiness of the broker. Find the broker who has good reviews and fewer complaints. • User Interface: Since your entire transactions will be online, become familiar with the interface of the broker's website. User friendly and navigate interface will simplify things and assist you to take investment decisions easily. • Number of Options: You can find a number of option variants including 60 seconds options by which the option expires after very one minute or One Touch binary option in that you simply need certainly to predict whether the asset price will at least one time cross a pre-determined price during the life span of the option. Brokers supplying a higher number of option variants are beneficial as it opens up more earning opportunities. • High Payouts: Higher payout means lower commission to the brokers and obviously higher share of profits to you. Most brokers generally offer 80-85% payout in case the option is'in the amount of money '. Some brokers offer 10-15% payout even when the option is out from the money. Choose brokers with favorable payouts. • Banking options: Since derivative contracts are about'timing'it is essential that the broker offers you fast and a range of deposit and withdrawal options. • Customer Service: Fast and prompt customer support is just a big advantage for a newcomer trader. Test the broker's customer care with certain pre-account opening queries. Also, a demonstration account made available from a broker reflects its emphasis on superior customer experience. • Terms and Conditions: More frequently than not, unfavorable terms such as higher withdrawal limit are hidden in the fine print of the terms and conditions. Read them in more detail before commencing trading with the broker. It's important that you spend time in choosing your broker. The above checklist will help you choose the best binary options brokers in the market currently.
Why implement new UI (ultra super 4k) if old gives you money?
WINK has a big goal we want to play a big role in the online casino industry not limited to a tron dapp. The reason we implement the new UI is that it is fundamental for multi-currencies. Only with multi-currencies, can WINK grow big. WINk is not satisfied with being the best Tron DAPP. We will only be satisfied when we are the best of our kind, within the entire cryptocurrency community.
How does one win a drop?
Drops are not win a drop, drops are paid out every day for holding and freezing the tokens (WIN LIVE DICE & RAKE) from each drop pool.
Can I play dice with JST token?
It is a pity that you cannot now, but we’ll try to see whether JST token can be supported in the future.
Do you know when the monthly report will be released?
We are preparing for it. As the third party live game providers always provide their invoice on the 10th of each month, we need some time to calculate, finish the buyback and burn. So usually we will send the monthly report from 15th to 19th of each month.
joined momentarily just to say 8 months later price is still falling lolz. Could it be the massive supply of WIN or is it the fear people have of the team dumping. Or is it the fact that no one knows who the team is? I’ll leave this here, I don’t want to argue. Peace
The team is working to increase the value of WIN. WIN Price is undervalued we believe due to lack of knowledge about its utility. Mass marketing across all current large cryptocurrency platforms must ensue at our earliest convenience. Multi-currency is not performing to its full potential. By increasing the sizes of the sub token drop pools - WIN pool will dramatically increase also. As the mother token of the platform WIN will need to showcase its potential and the increased drop amounts will have a very positive effect on the WIN pool and market price. At the same time, Rake has great potential. According to the data from 2019, Dice contributed 60% to the entire platform revenue, Live contributed 36%, whilst Rake only 4%. This shows us that Rake has great potential. We are working to improve the Rake product. We are aware of the changes that need making and the areas that require attention to bring increased revenue to WIN. When the new website and multi-currencies support is complete, we will push out a new poker product combined with aggressive promotion and partners, we believe that there will be a dramatic increase in Rake revenue once this is completed. RAKE relinquishes 40% of its profits to the WIN drop pool, meaning it is by far the most underused and undervalued section of the platform in our current forecast. We aim to change this and bring our RAKE platform to a much higher industry-standard as is expected from our players. At this moment in time, we are in the process of upgrading the website. We are developing and designing a new user interface that allows for multi-currency drops to be enabled and a more user-friendly experience all around. We expect this to be completed by mid-June. The new website will support a swift and easy to follow login process, allowing players to easily access the WINK website via registration with an email address and experience the centralized LIVE casino games that are available and newly added Binary options trading that WINk offers under this section. Alongside this, it will support all major currencies from the top 100 cryptocurrency market. Which will exponentially expand the target audience and change the current playeuser base: who are currently only Tron DAPP users and open it up to every crypto user in the community as well as traditional online gamblers who seek gameplay that truly rewards them back for their wagering. When completed, WINk can quickly start mass marketing campaigns and greatly enhance its current market share, which in turn can bring the entire platform's revenue, user dividends, and WIN's tokens market price to a much higher level and standard. WINk is not satisfied with being the best Tron DAPP. We will only be satisfied when we are the best of our kind, within the entire cryptocurrency community. Date: 15/05/20
What was this big giveaway for? The giveaways we do on twitter are always to improve and increase our engagement and social media presence. We still feel that many people do not know about WIN and the more people that hear about is means the more chances we have of improving our user numbers and improve platform growth
For this Twitter Giveaway, we want to get some exposure on twitter and telegram. That is a normal way for promotion. Of course, it is not the massive promotion we mentioned before.
On May everything going according to the Plan and we can expect a new UI and Dice game at the end of the month? Or there any updates about that?
Everything goes according to the plan. It is supposed to be a new UI in May. About the Dice game, we will launch immediately once the new website goes smoothly.
Is that wheel of fortune game new on live ? Evolution games are available to us and when the game is released we will be requesting it for wink.
We are managing a great relationship with hub88. We will discuss the new game with them and I am sure they will give us a satisfactory answer.
Most big div pools come from mining, and if people stop to mine dividends are not so great. Do you have something in mind to keep people mine?
I think there are two reasons for people mining. The first, playing games for fun.Which is why we will continue to bring more content and great games to the platform. Secondly people want the tokens to be able to increase their daily dividends, we will bring more value to the platform by adding partners continually under the current sub sections. This will bring more players and more value which will bring people to mind which of course brings higher dividends
Is there any chance of getting a date for listing of dice and Live? We do not have a set date yet for the listing of LIVE or DICE the community will be informed when it has been decided
Regarding the listing, we have to negotiate the specific date with exchanges. We are doing some preparation works now to get the subtoken listed on time.
Where does the new scratch card(e gaming) game come?
In-house. Developed by WINk developers. We Will inform you where on the site it is going when it’s finished Thanks community! It is all about today’s Questions and Answers section. If you have more questions, please feedback in the main channel. The mods will forward the questions to the team and we’ll try to answer them on a daily basis. Thanks again for your support!Enjoy your gaming and WIN big!
Why the SGI can NEVER do anything to contribute to world peace
PSA: There's a shorter article addressing this same topic from a slightly different angle here: Why the SGI will NEVER do anything to contribute to world peace - shorter version The reasons for this are a bit complicated, so I'm going to need to provide the background to help everyone understand where I'm going with this, first. First, definitions: Conservative = keeping things the same. Synonymous with traditional, old-fashioned, "we've always done it this way". The only acceptable change is to revert to earlier ways of doing things. Glorification and idolization of an idealized and romanticized past. Conservative intolerant religions put all the emphasis on personal responsibility. This includes Evangelical Christianity and the SGI - they're very similar. Conservative intolerant religions teach that their practice offers a magical means of transforming one's circumstances - through answered prayer. In SGI this is termed "changing karma" but they talk about "answers to prayer" as well. In SGI terms, only the individuals themselves can "change their karma", and until they change that karma, they're going to keep seeing unpleasant situations recur in their lives. Thus the SGI's typical recommendation that people in bad situations determinedly remain there until they transform them. Being in a societally-disadvantaged position is regarded as an individual responsibility from the perspective of conservative intolerant religions - correct faith and practice + hard work will enable ANY individual to transcend class/cultural barriers:
The poor and the sick were the original members of the Gakkai. They had been abandoned by society, doctors and fortune, but they were saved by the Gakkai. They worked hard and chanted hard. They have achieved great results, moving from the poorest to the richest within Japanese society. Source
Thus, there is no need to acknowledge structural barriers such as de facto segregation or unequal resources for schools or "red-lining" (where realtors show certain houses to white clients and different houses to black clients, thereby maintaining the separation of "white" neighborhoods from "mixed" neighborhoods) or any form of discrimination - this is simply a manifestation of INDIVIDUALS behaving badly, and if we can simply teach those individuals right faith, they will voluntarilystop behaving badly, choose to START behaving properly, and the problem will simply go away. Within this mindset, nothing can happen meaningfully except as a grass-roots movement - people have to want this kind of change, and in order to get them to want it, we must convert them to our religion. That's the whole purpose here - gaining more followers for their conservative, intolerant religion so they can take over and run everything the way THEY think it should be run. And they'll do anything to get there. There is no reason to address any societal problem from the governmental perspective because it's all just INDIVIDUALS. So while laws can be passed, they will inevitably fail to correct the problem because laws cannot touch people's attitudes or beliefs. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. summarizes the problem here:
Now the other myth that gets around is the idea that legislation cannot really solve the problem and that it has no great role to play in this period of social change because you’ve got to change the heart and you can’t change the heart through legislation. You can’t legislate morals. The job must be done through education and religion. Well, there’s half-truth involved here. Certainly, if the problem is to be solved then in the final sense, hearts must be changed. Religion and education must play a great role in changing the heart. But we must go on to say that while it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me and I think that is pretty important, also. So there is a need for executive orders. There is a need for judicial decrees. There is a need for civil rights legislation on the local scale within states and on the national scale from the federal government. Source
Dr. King caught on to what I'm trying to talk about here - this view that nothing can change until all the individuals involved are changed. And that is never going to happen. That belief is at the root of maintaining the status quo. By making the content of progress voluntary, those in power will never go along, as they regard that progress as stripping them of some of the power and privilege they enjoy. Imagine if ending slavery had been made optional and left up to individuals' discretion - how well would that have worked? THAT is why the government must be involved. THAT is why conservative intolerant religions like SGI will NEVER lead, but will need to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into more enlightened thinking and policies. An example of this is the outdated and inappropriate "4 divisional system" SGI embraces - young/unmarried women up to around 40; young men up to around 40 (they may or may not be married/parents); older women, older men. As in every other patriarchy, the older men call all the shots and ultimately decide, their vote outweighing every other group's. LGBTQ involvement means that such categories become unworkable - they can't accommodate many in that group, not meaningfully and not in a way that those individuals will feel comfortable. However, recently SGI doubled down, referring in its publications to the "IRONCLAD four divisional system". Means the mouth-noises about changing policies aren't actually about changing anything; this affirms to those vested in this archaic and conservative system that nothing will meaningfully change. THAT is why no conservative intolerant religious organization - like Evangelical Christianity, like SGI - will ever meaningfully participate in societal change for the better. In order to explain this more fully, I'm going to draw from a fascinating book: Divided by Faith - Evangelical Religion and the problem of Race in America, by Michael O. Emerson & Christian Smith (2000). The authors maintain that churches will never challenge the status quo because they BENEFIT from the status quo. Let's start off with some excerpts. First, regarding the differences between a letter written by a black man to a generic white person, and the response written by a white woman:
...there are some perhaps subtle differences in her expression of reconciliation as compared to the black writer's letter. First, the letter from the black writer uses the vehicle of a personal letter to communicate from one race to another; the white writer, though, quickly individualizes the letter, claiming that she cannot speak for other whites.
Making it "All about MEEEE", in other words.
She also asks to be seen as an individual, not a member of a race, and says her goal is to treat individuals as individuals, regardless of color. This seems perfectly reasonable, but it has an important effect. The need to work for social justice and social equality between races is minimized, even dropped. If we are to focus on individuals only, then justice does not mean working against structures of inequality, but treating individuals as equals, regardless of the actual economic and political facts. Equality is spiritually and individually based, not temporally and socially based. And this is the complaint that many black evangelicals had of white evangelicals during this period (Civil Rights Movement, late 1960s - early 1970s). Some of the white elite evangelicals attempted reconciliation, but incompletely. The problem with whites' conception of reconciliation, many claimed, was that they did not seek true justice -- that is, justice both individually and collectively. Without this component, reconciliation was cheap, artificial, and mere words. It was rather like a big brother shoving his little brother to the ground, apologizing, and then shoving him to the ground again. (p. 58) "The organization of American religion encourages religious groups to cater to people's existing preferences, rather than their ideal callings. In trying to create meaning and belonging, even to teach religious truths and implications for social action, religious leaders must act within a limited range shaped by the social locations of their congregations. The congregation often looks to religion not as an external force that places radical demands on their lives, but rather as a way to fulfill their needs. Those who are successful in the world, those of adequate or abundant means, those in position of power (whether they are aware of this power or not), rarely come to church to have their social and economic positions altered. If we accept the oftentimes reasonable proposition that people seek the greatest benefit for the least cost, they will seek meaning and belonging with the least change possible. Thus, if they can go to either the Church of Meaning and Belonging, or the Church of Sacrifice for Meaning and Belonging, most people choose the former. It provides benefit for less cost.
Remember the outraged retorts over at the SGIUSA subreddit when challenged about the fact that SGI does not engage in any organized charitable activities of any kind? (The "When/how does SGI get involved in community service?" topic, first page.)
SGI is fundamentally a faith organisation. I don't want to be told what to do with my hard earned free time as an SGI member. But I will go out and share the proof of the practice working in my own life by volunteering and being the change I wish to see in the world. My practice is the core of that - how it manifests isup to me as an individual. Amen.
Spoken like a true white Christian!
I ask you this - what is stopping you from getting off reddit, picking a volunteer organization or opportunity reaching out to them and asking how you can volunteer, then asking your fellow YWD if they would like to volunteer as well as a form of bonding? If this is the change you want to see in the world then go out and do it, don’t wait for someone to do it for you. Why is this? How long do you have to be part of SGI before we begin doing real humanistic work for our surrounding area vs chanting for those things? Why would you expect and organization to do for you what you can do for yourself? That's the entire point of chanting and being agents of change. You start inward and change that and then the outside world changes.
See? A purely individual focus. Not even the slightest acknowledgment that there are structural issues that must be addressed collectively. There is a saying: Societal issues require societal solutions. It used to be illegal in the US for black people and white people to marry each other. And generations upon generations upon generations of Christians all "treating others as equals" didn't change squat! But when the GOVERNMENT made it ILLEGAL to discriminate, all of a sudden, society adjusted! And astonishingly quickly! Now, it's completely normal to see people of different ethnicities coupling up, but my grandmother's generation (she was born in 1901) thought that whites should marry whites, blacks should marry blacks, slicing and dicing down to Chinese should marry Chinese and Japanese should marry Japanese, etc., and NO RACE MIXING! (Christians often cited the Bible as justification for that no-mixing attitude, BTW. So screw religion.)
"Prophetic voices calling for the end of group division and inequality, to the extent that this requires sacrifice or threatens group cohesion, are perfectly free to exist, but they are ghettoized. They will have followers, but they will be a minority voice, both in terms of size and strength. This is in part because, as seminary professor Charles Thomas Jr. has summarized, 'In practice congregation members expect the ministry to do nothing (such as taking a prophetic voice) which would interfere with the harmony and growth of the membership.'" This sobering description explains why a big majority of American Christians live lives that look pretty much like the lives of unbelievers, and why many do not want to hear prophetic reminders of systemic evil like racism, and many other "isms," that still exist in our culture. Source As a result, many religious leaders, even if they desire change, are constrained. Unless their message is in the self-interest of the group, they must necessarily soften and deemphasize their prophetic voice in favor of meeting within-group needs. (p. 164)
People join religions for SELFISH reasons - they want a friendly community because they are lonely; they want a way to improve their socioeconomic conditions; they want a sense of belonging; they crave a sense of mission and purpose and a group that will provide structure for their otherwise chaotic lives; even a way to gain the power and status that have eluded them in life within at least a small group - any number of reasons. But in the end, "It's all about MEEEE."
The view that prejudiced individuals are the essence of the race problem of course reflects a focus on the individual as opposed to larger social units. ... The problem is one of individuals and individuals only (or, as we will see, groups who or policies that say it is something else). Some found the whole idea of bad feelings toward a group difficult to comprehend.
Not that THAT is the source of prejudicial policies...
A Baptist woman said, "It's just very difficult for me to understand why someone would be against a group of people. You want to see them as individuals."
"...and slavery never happened - couldn't have happened."
This is much like evangelicals of the past who, even in the face of Jim Crow segregation, did not see such segregation as the key problem. Recall that during the Jim Crow era, "Most evangelicals, even in the North, did not think it their duty to oppose segregation; it was enough to treat blacks they knew personally with courtesy and fairness." The racialized system itself is not directly challenged. What is challenged is the treatment of individuals within the system. (pp. 74-75)
And thus, the status quo, that over-arching system within which the roles have been defined, is never addressed. Why should it be? In this scenario, the white people are always treated politely and deferentially by the black people, who know they'll be arrested and imprisoned for slave labor otherwise. This type of system is based in fear that is instilled in the secondary class - they don't DARE put a toe out of line. I remember this old white guy - can't remember if he was a politician or a preacherman - saying that when he was younger, working in the South in the fields alongside black people, they never complained about white people! What's happened?? He's so ignorant that he doesn't realize that "complaining about white people", in that place and time, was grounds for the black complainer to be arrested and thrown into prison to be used as slave labor! Of COURSE the black people weren't going to say jack! And the white people around them liked it that way! Everyone's role in society was defined, with them at the top with all the advantages and privilege. They could show what lovely people they were by simply being nice to their social inferiors. Clearly, the fact that these were their social inferiors was just the way it was. THAT is the nature of "accepting the status quo", and people who think like that will never do anything to change that system. Why should they? They're profiting off it! There's a rather searing account here - excerpts:
In October 2017, he preached a message entitled “A Lack of Understanding.” Addressing “all the ignorant white people,” and acknowledging his own past grappling with prejudice, the pastor listed reasons that racism was evil — among them that it was an affront to God’s creation, given that Adam and Eve were probably brown-skinned. A video played of a black pastor talking of the racism he experienced as a child in East St. Louis in the 1960s. Pastor Morris concluded by urging people of color in the congregation to spread out and pray with whites in small groups. The response, Pastor Morris said, was “overwhelmingly positive,” and indeed the reaction on Facebook suggests as much. Pastor Lewis remembers a black woman weeping in her seat, and was thankful that he finally had an answer for black worshipers questioning how their church truly felt about racism. On Facebook some white congregants were angered at the sermon, especially at the focus on white people as the root of the problem. “I believe Robert spoke from his flesh (means he was speaking his own opinions, not from a biblical perspective) in this message,” one of them, Steve Groebe, later recalled in a Facebook message. “I gave him another week to correct the message and make it biblical. I didn’t feel he did that so I left the church.” The message was not better received among the black worshipers who had already left the church. It did not, several said, address the enduring structural legacy of racism, instead adhering to the usual evangelical focus on individual prejudice.
IF the problem is restricted to individuals and their wrong-headed beliefs, then the only way to address it is for those individuals to "get right with God", to "shakubuku" them because only then will they get the right beliefs that will straighten out reality.
There is now a team at the church focused exclusively on making the church more diverse. On the weekend before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a 49-second video of excerpts from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was played at worship services — “a monumental moment in Gateway church history,” one pastor said, the first time that the day had been acknowledged.
...and they're only devoting 49 SECONDS - less than a minute! The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., famously described 11 AM Sunday morning as "the most segregated hour of the week". That's the typical church service start time, if you're not familiar with it. And this hasn't changed, not in the almost 60years since Dr. King said that!
Individualism and defective personal relationships were constants in evangelicals' assessment of the race problem. ... For many, the race problem, no matter how big or how small, ultimately came down not to a social issue, but to personal defects of some individuals in some groups as they attempted to relate to each other. (p. 75) White conservative Protestants are accountable freewill individualists. Unlike progressives, for them individuals exist independent of structures and institutions, have freewill, and are individually accountable for their own actions: Underlying traditional Christian thought is an image of man as a free actor, as essentially unfettered by social circumstances, free to choose and thus free to effect his own salvation. For only if man is totally free does it seem just to hold him responsible for his acts ... In short, Christian thought and thus Western civilization are permeated with the idea that men are individually in control of, and responsible for, their own destines. (pp. 76-77) What is more, because most white evangelicals perceive racism as individual-level prejudice and discrimination, and do not view themselves as prejudiced people, they wonder why they must be challenged with problems they did not and do not cause. (p. 89) This perspective misses the racialized patterns that transcend and encompass individuals, and are therefore often institutional and systemic. It misses that whites can move to most any neighborhood, eat at most any restaurant, walk down most any street, or shop at most any store without having to worry or find out that they are not wanted, whereas African Americans often cannot. This perspective misses that white Americans can be almost certain that when stopped by the police, it has nothing to do with race, whereas African Americans cannot. This perspective misses that whites are assumed to be middle class unless proven otherwise, are not expected to speak for their race, can remain ignorant of other cultures without penalty, and do not have to ask every time something goes wrong if it is due to race, whereas African Americans cannot. This perspective misses that white Americans are far more likely than black Americans to get a solid education, avoid being the victim of crime, and have family and friends with money to help when extra cash is needed for college, a car, or a house. This perspective misses that white Americans are far more likely to have networks and connections that lead to good jobs than are black Americans. THis perspective misses that white Americans are more likely to get fair treatment in the court system than are African Americans. And this perspective ultimately misses the truth revealed by [this] exhaustive study of black middle-class Americans: "Today blatant, subtle, and covert discrimination against African Americans persists in virtually all aspects of their public life. ... Racial discrimination pervasive, and cumulative and costly in its impact." The individualistic perspective encourages people to dismiss such evidence as liberal, wrongheaded, overblown, or as isolated incidents. Such a perspective, then, fails to see or acknowledge, as Cornel West puts it in Race Matters, "The sheer absurdity that confronts human beings of African descent in this couhtry -- the incessant assaults on black intelligence, beauty, character, and possibility." (p. 90)
We've remarked that SGI is quite conservative in its attitudes, despite having many progressive people as members. For example, SGI leaders make mouth-noises about LGBTQ legitimacy, and then in the next breath talk about the SGI's "ironclad four divisional system", which limits SGI members to one of FOUR very traditional boxes. In the end, no matter how openly your non-binary gender-queer identity is affirmed, you'll be assigned one of these four boxes which are no different from the four boxes people were assigned to in the 1950s or before. The nice progressive people take note of the nice mouth-noises and don't acknowledge that "ironclad four divisional system" in the same thought - to them, their organization is completely LGBTQ affirming! The LGBTQ membership might not feel quite the same... This book describes this same dynamic - the white people are simply not aware in the slightest of the structural inequalities black people face every. Single. Day. Because they, the whites, don't experience this, to their way of thinking, it doesn't exist and the black people are simply complaining and trying to drum up trouble and conflict!
One Baptist man, for example, said: There are a lot of people just sitting back on their butts, saying because of circumstances in the past you owe me this and you owe me that. There's a lot of resentment in the white community because of that and we just kind of need to get over all of that and move forward. Everybody is responsible for their own actions. Life is not the circumstances; life is how you deal with the circumstances and how it makes you better and how you move forward.
Let's think about that in the context of a fairly recent study that found that resumes that had a white-sounding name (like Jared McCarthy) were picked up for interviews FAR more often than the exact same resumes when those had a black-sounding name (like Jamal Evans).
A Wesleyan woman remarked: A lot of them don't care. They don't want to work. ... You go downtown and you see some of these apartments, low-income housing. It's trash. I mean, they don't care and then they complain. Well, get off your duffer and do something. Make a better life for yourself. Clean up your house, pick up your trash, get some kind of job.
Think about that in the context of this article about pervasive racial discrimination in apartment rentals.
And a nondenominational man has this to say: I think they chose to live like that because it is an easier way out. I am a firm believer in this: God said he would provide for our needs, and he does. But if you want out of a gutter, you're going to have to work to get out of a gutter. (p. 102)
Spoken like someone who's never even seen a "gutter". Notice the pervasive "punching down". Doesn't this sound like how SGI leaders talk about members who are in seriously dysfunctional situations? Deep-seated poverty, abusive families, etc. "They simply cave when faced with their own fundamental darkness. I am a firm believer in this: This practice works. We can chant to the gohonzon with firm faith, and we get what we chant for! But these people have no courage, no wisdom, and no matter how much we tell them they need to chant to change their karma, they won't do it!" Spoken like people so accustomed to the benefits of privilege that they think those are available to everyone. "Let them eat cake," indeed. I'm ashamed to admit that I fell into this same trap. When I joined SGI, I was almost 27. I'd completed my master's degree shortly after turning 24. I was moving into my THIRD corporate job (early on, or at least back then, job-hopping was the most effective way to increase your salary) and I was a home-owner (about to sell, but still...). So I was positioned to have FAR more and BIGGER good things happen for me, and they did - had nothing to do with chanting, though that's what I was taught/indoctrinated to credit for these. So I frequently gave "experiences", at discussion meetings, at kosen-rufu gongyos, AND, quickly moved up the leadership ranks, I gave "guidance" using my OWN experience as the basis for "encouraging" others - who were mostly WAY worse off than me - that they could do it, too! "If I can do it, YOU can do it!" That is so NOT how the world works. By putting all the responsibility onto the individual, we don't even see the reality of their situation! Compare the above to this hypothetical discussion:
"Well, if you're ever going to get a decent-paying job, you're going to have to complete a college degree. You don't have any money to pay for it? Let's see about lining up grants for you - I know some sources that you're qualified for. You don't have enough time? Let's get you some grants to cover your living expenses along with your tuition, books, and fees. You don't have enough free time to study? Let's line up some free, high-quality child care for you so that you can 1) go to class, and 2) have some uninterrupted time to devote to studying."
Hilarious, right? Because in order to have THAT discussion, the following would already need to 1) exist, and 2) be accessible:
Adequate levels of grants to enable individuals to go to college as if it's their full-time job
Free, high-quality child care
But we in the US don't have these things. So unless you're from a wealthy enough, education-appreciating enough family (as I was) to have significant help to PAY for it (and the accompanying encouragement to go and study, which included NOT BEING EXPECTED TO BE THE FULL-TIME BABYSITTER FOR YOUNGER SIBLINGS), this need is out of reach for you. The fact that I had completed a master's degree did NOT mean that others could do that, too. But SGI discourages any sort of political or social activism - every person is supposed to do their own "human revolution" and thereby fix all their own problems - all by themselves! And SGI doesn't provide scholarships that its members can apply for the way some fast food restaurants offer their employees! SGI, this obscenely rich organization that claims to care so much about people, doesn't do as much for its own members as Taco Bell does for its employees! WHOM TACO BELLPAYS!!! No, chanting does NOT create opportunities where none exist. There's no magic. Thus, the SGI will NEVER be any force for change for the better, because SGI only exists to enrich Ikeda and the top echelon of Soka Gakkai leaders in Japan.
Greetings, this is dumnem, also known as Theorchero, but you can call me Theo. I'm an experienced Tarkov player and I'm writing this guide to try and assist new Tarkov players learn the game, because it has one hell of a learning curve. We'll be going over a lot of different aspects of this guide, and it is going to be huge. Feel free to digest this in parts. Additionally, this is a work in progress. I will write as much as I can in one Reddit post, but subsequent parts will be in additional comments. Google Docs Version (Note: Link is placeholder atm) Disclaimer: I haven't played Tarkov regularly in a couple months. It's possible there has been extensive changes that I have not kept up with. If there is anything I have gotten wrong or may have omitted, please let me know. This is Primarily directed towards Tarkov Novices. It hopefully includes everything you need to know to be able to go into a Raid equipped for success and to successfully extract with gear. Want to play with friends? Want to have fun and learn Tarkov? Check out my discord here.
Escape from Tarkov is a tactical, realistic, FPS with MMO elements developed by Battlestate Games. It is currently in closed Beta. The game features several maps in which your primary character, your PMC, goes into Raids in order to find and salvage loot and useful equipment to survive and thrive in Tarkov. Death is very punishing in Tarkov. If you die you lose everything you had on you when you die (with the exception of what's inside your Container and your melee weapon) including any equipment you brought with you or what you found inside the Raid. Enemies can be players (PMCs) or 'Scavs' (Scavengers) that are either controlled by AI or by players. Unlike many shooters, AI enemies in Tarkov are deadly - they can and will kill you on sight. It features beautiful and immersive environments, intricate and in-depth weapon modification system, a complex health system, attention to detail with loot placement, and options for combat. Do you want to play slow and stealthy, to avoid fights, or set up a deadly ambush on an unwary foe? Or do you prefer to raw combat, where only your quick wit, placements of shots, and tenaciousness determines who gets out alive? It's your Tarkov. You make the rules.
Tarkov Resources - Useful links
I take no credit or responsibility for any of the content in these links. To the best of my knowledge, these are updated consistently and are accurate, but user beware.
Absolutely fantastic resource. You can visit them here. It is a massive collection of everything that we players have been able to find. They contain trades, user-created maps, lists of ammo, parts, weapons, loot, etc. If it's in the game, it's on the Wiki, somewhere. I highly recommend opening the wiki page for the Map that you plan on raiding in. Factory Customs Woods Shoreline Interchange The Lab ('Labs')
Map Keys and You
Huge collection of all the keys in the game. These are also on the wiki, but this page has them all on one page, and tries to inform the user if the key is worth keeping or using. Check it out here. This section is open to revision. Mention me in a thread (or in the comments below) about a resource and I'll see about adding it here.
Courtesy of Veritas (Send me his reddit username?), It's located here. (Open in new tab.) Contains: Detailed information about: Ammunition, Health, Firearms, Body Armor, Helmets, Rigs & Backpacks, Labs & Quest keys.
Tarkov features several maps - ranging from wide, beautiful vistas to ruined factory districts, to an abandoned laboratory where illegal experiments were being conducted. It is important to learn the maps you intend to play. In order to keep your gear, you must 'extract' at one of your designated exfiltration points. Not all exfils will be active every game, and some are conditional.
To see what extracts are available to you, double tap 'O' to show raid time and your exfils. If it has a ???? it might not be open.
You can load Raids in an OFFLINE status, which allows you to explore the map or practice against AI without losing gear. You do not keep any EXP or gear you find in the OFFLINE Raid, though. To access OFFLINE Raids, head into a Raid normally until you see this screen. Simply check 'Enable OFFLINE mode for this Raid' and you're good to go! You even have a choice on whether or not to add AI. You can also control how many AI enemies spawn, fewer than normal or a great deal more! You can even make Scavs fight each other. (Framerates beware.)
Gate 3 Extract A small, fast-paced map that was primarily created for PvP. Scavs spawn in all the time. Very close quarters, shotguns and SMGs tend to dominate here. PMCs can only access one Exit (Gate 3) without the Factory Exit Key. Good place to go if you need PMC kills as action is pretty much guaranteed. It is recommend NOT to bring in a lot of gear to Factory until you are experienced.
Extract map A fairly large map that was recently expanded. Essentially, players spawn either on 'warehouse' or 'boiler (stacks)' side. If you see a large red warehouse near you (Customs Warehouse), then you spawned on the warehouse side. If you don't, you likely spawned near Boiler side. The location for most quests in the game. Finding geared players here is very easy, so if you are low level attempting to complete early quests (like The Bronze Pocketwatch) it's recommend to AFK in the raid for 20 mins or so, as most players will have moved out of spawns and hit the 'hot' areas already, so it's less likely to be contested, so you may grab your quest item(s) and proceed immediately to Exfil. Contains a Scav Boss, which is a group of scavs with above-average to high-tier gear that has a chance to spawn in Dorms or Gas Station.
Woods Map with Exfil A very large map that is mostly just a large forest, with the occasional bunker, and the Lumber Mill in the center. The Lumber Mill is the primary point of interest, as it contains a couple quest locations and is the primary location to farm Scavs, as Scavs killed on woods is the only known location to find the Arsenal Key, which is the rarest and most valuable key in the game at the moment. Since the map is so large and open, sniper rifles with scopes usually reign king here. You will see a lot of players with Mosin rifles as they are a cheap way to train the Sniper skill (for a quest later on) and are capable of killing geared players and scavs alike. Overall, not usually very populated. An early quest from Prapor sends you here to kill a number of Scavs. A good map to learn the game, as although the loot is not fantastic, you can get experience with how the game runs and operates while fighting AI and possibly getting lucky with a key find off a scav.
Shoreline Map, with Loot, Exfil, etc A very large map, notorious for its FPS hit. Generally speaking, one of the better maps for loot. The primary point of interest is the Resort, but scavs spawn there, and is primarily occupied by hatchlings (players only with hatchet, ie melee weapon) and geared players. Resort has great loot, but requires keys to access most of it. A great map to learn though from new players as the outskirts still contains plenty of loot and combat opportunities with AI scavs. You can hit Villa, Scav Island, Weather station, Docks, etc and come out with a backpack full of valuable gear fairly easily. Location of many quests, including a large quest chain where players are required to kill many, many, scavs on Shoreline.
Detailed map Great, great loot area, but very complex map. Doesn't run very well on old computers. Features a mostly-binary exfil system like Shoreline, but.. kinda worse. Exfil camping is fairly common on this map. Huge map with multiple floors and many many different stores. Communication with teammates is a challenge on this map, but the map is also fantastically detailed. This map features a lot of loot that depends on the kind of store you're in. It's a great place to farm rare barter materials which are valuable to sell on the Flea market or to use for quests. An early quest (from Ragman) sends you here to kill a large amount of Scavs. I'd recommend getting Ragman to level 2 and accepting his quest before going to Interchange, as getting this quest done can take a while as it is and you want all scav kills to count towards progress.
Here's a map. This is a very complex map, so I highly recommend you read the Wiki article and look at all the maps to get an idea of what it's like.
INSURANCE DOES NOT WORK ON THIS MAP.
If you purchase insurance and lose your items on this map, doesn't matter from whom, you will not get them back.
LABS IS NOT LIKE OTHER MAPS. READ THIS SECTION CAREFULLY.
Labs is by far the most lucrative map to play at the moment. You can easily earn several million roubles per hour by killing Raiders (Juiced-up scavs that are ONLY on Labs), looting their equipment, then running to one of the many, many extracts. Extract camping is hard to pull off and pretty much not viable on Labs.
DISCLAIMER: Labs, like much of Tarkov, is under constant development, so issues may be fixed or created without warning. Always check patch notes!
Raiders are the avatars of Death in Tarkov, clad in USEC and BEAR hats, high-end armor, and plenty of firepower to boot. Do not fight Raiders directly. They WILL kill you. Raiders are absolutely broken this patch, and are getting fixed next patch to help fix their exploits of both poor AI and how they're a little.. insane. At the moment, the only way to kill raiders is to camp a hallway, room, or door, and attract the scavs to you, headshotting them the moment they enter before they have a chance to lock onto you. Raiders can see you through and shoot you through surfaces you cannot. This means you have to be very careful when engaging them. They are also often equipped with very high-end ammo, meaning that most faceshields (even Killa helmets) can be useless vs a Scav who spawned with 'big boy' ammo, 7N39. They can shoot your head if it's even slightly visible. They can prone instantly, as they have no ping. If they drop without slumping over, get to cover immediately. Typically, strategies to farm Labs (barring rushing certain rooms for static loot) involve rushing a camp-spot and baiting raiders to your location and taking them out quickly, efficiently, and with no mercy. There are many locations to camp, and since there's so many exfiltrations, it's ultimately up to personal preference. Raiders often spawn with armor (often Troopers and Gen4s) a rig (Sniper or Ana Alpha rig, usually) and a variety helmets and weapons. Always check the ammo the raiders spawn with. If they spawn with ANYTHING other than PS (and 12 gauge) LOOT IT! You can right click their magazine and hit 'unload ammo' to get the ammo without having to grab the mags, which saves space. BS, BT, BP, 7N39, etc can be worth several hundred roubles a round on the market. They're extremely valuable. Additionally, Raiders spawn IFAKS, Morphine, and grenades (F-1 & Flashbangs (Zarya)) with regularity. They can also spawn with random consumables and large clumps of cash in their pockets as well. They can spawn several backpacks, most of them being rather large, if relatively uncommon. Additionally, Raiders can have American names, breach doors, and mumble as if they are a USEC PMC because some of the Raiders are actually USECs. You will learn with experience what the Scavs will or will not say.
Experience Farming on Labs
Labs is perhaps the best place to farm experience on the current patch. Killing a Raider with a headshot awards 1100 Experience. This does not include any looting, inspection (searching bodies), examine, streak, or other experience. Killing a large sequence of Raiders gives additional bonus experience in the form of Streak rewards, usually 100 bonus exp per additional kill. Surviving the raid multiplies all of these sources of experience by 1.5x
Changes coming to Labs
Disclaimer: I am not a BSG developer or employee. This is what I have seen on this subreddit and heard elsewhere. Some might be purely rumor, but other points are confirmed by Nikita. Labs is currently undergoing an overhaul. At the moment, you require consumable Keycards to enter Labs, which may be purchased from Therapist or bartered Mechanic in exchange for 1 Bitcoin starting at Loyalty Level II. They can also be found in drawers and jackets. Scavs can drop permanent keycards that replace most keys used in the previous iteration of labs. The full extent of the changes coming is not known. Remember, you can load a map in OFFLINE mode to practice against bots or to learn the map without fear of losing gear.
Tarkov's Health System
Tarkov Wiki Article Tarkov has a very advanced health system, and while it might seem overwhelming at first, you'll get the hang of it rather quickly. It features a very wide variety of effects and injury, including hydration, energy, blood pressure, blood loss, fractures, contusion, intoxication, exhaustion, tremors and more. Not all of the Health System is implemented yet. Expect changes! Your character (PMC, or otherwise) has a combined Health of 435. Each of his limbs have separate health. Taking damage to a limb that reduces it to 0 'blacks' that limb. Blacked limbs are a problem. They greatly impair the activities your PMC performs, and taking damage in a blacked limb amplifies the damage by a multiplier and spreads that damage among your other non-black limbs equally. You cannot heal a blacked limb. Notes:Bloodloss applies damage to the affected limb and can be spread like other damage to a blacked limb. Treat immediately. Also causes significant dehydration! Losing a limb applies additional effects. Fractures also apply these effects but not the damage amplification (Except for damage if running on fractured leg.) Dehydration is what happens when your Hydration level reaches 0. You can view your Hydration level in your gear page, at the bottom left. Becoming dehydrated is extremely bad. You take constant damage. Taking dehydration damage can kill you if you have a black chest or head. Head/Chest: Bullet damage resulting in losing your head or chest is instant death. Note: Bloodloss resulting in your Head/Chest being black does not result in death, but any damage to them beyond that point will! A back chest will causes you to cough (much like your stomach!) Painkillers: Prevents coughing that comes from your chest. Doesn't help otherwise. Stomach: Massively increased rate of dehydration and energy loss. You must find liquids or exit the Raid soon. Additionally, your PMC will cough sputter loudly, attracting attention. Painkillers: Significantly reduces the frequency and volume of the coughs. Arms: Makes activities like searching, reloading, etc, take additional time, as well as adding a sway, reducing accuracy. Arms have a .7x damage multiplier. Painkillers: Reduces sway, removes debuff Pain. Legs: Blacked legs cause your PMC to stumble and be unable to run. Blacked legs have a 1x damage multiplier. Painkillers: Allows you to walk at full speed and to run. WARNING: Running while your legs are blacked or fractured WILL DAMAGE YOU.
Tarkov features many health items - 'Aid' items, which can be used to restore your characters health and to fix ailments or injuries he receives as the result of combat or mishaps. The two most important health conditions to consider are bloodloss and fractures, which have both been covered above. Some food items may have ancillary effects, such as losing hydration. Since in the current patch the only ailments to worry about are bleeding and fractures, it changes which health items are most necessary. We'll go over them below.
Medical Items on Wiki AI-2 medkit The newb's medical kit. You receive several of these when you start Tarkov - they'll already be in your stash. Available from Level I Therapist, they are cheap and effective way of healing early in the game. They will not stop bloodloss. Because of this, you also need to bring bandages or a higher-grade medical kit. Affectionately called 'little cheeses' by the Tarkov community. Using it takes 2 seconds, and because of how cheap it is, it's often brought in by higher level players to supplement their healing without draining their main kit (which is capable of healing bloodloss or sometimes fractures). Due to its short use time, it's often very useful during combat as you can take cover and quickly recover damage taken to a vital limb. Bandages The newb's bloodloss solution. Available from Therapist at Level I. A better version, the Army Bandage is available at Level II, after a quest. Mostly obsolete after unlocking the Car Medical kit. Activating takes 4 seconds, and removes bloodloss to one limb. Splint The newb's solution to fractures. Cheap, takes five seconds to use, and takes up 1 slot. Not generally recommended to take because fractures effects can be greatly mitigated with the use of Painkillers. Available from Therapist at Level I, no quest needed. Car Medical Kit The newb's first real medical solution. Available LL1 as a barter (2 Duct Tape) and available for Roubles after completing Therapist's second quest. Has a larger health pool than AI-2's (220, vs AI-2's 100), and removes bloodloss. Takes up a 1x2 slot, so requires to be placed in a tactical rig in order to be used effectively. Cheap and fairly efficient, takes a standard 4 seconds to use. Rendered effectively obsolete when the Salewa is unlocked. Salewa Good medkit for use in mid and end-game. Contains 400 total health and can remove bloodloss. Relatively expensive at 13k roubles per kit, though. Same size as the Car medical kit, so requires a tactical rig to use effectively. Because Tarkov does not currently have effects like Toxication in the game at the moment, this kit is favored by most players who go into a raid with at least a moderate level of gear. Unlocked at Therapist Level II after completing a level 10 Prapor quest, Postman Pat Part II. IFAK Fantastic medical kit, and is the one preferred by most players. Features 300 health and the ability to remove bloodloss and a host of other negative effects that are not yet implemented into the game. It does not, however, remove fractures. Taking up only a single slot, it is favored by players in all stages of gear, and it is recommend to carry one in your Secure Container in case of emergencies. Is available at Therapist Level II for a barter (Sugar + Sodium), and may be purchased for Roubles at Level III after completing Healthcare Privacy, Part I. It is a fairly expensive kit, but due to its durability, its small size, and ability to remove bloodloss, it is a very common medical item used by players of all levels. Grizzly The 'big daddy' medical kit, boasting an impressive total health resource of 1800. It is also a very large kit, taking up 4 slots (2x2) - in order to be able to use this quickly, it would require specialized tactical rigs that feature a 2x2 slot. It removes all negative effects (some costing HP resource), including fractures. Used by highly-geared players who intend on staying in raids for an extended period of time, or by players with additional Secure Container space available in case of emergencies. It is available for barter at Therapist Level II, and purchase at Therapist Level 4.
Using any of these items results in your character being 'On Painkillers' which allows you to sprint on fractured and blacked legs, as well as reducing effects of fractures and blacked limbs, and removing the debuff Pain. Essentially, the only difference between most of these items are the speed of use, price, availability, and duration of the effect. Analgin Painkillers The holy grail of pain medication. With the recent changes, "Painkillers" now have 4 total uses, not 1. The total duration is now greater than Morphine and less risk of waste. Takes a short time to use, and is available from Therapist Level 1 for both barter and Roubles. Morphine Quick application of painkillers. Favored by some highly geared players as it has greater usability in combat then it's typical counterpart, Painkillers. Has a longer duration, but only one use. Is required for a fairly early Therapist (and a late Peacekeeper) Quest, so it is recommend to hoard 10 of them, then sell the rest unless you intend on using them. They are worth a good amount to Therapist and take up little space so they are a valuable loot item. Available from Therapist for Roubles at Level 4, after completing Healthcare Privacy, Part 3. Augmentin Basically a cheaper Morphine. One use, 260s. Not recommended over Painkillers due to its cost. No current barter for this item, so usually it's just a fairly expensive, small loot item to sell to Therapist when found. Ibuprofen Powerful painkiller. Lasts 600 seconds and has 12 uses. However, it is not recommended to use it as a Painkiller. It is very valuable because it cannot be purchased from Dealers, it must be found, and it is a barter component to late-game containers, the Keytool and THICC Items Case. Vaseline Powerful medical item. Cannot be purchased from dealers. Has 10 uses. Removes Pain. Golden Star Balm Fairly useful medical item. It can remove Pain and Contusion (not a big deal of a debuff, goes away on its own shortly) and provides a small bonus to hydration and energy. However, because Hydration is usually easy to restore (Liquids are easy to find as 'common' or 'trash' tier loot), and Energy at the moment can't run to 0 within current Raid timers, it is Recommended to just to sell to Therapist as a Loot item.
Medical Injectors are not covered here. Essentially, they are powerful but niche items with strong side effects. Most recommended use is to store them in your Secure Container and sell them either on the Flea Market or to Therapist for roubles.
To be able to Hotkey a medicine item, they must be in a tactical rig or your pockets.
Tarkov's Quest, Progression, and Experience Systems
Tarkov features a very immersive progression system where your main character (PMC) is going into raids to acquire loot - goods that can be sold for a profit to other players, to Dealers (NPC Merchants), or used to fulfill quest requirements in order to complete them and receive your rewards. Additionally, your main character will increase their prowess in a number of skills, which increases everything from how much they can run, increases the ease of which recoil can be controlled, and even how far you can throw grenades. These are referred to 'soft skills.' Additionally, your PMC is assigned a Level. You can increase your Level by earning Experience - which is rewarded by performing numerous tasks throughout the Raid, completing quests, examining new items, killing other players and Scavs, etc. Successfully extracting from a raid will increase the experience you earn from the raid via a multiplier. Increasing your PMC's level will allow you to complete additional quests, which increases your Reputation with certain Dealers (and may reduce your Reputation with others) allowing you access to better equipment to purchase. Additionally, completing quests will often reward you with large sums of currency and sometimes equipment, and certain quests unlock items for purchase from that dealer. A Dealer's arsenal of available weapons, ammo, mods, medication, containers, and etc to purchase by you is determined by their Loyalty Level - or LL, for short. Certain Dealers specialize in different kinds of equipment, and they will pay different rates or straight up not buy particular items. In a future release, eventually Dealers will offer discounts to the player based off their Loyalty Level. Article on Dealers
Increasing Loyalty Level
Increasing your Trader's loyalty level is extremely important to your progression and overall success in Tarkov. Being able to purchase better Ammo and Equipment is essential to being able to fight other players and secure their loot for your own. Owning Prepare for Escape and Edge of Darkness (EoD) editions of Escape from Tarkov will increase your starting Reputations with Traders. It is unclear if this change will stay after the game's full release. Typically though, you need three things to increase your Trader's level.
This is accomplished via quests. Completing a quest will reward you with an increase in the quest givers' reputation, sometimes an increase in another trader's reputation, and sometimes will reduce the Reputation of another trader. Not all Traders need a certain level of Reputation to increase their loyalty Level to II. Peacekeeper and Ragman, for example, just need you to spend a certain amount of money with them.
Character Level and Experience Gain
The primary gate behind your trade level (and thus your overall economy and gear leverage) is your Character Level. You increase this by gaining Experience. The easiest way to gain experience is to Loot high value areas, fight players, and kill scavs while completing quests. Generally speaking, your level will advance as you play the game at a moderate pace. One way to farm experience though is to avoid looting all-together and just focus on killing a large number of scavs from a safe distance, after learning where they tend to spawn on any given map. This patch however, labs is fantastic for experience gain. (See above.) Another strategy (albeit one that takes longer) is to loot everything, then drop what you don't want. You gain experience for finding items and picking them up, so picking them up to drop them is technically the best way to gain the most exp per kill. You can receive additional bonuses to Experience earned. Successfully extracting will increase your experience by a multiplier, typically 1.5x the experience gained during the raid, escaping also rewards a 300 exp Escape bonus which is added to your total before the multiplier is applied. You can also receive experience bonuses for Exploration, so visiting different parts of the map will reward you with sums of experience, usually 100 to 300 or so. Killing multiple enemies in a row will reward you with Streaks, whose rewards increase as you get more kills. Getting a kill with a Headshot also significantly improves experience gain from kills. You also receive a (very small) bonus when you survive consecutive raids. Note: Completing a Raid too early (via extraction) will cause you to receive a Run-Through status, which reduces experience earned in that raid by 50%. Most Quests require you to be a certain level to unlock, and upon completion rewards you with a lot of exp and usually the ability to purchase specific equipment.
This is pretty self-explanatory. As mentioned above, Peacekeeper and Ragman can be increased easily just be selling and buying from them. If you need to artifically inflate the amount spent, a good idea is to purchase a large amount of cheap items from them and sell them back to the Trader. You still take a significant loss, usually around 50-60% per purchase, but since the money spent counts both items sold to the vendor and purchases, you get about 140-150% credit per item at about half the cost.
Not all dealers pay the same for certain items. It is important to note that a lot of this is my personal experience, and prices can fluctuate as the Developers may change them for any reason. Use your own common sense and check various dealers before selling particularly lucrative items.
Sells AKs, Magazines, many different Ammo types, Grenades, and weapon modifications. I don't tend to sell to him very often, as he doesn't pay the highest for any items that I have personally seen and because you tend to buy most Ammo and mags from him it's not a particular issue to level him up with money spent.
Sells medical supplies, food and drink, and storage cases, which are items that effectively increase the size of your stash because they have more space inside than they take up. Most storage items are restricted to certain item types. Pays most for items like Keys, Statues, Rolers, Bitcoin, etc. Many of these items should be sold on the market instead of to her, but often times it's not worth the hassle.
Pays least for items, sells items for more than other Dealers. Items other players have sold will appear here. Only sell items to Fence that other dealers will not take! Basically a placeholder for an expanded Market.
Sells various weapons, mods, ammo, Euros, and containers. Pays most for items like Armor, backpacks, headgear, facemasks, flashlights, sights, etc. It is important to note, that Skier will not buy Weapons or most Mods. That means for things like flashlights, you have to take the flashlights/sights off the mount or rail in order for him to buy them, but he pays the best.
Deals entirely in Western equipment, UN armor, helmets, etc. Will buy most items, but will pay USD for them. Deals entirely in USD. One good way to get his money spent requirement is just to buy USD, which is used for a later quest from Skier, which unlocks his quest chain. He has a lot of good deals, experiment for yourself. At the moment his MP5 for 10 'bars' knives (scav knives) is an exceptionally good deal and easy to accomplish for new players.
Sells mostly completed weapons with various modifications and unique names, and mods. Sells magazines and some ammo. Offers containers as you progress. His quests are easy to complete, but often are money dumps in exchange for large sums of EXP more than anything else. Pays the most for modifications (except for sights and suppressors) and stripped guns.
Sells backpacks, armor, tactical vests, and helmets mostly. Offers aesthetic clothing. Can obtain LL2 by just purchasing from him, does not require reputation. In fact, his first quest tasks you with that very objective. As far as I can see, he does not pay the most for any items in particular. But he is a very useful merchant once you have him at level 2. He will sell Scav Backpacks, which are an extremely efficient backpack to use as it's fairly large but very cheap.
Rule of Thumb for selling items at most value
Weapons: Strip the weapon! Take apart ALL pieces of it (including gas tubes, separating flashlights from ring mounts, etc), sell what you can to Skier. For the rest, sell to Mechanic. Keys, Food, Medical Items, Statues, Bitcoin, Rolers, etc: Therapist or the Market. For items like this, ALWAYS check the Market first! A lot of these kinds of items are in valuable trades or are required for quests; this means that other players are often willing to pay more for them, above trader prices.
Continued below in a comment, due to character limit.
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