Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cyprus Special

TMM are today feeling old. Yesterday was a struggle. Despite a 30 minute power-nap before dinner they felt "urrgh" throughout the meze-athon in a Cypriot restaurant decorated in a melange of authentic style and black marker-pen client graffiti. But then this is day 2 into a tradition that stretches far back in history. As Socrates famously wrote, "Many hours have I sat in solice, drinking beach buckets of luminous green fluids and shot glasses of equally vivid pink liquours, contemplating the origin of this maddness for I am wracked as to the primordance of the concepts of marriage or those of the stag party"

This place goes by the name of Ayia Napa. It sits upon ancient ley-lines that twist the very fabric of space and time, for was it not 9pm a fleeting moment ago, when we wanted to go to bed, and yet now it's 3.30am and sorry I can't hear you? And that ley-line twisting continues into the minds of the club designers (how do you get that full size pirate ship to stay on the front of your shop?) and twists our minds to even cope with being here.

Of course TMM could say that they are here to celebrate Greek Orthodox Easter, but that would be even more of a lie than "yes, your club looks great and wow how many bottles of sambuca for 10 Euro? I'll go and get my 15 friends and be back in 15 mins.. I promise" but not quite as big a lie as the swarthy fellow on the door with "Don't worry, I do you 'special' price".

TMM have discovered if you order anything in Cyprus, say x, you get "special Cypriot x". Special, made in mountain/village/family goat by uncle/grandfather/family goat. And it's very special indeed. But basically Cypriot x is similar to normal x and only differs in being more expensive and... shite.

For example. White wine.. "This is special Cypriot wine, it's like a sauvignon blanc....". but is not and smells of BO. The red? "Yes we have Cypriot red, very special, it is like a cabernet" but it is not and it tastes of musk ox. Very special.

What's this? "This is special liquour, we call it (sounds like "ghalachosinosisisos") it is made using grapes and we take them and turn them into special drink, come come I bring for all. It is made in the mountains using old tradition that no one can remember, to make special taste, that taste like brown sticky fluid in the bottom of food waste recycling bucket after 5 week bin-man strike.. Eees very special. We serve it frozen so you can taste it a little less.. very special"

Last night was "Opening night at Bedrock" which was much like a cross between a BBC Radio One roadshow, Butlins and a McDonalds - if McDonalds were to make McShots, McJaegerbombs and McWhats-this-one-i dunno-just-drink-its.

"And come, I show you, my club full of special pretty friends, yes very pretty, they is made using recessive genes from Northern Europe that would never normally see the light of day, notice how none of them have any dorsal line symmetry? And, ah yes sir, you cannot work out where their dorsal line run? Too many kebabs perhaps.. "

Taxis are special too. They are all stretch limos and come with a special fixed price which switches to a special dynamic price that goes up between departure and arrival. "Because it is special Cyprus price" Ahh, we see! And there we were thinking it was because we are getting special Cyprus driving, where which way you go around roundabouts depends on the shortest route to your exit.. "no ees ok, it not high season, not many cars"

Well at 3.30am after a special bar bill, (made using special Cyprus maths taught to Cypriot waiters from the age of 2) and a special unnecessary hot dog.. (ees special as it no easy to make a food product out of crude oil, you like? Perhaps your friend ..he likes?). We arrived back to the hotel for some special sleep. It's like normal sleep only much much shorter and one wakes to find one's head nailed to the pillow, a dead hedgehog in the mouth and a gallon of battery acid in the digestive system. "Eees special Cyprus sleep, you like?"

So what does today bring? TMM are writing this from the special 2 hour bus trip to the special wine tasting in special mountains wondering if they can squeeze in a special nap, despite Swedish House Mafia's "One" rocking everyone around us, before we all head off for our big special night out in the special clubs of Limasol.

TMM are slightly concerned that Day 3 could be a bit special.


Anonymous said...

C says'
Ay Nap,you make me feel so old.
Tip for you,you should have taken me along,when it comes to Cypus and all things Cypriot I could tell you stories.More importantly I am the only man I know who can out levantine a levantine trader and get him to pay you to drink his crap !
Anyway ,look when you can't fit another Sparrow in shout for 'hughie'.Please don't come back without doing the sparrow ,or I will have to sk you what you're made of.

Amplitudeinthehouse said...


Amplitudeinthehouse is known to be partial to a bit of Swedish House Mafia.....among other things European.

ps...Amplitudeinthehouse was last seen revolutionizing the so called "spring in the step" as he was walking down street trying to expound a scent of professionalism as he was preparing himself mentally, in his continuing journey to get shorty!!

Leftback said...

Ah, a tip down memory lane. As a student, LB used to rent a room in Wood Green from a friendly Cypriot and often sampled his wines, "Demestica" was renamed Domestos, and Saint Pantelemon was Pandemonium. They were unremittingly awful and the night always ended at the Big White Telephone.

Stick to the olives, dolmades and perhaps some Ouzo. Whose idea was Cyprus anyway? A very high score on the Nafmeter....

maximm said...

Being a proud English-Cypriot I am glad you are enjoying the gem that is Ayia Napa....

I did 5 summers in a row there in my "Youth". Back in the days when 10 Cyprus pounds could last you a whole night and Keo was 0.70c for 630ml.

Anyone jumped off Cape Greco yet?

Leftback said...

Hmm.... C missed, Empire State missed, but US retail sales soar as everyone bought their garden stuff early. Total b.s., but probably just a relief rally on finding Iberian peninsula still attached to Pyrenees today.

PARTY ON, dudes. [Hope no-one is short].

Anonymous said...

C says'
The new orders element of the Empire was ok .Much better than the overall number.
I am interested in,retail sales, orderbook,inventory and employment hours worked as it stands because these rather than some of the overall numbers should be telling us to what extent issues in Europe are catching up to the US.
New York I assume being East Coast might actually be more reflective of Europe than some of the other data sets for a start.
Again ,I am also more interested in seasonality and making picks in sectors I expect to outperform than I am in going broadly bullish without regard to seasonality.

Anonymous said...

just curious, why do you think east coast is reflective of Europe?

abee crombie said...

eco surprises on the downside, finally! I get the feeling the 'sell in may' crowd is starting to gather steam but I think this year breaks the trend. Just not sure if now is the time to buy yet

Aapl finally taking a breather but I think it still has room for one more go, though on the weeklys it looks a bit iffy

Disclosure: Long Swedish House Mafia - greyhound

Leftback said...

Soggy US data and a few earnings misses no surprise to those of us stationed over here. We'll see if the Philly Fed follows the Empire State data later in the week. Overall we are feeling that the general blahness of the US economy is reasserting itself. So without being massively bearish, we do think that momo mopes are in for a rinsing, and all of the escalator stocks (AAPL, CMG, etc..) might be in for a ride down in the express elevator.

Not doing a lot for the time being. Holding US fixed income and divis and trying to fade the really big swings either way in USTs. Wondering if another round of Goldbuggery™ might be ahead of us with more European jitters. Might even be a decent trade.

BTW, TMM in Cyprus. Are you seeing any evidence of shortages in physical currency in circulation? Dollar black markets? Barter? A few reports now out there of local currency shortfalls in Greece, Spain and even Italy. Hoarding? Quiet bank runs? All a bit Argentina 2001...

Polemic said...

Well.. As for currency shortages, the ATMs spew Euros and we recycle them back to various enterprises. So if there is a currency shortage, other than in our own wallets, there is no sign of it. As for general perception of mood we really aren't sampling normal life. Tho "Breeze Down Town" in Limassol on an Easter Sunday was HEAVING in the early hours with locals paying top dollar ( allegedly).

And as for WHY we are in Cyprus LB, you will have to ask the Best Man whose, I have to say, organisational and people skills combined with his problem solving abilities qualify him for running the ECB, EU, FED, IMF, and U.N. all at the same time.

C .. what's the sparrow ref? food or drink?

maximm, no haven't jumped off cape greco yet - (only because the sea's a bit chilly at this time of year ahmm) though can see it's radio masts blinking in the distance.

now then market's - AAPL finally taking a breather? about time, though i find it hard to see that it's due to some of the reasons we were sent.. Mind you if they do manage to con the public out of another 300bucks with a "smaller ipad" ( otherwise known as an iphone without the phone) I really wouldn't be surprised what with the religion of Apple. Or has the high priest of tech to have been found fiddling with the choir?

Anonymous said...

C says'
"Sparrow" is for want of a better term ,a Cypriot delicacy.
They did pass law some years ago banning the killing of Sparrows of course.However ,like many such thing Cypriot law is more of a negotiable thing to be interpreted rather than observed.Hence, why when we used to be hosted in Nicosia the man pushing the Sparrows down my throat was actually a senior serving member of the Cyriot Parlianment who shall remain nameless.
I have feeling of abiguity to most thing Cyriot.On the onehand I like and admire them for their 'family' attitude and when you are viewed as a friend it means something different to what it means for example in the UK. On the otherhand they can be extremely frustrating people to do business with because trying to get and hold agreements is like catching a fistful of mist.Now you have it, now you don't.

Anon 5.03 ...thanks for asking that question because you know I can't think exactly what was going through my mind when I wrote that comment. In which case lets' assume it is crap.

maximm said...

The phrases σιγά σιγά (siga siga) and αύριο (avrio) sum up Cyprus.

Nothing ever gets done in any sort of time frame. Which can be refreshing compared to how most people conduct their lives...but it mostly infuriates the hell out you!

As for ambelopoulia...or sparrows...I haven't seen those served anywhere for years. But I am sure it still goes on....

Polemic said...

Can anyone confirm this?

When we asked our Cypriot friend what the greek/cypriot for "special" was, as in the usage in this post, he said there wasn t one!

True? Or not?

maximm said...

Yep think that is in fact true.

Its a special phrase used for tourists.

Leftback said...

A special action video for those of us not lucky enough to join Polemic and friends.

Cypriot State of Mind

Leftback said...

Mr Shorty getting the Cold Steel treatment today.

LB was so encouraged by Gartman being short the gold miners and John Paulson being short European debt that he took a crafty punt from the long side!

Anonymous said...

C says'
It hasn't been uncommon for pre option weeks to be sold and then bought back in expiry week.In tandem with bond auction squeezes is too much of a bearish coincidence to ignore.Spell shakeout for me.

abee crombie said...

great video LB..

C' I am having a hard time understanding. Arent we currently in exipiration week. so you are saying today's rally is merely short/options covering?


Tradebot said...

I like the gold miners too, might have to have a long punt on GDX and GDXJ at these levels.

Anonymous said...

C says'

I have no idea who is doing what re that comment.I have simply noticed that pre option week seems to have attracted selling and the actuall option expiry week attracts buying.
Actaully within the current market I still think that buying is a rally in a market that has already topped out seasonlly.

abee crombie said...

Cheers C for the clarification. market does seem content to be range bound for now though I assume spanish auctions could be a trigger for a decent move.

I'm thinking about dipping toes into TEF. Doing some digging around now, will report back with finding Mr Holms

abee crombie said...

some thoughts on TEF. Most analysts seem to be fairly bearish ( a good thing) as spanish divisions still seeing declining growth. Recent moves have increased subscribers but at the cost profits. Cost competition pretty tight now and could still see downside ARPU pressure there. Wireline at steady (hopefully) 5% annual decline rate. LT problems loom with EU commission regulating roaming and Mobile termination rates, though you would think this has been factored in now

Half of revenue/ebitda from brazil. recent real weakness not helping but organic growth in LatAm still strong.

Obviously the market is aware of the problems, though you still take the risk of more problems occurring(they usually happen in crappy times like this) as pricing pressure still possible.

I would like to see a bigger spike in volume. Perhaps a climax sell.

Keeping it on the radar for now

Leftback said...

A few thoughts on Spain/Europe.

Everyone and their uncle seem to be hiding in USTs and some of the big boys are reported to be shorting peripheral govies, Spanish debt, Spanish banks, Spain ETFs and Spanish mackerel ahead of the Spanish auction.

Which makes LB want to ask: Isn't this a bit crowded, now? Do you REALLY want to bend over tomorrow in front of some European bankers who have been given a $1T bazooka and are fiddling around with the controls? LB saw what happened to people who shorted in 2009 in the US. You don't have to love central banks, but you have to realize they are there. The screens, nurse.....

Anonymous said...

C says'
Point made for me. Usually when the presure builds along comes the ECB right when the shorts think they have it made and pop!!
If I want to be involved in plays like that I want to be doing it before it plastered throughout the media.

Anonymous said...

I might also add given the strength inequities yesterday todays expected 'give back' was tamer than many I have seen which does not exactly scream to me that sellers are accruing mom .

Anonymous said...

C says'
Well call me boring ,but just by starting last year on financial bonds and rotating to staid old staple retailers I do believe that shortly we will be able to afford indoor plumbing for the cave.
Always assuming of course that references to would be toilets don't end up as a double entendre.

Amplitudeinthehouse said...

Smart Russian

Anonymous said...

C says'
Indeed he was.Pavlov and Watson were the pioneers of what we now know has Behavioural Psychology particularly with reference to the part played by learned/conditioned responses.
It isn't difficult to see how it applies to many walks of life.

If you find that interesting then the work of BF Skinner might be your next stop for conditioning behaviour etc.

Amplitudeinthehouse said...

Oh yes!, the Reinforcement all makes sense now,it's not so much that Pavlovs dogs were acting through their consciousness, or even genetics for that matter.It was without a doubt through their environmental conditioning...

Therapeutic indeed.

Amplitudeinthehouse said...

Welcome to the Yennish Thunderdome World( YTW )

Leftback said...

LB nibbled on some European equities about 10.15 Eastern time, after looking at beaten down stocks across the continent. Spanish 10y still below 6%. This rate, while high, isn't exactly unknown in the history of the world, and the issue was fully subscribed. So while LB has invariably agreed with those who pointed out many problems in the Spanish regions and banks, we think that the present wave of selling is probably overdone.

It isn't often you get to buy decent businesses with cash flow that are being sold simply b/c nobody trusts the banks. If the world doesn't actually end, we will be looking at some decent yield. LB even bought a bank. Hope I don't get a rash.

Lagarde just raised the idea of recapitalizing the banks without pass through, perhaps the IMF loaning money directly to the banks w/o involving the sovereign, or perhaps the ECB creating money expressly for the banks, very much along the lines of the US TARP and QE programs. This really smells like printing, wonder how long before gold picks up the scent? As you know I am not normally a fan of the yellow metal, but it may be ready to break out here.

Having watched FX for days, LB is forming the opinion that the DXY can't get past 80. Perhaps the Fed may be using its dollar swap lines to hold up EURUSD. Certainly what you can see is that someone steps in almost every morning now and sells big enough to generate a sharp fall in DXY. Anyone have any insights?

Apologies for long-windedness, trying to fill in while the lads are trying out their patented hangover cures.

Polemic said...

LB.. if i d known you were going to offer that I'd have asked you to write the post we have obviously just crossed paths on. Think you did a better job of similar sentiments.
Cheers pol

Amplitudeinthehouse said...

Not a HF trader these days in Fxland,..just in process of watching Betty rope'em in.