Hope everyone out there had a great Father’s Day weekend… our family celebrated in true “Every-dad” style by spending time outside in beautiful weather, making cocktails and grilling some delicious giant ribeyes.
Source: Whole Foods, My Grill
Being able to watch a baseball game would have made it perfect, but hey, at least it looks like we might get some soon.
Now, Father’s Day is an exceptionally special holiday for me.
I’m not just connected to it through being a parent or a son, but also through several events significant to me; through my childhood home; through my chosen profession.
Although the holiday began in earnest at the Spokane, Washington YMCA back in 1910, the actual first Father’s Day service in the US was held at the Central United Methodist Church in my hometown of Fairmont, WV way back on July 5th, 1908.
Anna Jarvis had founded Mother’s Day in nearby Grafton, WV the year before, and that was likely weighing on the mind of Grace Golden Clayton as she mourned the loss of her father, who died a few months prior in the worst accident in US mining history – the Monongah mining disaster.
Officially, 367 men lost their lives on December 6, 1907 as an explosion tore through Fairmont Coal Company’s No. 6 and No. 8 mines in sleepy Monongah, WV . The actual number was likely closer to 600, however, as miners often took their children and other relatives down into the mines to help.
In total, the disaster widowed more than 250 women, left over a thousand children without a father, and devastated an entire community.
Even by the time I was born nearly 70 years later, the specter of that mine explosion loomed large over our little town.
I was reminded of it by the monument to coal miners that sat on the hill above every Little League Baseball game I ever played at Consolidated Park – initially named after Consolidated Coal Company, but renamed in 1985 for hometown heroine and Olympic Gold medalist Mary Lou Retton.
I certainly didn’t know at the time that later in life, I would become a coal market analyst and retell this very story in a professional capacity. But I did know for sure that the strongest personal connection I had with my own Dad – who passed away about seven years ago – was often on the baseball field, and often on this very day.
The first professional baseball game I remember going to was on Father’s Day in 1981.
My first playoff win as a pitcher came on Father’s Day in 1986.
The first home run I ever hit in a game was crushed into the stratosphere on Father’s Day in 1990.
And when I was going through old emails to decide on stories to tell for today’s article, about half of them were about baseball.
The other half, though, usually dealt with how to think… and in this, the latter half of my life, it’s these lessons I’ve learned that I cherish the most.
Following in the footsteps of his own father – a lawyer and judge for West Virginia’s Ninth Judicial Circuit – my Dad became an attorney. Mostly, he specialized in oil and gas, which overlapped quite a bit with my current career as a natural resource analyst.
And in those last few years, when we weren’t talking about baseball, I was often soliciting his advice on how to approach public policy changes in the sector, and he was occasionally soliciting mine on commodities supply, demand, and prices.
But one of the old email chains I looked at today was one where we were debating the text of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Dad’s perspective was that words like “sex” or “national origin” that describe protected classes all have fairly specific, narrow definitions that were well-established in legal circles.
But the way I read it, those words were too vague to serve as Federal Law, and allowed for a broad range of interpretations – especially so in our current society, where boundaries are pushed frequently, forcefully, and for good reason.
“Matt, that is a lucid, intelligent, well-thought out objection…”
Trust Me, This Really Does Tie Back Into Markets
Although I would ultimately be vindicated in my analysis last week by the Supreme Court, Dad had won that round, as he often did. After all, he was the one in charge there.
And scenarios like this play out in markets all the time.
Just last night, White House trade advisor Peter Navarro found himself in an oddly similar predicament yesterday, when he said that our Phase I trade deal with China is “over”.
Now, from my perspective, I’d even go a step further and say it hasn’t even started – China’s economy shut down shortly thereafter and their imports of US goods have been meager at best.
Moreover, their import requirements are in terms of dollar amounts, not tonnage, so the likelihood they can make up the difference at lower commodity prices is somewhere between slim and none.
But Navarro isn’t in charge, and after markets got spooked on the news, the President logged onto Twitter to pump them back up, tweeting “The China Trade Deal is fully intact. Hopefully they will continue to live up to the terms of the Agreement!”
So just like my Dad did in our emails, “President Pump” leveraged his authority to win this round of the argument, and Navarro eventually walked back his statement, laughably saying his answer to that direct question were taken “wildly out of context.”
Now this is important because markets have largely forgotten about the Phase I deal in the wake of the ongoing (and currently worsening) COVID-19 pandemic.
Should markets suddenly remember, it brings the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (NYSEArca: FXI) into focus once again as a short play. It’s still too soon to move in my opinion, but we are much closer.
While we wait on a clear opportunity to do so however, our stake in VelocityShares 3x Long Gold ETN (NYSEArca: UGLD) has pushed up by about 10%, and taking profits makes some sense – let’s go ahead and sell a ¼ stake here.
While big papa gold has been largely driving the precious metals rally, its precious little brother – silver – has been making far more serious moves of late. And while it has upside of 100% relative to its current price, the downside is probably only around 25%.
So rolling that ¼ position into VelocityShares 3x Long Silver ETN (NYSEArca: USLV) seems like a solid play, as it diversifies our precious metals exposure while giving us access to more upside.
Because after all, we don’t want our profits to get overruled…
All the best,