By Cameron Brannagan

Description: Recently, a number of tourists from Gulf states have begun to visit Bosnia, with some even purchasing property. Are we looking at a housing market boom?

Of all the places one might expect to see tourists from Gulf countries, Bosnia may seem as an unlikely choice, at first glance. However, in recent years a number of citizens from Gulf states have chosen this country as their favorite summer destination, some even deciding to purchase property in the country. Of course, such an influx of foreign capital into the housing market of a country the size of Bosnia would surely spark interest from all sorts of analysts and brokers, including WMoption.

A New Hope?

2016-08-23_0006It is no secret that the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina has never truly recovered since the disastrous civil war in the early 1990s, and those more involved in this subject would add that their economy was lagging behind even by old Yugoslav standards. Even during the Cold War era, Bosnia and Herzegovina was considered one of the least developed republics within Yugoslavia. However, after the aftermath of the civil war complete with the political nightmare that is their government, investors would do everything in their power to avoid this part of the world.

And yet, their economy may be getting some help from a somewhat unlikely source, and for reasons we will get to in a little while. In short, after the Arab Spring pretty much destabilized the countries that Arab-speaking Gulf residents would normally go to in order to escape the scorching heat in the summer months, they started looking for a more stable, if not friendly and safer location. And it seems as though they have found it in Bosnia.

It turns out that the mountainous country where roughly half of the population are Muslim has the perfect blend of mild climate, affordable costs of living and the Arab-friendly environment that is in very short supply in these times. Normally, they would go to Libya and Tunisia, or maybe one of the tourist hotspots in Egypt, but it seems they have found a far more viable alternative. And it seems at least one part of the country is waiting for them with open arms, direct flights, new facilities and no visa requirements.

The Other Side of the Coin

It is certain that the faltering businesses and economy in general are benefiting from this influx of affluent “residents”, but a large part of the secular Muslim community is suspicious of a sudden influx of traditional Arab culture into the mix. People dressed in traditional Arab robes tend to stick out among people who are used to drinking alcohol and wearing Western clothing, and with more and more businesses specializing in order to cater to this new clientele, a huge part of the lives of ordinary citizens is disappearing forever. This has ruffled quite a few feathers even in Muslim parts of Bosnia.

While praying was once customary in people’s homes and places of worship, it is not uncommon to see groups of Arab-speaking tourists praying in public spots all around Sarajevo. Also, a great number of restaurants and coffee shops have decided to eliminate pork, alcohol and other “haram” products in a bid to attract some new customers.

However, the appeal of the local climate and affordable prices is still far too great for some Gulf residents, some of which have even bought houses and other real estate. These people feel welcome nevertheless. In fact, their numbers seem to be increasing every year, with 13,000 visitors from the UAE in 2016 alone, which has almost doubled from 7,000 who came last year. By comparison, in 2010, the number of visitors from UAE was 65 – in total.

Conclusion: Numbers Don’t Lie

Unfortunately, due to its political system, Bosnia lacks any kind of central tourist authority and local estimates are the only source of raw numbers. According to those, roughly 50-60,000 Arab tourists visit the country on an annual basis, and roughly one in four has decided to purchase some property in the country as well. So far most of this property is located in the areas where Serbs used to live until the war, and many analysts fear that this practice may bring further instability by giving the Serbian part of the country yet another reason to secede.

As for investments themselves, most analysts as well as ordinary citizens agree that they are welcome and beneficial, as Arab-speaking tourists have shown no intention of actually moving there. However, the lack of legislation and central authority is seen as a major stumbling block that will continue to hinder the country's progress for years to come.

By Chris Ebert

There are times when it makes sense to follow an uptrend to its limit, and others when taking profits after rallies can be beneficial especially when there is an opportunity to buy back into positions on the dip. The ability to tell the difference can certainly come in handy.

There are relentless near-continuous rallies at times, and other times the rallies have pauses for consolidation and profit taking.

Of course, nobody can predict the future with certainty, and neither can any technical analysis system. However, an options analysis of the S&P has been accurate a fair percentage of the time at solving this dilemma for traders.

OMS 08-06-16

When the S&P 500 rises quickly enough so that expiring ATM $SPY 4-month Straddles* (opened 4-months earlier using a then at-the money strike price) are profitable, that is the green stage on the chart, known here as Lottery Fever. The name Lottery Fever comes from unrealistic euphoria that tends to infect traders, causing them to abandon the idea of basing their trades on economic data and corporate fundamentals, and instead focus their attention on buying stocks merely to get on the bandwagon with other traders as stock prices go up, up, up.

Currently, though, the S&P has not yet (more…)

By Chris Ebert

If emotions are reflected by the stock market then it stands to reason that those same emotions might be reflected in popular music. The same patterns that are perceived as pleasurable to the ear might be expected to be pleasurable to a trader’s sense of market timing, just as  dissonant musical tones might be equivalent to indecisiveness among traders.

Some years ago a group of musicians known as the “Axis of Awesome” noted that most popular songs in the past 40 years have followed a single chord progression known as the I V vi IV progression (also known as the C G Am F progression). In their words, “All the greatest pop songs ever written just use four chords, it’s the same four chords for every song.”

In much the same way, the stock market has grown to like just four chords much of the time, particularly during a Bull market. Those four chords correlate to four distinct trading environments: Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3 and Stage 4. Much of the time, the S&P 500 lies within one of those four environments, much like the S&P is playing a song for us all.

  • Stage 1 is known here as the Lottery Fever stage, a euphoric environment where good news is great and bad news is often ignored. That’s the “I” chord, upbeat and carefree.
  • Stage 2 is the Digesting Gains stage, where good news sends stocks higher and bad news gives profit-takers an excuse to cash in and take their gains. That’s the “V” chord, upbeat, but with a little tension.
  • Stage 3 is the Resistance stage in which there is a sense of tension and folks aren’t willing to push stock prices higher but are not willing to throw in the towel either. That’s the “vi” chord, lots of tension.
  • and finally Stage 4, the Correction stage in which stock prices pull back to more natural levels based upon their earnings. That’s the “IV” chord, release of tension.

The process then repeats, almost as if it were following a top-40 pop hit on the radio, that is… until the song ends.

 

OMS 07-24-16a1

In popular culture, music mimics the stock market. Stocks go through those four stages in a manner that is quite similar to the four chords that are present in most popular music. Of course, as traders, we can never be sure exactly what song is playing in the stock market at the current moment, or what time the song will end. But as long as there is a pattern we can glean some insight into the market by recognizing that pattern.

The current pattern puts the S&P 500 in Stage 2, the “V” chord. With earnings coming out in full force this next week, some tension is to be expected. It’s all part of a natural process – as natural as music to the ear. Whether the market reverts back to the carefree “I” chord, Lottery Fever, or whether it progresses to even more tension in the “vi” chord, Resistance, is anyone’s guess. But either way, it’s like music to the ear.

Options Market Stages

Click on chart to enlarge

Obviously the stock market isn’t going to follow the rules for a Four Chord Song all the time, just as the songs on the radio don’t always comply with that rule. There will be times when different rules apply, as illustrated in the following jingle from the 1970s that doesn’t follow the I VI v IV progression, but instead goes by I V I IV V64. Even so, one can feel a different mood with each chord, just as there is a different feel to the market with each different Options Market Stage. The progression of the stages isn’t always clear, but the mood in each stage is quite similar to the mood of each chord in a musical progression.

Ba ba… (I)
Ta ta….(V)
Dum dum da dum…(I)
Da da um bump phah!…(IV)
Da da da dot tah! (V64)

The reason it is important to note the difference is that it’s never a good idea to predict the future, whether it be through the Options Market Stages or through musical chord progressions. There’s always a chance the song won’t follow the rules!

The best a trader can hope for is to make an educated guess on what the next chord in the progression is likely to be. But like the difference between Pop Hits and TV jingles, there’s never a guarantee. We make our best prediction based on the “rules”, but we are always cautious with our portfolios because we know those rules will be broken at times.

The preceding is a post by Christopher Ebert, Chief Options Strategist at Astrology Traders (which offers subscribers unique stock-trading perspectives and options education) and co-author of the popular option trading book “Show Me Your Options!” Chris uses his engineering background to mix and match options as a means of preserving portfolio wealth while outpacing inflation. Questions about constructing a specific option trade, or option trading in general, may be entered in the comment section below, or emailed to OptionScientist@zentrader.ca

 

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By Janet Bergamo

Of all the tools available to the IT team, the monitoring tools software is probably the most important tools. This is mostly because the right tool will proactively help the team identify as well as address application performance problems long before the issues impact the productivity of the employees, cause response time delays or erode the much needed customer loyalty. These tools will further enable you to develop a historical database of performance trends and enable your team to pinpoint the primary causes of performance problems. There are five more benefits your business stands to gain from using these tools.

Reduce revenue risk

In today’s market, gaining or losing a valuable customer’s loyalty is just a few clicks away. For example, in the case of Black Friday frenzy, if your ecommerce system is not working properly, you will end up losing sales as well as abandoned shopping carts. The good news is that the right monitoring tools software can help identify performance issues and help you to fix them swiftly.

Improve business continuity

Regardless of your business size or the industry you are in, downtime is not something your customers will be willing to tolerate. Needless to say, the slightest disruption in business performance can lead to significant losses in both revenue and productivity, tarnishing of the brand reputation, loss of customer loyalty as well as regulatory fines. The use of the right monitoring tools software will enable your team to troubleshoot problems and make necessary upgrades that improve the reliability of your infrastructure. Application monitoring tools with RightitNow software will give insight that allows your team to predict and prevent downtimes effectively.

Improve customer experience

Monitoring tools software will enhance your customer experience. It will help you deal away with slow-performing applications and prevent downtimes. This leads to more customer satisfaction and increased customer loyalty. (more…)