Thursday, December 20, 2012

triple witching

If you’re a halfway serious investor, you’ve heard the term “triple witching” used at several key points throughout each year. Officially, it’s the last hour of the third Friday of every March, June, September, and December. On those days, three kinds of securities (stock market index futures, stock market index options, and stock options) all expire at the same time. The combined expiration date increases the trading volume of all three classes, and often leads to increased price volatility.

This year is different than most because we will have a TRIPLE “triple witching”, and here’s why:

In addition to the normal stock market events, the third Friday of this month happens to be the start of the winter solstice, which is the time of the year when the sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon, and it’s always on December 21 or December 22.

It’s very rare for the 21st of December to fall on the third Friday of the month. In the decade between 2002 and 2012, the only other year that it happened was in 2007.

The third of the “triple witching” events that will happen this year, of course, is the BIG ONE.

The world is coming to an end.

If predictions are accurate, the weather forecast for this Friday in Chicago will be a LOT hotter than usual.

The reason that some folks believe that the world is coming to an end on Friday is that it is the day that the Mayan calendar expires. Throughout America, there are people who have become “preppers”, and are learning survival skills that will prepare them for the worst. One of the 102 confirmed preppers in San Diego is a man named Nikko Sanchez, who founded a company called SOS Tactical that will help interested folks to be ready.

We’ve all heard the “doomsday” stories before. Most recently was in the spring of 2011, when Harold Camping predicted that May 21 would be the day that you “met your maker”.

When in doubt, though, it’s always good to go to the source. In this case, that would be the present day Mayan people, who aren’t the least bit concerned about their eminent demise.

The Mayan calendar is an amazingly accurate calendar that has been in use for more than 6000 years. Early on, the ancient Mayans believed that the year had 360 days, but for most of those 6000 years they settled on 365. When the pyramid of Kukulkan was built in Chichen Itza in the year 1050, it had 4 sides, each of which had 91 steps, and a platform on top, which made the total 365.

Naturally, there are plenty of references in the Bible related to the end of the world. If you have the patience (and time) to listen to him, David C. Pack (of the Restored Church of God) can tell you about the connections.

My advice?

Pour yourself a nice glass of wine, throw another log on the fireplace, and play a little George Winston.

You’re going to be OK.

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