Thursday, April 9, 2009

Communication Blackout in Bay Area!

8:40AM: What a day to start my trading blog. The day I would have made decent money in the market if only I had the Internet connection, or telephone connection. I have neither!!

11:33AM: This is a disaster. The Internet, cellphone, landline including emergency line have been out since 2am today. The landline within at least part of Santa Cruz county came back at about 10:30am, but still no cellphone connection, no Internet connection, we cannot call outside the area, and no 911 connection for most of the area.

The AREA ... that's San Francisco, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz counties (I think, not for sure at this time). The story I’ve heard so far that someone at Verizon accidentally severed a major optical fiber cable at around 2:00am, causing the outage of just about all data communication in the Bay Area. But there are also talks that this is the "terrorist" attack. Just yesterday, there was a piece of news that Russians and Chinese have infiltrated in the nation's power distribution systems, and only a few days ago there was also a news piece that the administration is seeking a legislation to shut down the Internet and other data communication in case of "cyber emergency". Hmmmm. Did someone act to help the government fast-track this legislation?

So, we are all back to the age before the telephone, landline that is. 19th century? My only access to outside news is an AM Radio news station with very scratchy reception. DSL still doesn't work, dialup backup number produces dial-tone, but doesn't connect. News says ATM machines are not working, and credit cards cannot be processed. The police are resorting to patrolling the neighborhood on foot to make sure things are in order.

The market is up significantly I hear, but to my sheer frustration... you guessed it, I CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT! There is no way to connect to my online brokerage account - no connection via the Internet, and even if the local landline has come back to life I can’t dial any 800-numbers.

My ISP's latest update is that they are hoping that the situation will be resolved by 6:00PM. PM!

Oh well. My long positions are mostly financials - FAS, UYG, C, WFC, ABK. I would love to take profit on some of them, and even add positions (I would buy more WFC, for one), but there's no way, no how. I'm sure my hedges - FAZ, gold and silver stocks - are down big, and I would love to add to some positions if the price has dropped significantly.

How do companies prepare for the major outage like this? Even if I go to Palo Alto to the Etrade Office there, I still wouldn't be able to trade because their entire system is probably down, and I can't even call them to find out.

WFC announced the largest ever quarter profit of $3 billion, and said they initiated $100 billion mortgages in the 1st quarter which just ended. And I just heard the radio advertisement for mortgages, urging people with low credit scores to contact them, for they can get you a mortgage even if your credit score is 540 or below. Seems like good (bad, depending on your perspective) old times, which I thought ended.

12:12PM: OK, the latest of this communication blackout. 4 optical cables were INTENTIONALLY severed. Someone climbed down 10 feet down a manhole and cut the cables. Also there is some vague talk about disgruntled union members which I didn’t catch well.

12:26PM: Wells Fargo is up 27%. Yippeeeee! Too bad I control only 500 shares. Dow is up 229pts, so it’s well above 8000 again.

1:13PM: Wells Fargo ended up 31%. Holy @#$%. Let’s see, yeseterday’s close was about $15. So it ended near $20!!! My options (strike at $25, July) should be worth at least double!!!

2:30PM” The Market Watch snippet on the radio just said that even the top government officials are turning positive (so why should we doubt their wisdom?). The news host said “President Obama tells us to go out and SPEND, buy a house, buy a car”, and everything will be A-OK soon! Unbelievable behavior.

So Communication Workers Union’s contract expired (last week?). The police and the FBI are investigating. Terrorist act by a disgruntled Union worker? Great. Just what we need.

2:46PM: IT’S BAAAACK!!!!! The Internet sprung to life!

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