Bulls and Bears Still Playing Chicken

By Jeff Macke  JUL 24, 2009 1:55 PM

It's thin arguments versus losing trades.


Greetings from Big Day Friday in New York where today, and this rally as a whole, has gotten to a point where bulls and bears are challenging on another to the “Chickie Races” ala Rebel Without a Cause. We have bears -- lousy with quite logical causes but a ton of losing trades on their books, and we have bulls -- endlessly cocky as they are with any rally, but with hopelessly thin arguments for their positioning: “The market says I’m right."

As is the case with most good arguments, “the market says I’m right” is hard to battle against with any brevity. Bears know the bulls will get a beating -- they just don’t know when. This is normal for the market; only the smart survive; bears can be right, but they’ll be treated with condescension as the bulls get trapped then scorned angrily after they’re proven right.

Stocks are simply no place for whiners or people who are bothered by a good fight. It would be nicer if it were a nicer place, but it never will be. It’s Looney Tunes Classic Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheep Dog. Everyone checks in for work then spends the day trying to kill one another. It’s both personal and business, as all the best jobs are.

Here’s what I’ve been doing when not wondering whether I'm Ralph Wolf in that analogy:

I partially made up for chasing the casino stocks by buying them on a wee dip this morning. Specifically, I got long more MGM (MGM) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN). For good measure, I added a kiddie-sized portion of more McDonald's (MCD). Now that's a name I’m not chasing, save for down.

All these trades leave me only slightly more than two-thirds long -- 45% long after assorted hedges. Don’t trade confused, folks. Indeed, try to do almost nothing when you’re confused or lack an exit plan.

Two names that have done nothing as stocks but are operating well in a brutal environment: Target (TGT) and Wal-Mart (WMT). Buy them at the first whiff of consumer recovery.

Today just may be volume-free by the close. Summer Friday and it’s finally nice in NYC. I’m not into traffic and “the scene” enough to remotely consider the Hamptons (with beaches that would have shacks, rather than $20 million homes, were it in California). But I could be talked into leaving a bit to get a massage and hit some golf balls... poorly.

In fact, to that exact point, I’m off to get a massage and otherwise do a lot of nothing stressful. Have a great weekend, folks. We’ll see you fresh and smiley on Monday!
Positions in MGM, WYNN, MCD

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