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Random Thoughts

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  • "October is one of those dangerous months to speculate in stocks. The others are January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, November, and December." - Mark Twain

  • I miss college sometimes.

  • Market internals are firm (thus far) today and the longer that dynamic exists, the greater the chance that we breach near-term resistance at S&P 1175 and NDX 1505.

  • Da Cruuuuuusha! Vols continue to melt as premium drips from option volatility. The VXO is about to lose teen status.

  • Do the financials have to lead to the upside? No...they just can't cave in. We're seeing an N's over S's tape and intramarket rotation today.

  • "A lot of times, I think as a player, when no one else believes in you and no one else really thinks you are capable, you have to really believe in yourself. Because of that, you are trying to prove things as a competitor, as an athlete . . . I'm always trying to prove to myself that I am capable of leading a team to a win. I'm trying to prove that stuff to myself every week. It's not like you win and then you go, 'OK, well, I've done it.' No, you have to do it again. You have to stay hungry and not get too happy." - Tom Brady, USA Today, January 20, 2000.

  • Bull Durham, Crimson Tide and Uncle Buck are three movies I never get tired of watching.

  • "It's like pressing down on a spring: Press hard and long enough and you'll get a 'boing' back," says Jeffrey Saut, chief investment strategist for Raymond James. "I'm not convinced this is more than a one- or two-day rally." - Wall Street Journal, January 26, 2004

  • Outsourced Critters?

  • Mini-Minyan Mailbag: "Toddo-Before we all get too excited about the buck, 84 has been a very tough nut to crack. The longer it bangs its head at that level, the less likely it's going to bust through. We need to see a close above 84.10 before higher targets can be attained. Thanks--Minyan Rhino" Minyan Rhino-While a close above that level would certainly bode well for the dollar, I'll respectfully offer that resistance weakens--not strengthens--with each test. Every time we probe that level, incremental supply is chewed up. Coolio?

  • The Investor's Intelligence weekly sentiment survey is out and the bulls have upticked (slightly) to 56 (vs. 55.90) while the Red Dye cry dipped to 24 (from 24.7). Still skewed to overt optimism but little changed week over week.

  • I have a hard time swallowing the social security reform argument without thinking that it's an act of desperation and attempt and to draw fresh liquidity into the market.

  • The New England Repatriates? As David Miller has mentioned, a new U.S. tax law that encourages companies to repatriate profits from abroad may be partially responsible for the dollar's two-month high against the euro. Johnny John (JNJ) plans to repatriate $11 billion, Pfizer (PFE) has said it's considering bringing back as much as $38 million and Schering Plough (SGP) intends to repatriate $9.4 billion; many other companies are likely to take similar steps this year. Robert Lynch, a currency strategist at BNP Paribas in New York, said the prospect of U.S. companies selling foreign currencies to bring back dollars was one of the reasons why the euro fell below $1.30 last week.

  • When they found Jean-Luc, he was humming the Grateful Dead and playing with a yo-yo.

  • The NYSE is considering a plan to open trading by as much as two hours earlier in a bid to attract more business from European investors. That's terrific news for my therapist.

  • More Minyan Mailbag: "Hey Toddo. I've been reading David Miller's pieces on the one-time tax law for U.S.$ repats and saw your post earlier today. This has clearly been one factor in the dollars recent strength in my opinion but hardly a new issue. I think section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley is similar in that it will get overlooked until it matters. Section 404 says mgt and company auditors have to sign off on the company's internal auditing process, not just the financials. Around 90% of companies reporting site higher SG&A due to the increased expenses getting compliant. That's one issue. The larger issue is for companies that are not compliant or can't get the review done in time. See EK today. It will be interesting to see the stock's reaction to announcing its auditors have found material weaknesses in its accounting. While the numbers look strong will this put pressure or mute reaction on the stock? I think there will be more companies that are not compliant and at the least will create some headline risk as we get through earnings season and into 10k filing time. Minyan Mark"

  • I hope they were wearing their helmets!

  • Maybe this is what Buffett means when he describes inflation as a "pig coming out of a python's mouth?" This explosion is prolly not good for margins (except commodity producers): "The price of iron ore -- the main ingredient used to make steel -- is expected to rise between 30% and 50% in major international contracts in 2005, according to industry analysts and consultants . . . Meanwhile, prices for coking coal -- metallurgical coal that is later purified in an oven into coke, a hard carbon used in melting iron in the blast furnace -- are set to double to between $120 and $130 a metric ton from 2004 levels of $55 a metric ton." - Wall Street Journal, January 26, 2005 (Thanks Minyan JB)

  • Please forgive the off-topic post (this IS Random Thoughts) but I am trying to help a good friend who is in a bind. If any NYC Minyans are looking for a snazzy two-bedroom rental on the upper east side (or would like more details), please give me a ping. Thanks kindly and much appreciated!

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers surveyed global CEOs and found that 91% were "very" or "somewhat" confident about the next twelve months (vs. 84% in '03 and 72% in '02). I wonder how many were bullish in 2000?

  • Larry banner ads?

  • The Iraq elections will be held Sunday but Wall Street will cast its vote on Monday.

  • Early Randoms today as a function of back-to-back midday mind melds.


R.P.

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