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Easin' In


May peace be with you!


She brings me coffee
She brings me tea
She brings me 'bout everything
But the jailhouse keys

(Grateful Dead)

The hung-over Minx is probin' the brink as the once brazen bulls have started to blink. Most everyone I spoke with this morning was resigned to the fact that the first move of '05 would be the upside. It made sense, from a practical standpoint, as the combination of seasonal inflows and relaxed risk parameters seemed to point to a jumpin' joint. The first step was in that direction, obviously, but slack leadership and fugly internals paved that path with crimson wrath. Now, as we ready to put our first session in the books, the critters have some decisions to make.

I noted the importance of BKX 104ish this morning and it's (thus far) holding despite the fright. This complex, along with the retail group and select nets, are green thumbs in an otherwise brutal backhand. The right side of the ledger is admittedly heavier (note the carnage in the metals and energy) but the "bend not break" undercurrent remains in tact. There is alotta chatter regarding the inability of the market to rally with crude down 4% but I will offer a simpler explanation. It's the beginning of the year, there are a TON of agendas in play and the residual friction will drip to the bottom of tomorrow's business section.

I've spent a lot of time reconnecting with my trading brethren and the mood is noticeably more relaxed. While performance anxiety has clearly abated, however, it may take a coupla days for the hedge fund hot potato to unwind. I've been careful not to "toss out" trading vibes until they crystallize in my crowded keppe and I'll surely share them as lucidity evolves. Suffice to say that I respect the upside (particularly in the first half of the year) but wanna keep my right hand up. There are alotta things that "can" go wrong (Russia) but they won't matter until after the fact.

As for the here and now, the Minx continues to migrate around last week's lows and while the action is a disappointment to the Matador Crowd, it's no great shakes. While the lopsided lean (complacency) can chase the green, Hoofy will note that Citi (C:NYSE), General Electric (GE:NYSE), Google (GOOG:NASD) and Microsoft (MSFT:NYSE) still sport a green tint. That may not lead to an end of day Snapper but it'll likely buffer the downside and stave off outright carnage.

I'm gonna flip lids and hop back to the Buzz so lemme wish you luck into the final bell. I'm not sure that today's column was my best pitch but I'd rather do it right than force the fight. It's a long year and there will be a ton of opportunities for us to trade. As always, the onus is on us to identify edges and choose the situations that offer the best risk/reward. When the dust settles into 2006, nobody will care how many times you pulled the trigger. They'll only care how many times you hit the target.

Fare ye well into the bell and have a fantastic night.

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