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A Roman Tail

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General Maximus Decimus Hoofimus just galloped into Minyanville, pulled up to the trading desk and announced "Five thousand of my traders are out there in the freezing market. Three thousand of them are bloodied and cleaved. Two thousand will never leave this place. I will not believe they fought and died for nothing!" Naturally, my traders and I were stunned (JJ was under his desk). I stood up and said "General Hoofimus, death smiles at us all. All a trader can do is smile back and trade with strength and honor."

The good General walked over to my turret, grabbed a piece of sushi and continued "Marcus Aurelius had a dream, and that dream was of a new bullish trend for the market. Surely today's action stings if you're long the wrong stocks, but big picture, this is a healthy consolidation after the stampede we've seen. Again, patience generally brings price, and those who we're patient have been given the opportunity to buy stocks cheaper."

Boo, who never blinked an eye though this whole metaphorical mess, walked over to Hoofimus and said "The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied a bear market. Striking story! But now, the people want to know how the story ends. Only a famous death will do!"

As Hoofimus pulled his sword and prepared to strike, I separated the two and said "fear and wonder is a powerful combination, fellas, so don't get emotional and make decisions you'll soon regret. There is a large army of traders out there, and each of them has a unique risk profile. The short term traders can point to the DAX breaking 3000 (down 5%), the S&P breaking its 50-day moving average, the heaviness of Citigroup and the stinky breadth (yuk!). The intermediate types still sense this is a pause that refreshes and they're approach today's action as an opportunity. All we can do is take our journey one step at a time and take what the Minx will give us."

The two of them looked at me and then back at each other...and we all smiled. We knew that this was a stressful market and holding on to the reigns too tight would likely lead to bad decisions. A little levity goes a long way in this business and if you're staring at every tick, take a deep breath and relax. There are four hours left in the day and opportunities abound if you know where to look. We have Emperor Elmer (Greenspan) speaking at 12:30pm and the all-important Beige book released at 2:00pm, so put those on your radar as we prepare to re-enter the battle.

And on my signal....

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