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Prime Time

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Don't miss the bigger trade!

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"There's enough pressure in the game that you need to have some fun. You need to get away from it. You need to enjoy yourself. I went through a tough time as a player because I took the game home with me. It never went away. You need time just to do what you do to relax."

-- New York Yankee's Manager Joe Torre



The Friday cruise is an absolute snooze as the critters wonder what to choose. After Beeks released the mildly amusing PPI and a slightly better Wolverine confidence number, it feels as if traders pulled the plug and started their weekend. The action--for lack of a better word--has been isolated (homebuilders) and the macro landscape (save the dollar) is manicured. As only a handful of hours remain before we can focus fully on the important stuff, I'll ask you to WAKE UP and keep your head in the game.

There isn't much I can say about the tape that I haven't already vibed so I'll take this column in a slightly different direction. Last night, while enjoying the company of some old school traders, the prevalent theme I picked up was one of frustration. It's taking three times the effort to make half the coin and the process has become more laborious than enjoyable. That's not to say that it was every truly easy--you've always had to want it--but the Wall Street dynamic has lost a lot of its luster.

During one conversation with a close pal, he shared something that Jeff Vinik told him a few days earlier. Jeff, the one-time master of the Fidelity universe, offered that traders should view their careers the same as professional athletes. There are the early (rookie) years, the "prime" time and, of course, veteran status. The key to a healthy perspective, he opined, was not to overstay your welcome and become one of those bitter critters who long for their youth. I thought that analogy was particularly apt and wanted to share it with ye faithful.

I have been sitting in front of these screens for almost 15 years and often wonder about what else life has to offer. My energy and zest has been refreshed by the Minyan quest but I can certainly relate to the angst. The thrill of the kill only lasts so long before it is replaced with an obligatory necessity and needy greed. And typically, by the time that happens, a younger, fresher, hungrier kid is nippin' at your heels ready to take the ball and hit the hole. That is an age old process, my friends, and why the stock market is typically left for the young guns.

The toughest thing a man (or woman) can do is look within and be honest with themselves. Is this where you want to be? Is this how you want to spend your life? What are your motivations and are they consistent with who you believe you are? I know that most folks have bills to pay and we're often bound by conformed parameters. But it is possible to reinvent yourself and find ways to smile while stashing your pile. It may not be today's business, mind you, but it's entirely alright to dream.

As always, I hope this finds you well.

R.P.
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