He went to Bass 'cause he felt
That a change would do him good
See some old friends
Good for the soul
Good morning and welcome to the stow storming. It's white as a ghost as we flick on the lights and reflect on what was a memorable night. In an age dominated by program trading, black box models and low-cost execution platforms, Wall Street's old school somehow got lost in the shuffle. But last night, in a New York nook, Steve Starker and his Bass Trading team turned back the clock for hugs, handshakes and holiday cheer.
When I started in this business--and I'm aware this has a "walk five miles through the snow to school" feel to it--trading was predicated on the spoken word, looking someone in the eye and sealing deals with a firm grip. I can't say whether the sadly seismic shift was a function of technology, regulation, overcapacity, greed, productivity or simply an evolution, but the Street lost a semblance of humanity over time. The Bass boys must have missed that memo as warmth and wellness connected every conversation and each new introduction.
There was Jeff Berkowitz, Matt Jacobs and the elite team of traders from my days at Cramer, Berk. There was Todd Deutsch, Casey Gard and the Galleon Group, where I also hung my hat for a few years. Dave Perlin and Jeff Bernstein from Keel Capital were in the house, with pep in their step and gleams in their eyes. And, of course, there were Minyans, who continue to champion what we're doing, how we're doing it and, perhaps most important, who we're doing it with.
Its easy to get lost in the flickering ticks, particularly with year-end looming and performance paychecks hanging in the balance. In the instant message immediate gratification age, we sometimes forget that human capital was once a fixture of our financial fabric. Last night's fete reminded me that there are alotta good peeps on the Street. Some are jinglin' while others are strugglin' but we're all in this together. And when a syndicate of human capital bands together, this fakakta world doesn't seem so daunting.
Perhaps our energy will manifest through our all-star guitar auction, which is one day old and $27k bid. Maybe this will be an impetus to bury hatchets and put petty differences to rest as we turn the '06 page. We often talk about Minyanville as a platform that hopes to affect change and make a difference. It's a lofty goal but not entirely unattainable as we're a community that cares and takes care of our own. As you watch the all-star guitar soar, each of you should feel a sense of pride. For without ye faithful, none of this would be possible.
I'm gonna save the market music for the Buzz (I've gotta lotta thoughts) but, in a nutshell, I'll offer a few frisky thoughts:
I took a leg out of my metaphorical bear costume yesterday afternoon (leaving one leg, or 25% conviction on the short side). We put the furry fabric on near S&P 1270 and, a few short sessions later, S&P 1245 (acne support) was a kitten's whisker away.
The trader in me senses that higher futures (in the face of Intel, Merck, Fedex, IBM) might be a telling sign of underlying demand. We'll see soon enough, with my eyes spying SOX 485 and BKX 102 (support), market breadth, beta and sector rotation. As it stands, and subject to change, my stop remains on the other side of S&P 1275.
Gotta hop Minyans--have a GREAT day.
Todd Harrison is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minyanville. Prior to his current role, Mr. Harrison was President and head trader at a $400 million dollar New York-based hedge fund. Todd welcomes your comments and/or feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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