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The Read Barron's


I hate it when she does that!


Good morning and welcome back to the stressful step. Last night, after another anxious session, the critters were summoned (sans Toddo) to the Four Seasons by the one and only Mike Santoli. Mr. Santoli, who writes a fantastic column each week in Barron's, was curious about the critters, their metaphorical world and the low level chatter regarding the Daisyfest mud wrestling tourney. The group settled into a corner table, ordered a round of schnitzel and began their interview. The conversation went something like this:

Santoli: (scanning the table) I'd like to thank you guys for taking the time to sit down, I know these are trying times for humans and critters alike.

Daisy: (eyeing Mike up and down) Say nothing of it, young man, it's our distinct pleasure to meet you--we read your column every week. It's awesome! (gives him a wink)

Hoofy: (shooting Daisy a look before turning his glare on Mike) Hey--I'm Hoofy. You'd probably recognize me by my broad shoulders and sharp horns (sitting up straight). Daisy here is my babe...we've been together through thick and thin--we're very happy together.

Santoli: (somewhat confused) Uh...ok....let me get right to the point, guys, I'm trying to get a feel on what you're seeing and why the tape is so jiggy of late. Is it purely the "look through" thesis combined with the performance anxiety that's driving the spike?

Boo: That's part of it, sure, but I'll tell ya, Mike--and don't think I'm a freak--I'm a paranoid bear these days. There was all kinds of chatter floating around Europe shall I "intervention" in some of "our" markets. I know the Bank of Japan does it, at times--is it out of the question that it happens here?

Snapper: (jumping out of his seat) WAITRESS! No more drinks for the bear--he's clearly had over his limit! (turning back to Boo) Seriously bro, don't start in with your conspiracy theories again. It makes you look bitter and damages your credibility on the street. Just focus on your metrics and follow your process, Boo.

Boo: Ok--fine. Then I won't say that the price action in the dollar, crude, gold and equities was curious--particularly as we're about to enter war. You know that the stock market is the single biggest thermometer of American psychology, right? I'm not saying it happened, guys (grabs a handful of nuts)--I'm just saying that it's "possible."

Sammy: First of all, Boo, Mr. Santoli is a very busy man and he didn't join us to hear about your half-baked paranoia. You know, modern medicine has come a long way and there are professionals who can help you! (turns to Mike and smiles) Please excuse our friend, he's been under a lot of pressure lately. Personally, I think you're right--pension funds were underweight equities and the macro hedgies unwound their war trade. I agree with Boo that the action is extreme, but these are emotional times and that tends exacerbates volatility.

Daisy: It's also expiration tomorrow, Sam, and the Minx has blown through a lot of strikes. As that happens, dealers need to cover their delta exposure. They'll buy higher and sell lower---it happens every expiration.

Santoli: This I know, thank you. The market seems to be shrugging off a lot of nervousness, isn't it---impressive.

Boo: Impressive is one word for it, Mike. Complacent....complacent may be another word for it. Dubya was very clear last night when he said this war "could be longer and more difficult than some predict." Besides, while some may not "care" that France, China, Germany and Russia have denounced the war, we must respect the possible implications. I'm not hoping for bad things to happen, guys--I'm simply assessing the risks and asserting a view.

Hoofy: You make good points, but it sure doesn't seem to matter right now....

Boo: (cutting him off) So, you're gonna wait till it does? My point is, the market isn't necessarily "good" just because it's up and you should factor in all the scenerios. Thassall--in a few months, whether we're much higher or wickedly lower, you've got to be comfortable with your decisions now.

Santoli: Well, thanks guys, it's been...interesting. (getting up from the table) I have to run to a dinner across town--but let's do this again. Next time bring Toddo!

Mike got up and made his way through the crowd as the Menagerie looked around the table at one another. Hoofy stood up, raised his glass and said "I'd like to make a toast to the men and women in our armed forces. May they all come home safely to their families and may a Earth find the type of harmony that exists in Minyanville."

The other critters hopped up, clinked glasses over the table and smiled broadly. The world was at war--but they had a few hours to share with their best friends. And in these times, you've gotta take your victories where you can get 'em.

Good luck today.

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