You guys know I went to the University of Maryland, right? Fear the turtle!
"I had the most absurd nightmare. I was poor and no one liked me. I lost my job, I lost my house, Penelope hated me and it was all because of this terrible, awful Fokker!"
--Louis Winthorpe III, Trading Places
Do you want to hear the definition of frustration? I asked Fokker to book an airline flight yesterday (for someone in my family) and as I was sloshing through the rainstorm last night, my brother called my in a tizzy. "Dude!", he began, "What the heck is your assistant doing? He booked FIVE first class trips on MY miles! I sure hope he's a good trader because he sucks as a travel counselor!"
I had no response -- it was such an egregious error that I actually started giggling right in my brother's ear! In the middle of my laughter, a tremendous idea crystallized in my mind. I'm gonna pick a day in the not to distant future and switch spots with the kid! He can trade, write, talk to investors, hypothesize, strategize, euguligize, run the foundation, helm Minyanville and find advantageous risk/reward. I'll peruse the sushi menus, flirt with college chicks, clothes shop at Sears, fumble some orders and spend MY afternoons in Zed's basement? Maybe he'll even let me borrow his red mouth ball!
Turning our attention to the tape (it's about time!), the Snapper chatter is officially in full swing as the Minx flirts with an upside reversal. It's a domino effect, really, spurred by the S&P futures and trickling down the trading totem pole to the sectors (and thus, the individual names). When the internals didn't budge on the earlier try higher, I didn't give our resident turtle much of a chance. However, they're starting to edge towards a more constructive reading and, as such, we must respect the elements in play.
I'm still quite concerned about the downside but I also know that quarter-end is factoring into this price action. Traders are jittery and reactive and IF (big if) they start to turn higher, the chasers will get involved. The individual price action leaves much to be desired and big names like GE (GE:NYSE), Microsoft (MSFT:Nasdaq) and Intel (INTC:Nasdaq) have been trading to the heavy side all day. However, the market is trading as one large vehicle and it's a "futures led" environment. In other words, equities are being viewed vs. fixed income, foreign exchange, gold and crude and it's moving as a whole rather than as a sum of its parts.
It's hard to have uber-conviction in the tick-by-tick action and my stylistic approach reflects that uncertainty. I've got a scattering of May out-of-the-money puts and I'm day-trading against them when I sense some liftage. I know some Minyans want to see a more aggressive stance but I can only tell you what I'm doing. The reality is that there's a LOT of balls in the air and the trading ranks are emotional. That makes for whippy tapes.
I'm not ruling out anything as we edge through the afternoon but, at the end of the day, I still want to go home with my defined risk downsides on the sheets. For the active traders among you, mind the opening gap -- as we fill it to the upside, the bulls will face a sterner test. And think positive Minyans: Stress clouds judgment and poor judgment can be devastating in a tape like this.
I hope this finds you well.
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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