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Mind Games


Despite my privileged upbringing, I'm actually quite well-balanced. I have a chip on both shoulders.


"I've gotten used to ignoring them and I think, as a result, they've kind of given up on me. I think that's what it's like with all our dreams and our nightmares, Martin, we've got to keep feeding them for them to stay alive."

--Professor John Nash, A Beautiful Mind

The afternoon squall continues to crawl as the critters climb the proverbial wall. It's been a long week on many levels and I, for one, am looking forward to our requisite two day respite. While we've surely earned the down time, I'll ask that you stay on top of your game as we edge ahead. For if nothing else, the action into today's close (and at these uber-important technical levels) will go a long way in crafting the collective psychology.

Despite the down, I mean up, I mean down, I mean up action, the net/net results have been rather muted. Yes, the banks are screaming "look at me" and the volatility in the other asset classes is pronounced. Still, as I bang on my keyboard, the pennant race continues. The techs (lower highs, floor at NDX 1450-60) and S&P (higher lows, ceiling at S&P 1160) are moving in opposite directions and more likely than not, there's only gonna be one winner.

While perception is reality, Professor, as the stagflation signs are becoming increasingly clear. Think about this for a second--commodity prices (cost of goods) are rising, the purchasing power of the dollar is (trending) lower, folks are out of work and the stimulus will only last so much longer. The bears, who are clearly in mumble mode, will argue that despite the "hand" in the market (and the ability to make economic reports disappear), Elmer can't manufacture jobs. Hence the dichotomy and the ever-increasing disconnect between what is and what must be.

You can color me furry on the big picture--without question--but the near term tug-o-war is dicier than a casino floor. The rule of thumb when initiating risk is to assimilate the trading metrics and make bigger bets when the ducks align. As it stands, our daily tells are far from clear--there are positives, negatives, support, resistances, volatility and crosscurrents. That doesn't mean you can't play (for a breakout or a failure), but be sure to respect the two-sided elements in play.

For whatever reason, today's trading smells fishy to me and there's no sushi in sight. Whenever I'm unsure, I do a little less (or nothing at all) until a discernable edge emerges. There's no shame in that, my friends, and I'd much rather hand sit than blindly bet. Remember, pride and boredom are two of the most costly emotions when sitting at a trading desk. Don't force it, just let the mojo evolve. Kinda like the breathing through your eyelids thing, minxy style.

Finally, congrats (for the third time) to Minyan Mattison Reinecke in Italy for correctly identifying Cannonball Run as the answer to today's trivia. I'm not sure if Terrapin Matt feels guilty (overseas shipping) but he just placed a sizeable order in Spirited Sweets. I can't blame him (they're kick ass cookies) but seriously, my friend, you really should have better eating habits! Jeez!

I'm gonna hop and ready for the final flurry. As always, I hope this finds you well and coining some serious shekels.

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