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Spring Break

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There's all kinds of trading chatter about "surprise" rate cuts here and abroad. Does that still matter?

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Good morning and welcome back to the saddle. The first quarter limped to a close yesterday and what a ride it was! Despite the relatively muted results for the major indices (Dow -4.2%, S&P -3.6%, Comp +.42%), anybody who rode this pony knows how wild and wooly it was: January's upside pimple and downside melt, February's indecisive grind lower, March's manic depressive madness. If this period was a prelude of what's to come, we better hold onto our hats!

The first quarter also witnessed an evolution of sorts in the trading arena. No longer was it enough to have a firm grasp of the fundamentals, a basic understanding of the technicals and an insightful read of psychology. More than ever, the stock market traded as a single vehicle versus the dollar, gold, crude and fixed income.

It was a tremendous environment if you flipped the switch and caught the cusps -- and a deadly tape if the cusps caught you. Indeed, Hoofy and Boo took turns at being the critter of choice but when they were on, they were ON! In the process, the beast reminded us that if we don't remain humble, she'll be more than happy to do it for us -- and many traders learned that lesson the hard way.

The good news is that we just traded one of the most difficult quarters ever and we got through it. Don't kid yourself, Minyans, you deserve a pat on the back. War, an outbreak, a crude crash, corporate invisibility, terror alerts (duct!), performance anxiety, sharp reversals -- she threw it all at us! While it promises to remain treacherous and difficult, we've seen her entire repertoire of Minxy pitches. Now we just have to settle in and play our game.

As we close the first chapter and look ahead, we'll need to draw on our lessons learned if we hope to find our way. Emotion remains the enemy, the landscape is fraught with two-sided risk and disciplined patience is required on a consistent basis. If we focus on our batting average (rather than home runs), identify high percentage trades and remember to breathe, we just may find our way through this muck. One step at a time.

Good luck today.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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 todd@minyanville.com.

The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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