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Stress Test


IF I can catch my breadth with sideways action, I'll have some juice left for the close!


He says, "Bill, I believe this is killing me"
As a smile ran away from his face
"Well, I'm sure that I could be a movie star
If I could get out of this place."

(Billy Joel)

Can you believe that, absent two blips and a dip, the market has sat at the same level for the last month? That's not to say that there haven't been opportunities both ways (there have been) but I'll tell ya -- we've sure expended a lot of energy to get nowhere, man! The bulls are frustrated, the bears are aggravated and Fokker just.... never mind. I don't want to go there.

The Minx has trickled up to the S&P 200-day moving average and all eyes on you, baby. This is the third of fourth time she's attempted to overcome her fear of heights and, through objective eyes, we know that each test of resistance (support) removes a layer of supply (demand). That's not a directional call, per se, that's just what is and if we're gonna trade the tape, we must acknowledge all sides of the coin.

Yes, Minyans, I see what you see: The tape acts dry, bonds are lower, the dollar has (thus far) stabilized and breadth is fabu. There's no denying that, taken in isolation, the action (thus far) is good to go. I will simply ask you to define your time horizon before assuming trading risk. There remain huge unknowns in our midst and, despite today's shrug, there's historically ominous writing on the wall.

I've heard lotsa chatter that the VIX doesn't matter anymore and I can't help but feel a certain sense deja vu. It's ALWAYS a new paradigm -- until it's not. And these things never matter -- until they do. My main concern for Boo, once again, is one of timing. I'm trying to straddle the fine line between using prices to my advantage and fighting the tape. The low volatilities (puts) allow me to play my game (while defining my risk) and, regardless of what happens in the next few hours, I continue to believe that we've seen this movie before.

Yes, markets that are strong all day tend to end that way and I'm admittedly wary of a late day surge. However, I entered today with a set strategy and I'm sticking with it. I did what I had to do on this latest spike and now I'll patiently wait for higher prices (to add puts) or lower prices (to make disciplined sales). All the while, I'm actively scanning for actionable situations and advantageous risk/reward profiles (either way).

That's about it, my friends, as we wade our way through the Monday madness. So you know and if you care, I've got six-day charts up (S&P and NDX) and I've drawn a line across the tops of last week's spikes. It's interesting (if nothing else) that, thus far, today's rally paused right at the trendline. Actionable? Not sure... I'll tell ya in a couple of hours!

Good luck with contra-hour... I'll be back.
position in qqq

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

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