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Minyan Mailbag: Reading the Tea Leaves


Salmon sashimi!


Note: Our goal in Minyanville is to remove intimidation from the financial markets and encourage an interactive dialogue among the Minyanship. We share this next column with that very intent.


May I ask what you saw this morning
when you stated, "From what I am seeing right now, I would expect another upside leg from the tape" as we were selling off after initial high (and right before we again bounced)?

I ask because I sold the S&P this morning, thought I should wait for another run marginally higher, because I NEVER wait long enough. But then I thought, "What if I miss it?" I am always so damn worried about missing it that I am always early. So is there something specific you saw?

Minyan JK

Minyan JK,

The initial pop was choreographed by the pre-market futures so we all knew that the tape was gonna open to the upside. And, after the carnage we've witnessed during the last week, a probe lower (at some level) was intuitive. As I have my favorite "tells" during the trading day, I like to watch those during the "counter-trend" move to assertain whether the test is meaty (and a precursor to a reversal) or a simple pause.

This morning, during that brief rally respite, I noted that the internals-which have been the single best intraday tell-actually improved rather than deteriorated. That, along with the oversold field position and a spate of decent earnings, offset the slippage in General Motors (GM) in that particular decision making process. I will reiterate that I view this ray of sunshine as transitory (particularly as we approach tranched resistance) but that was my thought at the time.

While I have you, I'll offer that the "fear of missing" is a dangerous emotion when trading. We saw that bury alotta folks during the carnage and it took incredible losses to weed that mindset from the masses. While I'm uber-respectful of a cornered animal (the Fed), I sense that we've witnessed a sea change where selling rallies will put the stream at our back and make the salmon easier to catch. That may not be today's business-and it may not be right-but trading one-sided (long) is analogous to boxing with one hand tied behind your back.

And, of course, trading "not to lose" is the quickest way to get clocked.

Good luck to you,



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

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