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Monopoly Peg!


We have two choices--we can bury our heads and pretend these elements don't exist or we can stand tall, step up and take it on each and every day.


Money, it's a crime.
Share it fairly but don't take a slice of my pie.
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil today.

(Pink Floyd)

I got alotta feedback on yesterday's column regarding my constructive near-term stance in the context of mounting big-picture concerns. As discussed, there are a multitude of caveats nestled in our midst and the risks, in my view, are mounting. I learned a long time ago, however, that playing "one way" is akin to boxing with one arm tied behind your back. I've been trading seven ways till Sunday for sixteen straight years and during that time, at various junctures, I've been "all in" on both sides of the ride. But those cusps are few and far between and I've come to understand that a balanced (two-sided) approach is typically warranted. There's always a bull market and there's always a bear market. The residual grist will drip to the front pages of tomorrow's press but if we can dutifully digest the dynamic in real-time, we can profit from the prickly friction.

I often opine to my buddy John at our weekly Succofests that I miss the days of normalized markets. Indeed, to these humble eyes, the tape hasn't felt "natural" since we attempted to wean ourselves off the post-bubble imbalances. And while these sorta discussions were taboo while the screens were green in 2003, they've started to become a bit more mainstream as we trudge along the long, hard road. Yes, there's been a palpable uptick in angst this summer, which is a bit foreboding considering that the S&P is a scant 5% from five year highs and the VXO is clinging to teenage status.

I've been pointing to the "asset class deflation vs. dollar devaluation" conundrum for some time and we've included a few charts in this morning's missive. The admittedly myopic extrapolation is that our government continues to publish dollars in an attempt to (literally) buy time and allow a legitimate economic expansion to take root (as opposed to the debt-induced largess we've experienced). My sense is that the greenback slack (-29% since 2002) is the root of the evolving debasement, percolating nationalization and growing isolationism. In fact, behavioral theorists could also argue that it's also at the core of the socioeconomic tension and societal acrimony that we all feel but seldom discuss.

Someone once said that we can't hate the player, we've just gotta hate the game. Unfortunately, this game is the basis of our standard of living and the common thread of all industrialized nations. We have two choices--we can bury our heads and pretend these elements don't exist or we can stand tall, step up and take it on each and every day. That's what we do in the 'Ville and if you're reading this, it's clear that you've chosen to dig in for the deep dive. It's not impossible, it's just hard. But by surrounding yourself with respected peers who you trust and skill-sets that complement your own, the task becomes entirely less daunting.

Good luck today.


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