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Henley's Hero

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While Brians away, the cows will play!

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I used to hurry a lot, I used to worry a lot
I used to stay out till the break of the day
Oh that didn't git it, it was high time I quit it
I just couldn't carry on that way


(The Eagles)


The afternoon's getting thinner and Leo's getting laaaaaaaarger. Indeed, Mr. Bond and I are filled to our gills with fresh protein and from the looks of it, we've converted Brian to the wet side. As a matter of fact, our resident fixed income chief is searching for further fresh fish as we speak. Quick--somebody hide Bruiser and Slurpee!

Back on land, back in reality, the drifty grift continues as equities try to find their way. Bonds, meanwhile, can't get out of their own way and, as it stands, it appears as if last week's rate abate was the exception rather than the rule. The financials continue to trade lethargic and while they're off the lows, they continue to be my focus. Tech, meanwhile, looks as if it'll snap it's losing streak although it's not exactly impressing Hoofy with its jig.

I always enjoy my lunch meetings with Brian because he's a pretty astute fella and, like tennis, you always learn while playing with a pro. We bantered about our financial destiny and while he maintains that the corporate bond market holds the key to our equity fortunes, he allowed that they'll sometimes play cart to our minxy horse. In other words, crackage in our market may appear before corporates raise a flag.

I do agree with him regarding the mounds of debt that need to be rolled. If they're successfully moved out in duration, it'll be a boon for psychology (although we both agree that it only prolongs the inevitable). If corporate America has difficulty rolling their debt, it will be a bad sign for the overall health of the system. This is a process (not a point) but it bears watching as we trudge through the muck.

As I said to him, I've got a couple of two-sided concerns that I've put on my radar. First, if the stock market is a leading indicator, the economy is a coincident indicator and real estate is a lagging indicator, it's safe to say that the bear market has yet to begin in housing. If that's the case (I think it is), the consumer is gonna be a house of pain once this complex starts to deflate. As they've been the cornerstone of the economy, that does not bode well for our future path.

With that said, timing is everything and the longer it takes for this to emerge, the more convinced investors will become that it's a non-event. While ignorance doesn't equate to financial bliss, perception most certainly remains reality in our world. As September rounds the corner and the autumn season looms, you can be sure that performance anxiety will start to kick in. The longer the market lingers, the higher the probability that anxious underperformers will pay to play. It doesn't always make sense, but that doesn't mean it can't happen.

The action should start to pick up tomorrow with earnings from Deere (DE:NYSE), JC Penny (JCP:NYSE), Applied Materials (AMAT:NASD), and Maxim Integrated (MXIM:NASD)--no, Adam, that's not the magazine. We'll also hear from Elmer as he announces his rate decision from the frying pan. The big guy's on the hot seat and while most everyone expects him to leave things as is, the collective reaction will be interesting to watch.

That's about it from the Minyan pit as I spy the contra-hour. Congrats to Bryan Ferretti who was the first to identify the airing of grievances and feats of strength as the acts of Festivus. For that, he's chosen a strapping Snapper tee (the #1 seller!) to sport at his convenience. Nice work, Bry!

For the rest of you, no worries...you can still show your support of the critters by visiting Main Street and doin' some shopping on a slow day. We've had Minyan sightings across the country (how cool is that?) and our family continues to grow. That, in a word, is awesome!

As always, I hope this finds you well.

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