Good luck Minyans!
Are we having fun yet? Just when you couldn't think it could get any stranger, POOF! Darkness. For those living outside of the big city, let me assure you that last night had a surreal familiarity to it. As the power punked, Fokker and I looked at each other with an "oh boy, here we go again" look and dutifully began our descent down 37 flights of dark stairs. Once outside, it was pure chaos as the heat and confusion combined for a most unpleasant atmosphere.
While the cause of the blackout is yet unknown, let me assure you that New York was NOT prepared. The attitude in the streets wasn't panicky--we've been through worse and this is old hat by now--but there was mass confusion. You would think that, after what we've witnessed in years past, contingency plans would be in place. That was not the case and no evacuation routes were outlined. There was no power, no water, no direction. It was, by all accounts, the dark age.
I still don't have electricity or phones and I pen this column with the help of my friends at Bear Stearns (who are operating via generator). Personally, I don't think the market should have been opened but my bias may be skewed. I've been keeping the company of an unwashed Fokker and the smell is beginning to get to me. Seriously though, there has been a major disruption in the city that houses the major exchanges. I'm not sure if expiration factored into the decision making process, but traders are scratching their sweaty heads.
From a functionality standpoint, many Wall Street firms couldn't book yesterday's trades and back offices are scrambling. Further, it is uber-uber-thin and that opens the door for potential volatility (particularly on expiration). Last night's futures activity was massive (relatively) and the question we must ask is how many fresh shorts piled into the market. That, coupled with the waif-like conditions, creates the potential for an outsized move today.
I've gotta head back to our digs and attempt to get our systems up and running. As such, please forgive me for a lack of posts today as we're still in crisis mode. I've been in the dark (literally) regarding the sequence of events, damage, cause, blame or ramifications of what we've experienced so I'm not sure I can add value there. When you lose all utilities, you've got to walk before you can trade.
I'll be back in the saddle as soon as I'm able. Thank you for your patience and tread carefully today--it's one trippy scene. For those who haven't visited the Critters Choice Awards, please make sure to view the trailer with the volume turned up. When all else fails, we've always got the musical menagerie!
Fare ye well.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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