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Mile by Mile

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The semis are soft but the banks won't break!

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Keep a rolling
Just a mile to go
Keep on rolling, my old buddy
You're moving much too slow


(Grateful Dead)


Another day in the fray slowly finds its way and the daily action is remarkably unremarkable. If you look hard enough, you can find a handful of themes--the semis are softer and gold has lost a bit of glitter--but other than that, it's a slow day at the casino. The Minx acts like she wants to relax but there isn't much of an edge in betting that way (for the day). The retailers are firm, the brokers hang tough and, for the most part, the dealing is dull.

That, of course, doesn't mean there won't be a sharp move into the closing bell. When trading, however, you gotta follow your trusty "tells" and look for the most advantageous risk/reward. The breadth is relatively balanced, our leadership sectors are mixed and both major indices (S&P/NDX) are meandering around important support/resistance levels. If there are three types of trading set-ups (catalyst driven, thesis derived or daily swings), there very well might be something (plenty) to do. My only point is that you should define a strategy, understand why you're trading and don't play for the sake of playing.

With a couple of weeks left in the third quarter, all eyes are firmly affixed to the flickering ticks. Conventional wisdom holds that if they can't get 'em down, performance anxiety will likely spur a run and gun. That's certainly not set in stone but with the psychology bubble ever-expanding, it's hard to tell what prick turns the trick. More likely than not, there is a scare out there but nobody will give the devil his due until the market is appreciably lower. That's why it's SO important to balance risks and rewards regardless of where the next leg lies.

Am I softening my stance on my bearish bent? No, my overall view remains overtly negative and pretty scary. If we're to focus on the journey rather than the destination, however, we must respect that this action may be a textbook "basing" on the top of a trend channel. Those (potential) technical positives, a perceived improvement in the fundamentals, Elmer's obvious agenda and the manic panic in the marketplace are what Hoofy is hanging his hat on. The massive complacency, unrealistic earnings expectations, geopolitical risk (yes, it's still out there), huge insider selling and crowded bull camp will bear the blame should we lose the game.

Meanwhile, the Critters Choice Awards continues to move forward with vim and vigor. Word has it--and don't quote me yet--that the most glaring absence will soon be added to the all-star guitar. Many of the world's greatest money managers have already signed so I'll leave it up to you to take a guess. Remember, Minyans, if you wanna star in the world's first Minyanville animated trailer and win two VIP tickets to the event, there are only four days left to go! The proceeds will benefit the Ruby Peck Foundation for Children's Education and the broad base of programs that they support!

That's about it from the Minyan ship as Fokker and I offer our best college try. There are days that rock and others that shock but, barring a late session impression, today isn't shaping up that way. It could be worse (it could be raining) so don't let it get ya down. There is so much more in life than the next best trade and finding that balance will better the quality of your days. As I said in the last post, some of the wealthiest people I know live meal to meal while some of the poorest souls have huge bank accounts. Life is what you make of it and time keeps ticking by--so don't put off until tomorrow what you can smile for today. For many, they'll never have that chance.

Have a peaceful night.
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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 todd@minyanville.com.

The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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