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Box Trot


We'll see how strong Hoofy is with class back in session!


But it's just a box of rain
or a ribbon for your hair
Such a long long time to be gone
and a short time to be there

(Grateful Dead)

Here we are. September. Football season. New beginnings. I've gotta admit that it feels good to be back in the saddle. I spent the beginning of last week auditioning for the Planes, Trains & Automobiles sequel and the last half in bed with a nasty head cold. It wasn't the grooviest week off but it's time to shake it off and suck it up. Something tells me this summer will serve as the calm before the storm and we're gonna need to bring our A-game.

The early morning analyst train is chuggin' right along and most of the news is equity friendly. This, of course, comes as the S&P tickles the all-important 1015 level and attempts to share the acne of her sister indices. If we point and figure, S&P 1020 will serve as the "official" breakout but keep in mind, please, that the same "confirmation" in the Dow was met with an initial 200 point flush. In other words, respect (but don't defer to) the technical metric as we edge our way through the muck.

The financials should tell the tale and they'll be helped early by Merrill's upgrade of the F-troop. We spoke of the crowded conditions in Fannie Mae (FNM:NYSE) a week ago and the potential for Snapper to emerge (and spank the cult). Sure enough, the critical 60 level held (triple bottom) and the chase began. I've been trading around the short side (as you know) and will use today's liftage to roll my puts "up and out." I'm not goin' nuts, mind you, but I will surely attempt to use higher prices as an opportunity.

The risk to that posture--and the short side in general--is the timing aspect (of a trading thesis). As we've learned through the years, price action can be exacerbated by structural and psychological metrics. With Elmer and Dubya cheering the tape (and performance anxiety kicking in), it's difficult (and dangerous) to make a stand. The best we can do is adopt a risk profile that's adaptive, a mentality that's flexible and humility that's consistent.

I would like to take a moment and welcome the college Minyans back to school. When I was rompin' around the 'Cuse and wanted to learn about the market, they smiled and tossed me a Wall Street Journal. We're proud to offer the first dynamic learning tool and hope you find Minyanville a valuable educational experience. And yes...Syracuse football has some issues this year. It's a good thing we've got that hoops trophy to keep us company!

Knock 'em silly today.
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