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Standing Stills


May peace be with you!


Chestnut brown canary
Ruby throated sparrow
Sing a song don't be long
Thrill me to the marrow

(Crosby Stills Nash & Young)

The afternoon tone is a minxy wishbone as traders set sail in the choppy cyclone. Half my screens are glistening green as the semis march higher and embolden the four-letter bulls. The other names are up in flames as the bulls get smoked by their silly games. If the dicey dichotomy isn't enough, we're now staring into the double-barreled shotgun that is Elmer and earnings. You wanted action? Well you got it cookie--and it's gonna be a heckuva ride.

Fear is a powerful emotion--we've learned that lesson on both sides of our P&L. That, more than anything, is why I'm trying to keep an open mind as we race towards the fourth quarter. Most funds aren't having a stellar year. Heck, most funds are downright frustrated and have pressed for performance by substituting size for scope. That "compression" is ever-present and may lead to a spooky move. And when you combine acute performance anxiety with other people's money....well, nutty things tend to happen.

Be that as it may--and it may be a lot--I'm still thinking that the double-edged sword may slay the double-barrel shotgun. The combination of earnings disappointments (slowdown) and rate hikage may finally paint the painful picture for portfolio managers. The corporate bond market doesn't support that vibe--Brian Reynolds would be quick to mention the warm reception for the recent issues--and I've learned to respect those variables. But I'll also note the uncanny complacency (VXO), widespread hope and "left field" elements that lurk in dark corners.

I will offer that my risk profile got a bit tighter today as a function of the slippage in Citigroup (C:NYSE) and the financials. The great part about uber-defined (and uber-cheap) volatility is that you can peel a portion off and ride the rest for free. That's admittedly a small portion of my portfolio but it's a stylistic approach that I wanted to share. Our goal in Minyanville has always been to bait the hooks and pass out the rods rather than fillet a fish and serve up your dinner. The shelf-life is much longer and the educational lessons will last a lifetime.

I've gotta jump back to the Buzz as Laurie has technology issues and Succo is sunnin' his buns in Monte Carlo. We will announce a new professor in the coming days (he's a beauty) and we're in talks with another gentleman who I think you'll dig. All good things in all good times, Minyans, as we build our foundation brick by brick and person by person. I sincerely hope you had a fantastic day and, if not, that you're disciplined enough to trade 'em right into the closing bell.

Have a peaceful evening.

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