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Bowling for Squalor


Good luck into the close!


"It all comes down to this roll. Roy Munson, a man-child, with a dream to topple bowling giant Ernie McCracken. If he strikes, he's the 1979 Odor-Eaters Champion. He's got one foot in the frying pan and one in the pressure cooker. Believe me, as a bowler, I know that right about now, your bladder feels like an overstuffed vacuum cleaner bag and your butt is kinda like an about-to-explode bratwurst."

--Ernie McCracken, Kingpin

Crunch time cometh, Minyans, and DEFCON levels are starting to rise. With quarter-end in sight and chasers in flight, the stakes have been raised and nerves have been frayed. It's an emotional tape and the drifty action belies an underlying tension. As we edge through autumn, you can be sure that traders are only gonna get edgier!

As I read Snoop's latest piece, I was struck by the potential implications of the message. I agree with him whole heartedly regarding the anxiety in the marketplace and the pervasive fear of missing. As we know, those emotions can become self-fulfilling and create an upside feeding frenzy. What strikes me is that, in the post-bubble world, the metamorphosis of fear to greed has been THE hallmark of trading tops. While "selling hope and buying despair" doesn't work in a momentum driven trading environment, we must, at the very least, acknowledge historical warning signs.

To be sure, the legs under our metric table have seemingly become sturdier. The fundies have firmed, the technicals have tickled, psychology is sizzling and the electoral agenda is clear. Regardless of your individual view, those are the facts and we must respect (not defer) to them. The goal now is to juxtapose what was, what is and what can be into a systematic strategy.

I've been too bearish this year and it hasn't been the most popular place to be. If it weren't so painful, it would almost be funny. I adopted that bias in the Spring of 2000 and serendipitously began writing about it that July. Three years and 3000 NASDAQ points lower, it again feels like the loneliest place on earth. I'm not rationalizing--I've been colder than an eskimo--but at the same time, my eyes are firmly fixated on the path ahead. That's where the profits are.

The ability to learn from the past is what differentiates a mistake from a lesson. You can take that to mean "it's not too late to get on the Hoofy express" or you can interpret it as "Bubble me once, shame on you. Bubble me twice, shame on me." Quite possibly, both phrases may apply to our year-end run although I remain of the view that the latter will be entirely more painful than the former.

With that said, the daily grind continues although the action thus far is unremarkable. The major averages continue to meander above their recent breakouts and as long as they hold, Hoofy will continue to file his nails. In sector work, the retailers keep slipping, the chips trade well (beta chasers), the banks and brokers offset each other, the rotation into the drugs continues, gold is shiny and the dollar has started to eye the monopoly peg again.

In Minyanville news, the results of our poll are in and (as expected) The Godfather took top honors, Goodfellas amused at number two while The Godfather part deux took the third cannoli. A special mention has to go to Once Upon a Time in America as it seems to be a Minyan favorite. Put that on the list of weekend DVD's to rent on a rainy night.

Finally (phew), Minyan Sean Michael Mueller finishes the day atop our animated auction leader board. If you haven't taken the time to visit the updated Critters Choice Awards site, please try and do so once the market closes. We're gathering some of the brightest names in film, finance and music to support children's charity and this is gonna be a really big show!

Have a most peaceful night, Minyans, and fare ye well.
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