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Randoms: Is Quarter-End Mark-Up Fact or Fiction?


Fund managers jockey for position before they put pen to paper.


Editor's Note: The following was posted in real time on our premium Buzz & Banter (clock for a free trial). It's being shared here for the benefit of the Minyanville community.

Gate Sniffage! - 10:20 am

  • The market opens at 9:30 on Mondays, right? Just making sure as the flickering ticks are lethargic at best to start our abbreviated four-session set. It reminds me of that guy to my right as I was rolling the bones Friday night, doing everything he could to zap my energy away from the hard six.

  • What did I spy on the opening? Some laggage in Amazon (AMZN) relative to it's peers and attempted to scoop a slew of puts with an eye towards $85 as defined risk. I missed 'em and tried to pay up. Missed those too, so I watched...and then got 20% of my original position in at a higher price. It's a pure schnitzel, mind you, as I look to collect some shekels before the fireworks.

  • Why do I share this fire drill? In terms of my stream of consciousness, I saw laggy price action and immediately looked for a level that would provide defined risk (if nothing jumped out, I would have moved on). As something did, I pushed my chips on the table. When the dealer didn't see me, rather than chasing with my original bet (and risk getting plugged at the wrong price), I scaled it back, got something done and will trade it with a scalpel and a hard stop on the other side of $85).

  • Random Thought: Are there any Martha's Vineyard Minyans in our midst? Given both sport a snazzy "MV," I'm sure there are and if so, please phone home.

  • While I've got a face for radio, this is the third of Friday's Yahoo TechTicker segments discussing 5 Keys to the Market.

  • The Jedi Mind Trick? File this away under "so you know" but last quarter, after a few days of sticky price action, the tape got thumped during the last two sessions of the quarter. We used to call it "The Spitzer Effect" in the 'Ville until that assumed an entirely more unseemly connotation.

  • And then there's the nonsensical notion offered on June 11th that "While sticking with the bigger picture "W" bent, a last gasp higher into quarter-end remains in play (for some reason, my sense is that would end three days before the quarter).

  • With this upside effort (I'm writing in real-time), I'm adding a snivlet more Amazon puts with one eye on $85 and the other on YOU, Fokker.

  • Be sure to read uber smart Prof Smita Sadana's take on the Golden Cross

For What It's Worth - 10:40 am

I chewed through my stream of consciousness in the last buzz and, as a follow up, will offer this thought. The S&P rallied ten handles and the master beta complex (Amazon (AMZN), Research in Motion (RIMM), Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), Baidu (BIDU)) is flattish at best.

As I often tell Buzz Editor and all around good dude Terry Woo, "If they're not going up, they're going down." You know my position--I've since added to it and have defined my risk to the other side of $85--but as I'm thinking it, you're reading it.

Doesn't make it right, mind you, but it certainly makes it honest.

Head up, eyes positive and hold on loosely....

Let my inspiration flow in token rhyme, suggesting rhythm - 11:45 am

  • Do YOU remember the 60's?

  • Y'all watching this mini-dandruff in play below S&P 930ish? That's "a" level opposed to the level at S&P 950 (or S&P 900 as the case may be).

  • Away form the four-letter fray, the action in the financials (Citigroup (C), JP Morgan (JPM), Bank America (BAC)) is equally uninspiring thus far (in the context of an "up ten tape").

  • At least through the lens of what truly inspires, such as Mario Lopez in The Greg Louganis Story (I haven't seen it but Minyan Editor Matt Theal swears by his performance).

  • Breadth? Working nine to five (what a way to make a living) on the big board but curiously flat in the NASDAQ.

  • Social unrest in Iran. A coup in Honduras. Riots in Europe. If there was ever a "theme" I wished I was wrong on, it would be this.

  • Inspiration, move me brightly. Light the song with sense and color, hold away despair.

  • The savvy soothsayin' Jeff Saut offered a bullish bent on Japan today. As Minyans might recall, I mused in January that Japan, with a 25-year head start down Deflationary Road, would out-perform U.S equities this year (the Nikkei is currently up 10.5% vs. "flattish" U.S proxies (DJIA -3%, S&P +2.5%).

  • Finally, the tougher "it" gets out there, the more I'm seeing people do things they might not ordinarily do. We often say bad times define good friends just as bad seasons define good fans. An extension of that is that tough times define character and the way we forge forward will define us as people. Now, more than ever, honesty, trust and respect remain the foundational constructs of any successful endeavor.

  • Dew to chew on as we find our way. As always, I hope this finds you well.


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

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