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Monday Morning Quarterback: A Reemergence of Global Risk


Will cooler heads prevail in Middle East?


It was the final weekend of the year and that can only mean one thing-the NFL playoff schedule is set. The cast includes many teams expected to be in the hunt-the world champion New York Football Giants, the resurgent Indianapolis Colts, the suddenly dangerous San Diego Chargers, the Carolina Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers will all continue forward in quest of the trophy.

Consistent with the upside down year that has been 2008, we've also seen our fair share of surprises. The Miami Dolphins, 1-15 last year, will be in the hunt after the greatest turnaround in NFL history. The Tennessee Titans somehow boast the best regular season record. The Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons, both upside surprises, will square off in an NFC wild-card game on Saturday.

And there are the side-note stories, those left off the front pages but top of mind for diehard fans. The Lions were perfectly imperfect, losing sixteen games for the first time in history. Brett Favre's Jets missed the cut and validated Bill Parcels, Tony Sparano and Chad Pennington in one fell swoop. And of course, my Raiders avenged their Super Bowl XXXVII loss to the Bucs by knocking them out of this year's hunt.

Someone once said that revenge is a dish best served cold. After 7 years and a combined 24-72 record, the Silver and Black will take what they can get. Mediocrity typically doesn't warrant celebration-or draft picks, for that matter-but given this year, in football and the markets, we've learned to be thankful for what we have rather than lament what we don't.

War of the Worlds

Over the weekend, while scouring through my weekend reading, I stumbled across a chart of the XLE (Energy SPDR). The slow, sideways slither under the underbelly of support screamed "churn," or the working off of an oversold condition as a function of time rather than price.

Click to enlarge

Legitimate reasons for lower energy prices have been well documented in these parts, highlighted last spring when crude was hovering around $140/barrel. Deflation, demand destruction and the specter of the worst global economic environment of our lifetimes combined to create a perfect storm for Texas Tea.

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