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Random Thoughts: Fighting the Market... and the Flu


Is it too much to hope for a speedy recovery?


Editor's Note: The following was posted in real time on our premium Buzz & Banter. It's being shared here for the benefit of the Minyanville community. See also What's Next for Wall Street? and Heady Headlines.

Corks, Forks and Commodities - 1:05 pm

  • I had a very disturbing dream Monday night that I can't share on the Buzz. Suffice to say that the 185% rally in Emergent BioSolutions (EBS) (since the summer) isn't helping me dismiss it as a by-product of NyQuil.

  • Speaking of flashbacks, remember the days when energy and metals traded inversely to everything else?

  • Was that this lifetime? Jeezums, it all seems like one big blur at times.

  • Breadth is still 2:1 positive but the piggies are poking lower and there bears watching.

  • Tiffany... Tiffany.... OH TIFFANY!

  • Why do I feel naked without risk? Is Danger my middle name?

  • If everyone is trading reactive, is the only profitable approach to trade when you can and not when you have to?

  • Bill Miller down 60%. That just doesn't happen in a normal world.

  • I may be getting ahead of myself here--moi?--but IF the animal spirits can lift the tape and performance anxiety kicks in, I would be very careful the first week of the new year. Very, very careful.

  • The commodity pop seems SO very intuitive following the negative yield trade yesterday. In fact, I was just shaking my head in disgust when MV COO Tom "Ike" Eggers walked by and caught my self-loathing (yes, it's a relatively common occurrence).

  • Tick tock, baby... tick tock.

We can talk about burying the hatchet. You know what a hatchet is, don't you, Bug? - 2:22 pm

Jeezums, I turn my head for an internal meld and pffft!, there it is. 5% off the top of crude. 15 handles in the S&P. 100-odd Dow points. I vaguely remember when the VIX was drifting around 10 for years and we prayed for this type of volatility. Now, I just want it to stop.

Please... make it go away.

In terms of words of wisdom, I'm fresh out, save the following observations in no particular order:

  • How we gonna do this? Together. How? Together. HOW? TOGETHER!

  • The buyers are higher and the sellers are lower, intraday and through year-end.

  • Centurian Pishaw! What was the "break" in American Express (AXP) we traded a few months ago? $38? $36? $34? I don't remember and it really doesn't matter as it flirts with teenage wasteland.

  • If I weren't out (tomorrow and next week), I would prolly be trading General Electric (GE) from the short side against some long energy bets. I am, however, so I'm not, so you know.

  • Oh come on, you know you wanna click here.

  • Welcome to contra-hour, hope you enjoy the show. Me? I'm a not-so-innocent bystander who will kindly remind you that pressing, guessing and stressing is no way to go through life, son.

  • As always, I hope this finds you... here.

Scatter Plot! - 3:29 pm

I really appreciate the many Minyans who care enough to offer suggestions on how to beat this bug but come on now, I'm not that gullible. If you think I'm actually going to put Vicks Vaporub on the bottom of my feet before I go to sleep tonight, you're nuts. I mean, what would happen if Phoebe got stuck? New slippers? (Sorry)

  • Was yesterday's "negative yield" print in the 3-month Treasury bill akin to money markets breaking a buck?

  • I cannot tell a lie, I cannot tell a lie... on that pressy test, I bought a Todd-lot of the USO back. It may not be the best vehicle but it beats the pants off the drying paint also known as the DXO.

  • Jeff Saut was right--it's absolutely impossible for the human mind to concentrate on two things at the same...

  • Wait, what?

  • Hands over eyes, the tenor of the tape continues to feel better as that type of press would have led to a "run for the hills" watershed decline last month.

  • That doesn't mean the downside is done, mind you, it simply opens the door to some unresolved business on the upside first.

  • And we want YOU to join us!

Scary 2+2 Moment - 3:57 pm

I correspond with Minyans all over and everyone I know is getting sick... and I mean everyone.

I just walked out to Pep and said "Man, what if this isn't the flu? What if Emergent Biosolutions (EBS)--which develops immunobiotics for, among other things, bioterrorism--is up 160% since this summer for a reason?"

I said it half-joking (and mid-cough) and he responded (while coughing)"Well, at least it'll all be over soon."

Naturally, it is the flu (we hope) and while I wasn't going to share that exchange, I do so for a reason.

Be grateful for each day. Take nothing for granted. Appreciate every moment.

And always remember that tomorrow is promised to nobody.

Fare ye well, Minyans, and have a mindful (healthy) night.


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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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