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The Pretzel Twist

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The Fed only has so many bullets in their gun. Well, their visible gun anyway.

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"What the cops never figured out, and what I know now, was that these men would never break, never lie down, never bend over for anybody. Anybody."
--Verbal Kint


There are some columns that dig deep and beg introspection. This particular vibe isn't one of them. As I shift gears from a morning that began at 3:00 AM (don't ask) and eyeball a cross-town midmorning meld (in the rain!), I'm gonna shoot from the hip and let 'er rip.

  • I've written thousands of columns over the last six years-most about the market, some about experience, many about life and a bit on the 'Ville. Yesterday's missive, however, struck a particularly powerful chord across a spectrum of society. And surprisingly, none of the many email responses-not one-was acrimonious. That surprised me.

  • If you haven't clicked through to some of the above links, it may be worth some weekend reading. In particular, many of the "Ten Themes" this year are seemingly coming to bear. Naturally, whether or not they do remains on the final ten weeks. Ten weeks? Really?

  • TXU sold $7.5 billion in bonds to finance its leveraged buy-out by KKR and TPG yesterday. That's the biggest sale EVER of high yield, high risk debt, surpassing the mark set in '89 when KKR sold $6.1 billion of junk bonds to fund its takeout of Joe Camel and the RJR Nabisco folks.

  • That, as much as anything, is a bovine Cliff Branch (although, please note that I haven't chewed through the terms, which are equally important).

  • The Raiders could use Cliff Branch. Even at his current age.

  • How bout that Snapper yesterday, eh? I sure picked a heckuva day to talk about the Unusual Suspects. No salt here-we don't make the rules, we simply have to adapt if we're gonna stay in the game. The question, quite naturally, is whether that was a meaningful low or just another kick-save before another series of slap shots.

  • We talked about the narrowing leadership this week (Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and Research in Motion (RIMM) are 50% of the year-to-date Nazz gains). That must change if Hoofy is gonna roll with models and bottles (or bottles and babies) on New Year's Eve.

  • The Upside of Anger? No, not Kevin Costner. The banks. Given how weak this complex has been-off 14% and dangling near '07 lows (BKX 100)-we have to wonder how the tape will act if these names find an oversold bid. See both sides, please.

  • Can that happen? Fo' Sho-this is the Minx, she can do anything (see yesterday). I will continue to offer, however, that long-term players may wanna use any strength as an opportunity to sell. If this credit crunch is in the early innings, as I believe it is, there are better battles to be fought.

  • I don't know about you but I, for one, am looking forward to a massive Minyan minglefest to hang with our human capital. There's nothing like a kick-back soiree (that raises money for kids) where we can let loose and talk tape!

  • Who blew bubbles as a kid? China was off 5% last night, which brings the quiet October correction to 9%. How deep is this rut? Uh, Shanghai is right back where it was to start the month (and still up 108% for the year!).

  • The dollar is off 45 bips this morning. While we could conceivably see a lower greenback and lower asset classes in synch, a higher dollar would be a red flag for all things supply-demand. I know… just saying.

  • Warning! You won't be able to get the Hulk Hogan jingle out of your head if you watch this week's episode of Hoofy and Boo.

  • There's currently a 15% chance, according to Fed Funds, that we see a fifty bip cut on Wednesday's FOMC.

  • What happens if we fail after the cut (25 bip or otherwise)? That, to me, has always been a more profound question. The Fed only has so many bullets in their gun. Well, their visible gun anyway.

  • Slammy and jammy on this end so please lemme hop. I'll be back on this other side of this morning meld so good luck and think positive. It begins within.


R.P.

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