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Random Thoughts: Is This Rally Real?


Green ticks could be a bear market rally... or more?


So, let's cut to the chase--is this a bear market rally (of the sharpest variety) or the turn? That's the question on the lips of critters around the world. It's the key to the vault. It's the gateway to profitability. It'll crack the code of our collectively sanity!

I've been carefully weighing both sides of the ride, including recent missives from Jeff Saut and Jeff Cooper--two current bulls I massively respect --against the looming reality that awaits.

The answer, more likely than not, lies in the context of time. Yes, we can rally--perhaps all the way to S&P 1405--but no, we're not out of the woods. These are two mutually exclusive discussions that sync with the proper perspective. Trying to simultaneously balance both is a recipe for confusion and a road to whippage.

I know. I've been there.

Some perspective:

  • The S&P tickled this level January 18th, 24th, 25th, 28th, 29th, 31st, February 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 25th, 29th, March 24th, 25th and 26th. In other words, take this for what it's worth, which is worth a lot if you caught it but is nothing new if you haven't.

  • The BKX, despite today's 5% jump, is still off 25% since October and in the midst of
    it's eighth lower high. Seriously, count 'em.

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a scant 12% from an all-time high.

  • The greenback, despite today's rally, is 40% lower than it was in 2002. I offer this through the lens of "dollar devaluation vs. asset class deflation" and with the expectation that a rally will soon arrive.

We offered this morning that if Hoofy was gonna bust a move higher, today would be his best bet. Check that box for the time being but remember the difference between battles and wars. The former is a daily occurrence, the latter matter is a question of time, perseverance and structural integrity.

As always, I hope this finds you well.

Some Random Thoughts:

  • Remember in Spaceballs when Mel Brooks said "Merchandise, Merchandise, Merchandise!" I'm having a similar thought today but the words are "Rotation, Rotation, Rotation!" Out of commodity names (energy, metals) and into financials.

  • The toughest part about this tape? If you're not there overnight--and carrying that attendant risk--you miss 5, 6, 7, 10% moves and feel like you're chasing your tail.

  • What's not exciting me? Gladiator movies. That, and the relative traction (or lack thereof) in the semis.

  • Dude, crude is back at par ($100). Remember, support (resistance) weakens with each subsequent test so the likelihood that this level holds is incrementally lower than it was the first time. For what it's worth, I think slick willy trades lower.

  • God as my witness, I went home last night thinking the financials were ripe for an upside trade to start the quarter (as risk appetites growl a bit louder). If that was the easy trade, I shudder to think what the hard trade looks like.

  • Peel and eat shrimp are probably the most labor intensive food in existence, with peanuts coming in second and mussels taking the bronze.

  • The VXO (and VXN) are edging back to the red zone*. That asterisk, by the way, is the "volatility is the opposite of liquidity" discussion. With a trillion dollars of (your) money in the market--and the perception of more behind--we must respect all sides of the rationalization spectrum.

  • Don't hate the player, hate the game baby! I still think we'll be able to buy gold with a seven handle ($700-something). Dollars to donuts, there will be plenty of reasons not to buy it when it gets there.

  • "On Lehman (LEH), I would caution that access to liquidity from the Fed, while very helpful in the short run is no substitute for capital - and I have no doubt that the price to be paid by Lehman and other investment banks in exchange for Fed access will be more capital and lower leverage. Is Lehman done raising capital and writing off assets? Is anyone done? Deleveraging is just beginning, and as the folks the commodities space are just beginning to see, it hurts." Minyan Peter on today's Buzz.

  • R.I.P LL.


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