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Americans Unimpressed by Retailers, Oil Prices


Consumers find both sectors a yawn.


Hello from New York, where I spent my morning taping an episode of Donny Deutsch bemoaning the lunacy of Speaker Pelosi going to Detroit to save the automotive industry and my afternoon (or at least the last couple minutes) covering my previously mentioned short position in Toyota Motors (TM).

While the absence of Speaker Pelosi's input does give Toyota an incremental advantage over Detroit's Big 2.5, the catalyst for my cover was Toyota's stock dropping 17% today after the company missed estimates and guided lower.

As I've said a few million times in 2008: Markets where mega-cap stocks move 20% at a time make traders of us all, however Long Term or Tax Averse you may have been prior to this year. On the flip side of the coin, I bought back my previously sold Burlington Northern (BNI). The Cho Cho Juggernaut has support near the 80 level, and is down more than $10 from where it was when we were selling the election rally just 2 days ago.

It's a tough tape to want to be long anything, but: A) Buying 10-point drops in names you like is the other side of covering slow-rolling trainwrecks like Toyota and B) I plan to use BNI shares, rather than gold chips, to bribe the railroad dicks when I make the leap to full-time hobo-ery.

Here's what I'm watching when not ranting or trading stuff with wheels:

  • Retail sales results today? I have nothing nice to say about them, or about the group. I'm still long a bit of Wal-Mart (WMT); beyond Wal-Mart, I refuse to even consider the group.

  • Goldman Sachs (GS) is making new closing lows daily and is off nearly 50 points since the Oracle of Omaha made his much-hyped investment. I have no insight into what, precisely, is wrong at Goldman, but the stock is one sick puppy; the firm sacked 10% of its workforce yesterday. Be afraid, be very afraid.

  • I'm off to Washington, DC with the rest of the Fast Money crew after tonight's show. The over/ under on just how late my flight will be on arrival is currently set at 4 hours. If we gave advice on the 'Ville, I'd suggest the over.

  • Yup, I'm still long the dollar via the UUP ETF. I'm not in love with the name, but it's as good as any as a proxy for the position I'd really want to be long, which is America's Apathy Towards the Price of Crude.

    Not since I shorted Britney Spears to a buddy when "Hit Me Baby One More Time" was in heavy rotation have I made a hypothetical trade as lucrative (in an imaginary way) as my Gas Price Apathy (GPA) position. Britney may have bottomed - but I'd be loading up on more GPA every time crude rallied.

  • ArcelorMittal (MT), the world's largest steel company, is down more than 10% again today and over one-third since the company warned yesterday morning. I'd short the general idea of the global-growth story, but I'm not sure I can even find a counter-party at this point.
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Position in WMT, UUP ETF

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