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Random Thoughts: Civil Liberties


More than accountability, we must be aware of basic rights.


Editor's Note: The following was posted in real-time on the Buzz & Banter and is being shared here for the benefit of the Minyanville community.

Will Wall Street and the First Amendment Collide? - 9:05 am

The lawsuit against analyst Dick Bovet brought a disturbing conundrum to bear.

It's endemic of the shifting social mood. Nobody asked questions when the screens were green. Once the wheels wobble on the wagon, everyone is quick to point a finger.

We spoke about the Blame Game in the autumn when Warren Specter, Stan O'Neal and Chuck Prince were jettisoned from their corner offices. As the buck stopped with them-quite literally-they had to shoulder the blame and go down with their ship.

What we're now seeing extends beyond accountability-it talks to civil liberties.

It speaks to the First Amendment.

If a market participant spreads false information and profits from it, he or she deserves to get the book thrown at him.

Painting the entire short side of the market as villains-and holding them accountable for horrible performance-not only damages the market machination, it challenges a fundamental premise that our country was founded on.

Gate Sniffage! - 9:47 am

Red and White, Blue Suede Shoes... - 10:20 am

You can call this song, the US-O blues.

I dabbled on the dark side yesterday in the USO with the thought that big brother was gonna get crude lower by all means necessary into the election.

Well, that and the bubble stuff we've been talking about.

Click to enlarge

Alas, I was stopped out when Texas Tea popped through the all-important $130 level.

Discipline over conviction, right?

Either way and anyway, see it slip and drip 3% lower today and respect that fact that conventional wisdom still subscribes to the fallacy that lower crude is equity positive.

It will be, until it's not... like most paradigms.

Trapper John, MD? - 11:00 am

Alrightee then, we've gotten the first--and dare I say intuitive--Snapper from the opening abyss as the financials try to put on a brave face. The most impressive action, I suppose, is from our friends from Charlotte. Wachovia (WB) messed the bed in a big, bad way and the stock rallied back to the flat line.

That--along with American Express (AXP)--remain the tells du jour in the financial complex.

My eyes are twitchin' from looking at so many different things but in the interest of Minyanship, I'll try to cover 'em in kind. Here goes:

  • Breadth has balanced a bit--it's actually flat for the four-letter freaks and 3:2 negative on the big board (a marked improvement).

  • Crude continues to struggle as I wonder to myself if I set too tight of a stop. No looking back, I know, just thinking out loud.

  • There is usually one "easy" trade per day. Unfortunately, we've liken seen it.

  • Schering-Plough (SGP) $18 is a nice and tight defined risk for those looking to nibble on the name. I'm currently eyeing some calls although I've yet to determine if that trigger should be pulled.

  • What's the oldest adage on Wall Street?

    • Good traders know how to make money, great traders know how to take a loss?
    • Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered?
    • You're only as good as your last trade?
    • If they can't get 'em down, they're going higher?

  • It's the last blurb that warrants attention as we wade into the afternoon muck.

Lunch Meat (still sans the bread) - 11:29 am

  • Circling back to JP Morgan (JPM), we again find that we can learn a lot just by watching. I have, so you know, taken the quick, small schnitzel as, well, trades are made to be taken.

  • Len Spivak, so you know, is Minyanville's (and my) Grand Puhbah. I've known him my entire life and implicitly trust his judgment. We welcome his views with open arms.

  • Take this with a grain of salt and a shake of pepper. When big companies like Continental (CAL)... or Fannie Mae (FNM)... or Wachovia (WB) have 20% swings in a day, that's not necessarily bullish regardless of direction.

  • Will crude trade par ($100) before the election?

  • Come on, I dare you not to smile!

  • Trade, don't chase. There are two types of traders in today's market: Those that are proactive (rather than reactive) and those that are on their way out.

For more of Toddo's real-time vibes, check out a continuation of this article: Random Thoughts: Will Bulls Scream Yahoo?


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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