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Random Thoughts: Banks Have Backs To Wall


Financials off five percent in early trading.


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 One Foot in Front of the Other.

Gate Sniffage! - 9:51 am

  • I enter today's fray with a flattish book and some smallish energy exposure (DXO).

  • I nibbled on a starter position in Research in Motion (RIMM) although it's admittedly edgeless and added purely as a function of price. A tight, trailing stop will be employed if this puppy can find it's footing.

  • Other upside ketchup plays, for those so inclined, include some of the beaten down retailers which, as Minyans remember, we flagged as flawed in our August retail therapy column. Many of these names--such as Sears Holdings (SHLD)--have since been cut in half.

  • I managed to catch the last five minutes of the Raider game yesterday, just in time to see my team score the go-ahead touchdown on a kick-off return before losing yet again on a last minute field goal. Bad seasons define good fans indeed.

  • Watch the dollar, Minyans, for it is the single best tell in our "asset class deflation vs. dollar devaluation" dynamic.

  • T-minus sixteen days until Festivus and space is starting to tighten. If you've been on the fence, please consider this your friendly Minyanville reminder to lock your spot for our holiday trot!

  • Hit 'em hard, friends, and hit 'em where they ain't!

Time Is the Arbiter of All Fate - 11:43 am

Is it me or did our requisite respite fly by thatquick? I've been trying oh-so-hard to achieve the "balance" thing we so often speak of but it's easier said than done in the current world climate. Indeed, another holiday stretch is suddenly in sight and in the blink of an eye, that too shall pass.

Some top-line vibes as we remain mindful of each moment:

  • A quick sniff of our tea leaves finds negative breadth (NYSE 2:1), a stronger dollar (equity unfriendly), bunk banks (Goldman (GS), Morgan Stanley (MS), Wells Fargo (WFC), JPMorgan (JPM), Citigroup (C) and Bank if America (BAC) all off 5%) and flies in the beta space (Baidu (BIDU) -17%). Hands over eyes, it begs caution.

  • STILL, for what it's worth and so it's said, my trading tries today are with the Matador Crowd, with small upside bets in energy, retail (Sears (SHLD)), Research in Motion (RIMM) and a snivlet of SSO. Just trading, and doing so with discipline and defined risk.

  • Hey, if we've really only got Four More Years, why not make the most of 'em?

  • Full Disclosure: I upgraded to the BlackBerry Bold on Friday and I'm officially addicted to the bells and whistles. The good news is that, should the market simply "go away," my Texas Hold 'Em skills are getting much, much better (what a time suck!).

  • Minyan Carter just pinged to ask "Negativity: the new bubble?" Perhaps, but it's a function of time horizon. While we could indeed see upside tries that stick, this mess will take years to filter through the system as debt is destroyed.

  • One of the smarter money men I know thinks that a short Volkswagen bet is the single best position on the board. I'm not involved but listening to his logic, it made alotta sense.

  • Given the sheer amount of information communicated since Labor Day, I've hit a wall built with writer's blocks. I'm fighting through it (a first, if you can believe it, in eight years) but as we have no secrets in the 'Ville, I thought I would share the fare. Suffice to say that this Minyan is in desperate need of some prolonged R&R.

  • Watch this test, Minyans, if Hoofy can walk the line, his crew may escape today's tape.

  • As always and of course, I hope this finds you well.


Did you know the doors to Festivus 2008 are officially open? Have you yet locked your spot for the critter trot as last year's soiree sold out? (This is our annual event to commingle our professors, partners and Minyans while chowing down and listening to live music. The very best part? It's for the kids in the good name of my grandfather.)

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Positions in RIMM, DXO, SHLD, energy proxy, SSO
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