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Random Thoughts: The Toss Up Turnaround Tuesday

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Stocks unsure which way to go.

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  • I'm a gorilla, you clown! JP Morgan (JPM) saying that Merrill (MER) will write down another five bananas isn't the same thing as Merrill actually writing down five bananas.

  • Still, keep an eye on the latter matter through the lens of "the reaction to news is more important than the news itself."

  • Hot poppers today? Energy and metals, on the heels of the 90 bip slip in the buck.

  • Sometimes the ability not to trade is as important as trading ability. If and when Schlumberger (SLB) schlups up towards resistance ($88ish), I'll likely revisit a position with defined risk.

  • I miss Mama's in Maui. Good times indeed.

  • What am I watching? The financials vis a vis the futures. It's a fluid equation with many moving parts but that's precisely where tape watchers make their living.

  • I had a moment this morning when dropping off Phoebe (the queen to Zoë's jester) at the vet. The upside of sadness, I suppose, is that evidently, as she was curled up in a corner, she passed peacefully and without pain. RIP Bird.

  • "More than that, stocks have no center of gravity. Normally, mutual funds know where they want to buy stocks. But mutual funds have no cash either. Stocks are gyrating around every story because the financial system is on the brink of something very significant." Mr. Practical on today's Buzz.

  • The most bullish thing on my screen? Market internals never dented much worse than even during the press lower. The relative traction in Goldman (GS) gets an honorable mention.

  • The most bearish thing on my screen? Lehman (LEH), which is quietly 10% off yesterday's high.

  • You know what keeps popping into my head? No, not that... I'm thinking about how quickly sentiment shifted from risk aversion to reward chasing.

  • A finski to the first Minyan who can tell me which aspect (and which side) of the denial-migration-panic trifecta we're in.

  • In the interest of forthright communication, there's a shot that I'll be traveling Thursday and Friday. As the tape tends to get her freak on while I'm out, I felt that I had to put it out there.

  • The last time consumer confidence was this low? Try 1974, 1980, 1990 and 2000 on for size.

  • The government is socializing the markets and will, in my opinion, eventually nationalize Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE). It's too late to shift course, sort of like a cruise ship in a canal trying to navigate the tips of multiple icebergs.

  • Is it bad that I liked Lionel Richie as a kid? I mean, Hello!, who doesn't like dancing on the ceiling all night long and following it up with an easy Sunday morning?


R.P.
Z.H.

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