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Random Thoughts: Scary Mary, Why Ya Buggin'?

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Desperate times call for desperate measures.

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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 Back in the U.S.S.A.! and Random Thoughts: Which Way Will We Go?


Scary Mary - 10:15 am

I get that desperate times call for desperate measures. I understand that the "other side" of this ride would have been a cataclysmic crash that would have sucked every institution into the abyss. I don't want to see that anymore than you do despite my core belief system that free markets are the hallmark of our great country.

With that said, a few elements of the proposed bail-out plan stand out as particularly egregious. In particular, in section 8, "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

Perhaps I'm sleep deprived and not reading this right, but this seems to fly in the face of the balance of powers that is the fundamental foundation of the United States of America.

Some other, Random Thoughts:

  • As we attempt to return to some semblance of procedural normally, I'll offer that "psychology" has over-taken "structural" in our metric totem pole. Faith in the system and the perception of credibility in our leaders is paramount for any plan to work. Not just here, mind you, but around the world. Keep in mind that none of these initiatives prohibit foreign holders of dumping equity holdings.

  • Some of the smarter folks I speak with seem to think that we've toggled to the other side of Our Wishbone World. The question, quite naturally, is how far the rest of the world will allow us to debase the greenback before abandoning it as the world reserve currency.

  • We're seeing the first press lower (as we mused in the previous Buzz). My sense--and keep in mind that we're in unchartered territory--is that we'll see a resumption of to the upside try at a point (and I don't profess to know what that point is).

  • In that vein--and not advice--I dipped my wick into a "financials in drag" that will be added to the short sale list (hint: it's a General and it doesn't make cars). Trailing stop, quite naturally, and smaller than I otherwise would. Hey, Phoebe has to eat too.

  • So my question is this--how long before they suspend the first amendment? We spoke about this in July and it seems to be on a collision course with the sector formally known as Wall Street. Yep, scary thought indeed.

  • Deep breath, Minyans--we will get there together.


Retail Therapy! - 11:07 am

We've spoken about Retail Therapy--or, the need for retailers to seek therapy--at the end of August. The thought was that regardless of whether the credit crisis resolved itself through a cancer or a car crash, there would be negative implications for this consumer based sector.

On Friday, we mused that with the financials legally "off limits," Boo's crew would shift their short side attention to retail. We noted the lethargy in Wal-Mart (WMT) and Target (TGT) and mused that we could learn a lot just by watching. I actually initiated as small put position in Sears Holdings (SHLD) but unwound it into the weekend as a function of discipline. Yes, it's frustrating but opportunities lost are the other side of the discipline trade.

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Positions in SPY, GE

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 todd@minyanville.com.

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