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Changing of the Guard at Wal-Mart - and Citi?


Who will helm the goliath after Lee Scott's departure?


Greetings from New York, where I've been flashing back to the mid-90's all morning. The Dow has a 7-handle, Russia and China are back to being our inscrutable enemies, and Excite, Evite and WebVan don't exist.

Where once I would have sifted through my pockets and pieced together the evening, this morning I had breakfast with the kids and stumbled to my office to figure out what I did to my portfolio during the openly reckless binge of yesterday afternoon. With a cringe, I went through my stuff. I found a ton of debris (a tiny short position of something called Yahoo (YHOO), an ashtray full of an SDS ETF long and a Disney (DIS) position the size of a mouse).

Some crazy decisions were made. I did a few trades I'm not proud of but nothing got broken. I even vaguely remember having a good time. Like shadier friends I haven't seen since the last time the DJIA was here, the IRS and my brokers would be happy to enable me to party like I did from 3:00 to 4:00 yesterday until I imploded. But surviving is about knowing the difference between a crazy party and a lifestyle choice.

Having found everything relatively intact and my head aching and vacant, I crawled back into bed and watched Trading Places for the 400th time. It's expiration Friday 6 days before Thanksgiving. I'll mop up later. Today is about regrouping.

Here's what I'm watching while pondering how I missed seeing this whole Pirate trend coming...

  • Look, I only work there part time. I have no idea why the network shows the exterior of failing banks in general or why they have some freezing reporters and crew taping people walking in and out of Citi (C) HQ today. You've all asked me about it. I've asked the network. No one knows. "The stock is tumbling, so we sent a crew over there,"

  • I can't control things outside my hour of television. I can't really even control Fast Money. But I can make a rule that no one gets to come on the show and talk about "long term horizons", "BRIC", "the long-term gold rally" or the inevitability of the US' collapse unless they have a solution or a trade. People are getting hurt. Lectures will not be tolerated.

  • Among the wreckage in my portfolio is a bit of the US Dollar (UUP) ETF. I've taken gains off but I like having a little dollar exposure. I understand the anti-dollar stance just fine, thank you. I just think we're going to have to at least stop at the dollar on our way from ditching worthless rubles, dissolving euros or commie yuan and start buying groceries with gold chips.

  • Does it seem too obvious that we go out on the lows of the week tonight? I suspect we will, but, honestly, if I had any conviction on the idea, would I be watching Dan Aykroyd movies? No.

  • Wal-Mart (WMT) has 10 times the market cap of Citi. I'm long Wal-Mart, utterly tired of Citi, and don't think Pandit matters one way or the other. I am deeply curious about Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott's sudden departure, though.
Positions in SDS, YHOO, WMT, UUP, DIS

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