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Randoms: One Down, Three to Go


The first quarter ends with some pop.


Editor's Note: The following was posted in real time on our premium Buzz & Banter (click for a free trial). It's being shared here for the benefit of the Minyanville community. See also Looming Shoes or Hiking Boots? and The Tug or War?

Chatta Box - 11:40 am

I'm being told that uber-analyst Meredith Whitney is saying "you don't wanna be short" into earnings season and while there are plenty of issues the banks need to work through the second half of the year, there will be better entry points on the short side.

If true (currently unconfirmed), this is very consistent with the drum Minyan Peter has banged loudly the last few months (banks moved many lumps into back quarters so they could "beat" this quarter) and it "fits" with a "more relaxing" mark-to-market posture into Thursday's meeting.

I continue to carry my exposure in the financials, re-initiated this morning, with a trailing stop.

Answers I Really Wanna Know... - 1:02 pm

  • Does anyone else miss Pepe Depew while he's on his well deserved vacation?

  • M2M: sell the news or traders wanna see definitive clarity?

  • Does anyone else think President Taylor's daughter is a really bad egg?

  • Why is it that when I trade smaller and hit 'em to quit 'em--as opposed to swinging for the fences-- I grind out decent performance?

  • Not unlike the blackjack table in Vegas (when I used to go to Vegas, of course)?

  • Remember when we discussed the "cancer vs. the car crash" last September?

  • Given the pain migration from the homies to banks to financials in drag (General Electric (GE), General Motors (GM), Ford (F)) to retail, tech and commodities, is it safe to say we've seen both?

  • While I have little (if any) doubt that the current lift is cyclical not secular, does it have to ramp further to suck in more sentiment?

  • If we define risk--rather than chase reward--do we really need to know that yet?

  • I mean, can't we drive from NYC to California at night if our headlights illuminate the 200 feet directly in front of us?

  • Is there anything wrong with a little Neil Young on our time?

  • How 'bout a double shot for Turnaround Tuesday?

  • Don't bad times define good friends like bad seasons define good fans?

  • If you do the right thing long enough, won't someone eventually notice?

  • How in the world did Uncle Buck only get two and a half stars?

  • As go the piggies, so goes the poke?

  • Y'all seeing those snazzy NYSE internals?

  • Between the three B's--banks, breadth and brokers--isn't a higher close in the cards?

  • Anyone else really miss Bennet "Blue Steel" Sedacca?

  • Are we taking the time to appreciate the journey before arriving at the destination we so desperately seek?

I Can't Hear You! - 2:05 pm

  • Try as I may, loud chewers and close talkers still rub my craw.

  • I'm told that UBS released an afternoon note saying that its strategist is at the FASB today and he sees very little change to FASB 157 but perhaps some leeway on Level II (vs. Level III) assets.

  • What's the difference between Level II and Level III? We touched on that on November 6th, 2008 when we collectively eyed the Fire on the Mountain.

  • As for my positioning, I continue to trade with trailing stops on my upside financial exposure, with one eye on game changing legislation and the other on the fact that this is Turnaround Tuesday. The mechanics of the swing always trumps the result of the at-bat.

  • Wouldn't the world be a better place if people did what they said and said what they did?

  • Keep in mind that the Russell quarterly rebalance occurs today so there will be some funky price action in that space into the close.

  • The irony of all the putrid hate towards the stock market? Huge, massive opportunities are beginning to present themselves in the small cap space. Color me "long babies and short bathwater" as we together find our way.

  • As always, I hope this finds you well.

It's Everywhere You Wanna Be - 2:57 pm

  • Charge! Remember yesterday we spoke of the dry eye that was Visa (V)? You can learn a lot just by watching and the stock is up 4% today (which is far less than what the company will charge you on your monthly balance). Note the reverse dandruff as well, which will "confirm" with a trade above $58.

  • While this is admittedly granular, please note the XLF gap fillage (from yesterday morning) that works $9.13.

  • The fatal flaw of trailing stops, as a stylistic approach, is overnight gap risk. That is the art to the science of trading. As such, with regards to my upside financial exposure, I'll likely sell at least half of my risk into the bell.

  • Gun to head, they've got room to run but risk management over reward chasing has served me in good stead.

  • Do you believe your name is your word and honesty, trust and respect are the core constructs of any sustainable future foundation? If so, you're MUR material and we invite you to get on board The Critter Express.

  • Fare ye well into the bell and remember, gratitude is latitude.

Bell Buzz - 3:49 pm

As I share vibe time with Cape Town Professor PdP (Prieur du Plessis) talking tape, the 'Ville and the world at large, I shift my attention to my eight screaming screens as the first quarter readies to exhale. All in all, we're looking at double digit losses for the old school and a paltry, 3% loss in four-letter land. Far from great but well off where we were. One step at a time, right?

As per my last missive, I pared my financial exposure in half and continue to operate with a trailing stop on the leaves. Stick and move has served me in good stead as I'm reminded of the cross country journey at night, with high beams on, 200 feet at a clip. It's not as sexy as big bold market calls but I have one mission in mind and that's financial staying power and the opportunities that await on the other side of this prolonged malaise.

With that, and in front of several important post-bell melds, I bid you adieu and wish you the blessing of perspective. If you're not thrilled with your first quarter performance, keep in mind that it could be worse and for alotta folks--people who have lost parents, husbands, sisters and brothers--it already is.

May peace be with you.


In memory of our fallen friend and trusted colleague, Bennet Sedacca, 100% of the donations made to the RP Foundation through April will be channeled to philanthropic endeavors consistent with the RP mission, working closely with the Sedacca clan in the distribution of those funds. We thank you kindly for your support as we strive to effect positive change in the lives of children.

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