Random Thoughts: Running on Faith
Coast into the weekend and enjoy the respite.
We sorta sensed that, while most Fridays are Freaky, today's fray was gonna be a nutty strut. Due in large part to our continued efforts to provide real-time education-and in small part to the midtown Traffic last night-I will invoke my literary license and begin this column with two posts from this morning's Buzz.
From there, we'll segue into the stream of consciousness you've come to expect. Or perhaps, we'll chew through some thoughts you wouldn't expect!
Lay Down Sally and Rest You in My Arms! - 10:36 AM
The slow hand unfolds to the downside as the DJIA drops a deuce (200 pts) and tensions rise in kind. I'll tell ya, between credit concerns, the 5:1 negative breadth, fugly financials and, well, the world we live it, it feels like this market wants to be down 500 today.
What we feel and what we do are two distinct realities, of course, so we'll take this journey as we do all others--one step at a time. Along those lines:
- I've been In-N-Out of Baidu (BIDU) seventeen ways this morning and I continue to hold a bit with a stop below $247.50. Baring an outright equity melt (which is not out of the question), this stock should flip back to Matador City, at which point I plan to trail some stops and feed ducks. Not advice--and maybe not smart--but always honest and steadfastly disciplined.
- Other key tells include Goldman (GS), AIG (AIG) (reaction to news), energy and metals ("asset class proxies") and the fearsome foursome that is Fannie (FNM), Freddie (FRE), Ambac (ABK) and MBIA (MBI) (both of which are down 6-8%).
- I'll tell ya, I completely underestimated Stevie Winwood. I like some of his older stuff (Higher Love)--and I'm big traffic fan--but he was uber-impressive in his presence.
- The good news, I suppose, is that the VXO is up 10%. The bad news is that it's only at 27ish, which is less than half of where previous pain fulcrums have occurred. Perspective, now more than ever, is important when shaping your risk profile.
- Gotta hop. I'll be back.
You're gonna hear the term "rogue trader" a lot more as we edge ahead. While there are certainly bad apples and corner cutters, I will say this. I was a VP at Morgan Stanley (MS), the managing director of derivatives at a multi-billion hedge fund and the president of a $400 million hedge fund. If one of my traders circumvented risk controls, I would be held to task and rightfully so. These firms must accept culpability, rogue traders or not. I guarantee that if the trades worked out well, they would have no issue in booking the gains. They can try to pass the buck as much as they want but it must stop with management. For better or for worse.
Do anything to take us out of this blue. Sing a song, play guitar, make it Snappy... - 11:18AM
Alright Snapper, you wanna be a rock star? You have your work cut out for you as you toe the line to make the climb. Breadth is worse that 6:1 negative, the brokers are down 2.5%, the banks just broke support (BKX 85), the drillers are off 4%, metals lost 3% of it's luster and I've now eaten 20 dark chocolate M&M's. Yeesh.
The good news? No, I didn't save 20% on my car insurance. I suppose you can point to select traction. Freddie (FRE). Baidu (BIDU) (I'm definitely gonna mush myself). Nordstrom (JWN).
Wait... Nordstrom? I've never been in a Nordstrom in my entire life! And it sounds like a Swedish hockey goalie!
The truth is that there isn't much for Hoofy to hang his hat on and that, in and of itself, may be the only true positive. Tapes that are so obvious sometimes are too obvious and therein lies the traps of trading. I'm not brave enough to make a stand but I'm seasoned enough to respect both sides. And I offer this as a man who expects to see a meaty move.
A quick random thought while I have you...
You're gonna hear the term "rogue trader" a lot more as we edge ahead. While there are certainly bad apples and corner cutters, I will say this. I was a VP at Morgan Stanley (MS), the managing director of derivatives at a multi-billion hedge fund and the president of a $400 million hedge fund.
If one of my traders circumvented risk controls, I would be held to task and rightfully so. These firms must accept culpability, rogue traders or not. I guarantee that if the trades worked out well, they would have no issue in booking the gains. They can try to pass the buck as much as they want but it must stop with management.
For better or for worse.
- Snaps to our tremendous Minyan Editorial Squad on the revamped home page structure. There's a lot to the 'Ville and presenting it properly is the first step in digesting it all. Noice work Yo.
- News is always best at the top and worst at the bottom. The issue with that current extrapolation is that nobody knows how much worse the news will get.
- You think there's societal friction now? Just wait until the election draws closer. The battle lines are being drawn. Nobodies right when everybody's wrong.
- I turned to MV CMO Charlie Mangano last night after Little Wing and said "That may be the happiest I've been in five years." That's either a testament to how awesome the song was or how sad my life is but, either way, it rocked. This SRV lick doesn't suck either.
- I think I'm gonna implement MV swap meets once a week where two staffers switch roles for the day. Sounds saucy, right?
- If you're birthday is February 29, does that mean you age four years on every birthday?
- If you're getting up Monday morning, going to sleep Friday night and using your weekends to rest up before you do it again, you've gotta shake up your mojo. Living to work-rather than working to live-is no way to go through life, son.
- And yes, I figure if I keep saying this, it'll eventually sink into my crowded keppe.
- Fare ye well into the bell, Minyans, and enjoy the requisite two-day respite!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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