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Freaky Friday Potpourri


The only thing to be scared of on Friday the 13th is not having enough exposure.


"Oh, Caesar. I've spread civilization to the farthest reaches of the Empire! I've conquered and subdued the barbaric hordes, in the name of Rome!"

(Marcus Vindictus, History of the World)

Good morning and welcome back to the ides of July. As we ready for the final fifth of our freaky week, the city is giddy with newfound gains.

Indeed, Bovine Maximus conquered Ursine Aurelius yesterday, leading to the largest point gain in four years. By the time he was done, the streets were crawling with soldiers looking for more ways to capture gains.

Back in the day, when the tape traded two-sided, I used to opine that we should "sell hope and buy despair." It's been a while since I've offered those vibes, as we haven't had true despair since the duct-tape low.

Does anybody remember what that was like?

I'm a contrarian by nature, which is great in a whippy tape, but not-so-hot in momentum driven mania. Truth be told, I've made a pretty penny taking the other side of emotional disconnects throughout my career, but I've under-performed during one-sided rides. Needless to say, I wasn't partying with Empress Nympho last night.

Late yesterday afternoon, Minyan Brooks sent an article to me which I then shared on the Buzz. Richard Rainwater, a multi-billion dollar investor with a meaty track record, opined in December '05 that he was "scared and confused." He offered that a "non-recurring event", such as the 100-year flood, was on the way and positioned himself such that "if the end of the world came tomorrow", he'd be properly positioned.

The world, quite obviously, has yet to end.

Why do I bring this up? To add a dose of perspective. Sometimes the markets have a way of making you feel silly. Out of touch. Completely off-base. Sorta how I felt last night. While reading his article didn't help my performance, it did take some pressure off, in terms of self-loathing.

This morning as I wrote this column, I thought about the collective belief that we're up, up and away, particularly with S&P 1540 in the rear-view. "The only thing to be scared of on Friday the 13th," I heard someone say on television, "is not having enough exposure."

That prompted me to pull up two DJIA charts, one from 1983-1987 and one from 2003-present. I think they speak for themselves.

1987 Present
Click to enlarge. Click to enlarge.

Speaking of perspective…

Minyanville has, at times, been perceived to be a bit bearish. As we hold ourselves to fairly high standards, some internal fact checking was done yesterday in regards to the content.

Yesterday's Buzz had 38 separate posts from 12 different professors and there were 34 individual ideas mentioned.

Some ideas were stocks to watch: RTP, AL, MOT, DJ, NWS, ANF, ICE, SLM, WFT

Some ideas were explicit bullish trade or investment ideas: HOTT, BAC, BGP, RIMM, TA, AAPL, SKS, NMX, CTRP, EGO, NYX, AAR, BA, NOK, SUNW, CBH, GDX, PPH, SMH, VRTX

Some were explicit bearish trading ideas: WFMI, SWHC, WNR, LQD, MRO

Bullish ideas outnumbered bearish ideas by 4-1.

Random Thoughts…

  • The banks are stilling tracing out a fifth "lower high." I know, it surprised me too.
    We sorta figured there was a "buy stop" vacuum on the other side of S&P 1540. That traced out into the close as Boo took his medicine all at once. That level, so you know, is newfound support.

  • Make your own decisions. Just because others are foaming at the mouth to buy stocks doesn't necessarily make it right.

  • I remember that well. As president of Cramer Berkowitz, we used to get off the desk five times a day to chew through the risk. We're a ways away from bubble days but its incumbent on us to remember. The only difference between a mistake and a lesson is the ability to learn from it.

    Have a great day and, more importantly, a mindful and relaxing weekend. Work to live-don't live to work.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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

The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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