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Randoms: Pitchforks and Torches!


Social mood tick-tocks the tape.

"There's battle lines being drawn; nobody's right if everybody's wrong."
- Buffalo Springfield

The tricky trifecta is upon us, starting with Little Timmy's American International Group (AIG) Grilling at 10:00 AM, the State of the Union tonight (our President will focus on federal spending, tax relief, financial reform and health-care) and the FOMC meeting today (anything that deviates from "status quo" could upset the apple cart).

And lest you're craving more drama from the Beltway , the Big Ben confirmation process should begin by Friday. You can agree or disagree with his performance to date, but understand the market will crater if he is ousted, which is unlikely at this point.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, what's on tap? Glad you asked; in no particular order:

  • We mentioned yesterday that S&P 1080ish is a level that has been tested eleven times since the autumn. While technical levels (both ways) get weaker with each subsequent test, this "zone" was and is an intuitive spot for Hoofy to make a stand.

    Click to enlarge

  • I have, as discussed, rolled my March S&P puts out to September as I continue to trade gamma from the short side (selling blips to buy dips) in the context of defined risk, which is layered above. Which "line" you choose is purely a function of your individual risk appetite.

  • Through the eyes of Neil Armstrong, Greek 10-year bonds are taking it on the chin, pushing the yield to the highest levels since 1999. Pakistan and Portugal meanwhile are seeing significant widening on the sovereign front.

  • Remember Minyans, the first move after the FOMC announcement is typically the false move with 2:15 serving as the toggle.

  • In the "Incurable Bromance Department," one hour of Jack Bauer isn't nearly enough to satiate my appetite for testosterone-infused benevolence. As such, I've taken to watching season three on DVD during my (rare) down time. No commercials and an endless supply of action; and yes, I miss President David Palmer too.

  • Pension Funds intend to lever up? Jeezums, it's almost like 2008 never happened at all!

  • The 2:1 negative breadth stands out, but the banks are trying to suck air through a straw during this perfect storm of regulatory reform. Goldman (GS), Wells Fargo (WFC), Citigroup (C) and JP Morgan (JPM) remain stocks to watch as broader market tells.

  • The dollar is edging higher; please note the rounding bottom and potential cup-and-handle formation.

  • RIP Trapper John, MD. Life is precious; make today count.

  • Minyan Carter offers that it's "too easy" to seal Apple (AAPL) on the Tablet announcement. I would offer that with earnings in the rear-view, it will now trade with the market.

  • Lots going on and much to digest; compartmentalize, for if you try to absorb everything at once, it can be overwhelming. This, I know from experience!

Answers I Really Wanna Know

  • Will Jack and Renee find happiness together?

  • Have you read the McKinsey Global Institute report on debt and deleveraging (that happens to echo many of the things we've been saying in the 'Ville)?

  • Given the political climate--and understanding we live in a finance-based economy--can the market rally without the financials?

  • The S&P 50-day moving average: Real or Memorex?

  • If broker-dealers opt out of the regulatory cross hairs, will the government still deem them "too big to fail" when and if the next iteration of the financial crisis arrives?

  • Can we take a moment to reflect on the genius of Mel Brooks?

  • Are you skating on your heels or driving the net?

  • What's another word for thesaurus?

  • Can we have sustained inflation without legitimate end demand?

  • Why don't the Winter Olympics get the same snaps as their summer brethren?

  • Who wants an Orange Whip?

And finally, upon settling into my nook this morning--before I could stop myself--I offered the following vibes on the MarketWatch message board following my syndicated missive:

"Reading these posts, the takeaway is that we should stop trying to identify solutions, hoard pitchforks and torches and take it to the street.

"Yes, times are tough and there is plenty of blame to go around; that was touched on in this article, as well as others in the past. If these responses encapsulate public opinion, however, we've officially arrived at the juncture when offering a balanced view invokes "fear and loathing" from all sides.

"I walked away from Wall Street at the height of my career to build a platform to effect positive change through financial understanding.

"Minyanville warned the world of what was coming while the banks were trading at all time highs.

"We built an interactive massive multi-player online game to teach children the basic building blocks of earning, spending, saving and giving.

"And we've raised seven-figure size through The Ruby Peck Foundation for Children's Education.

"If this life path paints me as a "boy scout," I'll wear that badge with pride. My bread is buttered with "truth and trust;" while many may not agree with my views--and that's alright--I awake each day with few, if any regrets and do what I can to illuminate the landscape.

"I don't make the money I once did but I no longer measure myself by the bottom of my bank account. That's a different conversation than having the ability to put food on the table, I know, but we each must make a choice. Attempt to be part of the solution, or be part of the growing problem.

"Pick a side or stand aside, and ask yourself some honest questions before you cast stones and pass judgment. This will, in many cases, fall on deaf ears but if it provokes positive thought in a single person, the time taken to write this post was well spent. "

May peace be with you.


Position in s&p

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

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