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Freaky Friday Potpourri: When Push Comes to Shove


Respect agendas in play and prosper when possible while protecting those we care about.

"There's a dragon with matches loose on the town. Take a whole pail of water just to cool him down." --Grateful Dead

It's hard to believe I've been scribing online vibe for almost ten years. What started as a favor morphed into a passion and evolved into this awesome community.

Old school Minyans know we've grown in stages. Remember Fokker? The mountain mingles? My rhyming phase? Navigating the ups, downs, and sideways slithers during this wicked decade of financial folly? It's been some ride -- not always easy, to be sure, but a labor of love indeed.

This reminiscence arrived after I clicked on the story of Zoë yesterday and read the comments on The Exchange. I stumbled across that link after I recently referenced finding another cat. A year and a half after losing the little one, I'm scouting a little critter to keep Queen Phoebe company.

Why, you ask, am I talking about cats and memories in the middle of the trading day? In a word, roots. Minyanville has always been more than nuts and guts financial stuff; it's about the journey, our choices and being true to who we are, what we do, and how we do it.

I promised myself we would never lose that; I promised myself that while we would always adapt, we would never conform.

As we edge into the age of austerity, there are vicious perceptions regarding anything -- and anyone -- associated with finance. As a Minyan, you know better; you understand there are solid people in this business that believe their name and word still count for something and honesty, trust, and respect are the foundational constructs of any successful endeavor.

That's not to say there aren't bad seeds. It's just to say we're not all bad seeds.

Societal acrimony. We proactively predicted it a few years ago and it's arrived on the scene with fire and fury. Whether it's a witch-hunt on Wall Street or Town Hall tussles on Main Street, the people have spoken and the volume of their voice is on the rise.

I'll focus on the flickering ticks on the Buzz & Banter as that's what we do and what most want. I'll ask you all to take a step back, however, and look at the big picture; how we interact with each other and the world we'll leave for our children.

We often say that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. I don't believe we've passed the point of no return; I simply hope we don't have to before collectively taking proactive steps to positively shape the societal spectrum.

The Best Laid Plans

My preferred scenario this morning was a better-than-expected payroll number and a gap higher towards S&P 1075, which I wanted to fade (read: short). Why? Layered resistance in the S&P begins with the back-test of the March uptrend, which offers nice and tight defined risk.

We didn't get a gap higher but we got a gap fill. In other words, we erased the downside gap with an upside Snapper. When the financials didn't participate in the circle smirk, I layered into a tranche of S&P puts as a matter of course with an eye towards defined risk. Again, this was communicated in real-time on the Buzz.

If we pop through that level, there are two options depending on your risk appetite: layering into further S&P short-side exposure as we edge towards S&P 1120 (which is the level or lore) or cutting bait and readdressing the situation when S&P 1120 is within spitting distance.

That stylistic approach may be entirely wrong. We could be up, up and away and we always wanna see both sides. As I shared with my friend Paul Kangas on NBR last night, however, I don't believe the crisis has magically disappeared, I'm of the view it simply changed shape.

When our government bought the cancer and sold the car crash, they bought time and pushed risk out on the time continuum with hopes that a legitimate recovery would take root. And lest you're wondering if it's just you, it's not; it all sounds strangely familiar.

Two years later, as the crisis shifts into the socioeconomic realm -- the latest tragedy at Fort Hood serves as a somber reminder of this -- our pathway is littered with the ghosts of periods passed.

CIT has been fitted for a toe tag, GMAC needs billions more and just yesterday, Fannie Mae (FNM) announced another $19 billion loss and asked taxpayers for another $15 billion as delinquencies jumped. And we'll have our weekly weekend bank failures, which have seemingly flown under most mainstream radars.

I'm an optimistic person at heart. I've learned the greatest opportunities are bred from the most profound obstacles and this will again prove true in some way, shape or form.

As we've written before, there are two pathways: debt destruction, which will pave the way to eventual outside-in globalization, or isolationism and protectionism, which points the needle in a more disturbing direction.

We'll take our journey one step at a time and inherent in that is respecting the agendas in play, prospering as we can while protecting those we care about. Some of my perceptions my be askew -- it's happened before -- but from my perch, there's cumulative societal angst percolating around the world.

How that manifests remains to be seen but one thing is certain. Our odds of success will substantially increase if we surround ourselves with people we trust who have skill-sets that compliment our own. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with sharing some smiles along the way.

Have a fantastic weekend and I'll see you on the other side of our requisite respite.

May peace be with you.

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