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Random Thoughts: The True State of the Union


Almost one in three Americans are impoverished.

  • Apple (AAPL) is the story of the morning after its eye-popping* beat. Why the asterisk? The adoption of new accounting standards changed the way the company recognized revenue. It's still a GREAT company; the question is whether it'll continue to be a great stock after the 150% year-over-year run.

  • If it's at all possible, earnings -- usually the eye of the market storm -- has taken a back seat to the banter on the Beltway. Between the State of the Union tomorrow night, the FOMC rate decision and the Bernanke reconfirmation, the eyes of Wall Street are focused due south for direction on the markets. That, in and of itself, speaks volumes to the true State of the Union.

  • Does anyone get a distinct feeling of Deja Vu? Last week, following the "better" Intel (INTC) numbers, the futures were flattish, which was a precursor to pending supply. Today, after the Apple beat, the futures acted precisely the same way. Again, "the" event this week is the State of the Union tomorrow night so keep that filed away in the back of your crowded keppe.

  • Following the 3-day 5% clip in the S&P (and the 55% pop in the VXO), I peeled back on my March puts in the S&P on Friday with an eye towards legging to out-month gamma. I'll likely use early strength to continue that process, with a hit-it-to-quit-it mindset and defined risk as a function of our aforementioned technical levels.

  • The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? One in three Americans is either impoverished or approaching poverty. One in three. I understand that the greatest opportunities are born from the most profound obstacles but we must admit we have a serious problem -- a prolonged period of socioeconomic malaise entirely more depressing than a recession -- before we can actually turn the corner.

  • Is this the progression of societal acrimony to social unrest, with a little "economic hardship is typically a precursor to an uprising" sprinkled in for good measure?

  • The "Product Placement of the Weekend Award" goes to E*Trade (ETFC) for the interview with the baby on the NFL Fox pre-game show while the "Surprisingly Good Commercial of the Weekend Award" goes to Dodge for its testosterone-infused Charger segments.

  • Syracuse looked strong last night with a double-digit win against the dreaded Hoyas. While this team has a special feel to it, my concern is two-fold. One, we're peaking too early and two, free throws (an age old Orange problem).

  • Keep an ear to the ground for potential CDS regulation. If they limit CDS to the amount of underlying debt, we could see a short squeeze of monstrous proportions before the unintended consequences come home to roost.

  • Did STYX ever get the snaps it so richly deserved?

  • "We enter into 2010 feeling increasingly confident that peak levels of loan losses are behind us and that economic conditions in the majority of our markets have begun to stabilize," Zions Bancorp (ZION) Chief Executive Harris Simmons said in a statement yesterday. I'll ask Minyans to save that quote for future reference.

  • Bloomberg is reporting that Federal Reserve policymakers are considering adopting a new benchmark interest rate to replace the one they've used for the last two decades (they've been unable to control the Fed Funds rate since the Lehman Brothers toe-tag). In separate news, I'll be replacing my scale as it continues to indicate I'm 15 lbs overweight.

  • If you haven't looked at our subscription products in a while, there's something for everyone's trading style and all come with a free two week trial.

  • Hit 'em hard, Minyans, and let's make the most of this Turnaround Tuesday. I'll see you on the Buzz & Banter.


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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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