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Random Thoughts: The Eye of the Storm


How much longer will the tough times last?

It's hard to believe that July will mark my ten-year writing anniversary. In some ways, the world is entirely different. In others, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The NASDAQ topped out ten years ago this week at COMP 5130, or 54% above current levels despite the 86% rally off the March 2008 lows. Some folks said I was too bearish during last decade; perhaps I wasn't bearish enough.

We're not here for history lessons so I'm humbly share that if the implosion was the beginning of the real recession -- one masked by the lower dollar and skewed by the spending habits of a slimming margin of society -- we may be half way through the "prolonged period of socioeconomic malaise entirely more depressing than a recession."

Click to enlarge

I hope I'm wrong but if one Minyan proactively prepares and benefits in kind, this bullet will be time well spent. And of course, given the destination we arrive at pales in comparison to the path that we take to get there, I'll ask you to "see" all sides and above all, Don't Let it Bring You Down! We'll chew through this together, as communities do.

Random Thoughts:

  • All good things must come to an end; let's just hope Jack and Renee find their happiness as season eight wraps.

  • Happy Face! MVHQ is looking for interns -- summer or otherwise -- for those with a video, marketing or editorial bent. If you or someone you know is of Minyan ilk, please contact us to explore next steps. And yes, we're actually a fun bunch to work with!

  • The banks are smack dab at the top of their 8-month range. As such, few (if any) of the unintended consequences surrounding a potential ban on naked CDS are priced into this complex (lost commissions are the least of my concerns).

  • That said, hands over ears, the action has been constructive, albeit on light volume. S&P 1150 is a level of lore and while "real" resistance won't come into play until S&P 1200, we should monitor this zone for "hindsight double top" potential.

  • Apple (AAPL) now has a larger market capitalization than Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A)?

  • Given the "state of the states" was one of this year's ten themes, take a look at this letter from New York Governor David Patterson. Make no mistake, these issues aren't specific to the Empire State; these are real problems for real Americans all over the country. Austerity and taxation are the only remedies, it seems, and neither would be welcomed given the current state of social mood.

  • Have you heard Radio's JeffMacke's® most excellent interview?

  • Ah yes, the "other side" of austerity, as measured by mass rioting in Greece.

  • Remember when we offered our Ten Themes for 2009 and offered:

    The Not So Quiet Riot

    "The age of austerity has officially arrived and we'll see a steady stream of social strife as the rejection of wealth increases in size and scope. While societal acrimony began to percolate last year, this dynamic will manifest through social unrest and geopolitical conflict as we edge ahead.

    "This is, without question, the single biggest socioeconomic risk as we stand at a critical crossroads. On the one side, there is orderly debt destruction that will ultimately pave the way for true globalization. On the other, there is isolationism and protectionism as sovereign nations protect their interests at any cost.

    "If calmer heads don't prevail and the global community takes a turn for the worse, history books will likely point to Shock & Awe as the beginning of WW3. You don't have to agree with this assessment; you simply have to respect it. "

  • I pray my antennae are frayed but my fear is that I was again early.

  • Have you seen Minyanville's Josh Lipton's take on Carlos Slim rumored takeover of The New York Times (NYT).

  • Is dandruff forming in the CRB index?

  • If you could be the best in the world at any one sport, what would it be?

  • Curling?

  • I love to swing a big risk bat -- remember, I had $30 million daily swings back in the day -- but these are different times and trickier tapes. Traditional rules of engagement no longer apply, which may very well be the endgame of regulators.

Finally, in true random spirit, the following five thoughts are the first thing to pop into my head without the benefit of editing:

  • My grandmother, the Margarita Maven, turns 90 in November. God bless her.

  • Jellyfish are creepy.

  • In the absence of water, people are so thirsty they drink the sand. They don't drink the sand because they're thirsty; they drink the sand because they don't know the difference. On the 10-year anniversary of the tech top, I'm surprised some of those beaches haven't been stormed.

  • Do something Joel, a random act of kindness, each and every day. Karma comes full circle, or at least that's the bet I continue to make.

  • Every time I hear a siren, my first thought is September 11. That's A) the truth, B) not something I'm particularly proud to admit, C) not a good thing when living in NYC and D) something that should have faded long ago. Hey, I said the first five things I thought of-and I heard a siren as I was writing #5!

  • Fare ye well, Minyans, and think positive. It really does work!


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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