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Todd Harrison: Answers That Will Define 2014

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Taking stock into the holiday season.

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Editor's Note: Todd posts his vibes in real time each day on our Buzz & Banter.

Friday, December 20, 2013. It's a date that I've had circled on the calendar over a couple of seasons for a few reasons.

For one, today is options expiration and the vehicle I chose for my ill-fated "snake eyes" bet was December S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) out-of-the-money puts. They twisted in the wind long ago, but remained on my sheets as a humble reminder of directional fallibility. The relative size was small, but the song remains the same: If you take the other side of a steamroller, you better bring more than an option ticket.

The 2013 stock market rally has been powerful and intoxicating, albeit far from equitable. A few days ago, we offered that the common thread across the societal spectrum was one of desire. Whether it's acquiring basic needs or registering better performance, this rally left many wanting more.

I will channel Ojai '05 when I share that "the problem that comes from engaging in high-risk behavior for which the consequences are absent, even if only temporarily, is that such high-risk behavior begins to appear normal, and the entire scale of risk gets adjusted and pushed out."

I remain confident that risk hasn't been destroyed - it's been transferred from one perception to another - but that's a moot point for the purposes of 2013, or at least thus far. In hindsight, I was too rigid and absolute in my views and that is another lesson that I'll incorporate into the Things I've Learned these last 23 years on Wall Street.

Will social stocks -- Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), LinkedIn (NASDAQ:LNKD), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) -- turn into the JDSUs of tech-bubbles past?

Can the Federal Reserve hold the trillions of dollars of assets on its balance sheet until maturity -- and then simply write them off?

Will the Cannabis food chain stake claim as the secular growth story for the next decade?

Is gold writing the forward script for stocks, as I believe, or will that prove to be yet another archaic tell in the new world order?

Will China emerge as the downside catalyst, either through geopolitical discord, economic upheaval, or a seismic structural shift?


These are some of the questions that I'll be thinking about as I prepare to take a much-needed respite to clear my keppe. In addition to today being options expiry, it is also the last day before I unplug from the madness to focus on my family. True wealth isn't always captured in a P&L; sometimes you just have to open your eyes. And for that, I'm thankful.

Have a healthy and safe holiday stretch, and a prosperous journey through the New Year. May peace be with you.

R.P.

Twitter: @todd_harrison

Follow Todd and over 30 professional traders as they share their ideas in real-time with a FREE 14 day trial to Buzz & Banter.

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 todd@minyanville.com.

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.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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