How This Market Has Become Like An Overpriced, Charity, Win-A-Date Auction

(This post comes courtesy of The Mad Hedge Fund Trader)

A few years ago, I went to a charity fund raiser at San Francisco’s priciest jewelry store, Shreve & Co., where the well heeled men bid for dinner with the local high society beauties, dripping in diamonds and Channel No. 5. Well fuelled with champagne, I jumped into a spirited bidding war over one of the Bay Area’s premier hotties, who shall remain nameless. Suffice to say, she has a sports stadium named after her. The bids soared to $6,000, $7,000, $8,000.

After all, it was for a good cause. But when it hit $10,000, I suddenly developed lockjaw. Later, the sheepish winner with a severe case of buyer’s remorse came to me and offered his new date back to me for $9,000.  I said “no thanks.” $8,000, $7,000, $6,000? I passed. It was embarrassing.

The current altitude of the stock market reminds me of that evening. If you rode gold from $800 to $1,220, oil from $35 to $80, and the FXI from $20 to $40, why sweat trying to eke out a few more basis points, especially when the risk/reward ratio sucks so badly, as it does now? I realise that many of you are not hedge fund managers, and that running a prop desk, mutual fund, 401k, pension fund, or day trading account has its own demands.

But let me quote what my favourite Chinese general, Deng Xiaoping, once told me: “There is a time to fish, and a time to hang your nets out to dry.” At least then I’ll have plenty of dry powder for when the window of opportunity reopens for business. One of the headaches in writing a letter like this is that while I publish 1,500 words a day for 250 days a year, generating about half the length of War and Peace annually, you really need to tinker with your portfolio on only a dozen or so of those days. So while I’m mending my nets, I’ll be building new lists of trades for you to strap on when the sun, moon, and stars align once again. And no, I never did find out what happened to that date.


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