Friday, June 27, 2008

Never Go Food Shopping on an Empty Stomach

"Never go food shopping on an empty stomach" will ring true to any epicurean who's ever had the the munchies at the same time as finding themselves upstairs at Harvey Nicks or a new and clean Whole Foods market. Likewise, any thoughtful investment contrarian or value-oriented investor with more than a nano-second of attention span will tell you never to capitulate upon positions, or change your fundamental views as a result of inferred month-end, and quarter-end noise resulting from the multitude of performance jockeying, window-dressing and outright manipulation that seemingly concentrates itself at such calendar points in time.

Sure, some apparent breakouts will inevitably result, taking root in such moves. And some tactical swoons or rallies that over-do themselves will find reversal with the arrival of the new calendar quarter. But on the whole, it is decidedly important to keep one's sights on the central tendency of parochial moves, and keep highly attuned to those emerging secular exogenous trends that are generating and contributing to the noise at what will be seen in hindsight as a large inflection. It remains one of the hardest things to accomplish - filtering the genuine sustainable and secularly accelerating from the bogus, long-in-the-tooth mercenary price action that results at the end of a move, or from something unnaturally induced. Telltales are bountiful - be they relative volume,s microstructure activity, changing correlations. ownership behaviour, option implied vols, prior month-end and quarter-end relative performance, relative moves (to sectors and indices) that in part, and taken together, resemble footprints in fresh snow to the attuned.

So whatever your predilection be towards action today, remember the calendar, have a good long lunch - don't skimp on the wine, let those that desire to do so complete their sub-optimal objectives, and use the opportunity to lay out the most attractive of your contra-trend shorts, whether for a swing-trade, or as a basis for something more substantial. For today, here and now, for the very bold, there are no shortage of fat-tailed prey to hunt.

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