It’s Different This Time

This market is such a twisted, tentative beast, we walk on egg shells every second throughout the trading day, especially Fed day. Fed day was all the rage back in the day, all we wanted was a cut in rates, if the boys in charge complied, the market reacted with breathless excitement and acceptance. The market was crashing but no one realized it, no one cared. The Ivy Leaguer’s from Wharton who received A’s in everything, were one semester from graduation and one phone call to Dad in Palm Beach for a job at Goldman. Some were great, but most lacked the social skills of an amoeba, they would soon be doling out advice on how to buy stocks, any stock, after all, it was a raging bull market. They were the chosen ones, the ones with connections, they had to be able to pick stocks.

Two or three years have passed and they are mostly unemployed, looking for the next big thing. What they don’t realize (some are painfully aware), is that the greatest thing, the best thing, is what they just had. They are on Craig’s list now, shooting out resumes like so many hot buy recommendations at their former firms, just looking for work , in most cases because timing sucked and they got caught playing in traffic, but in many cases because they were completely inept and shouldn’t have been hired in the first place. Life and the market have a way of filtering garbage, always has, always will.

Some of the supernova Wall St. elitists, the ones that kept a job and had a taste of greatness for a year or two are now getting the taste of unemployment, some are acclimating themselves to the taste on the back of  stamps as they yell ” next in line” at the post office. It’s work though.

Many have been on the Street for twenty five years, old school, you know, handshake, give me order follow and I’ll give you anything you want. Winks and nods ruled the street back in the day, no one reneged, if you did, you were out of business, blackballed, but there was no ink and only the idiots didn’t know why Tom wasn’t hot anymore. Business got done, big business.

I remember the pricing of British Petroleum in 87 at Lehman, the market crashed that day or the day before, I believe it was  one of the largest , if not the largest IPO’s in history at the time, bids were bailing, institutions ran, Lehman took the deal, honored it ,and found a way to finance it, much of it was their own capital,  Morgan Stanley co-managed the deal and had their back, they had no choice, they didn’t call the Fed either, there was no TARP. Business got done, big business.

Funny, Europe was privatizing then, spitting out a deal a week, I did them all, banks, coal companies, steel, technology, you name it, they desperately wanted the free market. The market resolved itself, Lehman made multiple fortunes on British Petroleum and so did their partners. Wealth creation isn’t easy, it takes risk , in most cases huge risk, it’s hard.

We live in a world where dodge ball gets outlawed because it’s too tough, banks piss away capital and fail miserably at there very core and get bailed out. Our politicians, Democrat and Republican are complicit in the daily atrocity, and the financial media adds nothing to the equation, they are the true partisans because they just cheerlead for the trend of the day and offer nothing that resembles an out of the box thought. The drone is incessant and it truly make me sick and weary.

We signed up with Goldman Sachs as our custodian and we will be using their trading platform for our hedge fund, like a baseball coach they have been hired to be fired, the nerd putz who was explaining the platform to us spent the first ten minutes of the demo explaining “flash trading” to me and my partner Todd, we told him to shut up at about the same time. This has become our market, who is faster, better in physics and math. We could care less, maybe we’ll be out of business before we start because we can’t blindly throw our souls into the matrix. I will take the shot.

I still pay the offer and sell the bid, a smart trader once told me that limit orders limit opportunity, it has served me well, I’m just glad the flash traders belly up to the bar at 5pm and have a laugh on me.

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