What Earthquake

Farrah FawcettYou have to feel badly for Farrah Fawcett.

Not only did the one time sex goddess die of a very unsexy disease, anal cancer, but she had the misfortune to be overshadowed by the death of Michael Jackson on the very same day that her life came to an end.

Maybe because we had tired of the drawn out and highly public nature of her past few weeks or maybe because the King of Pop’s death was so unexpected, but Farrah barely even received a nod on the day of her passing.

Sometimes going under the radar is a good strategy, but given the well orchestrated and documented events during the final phases of her life, it would have been reasonable to believe that Farrah and her family wanted the very spotlight that should have been her birth right.

The news that surrounds your news can have significant impact on your news. Announcing great earnings does your shareholders no good if the day happens to be one of bad macro-economic news. Nothing like the impending collapse of a large European economy to put the damper on the earnings reports of companies that have nothing to do with the retirement age in Greece.

Similarly bad earnings can sometimes get fortuitouly overlooked on days that already have a significant downtrend in the overall market. There’s nothing like letting your bad news just get mixed in with everyone else’s bad news.

Think about how many politicians in the throes of some ethical crisis have had the pressure taken off because some other story has popped up.

Remember Gary Condit, the one time Colorado congressman, who had been implicated in the disappearance of his intern, Chandra Levy?

On August 23, 2011 following an interview with Connie Chung and revelations that Condit had an extramarital affair with a flight attendant, as well as with Chandra Levy, suspicions deepened and the noose seemed to be tightening around the Congressman’s neck. The very same congressman who was one of Bill Clinton’s biggest detractors during the Lewinsky period.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, but by September 12, 2001 no one was really interested in talking about Gary Condit. Of our 535 Congressman and Senators, there’s at least one that owed thanks to terrorist attackers.

Let’s look at today’s headlines.

Libyan rebels storm Gaddafi compound, Dow Jones finishes up 322 points and 5.8 earthquake hits east coast of the United States.

That’s a big news day. So big, in fact, the poor Colorado, which suffered its largest earthquake in over a century, in at a 5.3 magnitude, went totally unnoticed.

The Condit Phenomenon.

I happened to be one of many along the east coast that felt the tremors and at first shrugging it off as vibrations from construction, soon realized that it was anything but normal as the tabletop upon which I was working, despite being attached on one end to the wall, started bouncing wildly.

With the Dow up about 190 points at that time and having finally pulled off a few trades was loathe to leave the computer screen. But at some point common sense kicjked in and the screen of green was left behind with open trades awaiting to be executed.

Hated to leave them behind, but ……..

For me, Tuesday was an even more rare event than Monday, in that it marked the second day in a row that I was working. But as opposed to Monday, I was able to pull off a few trades. I purchased more shares of Freeport McMoran and also sold weekly calls in JP Morgan and Freeport McMoran in addition to Deere monthly calls, all into strength.

There really wasn’t much reason to believe that the market would do anything differently than to follow the script of the past few weeks. Those scripts came in two varieties. The market either opened strongly to the downside and stayed there or opened strongly to the upside and quickly gave it back.

Over those weeks I missed more opportunities than I’d like to admit to sell call options into strength and then close out the positions as prices fell.

So Tuesday seemed to be just another of those days that optimism would quickly give way to pessimism.

But the script got sidetracked.

Sometimes earthquakes in major metroplitan areas of the US will do that sort of thing. With everyone talking about the Quake of Eleven, someone forgot to tell the market that it was scheduled to reverse course before the closing bell. Maybe some of the remaining generations of floor traders wanted to make one last  stab at a major bull session before the big one hit.

No matter what the reason, it was nice to see all eyes off the markets and focused on something else. Fortunately, there were no reported casualties and only minor damage, so instead of grief we all just got to talk about the experience of havcing just experienced an earthquake.

So left unchecked, like some at an all you can eat buffett, the market just kept piling it on.

By the time I finally got back into the building and to the monitor, the trades were made.

Depite the market continuing it’s climb, I was happy to finally get some trades made.

I don’t know if I can draw any parallels for Farrah Fawcett. I’m not sure what she and her publicists could have done to prevent her script from being rewritten.

From where I sit today, I was very happy to see the script get thrown out, just like I tossed that Frarrah poster 35 years ago.

Time to Moon Walk on.



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