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The Cody Blog: Cody on RM: Breathtaking Rally

Friday, June 30, 2006

Cody on RM: Breathtaking Rally

Breathtaking Rally
06/30/2006 9:43 AM

Paranoia strikes deep, Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid, You step out of line, the man come and take you away -- Buffalo Springfield

Put simply, it stinks to be wrong, but that's no reason to change your strategy. I was wrong in thinking the Fed announcement wouldn't be a catalyst. It was a catalyst, and it was a big one.

I spent most of the night beating myself up for having missed a chance to profit off that announcement. Heck, I even considered buying some Semiconductor HOLDRs and QQQQ on Wednesday when they were both trading poorly and had been trashed the day before. But I didn't, and that upsets me.

To be sure, I wouldn't have used much capital on such a trade at all, as I've explained that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for me to risk hard-earned gains at this juncture.

This setup of mine is new territory for me as a hedge fund manager. As long-time readers of my columns know, I've spent most of the last nearly four years aggressively long, using lots of common stock and calls in what some would call high-beta tech stocks and what others would call speculative, high-risk tech stocks. From my long-held Apple and Google positions to JDS Uniphase and Tellabs, which I also owned and traded around for years, I've been very aggressive on the long side. I've had long-term positions and I've put on short-term trades, often right before an earnings report.

And that approach, as my practically nonexistent personal life and the omnipresent knot in my stomach attest, is difficult and scary although also often profitable. In April, after a huge first quarter, I felt like I went ice-cold into the first quarter's earnings reports, and no matter how good a grasp I had on the fundamentals, I felt that the market wasn't rewarding my analysis. Seeing commodities and commodity companies go into parabolic blowoff-top mode and then interviewing the CEOs of some of those commodity companies and hearing endless commentary about how this cycle is going to be "different" and perhaps "secular," I pulled my chips off the table for the first time in years.

I told Larry Kudlow on TV and wrote here on the site about that move and explained it at times as "wanting to catch my breath." And, up until yesterday's huge rally, which I missed, I was really enjoying my newfound inhale, exhale pattern.

Now comes the test. I've got investors, readers, subscribers, friends and family who want to know when I'm going to get back into the market with some gusto again. I can feel the pressure building after the Nasdaq spiked 3% yesterday. "How could you miss something so obvious?" ask some of them. Others say, "I told you so." And yet others want to know, "So, is it safe to get back in now?" Even my friends Bob Marcin and RevShark unwittingly added to the pressure last night. Bob, when he pinged me last night rightly reminding me how he repeatedly told me that we'd spike after the Fed met and that I should be high-fiving him right now. I agreed. And RevShark, when in his column last night rightly chastised those of us who doubted the market would or even could rally post the Fed.

So much for catching my breath.

The fact of the matter is that, as longtime readers of my column also know, I'm going to be wrong a lot. Certainly anyone who takes a stand about the market, the economy, stocks or anything else will often be wrong. I was wrong yesterday, and it makes me upset, and the pressure that comes with it now builds.

But pressure is a terrible catalyst to trade on, and I'm not going to play that game. I'm going to continue to strive to just be cool, and not be goaded into making any trades or even market calls simply to meet the expectations of anyone else, whether readers, investors, emailers, blog commentors, editors, or anyone else at all. You should do the same.

At the time of publication, the firm in which Willard is a partner was net long GOOG and AAPL, although positions can change at any time and without notice.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Beating Up Oneself....
Today I managed to drag myself to the hair salon. But of course, on the drive over, I was deeply commited to beating myself up too. While in my despair, and "shoulding" all over myself, I sat in a comfortable non threatening environment being catered to. To help relieve my pain, I asked one of the employees to bring me a no brainer People magazine to read. You know, to read about the perfect lives of the jet set. Perhaps that would help me to escape. However, I came across an article about a woman who's husband threw gasoline on her and ingnited her into flames and the color photographs proved it..The magazine helped me alright..Helped me to shift from my stupid self-centered, abusive dream.

We have so many commitments to others but the most important commitment we have is to ourselves, our own well-being. Unfortunately, it looks like our happiness is being manipulated by the daily moves of the stock market and we allow it. That's a pretty sad reality we are living and so many of US are doing it. It's too bad it takes a tragedy for us to wake up, whether our own or others.

I am reminded of a poor Tibetan Buddhist monk who spoke at a lecture I attended. He was telling the audience that his biggest fear was that he would lose his compassion for the Chinese soldier who was toturing him while being imprisoned. I understood that this man was the greatest person I had ever met. Poor in material possessions but rich in spirit.Boy, did I have a long way to go. However, he too admitted to his short comings.He feared his ego was getting the best of him when he was losing his compassion.

It's a wonderful and wacky world we live in. One day we can win the lottery and the next day be up in flames however that symbolism plays out for you.. We all like to win and we all like to be right but it takes a lack of EGO to admit when we are wrong. It is the beginnng step into a new reality and hopefully one day we will graduate from this self imposed ridiculous addictive toture and wake up ..But for now I can only appreciate what the Buddhists say, "You are where you are supposed to be." Thanks for sharing your difficult evening. Perhaps in being wrong you are really right. Happy Holidays.

6/30/2006 08:24:00 PM  

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