Light volume, boring action on Wall Street

Move along folks, nothing to see here but us turkeys.

WASHINGTON, November 21, 2012 – Off the top of his graying head, the Maven can’t quite remember which of Mark Twain’s pair of famous novels—The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—concluded with a final chapter entitled: “Chapter the Last: Nothing More to Write.” But that’s the kind of feeling we have this morning as Wall Street, the market, and any still-living turkeys at the exchanges gobble aimlessly about here and there signifying absolutely nothing.

As of this morning, most active traders seem to have already headed for the boondocks or other parts unknown, eager to get on with their Thanksgiving holidays. As a result, trading is light.

As a further incentive to light trading, the Feds, including Congress and the President, are also out of town along with a goodly number of Federal employees whose accrued vacation in many instances is probably substantial enough to allow them to retire at age 50 with enough associated salary to take them to 65 or 66 without ever picking up another metaphorical pencil again.

One of a dwindling number of real American men, this Oklahoma hunter knows what to do with turkeys. We need him in Washington. Or on Wall Street.

Actually, the fact that governmental Washington is gone for a few days is probably a good thing, given that they can’t cause further economic damage when they’re not here and when the legislature is not in session.

So, with the “fiscal cliff” negotiations—such as they are—in holiday suspension, the only real, umm, cliffhanger is whether we’ll have Armageddon in the Middle East or not while we’re downing turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and football. And oh yes, whether that Cradle of Democracy, Greece, will still exist on Monday since the Eurocrats still haven’t sent them any more free money.

In other words, today, at least thus far, is really boring.

So, like Mark Twain, we really have nothing more to write. We’ve retired our short positions, a couple of which actually made us some money. We’re retaining a position in the gold ETF, IAU, more as a hedge against disaster than anything else. And we’re happy that a little position we acquired via IPO in Alon USA Partners LP (ALWD)—has made us a bit of money. Other than that, we remain cash-y and are likely to stay there through the weekend.

Given the utter boredom of this holiday trading period, we may or may not publish a column on Friday, which will be a short trading day (market closes at 1 p.m. EST).

So whether we pay you a visit on Friday or turn over and sleep until Monday, here’s hoping you and yours have a happy, safe, and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Disclaimer: The author of this column maintains several active trading and investment portfolios and owns residential and investment real estate. He is currently long IAU, SMN, QID, and FAZ, and a small position in MCP; and continues to hold medium term corporate and municipal bonds.

Positions mentioned above describe this author’s own investment decisions and should not be construed as either buy or sell recommendations. The current market is highly treacherous and all investors travel at their own risk, so caution should be exercised at all times.

Illustrations, charts, commentary, and analysis are only the author’s view of current or historical market activity and don’t constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any security or contract. Views, indications, and analysis aren’t necessarily predictive of any future market or government action. Rather they indicate the author’s opinion as to a range of possibilities that may occur going forward.

References to other reporters, analysts, pundits, or commentators are illustrative only and do not necessarily represent an endorsement of such individuals’ points of view. If specific investment vehicles are mentioned in any article under this column heading, the author will always fully disclose any active or contemplated investments in said vehicles.

Read more of Terry’s news and reviews at Curtain Up! in the Entertain Us neighborhood of the Washington Times Communities. For Terry’s investing and political insights, visit his Communities columns, The Prudent Man and Morning Market Maven, in Business.

Follow Terry on Twitter @terryp17




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Terry Ponick

Now writing on investing, politics, music, movies and theater for the Washington Times Communities, Terry was formerly the longtime music and culture critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2009) before moving online with Communities in 2010.  



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