As a former full-time derivatives options trader, I feel a bit compelled to comment on yesterday's activities in the market. I'd have probably missed all this had not every TV in the gym been tuned to CNBC. Virtually everyone, excluding yours truly, was riveted. 'Twas interesting listening to the commentary on TV and amongst the gym-goers — as if anyone really knows what'll happen next, or what to really do about it.

Two things: first, I wish I had a lot of spare cash laying around. I'd have been buying (long) all day (intending to hold long term). Second; no regrets. I'm glad I hung it up. Two years of that kind of stress is enough for one (my) lifetime.

One of the few traders I still pay any attention to — primarily because of his general agnosticism as to market direction, long or short — is Carl Futia. Here's a couple of short posts that "bear" keeping in mind.

The Intolerance of Crowds.

A crowd is distinguished by the inability and unwillingness of its members to think independently of their fellows. Instead each member of the crowd accepts the same set of "facts" which become slogans to be repeated whenever a dissenting view threatens their comfortable interpretation of events.

An Open Letter to the Bears.

I have a question for you. Suppose the market does get to 1050, 1000, 950, ….. What will you do then? Will you step in and buy when the S&P hits 950? At this point in time you may think you will, but you are forgetting that if the market hits 950 the financial system and the economy will look a lot worse then than it does now. The news will be really scary. Are you sure you will have the courage to go long in the face of such bad news? Remember, you don't want to buy now at S&P 1150 because you think the bad news we are reading in the papers means the market is going much lower. What will change when the market hits 950 to give you the courage to get long again?

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