Fat Tuesday

I did three tours of duty in Mardi Gras during my college years.

I’d go back but all my friends who used to go to Tulane are now balding attorneys living on the Upper East Side so I’m not sure who I would hang out with.  Also, I don’t I feel like waking up in the back of a Ryder truck with a Miss West Virginia sash wrapped around me and not a clue how I got there (true story).

Anyway, rather than write the traditional “let’s take a look at how stocks have historically performed on Mardi Gras” nonsense you’ll probably read elsewhere, let’s just have a look at where we’re at…

My friend Cullen noted yesterday’s weakness in copper in conjunction with the new oil/stocks divergence as a somewhat troubling sign (Read it here: PragCap).

On a call with my firm’s head trader, we talked about the return of volatility.  The last several sessions have seen a string of up or down 1% or greater swings in the S&Ps, the last time we saw that was in May of 2010, the market subsequently dropped 17%.

The good news is that oil is easing down this morning on the heels of conciliatory statement coming from the Mad Dog in Tripoli.  We can’t take anything he says at face value and I hate trading based on Mideast rumor and innuendo, but stocks are positive this morning even if just for a relief bounce.

With earnings behind us, there’s not much to get excited about in the coming weeks on the data front.  Unless the Small Business Optimism survey floats your boat.  Mr TopStep has a kickass econ calendar here, btw.

Most of the Fed-related headlines to come from this month’s FOMC meeting will feature some interpolation of the term “The End of QE2”.  Randall Forsythe (Barron’s) was just discussing how this month’s Fed meeting will be the one where they decide if in fact the bond-buying program will end in June.  Please read his “Clouds Loom For End of Stimulus” as soon as you can.

These are some of the items on my mind this Fat Tuesday, during which I’m wearing slacks and a Charles Tyrwhitt shirt in the canyons of Manhattan instead of a hurricane-stained t-shirt and jeans down in the French Quarter.

(sigh) There’s always next year.

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