Friday, January 30, 2009

The Grassy Knoll Theory of Investing

Update: I started typing just before the close, with the DJIA at 7980-something. In the last couple minutes of the trading month it got back to 8000.86.
See: Phantasmagorical Pistachio translation, below.

Original post:
God help me, I'm leaning to the bull side.

The theory's name is a poke at the "There were two guns on the grassy knoll" conspiracy views of President Kennedy's assassination. In a tinfoil hat nutshell, it states, "There is a they, and they know".

If you do a Google search on the term, it returns exactly three hits, all with the name Climateer attached. Not widely accepted in mainstream finance.
In an earlier mention of the theory, "Gold trades at $850 per Ounce. And: How We Got There the First Time" I referred to this unfortunate side effect:
I call the thought experiment The Grassy Knoll Theory of Investing.
This name tends to insure that I am left alone at parties.
That post gets into the thought experiment aspect of the theory.
This lengthier than usual prologue was triggered by the action in the market today. This morning I told one of my partners that the market would close the day under 8000.

One of the core tenents of the theory is that things are not what they seem, that a down day on a Friday gives Ma and Pa investor all weekend to listen to gloom and doom from the talking heads with resulting anxiety, then worry, then fear.

Closing below a big fat round number makes it all the better. I mean if I were manipulating markets, I am manipulating perceptions. If I wanted to shake some stock loose for a February run to the upside, I'd want to get my position on as cheap as possible. As one of my childhood heroes said:

"I can distribute more stock on upticks than I can on down"*
-E.H. Harriman, railroad man and Wall Street pro.

The opposite is also true, you can accumulate more stock on downticks than you can on up.

The foregoing is a tongue-in-cheek comment but (and this is a big but) there is truth in all jokes.
Let's see what February brings. In the meantime I'll check volume and money flows, upticks and downticks, MACD and Mac Daddy.

And remember the term "Phantasmagorical* Pistachio"**.

*Main Entry:
French phantasmagorie, from phantasme phantasm (from Old French fantasme) + -agorie (perhaps from Greek agora assembly) — more at agora
circa 1802
1: an exhibition of optical effects and illusions
2 a
: a constantly shifting complex succession of things seen or imagined
b: a scene that constantly changes
: a bizarre or fantastic combination, collection, or assemblage
**Roughly: "Disoriented nut"