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July 23, 2017 | What Rough Beast Is This?

Rick Ackerman

Rick Ackerman is the editor of Rick’s Picks, an online service geared to traders of stocks, options, index futures and commodities. His detailed trading strategies have appeared since the early 1990s in Black Box Forecasts, a newsletter he founded that originally was geared to professional option traders. Barron’s once labeled him an “intrepid trader” in a headline that alluded to his key role in solving a notorious pill-tampering case. He received a $200,000 reward when a conviction resulted, and the story was retold on TV’s FBI: The Untold Story. His professional background includes 12 years as a market maker in the pits of the Pacific Coast Exchange, three as an investigator with renowned San Francisco private eye Hal Lipset, seven as a reporter and newspaper editor, three as a columnist for the Sunday San Francisco Examiner, and two decades as a contributor to publications ranging from Barron’s to The Antiquarian Bookman to Fleet Street Letter and Utne Reader.

With mincing steps, VXX, which tracks short-term S&P volatility, continued its extraordinary descent last week to new record lows. For long-time market observers, the feeling has grown increasingly palpable that “something” has got to give; and yet, on a given day, the broad averages continue to do nothing in particular. They move almost invariably in one direction, wafting ever higher, seemingly unable to sell off for more than a few hours. This is scary and boring at the same time; for in fact, something does have to give. Housing and autos have already peaked, and the disconnect between the stock market and economic reality is growing more troublesome by the day. The money managers know this, but their instincts for sidestepping danger have completely atrophied over the years.  Anyway, we are by now all in it together up to our eyeballs: pension funds, private equity, insurance companies, individual and sovereign investors — a collective of greater fools, unchastened for too many years to recall what it felt like at the last top.

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July 23rd, 2017

Posted In: Rick's Picks

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