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August 13, 2017 | This Crisis, Most Unfortunately, Is Different

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.

The suspense is chilling.  On Friday, my two top market bellwethers, AMZN and Boeing, came down precisely to their respective thresholds of menace before rallying out of the hole. Shortly thereafter, North Korea’s nut-job dictator one-upped Wall Street’s premature and unwarranted sigh of relief, announcing that his missile launchers were on standby.

All of us, traders and investors in particular, have gotten used to having geopolitical crises, even seemingly world-shaking ones, blow over quickly. Not this time, I fear. Since we can’t know exactly where Kim’s missiles are headed until they are aloft, or what kind of payload they are carrying, we’ll have to start shooting them down as they leave their launchers or silos.  That means even North Korea’s ostensible test firings will have to be treated as acts of war from this point forward.

Say Goodbye to Politics-as-Usual

That’s going to transcend politics-as-usual in the U.S., as even Trump’s most vociferous doubters must already recognize.  It would appear that a generally complacent world is about to find out what the word ‘crisis’ means.

It will inevitably be written someday that North Korea’s dictator caused the bull market to end, assuming it has. This is poppycock; the bull has been looking for years for reasons to off itself. Sitting on a precipice, all it needed was just a little shove.  Kim Jong Un won’t even qualify as the Black Swan who made it happen, since his name was already near the top of every permabear’s list of Things That Could Go Dreadfully Wrong.

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August 13th, 2017

Posted In: Rick's Picks

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