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Kass: Mr. Market's Amnesia

Again, the market lacks predictability or trend.

If your time frame is a few months, my advice is to stay flexible and opportunistic. If you are trading, trade small.

If your time frame is a few years, my advice is to buy weakness. Even then, keep your investment positions smaller than usual.

It is especially important to be emotionless, balanced and opportunistic in the market that has no memory from day to day.

There are numerous talking heads that seem so glib and talk/advise with absolute certainty -- I won't name names; you know them as they are often making appearances in the business media or are literally in the clouds of the investment blogosphere -- but the certainty they project is preposterous and dishonest, as the only thing to be certain of is a lack of certainty.

In the final analysis, they are mostly affixed in perma-bullish or perma-bearish dogma, and they are unwilling to admit to the randomness of Mr. Market; they are not being truthful to themselves or to you.

But, as mentioned previously, the lack of predictability does hold some opportunity but only if one is open-minded, opportunistic and willing to embrace volatility. During times like this, we need to learn, at times, to leave our collective investment brain at the door and utilize good common sense combined with a lot of nerve to trade this market, learning and being willing to catch falling knifes and short abrupt moves higher.

It also means, during short periods of times, being constructively positioned when one is intellectually bearish and being short when one is inclined to be bullish of investment mind and keeping the shelf life of our holdings very short in an unpredictable and volatile backdrop.

I continue to lean bearish, but, as described above, I am willing to be more trading-oriented and less investing-oriented in a market without memory from day to day.
Doug Kass is the president of Seabreeze Partners Management Inc. Under no circumstances does this information represent a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security.

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