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Just Another Bright, Sunshiney Day on Wall Street

Follow along as the TaskMaster deepens your depression. Plus, a parable about making money in a declining market.

No Tears, Now. Smiles, Everyone, Smiles

SAN FRANCISCO -- Another rough day for those who are long. Most troubling, a rally in the bond market failed to inspire equities, which ended at session lows as the


fumbled early gains. (For more, see today's

Market Roundup.)

Grim and Grimmer

There's a growing sense (hope?) stocks are "oversold" (you almost never hear people say "overbought," do you?) and will bounce if tomorrow's productivity numbers and/or Friday's employment data are at all friendly. Other than that, I'm afraid I can't offer anything to make it all better.

In that light (the oversold bounce vs. the "I want my Mommy!" light, that is) William Erman, founder of

Ermanometry Research

, an ultratechnical quant shop in Nashville, Tenn., emailed clients today to say he'd upped the key support level for the

S&P 500

(cash) to 1305 from 1300.

"Penetration of this price level indicates a 10-to-1 probability that the market would EVENTUALLY decline significantly (below the May lows) within the next few weeks," he wrote. "'Eventually' is emphasized because shorter-term indicators show STRONG SUPPORT at this same level."

The S&P 500 closed at 1305.33 today after trading as low as 1304.50 intraday, on which Erman focuses exclusively.

"The die is cast," he said in a postclose phone interview. "Long-term indicators are telling us we're going to have a significant deterioration and take out the May 27 low

of 1277.30 on the S&P 500. Exit on any kind of strength or, if you can stand a little heat, get short now."

Meanwhile, a source on the frontline reports: "It is getting ugly out there. I saw a person in a daytrading chat room talking about selling his car to make his margin calls."

Ouch. (However, I am looking for a good deal on a used car...)

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Even a Monkey Can Do It

The last few weeks have (hopefully) reminded some investors it's


easy to make money on Wall Street. (Despite what some online brokerage ads and daytrading firms imply. Not to mention folks like "The Profit Club.")

"The only thing this market has created is a lot of geniuses in their own minds," said the CEO of

Gotham Capital Management

, Ronny Kraft, who's accused by some of belonging to that group. "Well, there's only a limited percentage per capita and the monitor went too high. What

Warren Buffett

does is not easy."

Back on

July 20 -- to something


than critical acclaim -- I quoted Kraft as being short


at around 134. At the time, was trading around 120. Today, it fell 6.8% to 88 7/16.

"I didn't think Net stocks would get to these targets so quickly," he said today. "That leads me to believe these stocks will crack worse than I thought."

Still, Kraft believes the "downward movement is tiring," and he has begun covering some shorts.

The hedge fund manager said in one breath that he "feels for people." In the next he expressed no sympathy for "someone that bought



at 14,000 times earnings or Amazon, a company that's increasing revenues three times but losses by four times."

Meanwhile, Kraft defended short-selling as a "legal, necessary function of our market. All shorting is a choice, it's a box on the ballot sheet." (Cue whistling of

You're a Grand Old Flag.)

Wait, this segment was supposed to make you feel


. (I swear.)

The head trader of one New York trading desk reports setting out to buy some



not long ago, believing it was due for a bounce after its latest warning-inspired downturn.

After returning from some meetings later in the day, the trader thought he'd forgotten to make the trade and wrote "G-I-L" on a note. Just following orders (

Papers? You have no papers?

), an assistant bought

Gildan Activewear


at around 18.

"The next day I was out and forgot about it," the source recalled. "A week later I realized it. I still own every share. It's been the best trade of the month. That's how we make money on this desk."

The stock dipped 3/4 to 21 today after going on a tear from 16 1/4 on July 6 to as high as 22 on July 28.

Even funnier (are you laughing yet?), our source still has little idea what Gildan does (check out its

site if you're curious) and plans to ride it until it hits 30.

"It looks great on the chart," he said. "If it comes in, it wasn't supposed to be mine anyway. It's amazing."


TSC Special

Staff reporter

Spencer Ante

and larger-than-life, err ... Editor-at-Large

Cory Johnson

(both of the fabu San Francisco bureau) get the nod today with

At Robbie Tech Conference, Net Investors Smell Smoke.

Wither Renay? Was He Ever Here?

With Net stocks melting down,


yesterday provided the ultra-annoying Steve Frank using old interviews (shame, shame) to explain why a






merger might make sense, and why it wouldn't. Then Carl Quintanilla, a

Wall Street Journal

reporter with seemingly all the goods, discussed the bloodshed among online brokers.

And Renay San Miguel? You might have thought


technology reporter was on vacation. He wasn't, but would viewers have known the difference? Renay chimed in with a


on the "hot" story about

EarthLink Network





I'm sure Renay is a decent guy, but is this really the best


can offer us on the all-anybody-thinks-about tech beat? With Frank, the network has proven looks aren't the main issue (ain't I a stinker?). So why not get somebody on the tech beat who can add some value? Renay has always struck me as somewhat milquetoast -- a local TV news anchor type. A quick look at his

bio only added to my apprehension.

Recently I saw Bruce Francis on


and was reminded of his past contributions to everybody's we-hate-it-but-gotta-watch network. (Remember

Steve Jobs

storming out of that interview?)

Be like ET and phone home, won't you, Bruce?

Aaron L. Task writes daily for In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at