CPAC 2013 Cuccinelli, West fire up the faithful, stocks join party

... plus, the new Pope is a Jesuit. Does life get any better?


NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., March 14, 2013 — The Maven is reporting this morning close by the shore of a sunny but cold Potomac River over in the People’s Republic of Maryland. Laptop in hand, the Maven, along with several colleagues, is here to help cover the 40th edition of the Conservative Political Action Conference.

It’s just after 9 a.m. EDT, and Virginia Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli opened the morning session by attacking the outsized size and scope of the Federal government and the resultant “unnecessary burdens” that are increasingly sinking small businesses in Virginia and everywhere else. He’s also ramping up his 2013 campaign against his likely political opponent this year, wealthy Clintonista and Democrat insider Terry McAuliffe.

“Not only do more regulations mean less jobs, more regulations mean less freedom, less liberty,” Cuccinelli asserted, vowing to fight further expansions of Federal power and encroachment. While national politics and state politics will dominate at this conference, Cuccinelli is hitting on an important element of conservative principals–the liberation, rather than the oppression, of Virginia’s–and the Nation’s–entrepreneurial spirits, something we constantly espouse in this column.

As the conference unfolds, we’ll be focusing on sessions and speakers that are most concerned with business issues, reporting and opining on both in this column in our more in-depth column, The Prudent Man.

As we write this column, we’ve moved along in the program as former Florida Congressman Allen West fires up the CPAC crowd, thundering at political opponents who “fear a black American who wants a better life and a smaller government.” Night is gone,” he continues. “Day is at hand. I welcome you to the next generation.” That’s good, positive advice, as it will take at least another generation to clean up the current economic disaster.

Turning specifially to Wall Street, let’s try to clean up our own personal economic disasters to look at a Dow that’s up 50 points at 9:45 a.m., and an S&P 500 and NASDAQ that are fired up as well. Maybe we’re finally getting a little of that positive quadruple witching week action we’d been looking for over the last three seriously flaccid trading days. Or maybe the markets are happy that a Jesuit from our own hemisphere is now occupying the Chair of St. Peter. Whatever the case, let’s take a closer look.

This morning’s market barometer:

As we try to finish and file this column, the averages keep inching higher. The Dow is up now (at the moment at least) for the 10th consecutive trading day while the S&P was zeroing in on its all time closing high. The media blow-dry opinion is that the boost is due to a reported drop of 10,000 in initial unemployment claims. Sounds great, but maybe that’s due to the fact that so many people have been unemployed for so long that we’ve reached some kind of limit on new filings.

We reluctantly–and temporarily–dumped our holdings in First Energy (FE) yesterday as the stock came under pressure for some unknown reason. With nearly a 10% profit in the last couple of weeks, much to our surprise actually, we figured we’d best take it and plan to get in when the nonsense is done.

We also dumped our tiny position in gold EFT IAU. The gold situation is so clearly being manipulated that, at least at the moment, investing in bullion is even lousy as a hedge. We could regret our attitude here if Iran detonates a nuke this weekend, but we’ll take the risk of being out for now.

We actually think that today and likely tomorrow, too, might be very bad days to open new positions. The markets are getting very overextended, and we are bound to correct soon. And the longer this gets put off by the Fed’s massive money printing program, aka QE, the nastier that drop is likely to be. So we’ll continue to pare our positions, limiting opportunities for HFTs, algos, and hedge funds to rob us of our more-than-decent 2013 profits thus far.

Be careful here. The current market has been too good to be true. And any market that looks too good to be true probably is.

Disclaimer: The author of this column maintains several active trading and investment portfolios and owns residential and investment real estate.

Any positions mentioned above describe this author’s own investment decisions and should not be construed as either buy or sell recommendations. The current market is highly treacherous and all investors travel at their own risk, so caution should be exercised at all times. 

Illustrations, charts, commentary, and analysis are only the author’s view of current or historical market activity and don’t constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any security or contract. Views, indications, and analysis aren’t necessarily predictive of any future market or government action. Rather they indicate the author’s opinion as to a range of possibilities that may occur going forward. 

References to other reporters, analysts, pundits, or commentators are illustrative only and do not necessarily represent an endorsement of such individuals’ points of view. If specific investment vehicles are mentioned in any ar500ticle under this column heading, the author will always fully disclose any active or contemplated investments in said vehicles.

Follow Terry on Twitter @terryp17

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