Todd harrison interview circa 2005

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by marketsurfer, Aug 11, 2009.


    Dave: How are you today, Todd?

    Todd: I’m fine, thank you.

    Dave: Many of our readers know who you are, but for those who do not, please tell us a little bit about your background.

    Todd: Sure, I started on the sell side at Morgan Stanley’s derivatives desk in 1991. I worked there through 1997 and then moved on to the Galleon Group where I was the managing director of their derivative portfolio. I then moved over to Cramer Berkowitz in the beginning of 2000 where I ran their trading desk as a partner, and I was also President for a few years. Then I left to focus my energies on Minyanville, which is a financial team and community.

    Dave: Is Minyanville purely your concept?

    Todd: Yes. I had started writing for in 2000, at which point I found by using characters as metaphorical representations of the market were tremendous vehicles. With the understanding that there is always a bull market or bear market in play and the residual grist is what you read about in the newspaper. What we do at Minyanville through my eyes and through the eyes of twenty columnists, who I greatly respect, is synthesis and filter the information noise in the market place and interpret it in a very engaging platform.

    Dave: When you say the market place, do you mean equities, commodities, or something else?

    Todd: My background is on the equities side and I have actually learned a tremendous amount from reading the other columnists on Minyanville. We have folks like Brian Reynolds who focuses on corporate bonds and fixed income as well as John Succo on the derivatives side. We have a whole slew of columnists who look at the market through different lenses. May it be commodities, fixed income, equities, or whatever.

    Dave: Sounds like it pretty much encompasses the entire financial realm.

    Todd: Well, we try to. My background was really in the equity arena. Currently, it’s myopic to trade one market without understanding the influences on a macroeconomic basis.

    Dave: It’s an incredibly unique and innovative concept. Tell me a little more about Minyanville.

    Todd: Minyanville started out as a hobby. It was really just a writing platform for me to communicate my thoughts, but it has really become my fulltime focus now. It’s important to note that we aren’t out there giving advice or telling people what to do. Rather, we are interpreting what we are seeing and communicating that through a real time platform. We have an application called the Buzz and Banter which is an IM sized window that sits on your desktop. It is an animated financial show each day that synthesizes and interprets the information in the market place.

    Dave: As far as the marketplace goes right now, do you have an opinion on the stock market at this time?

    Todd: No, I think it’s impossible to answer that question without a time horizon. From a big picture standpoint, I think we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. I think the Federal Reserve has tried to buy time on the heels of the internet bubble for a legitimate economic recovery. I think, by and large, investors are confusing legitimate growth with debt induced growth. The system right now is flushed with liquidity, and I think the dynamic that we find ourselves in is ‘Do we continue our inflation efforts which will buoy asset classes across the board, be it equities or metals?’ Therefore, they would devalue the dollar, or does the Fed step aside and stop printing money, for lack of a better word, which would lead to some deflationary effects. Most people within the market, much less outside the market, don’t understand that the dollar has been cut by a third since 2002. So even though most equity portfolios have risen since that time, the basis of value has fallen dramatically.

    Dave: Exactly. In your opinion, when the dollar falls, is that good or bad for the equity market?

    Todd: Well, I don’t think it's good or bad, but I believe 54% of our debt is owned by foreigners. My point is that the falling dollar is going to severely impact those holdings. I am looking at the dollar really right now as a proxy of liquidity and as a proxy of isolationism. We are in a very interesting juncture in history.

    Dave: I agree. Can you elaborate a little on this juncture in history?