Aggressive Girls

The market is still basing, although rising a little on end-of-quarter window-dressing moves. For newcomers, that means professional investment managers are selling losers and buying winners that have gone up in the last few months so their quarterly reports show them owning successful names, even though they didn’t actually benefit from the good performances. The window-dressing buys are easier to detect than the sells. Why? Because everybody has different losers, but everybody chases the same winners.

It happens at the end of every quarter. Notice in your mutual fund reports that you don’t see when purchases took place. That way when you see Google among the holdings you’ll think to yourself, “Great! I’ve read a lot about Google’s success and its stock has been on a tear. I’m glad to be in a fund that’s smart enough to own it.” Thus you stay put. Window-dressing purchases tend to drive high-performing stocks a tad higher at the end of every quarter, and that’s what we’re seeing now.

I’m still holding out for cheaper prices in telecom, alternative energy, and semiconductors. I doubt that I’m going to get the cheaper prices I wanted in the hot-and-getting-hotter Japanese stock market. I may send a Friday morning note to subscribers telling them to buy on Friday. It depends on what happens today in Tokyo. (It’s noon on Friday here as I write.) Either way, I plan to issue a special report on Japan over the weekend explaining why I’m finally bullish on the recovery after years of false starts.

Onto kibasen.

Your votes have been counted and the results are in. I asked in my Sept. 24 article (see below) whether readers think boys or girls are more aggressive in the samurai cavalry game of kibasen. Amazingly, exactly half of all respondents thought boys and half thought girls. More women thought boys were aggressive and more men thought girls were aggressive. Tells us something about the state of relationships.

In fact, girls are far more aggressive at kibasen than boys. When the starting pistol is shot, the boys walk leisurely forward on the battlefield, clash with little noise, and simply achieve the objective of getting the opponent’s hat and occasionally pushing somebody to the ground in good-natured fun.

The girls charge forward screaming at the sound of the pistol. They slam into the opposing team as if it were a true battle. I saw a girl start crying from the initial blow. Her adversary showed no mercy, choked the crying girl, and pulled her hair backwards until the girl’s head craned over and she fell to the ground. Another team stomped on their fallen opponents until people’s legs bled. A third clashing group looked friendlier with the two girls on top grasping fingers and laughing at first. Then one of them disentangled a hand, smacked her friend in the temple with the heel, and watched the girl topple to the sand. The fallen friend got to her feet holding her head and blinking her eyes rapidly. She made her way off the field in a drunken stagger.

So, if you ever face a group of Japanese people stacked on top of each other and charging at you, better hope they’re men.

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