LeopardOne of the old time favorite market proverbs of the 20th Century was that the market abhors a vacuum like nature the plague. I thought of this as the market hit its fourth consecutive 20 day minimum in eight trading days, moving down to adjusted futures levels not seen since the end of September 2006, the bonds at their fifth 20 day high of the last 10 trading days, and the granddaddy of tech, Intel, announcing bad earnings and the stock dropping 15%, Citi dropping 7% on the day, taking on more foreign ownership, with the Nasdaq futures down 5% in one day, dropping 9% on the year, and S&P falling 50 points in a day, and 6% since Christmas, and the Dow going below the round number of 12500 at the close, a nine month low, settling at a too smart 12501.

I recently returned from the Naples Zoo where I saw the leopard exhibit. The leopard is considered by some to be the most intelligent animal, since it has learned the lesson that we all know from the crocodile never to visit the same site twice, never to use the same hunting pattern, and never to accept an easy kill because it might be poisoned. It kills in an instant, in the time that a hunter might stoop to pick up a dropped object, and did so while Corbett was attempting to kill it over a three month period, after it had killed well over a hundred. The story is told in the Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag and the Man-Eater of Kumaon. Jim Corbett, in tracking the man-eater of Rudraprayag, camped first in a tower over a bridge for three weeks without the leopard's crossing below, and the day he left the leopard came in for a kill and then Corbett camped in a mango tree for 10 days before winning the battle of wits.

The leopard is a solitary animal and kills in one bite of the jugular, which it teaches its young to find. I believe there is much to learn from the leopard when a series of cathartic events leaves a vacuum to be filled and I will apply these lessons.





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