‘Magic’ In Vegas

speak at so many conferences and seminars across the country that they used to
blend into each other. But as TradingMarkets2001 was my first time back in the air since September 11,
I must say that each greeting from you, my fellow investors and traders, was much
appreciated. My partners Tom & Dan Haugh of www.PTISecurities.com
were extremely flattered to hear how many of you watch our show, Doctor
J & the Traders
on the web each week. Your compliments will
not cause our egos to get out of control, but if any of the television
executives we’re working with share your belief that an honest, irreverent
investment program is what is sorely lacking from network programming, then
perhaps you will soon be able to watch us on TV as well as the net.

My next order of business is to send a special thanks to Earvin
“Magic” Johnson, Larry Connors, the staff of TradingMarkets.com and
the 400 folks that we met at the Venetian in Las Vegas last weekend. As exciting
as it was to play Magic one-on-one, it was equally great for me to get
face-to-face with so many of you active investors and traders. The recent events
have certainly caused me to be more grateful for the wonderful things we
sometimes take for granted, so I had to pass along the warm feelings I felt for
everyone that took that risk to get on an airplane and not let the terrorists
keep us from enjoying this great country and our invaluable freedom.

As I will be speaking at the Traders’ Library
Options Forum
in Chicago over the next three days, I may not be
able to produce my column, but I wanted to pass along some thoughts regarding
what I saw on my trip to Las Vegas. Number one, the airlines are packed. That’s
right. The planes were jammed! It was painfully obvious that the industry-wide
layoffs were responsible for massive lines at check in, but the security
procedures, while more aggressive than pre-9/11, were hardly the culprit
responsible for making us check in two hours before flight time. The sooner the
airlines hire back some of the folks they so hastily furloughed, the quicker
we’ll see air travel become less burdensome.

My next observation was that virtually every rental car in Las Vegas was booked.
Sure, some of the folks that couldn’t fly home three weeks ago may have driven
the inventory to other locales, but I can hardly believe the fleets would not
have been replenished by now. Now you may ask yourself, if the planes are packed
and the rental cars are booked, shouldn’t that tell us that the travel industry
is fighting its way back from the sucker punch and getting back on its feet? It
sure looked that way to me.

Lastly, in conversations with limo and taxi drivers, dealers, waitresses (oh
yeah!) and other service industry folks, it seemed that America’s adult
playground is likewise getting back to normal. Mind you, Las Vegas is not back
all the way, but the bookings are up (1800 of us were checking out of the
Venetian on Sunday according to my driver) and things are looking up.