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The holidays are a special time. Christmas shopping, ice skating and all the kids’ smiling faces.

As many of you already know, I grew up in an Irish Catholic family of  six girls and four boys. We grew up in Crystal Lake, Ill. Irish through and through, my dad was a boxer in the Marines, and he and my older brother Bill both went to Notre Dame, where they both played football. My older sister married the guy that owned the Palm Restaurant and everyone would come flying back for the holidays. It was not out of the ordinary to have 20 or 30 family members and friends over!

My mom was a great cook, and with the exception of stinking up the house on St. Pat’s Day with the corned beef and cabbage for my dad, it was the best place in the world for great eats during the holidays. My mom was an attractive lady from Fort Worth, Texas, a McFarland, and my great-grandfather came over from Ireland in the late 1800s. When McFarland and Riley got married, they joined an even larger family of Rileys that totaled over 60 family members when I was just a little kid; today it’s double the size. I always questioned if anyone had ever heard of birth control back then? Just the same, my house at 65 North Oak St. in Crystal Lake was a very, very happy place to be.

Along the way: People get older and they have their own Christmases. So as time has gone by and my parents have passed, we have still carried on the traditions, but in a smaller way. I will never forget how the kids would be rushed off to bed early on Christmas Eve while the older kids and my parents would still be living it up. Did they really think we were sleeping? There was a big staircase that led to the upstairs, on one side was the the kitchen and the back of the house and the other was the living room, dining room and sunroom. My little sisters and I would wait until things quieted down and then one by one we would take turns peeking through the banisters of the steps to see what they were doing. Many times they knew to shoo us away, but on other times we could watch as long as we liked or as long as we could stay awake. Putting together dollhouses and bikes can be pretty tricky when you have been drinking all night and a hell of a lot of fun to watch! Getting up in the morning was unreal -- new sleds, a tank, a bike, I was off my rocker! I would go out in the snow for hours and my mom would be yelling at me to come in the whole time. I never would. With a big hill and fountain that didn't work and a goal post in my backyard I didn't have to go anywhere. I would turn on the hose, pour water all over the little hill in the backyard and make my own toboggan run. I was the king of the hill. I also was known for throwing a lot of snowballs at cars. Boy, I wish I was a kid again,

Growing older: My mom told me something that I have never forgotten back 12 years ago. I was bummed out about something and she said with her Texas drawl, “Danny boy, what's wrong? You don't look so happy.” I told her that I really didn't have many friends left and she turned to me and smiled and said, “Dboy, if you're 40 and you have four good friends, you're doin' pretty good.” Trading was not going well during that time, and like always she grounded me and put things in perspective.  Yes, I have lost my mom and my dad, and yes, my family unit has shrunk and I don't hang out with my old drinking buddies anymore, but something else happened. In 2009 we started something called MrTopStep.  From there I have regained many lost friends and hundred of new ones. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that at 54 years old and on the fringe ending something I have done for the last 34 years would I have ever imagined I could be so happy.

I can't predict the next winning trade. I have never done that, but what I do know is I am not alone. MrTopStep, as corny as it sounds, is a family. Yes, it’s a group of traders, it’s not a contest, it is a group of very good friends and traders who have gotten together to make a difference.

I personally want to thank all of the MrTopStep customers first. Like the desk on the floor, we could not do it without you. To the MrTopStep followers, I want to thank you also.  

Danny Riley is a 34-year veteran of the trading floor. He has helped run one of the largest S&P desks on the floor of the CME Group since 1985.

                DISARRAY: Boehner Drops ‘Plan B’

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ESH HIGH 1441.25
ESH LOW 1391.25

Our view:

We all knew the S&P had rallied too much, and when the Republicans bailed, so did the ESH. Is this a surprise? Not really, but it does show the complete lack of regard our elected officials have for the people that voted them into office. This morning we have a bunch of economic numbers to get past, the quad witch, and to tell the truth I just want to sit back and watch.

For today:

  • It’s 7 a.m. and the ESH is trading 1421.75, down 18.75 handles; crude is trading 88.92, down 1.21; and the euro is down 40 pips at 1.3212.
  • In Asia, 11 out of 11 markets closed lower (Shanghai Comp. -0.69%, Hang Seng -0.68%).
  • In Europe, 11 out of 12 markets are trading lower (CAC -0.41%, DAX -0.66%).
  • Today’s headline: “S&P Mini Crash, Republicans Cancel Vote”
  • Economic calendar : Quadruple witching, personal income & outlays, Chicago Fed activity index, consumer sentiment, BLS state employment stats and earnings from Walgreens
  • Globex volume: 340k ESZ, 1.64mil ESH and 15k SPZ and 10k SPH traded
  • Fair value: S&P -16, NASDAQ -32.5

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DISCLAIMER: The information and data in the following report(s) were obtained from sources considered reliable. Opinions, market data, and recommendations are subject to change at any time. Their accuracy or completeness is not guaranteed and the giving of the same is not to be deemed as an offer or solicitation on our part with respect to the sale or purchase of any commodities or securities. MrTopStep, its officers, directors and its contributors may, in the normal course of business, have position(s) which may or may not agree with the opinions expressed in this report.

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