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This Market Just Won't Die

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Today's financial recap and tomorrow's financial outlook.

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Stocks shuffled higher today following seven straight weeks of gains, much to the chagrin of the bears who have been vocally calling for a pullback.

The recent rally could best be described as a slow grind up the wall of worry, and today's action seemed to be an extension of that. A popular trade as of late has been to purchase supposedly "cheap" put options on indices like the Russell 2000 (INDEXRUSSELL:RUT). Perhaps the demand for insurance reflects sentiment that is far more negative than headline indicators would indicate.

In stock news, the Wall Street Journal reported that office supply stores Office Depot (NYSE:ODP) and OfficeMax (NYSE:OMX) are in merger discussions, sending both those stocks, as well as competitor Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS), sharply higher for the day.

On the economic front, the February NAHB housing market index came in at 46, missing the consensus forecast of 48, and driving weakness in homebuilding stocks. In spite of this disappointment, financials rallied, and in fact significantly outperformed the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX)..

In earnings, before the open, Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (NASDAQ:RRGB), and Genuine Parts Company (NYSE:GPC) beat Wall Street's expectations, while Group 1 Automotive (NYSE:GPI), Windstream (NYSE:WIN), and Yandex (NASDAQ:YNDX). After the close, Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) both delivered better-than-expected results.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

Tomorrow, we will see a host of important economic data points, particularly for housing. At 7:00 a.m. ET, we'll see the MBA Mortgage Index numbers, with housing starts, building permits, and PPI coming at 8:30 a.m.

At 2:00 p.m. ET, the FOMC will release its meeting minutes, which could very well drive volatility should the Fed deliver any surprise revelations regarding the economic outlook or inflation expectations.

We'll also plenty of earnings reports. Major names include Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN), Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN), MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM), Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) before the open, and Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ:CAKE), Fluor (NYSE:FLR), and KBR (NYSE:KBR) after the close.

And finally, traders seeking entertainment should consider checking out Herbalife's 11:00 a.m. ET earnings call as its fourth-quarter numbers will drive the next chapter in the Ackman vs. Icahn drama.

Twitter: @Minyanville

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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