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Let's get McCracken!

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May peace be with you!

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"It all comes down to this roll. Roy Munson, a man-child, with a dream to topple bowling giant Ernie McCracken. If he strikes, he's the 1979 Odor-Eaters Champion. He's got one foot in the frying pan and one in the pressure cooker. Believe me, as a bowler, I know that right about now, your bladder feels like an overstuffed vacuum cleaner bag and your butt is kinda like an about-to-explode bratwurst."

--Ernie McCracken, Kingpin



The new week begins with a romp to the north with earnings on tap and unknowns henceforth. The Matador Crowd circled their wagons on Friday and managed to hold numerous support levels (S&P 1183/NDX 1560). After crawling into the weekend, the bovine are now walking the tape higher in front of the fundamental avalanche. Whether or not they can stretch their legs and run for the roses remains the primary question on the lips of the critters.

When there are a ton of agendas floating around, I typically like to view the big picture as a series of little pictures. That's why I've focused my gaze on S&P 1193 (last week's repeated failure point) and BKX 102 (stealth support for the piggies). I offered to Collins, earlier and on the Buzz, that I have a hard time seeing the tape ramp when Citigroup (C:NYSE) supply fills in on every try. With the internals jazzy all day (2:1 positive), that vibe may not be today's business. As we ready for the next few sessions, however, the pork bellies should stay on our radar.

Before Alcoa (AA:NYSE) twirls the baton, I would like to remind ye faithful that there are four primary legs under the trading table. I know that is "old hat" to most Minyans but it's worth mentioning before we sharpen our #2's. I view the market as an assimilation of metrics as there are inherent flaws to each approach. News is always best at the top and worst at the bottom (fundies), stocks can't be "better higher" and "worse lower" (technicals), structural elements can bend (till they break) and there is a fine line between momentum and exhaustion. Please keep that in mind as we crunch and munch the pennies ahead.

I've spoken to some of my smarter hedgie brethren and they believe that the earnings "bar" remains relatively lofty. While field position has self-corrected to an extent (note the "buy signals" for the NDX and SOX stochastics), expectations seem "hopeful" that corporate America will save the day. Perhaps they will--or, more importantly, perhaps folks will perceive they do--but there are alotta balls in the air right now. Play the fray any way you choose but don't bet blindly and don't trade stubborn. If last week taught us anything, it's that the path of maximum frustration is called that for a reason.

I'm gonna jump back to the Buzz and ride this puppy into the sunset. In case you missed it earlier, please know that I am traveling on Wednesday and will leave the 'Ville in the capable hands of my fellow professors. There is a ton going on behind the scenes these days and, as promised in December, you'll soon see what I'm talking about. Suffice to say that in a few short weeks, any "distractions" that are competing for my attention will be in the rear-view and a moot point.

Fare ye well into the bell and have a peaceful evening.

R.P.
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