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Card Shark!




Since it costs a lot to win
And even more to lose
You and me bound to spend some time
Wondrin' what to choose

(Grateful Dead)

The midmorning fray is now underway as the critters dig deep for something to say. There's a natural tendency to run outa gas during the tag ends of earnings week but be careful, Minyans, those fumes can be toxic if you're reckless with your risk. I hear ya on the spinning screens (the information overload has been intense) but carelessness is not a valid excuse for losses. Splash some water on your face, do some jumping jacks, open the window (brrr!)--whatever it takes. I need your focus for another five hours and then we can all do the Friday night face plant!

The early action has some traction as the big board breadth is 2:1 (3:2 Nazz). The most obvious tell du jour, Microsoft (MSFT:NASD), is wigglin' higher and that's emboldening the brazen bulls. The offset, at least marginally, is the lack of participation from Kla-Tencor (KLAC:NASD) and the rest of the saucy semis. The Microsoft paper covers the KLAC rock, for now, but the scissors remain to be seen. As it stands, the S&P is tickling the underbelly of S&P 1150 (first resistance) while the NDX migrates towards 1550ish.

A case can (and is being) made that the NDX has spent the last two weeks digestin' and restin'. As I discussed with my pal (and uber-writer) Mike Santoli last night, there is little justification to be short on a trading basis right now (multiple warning signs aside). Still, we saw some big hedgies laying out tech (short) yesterday morning so it'll be interesting to see if that's fodder or fuel. A breach of either side of the recent band will offer the first clue.

Over in the tar pits, Schlumberger (SLB:NYSE) is getting jiggy (earnings) and that's added energy to the patch. The OSX (oil service index) is now at the 2002 highs and is threatening a little acne of its own. Crude, for its part, is marginally higher (after its recent correction) as traders continue to juggle the northeast cold and Mideast dynamic. While the commodity creeps higher, it likely won't rock the Kasbah until it trades with a four handle.

I'll be back.
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