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Henley's Heroes

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Fare ye well into the bell!

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Who can go the distance?
We'll find out in the long run (in the long run)
We can handle some resistance
If our love is a strong one (is a strong one)


(The Eagles)


The afternoon fray is a minxy array of bulls trudging through the two-sided fray. The initial probe of S&P 1100 once again spurred the buy programs and the bovine haven't truly been challenged since. Now, with the benefit of the newfound wind at their back, they're trying to recapture some of the technical humps that fell last week. NDX 1440 is a biggie, as is Russell 570 and CYC 681. And lest we forget, the piggies are back above both the 50- and 200-day moving averages.

Levels are swell but in an environment with more swings than a Hedonism vacation, they can produce mixed signals. That, in a nutshell, is why alotta technicians are so confused these days. We broke out (positive), broke down (negative), regained some levels (positive), failed anew (negative) and now we've got a mixed bag. All of this, of course, during the last earnings of the year while the elections are drawing near and the Red Sox almost disappear.

Crude likely contributed to the jump start as it's off 3% from the daily highs. That's been a contributing factor to many a bear thesis and while this may be yet another (downside) head-fake, we must factor it into the "perception is reality" mix. I still sense that there's a meatier pullback to the Texas tea (before the election) but I've been saying that since $50ish. Still, and while that would be a positive equity input, it's by no means a ticket to ride. Terror jitters and electoral uncertainty should continue to shape sentiment and there's no guarantee of resolution on November 2nd.

Int'l Business (IBM:NYSE) and Texan (TXN:NYSE) will highlight the after-school hours while a slew of big caps take tomorrow's center stage. While Big Blue will likely color tomorrow's opening, this release is important in other ways. We've had a series of smackings in widely held issues--Merck (MMM:NYSE), Fannie (FNM:NYSE), Marsh Muck (MMC:NYSE), AIG (AIG:NYSE), General Motors (GM:NYSE), Novellus (NVLS:NASD)--and while the bulls will argue that it's company specific, Beamer would be a rather large straw on top of an already fragile camel. I've got no edge on this particular release but I'm certainly cognizant of the desert storm in which it lives.

I'm gonna jump back to the Buzz and ride out the remainder of this session. These are tricky trading times so please be careful and maintain your discipline. Lotsa funds are pressing to make a year in a quarter and while there is a potential to self-fulfill, that "compression" can be a dangerous thing. That's not a directional observation, just one that may help in adjusting your risk profile to fit the tape. For if nothing else, the onus will always be on us to adapt.

Good luck into the close.

R.P.
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