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Scratch n' Sniff


May peace be with you!


They were two lonely folks doin' the do's and don'ts
And got the notion together they'd be happy
Thought they'd lose the crowd and do the mess around
Decided to make it snappy

(Stevie Ray Vaughan)

The Monday tape continues to scrape as the pressers chew on sour grapes. What started as a spirited downside probe has morphed into a lethargic meander with pockets of excitement. Google (GOOG:NASD) (up another 15), the homies (on their horse), the semis (trying to push past SOX 400) and 1% slippage in crude are today's subtle subplots in what promises to be a much bigger drama. Is it a tad too quiet for you? Fear not, Minyans, for the next coupla weeks promise to be quite eventful.

I positioned for a slight Snapper during this morning's muck with an uber-tight downside stop (Citigroup (C:NYSE) $42). Perhaps I'm trying to pick up dimes in front of a bulldozer (by gaming a cutesy lift in the midst of electoral unknowns) but you can trade seven ways till Sunday as long as you're disciplined. And while we've seen some snappage (and could see more), I intend to keep my overnight risk as defined as possible given the current environment.

Meanwhile, over on the Spitzer Schvitz, the is reporting that Marsh Mack CEO Jeff Greenberg will be replaced by Michael Cherkasky. We've been watching the events in the insurance sector for a number of reasons and the collective reaction to this news will be interesting to note. My concerns involve the "behind the scenes" counter-party risk and how that'll manifest in the financial complex (anytime you have hard, sharp movements, the potential exists for it to ripple through still financial waters). I doubt the attendant risks will dissipate quickly but a reaction rally would bode well for investor psychology.

Heading into the home stretch, Hoofy has focused his attention on the oversold S&P stochastics, relative strength in the semis and the (don't blink) slippage in crude. Boo, for his part, knows that moves don't typically occur in a straight line but is encouraged by the lower highs and technical damage. The rest of the critters are standing on the sidelines and picking their spots, as they know that the next week will be particularly freaky and full of fits and starts on both sides of town.

I've gotta juggle lids and focus my attention on today's close. I sincerely hope you're all hanging tough and keeping a stiff upper lip. Nobody said it was gonna be easy, my friends, and the lessons we've learned will soon be put to the test. Fare ye well into the bell and have a peaceful evening.

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