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Clarence Beeks swung by the City of Minyans with a stronger than expected retail sales number and the pre-market futures have sprouted a bit of green. This is the latest input in an active morning that's seen Amgen boost revenue guidance, Monty cut numbers in the brokers, First Boston up Halliburton (abatement of asbestos concerns) and Opco boot the Telco service sector. In addition, the geopolitical chatter has picked up again as The Washington Post reports that chemical weapons may have fallen into the wrong hangs. Joy.

S&P 900 remains a pivot point and resistance sits above at 915 and 930 while support comes into play at S&P 880. For the four-letter freaks, keep half an eye on NDX 1050 as the first ceiling (tickling that level pre-opening) and NDX 1000 down below. Walking through my charts last night (this is what I've been doing with my time off!), I notices a handful of potential head and shoulder formations (negative) across the sector bases. Yes, I too am having a distinct sense of déjà vu as I write this but I would be remiss not to mention it. If you pull up a one month chart of the SOX or the S&P (to name a couple), you'll see what I'm what I'm tawkin' about.

The banks weighed on the tape yesterday and they'll once again be the focus for the old school. SOX 330 is 'a' level on the upside (previous support) and as the entire tech world will be watching this group, you should too. Peripheral tells today include media (conferences), software (acted dry yesterday) and retail, which has been heavy and should prove "telling" on the back of this morning's numbers. I'll also be keeping an ear to the ground for alligator rumblings (allocation) as there's chatter on the trading floor that they may be around.

I remain half dressed with two legs in my metaphorical bear costume (50% conviction on the short side) and it's my humble opinion that rallies should be faded (sold).

Been jamming this morning so my apologies for the late post. For the active traders among you, March is now "front month" in the futures.

I'll be back...good luck!

R.P

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