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The Bottom Line

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Fare ye well!

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The afternoon session is meandering along as traders weigh the Minxy fray. As it stands, the major indices have all put in a series of lower highs (negative), the S&P's are tetherballing at 1075, the semis are flirting with SOX 490, retail is following Wal-Mart (WMT:NYSE) lower, the all-important financials are on either side of unchanged and breadth is almost 2:1 losers to winners for the four-letter freaks (even on the NYSE).

Conventional wisdom coming into today was that the bearded folks would grease the spokes. Between Saddam and Santa, the thinking went, December would be heaven sent. One day does not a market make (either way) and until proven otherwise, Hoofy is large and in charge. I would simply caution, as I did in this morning's missive, that discounting the downside could be hazardous to your financial health.

With that said, today's tape is anticlimactic and unless you came in long (and sold the opening) or faded the opening (and rode 'em down), there hasn't been much to write home about. The catalyst parade will kick up overnight with Amgen (AMGN:NASD) and Oracle (ORCL:NASD) after the close and a chock full of economic data in the morning. All of those inputs will operate against the backdrop of the geopolitical gamesmanship and Friday's option expiry.

I would like to digress for a moment, if I may, and get something off my chest. My grandfather taught me to take the high road and I've done that for the better part of the year. It hasn't always been easy--believe it or not, there are hapless souls out there who, in an effort to validate their own misery, want to see others fail. Yes, as pathetic as it sounds, there are those who spend their spare time hunting critters.

I don't wish them bad--quite the contrary, I feel bad for them and hope they eventually find inner peace--but the negative energy never ceases to amaze me. You'd think that the lessons learned during the past few years would have added a dose of perspective above and beyond the market.

Onward and upward (and thanks for listening), the Minyanville charity auction will end the session with Neal "the real deal" atop the leader board. We've made distributions to our five charitable organizations recently and I can tell you with absolute certainty, there are few things in life more rewarding than helping children. There are certain people who don't get it and never will. For the rest of us, giving back is the gift that keeps on giving.

Good luck into the close.

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