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Stranger than Fiction

By

May peace be with you!

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Well the music's thunderin', restless and hot
You keep firin' me glances across the room
And I can't stop wonderin' just what you got
Get the feeling I'm going to find out real soon


(Grateful Dead)


The afternoon breeze has started to wheeze as Boo tries to shake the bulls from the trees. We knew coming in that an expiration related hangover could cloud the morning crowd and true to form, the initial jig faded hard. The damage has been contained (and pockets of strength remain) but the opening chasers have once again learned the lesson of patience. Now, as we turn our attention to the other bell, the critters have some decisions to make.

I opined on Friday that "down into Turnaround Tuesday" made sense although it was (and is) admittedly nonsensical. Still, as Minyan RO reminded us in the Buzz, "December 21 to January 8 is the best 3 week period for the market as 30% of the Dow's annual gains come during those 3 weeks. Turnaround Tuesday is on December 21." Serendipity? Not without a frozen hot chocolate, although the action in Google (GOOG:NASD) and the traction in the piggies is supportive of that vibe.

Perhaps more important will be tomorrow's earnings from Brother Bear (BSC:NYSE) and Mother Morgan (MWD:NYSE). The brokers were our primary read when they busted out through XBD 130 and they provide good perspective on current field position. If they can grab Stella and get their groove back, the all-important BKX 104 level may finally give. That, to me, is as important a level as any as we fit the pieces of the year-end puzzle together.

My stochastics continue to urge caution (as does Scotto's timely educational analysis) but we're about to enter the minxy Twilight Zone. You know the deal--it's that period of time when traditional metrics are put on hold in favor of performance anxiety and emotional angst. The dynamic is really pretty simple. If we go higher, the improving benchmarks will squeeze players into the tape and force them to play. If the pond cracks, there will be a heckuva lotta bulls looking at each other and wondering what happened. Where you fall on that spectrum is a function of risk management so please see both sides and don't spend your time looking back.

On a housekeeping note, Wednesday will be my final scribe of the '04 vibe as I'll then turn my attention to Festivus and my first "real" vacation in two years. As it stands, Mr. P from Tampa Bay sits atop the leader board but has quietly informed me that, while he can't make the fete, he'll match any bid up to $15,000. That, my friends, is the definition of class and as the proceeds will benefit The Ruby Peck Foundation for Children's Education, I'm only to happy to share his gesture.

Fare the well into the bell and have a peaceful evening.



R.P.

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