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Afternoon Snack


As the minutes tick by I am having trouble finding any defining characteristics in today's marketplace. We held the 1064 area on the S&P, which I highlighted as support this morning, and currently we seem to be hovering around the 1068-1070 level. Gold is the big loser on the day trading off almost $3. The biggest gainers on the day are the Oil Service (OSX) and wireless stocks. I am getting the feeling that very few people have any idea what is going on lately and lack serious conviction about where we are headed. With Intel's (INTC: NASDAQ) mid-quarter update tonight many people may be nervous that an already expected bullish report may be priced into stocks. In my opinion, the update will be bullish; they will narrow guidance to the top of the range (in EPS and Rev's) and state that the semi cycle is still strong. The questions are: will this be rewarded? Is this priced into the stock? What happens if they issue something that is not quite as bullish as the Street expects? I think the latter half of this day will be driven by expectations going into tonight.

The trading of the past few days has been erratic and wild. The only thing that I can take from this is that we are at an important crossroads. With so many variables coming into play (technical resistance, end of year, mid-quarter updates, etc.) one only needs to look at the wild trading of the past three days to see the nervousness that is present on the Street. Lack of conviction is causing these wild swings and maybe after tonight's report people will once again be able to buy and sell with more direction and certainty. As I am putting the finishing touches on this National Semi's (NSM: NYSE) earnings are scrolling across the tape. They appear to be bullish so let's pay attention to how the stock reacts, which may provide insight into tonight's extravaganza.
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