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Withering Heights


I suppose performance anxiety works both ways!


Wonder this time where she's gone
Wonder if she's gone to stay
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
And this house just ain't no home anytime she goes away

(Bill Withers)

Minyanville is awash in a sea of white as we prepare ourselves for our weekly finale and the critters are chomping at the bit. It's been a long week (in many ways) and they're looking forward to big screens, mushy sweaters and crackling fires. They're also quite pumped because tomorrow is Ruby's birthday and remembering loved ones always warms the heart. 87 years ago tomorrow, Rubin Peck was born in Harlem and, even after he's passed, his legacy continues.

Outside of the IBM downgrade and a couple of number bumps in Intel, research has been generally light this morning. Lehman Brother's upgraded ORANGE and Bear Stearns has downgraded ORANGE which begs the obvious question: Orange you glad we've got these analysts?

The alligator chatter (asset allocation) has been loud the last few days as traders sense a rotation out of stocks and into bonds. I've been doing my Clifford the Dog impersonation with my nose to the ground but, thus far, I haven't sniffed out confirmation. The metric du jour today has to be the technical levels of SPX 900 and NDX 1050. We discussed different approaches to this juncture and what you choose is ultimately a function of your view, time horizon and risk profile. For my part, I hopped into work with one leg in my metaphorical bear costume (25% conviction on the short side) and will look to nibble on dips and pepper on blips. As it stands, the Razor Burn thesis continues to unfold.

The role reversal was in full affect yesterday as the financials took it on the chin (saw real sellers) and the semi's finally caught their breath after a 16% drubbing. I'll once again be keying off of these groups (watch the brokers) as well as the retail complex and the software group (on the heels of the RATL acquisition). Peripheral tells will include Microsoft, crude (in front of Iraqi deadline) and our trusty internals.

The economic data was just released and it was much weaker than expected-and the futures are getting waxed. The focus on the street has been the fundamental stabilization thesis but, oh by the way, without a pickup in the economy it's all for naught. Oofa!

I've got to hop into my morning mind meld so let me sign off and toss the trading cap back on. We've got a long day ahead of us, my friends, so be sure to pace yourself as we merge into today's traffic. Something tells me this is going to be one of those days!

See you after the opening.

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