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Spread Eagle

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Good luck in the muck!

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Well, baby, there you stand
With your little head down in your hand
Oh my God, you can't believe it's happening again
Your baby's gone and you're all alone and it looks like the end


(Eagles)


Splish Splash. That's the sound of minxy muck as we slobber through the nip and tuck. We got good news this morning--robust retail sales, better than expected earnings, a somewhat quiet geopolitical backdrop and strong European bourses. Heck, we've even got bald day traders on television screaming "Hoot! Hoot! Hoot!" What's not to like? Plenty, I guess, as the all-important psychological metric has now taken center stage.

I've been Buzzin' and Banterin' with Fleck regarding tonight's Intel (INTC:NASD) soiree and we both agree that the (expectation) bar has been lowered. How do we know? Take a look at the chart, cookie, as the mother chip has dipped and slipped all the way from $35. What isn't clear, as of yet, is how the coming results (reality) will juxtapose against that altered sentiment (perception). Trading, in a nutshell, is all about capturing that vig.

As far as I can smell, folks are looking for a slight revenue shave and gross margins of 60%. But that's just Intel and, as discussed this morning, one stock does not a market make. There are bigger fish sizzlin' in the kitchen as global players re-allocate their capital to various asset classes. Gold is 3.5% softer, silver has been tarnished by 8%, rates continue to edge higher and equities are stuck in the middle with you.

Is this a blip or a hole in the ship? I've long said that trap doors litter the landscape as a function of the bubble trouble, giddy sentiment, insider selling and yawny complacency. It hasn't mattered yet--in fact, that type of thinking has fueled some of the upside fire--but if the walls come tumblin' down, that scribblin' will be on the bricks. Is Boo an alarmist? Perhaps--we are still a stone's throw from "reaction" highs--but risk assessment and metric assimilation is the constant thread of any strategy and those inputs must be respected.

Deep breaths as we find our way, Minyans, as we'll get there together. As for the rest of today's session, I continue to key on Citigroup (C:NYSE) and the financials (BKX is down 16 the old way), breadth (nastola) and the cyclicals. It's still N's over S's, mind you, as the chips are relatively outperforming ahead of tonight's news. We don't offer advice in Minyanville but I will remind you of a basic trading premise: When in doubt, sit it out and await thy precious edge.

As always, I hope this finds you well.


R.P.
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