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New Speedway Boogie

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We're setting up for a Minxy wedgie!

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It's a gorgeous day in Minyanville and the critters (wearing their springtime fashions) are jammin' and jugglin' with the early news flow. It's to be expected -- earnings week is always nutty -- but as the critters go about their business, I wanted to toss out a quick missive.

In overnight news, IBM (IBM:NYSE) endorsed its full year forecast. While some analysts were iffy on the (second quarter) mechanics, it was far from the puke that was whispered. Novellus (NVLS:Nasdaq) reported a disappointing number and, citing the effects of the SARS virus, guided lower. GM (GM:NYSE) said it is "uncertain if it can achieve 2003 EPS forecast" and is currently offered lower; Johnson & Johnson (JNJ:NYSE) looks to be inline (although there's chatter of weak U.S pharma sales), Merrill downgraded Hewlett-Packard (HPQ:NYSE), UBS Warburg checked out of the hotels (Hilton Hotels (HLT:NYSE), Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (HOT:NYSE) and Marriott International (MAR:NYSE)), First Albany booted EMC (EMC:NYSE), Morgan Stanley raised numbers in Fannie Mae (FNM:NYSE), Citigroup (C:NYSE) and Bank of America (BAC:NYSE) while lowering them in Altria Group (MO:NYSE). WHEW!

On the economic front, the Empire Manufacturing number came in at a staggering -20.37 (vs. est. -.75) and, while it "seems" like an aberration, I haven't had a chance to chew through the numbers. Industrial production (exp. -.2%) and capacity utilization (exp. 75.3%) are due out at 9:15am, so please put those on your radar as well.

Despite yesterday's rally, the S&P and NDX are STILL firmly entrenched in a pattern of lower highs and higher lows. One of these is gonna give soon but, as it stands, the fight for technical supremacy is fierce. The most bullish aspect, and something we can't ignore, is the action in the financials. I've own a smattering of puts in these names and, thus far, I've been wrong (or, more likely, early). Regardless, I'm maintaining my bias and will trade around the position accordingly.

Along those lines, I've got both legs planted in my metaphorical bear costume (50% conviction on the short side) and when I smell Hoofy, I'll rent some exposure (intraday) against my puts.

In my mind's eye, I've got three options right now (no pun intended). I can get long... to sell... to get short (thread the needle), I can methodically scale into defined risk puts (and attempt to use price to my advantage) or I can sit it out and watch from the sidelines. I've opted for the second strategy as I continue to believe that we've seen this movie before -- I just don't know how long it'll last.

The mamaluke portion of earnings week hits tonight when Microsoft (MSFT:Nasdaq) and Intel (INTC:Nasdaq) state their case. Again, my concern (for Boo) is that expectations (in tech) are low and, as such, the bar MAY be sufficiently lowered. As such, I might opt to set up some gamma later in the day. Let's get through the morning flurry and see where we stand. A'ight?

Head up and think positive Minyans -- it all starts within. Fare ye well!

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