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Thoughts along the journey

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Technical items:

• I just ran a screen for stocks that trade above $5, with volume of more than 75,000 shares per day and which are making a new relative strength high. I got 26 names, suggesting that if the leaders are leading, there are very few troops.

• The overbought/oversold daily percentage readings in the OEX (S&P 100) and NDX are about as compelling as everything else today -- in either direction. Mixed and neutral!

• The market is basically unchanged on news that the Coalition took Baghdad and that there is a 60-foot crater where Saddam was having supper. If you hear the market is being driven by war news, then you are hearing us talking heads lying to you. The markets are obviously being driven by something else. Seems to me good war psychology is being offset by negative economy and profit psychology.

• Remember the "Twilight Zone trade?" It refers to a trading range environment that comes from not being able to prove whether hopes for better times are right or wrong. You can't prove things won't get better, but you get news that they aren't better yet. I think we are in that range now.

• I loved Toddo's two things to live by in his earlier column. Here's another one for the list: How come happy people always hang out with happy people?

• If you are getting whipped around, turn off the TV. Contrary to what you are used to hearing, the market isn't constantly in a make or break zone and the next tick isn't the determinant. The broad market can't get more in the middle of its trading range with mixed near-term technical readings than it is right now.

• Here's what I am watching:

• XAU (gold and silver index) near support in low 60s.
BKX near resistance at 750 to 760
SOX nearing the end of its wedge formation (sideways triangle drawn on highs and lows) on daily charts. In my view, the next move is going to be a humdinger, but direction is to be determined by a directional break of wedge. If you are playing direction on it now, you are sorta guessing.

• XOI (oil index) testing support at 430ish after breaking intraday uptrend (60-minute) charts.

• Over the past year, prior market spankings have come from a Volatility Index, or VIX, reading in the high 20s. That means aggressive sellers could be a bit early.

• (That's a technical term, Daisy. Get your eyebrows down!)

No positions in stocks mentioned.
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