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A quickie!


Economic Influence: There should be no market moving economic news events today.

Earnings Influence: 3M (MMM : NYSE) proved to be a sizeable positive influence yesterday...the only problem was that simply meant the DJIA wasn't down as much as it could have been, absent the gain in the largest price component. Tech stocks Altera (ALTR : NASD) and Novellus Systems (NVLS : NASD) reported after the close last night and had a limited impact on after-hours trading. There have been so many cross currents during the past two weeks of releases that there is no consensus to disappoint. Every man/woman...uhhh...I mean stock - for itself!!!

Other Influences and Thoughts: At a time when all eyes would normally be focused on earnings, they are instead turned to the fixed income markets and the wild decline in bond prices (increase in yields). The structural move that drove yields to historic lows is now going the other way. In our view, just as the move down in yields were overly extreme, so too could the most recent jump in yields.

Since joining the FTN Midwest Research team in mid-June, I suggested a period of increased volatility with limited progress, as the equity markets consolidate the gains since March. I have labeled this period as a transition or "good enough" time. In such a period, there are going to be times where a collapse or surge "feels" imminent - yet limited sustainable progress is made in either direction. It seems the market is in one of those times it "feels" like breaking down. Even with all the volatility and increased news flow, the price of the SPX is within a couple points of June 2nd's high price, suggesting the consolidation process has already been well under way.
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