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Back in the Saddle

By

Please allow ample time for traders to once again find their seats!

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Ten years the waves rolled the
Ships home from the sea
Thinking well how it may blow
In all good company


(Grateful Dead)


Good morning and welcome back to the critter track. The summer is done and traders are here as we ready ourselves for the final frontier. "The last coupla weeks have been a slow dance," said Sammy the snake as he shook off the trance, "It's now time to see if the bulls can advance the amorous lure of upside romance." Will Hoofy step up and lead the parade or can Boo expose the thin stock charade? It's time to step up and dust off those skills as we ready anew for a romp through the 'Ville!

Last week was a relative snoozer save a curious ramp job into Dubya's big day. After the fact reporting attributed the liftage to some whispers from Washington but the Mother Chip (INTC:NASD) was a bovine bummer and quelled the swell. Indeed, when the jobs data failed to follow the disasters of payrolls past, the knee jerked higher before succumbing to the forces of gravity and semiconductor cavities.

With the Republicans back on the Beltway and the Hamptons less harried, the flickering ticks should again tick a bit quicker. The current dynamic is a race between the perceived electoral clarity (latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll has Dubya ahead 52%-45) and fundamental reality. We've been discussing the back-end loaded tech quarters and Intel did nothing to dispel the notion that business must pick up to avoid a crimson hiccup. Toss in anecdotal evidence from Microsoft (MSFT:NASD), General Motors (GM:NYSE), Ford (F:NYSE) and Wal-Mart (WMT:NYSE) and it's increasingly evident that the fumbles aren't a simple function of four letters.

My takeaway is that perception of Dubya's successful defense will positively impact psychology until the collective reality off-sets (and eventually overwhelms) that political clarity. Shortly thereafter, we could see some serious carnage as investors realize that it doesn't really matter who sits in the Oval Office. That, like it or not, the slack in the system, mountains of debt and financial fragility are independent of political affiliation and unavoidable in consequence. In other words, SEE everything but realize the collective gaze may be focused in the wrong direction.

We power up this Tuesday pup to find Asia marginally higher, Europe mixed, the metals under pressure, stateside futes optimistic and the dollar peeking at the all-important DXY 90 level again. Catalysts on this week's trading radar include Conference USA, an Elmer cameo tomorrow and an S&P chart that pulled back--but held--the 200-day moving average.

Good luck today.

R.P.

No positions in stocks mentioned.
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