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Before The Bell: Apple's Mojo; Retail's Larger Concerns


Jobs and retailers losing momentum?


Morning Perspective: Apple's Mojo?

Bloomberg reports the recent 40% slide in Apple (AAPL) from a record high in December is threatening CEO Steve Job's momentum. Shares reached a record $202.96 in late December but have since plunged over 80 points after the electronics maker disappointed shareholders by failing to blow out the top end of estimates in iPhone and iPod sales.

The company also spooked investors with its forecast after its January earnings release suggesting a cooling in U.S. consumer demand. But Wall Street is still optimistic on the company with 23 analysts maintaining buy recommendations on the stock due in part to for strong demand in its Mac products. Todd mentioned Apple yesterday in his Random Thoughts.

From the Bull Pen: Bull believing the worst is over for Apple may play the upside, sell-stops below yesterday's low ($117)

From the Bear Cave: In the electronics space, bears can see a short-sided play in Sony (SNE); buy-stops set above $45.

Retail's Larger Concerns

According to Bloomberg, the International Council of Shopping said retailers collectively reported same-store sales of just 0.5% for the month of January. It was the worst January since 1970 as department stores failed to lure enough shoppers even by slashing prices on clothing and bedding as much as 75 percent. The dismal same-store sales figures highlighted the greater concerns of consumers as the economy lost 17,000 jobs and home prices fell in 2007 for the first time since the Great Depression. For more, read Professor Jeff Macke's Reality Bites For Retail.

From the Bull Pen: Bulls looking for retail exposure may find one in Costco (COST). Sell-stops can be placed below the 200-DMA ($62). Aside from the retail sector and taking into consideration the greater economic concerns, bulls may look to ag-tech play Monsanto (MON); sell-stops below $100.

From the Bear Cave: Bears see short-side opportunities in retail because of yesterday's strength. Buy-stops can be set above $50 for Wal-Mart (WMT), and above $25 for Lowe's (LOW)

For more ideas, see Minyanville's Spotlight Stocks.

Quick Check Around the World

Friday greets Minyanville with a smile as traders come in to see foreign markets all mixed up.

Asian markets closed with the Nikkei -1.44% and Sensex -0.35%, with most markets still closed for the Chinese New Year.

A quick check across the pond finds the CAC +0.09%, DAX +0.57%, FTSE +0.15%, ATX +0.30%, Swiss Mkt. +0.48% and Stockholm -0.92%.

A Look At Commodities

Commodities are higher this morning. Crude oil is trading +0.96 to 89.07. Gold is up +7.90 to 914.00. Silver is higher +0.235 to 17.010, and copper is up +2.80 to 347.60.

The dollar index is down -0.296 to 76.637.

As of 8:45 AM EST, S&P futures are lower -12.40 to 1327, and Nasdaq futures are down 11.50 to 1755.

On the Radar


10:00 Wholesale Inventories: 0.3% cons

Happy Friday! Good luck!

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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