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Before The Bell: Merry Sony Christmas; Citi's New CEO


Sony's electronic sales are strong. Citi's new CEO pledges to turn around the company. Futures are up.

Morning Perspective: Merry Sony Christmas

WSJ reports sales of electronic products at Sony (SNE) have been strong this holiday season. Sony CEO Howard Stringer told reporters that although the U.S. economy is "dodgy," electronic sales at the company "seem to be holding well." Stringer also added that the company is on track to reach its operating-profit margin of 5% by the end of its fiscal year with sales of its Playstation 3 consoles picking up and strong sales of the Cybershot digital camera and Vaio computer. For context of this holiday season, read Jeff Saut's If Santa Fails To Call?

From the Bull Pen: Sony shares have gained 9% since Professor Jeff Macke said the stock may have bottomed. Those expecting a full turnaround in the company may play the upside, with sell-stops below recent lows ($52).

From the Bear Cave: Retail bears may find a play in Blue Nile (NILE). Professor Quint Tatro has been bearish on the company and mentioned its recent head and shoulders pattern. Those bearish may set buy-stops above the downtrend at $75.

Citi's New CEO

FT reports Citigroup (C) named Vikram Pandit, the previous head of the company's institutional businesses, as its new chief executive yesterday. Pandit announced his intentions to carry out "an objective and dispassionate" review of all of the company's business lines, but stated it was too early for him to have any conclusions. Pandit faces an uphill battle, however, as the company has been one of the largest casualties of this year's credit crunch. Shares of the company have fallen 40% year-to-date. Read Mr. Practical's The Fed's Magic Tricks for more context on the banking system.

From the Bull Pen: Those believing Pandit can turn around the company can play Citigroup to the upside, sell-stops below recent lows at $32.

From the Bear Cave: Todd said in his Random Thoughts that his inclination was to fade (read:sell) the financials into strength. Bears may play the Pro Shares Ultrashort Financials (SKF), sell-stops below $86 (Note this ETF's price movement corresponds to twice (200%) the inverse of the performance of the D.J. U.S. Financials Index).

Click on Minyanville's Stocks To Watch for more company-specific ideas.

Quick Check Around the World

Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -2.41%, Nikkei -0.70%, Sensex +0.42%, Taiwan -1.71% and Shanghai -1.54%.

A quick check across the pond finds the CAC -1.11%, DAX -0.43%, FTSE -0.72%, ATX -0.87%, Swiss Mkt. -1.03% and Stockholm -1.18%.

A Look At Commodities

Crude oil is up this morning 0.70 to 90.72. Gold is lower -2.2 to 814.90. Silver is down -0.05 to 14.81, and copper is down -8.4 to 300.55.

As of 8:30 AM ET, S&P futures are up by +14.6 points, and Nasdaq futures are higher by 17.0 points.

On the Radar


8:30 Export Prices ex-ag: 0.5% prior
8:30 Import Prices ex-oil: 0.5% prior
8:30 Trade Balance: -$57.0 bln cons
10:30 Crude Inventories: 7913 k prior
2:00 Treasury Budget: -$75.0 bln cons

Click here for the full trading radar.

Have a great day, Minyans! Good luck!
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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