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Two Ways To Play: Ho, Ho, Ho! Scary Christmas?


Strengthen your portfolio in good times and bad.


Not-So-Jolly Christmas Ahead?

Bloomberg reports Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group, says US retailers will have the worst sales in November and December in at least a decade. Breemer, whose forecasts have been correct 16 of the last 17 years, says there will be more spending reductions for Christmas then he could have imagined.

The decrease may be as much as 6% if there are more job cuts due to the financial crisis. Ninety percent of US retailers will record lower sales in the season, he predicts, which typically accounts for about 35% of annual revenue.

From the Bull Pen: In this market, the winners are the ones that don't lose. Wal-Mart (WMT) is behaving well on its 100 DMA. But patient bulls may be lucky to catch the stock should it fall to near $55.

From the Bear Cave: We've mentioned a downside play in RadioShack (RSH). Bears can use trades above $18 as a level for a buy stop.

Mosaic Takes a Tumble

Profits soared at Mosaic (MOS) according to Bloomberg, but the numbers still weren't enough to offset concerns that weakening crop prices would reduce the demand for fertilizer. Net income surged to $1.18 billion, or $2.65 a share, up from $305 million a year earlier and sales more than doubled to $4.32 billion. Unfortunately, analysts were expecting $2.93 a share on sales of $4.09 billion. The company reaffirmed its potash production forecast at 8.2 million to 8.6 million tons for 2009. Even still, the stock plunged nearly 20% in after hours trading.

From the Bull Pen: Professor Ryan Krueger positively mentioned a play in Treehouse Foods (THS) yesterday. One option can be to initiate a position on a pullback to its 50 DMA ($28.50).

From the Bear Cave: The whole fertilizer space will be under pressure this morning. But CF Industries (CF) breaking major support at $80 could be the best downside opportunity. Buy stops can be set above that level.

For more ideas in real time throughout the trading day, check out Minyanville's Buzz & Banter.

Quick Check Around the World

Asian trading closed mostly lower with the Hang Seng +1.08%, Nikkei -1.88%, Taiwan -1.05% and Shanghai -0.16%.

Glancing towards Europe we see lots of green with the CAC +0.39%, DAX +0.04%, FTSE +1.10%

As of 8:10 a.m. EST, S&P Futures are trading -11 points to 1157 and Nasdaq futures are down -8 points to 1569.

A Look At Commodities

Commodities are mixed. Crude oil is trading -0.80 to 97.73. Gold is -10.3 to 870.40. Silver -0.5470 to 12.300, and copper -1.45 to 278.25.

The dollar index is +0.568 to 80.031.

On the Radar


8:30 Initial Jobless Claims: 493 k prior.
8:30 Continuing Claims: 3542 k cons.
10:00 Factory Orders: -2.0% cons.

Click here for the full trading radar.

Happy Thursday. Good luck!

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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