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Target, Wal-Mart Get in the Spirit

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Retail opportunities few and far between.

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Greetings from New York where I'm getting ready for a day of TV Harlotry and pondering a rally in which I'm not really participating at all, beyond talking about it. Regarding the Citibank (C) deal in particular. I'm not long it, which is good, or short it, which would be horrible. What I am is what I was prior to the deal. I'm confused. I don't understand the deal, don't really see how creating an absurdly complicated solution to a problem created by subterfuge makes "sense" and I don't think it actually solves any of Citi's problems.

My take away is "I really wish I was long Citi stock so I could be dumping it into about the 6 level". Truthfully, the hardest trade for those newly long Citi right now has gotta be fighting the urge to dump and run as fast as possible. In the case of both Citi and the market rally as a whole, there seems to be more room to the upside but there's very little actual substance here.

Here's what else I'm pondering as I get ready to hit the road:

  • The Macke Family made our weekly trip to Target (TGT) over the weekend. Either the company bought extremely conservatively for the holidays, the stores are sitting on an absurd amount of backroom stock, or Target is well and truly distracted doing things like refusing Ackman's idea to become a REIT. Maybe all of the above. Regardless, Wal-Mart (WMT) is my only holiday retail play and, suffice it to say, I'm not all that giddy about it.

  • I've had the music, and plot, of the "Early to Bet" 'toon all morning. Just something about the Federal Government diluting shareholders in a massive but abstract way and a stock going up 55% in response, I guess.

  • Campbell Soup (CPB) is down a few bones after losing money on a "hedging program". Okay, I see trying to control input costs. I understand it, conceptually. I just think selling $8 bln a year in soup is an expensive way to fund a hedging operation. Perhaps CPB should start trading Jet Fuel; particularly if it can get United (UAUA) on the other side of all its trades.

  • General Motors (GM) maintaining with a straight face that dumping corporate jets isn't a knee-jerk response to getting teased by Senators but rather part of a long term cost cutting initiative. Might I suggest throwing the jets in as a sweetener in GM's efforts to sell the Hummer division?

  • The Purple Crayon thinks 850 on the SPX seems reasonable. I'm not here to judge the mysterious power of the crayon; I am but a conduit for what it tells me.

Off to the showers. More in a bit.

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Position in WMT

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