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Kroger Comes Through


Stock shows people gotta eat.


Greetings from New York, where I'm trying to embrace optimism as a contrarian play after this morning's consumer data. I could be much more confident in a negative macro stance if not for all these negative consumers crowding the dour trade.

What to make of consumers finally breaking under various forms of pricing torture, long-doomed companies like General Motors (GM) getting scalped by 25% in one month and widespread skepticism over banking balance sheets which, let's be honest here, have been suspect since Bailey Savings and Loan got bailed out by George's brother and a drunk angel?

It seems like there's an oversold rally coming around here, somewhere, but it depends entirely on your timeframe as to how and whether you play. The trends in energy (USO, Crude, whatever) are higher. Companies and industries impacted negatively by that trend (eg: Ford (F), MGM Casinos (MGM), United Airlines (UAUA)... seriously, you can pick your own from the obvious suspects) are having their stocks beaten lower.

Pick your poison: you wanna be on a crowded bandwagon or fight well-established trends by calling tops or bottoms?

As for me, I'm going fishing. Here's what I'm watching in the meantime:

  • How is the end of the quarter impacting the markets? Definitive statements are a sucker's game but it's safe to say Ford didn't get 10% worse yesterday. Stocks are trading in large industry-wide chunks. When that happens it's time to trim the winners.

  • Kroger (KR) is shaking it off today, moving 7% higher. Folks gotta eat and they're going for the lower cost and closer store. Works for your neighborhood grocers (and against the Whole Foods (WFMI) of the world).

  • Eastman Kodak (EK) is buying 25% of itself between now and the end of next year. In terms of how the buyback impacts my view of the stock I'd place it somewhere between a Kodak initiative to go into the smoothie business and a long range plan to sell a "Kodak Hydrogen Camera."

  • It's gotten awful quiet in the Disgruntled Yahoo (YHOO) Shareholder camp over the last couple weeks.

  • Harvard says housing will get worse. Donald Trump says he didn't notice.

  • Today's Tells are brought to you buy my man Gee Adami: keep an eye on FedEx (FDX), which is trading dry even after a huge warning from UPS (UPS).

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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