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Staying Cautious Into the Weekend


This week figures to end with a thud rather than fireworks.


Editor's Note: The following was posted in real time on our premium Buzz & Banter (click for a free trial).

Greetings from New York, where I'm fairly close to going ahead and getting out of here ahead of the snow and afternoon selling squall. This week figures to end with a thud rather than fireworks. As we drift lower I'm selling the SDS ETF, as I discussed on Wednesday afternoon. I was looking for "somewhere around 1,050" as a target and we're close enough for gub'ment work. My end of the week book will be flat and uncertain. You can call that over-cautious, too aggressive, or a thinly veiled cry for help. I wouldn't fight you on any of the above or a description of your own. I'm just sharing as is my wont.

Here's what I'm watching when not pondering my portfolio as a Freudian association exercise:

  • Speaking of things we discussed on Wednesday, the retailers jumped the gun by pre-announcing en masse on Thursday morning. Some huge beats out there, including my pet long, JW Nordstrom (JWN). Alas, the market has been selling good news in general and selling everything with authority on down 3% days like Thursday. The lesson is "trade, don't invest until I say stop." Fundamentals don't matter at the moment; deal with it.

  • Toyota (TM) is sorry. Seriously -- the company officially apologized and Akio Toyoda's mea culpa is being treated only a tick less seriously than Hirohito's surrender LP in 1945. I'd rather the company just stop making cars which don't stop. Until then, I'll stick to Ford (F) which has been lousy for me, but at least it isn't sorry.

  • Estimates for the 2010 car sales are around 10mm units, domestically. That's a cool 40% down from mid-decade numbers. That feels about right, economically and socially: "If we doubled from here we'd be around all time highs but, let's be honest, no one is talking double from here."

  • With the Euro replacing the US dollar as the "doomed currency of the day," what does that mean for markets? "Weaker multinationals, sell oil and gold." Not that far from what we're seeing.

With that I'm going out to the driveway to sit in my (Chinese) SUV and just dare it to snow on me.

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Position in F, JWN.

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