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Two Ways to Play: Retail Report Cards Due Today

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Strengthen your portfolio in good times and bad.

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Retail Report Cards Due Today

It's the first Thursday of the month, meaning most of the nation's retailers are reporting same-store sales for the month of December.

According to Bloomberg, retailers might report a 1.8% increase in comparison to last year, helped in part by an extra day of selling before Christmas. But many are also expecting a rebound from the consumer after 2008 marked the worst decline in more than four decades.

The 1.8% gain would mean the best December in more than three years, says Ken Perkins of the research firm Retail Metrics, and that would bring the gain for the holiday period (November and December) to about 1.4%. Perkins believes most of the retailers got through this season "relatively unscathed."

From the Bull Pen: In retail, have a look at the daily chart of J.C. Penney (JCP). The stock appears to be fighting its downtrend by recovering its 20-DMA ($27.40). A sell stop can be set below recent lows; near $26.50.

From the Bear Cave: You can't have your cake and eat it too. Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) might have more downside ahead. Those bearish might want to consider a tight buy stop near $21.50-22.

For more ways to play and other trading ideas from more than 30 top market pros, take a free trial to our Buzz & Banter.

A Quick Check Around the World

Asian trading closed with the Nikkei -0.46%, India -0.40%, Hang Seng -0.66%, Shanghai (Closed), and Taiwan -1.08%.

Across the pond, we see the FTSE -0.15%, CAC (Closed)%, DAX -0.47%

As of 8:20 AM EST, S&P Futures are trading -3.75 to 1129.25. Nasdaq futures are -4.250 to 1875.00

A Look at Commodities

Over in commodities, crude oil is -0.67 to 82.54 while gold is -7.000 to 1129.25 this morning. Silver is -0.062 to 18.115 and copper -0.025 to 3.4695.

The dollar Index is +0.5200 to 78.1750.

On the Radar

Economics

08:30 Initial Claims
08:30 Continuing Claims
10:30 Crude Inventories

Click here for the full trading radar.

Good luck today!
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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