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Stocks firm and making new session highs

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In the past two hours, the Washington D.C Department of Health announced that two postal workers had passed away that had become ill due to anthrax exposure. The markets had pulled back from their best levels of the session, but have since firmed and are now making a move back to session highs.

S&P 500 Index Chart -

The S&P 500 has rallied right back up to our 61.8% retracement level near 1,082 and I like a bullish trade on a break above the 1,083 level. Near-term target would be the rolling 50-day MA, but I think we've got some "umph" behind the move. With the S&P 500 bullish % still in "bull alert" status at 42% bullish, I think a move to the 1,126 is achievable near-term.

American Express announces earnings

Before reporting earnings in the past two hours, shares of American Express (NYSE:AXP) were trading lower. After release of earnings that showed the company earning $0.45 (excluding charges) and handily beating estimates for $0.33 a share, the stock has snapped back higher and has added to a nice rally in the Dow Industrials.

American Express Chart -

American Express (NYSE:AXP) is trading right back at the $30 level. This is a point where the stock traded HUGE volume of 31.9 million shares on September 17th (first day of trading after terrorist attacks). The current $30 level is undoubtedly a pivot point, but we thought the point and figure chart giving a buy signal at $31 back on October 15th would be bullish.

There's been a lot of news regarding shares of fellow credit card lender Providian Financial (NYSE:PVN) lately and that has kept shares of American Express (AXP) under some selling pressure as of late. I still have a near-term bullish target for shares of AXP near $34. The point/figure chart of AXP gives us a bullish vertical count longer-term of $43.

Jeff Bailey
Senior Market Technician
Option Investor

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