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Stocks mixed to higher after morning brunch

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The major market averages are showing mixed results this morning, but have managed to hang round unchanged levels and edge into positive territory has investors begin to digest this morning's economic data.

Sector strength is being found in the Semiconductor Index (SOX.X) 590 +1.5%, HMO Index (HMO.X) 500 +1.46% and Biotech Index (BTK.X) 522.9 +1%.

Amgen Inc. Chart - Daily Interval

Yesterday in the market monitor we noted that shares of biotech bellwether Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) had edged above its longer-term 200-day moving average. The stock is getting some follow through today. Bulls in the stock are targeting the $65 level and will be wanting to monitor volume near-term. Breaks above the 200-day that can find volume, will hint that there is some interest in the stock. A bull want to see a day when volume exceeds the 25 million shares traded mark. Many times, a stock that simply "drifts" above its 200-day MA will find a retest of that moving average as the move lacked conviction.

Sector weakness

Sector weakness is rather limited this morning in the Oil Service Index (OSX.X) 96.77 -1.65% after Salomon Smith Barney downgraded several stocks in the group citing day-rates and usage rates remain rather weak as stepped up production and exploration activities among oil producers remains rather lackluster.

April Light, Sweet Crude futures (cl02j) are trading down fractionally today at $23.90/bbl (-1.07) after recovering from the $20/bbl level in January.

Jeff Bailey
Senior Market Technician
Option Investor

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