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A little less enthusiastic

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Traders and investors appear a little less enthusiastic from the bullish side today as this morning's early losses hold and have the major market indexes down by just over 1%.

While the tech-heavy NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X) 965 -1.42% did get close to yesterday's close 979.35 in late-morning trading, larger cap NASDAQ stocks have settled into the mid-point of today's range (952-977).

NASDAQ-100 components on the move that trade over $5 has shares of TMP Worldwide (NASDAQ:TMPW) $14.65 +11.4% the leading index gainer after Bank of America upgraded the stock to "buy" from "market perform," saying that the company's spin-off of their staffing and recruiting units unlocks value, and after preliminary valuation work, suggests a value of $15 for TMPW and $2 for the spin-off, resulting in a price target of $17.00.

Also showing gains are shares of software maker Rational Software (NASDAQ:RATL) $7.70 +7.5%. Last Thursday, RATL beat earnings estimates by a penny and issued guidance for Q4 EPS of $0.04- $0.07, which had the top range above consensus of $0.05 per share.

On the downside are shares of education service provider Apollo Group (NASDAQ:APOL) $41.20 -9.74% despite positive comments from Peter Cohan in a Businessweek interview regarding the company benefiting from a weaker job market that has laid off employees seeking education to better prepare for new careers.

After reporting earnings that met recently revised lower guidance, shares of fast food behemoth McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) $19.15 +4.64% trade higher, but off their session highs of $19.95 after Bank of America upgraded the shares to "buy" from "market perform," saying they believe the company's restructuring efforts are for real and will be rewarded in the market. BofA also notes that the stock has recently made lows that haven't been seen since 1994.

Current market action as the Dow Industrials (INDU) 8,419 lower by 119 points (-1.39%), S&P 500 Index (SPX.X) 887.25 -12.47 points (-1.39%), S&P 100 Index (OEX.X) 450 -5.75 points (-1.27%), NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X) 963 lower by 15.6 points (-1.62%) and the Russell-2000 Index (RUT.X) 364 -3.9 points (-1.07%).

Volume is just below average levels with the NYSE showing just over 930 million shares traded, while NASDAQ breaches the 1 billion mark.

NYSE breadth is negative with decliners outnumbering advancers by a 2 to 1 margin. Yesterday, www.stockcharts.com NYSE Bullish % ($BPNYA) reversed back into "bull confirmed" status at 33.3%. Today's action has 15 stocks hitting new 52-week highs versus 71 stocks trading new 52-week lows.

NASDAQ breadth weak with decliners having a 3 to 2 edge. So far today there have been 27 stocks trading a new 52-week high, versus just 51 stocks trading new 52-week lows. According to www.stockcharts.com, the also broad NASDAQ-Composite Bullish % ($BPCOMPQ) is still "bear confirmed" at 31.11%, but getting close to the 32% level, which would be needed for a "bull alert" reading.

Jeff Bailey

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