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Mixed session with narrow range

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Today's trade remains mixed with a spattering of red and green across our trading screens as the equity markets turn another light volume session.

Two biotechnology stocks are halted. Shares of MedImmune (NASDAQ:MEDI) $24.92 never did open for trading during today's regular session ahead of today's FDA evaluation of its FluMist drug.

In the past hour, shares of Corixa (NASDAQ:CRXA) $7.25 +4.01% were halted with news pending. Yesterday, Morgan Stanley made comments that it believed that odds of Corixa's Bexxar drug getting FDA approval had slipped below 50% and should the approval be denied, could be beneficial to IDEC Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IDPH) $34.90 +2.85%. Conversely, Goldman Sachs said yesterday that it expected Corixa's Bexxar data to be sufficient for approval after it is reviewed by the FDA Advisory committee today.

With shares of CRXA halted with news pending, trader that may be long or short shares of IDPH may want to be alert to these events, and I'll update things as they progress in the market monitor at OptionInvestor.com.

Traders are looking at another light volume session with NYSE Composite (NYA.X) 483.55 -0.48% volume just reaching the 700 million share mark, while NASDAQ Composite (COMPX) 1,401 +0.04% volume is equally light at 780 million shares.

Market breadth is negative with decliners outnumbering advancers by a 3 to 2 margin at both the NYSE and NASDAQ.

Despite a negative advance/decline ratio, the number of stocks hitting new highs versus new lows on the NYSE remains positive with 33 stocks trading new highs versus 20 stocks hitting new lows. The same is true at the NASDAQ with 50 stocks trading a new 52-week high versus 31 stocks hitting new lows.

A notable new 52-week low on the NYSE is found in McDonalds (NYSE:MCD) $15.69 -9.78% as the stock extends earlier losses after warning once again that Q4 EPS would be below expectations.

Shares of drug giant Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) $30.20 trade their session low after Bloomberg.com reported that PFE's Norvasc and other more recent drugs don't ward off heart disease as well as less expensive diuretics, according to the ALLHAT study. The recent reversal lower from $34 after a test of downward trending bearish resistance at $35 and bearish vertical count of $15 should have traders exercising caution in PFE. The stock looks put/short with a target to the lows of $26 near-term. I'm not certain that PFE would trade $15, but that's the current downside risk a bull faces and should be protecting against. A break much below $29.50 would that PFE breaking a shorter-term upward trend on the bar chart and exhibiting further technical weakness.

Jeff Bailey

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