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Al Jazeera releases "bin Laden tape"

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The major indexes have given up their earlier gains and now trade in the red with the Dow Industrials (INDU) 7,832 down 88 points, the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX.X) 828 lower by 7 points and NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X) 967.55 off 2.4 points after news agency Al Jazeera released what it says is the voice of Osama bin Laden.

Selling came into equities as portions of the tape aired call for Muslims to unite with Iraq to ward off any attack by Americans.

This news, combined with Friday's heightened "Code Orange" by the Homeland Security office has obviously sent some jitters into shorter-term traders.

In what has truly been a "reversal" and rather shifty type of trade, this morning's lone sector decliner in the Gold/Silver Index (XAU.X) 74.74 +3.64% is now today's sector winner. Sector loser category belongs to the Utility Index (UTY.X) 235.55 -2.04% as utility provider Ameren (NYSE:AEE) $37.97 -2.51% breaks multi- month support here after reporting quarterly earnings earlier this morning for its recently completed Q4 that were 2-cents below estimates. Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) $15.52 -2.08% is trading another consecutive 52-week low, while and American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) $20.64 -0.81% also trades lower in sympathy.

The U.S. Dollar Index (dx00y) 100.39 +0.11% continues to hold some of today's gains, but has given back today's high of 100.89. While equities reversed their earlier bullishness, Treasuries saw morning weakness end bullish by session's end, with the 10-year futures (ty03h) 114'125 +0.19% finish with a gain in what hints of a more defensive "flight to quality."

Volume levels were light yesterday and that would also be the case today with NYSE and NASDAQ volumes just over the 1.1 billion level here.

A quick look at breadth into the close has decliners now with the upper hand. NYSE has decliners outnumbering advancers by a 20 to 11 margin, while NASDAQ breadth is weak at 3 to 2.

New highs versus new lows is weak, but not nearly as weak as yesterday's count by the close. The NYSE shows 98 stocks having hit a new 52-week low compared to 36 stocks trading new highs. NASDAQ shows 89 stocks reaching new 52-week lows compared to 34 stocks trading new 52-week highs. This indicator of breadth doesn't show a "bottom falling out" type of trade in the markets today.

Jeff Bailey

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