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Back at unchanged

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The major indexes have staged a comeback as we approach the final 45-minutes of trade with the S&P 500 Index (SPX.X) 800 -0.07% off fractionally after a late morning and then early afternoon double bottom test of its WEEKLY S2 level of support from our pivot matrix at 789.70.

The recovery in the major indexes hasn't been "news driven" as I can tell, but a quick review of today's buy/sell program premium alerts does show multiple buy program alerts having been generated in the recent 2-hours.

The NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X) 962 +0.35% has the first major index we follow to have broken back above the unchanged levels, but came just shy of achieving its morning highs of 966.63, with an afternoon best of 966. With the NDX right at its DAILY pivot of 963, a trade at its DAILY R1 of 969.50 would be further sign of strength.

Giving a boost to the NASDAQ-100 today are shares of Altera (NASDAQ:ALTR) $12.34 +5.8% after this morning's raising of quarterly earnings guidance and RF Micro Devices (NASDAQ:RFMD) $6.05 +4.13%, which reaffirmed Q4 guidance of $135 million in sales at a Deutsche Bank conference yesterday. Current consensus among analysts was for RFMD to report a break-even quarter on the bottom line, with top line revenue of $135.1 million.

Shares of Shering Plough (NYSE:SGP) $15.70 -1.13% were halted for trading again today, but have since resumed and trade a fresh 52- week low. The company has announced that it has received a Wells Notice from the SEC regarding the SEC's inquiry into the company's meetings with investors during the week of September 30, 2002. The SEC has notified the company of its preliminary decision to recommend the Commission bring civil action against the company and its CEO regarding the possible violations of Regulation FD, which is a rule passed by the SEC in an effort to prevent selective disclosure by public companies to market professionals and certain shareholders.

Trade volumes remain rather light today with the NYSE just over 1.1 billion shares, while the NASDAQ just now reaches the 1.2 billion share mark.

While the indexes have been able to claw back to the unchanged levels, leadership is very narrow with breadth being negative. NYSE shows decliners outnumbering advancers by a 20 to 11 ratio, while NASDAQ breadth has decliners with the upper hand by an 18 to 11 margin.

New highs versus new lows at both the NYSE and NASDAQ are reaching "peak levels." NYSE shows 319 stocks having reached new 52-week lows in today's trade compared to just 34 stocks having traded new 52-week highs. NASDAQ show 131 stocks trading a new 52-week low compared to 24 stocks at new highs.

Jeff Bailey

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