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Stocks recoup bulk of Friday's declines

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The trade-shortened Thanksgiving week got off to a rather ominous start as higher oil prices set a negative tone early, but as the session progressed and oil prices abated, buyers pressed stocks higher toward the close.

Volumes were brisk for the NASDAQ, which turned just over 1.9 billion shares in what had looked to be a light volume session earlier in the day. Volumes were light at the more institutionally held NYSE with just 1.39 billion shares traded.

Market Snapshot / Internals - 11/22/04 Close

A bid for oil at this morning's open had stocks opening mixed to weak, but as the session progressed, buyers slowly gained control of the session.

New highs ramped at the NYSE as traders returned from lunch, with the AMEX Natural Gas Index (XNG.X) 287.49 +1.37% closing at an all-time high, with broader energy, transport, telecom and insurance stocks finding buyers into the close.

U.S. Market Watch - 11/22/04 Close

The Biotechnology Index (BTK.X) 519.30 +1.03% looked down and out at the 11:00 hour, as Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB) $57.14 +3.25% fell to a three-month low of $54.30, but reversed a 1% after CIBC upgraded the shares to "sector outperform" from "sector perform" based on valuation and the firms belief that it Antegren drug will win full approval from the FDA.

The small-caps of the Russell 2000 Index (RUT.X) 621.52 +1.31% were down just fractionally early this morning, where the Russell 2000 Growth ishares (AMEX:IWO) $64.06 +1.12% found buyers after their gap lower open of $63.17.

Over the past 20 sessions, the IWO has risen 8.98%, while the blended Russell 2000 Index (RUT.X) has gained 8.72%. For the most part, I see "value" and "growth" running neck-and-neck.

AMEX Natural Gas Index ($XNG.X) Chart - 2-point box

I see that shares of EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG) $73.52 +3.05%, which were added to the OI call play list, were the biggest percentage gainer in the XNG.X today and closed at a new all-time high, while Apache Corp. (NYSE:APA) $52.23 +1.24% nears its recent all-time high of $54.35 set in late October.

While many of the 15 components in the XNG.X produce oil, natural gas is a greater portion of their reserves. EP, NI, STR, NFG, KMI and GAS would most likely be classified as gas utilities.

S&P 500 Index (SPX.X) Chart - Daily Intervals

Volumes were anemic in the first-half of today's session and I thought for certain the SPX would come back and test its WEEKLY S1, which marks the prior 52-week highs found in March. In what tends to be a rather light volume and bullish week of trade, buyers look rather eager above the 1,163-1,164 overlap, where at a more technically over-extended trade, I would have to think oil would need to break below the $45.00 level for the SPX to have a shot at 1,195 by Friday's close.

NASDAQ Composite Index (COMPX) Chart - Daily Intervals

The very broad NASDAQ Composite (COMPX) turned things around just above the 2,050 level, where more than likely, old bears that had been leveraging off that resistance early this month squared up positions (bought back) on the morning dip. We could still see some fund managers taking profits into tomorrow's close before they head out for a 4 or 5-day weekend.

With the NYSE Composite ($NYA.X) 6,979.79 +0.46% and S&P 500 Index (SPX.X) 1,177.24 +0.58% still holding well above their 52- week highs found earlier this year, I'd have to think a close much above COMPX 2,110 sets the stage for a new 52-week high in the COMPX.

Pivot Matrix -

The NASDAQ-100 Tracker (QQQ) $39.05 +0.95% kissed its MONTHLY R2 just prior to 11:00 as oil slipped back below $49.00. Multiple support correlations show up tomorrow at DAILY S2 and WEEKLY S1s for the equity indices followed in the matrix (INDU and DIA too).

The Dow Diamonds (DIA) 104.80 +0.21% couldn't close the deal with a trade at its WEEKLY R1, and with price heavyweight 3M (NYSE:MMM) $80.74 -0.25% right back at my bullish profile entry point from 11/08/04 at $80.75, it should be time for the benefit of the lower dollar to kick in.

Jeff Bailey

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