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Jeff Bailey : 2/2/2007 12:26:11 AM

12/22/06 to 02/01/07 Sector Bell Curve at this Link

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 11:47:21 PM

Friday's pivot tables: Link and Link

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 11:47:04 PM

NASI Summation Index ($NASI) 20-point box I've been commenting on and following in Market Wraps and here in MM reverses up 3-boxes to 0.00. Link

StockCharts.com's NASDAQ Comp. Bullish % ($BPCOMPQ) Link still "bear correction" at 59.06%, but threatens "bull confirmed" at 60%.

Bullishness resumes intermediate-term for most 4 and 5-lettered stock symbols with demand in control.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 11:46:21 PM

NYSE Summation ($NYSI) 20-point box I've been commenting on and following in Market Wraps and here in MM reverses up 3-boxes to +740. Link

StockCharts.com's NYSE Bullish % ($BPNYA) Link still "bull confirmed" at 73%.

Bullishness resumes intermediate-term for most 1, 2 and 3-lettered stock symbols with demand firmly in control.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 11:19:00 PM

Closing Internals found at this Link

OI Technical Staff : 2/1/2007 9:59:59 PM

The Market Monitor has been archived. You may view it and any previous days here: Link

Disclaimer: Stocks discussed in the Market Monitor are for educational purposes only and any analysis is not meant to imply a recommendation for or against that stock. The analysts in this forum as on any other website are prohibited by the SEC from giving any specific advice to ANY individual trader. All information posted is for ALL readers and is not meant to be directed to any individual. Our analysts cannot answer any email questions regarding any specific stock. Please do not ask and please do not take offense if requests are denied.

Results posted in the Market Monitor are hypothetical and OIN does not claim that any reader achieved these exact results. Due to the lag time between research, writing, posting, uploading, reading and execution there will be differences between the actual signal given and the fill achieved by the reader. Fills may be better or worse but in most cases they will be different. The writers will make every effort to give advance notice of intended signals and indicate potential price targets. Your individual results may vary depending on your activity level and aggressiveness. This forum is intended as an education service only. Trading involves risk and should not be attempted by anyone not ready to accept this risk. By acting on any signal in this forum you agree and personally accept this risk.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 9:59:15 PM

NQ was definitely a better short, but that is often the case with YM. BA is sill hot and carries huge weight, but its candle left a long upper shadow at the close and with IBM and MMM weak, there could be some pressure. Depends on bonds.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 6:48:34 PM

YM closes at 12711 after hitting 2 points shy of R1. NQ is much weaker so eventually that should catch up with the DOW. 23.6% projection last week is 12724, so if short you may adjust. We're almost 100 points away from the 5 DMA and that begs a retrace very soon.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 5:16:48 PM

March Crude Oil futures (cl07h) settled down $0.84, or -1.44% at $57.30.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 5:16:03 PM

Closing U.S. Market Watch found at this Link

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 4:53:29 PM

Darden Restaurants: Jan Same-Restaurant Sales Up, Hurt By Bad Weather

DJ- Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI), Orlando, posted an increase in same-restaurant sales from its Red Lobster and Olive Garden rose in January despite unfavorable weather.

Comparable sales at Red Lobser increased 2% to 3%, as an increased check average offset a decline in guests. Last year, it posted an 11% to 12% increase in sales.

Sales rose 1% to 2% at Olive Garden rose for the same factors. A year ago, the increase was 8%.

DRI $39.55 +1.04% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 4:43:15 PM

James River Coal (JRCC) $7.02 +5.88% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 4:42:47 PM

Moody's Cuts Jamer River Coal's Ratings

DJ- Moody's Investors Service lowered James River Coal Company's ratings and initiated a review for possible further downgrade. Ratings affected by the downgrade and review are James River's corporate family rating (to Caa2 from Caa1) and its senior unsecured rating (to Caa3 from Caa2). At the same time, Moody's affirmed the B1 senior secured rating and the SGL-4 speculative grade liquidity rating, indicating weak liquidity.

The downgrades and review were prompted by the company's announcement of i) further postponement of the sale of the Bell County reserves, which was to have provided the company with much needed liquidity, ii) the release of negative selected fourth quarter data, and iii) guidance for 2007 and beyond that further lowers expectations for the company's performance. Additionally, there is limited cushion under James River's existing credit facility financial covenants such that the company, at the end of this month, will be in default of these covenants and unable to access the facility if it does not receive another waiver or amendment, or close an announced committed refinancing.

The downgrades reflect Moody's belief that the poor geologic and operating conditions at the company's mines will result in an ongoing challenge to meet production targets and, in combination with high input and labor costs, a continuation of poor earnings and negative free cash flow. The revision in ratings also reflects the company's weak liquidity in the face of debt service costs and continuing capital expenditures and the need to execute a refinancing of the existing revolver.

James Rivers' liquidity is very tight, with limited access to its existing credit facility, which will be in default at the end of this month if it does not achieve specified liquidity of at least $20 million, which is only likely to be achieved if it completes the sale of the Bell County reserves. The sale of these reserves has been further extended to February 28. Additionally, there is limited cushion under this facility's other financial covenants. The company has received commitments for replacement facilities totaling $135 million, comprised of a $60 million synthetic letter of credit facility, a $40 million term loan facility, and a $35 million revolver, which has a $10 million L/C sub facility. Closing of these facilities is of paramount importance to shoring up the company's liquidity.

James River, in Moody's opinion, is not likely to generate sufficient cash flow from operations over the next four quarters to cover capital expenditures and working capital changes. Moody's also expects negative pressure to continue with respect to generally high operating costs, the costs associated with the company's transition to two new mining areas and the curtailment of operations at existing mines that are in the process of being closed. Additionally, the company's costs and production are likely to be impacted by new safety measures and other high input costs and operating delays. The company's capital expenditures are expected to be in the $50 million to $55 million in 2007. Moody's believes the company will need to rely on external funding to finance negative free cash flow in 2007.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 4:35:46 PM

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. - Winston Churchill

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 4:31:06 PM

Wonder how many one-way plane tickets out of Venezuela have been sold the past couple of weeks?

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 4:28:48 PM


To Take Orinoco Field In May If No Deal Reached

Suggests New OPEC Price Range After March Meet

Will Be De Facto Oil Price Band In Future

To Stop Coke,Sulfur Exports After Orinoco Takeover

DJ- Venezuela's energy minister said Thursday that oil prices will likely hover within a certain range to be determined after the upcoming March meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

"After OPEC achieves price stability we have to advance the situation with a price band that will have to be defined after March," Rafael Ramirez told reporters late in the afternoon.

"There will be a defacto band with the price for oil."

Ramirez reiterated President Hugo Chavez's announcement that Venezuela will have at least a 60% controlling stake in each of the four heavy crude upgrading projects located along the Orinoco river belt.

The new ownership makeup of these ventures will become effective May 1, he said. If the companies controlling these projects disagree with the new terms, he said, the government will take over the projects.

Ramirez also confirmed the government's plan to find alternative uses for the coke and sulphur generated from oil processing.

"We're looking at the possible industrial uses of coke," said Ramirez.

The oil-rich country, he said, will cease exporting sulphur and coke once the government gains control of these projects in coming months.

Chavez noted earlier during a press conference that his administration was thinking of ways to give local communities the funding and training necessary to process coke and sulphur domestically instead of selling it overseas.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 4:11:15 PM

eBay (EBAY) $32.15 -0.74% ... $32.45 extended.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 4:10:18 PM

AMZN's WEEKLY R2 $39.05, R1 at $37.94.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 4:09:12 PM

AMZN Earnings Press Release Link

Consensus was for EPS of $0.21 on Revenue of $3.77B

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 4:07:34 PM

AMZN $40.25 now ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 4:07:21 PM

Analyst on CNBC saying "headline" numbers on AMZN not as strong as some might think.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 4:05:58 PM

Amazon.com (AMZN) $38.70 +2.73% ... surging to $41.22 extended.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 3:59:46 PM

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) 110,600 +0.49% ... new 2007 relative high.

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 3:59:11 PM

Assuming for now that this afternoon's high is wave-3 (instead of wave-5) here's how that SPX 15-min chart looks. A trick for getting the count correct is to look for a negative divergence between a 3rd and 5th wave. Looking at the wave count for the move up from the low on Monday (1/29), I drew in the negative divergence between wave-(iii) of 3 and wave-(v) of 3. That's good confirmation. Link

Now if we get a sloppy pullback tomorrow and another new high we should see a continuation of the negative divergence between today's high (wave-3) and the next one (wave-5). That will add to our confidence level to get shorty at the next high.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 3:54:47 PM

YM's WEEKLY R2 looks in play for tomorrow. Close stuff out at new highs for a Friday print.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 3:50:52 PM

Bullish swing trade long exit alert ... the remaining US Oil Fund (AMEX:USO) at the bid of $47.85.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 3:46:55 PM

They are trying to get the DOW as close as possible to 12700. Adjust stops accordingly, what I give you is just a guide.
QM did indeed shut out at R1.

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 3:39:22 PM

GOOG making new lows.

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 3:37:03 PM

While SPX has pushed to a new high above the January high, OEX has not been able to do the same yet. This is the index of the generals and right now the generals are letting their soldiers out in front to get shot. With 670.13 being the 62% retracement of the 2000-2002 decline, and the January high at 669.99 and today's high at 669.19, we are at an important Fib resistance line. The generals know this and are holding back.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 3:36:04 PM

Gulp! YRCW $45.84 +3.35% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 3:35:13 PM

SWFT $30.56 +0.13% ... being taken private by its founder. Ooooo he might me smarter than the entire lot.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 3:32:42 PM

It pays to stay level headed. ZN is not where equities can rally for very long and NQ can't close a 10 mn candle above 1805.75. It can change, but that's what I see now.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 3:31:30 PM

Check out THAT reverse h/s pattern.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 3:30:32 PM

Dow Transports (TRAN) 5,000 +1.70% ... set to challenge its all-time high!

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 3:26:42 PM

Two equal legs up for SPX from the January low is at 1448.26 so that's the next higher Fib projection level that bears a close watch if this presses higher again.

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 3:23:50 PM

This is when we have to be on guard. Even though my EW count shown on the SPX 15-min chart calls this afternoon's high wave-3, meaning we need a 4th wave pullback tomorrow and then a final 5th wave high, these short term counts can be deceptive. A small move inside can be one of the waves that I'm not counting which would make this afternoon's high wave-5 instead of wave-3. That's why I want to keep an eye on the larger pattern.

For the move up from the beginning of November, which is a 5-wave move inside an ascending wedge (hence the A-B-C wave count for the 5th wave up from the January low), wave-5 = wave-1 at SPX 1446.75. The last high that we just got was 1446.64. That doesn't mean that's all there is but it does mean we need to start paying attention to the possibility that we're putting in the final high right here and now. It'll be the next pullback that helps determine that, which we obviously won't know until tomorrow.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 3:21:44 PM

Bullish swing trade raise stop alert on the US Oil Fund (USO) $47.84 -0.82% ... to $47.62.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 3:18:17 PM

Sure enough, NQ loses 1805.75 and YM backs off. I'm stepping away, leave the stop at 12734 for now if you are still in.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 3:18:00 PM

03:00 Internals found at this Link

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 3:17:11 PM

If it doesn't hold, then we topped out elsewhere. ZN is still pointing to higher yields so careful if long. Day trade it.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 3:16:06 PM

NQ above 1805.75, monthly pivot.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 3:08:27 PM

Holy cow .. SPX NH/NL 74:1

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 3:07:28 PM

Trannies are working up towards their all-time high back in May at 5013.67 (currently printing 4992). Short term it's looking like the new high today is being met with bearish divergences so it too looks ready for a pullback before perhaps a finally rally to a new high.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 3:03:00 PM

03:00 Market Watch found at this Link

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 3:02:43 PM

Typical, bit ZN is saying higher yields, so I'm not sure this will last. Watch NQ 1805 resistance.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 3:00:33 PM

YM rings the bell at 12,700

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 2:58:45 PM

COP $67.17 +1.14% Link

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 2:58:06 PM

Because of the potential importance of the next high I thought I'd track the EW count "live" and see how well it works out in identifying where the top will likely be. I'm going to use the SPX 15-min chart to keep track of this since cash indices are more accurate for this than futures. Normally trying to use EW analysis for time periods below 60-min charts can be difficult and inaccurate but so far I like the way this one is progressing so until it blows up let's see how it goes. I always consider alternate counts but I won't clutter up the chart with them.

From the longer term charts I know that I should be looking at SPX 1447-1448 as the first upside target. A higher range is 1452-1455 but I'll consider that range if it starts to look like the lower range will get busted. The count that I have so far has us completing the 3rd wave of the move up from last Friday's low. It needs to be a 5-wave move for wave-C in the A-B-C move up from the January low. Link

We could be close to completing wave-3 and that means we should get another choppy sideways/down correction into tomorrow before the final assault on a new high for wave-5, which could happen by the end of the day tomorrow. If this continues to play out well then we should be able to just about nail where that high will be. It's a good exercise for those who are practicing EW (and we're like doctors--we're always practicing).

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 2:58:04 PM

XOM $75.03 +1.24% Link

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 2:57:13 PM

PTR $123.23 -0.08% Link

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 2:55:45 PM

USO $1 box Link

Then a $0.50 to match futures Link

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 2:49:29 PM

It's interesting that even before the USO hit that low of $42.56-$43.23, how that very same "zone" showed up as relative to early January action. Almost as if ... well ... DESTINY was still yet to play out.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 2:47:28 PM

US Oil Fund (USO) 30-minute interval chart with my retracement (shown yesterday on DAILY interval) and QCharts' WEEKLY Pivot Levels at this Link

Some volume observations as it relates to impact of futures too.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 2:32:10 PM

USO looks just as it did last Thrusday. WEEKLY Pivot Levels. The "test" today is the morning's low. SIMILARITY? or DIVERGENCE?

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 2:28:31 PM

I raised out stop earlier this morning on USO to $47.44.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 2:25:34 PM

US Oil Fund (USO) $48.08 -0.33% ... slips red.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 2:20:41 PM

TNX is giving you all the clues.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 2:16:50 PM

TNX moved right back up to 48.33, so aggressive traders should stay short.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 2:08:54 PM

Yields are retreating. Conservative traders still in should exit.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 2:05:13 PM

A "better" h/s bottom is in EBAY.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 2:02:51 PM

Anyone notice that reverse h/s pattern on the RUT.X?

Not the best pattern at all-time highs, but sticks out.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 2:00:20 PM

GM Reports 247,464 Deliveries In January

GM $32.88 +0.12% ...

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 1:53:46 PM

This daily chart of the RUT is a little wider view of the shorter term chart I showed earlier to give some perspective for what we could see play out in this index. This one is more short term bullish than what I just showed for NDX and both can't be right so that's why it's risky for either side at the moment. If the RUT chart is correct here, we should expect a choppy market that works its way higher over the next couple of weeks. Link

This chart is a bit messy with all the trend lines but the interesting thing about this price depiction is that price could move up to trend line resistance at a Fib projection at 816, which is where wave-5 would equal wave-1 (the leg up in July), by mid February. So if you want to leg into some put options you should risk no more than you're willing to lose (don't use a stop) and buy a lot more time than you plan to use (I'd go out at least to June) so that you don't suffer much time decay.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 1:48:49 PM

RUT's NH/NL erupted yesterday 105/18

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 1:48:16 PM

Small caps showing some muster.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 1:47:03 PM

Dynamic Materials (BOOM) $31.47 +6.53% ... probes its 200-day SMA.

Almost took a $30 Call yesterday with those deepcyclicals shaping up.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 1:35:09 PM

Watch NQ 1805.75, monthly pivot.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 1:34:18 PM

YM short 12694, raise stop to 12734. Conservative traders take +30 now and others might want to put the stop at even. Closing noise coming and since this a trade that could get back to monthly pivot (12585), I think it is worth sitting out the noise, especially with COMP weak and yields climbing again. Up to you. 12660 is holding and that could get a bounce.

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 1:25:29 PM

While I'm expecting some consolidation and then minor new highs for the DOW and SPX, as posted in earlier charts, the EW pattern for NDX still has a potentially very bearish setup. The current wave count shows we're due a 3rd of a 3rd wave down, which may have started after this morning's high. Link

It's a bit of a mixed picture at the moment between indices and that tells me to be cautious about either side right now but this chart tells me to get short in a big way. A few QQQQ put options might be a good way to lower your risk but get exposed to the downside potential here. We need to see NDX break below 1760.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 1:16:20 PM

Median - $25,076
Top 10% - $87,334
Top 5% - $120,212
Top 1% - $277,983
Top 0.5% - $397,949
Top 0.1% - $1,134,849
Top 0.01% - $5,349,795

Chances are, if you're reading this, you're somewhere above the top 10%. And chances are, even though you're in the top 10%, you're now paying more attention to the income of those in the top 0.01% than to the income of those in the other 90%. Such is human nature - something even the magical Rich-O-Meter can't change.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 1:14:45 PM

01:00 Internals found at this Link

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 1:13:11 PM

YM 12660 is key. NQ can't get 1810 back and COMP 2468 is toast. All those buy stops kicked in on the TNX drop yesterday below 48.55 (precisely, right at 14:10, conditional trades worked on that), but the bounce in yields looks real today, so the rally stalls. It will take a drop of TNX below 4.8% to get bulls going again. It can happen, so respect your stops.

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 1:11:03 PM

QM hit the point today where it had two equal legs up in its bounce off the January low (at 58.625). Today's high so far is 58.875. If this is just a correction to the leg down from December then we should see oil start heading back down now to a new low.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 1:09:02 PM

DAteline WSJ - Ford Motor posts 19% drop in U.S. vehicle sales for January.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 1:08:08 PM

TNX above 10 DMA and that puts equity bulls on the defensive again. Bonds look like they just had an oversold bounce, but the selling seems to be resuming. Onward to 5% and a big correction in stocks if TNX closes above 58.55, 200 dma.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 1:06:16 PM

They are putting the risk premium back in oil, but a dollar rally could kill +60.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 1:05:22 PM

Speaking of MA's, 50 sma for QM is at 60 and everyone aiming for that. I'm not sure it will happen this week, weekly R2's are a big deal.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 1:04:23 PM

BTW on the last chart I posted of QM notice how QM consolidated at yearly lows from October to the beginning of January. Now notice what the MACD was doing, climbing which many were calling a bullish divergence. THis is your typical "when a MACD bullish divergence is actually bearish." You can see the result of that sideways move.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 1:03:14 PM

01:00 Market Watch found at this Link

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 1:02:39 PM

They just wanted QM to tag R1 at 59. Weekly R2 at 58.25 is what will count at the close.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 1:00:28 PM

The "$60" level is FUTURES releated, not USO. My bull target for uso is $49.50, which would be $0.50 shy of futures $60.00

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 12:59:06 PM

The 50EMA is right at Jeff's "60" resistance.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 12:58:21 PM

BAck on August 9th QM closed above its 50EMA and has not do so since. A close above this very important MA is crucial but even more important is that if we see a sideways move it stays above the 50EMA. What I would like to see is a rally above the 50 then a successful retest. This would tell me QM has now turned bullish. Link

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:53:37 PM

$60 was a "big support" level several months ago for bulls. That would be deemed an important resistance level in my opinion now.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:52:34 PM

~$59.00 on the QM

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:51:25 PM

US Oil Fund (USO) $48.69 +0.93% ... my "blue" 19.1% at $48.96 held resistance. Session high has been $49.00.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:48:14 PM

Toyota January Sales 175,850 Vehicles; Up 5.1%

TM $133.02 +0.94% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:46:53 PM

Sunoco Raises Quarterly Dividend 10% to $0.275/share

SUN $64.53 +2.24% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:44:33 PM

Ethiopia Says Foiled Eritrean Attack On African Summit

DJ- Ethiopia's government said Thursday it had foiled a bomb attack by bitter rival Eritrea against an African leaders summit.

"We have presented the explosives for display to the public," government spokesman Zemedkun Teckle said, referring to a device shown on the state-owned television station's evening news broadcast.

There was no immediate way of verifying Eritrean involvement, and Eritrea made no immediate comment.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:38:03 PM

Nissan Motor (NSANY) $25.51 +2.08% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:36:21 PM

Nissan Brand Sales Rise 4.3%; Driven By Passenger Cars

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:35:23 PM

Ford Motor (F) $8.17 +0.49% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:34:37 PM

Ford Motor Jan. US Sales 166,835 Vs. 205,671

Jan. U.S. Car Sales 55,842 Vs 82,710

Jan. U.S. Car Sales Down 32.5%

Jan. U.S. Truck Sales 110,993 Vs 122,961

Jan. U.S. Truck Sales Down 9.7%

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:30:12 PM

Capital One (COF) $79.74 -0.82% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:28:17 PM

US Oil Fund (USO) alert #2! $48.96 ... what's the short interest on the various futures contracts?

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:26:12 PM

American Express (AXP) $57.98 -0.41% ... #11 Weighting in INDU/DIA/YM

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:25:14 PM

Moody's:US Nov Credit Card Delinquency Rate Up

DJ- In November 2006, the credit card delinquency rate rose for the fifth consecutive month according to Moody's Credit Card Credit Indices. This measure of past due credit card balances began the year 2006 at near-historical lows, but has steadily risen from 3.49% in June to 3.89% in November.

The charge-off rate for November, 4.34%, was also the highest it has been all year. Despite some month-to-month variability, the charge-off rate has generally been on the rise throughout 2006. The aforementioned up-tick in the delinquency rate and rising personal bankruptcy filings will likely contribute to further increases in the loss rate throughout 2007.

These findings are detailed in Moody's Credit Card Credit Indices for November 2006, which track approximately $400 billion of U.S. bank credit card loans backing securities rated by Moody's.

Other performance metrics -- the payment rate, excess spread and yield -- continued to improve compared to a year ago.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:22:37 PM

Radio One (ROIA) $7.38 +0.81% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:22:17 PM

S&P Cuts Radio One Corporate Credit Rtg To B+

DJ- Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today it lowered its long-term corporate credit rating on Maryland-based radio broadcaster Radio One Inc. to 'B+' from 'BB-'. The outlook is negative.

"The downgrade reflects our concerns about the company's increasing leverage, thin margin of covenant compliance, and weakened profitability in a number of key markets," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Michael Altberg.

At the same time, Standard & Poor's lowered the ratings on Radio One's senior secured credit facility to 'BB-' from 'BB', and its subordinated rating to 'B-' from 'B'. We also affirmed the '1' recovery rating on the secured bank facility, indicating high expectation of full recovery of principal in the event of a payment default. All ratings on Radio One were removed from CreditWatch, where they were placed with negative implications on Sept. 7, 2006. Pro forma for the sale of WKAF-FM in Boston for $30 million and subsequent repayment of debt, the company had approximately $938 million of debt outstanding as of Dec. 31, 2006.

The rating on Radio One reflects financial risk from aggressive, largely debt-financed station purchases; ongoing expansion, particularly in large markets, where unprofitable stations can be costly; increased competition from traditional and nontraditional media; and advertising cyclicality. These factors are only partially offset by Radio One's good competitive position targeting the African-American audience, radio broadcasting's high margin potential and good discretionary cash flow-generating capabilities, and resilient station asset values.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 12:20:01 PM

Chasing this long without NQ leading is dangerous. Stay short if COMP can't regain 2468. Bonds bears want TNX 48.30 back and if that happens, equities will feel some pressure. A drop in yields will rally stocks once again. Positive for bulls is NQ holding on to test of 10 DMA (1795).

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:16:26 PM

Bullish swing trade long raise stop alert ... on the US Oil Fund (AMEX:USO) $48.74 +1.03% ... to $47.44.

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 12:14:37 PM

For those who read my Wrap last night and my discussion about the amount of debt we've taken on in this country, this morning's spending vs. income numbers is not encouraging. We continue to get ourselves deeper into debt (we're borrowing more and/or spending savings) and when assets drop in value, as is happening in the home market, we're left with just the debt. It's not a pretty outcome and I hope most of you have your fiscal house in order.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:14:03 PM

US Oil fund (USO) alert! $48.58 +0.70% ... it has some momentum doesn't it?

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:13:16 PM


DJ- Shares fall 3.5% after nation's largest cable-television provider says net income triples to $390 million, or 18c a share. Excluding items, it misses mark by a penny. Revenue jumps 30% to $7.03 billion. Wall Street expected EPS of 24c.

CMCSA $42.85 -3.38% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:12:01 PM


DJ- Apparel maker 4Q net earnings fall to $23.8 million, or 25c, as the company made its transition to a stand-alone business and sales of underwear dropped.

HBI $24.96 -2.42% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:10:43 PM


DJ- Medical-device maker posts net income of $277 million, or 19c a share, which includes a 9c gain. Revenue jumps 34% to $2.07 billion. Analysts expected earnings of 11c a share on revenue of $2.07 billion.

BSX $18.31 -0.75% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:09:40 PM


DJ- Energy company 4Q earnings tumble to $1.11 billion, or $1.80 a share. Excluding items, Valero earns $1.59 a share as operating revenue falls 24% to $19.79 billion. Valero is exploring strategic alternatives for its Ohio refinery.

VLO $56.16 +3.48% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:08:41 PM


DJ- Oil and gas firm posts 4Q net income of $1.08 billion, or $3.06 a share. Adjusted earnings fall to $2.38 a share, as revenue drops 19% to $13.99 billion. Analysts expected EPS of $2.25.

MRO $90.93 +0.65% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:07:19 PM


DJ- Personal income increases at a seasonally adjusted rate of 0.5% in December, while spending gains 0.7%, the highest rate in five months. For all of 2006, income climbs 6.4%, the biggest annual gain since as 8% rise in 2000.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:06:37 PM


DJ- Nation's largest ethanol producer's shares soar 9% after posting 2Q earnings of $441.3 million, or 67c a share, as revenue climbs 18% to $10.98 billion. Results beat Wall Street's EPS expectations of 60c on revenue of $9.52 billion.

ADM $34.99 +9.34% ...

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 12:05:56 PM

Did you see how the internals were talking to you this morning? They were strong in the morning then at 10:45 ES made a new daily high but the VIX did not make a new daily low (not confirming) alerting you to potential weakness however the strong AD line and volume should have kept you out of going short (unless you are a very good scalper). And now that the weakness the VIX alerted us too is probably over the AD line and volume are reasserting themselves.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:05:25 PM


DJ- Oil major posts net income of $10.25 billion, or $1.76 a share, as revenue falls 9% to $90.03 billion. Excluding gains, it earns $1.69. Wall Street expected earnings of $1.51. Firm says declines reflect lower natural gas realizations and refining margins, but big drop in income-tax bill offsets weakness.

XOM $74.74 +0.86% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 12:02:51 PM

GOOG $494.00 -1.49% ... traded $519 just before this morning's open?

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 12:00:02 PM

Or an AD volume that looks like this. Link

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 11:59:27 AM

One name that I was looking for yesterday in the FOMC statement was Jeffrey Lacker. He had dissented in favour of rate hikes in recent statements. However, Mr. Lacker is not a voting member of the FOMC this year.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 11:59:17 AM

TICKS +1000 - never ever short an AD line above +1000.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 11:49:23 AM

Buyers are back TICKS +800.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 11:48:17 AM

Ukraine Halts Some Russian Poultry Imports On Bird Flu

DJ- Ukraine has suspended imports of poultry from the southern Russian region of Krasnodar due to suspected bird flu, the Agriculture Ministry said Thursday.

An outbreak of bird flu has been registered in Krasnodar, the Russian federal agricultural oversight agency, Rosselkhoznadzor, said Monday. But it remains unclear what strain of the virus is involved.

The Ukrainian ministry said the ban, applying to deliveries of live birds, eggs and bird meat as well as any poultry products, would last until final results of tests on the virus in the Krasnodar region are received.

Last week Ukraine banned imports of Hungarian poultry after the presence of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu was detected there.

Russia recorded its first cases of bird flu in Siberia in 2005, and outbreaks have since occurred further west. There have been no human cases of bird flu reported in Russia.

The H5N1 bird flu strain has killed at least 164 people worldwide since it began ravaging Asian poultry farms in late 2003, according to the World Health Organization.

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 11:46:44 AM

I'm not seeing anything to change my opinion that today will be a consolidation day. As such there's just not much to do but wait. It's not worth trading unless you like quickl scalps. It's a good time to catch up on some reading.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 11:45:14 AM

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- Mortgage rates moved higher this week, according to Freddie Mac's weekly survey released on Thursday, with the 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages reaching their highest levels in more than three months.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 11:44:49 AM

Survey: US Jan Payrolls +155K, Jobless 4.5%

DJ- Economists look for another moderate increase in hiring in January and an unchanged jobless rate.

The median estimate of 24 economists surveyed Monday by Dow Jones Newswires is for payrolls cluster to increase 155,000 after a solid 167,000 gain in December, while the jobless rate is expected to hold at 4.5% for a third straight month and average hourly earnings are expected to be up 0.3%.

The Labor Department is due to release the January employment report at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT) on Friday.

"Companies were poised to begin the year at a moderate pace and job gains should appear across a wide range of industries," said Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Banc of America Capital in Boston. She looks for a 160,000 increase in payrolls and for the jobless rate to hold at 4.5%.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 11:39:57 AM

"Romper Room" at Children's Place (PLCE) $59.16 +9.13% today.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 11:36:01 AM

US DOE Deputy Secy (comments)

DOE To Request $8.4B For Loan Guarantees

Loan Guarantee Budget Request For Clean Energy Projects

To Ask For $455M For GNEP For 2008

Nuclear Pwr Vital To Meet Climate Change

100s Of New Nuclear Pwr Plants Needed Globally

No Major Coal-To-Liquid R&D Budget Requests

Loan Guarantee Proj May Be Rolled Out In 2Q

To Re-Examine Ethanol Tariff Post '09 Expiry

Desire For Ethanol Mkt To Stand On Own Feet

Supports Extentsion Of Wind Tax Credit

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 11:34:06 AM

Techs trading off GOOG. Big volume there.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 11:30:08 AM

U.S. Oil Fund (USO) $47.98 -0.53% ... DAILY Pivot firm.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 11:25:09 AM

NASDAQ-100 Heatmap Link

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 11:24:17 AM

Not seeing any news items at 11:00 AM EST to explain the sharp selling as depicted by TRINQ.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 11:20:02 AM

TRINQ 1.68 ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 11:19:47 AM

11:00 Internals found at this Link

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 11:15:38 AM

Dateline WSJ - Chrysler Group reports nearly 1% rise in U.S. vehicle sales for January.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 11:12:03 AM

All markets to new daily lows however I don't think you will see much followthrough.The AD line and volume are just too strong for much downside action.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 11:11:46 AM

I should have whacked QM as well at 58, that was a gift.

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 11:11:35 AM

Based on the wave pattern for the move up over the past few days I had suggested late yesterday that we could see some stair-stepping higher as we "unwind" the count with a series of 4th and 5th waves to complete the 5-wave move up from last Friday's low. Using the DOW this is how it might look over the next couple of days as it works its way higher to a Fib projection at 12708. It will basically look like just another choppy consolidation. Link

It takes a drop below Monday's high of 12542 to tell me a top is in (although there will likely be some clues in the pattern before that level is reached). A break of the uptrend line, currently near 12570, would be the first bearish clue.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 11:10:12 AM

Looks like it is the VIX that is the one to watch today. Even though AD volume was making new daily highs the VIX was telling us not to be long. Aren't you glad you listened. You did listen didn't you.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 11:06:51 AM

TRINQ had jumped notably in last 10 minutes.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 11:03:43 AM

11:00 Market Watch found at this Link

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 11:04:13 AM

YM short 12694, lower stop to 12704. Conservative traders move it down to even. Let it ride. Target is 12585/12590.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 11:00:15 AM

Sector Status Changes ... Healthcare, Machinery/Tools and Transports/Non Air all reversed back up to "bull confirmed" status at the conclusion of yesterday's trade.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 10:53:58 AM

Bulls better not lose COMP 2468.42, November high.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 10:52:52 AM

These should keep you from taking a short position and the VIX should keep you from been long. The easy money has been made this morning and it is now time for hard trading or sitting it out. Link

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 10:50:07 AM

Notice ES's new daily high was not confirmed by a VIX new daily low. This should tell you time to bail on longs at least for now. Link

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 10:49:24 AM

The reason I would take it is because NQ is struggling with 50 DMA at 1810. At least for now. Some of you can wait for confirmation. This is a cowboy trade, but I think odds are pretty good.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 10:47:33 AM

Short YM 12694, stop 12734. Larger stop than usual, but it's a swing trade.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 10:45:59 AM

That's your chance to get in short. Risk is to 12725/12730 and ultimately 12764, monthly R1, but it could be a good cost averaging opportunity. Those yields are not backing down very much,

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 10:42:54 AM

The one positive influence on the market today, or at least this morning, is new month money coming in.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 10:32:13 AM

That should also establish QM 58.20 as firm resistance and oil should pull back to the 56.50 level today.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 10:32:07 AM

EIA Weekly Nat Gas Table found at this Link ... Draw of 186 BCF

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 10:28:56 AM

Audi Of America Jan Sales Up 5.2%, Helped By A4 Gains

DJ- Audi of America Inc.'s January sales rose 5.2%, helped by its A4 model.

The automobile company sold 6,399 cars in the month, up from 6,084 a year earlier.

Sales of the A4, which was the only model to post year-over-year gains, rose 11.8%, while 1,636 of the new Q7 models were sold.

Audi AG is a unit of Volkswagen AG.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 10:31:29 AM

That was very informative, thanks Denise (blogged). The ISM makes me want to hold on to my YM short for a swing trade, instead of hassling with multiple entries. As long as YM stays in the wedge, I don;t see bulls getting out of this one with that ISM number. Its pretty bad. Watch NQ 1810 as a guide. MSFT down and GOOG getting ripped.
It would be fitting to have an end to the five year bull with a sub 50 ISM, the first since the run actually started (April 2003).

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 10:16:42 AM

Thanks to Denise for forwarding the following information from a fellow trader that looks at market action following previous FOMC meetings:

Meeting 31st Jan: The Dow rallies 90 points the day after, and then sells off 230 points in the next 4 days

Meeting 28th March: The Dow loses 90 points on the day and sells off 250 points in the next 13 days

Meeting 10th May: The Dow is up 3 points on the day, and sells off 640 points in the next 10 days

Meeting 29th June: The Dow gains 217 points, trades sideways for 4 days, and sells off 460 points in 8 days

Meeting 8th August: The Dow loses 250 points from the high made on the Fed day over the next 3 days

Meeting 20th September: The Dow gains 70 points on the day, and then sells off 160 points in 2 days

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 10:11:49 AM

The ISM below 50 indicates contraction in the manufacturing sector and mirrors what we saw in the Chicago PMI yesterday. This is another sign of economic slowing and is potentially serious when considering the risks of recession.

Marc Eckelberry : 2/1/2007 10:10:39 AM

It was a no brainer to short YM at 12695, wedge resistance, at least for now. 12689 is now R and stops are easy to place. With IBM and MMM down, it should be a good swing trade. I prefer shorting YM to NQ, since there seems to be rotation into techs and small caps. Watch that yield on the ten year, though, If it gets back above 4.8%, the rally is over for everyone, even oil.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 10:08:35 AM

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Factory activity in the United States contracted in January, the Institute for Supply Management reported Thursday. The ISM index fell to 49.3% in January from 51.4% in December. The decline was unexpected. The consensus forecast of estimates collected by Marketwatch was for the index to rise to 52.0%. A reading below 50 indicates contraction. The index had been above 50 since May 2003 but slipped below that level in two of the past three months. New orders fell to 50.3% in January from 51.9% in December. The employment index inched higher to 49.5% from 49.4%. The price index rose to 53.0% from 47.5%.

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 10:08:03 AM

To keep bears on their toes, and to be sure you manage your risk properly, here's an alternate wave count I've had ready to whip out if the RUT exceeded 799.30. This count is based on finishing the rally in an ascending wedge (hence the choppy move higher) that takes weeks to finish and tops out around 825 by early March. Something to consider if you're currently short and waiting for this market to roll over now. Link

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 10:06:58 AM

ISM Jan Inventories 39.9 Vs Dec 48.5

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 10:06:41 AM

ISM Jan Production Index 49.6 Vs Dec 52.4

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 10:06:31 AM

ISM Jan New Orders Index 50.3 Vs Dec 51.9

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 10:06:17 AM

ISM Jan Employment Index 49.5 VS Dec 49.4

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 10:06:03 AM

ISM Jan Prices Index 53.0 Vs Dec 47.5

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 10:05:58 AM

Jan. ISM new orders 50.3% vs 51.9% in Dec.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 10:05:49 AM

ISM Jan Mfg Business Index Expected 52.0

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 10:05:41 AM

Jan. ISM prices 53.0% vs 47.5% in Dec.

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 10:05:36 AM

ISM Jan Mfg Business Index 49.3 Vs Dec 51.4

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 10:04:47 AM

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Seasonally adjusted pending home sales jumped 4.9% in December, the largest gain in nearly three years, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday.

The pending home sales index was at its highest level since June and was down 4.4% compared with December 2005.

"Some of the monthly gain may be weather related, but it appears buyers are becoming more comfortable, sensing the timing is good and that their local market has bottomed out," said David Lereah, chief economist for the realtors, in a press release. "I expect modest sales gains throughout the year, with what I believe are sustainable levels of activity."

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 10:04:05 AM

10:00 Market Watch found at this Link

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 9:58:04 AM

All us bears are going to have go into hiberation for a while I'm afraid. Link

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 9:55:51 AM

Banco Bilbao Arg (BBV) $25.28 +0.79% ... challenges all-time high.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 9:55:37 AM

TICKs are going crazy.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 9:55:22 AM

AD line is +1623.

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 9:53:54 AM

Same pattern and wave count for YM with an upside target of 12727. Link

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 9:53:49 AM

Meeeeow! Caterpillar (CAT) $65.11 +1.60% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 9:53:10 AM

Lowes Co. (LOW) $34.24 +1.57% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 9:52:42 AM

Home Depot (HD) $40.97 +0.56% ...

Jeff Bailey : 2/1/2007 9:52:13 AM

Dow Jones Home Construction (DJUSHB) 767.75 +1.40% ... testing its 38.2% retracement of 07/20/05 all-time high to 07/21/06 52-week low for second time in as many months.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 9:49:33 AM

Oh that dang TRIN is doing it again today. It is 1.31 and climbing. What the heck!

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 9:47:59 AM

I had mentioned over the past few days that the RUT was my little canary and that if it rallied to a new high above 799.30 that it would mean I'd switch to an alternate EW count that says the A-B-C move up from the January low changes a little and becomes short term a little more bullish (part of the difficulty with corrective wave counts is the number of them that have to be considered until certain price levels are achieved/broken). This ES 60-min chart is similar to the one I posted late yesterday for SPX. Link

Equality in the A-B-C move points to ES 1452.75 for an ultimate high. Wave-C needs to be a 5-wave move and that's how I've got it labeled. We need a 4th wave correction today/tomorrow and then a final push higher early next week. That's the next place I'd be looking for a top but not until then (unless we start to break down quickly in which case I'll consider another alternate wave count but this is my preferred count now).

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 9:46:26 AM

TICKS +1000. "Don't even think short."

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 9:40:46 AM

Now if I could just figure out what a dip was.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 9:40:25 AM

I certainly would not be short here. It is a buy the dips kind of day so far and until I see otherwise I will be buying the dips.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 9:39:22 AM

TICKS +800.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 9:35:10 AM

TRIN neutral.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 9:34:49 AM

VIX is testing its PDL as ES tests its PDH. All is well in bull country.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 9:34:19 AM

AD line is +865 and AD volume is above 0 and climbing. The bulls have the ball but we knew they would this morning didn't we?

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 9:20:48 AM

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Google Inc. late Wednesday reported fourth-quarter profit nearly tripled, while sales rose 67%, as the No. 1 Internet search engine captured a greater share of online advertising spending.

For the period ended Dec. 31, Google said net income surged to $1.03 billion, or $3.29 a share, from $372 million, or $1.22 a share, a year earlier.

The results topped the estimates of Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, who expected earnings of $2.92 a share.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 9:20:03 AM

All markets are now breaking their overnight highs.

Keene Little : 2/1/2007 9:30:56 AM

We've got a nice bullish follow through to yesterday's rally but I'd be a little careful after this morning's open. The short term pattern suggests a pullback/consolidation is due and therefore we might not see a continuation higher much after the open.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 9:06:08 AM

$ breaks its overnight low as Gold breaks its overnight high. I took another long position in Gold yesterday with the GLD. I don't swing trade with futures.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 9:01:09 AM

The relationship between Gold, Oil and the $ is Gold and oil move in one direction and the $ in the opposite. Like I said yesterday you can see this relationship much better on a daily or even a weekly chart but sometimes you can see it on the 20 minute as well.

TBonds quite liked the data out at 8:30 I see. Link

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 8:58:38 AM

The large cap indexes were able to peek above their respective PDRs but their smaller cap brethren however was not. The higher highs and lows show a bullish overnight session that will probably spill over at least into the morning's trading. Link

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 8:56:25 AM

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Coca-Cola Co. (KO) agreed to buy FUZE Beverage LLC., a maker of enhanced juices and teas. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

The Atlanta soft drink maker said Thursday the purchase is expected to close in the first quarter, pending regulatory approval.

FUZE brands include Vitalize, Refresh, Tea, and Slenderize lines under the FUZE trademark, as well as WaterPlus enhanced water products and licenses rights to the NOS Energy Drink brands.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 8:54:29 AM

Dateline WSJ - Exxon Mobil Corp. posted a 4.3% drop in fourth-quarter net income amid lower energy prices, though the company had the largest annual profit in U.S. history.

Meanwhile, Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC said net profit rose 21% in the fourth quarter on the back of high oil prices.

Exxon, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, reported net income of $10.25 billion, or $1.76 a share, for the fourth quarter, compared with $10.71 billion, or $1.71 a share, a year earlier. Per-share earnings rose because Exxon's recent stock-buyback binge. Excluding gains, earnings were $1.69 a share. Analysts had expected $1.51 a share, according to Thomson Financial.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 8:48:40 AM

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Crude-oil futures held above $58 a barrel early Thursday, on expectations that demand for fuel will rise as the U.S. economy appears in better shape than previously thought and after data showed the first decline in distillates in seven weeks.

Crude for March delivery was last down 3 cents at $58.11 a barrel in electronic trade. On Wednesday, the contract rallied to a four-week high above $58, adding 2.1% for the session, finding further support in forecasts for continued cold weather. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is slated to cut output by another 500,000 barrels a day today -- another support for prices.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 8:47:25 AM

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- After watching the company he founded in a University of Texas dorm room lose much of its luster in the computer market and on Wall Street over the last three years, Michael Dell apparently decided enough was enough.

Dell Inc. (DELL) said late Wednesday that Michael Dell, the company's chairman, will immediately reassume the position he gave up in 2004, and that Chief Executive Kevin Rollins had resigned from the company and its board of directors. Dell also will retain his chairmanship of the company's board.

The shares hiked up $1.26, or 5.2%, to $25.50 in Thursday's pre-open.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 8:46:03 AM

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Higher energy prices dragged down growth in real consumer spending and real disposable incomes in December, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

Core inflation, meanwhile, rose an unexpectedly low 0.1%, the second straight month of relatively stable prices excluding food and energy. Headline inflation rose 0.4% in December, backed by a 0.9% gain in prices of nondurable goods, such as energy goods.

Real, or inflation-adjusted, consumer spending rose 0.3% during the month, following gains of 0.5% in the previous two months. For all of the fourth quarter, real spending rose at a robust 4.4% annual rate.

Real disposable incomes rose 0.2%, the weakest growth since May.

Jane Fox : 2/1/2007 8:44:49 AM

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- First-time applications for state unemployment benefits fell by 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted, two-week low of 307,000 in the week ending Jan. 27, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The four-week average of initial claims dropped by 4,500, to an 11-month low of 304,750.

Economists consider the four-week average a better gauge of underlying labor market strength because it smoothes out often-volatile data.

The number of people collecting unemployment checks rose by 71,000 to a seasonally adjusted 2.55 million in the week ending Jan. 20. It's a two-week high.

The four-week average of continuing claims rose by 30,500 to 2.48 million, the highest since Dec. 23.

Initial claims represent job destruction, while the level of continuing claims indicates how hard or easy it is for displaced workers to find new jobs.

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