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Stocks Ready To Stabilize?

Traders expecting a sloppy day, with weakness at the open, but many are anticipating an attempt to stabilize right after that: others insist there is no reason to step in and be a hero on the long side.

While the news has definitely shifted to the negative, the good news we are still well off of our August lows: 1,375 in the S&P 500 was the intraday low in mid-August, and we are 125 points from that.

Still, technicals become important here. Several traders mentioned to me today that the 200-day moving average for the S&P 500 is 1,477 and we haven't dropped below that level since early September after the August pullback. That is not far away at all, and retesting that, in technical terms, would be just a shorthand way of saying that the mid-September to October rally was a headfake.

Whether the worry is credit issues from financials, or industrials talking about a slower U.S. economy, it all comes down to the same thing....traders are trying to figure out how much they need to adjust expectations for Q4 and q1 2008.

Dollar strength, commodities weak today. Remember a lot of people short the dollar, so it wouldn't be amazing to see short, sharp rallies here.

I want to hear from AmEx after the close, find out how the consumer is doing, but most traders want to hear that all is OK from Apple, also reporting after the bell...how important has Apple become? It's nearly 6% of the NASDAQ 100--fourth most important after Microsoft, Google, Cisco, and Intel.

Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
VOW3
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CSCO
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GOOGL
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INTC
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MSFT
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The Bear Stearns--CITIC Securities announcement, while reasonably good news for Bear, is a bit of a disappointment for some investors. Bear and CITIC will both invest about $1 b into each other, which will convert into a roughly 6% stake in Bear. Like Bank of America's investment in Countrywide, it helps, but it also tamps down investor speculation that other investors may step in with more substantial stakes. Bear down fractionally pre-open.

Finally, a reminder of another issue: inflation. Chemical maker Rohm and Haas announced price hikes, saying raw materials costs have remained persistently high, with no real relief expected in the future.


Questions? Comments? tradertalk@cnbc.com

  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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