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Lack Of Visibility Means Lack Of Buyers

Thursday, 12 Feb 2009 | 12:15 PM ET

Volume is on the light side; there are not a lot of sellers, just a lack of buyers who are having trouble talking themselves into buying stocks when corporations are coming out with lower first quarter guidance and lower or no guidance for the rest of the year.

As a result, the market remains defensive: bonds and the dollar continue to rally, and stocks are selling off as a single asset class. What does that mean? It means the market is down uniformly, most sectors are down 4 to 6 percent this week: tech, energy, consumer, cyclicals, it doesn't matter.

Still, there are some positive signs. I've told you that the market will bottom when traders realize that the probability of UPSIDE surprises outweighs the probability of DOWNSIDE surprises.

We are not there yet, but there have been a smattering of UPSIDE surprises today:

1) Retail sales UP for the first time in 6 months;

2) Coke surprised on the upside, with strong volume growth around the world, though the U.S. was weak

3) Three restaurants (!) reported numbers better than expected: Chipotle Mexican Grill , Buffalo Wild Wings , and PF Chang's .

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Questions? Comments? tradertalk@cnbc.com

  Price   Change %Change
BWLD
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CMG
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KO
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  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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