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Halftime Report: The Road To Correction

Jittery investors struggled with another dramatic sell-off on Thursday; this time tech dragged down the broad market, hurt by outlooks from Motorola and Qualcomm.

Considering the action, what should you be watching as a signal that we're heading down the road to a correction?

Instant Insights with the Fast Money traders

We keep seeing good news and bad price action, says Fast Money trader Guy Adami. That's the 'tell.' It first surfaced after Intel reported. Listen to what the market is telling you.

I’m seeing technical damage in the S&P, adds Scott Redler of T3. 1085 had been support but we sliced through it. The next area to watch is 1072. And if we break below that, 1040 will be critical. That’s a 10% correction off the highs and a compelling area to be watching.

Personally, I expect the market will break below 1040, adds Guy Adami. Global bellwether stocks such as Freeport McMoRan are broken and the market is now starting to play catch up.

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TAKE YOUR POSITION: AMAZON & MICROSOFT

Investors are eager to hear from two titans after the bell, Amazonand Microsoft .

How should you be positioned?

If you’re looking for a trade, I’d look at Microsoft, says Scott Redler. I think the report is going to be good. I might step in around $28.50 for a short term bounce

In tech, I just got long Qualcomm, reveals Jon Najarian, at $40.50.

Across the board, I think you can be a buyer of tech, muses Eugene Profit of Profit Funds. However, there may be consolidation in the near-term.

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MARKET BUZZKILL: COMMODITIES

A stronger dollar dragged down materials and energy stocks with 3M falling sharply despite posting stronger-than-expected earnings, Thursday.

Meanwhile, oil prices fell toward $73 a barrel Thursday, holding near six-week lows, as a stronger dollar curbed demand for crude and after data showed fuel demand has not recovered.

What’s the trade?

I’m watching copper which crossed a 7-week low, says strategic investor Dennis Gartman. It suggests copper miner Freeport is broken right now, he says.

In fact, I’m seeing weakness in commodities across the board, Gartman adds. The only companies going up are those that benefit from declining commodities prices. I’d be a buyer of cereal manufactures and restaurants -- and a seller of the commodities producers.

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FORD SURPRISE

Ford reported 2009 earnings of $2.7 billion on Thursday, its first full-year profit since 2005, and said it expects a 2010 profit driven by market share gains.

For the fourth quarter, Ford posted a profit of $868 million, or 25 cents per share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $6 billion, or a $2.51 per share. Revenue rose to $35.4 billion from $29 billion.

What’s the auto trade?

I think the price action in Ford is squishy, says Guy Adami. I expect it to trade down to $10.75 but at that level it’s attractive.

And if you must play commodities, I’d look at metals used in the production of autos, adds Dennis Gartman.

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CALL THE CLOSE

Guy Adami: The tape scares me.

Scott Redler: I’m a small buyer at 1072.

Jon Najarian: I’m a seller.

Eugene Profit" I'm a seller, we’re going lower.


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Trader disclosure: On January 27th, 2010, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Adami Owns (AGU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (MSFT), (NUE), (BTU); Najarian Owns (AAPL) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (INTC) Calls; Najarian Owns (MS), Is Short (MS) Calls; Najarian Owns (QCOM) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (XLF) Calls; Terranova Owns (BAC), (JPM), (GS), (XOM), (HAL), (EMC), (AAPL), (DELL), (MSFT), (QCOM); Terranova Owns (XLF) Feb. Calls

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