×

What Matters Most on The Floor

For the third day, stocks are drifting around. What matters is strength in the dollar and inventory builds in crude oil, both of which are pressuring stocks.

Elsewhere:

1) Forget gold, buy a Warhol: while gold is at an historic high, there are indications that other hard assets are in demand as well.

The Sotheby's auction of modern art seems to have gone extremely well. Several Warhol paintings went for far more than expected—the "200 One Dollar Bills" went for $43.8 million, more than three times its presale estimate of $12 million.

As one trader remarked to me: whether it is gold or art, I think it means that "smart" people are looking for ways to combat the "massive printing presses" going on worldwide.

Winners and losers in retail.

There is a fallacy that the only thing the consumer wants is CHEAP. It's not true.

Nordstrom is not cheap, but it's doing well (earnings after the close). Coach is not cheap, but it's at a new high. J Crew is not cheap either, but it too is at a new high.

These companies--and others like Wal-Mart, Kohl's , and Nike --get the idea of delivering VALUE - not low price.

Consumer WILL SPEND but want quality and brands for their spend.

That's the secret sauce. Yes, all the retailers have cut inventories, cut costs, cut personnel. But that will not be enough to do well.

_____________________________

_____________________________

Questions? Comments? tradertalk@cnbc.com