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Stocks Close Out Worst Month In 11 Months

Stocks closed out their worst month in almost a year with earnings failing to lift the market higher.

Although bearish catalysts were wide ranging the Fast Money traders were particularly concerned about downbeat outlooks from technology companies; they could mean the recovery may not be as robust as believed.

Also the traders were concerned by the negative price action in the market after “decent” reports from Intel , Goldman Sachs and other firms. “Not good,” they say.

On top of that, political uncertainty about the fate of banks provided a strong headwind as did concerns about the debt of Greece.

How should you be positioned, now?

I’d expect equities to face headwinds for quite some time, says Gary Kaminsky. The market ran up ahead of these earnings and there’s been nothing spectacular about these earnings to propel us further.

Fundamentally I still believe in the technology story, reveals Joe Terranova. And I do not believe the highs are in for the year. However the rhetoric out of Washington is a big X-factor.

GDP and consumer confidence suggests the US is in better shape than the rest of the developed world, adds Tim Seymour. That should send the dollar higher and lately that’s been bearish for stocks.

I like Johnson & Johnson and IBM in this market, says Karen Finerman. Of course everything could have more downside. But these are high quality names trading at attractive valuations.

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MARKET BUZZKILL: TECH GOES FROM FIRST TO WORST

Technology shares closed lower on Friday making it the worst performing sector of 2010 despite strong results from two titans. Just one day earlier Microsoft said it expected business technology spending to recover in 2010, while Amazon forecast strong 2010 revenue.

Sector Performance
YTD as of 1/28 Close

Healthcare +1.61%
Industrials -0.11%
Staples -0.19%
Financials -0.27%
Consumer Discretionary -1.48%
Energy -2.49%
S&P -2.51%
Utilities -4.04%
Materials -6.40%
Technology -7.41%
Source: SPDR

What’s the tech trade?

Apple’s chart looks broken to me, says Tim Seymour and that’s the stock that big investors are watching are a barometer.

I think the tech sell-off was all about uncertainty, adds Joe Terranova. Investors took profits in their winners.

I agree that there’s a lot of negative sentiment, says Karen Finerman. It’s impossible to know what lies ahead but despite all that -- I’m comfortable buying IBM at these levels. It’s a value.

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WORST MONTH FOR COMMODITIES IN OVER A YEAR

Gains in the dollar resulted in the worst month for commodities in over a year.

Oil prices fell 1 percent to below $73 a barrel on Friday, marking a more than 8 percent loss for the month.

And metals aren’t doing much better, gold is trading near a three month low while copper closed at its lowest level since Mid-November.

What’s the trade?

The action in copper speaks to me about global growth, says Joe Terranova. Heavy selling is bearish.

If you’re looking for a trade look at Freeport McMoRan, says Tim Seymour. Even with copper at $2.50 FCX is still worth buying.

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TOPPING THE TAPE: CITIGROUP

Shares of Citi closed higher on Friday after CEO Vikram Pandit addressed concerns about the government’s stake in his company and what that means for share price.

In an exclusive CNBC interview he explained to Maria Bartiromo that Citi has strong operating business, and “profitability is not a concern on any long term basis."

He went on to say “we have $200 billion in liquidity, we have $36 billion in reserves on our balance sheet. We have worked very hard to put our capital position in very good order.”

What’s the trade?

The pricing of the secondary held, explains Gary Kaminsky. That speaks volumes.

It seems to me that the selling pressure in the sector is subsiding, adds Joe Terranova. But instead of Citi, I’d be a buyer of BofA and JPMorgan .

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BULL MARKET OR BS?

Is the top of the market in? Miller Tabek strategist Peter Boockvar thinks it is. Find out why -- Watch the video below!



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