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So far, it's relatively quiet out there on the indexes as bulls and bears battle over S&P 875 (line in the sand) and 880 (200 day simple moving average, falling by the day). With volume so light, it should be easy to 'mark this market' up into the close after that "close call" earlier on Friday and keep us from breaking down.

No volume followed the close call, hence I don't see any more damage being done. Never short a dull market, as they say. I continue in the hands-off treatment that has served well the past few weeks - there are times to be aggressive and times to just let the market do its thing; until the market makes a decisive move, no reason to be aggressive.

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Let's take a quick look ahead at earnings at some companies of note coming early in the week - remember, the game plan is the same as last quarter when we saw many "awful, but better-than-expected results". Chop as many Americans as possible from the payroll, cut back benefits, cut back all sorts of expenses and try to sell as much to China as you can. Have a poor revenue number (which can't be lied about unless you are Enron), and lowball analysts with earnings guidance (which is easily "played with" in American accounting) then "beat it" mostly with the above mentioned expense cuts ... and we all sing green shoots. At the beginning of the earnings season come many of our multinationals, so the weaker dollar in the past quarter should also help them spike the earnings bowl.

With all the favors done to the banks and since we now don't care about balance sheets (old loans) since we've politicized FASB (the accounting board), we only care about current profits. Which again, Sally the 4 year old can now make at any bank as they borrow from the Fed at nearly zero and lend to American consumers at numbers far higher than zero. Plus the bevy of fees now being added to those who bailed them out. We're all winners here.

p.s. Goldman Sachs upgraded a slew of technology names, which basically means the rally in technology is just about over as they get their clients out into the "upgrade" - or at least thats the cynic's view.

Monday

CSX (CSX) - we always like looking at the railroads as economic indicators; companies like this are far better than faulty government reports.

Posco (NYSE:PKX) - South Korean steel; the hope is for some uptick in the steel market in the "reflation / weak dollar" thesis area. Posco is the first major global steel maker to report.

Tuesday

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) - what more can be said, Goldman has basically cleared the path to prosperity for another generation or two. All major competitors have been destroyed or weakened measurably... transplants live throughout national government... the world is their oyster. All they need to worry about is insiders apparently taking some of their HAL9000 code and trying to get rich off it.

This could be an epic quarter for Goldman - record breaking issuance of stocks - especially financials, in Q2; massive issuance of bonds as credit markets are re-opened; massive dominance of weekly program trading. They are everywhere and as fewer competitors remained, their spreads (fancy word for profit margins) widened. I expect a monster beat; it is just a matter of "if it's in the stock".

HDFC Bank (NYSE:HDB) - I like the chart as a short here; we own a tiny long position, but with earnings coming out, I don't like being involved heavily in anything so I'll wait. Major gap to fill in low $80s, and this stock is PRICEY.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) - I've long since stopped caring about Intel, but it still moves the markets and "semiconductors" are the playbook for 'early recovery,' so it will impact.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) - not my cup of tea but one of those stocks you can actually buy and then come back in 10 years and not worry if it's out of business.

Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM) - it's all about China. My only hope is our culture invades China to the point they become more like us, then we can get back our prominence. Go KFC! (Trojan Horse)

*****

And for something totally unrelated may I present to you a blue lobster

Source: A Look Ahead at Earnings This Week