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OPTIONS EXPIRATION DISTORTIONS

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Beating much lower expectations can lead to a short squeeze and this was evident the past few days with some financials and Friday with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) which beat earnings estimates by 3 cents. Remember, MSFT is one of the largest hedge fund holdings so pumping it higher seems easily job one. MSFT was up nearly 5% after the report which may strike some as an outsized gain. But the spin was the company reported good gains from the corporate sector meaning CFOs are loosening their purse strings. How long can you run XP anyway? The boys in the options pits must be chasing down options in MSFT and those silly bets made on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) calls.

The other big news on the day was that the IMF (mostly controlled by U.S. taxpayers) will pony-up another $400 billion in freshly minted dollars to rescue the euro zone once again. Even the Bank of Japan admitted this gesture (thank you America!) will only buy some time if austerity and reforms aren't implemented. And, right on cue, we have French elections on deck this weekend with polls indicating Sarkozy is toast. This makes his deals with Merkel & Co toast as well. So with the socialists back in control of Europe's second largest economy don't expect much in the way of austerity and reform. That's not on any socialist's agenda.

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