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MLR - PMP 8/27/13

The NYSE-based indexes, the Dow and the S&P 500, finished lower yesterday while the NASDAQ was roughly flat, buoyed somewhat by Amgen's (AMGN) big upside gap-up after it announced it would be buying Onyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX). The Russell 2000 closed slightly up. All traded on lower volume compared to Friday's volume.

While up for most of the day, the market took a hit 43 minutes before the close when headlines that a strike by western nations against Syria was imminent hit the tape. While probably not surprising to most and likely an exercise in the obvious, it was found that Syria used chemical weapons against rebels. President Obama will allegedly now decide how to respond. "There must be accountability for those who would use the world's most heinous weapons against the world's most vulnerable people," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said. Situations such as this are usually short-lived though they can result in sharp pullbacks. Futures are down sharply this morning as a result of weakness in Asia and continued fears of a military action in Syria by the U.S. and other western nations. Meanwhile, the fear bid is coming into play as gold and silver move over 2% higher at the time of this writing. If this does turn out to be a temporary news-related sell-off, leading stocks should find support at logical areas, such as key moving averages or prior breakout points and investors should be alert to the potential for opportunities in this regard.

The Barclay's 20+ year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT), has accelerated its sell off over the last four months in anticipation of tapering. That said, it's possible TLT will bounce from here due to the recently poor housing data which may spur the Fed to keep interest rates low. So far the TLT has been able to bounce for three days off of its recent lows. If the bounce develops into an more sustained uptrend this may be an indication that tapering will be delayed or minimized. Given that the US is the world's largest debtor nation to the tune of tens of trillions, it is in the interest of the US to continue to keep rates low, thus even though the Fed has said tapering will begin either in September, October, or December, it may be minimal or the Fed may taper in an unconventional way so as to have minimal impact. Meanwhile gold and silver continue to move higher in seeming contradiction to all the tapering talk.

Three D Systems (DDD) had a pocket pivot but this stock has been volatile and tricky so position size accordingly. Gil Morales discussed the stock in last Friday's webinar as it was sitting along its 10-day moving average with volume drying up to the lowest level since the stock began building its current base in the early part of May.Pharmacyclics (PCYC) also had a pocket pivot yesterday. The stock has had an erratic earnings record but is a biotechnology company so this can be forgiven as institutional sponsorship has grown over the last 14 quarters, quarterly pretax margin are a strong 59.3%, return-on-equity is an outstanding 86%, and sales have been soaring.

Home loan servicer Ocwen Financial (OCN) issued a pocket pivot buy point yesterday after a three-weeks-tight consolidation. Earnings and sales are soaring in the triple digit percentage growth range, institutional sponsorship has increased over the last 9 quarters, and quarterly pretax margins have improved to a peak of 30.5%.

Home furnishings and hardware retailer Restoration Hardware (RH) gapped up on strong earnings a couple of months ago but failed on that BGU attempt. Since then the stock has built a new base and recently has had several pocket pivots as it clears its 50-day moving average. Earnings and sales are very strong and institutional sponsorship has grown since the company went public 3 quarters ago.

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