The Big Picture Remains the Same

 | Jan 27, 2012 | 4:30 PM EST
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The market looked anemic today if you just glanced at the indices.

Volume was light and we drifted lower, but there was some good action under the surface. Breadth was nearly 2-to-1 positive and all major sectors except pharmaceuticals were in the green.

What was most interesting, though, was the relative strength in small-caps and Internet-related names. News that Facebook expects to announce its initial public offering next week ignited a wide range of names -- many of them having nothing at all to do with Facebook -- but this sort of action is more about a positive mood than balance sheets and income statements.

It's always refreshing to see these flurries of speculative action develop, but the big picture is little changed. We continue to hold up extremely well and there is underlying support, but the upside momentum is muted in many cases. We aren't breaking down, but we aren't making much progress, either.

The optimistic scenario is that we continue to churn and consolidate, and that builds a foundation for another leg up. The pessimistic view is that if we don't see more upside soon, folks will grow impatient and start locking in recent profits, which will send us downward.

Technically, it's very easy to make a case for some backing and filling here, as we have little support and are extended on light volume. That seems to be a positive in a perverse market environment that is doing its best to confound anyone who harbors any doubts.

Hopefully, Facebook will continue to provide some speculative action next week, but we definitely don't want to be overly complacent. This market is due for an ugly day soon, and it will likely come with little warning.

Have a great weekend. I'll see you on Monday.

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