Attack of the Algobots

 | May 29, 2012 | 10:47 AM EDT  | Comments
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Stock quotes in this article:

aapl

,

thld

,

mlnx

We have very broad strength this morning, with breadth around 5-to-1 positive. The market shrugged off weaker-than-expected consumer confidence numbers and it feels like the high-frequency algobots are pushing the indices steadily higher. When the strength is this broad and there isn't any clear standout leadership, it is likely computer-driven action attempting to exploit poorly positioned investors.

As is often the case with this sort of action, the technical patterns are more negative than positive, which tends to incite buying rather than selling in the perverse world of high-frequency trading. The goal is to squeeze shorts and make underinvested bulls anxious. As they try to adapt, that keeps the move going and produces profits for the high-frequency traders who are constantly flipping and reloading.

I'm putting a little money to work on Apple (AAPL), Threshold Pharmaceuticals (THLD) and Mellanox Technologies (MLNX), which is my stock of the week, but I'm staying selective and not too worried about holding a high level of cash. This market is working hard to suck you in, but it a little skepticism is still warranted.

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