Coal Heats Up

 | Oct 26, 2012 | 10:49 AM EDT
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A battle between the "bad news is priced in" bulls and the "earnings stink" bears is raging. The bulls have a slight advantage and have produced some green in the indices, but breadth is negative and upside momentum is contained. Apple (AAPL) has done little as it trades around flat, but Amazon (AMZN) is driving the bears crazy as it so often does.

Market leadership is in precious metals and semiconductors but they are up a trivial amount, while homebuilders and financials are laggards. Once again, there isn't much in the way of themes for sector momentum but I'm watching coal, which is active on a good report from Arch Coal (ACI) and analyst comments about how coal is gaining traction.

In the coal group, I'm watching ACI, James River (JRCC), Peabody (BTU) and Alpha Natural (ANR). There has been very little to maintain traction in this market, so my stops are tight and I'm keeping positions small.

The problem is there are too many people who need a bounce here. They are pushing hard, but they are being overwhelmed by those who have been losing money for a week and want out. Stay defensive.

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