Markets never saw the green of day Wednesday but the damage was somewhat muted as the Nasdaq and S&P 500 both fell .3% and the Russell 2000 acted a bit better dropping .1% and has now managed to CLOSE in the upper half of its daily range for four consecutive sessions. The Nasdaq which I like the key in on lost less than one quarter of the previous days gains and volume was a bit lighter as well. It also remained above its 50 day SMA, something the S&P 500 was unable to achieve. Looking at individual sector performance only two were able to finish higher, that being energy and those pesky utilities. The clear laggards were healthcare, cyclicals and industrials. Peering into some retail names that reported earnings witnessed some extreme bifurcation, which has become the norm. Housing periphery plays which have been acting poorly continued that theme today as LZB slumped more than 20%, almost the exact opposite of its last reaction on 6/21 which gained 22.1%. LOW slipped 3.5% and that name has lost ground 11 of the last 15 weeks. More concerning has been the excellent behavior in some of the real laggards (most likely short covering) as AEO and EXPR both rose 7.8 and 19.5% and they are still even after today lower by 37 and 60% from most recent 52 week highs. Getting back to tech and always deploying capital to best of breed plays below is the chart of VRSN and how it appeared in our Thursday 8/17 Game Plan. The stock is putting up some good relative strength thus far this week higher by 2.9% heading into Thursday as the Nasdaq has risen by 1%. It like RHT is battling with CLOSING above the very round par figure and is looking to do so for the first time in four weeks, and maybe more importantly for just the second time since the year 2000.
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