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Coming Week: Searching for Clarity

If you're feeling battered by this market, you aren't alone -- and the next few trading sessions aren't likely to make you feel much better.

"We get these momentary signs that the bulls jump all over and think perhaps the worst is behind us, but this positive feeling doesn't seem to have a shelf life of more than 48 hours, when we revert back to the negative bias," says Ted Weisberg, floor trader at Seaport Securities.

"When it gets this hard, usually the best thing to do is just push yourself away from the table and wait," he continues. "The risk is that by doing that, you'll miss something. But the risk of being proactive is greater if something were to change dramatically."

Despite many individual-session moves that exceeded 1%, or even 2%, the major averages finished last week little changed. Over the five sessions, the Dow fell 0.4% to 11,326.32, the S&P 500 gained 0.2% to 1260.31, and the Nasdaq Composite Index crept 0.43 point higher to 2310.96.

"Depending on where you live and what businesses you're in, the economy looks OK or it looks like the sky is falling," Michael Cuggino, president and portfolio manager at Permanent Portfolio Family of Funds, says. "It's confusing even to money managers, which is why you see such big moves."

The real action this next week, unless the Federal Reserve does something really unexpected in its meeting on Tuesday, is going to still be on the corporate side, as the crush of earnings continues.

According to a Brown Brothers Harriman report, the S&P 500 companies overall are expected to see profits decline by about 24%, year over year, for the second quarter. Excluding financials, that rises to a positive 6%.
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Chart of I:DJI
DOW 15,577.08 -337.66 -2.12%
S&P 500 1,818.26 -33.60 -1.81%
NASDAQ 4,233.0260 -50.5660 -1.18%

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