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The major indices have been trading in a narrow range, but are so far holding above immediate support levels. The S&P 500, currently at 1090, has a nice cushion above the 1080 support. The Nasdaq Composite and Nasdaq 100 are flirting with the nice round numbers of 1900 and 1400, respectively.

The option open interest in these products, which cease trading today but are settled based on tomorrow's opening price, is not a sufficient driver of action today. It would take the S&P dipping below 1075 or having the

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break 34 to kick in some sell programs.

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More likely we'll see a range-bound trade (calling it pinning if you want) as a lack of conviction leaves traders employing duck-and-cover tactics. Overall volume is light, again, breadth is essentially flat, and the spread between new highs (30) and new lows (110) has contracted to, while slightly negative, far from meaningful or interpretable.

In the options world, we have a nice pop in the put/call ratio as the all-exchange reading is at 1.05, and the index-only reading is 1.61. But, it should be noted that these numbers are somewhat skewed by the fact that much of today's activity involves the closing or rolling out of the large put positions of the May expiration.

The VIX, while still not receding enough to create a reversal or peak formation, which would give a buy signal or indicate that an intermediate-term bottom has been put in place, is down fractionally to 18.73.

Steven Smith writes regularly for In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He was a seatholding member of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) from May 1989 to August 1995. During that six-year period, he traded multiple markets for his own personal account and acted as an executing broker for third-party accounts. He invites you to send your feedback to