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On the one-week anniversary of the Greenspan Speech, the stock market remains a little groggy.

Soothing inflation news and signs of slackening retail sales failed to give any lasting oomph to the market this morning. Perhaps the Greenspan Hobgoblin still haunts. Indeed, next week the Federal Open Market Committee meets to determine interest-rate policy.

Whispering traders wonder aloud if Greenspan will pull the trigger and drop a little coal in our collective stocking. But how can he? The economy has trickled to such a point that domestic auto sales--even with the help of 50 Jaguars sold through a

Neiman Marcus

(NMG:NYSE) catalog--have skidded sharply in recent weeks.

As the Fed Heads study air-brushed photos,

Merrill Lynch

(MER:NYSE) continues to assert its dominance in the technology sector. Since standing against the tide (successfully) for


(MU:NYSE) back in August, Merrill boosted

Applied Materials

(AMAT:Nasdaq) in November and last night gave


(INTC:Nasdaq) a kick in the pants with an earnings estimate hike. More quietly, Merrill gave a wet kiss to

Boston Technology

(BOST:Nasdaq) this morning, giving that stock a 15% boost.


(WLA:NYSE) might make another flirtatious run with the Arbs. Everyone's perennial pharmaceutical take-over candidate jumped sharply this morning on a

Smith Barney

upgrade. Warner-Lambert's jump contrasts with malaise in the rest of the drug sector. But history dictates at least some prudence. Warner-Lambert is "about to get taken over" more often than the Fed's "about to raise rates."

By Dave Kansas