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The battle exists solely between the shorts who feel they have to cover because we bounced here last, and the shorts who say, forget about it, we are going to Nasdaq 1000 and Dow 7200, and until we get there we are digging in our heels and staying short. That's right: The longs hardly even play a role anymore, because when the market goes down they are receiving redemptions, not new capital. The longs don't have standing. The shorts who want to cover are seen in the futures market in the morning, sneakily buying up futures to protect themselves against the ghosts of yesteryear, notably a rousing call from Cisco ( CSCO) talking about how Asia has recovered or how they are taking big share from Nortel ( NT) or how the financial companies are tiptoeing back in. Whatever happens, you know there will be some gibberish that makes someone feel better. The nature of the Cisco calls, if you haven't figured it out yet, is to make someone feel better. That's all. So someone will. I can virtually write the reports now, without even knowing the quarter. This neophyte upgrades on a "worst is over" thesis; that rookie touts Cisco as "light at the end of the tunnel." It will be a repulsive display of trust where there should be none and will get the more nervous and less disciplined of the shorts buying the Nasdaq 100 Trust ( QQQ) -- a strategy that Suze Orman once pushed at $100, but seems more right at $20, a year and a half later! Meanwhile, the more grizzled of the shorts will sit there and laugh at the newer hedge funds who seem to cover whenever the rallies begin and then go long because at last the nightmare is over, then just buy to sell later on into the second "give-up" stage of the bear spike. At least that's how they see it. They look at a KLA-Tencor ( KLAC) or a Cymer ( CYMI) and think, hmm, good, higher prices for better shorts. They've been around. They know basis is everything. To me, these are all battlegrounds. I am looking for stocks like Philip Morris ( MO) and Philadelphia Suburban ( PSC). I don't need to be caught in the enfilading fire of the shorts and the covering shorts. I don't want to be calling a bottom in tech because Cisco CEO John Chambers is bullish. He's been bullish for a huge drop in his stock. The only time he's been a worthwhile forecaster in the last two years was when he predicted that 50% of the Nasdaq 100 would go belly-up. Nice call! So let the talking heads on TV speak in hushed tones about the importance of Cisco. I know what's really important: Whether one of the hedge funds that has made fortunes shorting this market thinks it's time to bring in the shorts. Until then, count me out of the Nazz game.