This column was originally published on RealMoney on March 9 at 12:02 p.m. EST. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com readers.

It's time for another "Lightning Round" of quick thoughts and offhand remarks about the day's hottest topics. I'll also pass along a few observations about the current market and answer some reader requests.

First, a quick note. This will be my last column until March 20, because I'm headed to the East Coast for a long-awaited vacation. While in Manhattan, I'll be visiting the American Stock Exchange right in the middle of triple-witching week. It just doesn't get any better than that.


Mr. Market: The major indices are still grinding through sideways patterns, despite anything you've heard to the contrary. It's driving me crazy to get drowned in bull swagger on each uptick and then dumped in bear bluster on each downtick within this go-nowhere ticker tape.

Why doesn't everybody, including myself, just shut up for a while and let the market show its hand? Maybe this is a topping pattern and we're all doomed. But it might also be a continuation pattern, with new highs just around the corner. In either case, let's lower the noise level and not see every minor move as a market ultimatum.

The NYSE IPO: I believe NYSE Group ( NYX) will keep going up from here. Just look at the huge rallies on the Nasdaq ( NDAQ) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange ( CME) in the last year or two. Also, the cynic in me says the slick-suited boys of Wall Street will take care of business and not let this particular enterprise fall on its face.

Rising Treasury yields: Did you really believe the hype late last year about interest rates peaking or coming back down? One look at the calendar at that time revealed the true motivation for the sudden Fed cheerleading: It was time to book end-of-year profits, and the only way to manipulate the tape was to suck the public back into the market.

So what do rising yields really tell us about the future? They say the economic cycle is getting long in the tooth, the commodity rally is finally taking its toll, and profit growth isn't keeping up with the cost of borrowing money. In other words, we could be stuck in the middle of a deep recession by this time next year.

Hedge fund managers: Notice the connection between the daytrading gunslingers of the late '90s and current crop of hedge fund managers? That's right, they're exactly the same people wearing more expensive clothes. You can thank them for a manic market in which green bars trigger instant euphoria, while red bars start immediate panics.

And what about the big question on your mind: Do these folks actually book solid returns as a group? No way, no how. For many of them, playing with OPM (other people's money) is like stealing the keys to dad's new Ferrari so they can drive it head first into a brick wall.

A hot sector that's getting hotter: Gaming stocks have woken up big-time this week, led by powerful rallies in Wynn Resorts ( WYNN) and Penn National Gaming ( PENN). These two companies cover a spectrum of gambling activities, because one focuses on huge destination resorts while the other concentrates on small-town casinos and racetracks.

You might not recall that gaming was one of the few sectors that did well in the last bear market. For unknown reasons, the general public finds a way to hit the gaming tables even when personal funds are limited because of tough economic times. I don't understand the attraction because I don't gamble, but folks tell me it's a lot like playing the markets.

The Great Rotation into tech stocks: This big lie is becoming an urban legend. Whenever the Nasdaq 100 stops falling on its face for a day or two, the usual suspects jump out of the woodwork to proclaim capital rotation into tech blue-chips. Then we're flooded with waves of happy-talk on Microsoft ( MSFT), Dell ( DELL) and Cisco ( CSCO).

Admittedly, Cisco is getting its act together, but that says nothing about tech stocks in general. Just how many times does the obvious need to be stated? It isn't the 1990s anymore, and market lightning never strikes the same place twice. And once bubbles are broken, they're broken for good.

The Witch, times three: Triple-witching options expiration starts today, with the rollover of index futures contracts to the June forward month. Look back at this quarterly event and see how the market generally pulls against prevailing sentiment until options are fully unwound on expiration Friday, which comes March 17 this time around.

It isn't too hard to figure out what will happen during this triple-witching period. Just ask yourself how you feel after the three-day selloff. That sense of confusion and distrust is likely to put a floor under the market through the entire period. It could even trigger a decent rally.

P.S. from TheStreet.com Editor-in-Chief, Dave Morrow:
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Alan Farley is a professional trader and author of The Master Swing Trader. Farley also runs a Web site called HardRightEdge.com, an online resource for trading education, technical analysis and short-term investment strategies. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Farley appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email. Also, click here to sign up for Farley's premium subscription product The Daily Swing Trade brought to you exclusively by TheStreet.com.

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