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August 1, 2012  Wed 7:19 AM CT

SPX: SEE CHART GET CHAIN FIND STRATEGIES
U.S. equity futures are higher ahead of the Fed meeting announcement this afternoon.

S&P 500 futures are up 3.20 points, or 0.22 percent, to 1377.60 at the time of this writing. The Nasdaq 100 futures are higher by 12.55 points, or 0.46 percent, to 2648.75.

European and Asian indexes are less decisive than their U.S. counterparts. The U.K. FTSE 100 is leading the region with a 0.85 percent gain, but the German DAX lower is off 0.15 percent. Asian indexes closed mixed, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng adding 0.12 percent while Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.61 percent.

Commodity prices are getting a boost, as crude-oil futures are up 0.34 percent to 88.37. Spot gold prices are slightly higher by 0.11 percent to 1515.40, but copper is down 0.47 percent to 3.4015 after the 3.41 technical level failed in early morning trading.

Currency markets are largely unchanged ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee announcement at 2:15 p.m. ET, though the euro/dollar is positive by 0.03 percent to 1.2317. U.S. dollar futures are off 0.02 percent to 82.695 after falling as low as 82.54 this morning.

In stock-specific news, Allstate is up about 3.75 percent in pre-market trading after beating second-quarter estimates yesterday evening.

DreamWorks Animation is down more than 7.5 percent after second-quarter results missed analysts estimates last night.

Shares of Apple are higher in the pre-market by about 0.6 percent, or nearly $4 on speculation about new product developments and a possible stock split.
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Sweet Spot Exceptions

As discussed last week, when using the Stock Replacement Strategy to replace a stock position to trade direction, we want to use an option that has very similar characteristics to the stock. We talked about using the deep in-the-money, 80 to 85 delta option that is similar in the Greeks and has relatively little extrinsic value which tends to work against us in stock directional trading.

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