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Two Ways To Play: Market Huffs, Puffs, Blows Gains Down


Strengthen your portfolio in good times and bad.

Bloomberg reports US stocks today plunged the most since the 1987 crash, taking out commodity-related securities and even so-called defensive retail names like Wal-Mart (WMT) and Costco (COST), which both lost 8%.

The S&P 500 dropped 90 points, or 9%, to 907. The Dow Industrials fell 733 points, or 7.87%, to 8577. Today's performance wiped out almost all of the October 13th gains, when stocks rallied the most in almost 80 years.

Notable decliners include Morgan Stanley (MS) -16%, Citigroup (C) -13% and Bank of America (BAC) -10%.

In the energy sector, Exxon-Mobil (XOM) dropped 14%, while Chevron (CVX) slid 12.5%.

As for commodities themselves, crude oil fell below $75 a barrel for the first time in over a year and gold closed up $11 to 847.65 per ounce.

From the Bull Pen: Today's performance reminds me of Professor Jeff Macke's quote, "Cash and fetal." But those looking for a risk fix can consider the natural gas ETF (UNG). It performed relatively well against the broader market. Sell stops can be set in the $27.80-28 range.

From the Bear Cave: It may not be particularly wise to be pressing shorts at this point in time -- especially with expiration Friday looming -- but bears can consider downside positions in the SPY on rallies to above the 104 level.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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