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Two Ways To Play: Call It a Comeback?


Strengthen your portfolio in good times and bad.

Stocks made gains for the first time in 3 days and oil bounced back from a 16-month low.

The S&P 500 finished the day up 11 points, or 1.26%, to close at 908. The index was down as much as 41 points earlier in the session, which marked its lowest level since April 2003. The Dow Jones Industrials Average also recovered, finishing the day up 134 points, or 1.6%, to 1599.

Energy-related stocks played a big part in today's performance. Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) both rallied over 8% ahead of OPEC's emergency meeting tomorrow. Crude oil did start the day off poorly, touching $65.90 (the lowest since June 13, 2007), but it recovered by midday and closed at $68.28 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Tech stocks were still heavy due in part to Baidu (BIDU). The search engine company fell 14%, the most in 2 years, after Citigroup (C) cut its target price by 28%. Other tech stocks down on the day were Research In Motion (RIMM) and Garmin (GRMN), dropping 5% and 6% respectively. In all, the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 11 points to close at 1603.

For another perspective, see today's Five Things You Need to Know: Sell Certainty, Buy Doubt... But Not Yet.

From the Bull Pen: One thing bulls and bears can agree on is that this has been an extremely tough tape. But one can consider drug stocks like Amgen (AMGN), which posted an impressive quarter. If lucky, bulls might be able to catch it near the $52 area.

From the Bear Cave: We mentioned Panera Bread (PNRA) today as a possible downside play. Bears may wonder if the stock is pinned to the $35 strike, but today's 9% loss is reason to take some off the table.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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