Rays of hope through market gloom

By David Russell,

Shutterstock photo

Stocks had another big drop yesterday, but there were rays of hope as some companies leapt on good news and others were targeted by buyers at the lows.

CNO Financial, for instance, reported a 62 percent surge in operating income and better-than-expected revenue. The insurance stock, which has seen sporadic call buying, gapped higher and at one point was up 12 percent. It ended the session with an 8.18 percent gain at $6.88.

Herbalife, which distributes weight-loss and health products through a network of independent sellers, popped 10 percent after earnings crushed estimates. The stock attracted noteworthy put selling last month after dropping sharply, suggesting that it had a base of loyal investors.

Yesterday's surge in HLF came three sessions after related company Weight Watchers exploded higher, a move preceded this time by call buying.

Jewelry retailer Zale also ripped after a strong holiday season resulted in a positive earnings report. The stock closed up by about 6 percent, but at one point had gained triple that amount before pulling back. Chico's FAS also reported strong sales and leapt by 9 percent to a nine-month high.

The moves were noteworthy given how negative the broader market has been. Not only did the Dow Jones Industrial Average record its second consecutive triple-digit loss, but the number of losing stocks on the New York Stock Exchange exceeded winners by a net 2,770--the worst number since Aug. 11 when the DJIA cratered 2.49 percent.

Amid the pullback, some investors took the opportunity to buy favored names, especially in the fertilizer and chemical sectors.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright © 2010 OptionMonster® Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This article appears in: Investing Options
Referenced Stocks: CHS , CNO , HLF , ZLC

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