The late-session snapback rally on Tuesday brought stocks back from the depths of Monday's losses, but many observers still say that we're not out of the woods yet.
What's stalking investors in the dark woods is a bear market. Small-cap stocks on Monday were down 25 percent from the Russell 2000's most recent high of 869 on May 2nd, but Tuesday's buying spree pushed the Russell 2000 back to 'just' a 20 percent decline - the threshold for a bear market.
Still, the latest pronouncement from Federal Reserve policymakers brought the buyers out of the woods and off the sidelines, given the availability of many bargain prices for stocks.
On Tuesday, the two best-known indicators of small-cap stock performance both rebounded sharply from Monday's historical drops, and had a better day than the large-cap indexes. The Russell 2000 Index was up 6.98 percent, after suffering its worst one-day decline. The Standard & Poor's Small Cap 600 finished the day 6.26 percent higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average clawed back nearly 4 percent of Monday's losses; the Nasdaq Stock Market regained 5.3 percent; and the S&P 500 posted a 4.74 percent improvement.
Tuesday's Top Performing Small Cap Stocks (Data provided by Google Finance)
The Phoenix Cos. ( PNX ) : The life insurance and annuity vendor's stock bounced back from a 21.8 percent sell-off on Monday. Shares are around where they were trading before last week's second-quarter earnings announcement, which showed improvements over the first quarter but significantly lower results than the year before. Raymond James analysts also raised their rating to market perform from underperform.
Anacor Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ANAC) : The developer of drugs to treat "neglected diseases" in humans and other maladies that strike pets will report second-quarter results on Thursday.
FairPoint Communication (Nasdaq: FRP) : The provider of communication services to customers in 18 states cut its second-quarter loss to half of what it was a year ago, but revenue faded as it continued to lose more traditional landline customers. The company emerged from bankruptcy in January.
Northern Oil & Gas (Amex: NOG) : The oil and gas exploration company reported its 14th consecutive quarter of increased production. Earnings more than tripled on hedging gains and rising oil and gas prices.
MAKO Surgical (Nasdaq: MAKO) : The maker of medical devices, including robotic surgical instruments used in knee and hip replacements, posted an 81 percent second-quarter improvement in revenue, but a larger net loss than the year before. Still, shares are up 90 percent year-to-date.
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