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After a couple of strong weeks, the bears took control of the market this week and stocks moved downward for the most part. GDP growth in the second quarter was revised downward, a reading of manufacturing in Philadelphia declined, and riots in Europe over austerity measures showed just how deep the problems are there. These factors outweighed growing consumer confidence this week, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) fell 1% as the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) declined 1.3% in the last week of the third quarter. But there were a few stocks that moved higher this week.
Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) jumped 1.6% this week as housing data improved. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed that the top 10 markets saw housing prices rise 1.5% in July and the top 20 experienced a 1.6% increase. An improved housing market is crucial for the economy, but it is even more important for a home improvement retailer like Home Depot.
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) was a beneficiary of a general "risk off" trade, because its end markets are relatively stable and it pays a 3.5% dividend, and the stock rose 1.3% this week. Investors are starting to realize that the patent cliff everyone worried about in the pharmaceutical business won't be the end of the world and there's some value left in these companies.
Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO ) was the beneficiary of improved sentiment from analysts this week, and the stock rose 1%. The company's management held meet-and-greets with analysts and many came away with upgrades or increased price targets. The stock trades at only 10.7 times forward earnings, and with a 3.5% dividend, the company's opportunities in networking start to look even more attractive to investors.
Markets moved lower this week, but there are two things that will drive stocks over the next two months. Earnings season is about to begin, and the presidential election could change the landscape in Washington DC. We'll be covering earnings closely, and in anticipation of the election we've identified a few stocks that could skyrocket. Find out what they are in our free report by clicking here.