The same nervousness about the fiscal cliff that has pervaded trading for weeks reared its ugly head today, and unlike yesterday, there was no late-day recovery to moderate the losses. The Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) closed down 158 points, with most of that loss coming in the last half-hour of trading as few traders felt comfortable holding stocks into the weekend. All 30 Dow stocks fell, although American Express came closest with just a 0.05% loss.
But outside the Dow, a number of stocks managed to post some significant gains. Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) gained almost 4%, extending its three-day recovery after short-seller Bill Ackman sent the stock plunging last week with a presentation that accused the company of being a pyramid scheme. Even with today's gains, Herbalife shares remain down by more than a third in just the past two weeks.
LeapFrog Entertainment (UNKNOWN:LF.DL) jumped more than 4%. The maker of educational toys has been riding high on the back of its LeapPad 2 tablet, and even though the company has seen some competition from Toys R Us, its strong reputation and first-mover status give it fundamental strength that more than justifies its quite reasonable earnings multiple.
Yongye International (NASDAQ: YONG) soared more than 15% on news that it received a loan to fund a planned deal to go private. With the Chinese fertilizer maker under consistent scrutiny from skeptics, an investor group including the company's chairman and CEO as well as Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) offered to buy out shareholders for $6.60 per share back in October. With this financing, the buyout is one step closer to happening, although shares are still trading more than 13% below the offer price.
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