Stocks can stink sometimes
What a lousy trading day we had on Thursday. All of the major indices were gnawed at for 2% chunks as the minutes dragged toward the merciful closing bell.

Investors were spooked by several things. The Commerce Department reported that new home sales fell a steep 6.6% for the month of June. Those who have homes are also having a hard time paying their mortgages, going by the subprime meltdown. Adding fuel to the bummer of a bonfire -- literally -- is the recent surge in oil prices.

It didn't rain on every parade, though. A lot of stocks had healthy gains on the same day that the sky seemed to be falling for investors. Strong earnings report can be a pretty feisty salmon fighting to get upstream.

  • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares rose 6% higher on strong earnings out of the company that now runs the country's third-largest music store in iTunes.
  • (NASDAQ:BIDU) investors were treated to a 14% spurt as China's leading search engine smashed through already lofty expectations.
  • Even Select Comfort (NASDAQ:SCSS) posted a 5% gain and the air-chamber mattress specialist actually missed Wall Street's profit target.

Knowing that may not have you feeling any better if you didn't own any of the stocks, but let that marinate in inspirational juices the next time that you fear that the market is crashing.

Maybe I should open a psychic hotline
XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:XMSR) announced that CEO Hugh Panero would be leaving the company next month. Whether or not the company completes its merger with Sirius (NASDAQ:SIRI), there were signs that his tenure was coming to an end.

When you're conspicuously absent from press releases, letting the company's chairman be the corporate mouthpiece, it's not a good sign.

The move also completes the final chapter in the "4 CEOs to Go in 2007" article that I wrote back in December. All four chieftains are now gone from their respective companies. I never thought I'd get 'em all. Still, I can already see myself on the receiving end of fruit baskets from nervous CEOs hoping to avoid being included in my "4 CEOs to Go in 2008" column.

Don't waste your time, though. That would be a sign of desperation and give me even greater reason to include your name.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Select Comfort is a Hidden Gems recommendation. Baidu is a selection in the Rule Breakers growth stock newsletter service. Subscribe to either service and take advantage of a 30-day money-back offer.

Longtime Fool contributorRick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. Rick does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, save for Select Comfort. The Fool has a disclosure policy.