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Halftime Report: Are The Bulls Back?

Despite all the predictions and anxiety about the jobs number, the highly anticipated data released Friday morning had only a modest impact on stocks.

"I get the sense there was kind of mixed feelings about unemployment," says Terry Morris of National Penn Investors Trust Company. "At the end of the day, you've got something to yawn at when, in fact, it was anticipated to be the biggest announcement of the week."

The results showed employers cut fewer-than-expected jobs in August but that the unemployment rate hit a 26-year high.

So, how should you position yourself now?

Instant Insights with the Fast Money traders

Investors stepped into this market and bid shares higher, explains Fast Money trader Joe Terranova. I think if we settle above 1015 on the S&P it’s a bullish signal into next week.

A lot of the move on Friday stems from a short squeeze, reveals Steve Grasso of Stuart Frankel. I think the S&P could go to 1018. It seems that nobody wants to be short going into the week-end.

For me the trade is education stocks, adds Patty Edwards of Storehouse. Many people are eligible for extended unemployment benefits if they go back to school and I’d play that with ITT Educational Services or Devry .

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GOLD TO BREAK THROUGH $1,000

Gold continued to flirt with the psychologically important $1,000 an ounce level on Friday, after a mix of inflation anxiety combined with a technical break renewed investor interest.

What’s the trade?

I think gold has room to run and I’m a buyer on the dips, counsels Steve Grasso.

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TECH LEADING THE TAPE HIGHER TODAY

Semiconductor stocks rose after Intel's chief executive said in an interview with the Financial Times that aging PC's and Microsoft's launch of Windows 7 will prompt companies to start spending on computers next year.

Also handheld devices continue to be a winning trade with RIM and Nokia charging higher. Earlier in the week analysts at Credit Suisse said "We believe smart phones represent one of the most attractive secular trends in technology."

What’s the tech trade?

I’d play the PC replacement cycle with Intel, counsels Scott Nations of NationShares. And I’m seeing huge call buying in Sprint , he adds. That could be a speculative play on the smartphones.

I think the best way to play chips is with the SMH , adds Joe Terranova. Or look at Qualcomm.

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TAKE YOUR POSTION: APPLE EVENT NEXT WEEK

Apple's media extravaganza next week is being greeted with unusual calm, with few surprises expected.

However, in a note to investors earlier in the week, Piper Jaffray Senior Research Analyst Gene Munster speculated that Steve Jobs would take the stage and announce a new lineup of iPods with built-in cameras.

What’s the trade?

I’m a buyer of Apple ahead of the event, reveals Patty Edwards. In fact, I’d buy a little now and a little later, largely because consumers are still buying gadgets.

I think Apple goes above $200, adds Joe Terranova.

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TAKE YOUR POSITION: HEALTHCARE STOCKS

President Barack Obama will seek to boost flagging support for healthcare reform next week with a rare speech to Congress after a rocky summer raised questions about his leadership and legislative program.

Obama, who has staked significant political capital on a broad plan to overhaul the $2.5 trillion healthcare industry, will make his speech to a joint session of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on September 9th.

What’s the trade?

In this space forget the HMOs and stick with companies that will still be needed despite what happens politically, counsels Patty Edwards. I think that’s labs such as Lab Corp. and Quest .

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BIG MOVES LOWER IN VIX

Wall Street favorite gauge of fear, the volatility index dropped on Friday after closing at its highest level since July earlier in the week.

What’s it mean?

It’s not uncommon to see the Vix lower heading into a holiday week-end, explains Jon Najarian. But the 9-day moving average is higher, so I’d look for the Vix to move higher on Tuesday.

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FAST & FURIOUS: THE KEY QUESTIONS INTO THE CLOSE

BUY CASINOS? Considering Bernstein raised price targets on Las Vegas Sands and Wynn, should you get in?

I’d step to the sidelines, counsels Joe Terranova.

BUY GOLD MINERS? Theminers retreated on Friday after rallying all week; should you buy the dip?

Yes, I’m a buyer on the dips, says Steve Grasso.

BUY GAP? Shares of Gap traded lower after hitting a 52-week high; is this a buying opportunity?

Yes, I do think it’s a buying opportunity, counsels Patty Edwards.

BUY SFD?Smithfield Foods traded higher ahead of its earnings release Tuesday; should you get in?

No, I think the company has margin problems, says Scott Nations.


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