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Surprise: Above-Average Trading Volume on Up Day

Tuesday, 9 Aug 2011 | 12:05 PM ET

We're seeing something today that we haven't seen in a long time: above-average volume on an up day.

With stocks up across the board, big ETFs like the Spyder , Nasdaq 100 and Financials are all doing north of half their daily volume just after 11am ET.

Don't get your expectations too high. At this run rate, we're not going to do 8-10 billion shares in total volume in NYSE stocks, like we have recently. But we will do well north of 5 billion, still better than the roughly 3.8 billion on a typical day.

We're also seeing a flurry of upgrades, though I think "flurry" is the right term; I wouldn't call it an avalanche. Here's a few:

1) Goldman Sachs upgrades Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific

2) Jeffries upgrades Merck

3) Atlantic Equities upgraded Chubb and Travelers to Overweight, noting they are defensive stocks, "among the few beneficiaries of a weaker economy as it slows loss cost trends." noting that a slower economy reduces activity levels and inflation, both of which helps loss trends.

4) Susquehanna upgrades Marriott as "concerns have been discounted into the current valuation"

5) BTIG upgrades Sprint Nextel to Neutral from Sell on valuation.

Another sign that a bottom might be near: corporate buyback announcements. Today would have been a good to make the announcement, but haven't seen it.

Also look for announcements of insider buying...too early for that perhaps...no sign in August so far.

Counterpoint:

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  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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