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You won't believe what retail traders are buying

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

The small investor, generally speaking, is pretty risk adverse.

Bellwethers such as Apple and Exxon Mobil tend to be the names that retail traders, as a group, buy the most when they are bullish the market.

Similar to what happened with American Express after it lost the Costco credit card deal earlier this year, they also will seek out value in big brand names when they get hit on negative headlines.

But last month, they were going for the gold in a little-known stock thrust into the news after a damning report on its products, widows and orphans be damned.