Several factors helped stocks stage a modest rally today:
1) lower oil and commodity prices (including gold and copper);
2) a sense that certain groups--particularly financials--have been oversold.
The last point was the major factor in a modest late day rally. Many traders noted that:
--financials as a group are down 7 percent this month;
--Goldman Sachs is down 9 days in a row (down 9 percent for the month), Lehman is down 16 percent this month, and Morgan Stanley is down 13 percent.
--negative research on brokers continues, with Bank of Americaand Bernstein lowering numbers today on Lehman, Goldman, and Morgan Stanley.
Techs--which many have been hoping would feel the leadership gap--advanced modestly today, with 2 to 3 percent gains in the Big Momentum names like Google, Apple,RIM, and Bidu.