The Week: Stocks End Up; Oil Slides; Financials Level

A big drop in oil provided nice support for stocks. Oil went from $114 to $121, then all the way back to $114, in two days!

Stocks were drifting lower midday Friday, on very light volume and a lack of energy, but when oil prices started moving down aggressively about 1pm ET, the market stabilized, and a few sectors like airlines and retailers had modest rallies.

Financials also stabilized today, though they are down for the week. The two weakest points -- Fannie/Freddie and Lehman Bros. -- were split, with Fannie Mae up 2 percent but Freddie Mac down 5 percent. Both were up again.

Fannie, which traded as low as $3.53 yesterday, traded over $5.00 today; most of the action is from short-term momentum traders. Lehman was as low as $12.54 yeterday, but almost broke $16 early in the day, until cautious comments from Korea Development Bank -- implying that they are considering other options in addition to buying Lehman -- and a selloff at the close dropped the stock down to $14.40.

One thing to watch out for: the CBOE Volatility Index (the VIX) , a measure of fear in the market, is sitting near the lowest levels since early June. However, futures in the VIX are trading much higher, implying that volatility traders expect are expecting higher volatility in September (i.e., selloff).

This week: Dow down 0.3 percent, S&P down 0.5 percent.

This was a Week of Reversals: techs have underperformed for the first time in a while, with the Nasdaq down 1.6 percent. Small-cap stocks, which had outperformed as the dollar strengthened, also underperformed with the Russell 2000 down 2.0 percent; oil stocks rebounded strongly, with Amex Oil Index up 3.7 percent.

CNBC's Financials in the News:

-American Express , Wells Fargo
(Story: Buffett Says He's Buying AmEx -- OR Wells)


Questions? Comments?