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Stock Market Today: Dow Wobbles Higher Into the Weekend

Kyle Woodley, Senior Investing Editor, Kiplinger.com

A day after the market's worst loss since March's volatility-riddled dips, investors were subjected to a nauseating few hours of trading that saw stocks flip between gains and losses before finally settling higher.

Wall Street appears to be weighing just how much of the rally off the March lows has been justified by slowly improving economic data, especially amid growing COVID-19 case figures in states such as Texas and Arizona.

Among the day's more notable moves? Adobe (ADBE, +4.9%) shot higher after reporting record quarterly revenue on the back of a work-from-home surge in subscription demand. Tesla (TSLA, -3.9%) continued its retreat from a peak above $1,000 per share after Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley both downgraded the stock on valuation concerns, among other worries.

The Dow closed Friday with a 1.9% gain, led by Boeing (BA, +11.5%). The S&P 500 closed 1.3% higher to 3,041, the Nasdaq finished with a 1.0% improvement to 9,588, and the small-cap Russell 2000 improved by 2.0% to 1,383.

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"The market was set up for a period of consolidation, and this economic recovery has a long and choppy road ahead," Canaccord Genuity equity strategist Tony Dwyer told clients in a recent note.

Indeed, the U.S. is fighting a pandemic, and it's uncear who's winning. Trade relations with China are shaky again. The 2020 presidential election is just months away. And in the very short term, a light earnings calendar will give investors limited insight into corporate America's direction.

Still, Dwyer points out that "when the market is getting hit, it is important to remember the macro factors that have caused the move off the low remain in place. The Fed is literally printing money for the foreseeable future, a vaccine that could allow a more aggressive economic reopening may be nearby, and the economy should continue to inflect off the low."

Investors looking to smooth out turbulence for now can remain long via low-volatility funds or use dips to buy high-quality retirement stocks at discount prices.

But positioning your portfolio for success also means steering clear of traps and weeding out weaker holdings. We've recently highlighted five stocks that remain highly vulnerable - especially in the event that the broader market takes another short-term spill. Investors should check their portfolios for each of these stocks, and learn more about their growing bear cases.

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Copyright 2020 The Kiplinger Washington Editors