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5 Earnings Trades for a Highly Correlated Market

Stocks in this article: CBRL ULTA LRN BBY DMND PIR

MINNEAPOLIS ( Stockpickr) -- The S&P 500 is within 50 points of the lows reached in early August 2011, and investors can expect the market to test these lows in the next week or two. Given that we are still a few weeks away from third-quarter earnings, there is a dearth of news that could provide support to stocks.

The correlation among the S&P's 250 largest stocks is at 81%, vs. the 30% historical average -- the highest it's been since 1987. Stocks are moving in lock step, irrespective of individual fundamentals, which indicates a high degree of fear and inefficiency in the market.

Related: 5 Rocket Stocks to Buy This Week

What can break the spell of high correlation? Last week, several stocks releasing earnings results moved independently of the market in the moments of trading after news was released -- moments that provide a small window of opportunity during which fundamentals actually matter. Traders getting a good read on where the numbers will come in relation to Wall Street estimates can make big money trading stocks during this time of high correlation.

Here are my thoughts on five earnings trades for a highly correlated market.

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