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SAN FRANCISCO -- There's just no pleasing some people.

To recall, the big fear heading into this week was that the market would suffer a "final" conflagration after burning down profits for the days and weeks leading up to (and very much including)

last Friday. But with everyone on high alert for the end of the world, stocks -- of course -- confounded those concerns as major averages posted huge gains on both

Monday and


The comeback stalled

Wednesday, but few complaints were registered.

Thursday, however, some expressed

disappointment as the

Nasdaq Composite

stumbled from its initial advance, trading as low as 3599.68 before closing off 62.60, or 1.7%, at 3643.81.

The Nasdaq's comeback was just an "oversold bounce" and the gains early in the week had overreached their usefulness, some said Thursday. Tech earnings this week were good -- but not great -- the cynics complained, predicting that the Comp will have to come back down for the heralded "retest" of the lows hit Monday morning -- around 3227.

All that may yet prove to be the case. But not because of what happened -- or didn't happen -- today. Don't forget (as if), the markets are closed for Good Friday, so it's not shocking that there was a bit of a flight to the perceived safety of blue-chip stocks. While momentum favorites such as

Efficient Networks


suffered, the


rose 169.

"It's a lack of liquidity overall -- a lot of people are going home early," said Rob Cohen, co-head of listen trading at

Credit Suisse First Boston

. "I wouldn't say all the damage done last week has been fixed -- the wounds are still very fresh. But it's just a slow, sloppy day that you don't want to draw many conclusions from."

I couldn't agree more.

Buy What? Now

So before heading off into the sunset of the blessedly long weekend, here are a few thoughts from John Maack, director of equities at

Crabbe Huson Group


The Portland, Ore.-based money management firm has about $1.4 billion in assets, and proudly follows a "contrarian" investment style.

"We tend to be opportunistic," searching for stocks that have "already absorbed bad news" and which thus offer "good protection on the downside," Maack said.

There's a huge list of stocks that have absorbed "bad news" (and some body blows, too) but the one that most immediately comes to mind is

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Free Report

, which -- of course -- got

devastated yesterday.

But Bristol-Myers is not on Maack's "buy" list, if only because he believes the big pharmaceuticals will be "lighting rods" in the coming election because of the rising cost of prescription drugs. He prefers generic drug makers such as

Watson Pharmaceuticals



Barr Laboratories


. Crabbe Huson is long both.

What Maack has been buying -- beginning last Friday and early this week -- are tech stocks that got "overdone" in the selloff, including




Commerce One





. He also bought biotech giant




Healtheon was essentially flat for the week while Biogen rose 5% and Ariba by 11.3%. The standout of the group was Commerce One, which soared 67% for the week, capped by a 14.3% gain Thursday after posting better-than-expected

quarterly results .

"We're pretty happy with our holdings," Maack said, as the week came to a close. "We're letting stories develop and companies achieve the benchmarks we've set."

In other words, not doing much of anything, which sounds like a fine plan.

Enjoy the weekend. Happy holidays.

Aaron L. Task writes daily for In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at