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The bulls carved out a victory in's RealMoney Barometer survey this week.

It was the first time we've conducted the poll on the flagship site, and it resulted in a much larger vote count than usual.

Of the 1,604 votes, the bulls got 592, or 37%. Bears took 508 (32%), while neutral sentiment was atypically high at 31%, or 504 votes.

In the sectors, precious metals was tapped as the most likely to rise this week. Homebuilding was seen as most likely to fall. Integrated oil also polled well as a bullish sector, with pharmaceuticals strongly seen as bearish.

The major stock averages were surging on Monday, with the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

up almost 90 points to 12,076. The

Nasdaq Composite

was higher by 29 points, at 2360, and the

S&P 500

was up 12 points to 1376.

A slew of mergers was bringing in buyers.

Four Seasons


received a $3 billion takeover offer from a group that includes controlling shareholder Isadore Sharp,


TheStreet Recommends

founder Bill Gates, and Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed.

Another acquisition will see

Abbott Labs

(ABT) - Get Abbott Laboratories Report


Kos Pharmaceuticals


for $78 a share in a $3.7 billion deal.

In other stock news, shares of

XM Satellite Radio


rose 17% on solid third-quarter numbers. The Washington, D.C., company is still mired in red ink, but its adjusted net loss improved. The company also said it would hit its goal of positive cash flow in the current quarter, even as it again lowered its subscriber goal.

Crude oil futures were trading higher on Monday, up $1.21, to $60.35 a barrel.

Stocks struggled last week amid soft economic data. On Friday,

the Dow

closed down 32.5 points to 11,986.04 -- its sixth straight decline and its first time ending below 12,000 since Oct. 18.

The S&P 500 fell 3.04 points to 1364.30, and the Nasdaq slipped 3.23 points to 2330.79.

For the week, the Dow lost 104 points, the S&P 500 shed 13 points, and the Nasdaq gave back 20 points.

Below are the complete poll results.

David Morrow is editor-in-chief of In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, though he owns stock in He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He appreciates your feedback;

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