Why do some stocks rally in response to bad news and others fall on good news? For the past month, at least, it has had a lot to do with gambling.

Dozens of stocks have skyrocketed over the past four weeks, despite some pretty dismal earnings, while other firms with much more respectable results have tread water or lost ground. "It's like the Twilight Zone," said Jeffrey Saut, chief investment strategist at Raymond James.

Yet some see this trend as positive, saying the recent stock speculation can be a hallmark of a bull market. "This may be a good thing, because people are becoming more forward-looking," said Ed Peters, chief investment strategist at PanAgora Asset Management. Peters said a bull market, by its very nature, is speculative, as investors anticipate better news in the future and price that in ahead of time. Just how long this current bull market lasts, however, remains to be seen.

One stock that epitomizes the current mood on Wall Street is Cisco ( CSCO) competitor Avaya ( AV). The stock has surged 111% over the last month, making it the biggest gainer in the S&P 500 for the period, even though it recently reported a 15% drop in sales for the fiscal second quarter. Avaya also declined to give guidance on the third quarter, saying economic conditions were too uncertain. Still, its loss was narrower than expected in the first three months of the year.

In contrast, drug giant Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) posted a double-digit rise in first-quarter profit and beat analysts' expectations. It also said it should match analysts' estimates for the full year and raised its quarterly dividend by 17% to 24 cents. And yet, shares have fallen about 2% over the past month.

Now some might say that Johnson & Johnson hasn't declined as much as Avaya in recent years and that Avaya's bounce isn't meaningful when you consider how much the stock has fallen since late 2000. Some also might contend that Avaya's fundamentals are gradually getting better, but whether those improvements warrant such a huge move in the stock price is questionable. Avaya trades at 67 times 2004 earnings, while Johnson & Johnson trades at 24 times trailing earnings.

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