Despite the lack of pop in the averages, there is a lot of strength in various areas of the market -- granted most of it is analyst upgrade-related. Let's take a look at what I am seeing this afternoon.

Bullish:

Analyst Upgrades: Helping shares of Goldman Sachs ( GS), Research In Motion ( RIMM), Electronic Arts ( ERTS), Amdocs ( DOX), Starwood Hotels ( HOT), KB Home ( KBH), KLA Tencor ( KLAC), Western Union ( WU), Varian Semiconductor ( VSEA), Ilumina ( ILMN) and Discovery Communications ( DISCA).

Gold: SPDR Gold Shares ( GLD) is climbing back toward $90. Despite being cut to a hold at Citigroup ( C), RandGold Resources ( GOLD) is now up $2. Agnico-Eagle Mines ( AEM) is also up.

Commodity Plays: Oversold bounce in names like Nucor ( NUE), Potash ( POT) and Walter Industries ( WLT).

Financials: Seeing some key strength in JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and Blackrock ( BLK).

Wynn Resorts ( WYNN): Shares are up nearly 10% today as are other casino plays.

Google ( GOOG): Shares continuing some momentum, up another $10 following yesterday's announcement of company pursuing own operating system.

Bearish:

Widely Held Plays: Names like AT&T ( T), Wal-Mart ( WMT), McDonalds ( MCD) and Verizon ( VZ) are lagging.

Treasuries ( TLT): No surprise that bonds are giving something back today. Favorable jobless claims data helped bring interest rates higher.

AIG ( AIG): Down from $24 to $11 in a week after reverse stock split. Pretty soon it will be time for another reverse split. Awful situation, but short-sellers are smiling.

The market needs to give us some direction here. I would not be too aggressive in either direction, but would prefer to wait for a clearer risk/reward opportunity. Today's close will likely give us a clearer picture of how things will shape up as we head into the end of the week.

Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system.
At the time of publication, the author had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Tom Reese and Paul Rubillo are senior editors of Dividend.com. Visit Dividend.com for more dividend stock ratings, picks, news, and analysis for long-term and income-seeking investors.

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