Not Even the Dow Could Beat These Stocks

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 286 points, or 2.4%, as the probability increased that not only would Helicopter Ben Bernanke make it rain with yet another round of quantitative easing, but his European peers might be willing to try some stimulus as well to bail out their depressed economies and struggling financial systems. While I see all this eventually ending badly, some stocks were going even higher yesterday, strapping on rocket packs and turning in double-digit percent increases.

But resist the urge to high-five everyone in the cubicles next to you. Smart investors won't celebrate until they know why their stock surged, because without a fundamental basis for the bounce, these stocks can quickly make the return trip down.

Motion sickness
There seemed to be little company-specific news to move the stock of motion-control specialist InvenSense (NAS: INVN) higher, but one of the chip maker's biggest customers, Nintendo, was highlighting a new gaming console the other day and that may have elicited hope that it's going to get growing again.

InvenSense's chips integrate gyroscopic, sensor, and other technologies into a single "motion processing" chip. Its gyroscopes are also available for phones from HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung, and they're included in Google's Ice Cream Sandwich Android design, as well as appearing in Apple's iPad and iPhone.

A month ago it was slapped down because Qualcomm (NAS: QCOM) was facing a shortage of its popular Snapdragon chips, rumored to be because Samsung -- another big customer -- was snapping them up.

The chip maker has seen short-sellers piling into its stock, with more than a quarter of its float sold short. That kind of pressure could have led to short-sellers covering their positions and fueling a squeeze that contributed to the 15% gain the stock enjoyed yesterday. While that might normally make me leery of buying into a rally, InvenSense has a huge runway before it, and even after yesterday's bounce, shares are still trading for almost half of what they were just two months ago.

I previously rated InvenSense on CAPS to outperform the market indexes after the drubbing it took last month. While it continued to drop, I agree with CAPS All-Star boxxer55 that it has compelling long-term prospects and "revenue and earnings growth projections are tremendous even before the recent new product announcements."

You can add InvenSense to the Fool's personalized stock-tracking service then tell me in the comments section below or on the InvenSense CAPS page if you think it's "game on" in the motion control market.

Building a future
While I believe InvenSense has a bright future, I'm still having trouble seeing the way forward for USG (NYS: USG) , which jumped more than 10% yesterday. As one of the largest suppliers of gypsum board to the construction industry, there appear to be few bright spots shining for it.

Last Friday's labor report, which showed just 69,000 jobs created and unemployment rising to 8.2%, crushed the hopes of homebuilders like PulteGroup (NYS: PHM) , though the sector was buoyed yesterday by a surprisingly positive earnings report from Hovnanian (NYS: HOV) that showed its fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year net contract growth. It at least is looking for a real recovery this time.

But we've seen the industry grasp at these straws before only to come up empty. After all, Fannie Mae just released a survey indicating consumers are taking a wait-and-see approach to buying a house. The mortgage giant said buyers aren't expecting major improvement for the next year, so we could be resting on a temporary plateau.

USG has struggled since the industry began its long trip to the bottom and any hopeful sign is enough to give investors a reason to bid up the stock. I just don't see the gains holding for any appreciable length of time.

The CAPS community is more hopeful than I am about its prospects, though, as more than 1,850 members have weighed in and 92% of them see it beating Wall Street. Add your opinion to the USG CAPS page if you think housing has hit bottom at last, then add it to your watchlist to see if the wallboard maker can erect an effective comeback.

Going into orbit
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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of Motorola Solutions and Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of InvenSense, Apple, and Qualcomm. The Fool owns shares of Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Nintendo, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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