The other day I talked about my growing optimism toward Apple Inc. (NASDAQ/AAPL) under the stewardship of CEO Tim Cook.
Now, I’ve noticed that a similar situation appears to be unfolding at Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ/MSFT), which is currently under the leadership of CEO Satya Nadella. Nadella is transforming the former Wall Street darling into an enterprise-driven company that’s focused on capitalizing on new technologies, rather than simply on operating systems, as my stock analysis indicates. Former CEO Steve Ballmer failed to grasp the shift away from PCs and into the mobile sphere; something that Nadella is fully aware of and it’s paying off for shareholders, as the stock is up nearly 50% from its 52-week low, according to my stock analysis.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
In the past, I have criticized the inability of Microsoft to adapt to the changes that were occurring in technology, as the company instead focused on its operating systems. The company’s strategic shift to the Internet and mobile spaces makes a whole lot of sense and will make Microsoft relevant to investors again, as my stock analysis suggests.
However, my stock analysis also indicates that there are still some operating issues for Microsoft. The company is struggling with its acquisition of the cell phone business formerly owned by Nokia Corporation (NYSE/NOK). When you have to compete against the likes of the “iPhone” and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.’s phones running on Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ/GOOG) “Android” operating system, it will not be an easy undertaking, as my stock analysis suggests.
The same goes for the “Surface” tablet. This is a great piece of technology, but it simply … Read More
Apple (NASDAQ/AAPL) may have finally come up with the killer apps that could vault the company ahead in the global race against Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ/GOOG) “Android” phones. Now, Apple could gain mobile supremacy, based on my stock analysis.
In an unexpected move, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, inked a valuable partnership with International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE/IBM) to co-develop apps that will focus on the lucrative enterprise segment.
Based on my stock analysis, the deal is gigantic for Apple, as the company has had issues breaking into and advancing in the enterprise market, where BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ/BBRY) continues to dominate.
As my stock analysis indicates, the venture with IBM makes a whole lot of sense, as IBM is a trusted leader in developing enterprise solutions, and in addition, IBM has extremely strong alliances around the world with top global companies. This means that Apple, with its new enterprise solutions, could accelerate in this space, especially with corporate clients making Apple their mobile and applications provider. Of course, the need to provide a more secure platform, such as BlackBerry’s, is likely the focus of the venture with IBM, as my stock analysis suggests.
Now, that’s not to say that Apple will eventually beat BlackBerry in yet another segment, but it will open up opportunities. My stock analysis is that it could take years for the venture to deliver tangible enterprise solutions, so BlackBerry does have some time to counter and try to strengthen its position under CEO John Chen, who is offering some hope for suffering BlackBerry investors.
For Apple, the enterprise apps will increase the revenue stream from this segment, which … Read More
The market for natural foods is getting tighter as major supermarket and big-box chains, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE/WMT), The Kroger Co. (NYSE/KR), and Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ/COST) invade the territory that had been dominated for years by market leader Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ/WFM).
While you cannot ignore the moves by Wal-Mart and Costco, let me be clear: shoppers who generally buy their goods at Whole Foods or some of the smaller chains will not necessarily shift their shopping preference and suddenly go to Wal-Mart. What will happen is that pricing will likely become more competitive with the added rivals entering into the mix.
On the small-cap end, you may want to take a look at a company like The Fresh Market, Inc. (NASDAQ/TFM, $31.74, Market Cap: $1.54 billion), which is looking attractive after declining to a 52-week low of $28.60 on May 22. The stock could decline further, but I like the risk-to-reward investment opportunity in the stock market.
The Fresh Market isn’t new; it’s been around since 1982. The specialty food grocery chain operates a network of approximately 157 stores in 26 states as of May 22, 2014. There are also plans to open another 23 to 24 new stores.
As I said, the stock is an investment opportunity following the recent selling, down 41.65% over the past 52 weeks versus a 17.95% advance by the S&P 500.
The company is growing its sales. Estimates are calling for sales to expand 15.2% year-over-year to $1.7 billion in FY15, followed by 14.8% to $2.0 billion in FY16, according to Thomson Financial. Earnings are predicted to come in … Read More
Small-cap stocks made a sweet rebound in June after the Russell 2000 previously declined below both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages. The index actually had been down 10% earlier in the year, prior to staging a nice rally, based on my technical analysis.
While the risk with the higher-beta growth and technology stocks continues to be higher than the S&P 500, the weakness has provided a decent trading investment opportunity for the more aggressive speculators looking for above-average risk-to-reward trades.
In my view, there is no better area as an investment opportunity for speculative trades than technology due to the immense upside; but at the same time, the associated risk is also higher due to the downside.
If you are searching for a beaten-down small-cap technology investment opportunity that could return some quick money, take a look at a stock like Extreme Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ/EXTR), which currently sits at a stock price around $4.27 and a market cap of $412 million. The stock traded as high as $8.14 in January, but it has lost nearly half of its value since then, so I see an investment opportunity here.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
Some see Extreme Networks as a stay-away stock, but I view it as a contrarian investment opportunity at a time when the stock has been beaten up and tossed around by the stock market. Now, I’m not saying it’s easy money, but I like the trade risk to reward here; there’s more upside potential than downside risk, which makes it a good investment opportunity.
Extreme Networks develops network infrastructure equipment and services that cater to enterprises, data … Read More
The stock market is looking higher. The DOW and the S&P 500 closed up for the fifth straight month as we enter into the second half of what has largely been a mixed and cautious year.
For growth investors, the good news is that small-cap stocks came back in June with a 5.15% advance and are easily leading the broader market. Technology also fared well with the NASDAQ up 3.9% in June. Blue chips and large-caps trailed the growth side. In the first half, the S&P 500 leads with a 6.07% gain followed by the 5.54% advance in the NASDAQ.
And while stocks are edging higher towards new records, we are also seeing positive gains in the critical jobs numbers. This is essential for the economy and consumer confidence.
We saw strong non-farm payroll jobs numbers for June last Thursday with the creation of 288,000 new jobs, which easily beat the consensus 215,000 estimate and the 244,000 jobs in May. Better yet, the unemployment rate also fell to 6.1%, the lowest level in nearly six years.
The growth in the jobs numbers will gain more traction in the stock market when the reading can surpass the 300,000 level, which could trigger heightened optimism.
What the higher jobs numbers mean is more business for the jobs placement firms, from the everyday jobs to management and executive positions.
A contrarian and speculative play on the jobs numbers recovery is Monster Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE/MWW), which currently sits around $6.85 per share with a market cap of $623 million.
Monster Worldwide runs the widely known job search web site Monster.com and was the first … Read More
In the late 1990s, the demand and market for initial public offerings (IPOs) was sizzling with the promise of staggering one-day gains for those lucky enough to get in on the ground floor with share subscriptions. We saw millions made in one day for the chosen ones—the rich.
But that was then. The IPO market, while still quite popular, is nowhere near where it was back then. Investors are now pickier on the issue.
Recall King Digital Entertainment plc (NYSE/KING), the maker of Candy Crush Saga. In my view, this has to be one of the most hyped-up IPOs in recent times. Debuting at $20.50 on March 26, the stock is currently trading at $17.00, but even at this price, I think the valuation is crazy, with a market cap of $5.42 billion. This company doesn’t even make money and it’s vulnerable to weakness for those looking for an aggressive short selling opportunity.
In the social media space, the biggest and most highly anticipated IPO following the debut of Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ/FB) was social media play Twitter, Inc. (NYSE//TWTR). Yet unlike Facebook, Twitter doesn’t currently have any major revenue streams and is still looking for ways to make money. While Twitter is way down from its high of $74.00, I still wouldn’t be a buyer at the current $39.00. The company doesn’t deserve its market cap of $23.0 billion. Until Twitter can provide a valid revenue model instead of its annoying ads placed in the middle of tweets, I would not buy. A decline to below $30.00, however, could provide an aggressive trade.
What’s going to be hot this year … Read More
The recent selling in small-cap stocks has provided numerous investment opportunities to accumulate on price weakness, albeit the stock market could see more weakness.
A high-potential region that I have discussed in the past is Israel, which has turned into the technology incubator of the Middle East and is an investment opportunity.
I have been following Israeli companies for years, and in that time, I have come across numerous high-growth and rewarding technology and healthcare companies that make the country an excellent investment opportunity.
Israel ranks third as far as foreign companies on the NASDAQ, trailing only China and Canada.
What makes Israeli companies intriguing as an investment opportunity is the strong trust from this region. You actually never hear about financial irregularities out of Israel, which makes the country a solid investment opportunity.
A small-cap technology Israeli company that I’d watch as an investment opportunity for the speculative investor is EZchip Semiconductor Ltd. (NASDAQ/EZCH), which has a share price of $25.44 and a market capitalization of $745 million.
The company is a fabless semiconductor company, meaning it doesn’t manufacture anything; rather, it simply develops the chip and produces it via a third party. EZchip designs ethernet network processors for networking equipment companies, such as carriers, along with cloud, data center, and enterprise network equipment. The company will soon be launching its newest and most powerful network processors that will drive revenues higher.
The risk with EZchip has been with the mounting concerns that some of its clients are developing their own in-house chips. So far, it has not been a factor, but it could be if EZchip began to … Read More
Since its debut in the early 90s, the Internet sector has become probably the top discovery and investment opportunity since the computer and microchip.
My four stock pillars of the Internet sector, which I feel will be the top stocks going forward for years to come, include The Priceline Group Inc. (NASDAQ/PCLN), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ/FB), Google Inc. (NASDAQ/GOOG), and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ/AMZN). All four stocks are tops in their respective areas and offer an investment opportunity at this time.
I have talked about Google, Facebook, and Priceline as an investment opportunity in the past, so today I’m going to talk about the investment opportunity that Amazon.com has to offer. This stock has made millionaires out of many investors in the stock market. Think back to May 16, 1997, when Amazon.com closed at $20.75. I kind of wish I had taken the investment opportunity then and put my $40,000 in Amazon.com stock instead of my SUV. That money would now be worth around $600,000, with the stock now trading above $330.00 a share.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
But there is always an investment opportunity surfacing in the stock market. You just need to be able to recognize it. This is what makes investing and trading such a dynamic and intriguing process.
As far as Amazon.com, despite the superlative rise in the price, I still feel the stock has plenty of upside potential going forward as an investment opportunity; albeit, as in the case of my other three top Internet stocks, the easy money has already been made.
Now, while Amazon.com looks expensive, trading at 103 times (X) its estimated 2015 earnings … Read More
Generally speaking, my go-to trading strategy involves looking for a contrarian investment opportunity, a stock that is out of favor with the stock market but may be deserving of a chance.
I mean, why always buy a stock when everyone else wants to? It’s akin to buying something that is priced higher because it’s popular, but the market demand is greater than the supply.
In contrarian investing, you wait for the supply to exceed demand to take advantage of the investment opportunity.
The company should have a solid foundation, business strategy, and competent leadership. This is why I generally only buy blue chip stocks when they plummet, because I realize it’s only an aberration and the stock will bounce back as an investment opportunity.
Now having said that, the associated risk of contrarian investments is also higher than average, as the company may fail to turn things around or the turnaround could take years to pan out, which would mean your capital is not being effectively used.
If you are mindful of the risk, then contrarian stocks could return some tidy profits as an investment opportunity.
One such company that I have been following ever since its initial debut years ago is DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (NASDAQ/DWA), the maker of such animated film classics as Shrek, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda.
The 3D (three-dimensional) rage helped to drive DreamWorks to stardom and become a Wall Street sensation in early 2010, when the stock was trading hands for more than $42.00 a share. That was then, but the stock has since been trading erratically and is at the mid-$20.00 level, trying … Read More
We are a few weeks away from the second-quarter earnings season and again, there’s a lot of hope and optimism that corporate America will be able to deliver the goods. But we also said that for the first-quarter earnings season—and prior to that, we said the same for the fourth-quarter earnings season.
Before, what we saw instead was sluggish revenue growth along with companies having an easier time on the earnings front, as Wall Street does what it usually does—lowering earnings estimates to meet the changing situation, making it easier for companies to meet expectations. In the first-quarter earnings season, it was about the strain placed on companies by the bitter winter. That’s fair, but there really are no more excuses for this quarter.
The nation’s jobs numbers are looking better after the country managed to recover all of the 8.7 million or so jobs lost since the start of the Great Recession. If the economy can continue to generate jobs growth at more than 200,000 new jobs monthly, then we would expect consumer spending and confidence levels to improve. Yet having said this, there’s clearly still some trepidation out there, especially with the decline in wealth levels of the middle class and below.
The rich are getting richer, but even as a group, they cannot spend the economy to stronger growth without the help of the middle class. We need to see income levels expand across middle-class America in order for companies to have any hope of expanding their revenues better than what we are seeing now. This makes sense to me: spread the wealth and the economic renewal … Read More
If you’ve been keeping an eye on your screens and portfolio holdings (or if you’ve just taken a look), you are probably aware of the current selling capitulation towards small-cap stocks and the technology sector.
The bloodletting on Wall Street has been unabated and, in my view, it has been overdone. I’m not ready to jump in yet, but I would be on additional weakness in the stock market.
In a period of selling capitulation in the stock market, there is minimal regard for the quality of the stock. Sellers rush to the exits and dump everything along the way. I witnessed this on the stock markets in 2000 and again in 2008.
Yes, there is clearly a technical red flag on the growth stock market indices like the Russell 2000 and the NASDAQ. The Russell 2000 broke below its 200-day moving average (MA) last Tuesday, but managed to rally a bit on Thursday. If the buying support emerging continues, we could see the index rally back to its 50-day moving average; albeit, the risk is there in the stock market.
Just the fact that the technology group, which comprises many high-momentum Internet and social media stocks, is down more than 20% from its highs is worrisome. But at the same time, this isn’t really a surprise, given the advances made in 2013 and the previous years in the stock market.
Even with the stock market correction, we continue to see ridiculous valuations with the likes of such stocks as Yelp Inc. (NYSE/YELP), Groupon, Inc. (NASDAQ/GRPN), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ/FB), and Twitter, Inc. (NYSE/TWTR), meaning the bloodletting has not stopped, so … Read More
When I’m looking at the screens each day, I notice there’s some selling capitulation occurring that makes me think back to 2000, when the technology stocks imploded.
Now, while I doubt we are seeing a repeat of 14 years ago, you have to wonder about the mad dash to the exits for many of the high-momentum technology stocks along with small-cap stocks. The small-caps are under threat, with the Russell 2000 down nearly eight percent in 2014 so far and close to five percent in April alone. Watch as the index is just above its 200-day moving average (MA).
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
As I said last week, the fact that the NASDAQ and Russell 2000 have failed to recover their respective 50-day MAs is a red flag, based on my technical analysis. Moreover, the presence of a possible bearish head-and-shoulders formation on the NASDAQ chart is concerning for technology stocks.
The lack of any leadership from technology stocks now, which was so prevalent in 2013, has also hurt the broader stock market.
On the charts, only the S&P 500 is positive in 2014, with a slight advance. All of the key stock indices were negative in April—a month that has historically been positive.
To make matters worse, we are heading into traditionally the worst six-month period for the stock market, from May to October, so it’s not going to get easier anytime soon.
The fact that numerous technology stocks have produced some strong earnings results is encouraging, but the lack of strong follow-through buying is a concern and suggests some exhaustion towards technology stocks.
We also have the uncertainty … Read More
While I continue to favor the stock market as the top investment vehicle long-term, I am concerned about the pending rise in interest rates and bond yields; of course, higher bond yields translate into a viable option for investors to stash their capital aside from the stock market.
The Federal Reserve has begun the process that will reduce the easy money it has been injecting into the stock market and economy. So far, $30.0 billion in bond purchases each month has been cut, and I expect the remaining $55.0 billion to be eliminated by the year-end.
The end result will be a steady rise in bond yields along the way, which will cause some rotation of capital from the equities market to bonds. We have already seen a big jump in the 10-year bond yield, from about 1.7% in May 2013 to 2.8% as of April 2014. The yields will continue to rise as the Fed reduces its quantitative easing over the year. A move to above the three-percent threshold level will clearly trigger some anxiety among stock investors
The consensus on the Street is for bond yields to rise. The recent auction of $29.0 billion of seven-year notes by the U.S. Department of the Treasury last Thursday yielded 7.317%.
Simply look at the chart below of the 10-Year US Treasury Yield Index from 1990 to 2014.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
The first thing you should notice is the rising yields. The chart from 2012 onward reflects the rise in interest rates measured by the bellwether 10-year U.S. Treasury that is surging higher. The yields on U.S. Treasuries have almost … Read More
In a recent editorial, I discussed the potential red flags surfacing on the chart of the technology-laden NASDAQ. While I’m cautious, especially after its multiple failures to hold at 4,000, my view is that the technology sector stocks are the most vulnerable at this time, given their recent advance.
In the months leading up to early 2000, I recall the explosive buying in the technology sector was based on assumptions and speculations, rather than concrete, solid analysis.
While the recent buying in the technology sector—especially high-momentum technology stocks—was overdone, it was really nowhere close to what we witnessed back in 1999–2000, prior to the stock market imploding. I recall the surge of technology penny stocks trading under $1.00 to over $10.00, and in some cases to over $25.00, which was absolutely ridiculous at the time.
For some of you who were trading during that time, there was a wireless play called United Broadband Systems that was promoted as the next generation of wireless technology. At that time, technology and wireless were extremely hot and speculative. For one of my speculative market letters at that time, I advised readers to buy United Broadband at $0.25 as a speculative gamble. Heck, there was minimal financial history, but what I liked was the company’s story and that was good enough for me! Remember: the company was based on speculation, not on fundamentals, but we were able to turn an impressive profit.
When I see what is happening in the technology sector today, I am reminded of 14 years ago, but today’s technology sector is in no way as euphoric or crazy as it … Read More
The stock market staged a minor rally last week, but don’t get too excited yet; the buying support was largely triggered by a technically oversold market, rather than solid fundamentals or a fresh catalyst.
What I can say is that investors need to be careful with the high-beta stocks that are extremely volatile at this time and vulnerable to downside selling.
Just because momentum surfaces, it doesn’t mean the risk is dissipating. It’s simply an oversold bounce that could continue or falter again.
The fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 recovered their 50-day moving averages (MAs) last Tuesday is positive, but it doesn’t mean the worst is over.
I see the NASDAQ and Russell 2000 were still down more than seven percent as of last Wednesday and below their respective 50-day MAs. In fact, the Russell 2000 is within reach of testing support at its 200-day MA. This time around, we could see a bigger stock market correction, based on my technical analysis.
Until we see some sustained calm return, there could be continued selling pressure in the stock market, especially with the smaller high-beta stocks and large-cap momentum plays.
The most critical point to understand is that you need to preserve your capital base. The reality is that avoiding a loss is just as good as making profits. Imagine letting a losing trade run and before you realize it, the position is down 20%, 30%, or more.
This is especially true with the small-cap stocks. Making up ground following a major downside move is not easy. For instance, say you have a $10.00 stock and … Read More
The chase for high-beta stocks appears to be fading at this juncture, as we are seeing a shift in the risk profile to lower-beta and more conservative large-cap stocks in the stock market.
After the staggering gains made by technology and small-cap stocks in 2013, it’s time to take a prudent approach to the stock market and refrain from chasing risk at this time.
We are seeing a move to consumer staples stocks that tend to fare reasonably well in both up and down stock markets.
While I favor small-cap stocks in an up stock market, the current tension in the stock market makes it dangerous to pursue risk. This is a time you need to be in defensive stocks.
The big banks, consumer staples, and industrial sectors look decent for those wanting to continue to invest at this time. Momentum and growth should be avoided for now.
If you are looking for a singular stock market play that offers diversity and a defensive approach, take a look at time-tested General Electric Company (NYSE/GE), which has offered investors steady returns in the majority of periods since its beginnings in 1892.
General Electric (GE) is precisely what you want in this type of market. It’s extremely well diversified across many industries and geographical areas around the world.
The company prides itself on producing steady results to shareholders. Its management strategy is to hire CEOs for 20-year time spans that allow for stability.
GE is the poster child for consistency in corporate America.
The company isn’t going to make you rich in a short period of time in the stock market, but … Read More
The stock market appears to be getting somewhat top-heavy. Scanning through my screens, I am quite amazed to find that the majority of S&P 500 stocks are well above their respective 200-day moving averages, which makes opportunities much more difficult to come by for the average investor who might look at their portfolio once a week or month.
But the buying in the stock market has still largely been with the technology, growth, and small-cap stocks, due to the higher potential to make quick money versus investing in blue chips or industrial companies.
In 2013, we saw staggering upside moves in some of the momentum stocks, such as Google Inc. (NASDAQ/GOOG), priceline.com Incorporated (NASDAQ/PCLN), Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ/NFLX), and Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE/CMG). These are the top players in their respective areas.
But that was then. Now, we are seeing a renewed interest in some of the safer names in the stock market, which is why the Dow Jones and S&P 500 outperformed in March.
My view is that while there will still be money to be made in some of the more speculative and momentum plays in the stock market, we could also see a pause for investors to digest the gains made.
Cyclical stocks, or those companies that swing with the economy, are still worth a look, but should the economic renewal stall and jobs creation dry up, it might be time to look elsewhere. Here I’m talking about those sectors such as auto, furniture, retail, travel, and restaurants.
Everyone is spending when all is good and people are making money on the stock market, but spending will … Read More
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen confirmed what we’ve been espousing in these pages for the last couple of years—that the so-called recovery feels an awful lot like a recession for most Americans.
Addressing a crowd in Chicago, the head of the Federal Reserve said the U.S. jobs market is still underperforming and will continue to need the help of an artificially low interest rate environment “for some time.”
Investors were, as you can imagine, afraid the Federal Reserve was going to raise short-term rates. A rate hike would elevate borrowing costs and pull the rug out from under stock prices.
But instead, the Federal Reserve said it was committed to keeping interest rates low in an effort to stimulate borrowing, spending, and economic growth. The artificially low interest rate environment is a welcome sign for Wall Street—which essentially ended the first quarter of the year where it began.
By committing to keeping interest rates low, the Federal Reserve is ensuring a steady flow of money into the stock market…which cannot help but raise the already-bloated indices higher. The S&P 500 continues to trade near record-highs, as does the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Even the NASDAQ’s all-time high is, all things considered, within striking distance.
With the current bull market now in its fifth year—all is well in the U.S.A.! That is, if you’re one of the fortunate few to even realize we’re in a bull market. There are far too many weak underlying indicators to suggest we’re on a stable—let alone sustainable—economic footing.
For instance, the U.S. unemployment rate has improved from 10% in 2009 to 6.7% today. On the … Read More
Over the weekend, I met with a friend of mine. He’s been a stock market investor for some time now, and over the last few years—especially since 2012 and 2013—he has done phenomenally well when it comes to his portfolio performance.
While talking to him about markets, he said something very interesting. His exact words were, “If you are investing in the stock market using fundamental or technical analysis these days, you are most likely going to lose money—or your returns will be dismal. The basic principles of investing hardly apply these days.”
“Hold on; what?” I said.
He explained: “Between 2009 and 2011, you could have found some opportunities in the stock market, and there was still value available. After the summer of 2012, it all changed. The stock market is now dictated by financial engineering.”
He went on to say, “Don’t just take what I say; see for yourself as well. Look at the stock performance of the companies that are buying back their shares. Look at the companies that are increasing their dividends. You will see their stock value has risen significantly despite very minute changes in their fundamentals in the last couple of years. If their chart was forming a bearish pattern and you traded accordingly, you probably incurred a loss.”
He is right!
Since the summer of 2012, the stock market has risen significantly. If you look at key stock indices like the S&P 500, its return since June 2012 to the end of 2013 was almost 36%. This means that if you invested $1,000 in the stock market on June 1, 2012 and closed … Read More
Investors are asking one question these days: should you be buying emerging market stocks or will they decline further?
In the long run, I am bullish on the emerging markets. The reason for this is very simple: the emerging market economies have a significant amount of room to grow. For example, in some emerging countries, a massive portion of the population still lives without electricity; there are not enough homes; roads aren’t there to sustain the population; industries aren’t developed; and the list goes on…
Understanding what’s happening in emerging market stocks now is very important for those who are looking to invest. When the Federal Reserve started to implement its easy monetary policies, investors rushed to the emerging markets; they could get better returns there. Now that the Federal Reserve is threatening the prospects of easy money, investors are worried and selling.
Since we started to hear speculations that the Federal Reserve would taper its quantitative easing, investors have been rushing out of the emerging markets. No matter where you look in the emerging markets, you will see key stock indices facing a sell-off.
Look at the chart of Turkey’s stock market below. It’s down more than 30% since June of 2013.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
Turkey’s stock market is just one example; other emerging markets stocks are sliding lower as well. For example, China’s stock market is down more than 12% since June of last year. The Brazilian stock market is down about 20% for the same period.
According to my analysis, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see the stocks in emerging markets slide even lower. You … Read More
Thanks to a number of different factors, airline sector stocks have been on a tear. And thanks to an inverse relationship with the price of oil, strengthening consumer sentiment, the expected increase in business travel, and the (eventual) arrival of spring and summer, the airline sector looks poised for further gains.
Oil prices experienced sharp gains between 2007 and mid-2008, subsequently tanking in step with the stock market and bottoming in early 2009. Since 2010, oil prices have risen in the shadows of the sputtering U.S. economy—neither soaring nor really pulling back.
That said, oil futures slid last week immediately after weekly data came out that showed U.S. crude oil supplies were up more than forecast. Analysts had expected crude oil inventories to climb from 1.4 million barrels in the last week of February to 2.1 million barrels for the week ended March 7. Instead, oil inventories surged to 6.2 million barrels. (Source: “Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending March 7, 2014,” U.S. Energy Information Administration web site, March 12, 2014.)
Oil prices are also down after the U.S. said it would hold its first test sale of crude oil from its emergency stockpile since 1990. While the government insists its modest offering of 5.0 million barrels of crude is a result of the dramatic increase in domestic crude oil production…others think it might be a subtle nod to Russia. The markets don’t seem to care either way. Oil prices are down 6.5% since the beginning of March, trading near $98.00 per barrel.
Now granted, the price of crude oil will rebound. That said, the airline sector … Read More
The optimism on the key stock indices is increasing as the fundamentals that suggest the rally will go on continue to deteriorate. Investors beware; this disparity doesn’t end well. The possible upside gains look to be very small, and the downside risks are increasing.
To me, it feels like we are back in 2007 all over again—when key stock indices were making fresh highs and fundamentals across the board were tormented. Stock advisors were telling their clients to buy more. Irrationality was exuberant. I remember one celebrity stock advisor saying something along the lines of, “I know it doesn’t make sense buying overvalued stocks, but don’t worry; they are going to go higher.”
We see something similar now.
Investors are buying stocks. According to the data from Investment Company Institute, in January, investors purchased $23.9 billion worth of long-term stock mutual funds. This was the highest amount since January of 2013. (Source: “Historical Flow Data,” Investment Company Institute web site, last accessed March 7, 2014.)
As key stock indices are hitting their all-time highs, investor sentiment is turning bullish. According to the American Association of Individual Investors’ (AAII) Investor Sentiment Survey—which measures investors’ sentiment, be it bullish, bearish, or neutral—in the latest survey, which was on March 5, more than 40% of investors were bullish on the key stock indices. Bears were only 26.6%. (Source: “AAII Investor Sentiment Survey,” American Association of Individual Investors web site, last accessed March 7, 2014.)
This isn’t the only reason why 2014 looks like 2007.
Consider this: more and more companies are being listed on the key stock indices. According to Dealogic—a platform for … Read More
Since 2009, the U.S. stock market has become one of the hottest plays. Investors have poured in money and have reaped the rewards. In the last five years, many stocks have doubled or more. Looking at all this, one must really question if the stock market can go at this pace for a long period of time.
If you look back, you will notice that whenever there has been too much bullish sentiment, the stock market usually comes down. As it stands, we see stock advisors calling for 2014 to be a year similar to 2013 when the stock market increased significantly.
I don’t agree with the mainstream opinion. I have said this before in these pages: the stock market will most likely not show as robust a performance this year as it did last year—and it may even fall as we head further into the year.
For the stock market to continue to increase, you want to see momentum on the side of the buyers. When I look at the charts, I see nothing but indecision and exhaustion. It appears investors are struggling to take the prices higher. Look at the chart below. I will use the sell-off we saw in January and early February as an example.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
One of the indicators of a healthy stock market that I look at is how many days it takes to get back to or break above the market’s previous highs after a sell-off. If the market moves slowly, then you can judge it as not as strong. If it goes back up quickly, then the … Read More
One of the investment strategies discussed in the mainstream these days is to add exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to your portfolio. It is said that when you do just that, your portfolio has lower risks and you are well diversified.
For investors who are not as advanced, when it comes to investing; this investment strategy makes sense. For those who are advanced, they shouldn’t fall for this investment strategy; they may be better off going the other way—buying individual stocks instead.
Let me explain…
Between March of 2009—when the bull market run started—until February of this year, if you bought the most famous ETF for your portfolio—that is SPDR S&P 500 (NYSEArca/SPY), which tracks the S&P 500—your returns would be more than 185%. Plus, there would be dividends. Including dividends, your returns would be just over 200%.
But, saying the very least, you could have done better.
If instead of buying the SPY at the time when markets were presenting investors with an opportunity of a lifetime you bought a company from the S&P 500 like General Electric Company (NYSE/GE), your profits would be upwards of 300%. This is including the dividends you would have received.
With all this said, let me make one thing very clear; I am not opposed to adding ETFs to a portfolio. Rather, I believe investors can get better portfolio returns if they are confident enough in making their investment decisions and buying individual companies instead of sticking to indexed investing.
In 2009, stock markets were very uncertain. With companies like GE, there were fears that it may go bankrupt. Buying at that time wouldn’t have … Read More
Nothing helps create volatility on the stock market like the threat of war. And just a few short days after the close of the bloated $52.0-billion behemoth in Sochi, Russia has embraced its ne’er-do-well Olympic spirit and invaded the Ukraine. Or, according to Putin, “pro-Russian soldiers” have simply moved into the Ukraine to defend Russian interests.
With a growing threat of war/retaliation on the horizon, investors have been pulling their money from riskier assets, like stocks—sending global financial markets reeling. Crude oil and gold prices, on the other hand, have been on the rebound.
While it seems utterly crass to deconstruct the potential for war down to economics, the fact remains—a stand-off or sanctions could both disrupt gas supplies to the European Union and send U.S. crude oil prices higher.
For starters, any issues in the Ukraine could disrupt the flow of natural gas supplies from Russia to the European Union. That’s because the European Union gets about a third of its crude oil and natural gas supply (and a quarter of its coal) from Russia, mostly piped through the Ukraine. Russia, the world’s biggest crude oil producer, generated 10.9 million barrels a day in 2013 and currently exports close to 5.5 million barrels of crude oil per day.
Since the end of the Cold War, no one really worried about relying on Russia for crude oil and coal. All of that has changed. While the notion of war is remote, it’s still on the table. Nations far removed from Russia and Ukraine might push for economic sanctions, just as the U.S. has done, threatening visa bans, asset freezes, and … Read More
If the stock market is only as strong as the companies that go into making up the index and their earnings are contingent upon consumer spending, then the durable goods numbers don’t really look all that great.
New orders for manufactured durable goods slipped by one percent, or $2.2 billion, to $225.0 billion—the third decrease in the last four months. Analysts had forecasted a January drop of 0.7%. The one-percent drop in January comes on the heels of a 5.3% decrease in December. (Source: “Advance Report on Durable Goods Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories and Orders January 2014,” United States Census Bureau web site, February 27, 2014.)
In January, shipments of manufactured durable goods, which have been down for two consecutive months, decreased $0.9 billion, or 0.4%, to $232.3 billion. This followed a 1.8% decrease in December.
Inventories—the number of products sitting on a shelf—increased by 0.3% ($1.0 billion) in January to $389.1 billion. This represents the highest level ever recorded and follows a 0.9% increase in December.
Non-defense orders for capital goods in January slipped by 3.9% ($3.2 billion) to $78.3 billion. Shipments decreased by one percent, or $0.8 billion, to $75.1 billion, while unfilled orders increased by 0.5%, or $3.2 billion, to $644.7 billion. Inventories increased $0.5 billion, or 0.3%, to $177.5 billion.
Even the less volatile core durable goods numbers fail to really impress. Orders for long-lasting U.S. durable manufactured goods, minus the more volatile transportation industry, climbed 1.1% in January, the biggest jump since May. This sort of balances out the higher-than-expected 1.9% drop in December. Analysts had forecasted a 0.1% decline in January core durable goods.
Still, … Read More
There is a lot of money trading the stock market each day, and this is especially true with the momentum stocks that are making many traders rich.
While anyone can trade momentum stocks, to make the real big money, you need to be trading big positions on these momentum stocks and be willing to assume the risk that the trade could go the other way. The key to trading momentum stocks is to make sure you are closely monitoring the price action and the volume on the bid side, especially. A major upward push in bids could foreshadow a pending upward move in the stock. The same can be said for rising volume on the ask side that could suggest traders are exiting the stock.
While there are numerous momentum stocks, the following are examples of momentum stocks that I believe offer the best opportunities as these companies are also leaders in their areas.
Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ/FB) has been one of the top performers and momentum stocks since bottoming out in 2013. The social media company, with more than one billion subscribers, is managing to drive up its mobile advertising business and monetize its enormous user base. Facebook also made waves last week after the company announced it would be paying a whopping $19.0 billion in stock for four-year-old mobile messaging company WhatsApp. The company was clearly overpriced, but given that the stock price of Facebook has also risen extraordinarily, the $19.0-billion price tag doesn’t seem so bad.
At the low end of Facebook’s stock price at around $17.00 a share, the deal would have been valued at around $4.75 … Read More