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Stock Pickers’ Market – Rewards and Risks

Tuesday, the DJIA  and S&P 500 rebounded impressively, but it was the Nasdaq Composite and Russell 2000 that stole the show, recouping all of Monday’s loss.    Yesterday,

Tuesday, the DJIA  and S&P 500 rebounded impressively, but it was the Nasdaq Composite and Russell 2000 that stole the show, recouping all of Monday’s loss.

   Yesterday, all four “gapped” at the open, reflecting an urgency to jump on board.

   There was little follow through for the DJIA and S&P 500, but the Nasdaq and Russell 2000 maintained an upbeat tone throughout the day.

    The message here is the Street is reaching out for greater performance and willing to take more risk.

   Appetites have  been whetted by  nearly 5 years of monster gains in the market averages, as the bull market climbed a near vertical wall of worry.

   With those worries mostly a matter of history, the Street is not ready to call it quits.   CONCLUSION:

   The S&P 500 is up 177% and Nasdaq Comp. up 233% since early March 2009 with more to come. But, the big gains remain not in the general market, but in individual stocks.

   This suggests a stock pickers’ market, more  than an ETF market, but with much greater risk.

   The risk of a Q1 correction is still there, as explained below, butthis week’s rebound suggests the burden of proof is now on the bears.  If this is going to happen in January, they have their work cut out for them.


    Q4 earningswill be reported in coming weeks, along with the dreaded changes in broker ratings and estimates for coming quarters.  Expect sharp moves both ways.  

   Expect volatility to pick up as stocks react to earnings surprises and disappointments.

   Selling by investors opting to put gains into 2014 should be easing, but new monies will be put to work by institutions.

   Resistance is DJIA: 16,538 (S&P 500:1,855)

   Support is DJIA: 16,418 (S&P 500: 1,839)

Investor’s first reada daily edge before the open

DJIA: 16,481

S&P 500:    1,848

Nasdaq  Comp.  4,214

Russell 2000: 1,170

Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014   9:20 a.m.



Best Six Months to own stocks:

Over the years the Stock Trader’s Almanac* has expounded on its significant finding that the stock market performs better  between November 1 and May 1 than between May 1 and November 1.

   The Almanac’s  “Best Six” goes back to 1950.  The six months is a snapshot between November and May.  Many major market advances often start before November, but the point made  here is the period between fall and May is where the action is.

 Is this going to be another “BEST six months to own stocks ?

The six months between November 1 and May 1, have consistently outperformed the six months between May 1 and November 1.*

   With a 7.3% rise in the DJIA since October 31, the Street is now wondering if the market is off to yet another “Best Six Months.” Out of the last 25 years, Nov.1 to May 1, have produced 19 up-years, 3 flats and 3 downers. The best years averaged gains of 11.8% with the best up 25.6% (1998 – 1999).

   THE DANGER:  over the last 25 years, there have been 14 corrections ranging between 6% and  16% during this November1  to May1 period. Seven of those started in January, two in December and four in February.


   The following are based on technical analysis only and  are not to be taken as buy or sell recommendations, but as one of many factors that must be considered in the decision process. Comments do not take into consideration earnings reports, or changes in institutional ratings, company guidance. Technical analysis is based on one’s interpretation of  the impact buying and selling have on the price of a stock and is therefore not an exact science. News and events can change an interpretation instantly. 

Apple (AAPL: $557.36) Positive

 Needed a big buyer to reverse  its 12-day  slump. It got that Monday (in a bad market), Tuesday and yesterday, as well. Support: $553

Facebook (FB:$57.60) Positive

Rebounded nicely Tuesday, but ran into a seller yesterday at $58.57 – volume light. Support:$56.50, Resistance: $58.5

IBM (IBM:$187.74)   Positive

Found support at $184 on Tuesday, rebounded yesterday into resistance at $188.65.  Support:186.50.

Pulte Homes (PHM: $19.52)  Positive  (Note: 12% jump mortgage apps reported by MBA.

Friday’s attempt to breakout was reversed by big market drop Monday. Stabilized Tuesday and Wednesday. Of interest here is the 12% jump in  the Mortgage Bankers’ Applications for the week ended Jan. 10. Refis were also up (11%). The average rate for conforming  30-year mortgage ($417,000 or less) fell 6 basis pts. To 4.72 pct. Granted it was one week in a new year, but I haven’t seen any press on this.

First Solar (FSLR:$51.99)  Negative

 No change. Goldman Sachs really skewered this one when it  downgraded it to a sell from  a buy.   Broke support at $51 and found some buyers north of $49, but needs big buyers to turn the corner.  Is up two days in a row. That’s happened twice since its 52-week high  of $65.99 in early November. Resistance is formidable at $52 – $53.

 Nike (NKE:$75.43)   Negative –

Stabilized after Monday’s crunch. Resistance $76.30. Support: $75.30.  Needs big  “buy” from a big firm.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ:$28.84)  Positive

Had a decent day in a lousy market Monday but closed off from

its intraday high Tuesday. Hit a 52-week high ($29.07) yesterday.

Support is now$28.60.

Polaris Inds. (PII:$139.63)  Positive  

Stabilized above $138 Tuesday but ran into a seller yesterday  in the $145 area and gave back all of its gain for the day . That suggests a test of Tuesday’s low of $138.58

Amazon (AMZN: $396.87) Positive

Rebounded Tuesday, but no follow through Wednesday. Must get through resistance at $399 to have a shot at  a new 52-week high $406.89.  Booooring

Pandora Media (P:$35.05) Positive.

Stock has been responding to positive “listener” data news for 2013 year. Tuesday was a rebound day, yesterday a breakout to a new 52-week high of $35.48.

NEW !   NEW !  NEW !  – Technical Analysis ALERT list

The following is a “Technical” alert list, stocks that have indicated an improved technical pattern.  I will not follow up in detail like the stocks above. These are not buys or sells, but simply alerts that their  technical pattern is improving. Normal intraday fluctuations can  offer a lower price than that listed here. Positive patterns can be interrupted by corrections.

   Warning: An improving technical pattern can be reversed instantly by negative commentary from the Street, broker downgrades, etc. These are “snapshots” at a given time. Good timing can target pinpoint lower prices in some cases. Most stocks are technically attractive because they sketched out a positive upbeat pattern. Some will be because they are showing signs of rebounding from a depressed condition. If after additional due diligence you decide to buy any of these stocks, always protect yourself with a stop cell in line with your tolerance for risk.

NOTE: Monday’s market plunge adversely impacted most of the technical attractiveness of the following stocks, but all except Cardtronics (CATM) stabilized or rebounded sharply.  Yesterday, I have noted price levels where I thought these stocks should encounter buying (support).  But the intensity of the weakness in the overall market can take them much lower.  While lower prices can make  a stock more attractive, a decline can be a way station en route to yet lower prices, especially if the overall market is in a tailspin. A break below these support levels can eliminate a stock from this list. These stocks were demonstrating technical strength before Monday’s slump, so they could rebound sharply. So much now depends on what the overall market does.

Align Technologies (ALGN:$62.23)  Listed here (12/23) at $57.03.  Support:$61

Gentex (GNTX: $33.51)   Listed here (12/23) at $32.64. Support: $33.25

Netease (NTES: $79.33)  Listed here (12/23) at $74.51. Reversed after hitting 52-week high $84.35. Support: $78.40

Spirit Airlines (SAVE: $48.30)  Listed here (12/23) at $46.06.  Support: $47.80

Valeant Pharm (VRX: $133.50)Listed here (12/23)  at $112.  Support: $132

Dycom (DY:$28.31)  Listed here (12/23) at $28.05.  Support: $28.10

Cognex (CGNX: $38.25)Listed here (12/23) at $36.09. Support $37.80

Salex Pharm. (SLXP: $95.30)  Listed here (12/23) at $87.61. Support: $95

Natus Medical (BABY:$25.66) Listed here (12/24) at $22.80. Support: $25

Sierra Wireless (SWIR:$22.66) Listed (12/24) at $22.33.  Support:  $22.40

NEW ADDITIONS: (note: Not Buy recommendations, just positive technical patterns requiring additional research.

Cardtronics (CATM: $41.66)  Discontinued. No longer technically attractive. Down on a good market day Tuesday. Has had wild swings in the past, so a rebound is possible. High risk.

RPM Int’l ($43.35)  Listed here (1/13/14) at $43.09. Support: $43

Silicom Ltd (SILC:$47.55)  Listed here (1/13/14) at $46.44.  Support: $47

Bitauto (BITA: $35.18)  Listed here (1/13/14) at  $36.44.  Support: $34.

Avery (AVY: $51.26)  Listed here  (1/13/14) at $50.88.  Support: $51

Alexion Pharm.(ALXN: 137.03) Listed here (1/13/14)  at $135.21.Support: $136



While the number of economic reports is light, there are  several key ones, especially  those for housing.

For detailed analysis of both the U.S. and Foreign economies along with charts, go Also included is an explanation of each indicator. If you want to know when the next Employment report or any other key report will be released that info is also there under “event release date.”


NFIB Small Business Optimism Ix. (7:30) Dec. rose  4 pts. To 93.9 vs 92.5 Nov.

ICSC Goldman Store Sales (7:45) Weather blamed for 1.0 pct. drop in chain store sales – week ended Jan 11.

Retail Sales (8:30) Dec. retail sales up 0.2 pct.

Import/Export Prices (8:30)

Business Inventories (10:00) Nov. +0.4 pct.. Stock to sales ratio: 1.29


Producer Price Ix. (8:30) Dec +0.4 pct. (+1.2% y/y); ex-food and energy +0.3 pct.

Empire State Mfg. Svy  (8:30) Index jumped to 12.5 in Jan. from 2.2 in Dec.

Beige Book (2:00)


Jobless Claims (8:30) Proj: For week 1/11/14  327,000 vs. 330,000 (1/4)

Consumer Price Ix. (8:30) Proj: Dec +0.3 pct  vs. Nov. flat; ex food/engy +0.1 pct.

Philly Fed Svy (10:00) Proj: Jan. 8.7  vs, 7.0 Dec

Housing Mkt. Ix. (10:00) Proj:  Index Jan. 57.5  vs. 58.0 Dec


Housing Starts (8:30) Proj: Dec 0.985 million-unit rate vs. 1.091 mil.-unit rate Nov

Industrial Production (9:15) Proj:Dec + 0.3 pct.

Consumer Sentiment (9:55) Proj: Jan index 83.5 vs. 82.5 Dec.

JOLTS (10:00) – Job Opening Labor Turnover Svy  Proj: Nov. 3.930 million vs. 3.925 mil. Oct.



Dec 26  DJIA 16,357  Year End Opportunities

Dec 27  DJIA 16,479  January 2014 Profit-Taking Will Hit Certain Stocks

Dec 30  DJIA  16,478 Be Prepared to Take Advantage of  5% January Correction

Dec 31  DJIA 16,504  Forecast: Get Ready for a Wild Ride !


Jan 2     DJIA 16,504  A Raging Bull, but Corrections Offer Opportunities

Jan 3     DJIA 16,441  More Downside in the Market ?

Jan 6     DJIA 16,469  Correction or New Up-Leg ?

Jan 7     DJIA 16,425  Market at Key Crossroad

Jan 8     DJIA 16,530  Market at Key Crossroad

Jan 9     DJIA 16,462  Bull/Bear Battle Continues – Toss Up, but…

Jan 10   DJIA 16,444  Stocks: Sharp Run Up, Or Down in January ?

Jan 13   DJIA 16,437 What’s Needed to Trigger a Surge or Slide in Stocks

Jan 14   DJIA  16,237How Ugly Can This Correction Get ?

Jan 15   DJIA  16,373 Correction ? Not So Fast, Says Nasdaq

* InvesTech Research, James Stack, Editor(  – 406/862-7777). This is clearly one of the nation’s best. Get a sample issue and see for yourself.

  George  Brooks

“Investor’s first read – an edge before the open”

[email protected]

The writer of  Investor’s first read, George Brooks,  is not registered as an investment advisor.  Ideas expressed herein are the opinions of the writer, are for informational purposes, and are not to serve as the sole basis for any investment decision. Readers are expected to assume full responsibility for conducting their own research pursuant to investment decisions in keeping with their tolerance for risk. Brooks may buy or sell stocks referred to herein.











if AI were the California Gold Rush, then NVIDIA would be the biggest seller of picks and shovels.