Tag Archives: Financial Stocks

Stocks to Focus for Tuesday – April 21, 2009

I expected some pause or a moderate decline in averages following Friday’s option expiration …. . but, what happened was a  brutal Monday at the market.  Sellers dominated and crushed stocks and handed major averages worst percent loss in more than a month. All 10 major sectors in the S&P 500 suffered sharp losses.  Financial sector was the worst performer with 11.4% decline.  As I noted last night, there’s still uncertainty about the health of banking sector and what kind of a role the government would play.  Day to day news events dictate the sector performance.  Be vigilant for news events and be agile in navigating the markets during the next couple of weeks. 

For the day, Dow fell 290 points  or 3.6 %, to 7842.   S&P 500 lost 37 points or 4.3% and closed at 832, and the Nasdaq fell by 65 points or 3.9% , to 1608.  Crude futures fell $4.45 to $45.88 a barrel, while gold rose $19.60 to $887.50 an ounce.

In my opinion, nothing has changed with the banks from last week or a week before to this week.  The numbers that BAC announced are not that bad for the markets to move that negatively.  It is the negative perception that led to profit taking and intense selling all day today!

I’ll not have new picks for Tuesday.  However, I would not mind buying FAS (3X long in financials) if it trades above $6.96, and with an initial profit target of $9.60.

Happy trading ….



Stocks to Focus for Thursday – April 16, 2009

Wednesday’s recap:  What a mad dash to finish …. Stocks surged in the last hour before closing, lifting all three major indices from deep red to green.  

The last-hour surge pushed the Dow up 109 or 1.4%  to 8030.  The S& P 500 index rose 10.6 points  or 1.3%  to 852, and the Nasdaq snuck in to green with a final minute thrust and edged up 1.08, or 0.1% to 1627.   Crude 16 cents to settle at $49.25 a barrel, while gold was down $1.50 to $893.50 an ounce.

The impetus for the final hour turn around was provided by the observation in Federal Beige Book that economic contraction may be slowing down.  The market interpreted this as ‘the end is closer’ ….

TaurusTrader portfolio had a decent day.  AMR was one of the stars in today’s rally, hit it’s first target of $4.85 for a profit of 31.1%.  50% position in AMR was closed today.  For the remaining 50%, the second target is $6.50.  XRT was stopped @ $24.60 (stop moved up once), but still made over 1% profit.  AGU again came very close to hitting the profit target for the second day in a row.  FCN, HON, and EXP had decent gains.

Picks for Thursday, April 16:  An increasing stream of quarterly results from companies is likely to add to the market’s volatility.  Reports from JPM andGOOG on Thursday could reshape how investors feel about the financial and technology industries. Figures are also due on home construction and unemployment claims.

I’ll wait for reports from JPM and GOOG before committing fresh money on new picks.  However, if JPM reports a great quarter, and the market responds positively, I would buy FAS (Financial 3X long ETF) at around $9.50, and hope to ride the momentum till it hits $11.60.

I’ll also have following stocks on my radar for any swing trading opportunities:  WFC, MS, MELI, IPI, HP, TCK, and BX

That’s it for now …. Good luck trading.


Weekly Market Recap – April 06 to 09, 2009

Another incredible week …. five consecutive week of gains!!  The week however began on a negative note with a downgrade of prominent banks and a downbeat forecast for banking sector by Calyon Securities analyst Michael Mayo.  But the tides turned on Wednesday with the news of a $1.3 billion merger deal between home building giants PHM and CTX.  insurers also got a boost on a news that certain insurers might get help from the TARP moneys.  Thursday was a note worthy when Wells Fargo (WFC) preannounced a surprise forecast of $3 billion first quarter profit.  Stocks rallied across the board. 

For the week, the Dow was up 0.8%; the S&P 500 gained 1.7%, and the Nasdaq rose 1.9%.  Crude almost remained unchanged, but Gold lost a little luster (-1.4%). 

The volatility Index (VIX), otherwise known as the “fear index” sank below the 40-point mark for the first time since last September, 2008.


Started Week

Ended Week


% Change














S&P 500



















In TaurusTrader swing portfolio, we added 3 new positions – CMED, OMTR, and XRT.  Two positios – WFC and OMTR were stopped out.  Two recommendations, BCE and RRC did not hit the target buy price.   By the end of the week, TaurusTrader portfolio had following positions:


Bought on

Entry price



4/9 close

Gain/loss (%)


Mar 17







Mar 19







Mar 16







Mar 12







Mar 24







Apr 02







Apr 02







Apr 02







Apr 02







Apr 03







Apr 06







Apr 09






Picks stopped out


Apr 03







Apr 06






Picks that did not trigger & dropped


Apr 06







Apr 03






Apart from these. TaurusTrader also has small open positions in WFC  (bought at $13.75), and MS (bought at $22.30).  These trades were discussed in my April 2 blog.

Next week is a heavy economic and earnings data driven week …. please trade cautiously.

If there are questions or comments, please do post …..

Have a great week and happy trading.



Stock Market Watch for Wednesday April 08, 2009

Tuesday’s Market Recap:  Stocks fell for second day in a row.  Traders, bracing for a grim earning season, took some profit off the table from the mammoth rally in stocks for 4 consecutive weeks.  There were no major events that could have pushed the markets up.  The trading volume was very light, just as on Monday.

The Dow lost 186 points or 2.3% to 7790, and the S&P 500 was down 20 points or 2.4%, at 816. The Nasdaqshed 45 points or 2.8%, to 1562.  The losses were broad based.  Only 2 Dow members ended positive for the day, and about 90% of S&P components ended the day in red.  Commodities trading was mixed.  Crude closed at $49.28 per barrel, down 3.5%. In contrast, Gold rose $10.10 or 1.2% higher to close at $883.30 per ounce.

TaurusTrader portfolio had a mixed day. Position in WFC was stopped out for 8.4% loss. If you remember, TaurusTrader still has a small position inWFC, which was bought @ $13.75, a couple of days earlier. At the end of the day, the portfolio had 12 positions – WNR, AGU, AMR, FCN, HON, HSP, WDC, TNA, EXP, FMX, CMED, andOMTR. And, small positions in WFC and MS. BCE andRRC are still on the focus list, but have not hit the ‘buy limit’.

Market Watch for Wednesday, April 08:  The Dow component Alcoa (AA) unveiled its latest quarterly result, thus kicking off the new earning season.  AA reported a loss of 59 cents a share, about 3 cents worse than the estimate, but the revenue came in slightly ahead of consensus.  AA Shares were slightly lower (about 1.5%) in after hour trading. 

On the retail front, the home goods store, BBBY also reported after the markets closed today and topped the estimates.  Consequently, BBBY shares were trading up over 12% in the after hour trading.

However, the ag fertilizer giant MOS provided a dismal report.  The net income of MOS fell 88%  due to rising materials costs and falling sales volumes.  The company also warned potash sales would continue to be weak in the fourth quarter.  MOS shares fell about 6%  late trading. 

There was a lot of optimism around MOS.  If you had recently watched Fast Money on CNBC, you know what I mean!  However, if you were a regular reader of this blog, you probably were not surprised by the poor quarter by MOS.  In my blog on April 1, while talking about DE, I said ” ….. In fact,  …… there was a newly released negative USDA report that could potentially impact fertilizer and ag equipment stocks. US farmers will be planting more soybean acres, a crop that requires less fertilizer and equipment utilization compared to corn …….”.  So, you were warned ahead of time! 

Ag and fertilizer stocks will be affected tomorrow in sympathy with MOS.  I’ll watch our AGU position carefully, even though AGU is not similar to MOS in its business dealings.  AGU makes bulk of its revenue in selling and distributing seeds, ag chemicals, and nitrogen fertilizer.  And, it reported a stellar quarter a few days ago.

So, it should be a interesting day of trading on Wednesday.  The earning reports discussed above may have some impact on overall market at the open, but probably a minimal impact toward the close.  Again, for the quarter in general, the  expectations are very low, and nobody expects the first quarter earnings to be good. Companies were conservative and lowered their expectations substantially. Very few have warned recently. This could mean that there may be relatively few negative surprises.

Potential market moving events on Wednesday are – 1) Federal Reserve will release its March meeting minutes, which should provide more details on the state of the economy. Also, 2) SEC is expected to discuss proposals related to the re-institution of the uptick rule for shorting stocks.

TaurusTrader swing portfolio is long in 12 positions and is well diversified.  I do not want to add any new position at this time of market uncertainty.  However, I will watch my positions closely with tight stops.

If there are questions or comments, please do post ….

Happy trading …

Best regards,



Week Ahead for Stocks – April 6 to 10, 2009

It’s been great 4 weeks for the stock markets which saw 4 straight weekly gains. For Dow, this 4-week gain is the largest percentage gain since 1933.  The gains were widespread.  Nine out of 10 sectors in S&P gained, and the lone exception was health care which lost about 2%.   Nasdaq is now over 2% positive for the year.  There were some good news amidst several negative economic data that market ignored in anticipation that the bottoming process of economic downturn is imminent.  There are still concerns abound, especially with the housing, commercial real estate, unemployment, and of course the banks and their balance sheet.   Any bad news can pull the indices back down to earth easily.

Official earning season kicks off on Tuesday with Alcoa stepping in to earnings confession.  Earnings estimate for major companies have dropped significantly.  More than 70% of S&P companies are expected to post a decline in earnings compared to the past year.  So, the earnings season is a major concern for markets.

Around 30 companies are expected to report earnings this week.  I’ll be watching the following releases closely –

  • Monday:  APOG, BLUD
  • Tuesday: AA, BBBY, MOS, RT
  • Wednesday: STZ, FDO, GBX, SGR, WDFC, SMSC
  • Thursday:  CBK, MTRX
  • Friday: Market is closed for Good Friday.

For details on earnings calendar, please visit:  http://www.zacks.com/commentary/10514/Earnings+Preview+for+Apr+6+-+10

Economic Calendar: Following economic news might have impact on the markets –

For details, please refer to:   http://online.barrons.com/public/page/barrons_econoday.html

  • Monday: Fed Gov. Kevin Warsh speaks on Financial Markets.
  • Tuesday: Red book, Consumer credit data.
  • Wednesday: MBA purchase applications, Whole sale trade, EIA petroleum reserve data, FOMC minutes.
  • Thursday: Chain store sales, International trade data, Initial weekly jobless claims, Import-export prices, EIA nat gas report. Larry Summers speaks at 12 pm.  Money supply.
  • Friday: Treasury surplus.  Markets closed for Good Friday.

Picks for Monday, April 6: Markets have gone up too fast too soon.  No major data releases are scheduled, hence markets will have a calm day to digest past moves.  Weekend news events may influence a positive market open.  Ben Bernanke indicated that the credit markets may be thawing …. this is a good sign.  Also, the European banking giant, HSBC raised $17 billion in a largest ever rights offer in UK, which was well received.

As I complete this post, Asian markets are doing OK, and pretty much ignored North Korea’s Rocket launch and the following world condemnation.

I will keep the following stocks on my radar through out the week for possible inclusion in swing portfolio or for day trading opportunities:


If the stocks continue with their momentum to upside, I expect to see considerable downside potential for Gold (GLD, DGP) and Gold mining stocks (XME, GOLD, AUY).  So, watch carefully if you have any gold or gold mining stocks.

I’ll be looking to add the following to TaurusTrader swing portfolio on Monday:

  1. CMED – Buy above 16.48, stop $14.20, target $18.60 (very volatile)
  2. RRC – Buy above $46.04, stop $43.20, target $50.50
  3. OMTR – Buy above $15.01, stop $13.90, target $17.10 (very volatile)

Per my previous post, I’ll not be day trading.  hence, will not provide any day trade picks for Monday.

If there are questions or comments, please do post …..

Have a great week and happy trading.



Stocks to Watch for Friday April 3, 2009

Thursday’s market recap: Another great day!  Even though it could not hold on to it  at close,  Dow breached 8000 mark for the first time since Febrauary 9.  Nasdaq is now positive for the year!  S&P somehow managed to hold above the critical 833 support level.

The Dow gained 216 or 2.8%, to close at 7978.  It had earlier gained as much as 314 points.  The S&P index gained 23 points or 2.9%, to end the day at 834. The Nasdaq rose 51 points or 3.3%  to close at 1603.

Crude rose $4.25 to settle at $52.64 a barrel, while gold fell $18.80 to $908.90 an ounce.

Traders were in buying mood.   Markets opened up nicely in the morning despite some negative data on jobless claims.  There were again small doses of good data that helped.  Banking sector had a some relief with FASB’s decision to relax mark to market rule on toxic assets.  Markets also liked the news coming out of G-20 meeting in London of heads of states.  G-20 leaders decided to fund IMF over $1 trillion to help troubled nations around the world, and also agreed to formulate stricter global regulation of financial institutions.  ECB lowered interest rate by 0.25%, to bring the rate down to 1.25%.  Factory orders posted a larger increase in February.  This news came on the heels of yesterday’s better than expected data on pending home sales, manufacturing activity and auto sales.

TaurusTrader’s swing portfolio had a nice day.  All 4 of yesterday’s picks – EXP, WDC, HSP, and TNA, were bought, and had decent  gains.

Focus list for Friday, April 3: There are signs to support that this rally may have more ‘juice’ left in the tank to run.  As I said in my earlier posts, small doses of good news have started coming in indicating that this recession has started to recede.  Benefits from innovative plans, at least some, put forth by the new administration appear to slowly seeping in to the economy.   CNBC’s Bob Pisani observed that mutual funds are getting back to the market to scoop up stocks.   Commodity prices are going up.  Copper just made a new 5-month high.  Copper is a good indicator of economic growth.  Similarly the transportation index, which went on a tear today!   I also expect that the Banking stocks to continue their momentum following the boost they got from Thursday’s favorable mark to market ruling by FASB.  RIMM reported exceptional quarter after Thursday’s close, and was up over 20% in aftermarket hours.  Folks, these are some good signs ….

However, we can’t let our guard down.   The optimism could be easily crushed if tomorrow’s jobs report surprise us with lousier than lousy expected data.  Economists predict  a loss of 654 K jobs in March, and unemployment rate  to rise to 8.5%,  from 8.1%  in February.

TaurusTrader swing portfolio picks for tomorrow, Friday April 3 are:

  1. FMX – Buy above $27.08, stop at $24.90, target $30.60
  2. BCE – Buy above $21.77, stop at $19.90, target $24.50
  3. WFC – Buy above $16.26, stop at $14.90, target $19.00

There are no day trade picks for Friday.

Please follow all trades with protective stops. The markets  may be kind to you,  but  it can turn against you any time unexpectedly!

Good luck trading.



Market Watch for Thursday – April 2, 2009.

Wednesday’s recap: What a way to begin the new quarter … down by triple digits at open and up by over 150 points by close!! Some sense of optimism is slowly building about the economic recovery. Today’s dismal opening was attributed to a couple of factors. News from Asia were not good. China’s manufacturing index came in lower than expected, and Japan’s business sentiment among big manufacturing firms came in at a record low. Further, prior to markets opened, the ADP report indicated a dismal private sector employment condition, a drop by 742,000 in March. This figure was higher than anticipated. So, the markets opened in deep red.

As the day progressed, small doses of good news trickled in, and the markets responded. The next economic reports came in showed a rebound in pending home sales and improving manufacturing activity. Despite massive public protests, there’s some good news out of G-20 meeting. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that the G20 was close to agreeing on global reforms for the financial system. This was not expected.

The Dow rose 153 points or 2%, to 7762. The S&P 500 index gained 13.2 points or 1.7% to close at 811 and the Nasdaq picked up 23 points or 1.5 percent, to close at 1552. Crude oil fell $1.27 to settle at $48.39 a barrel. Gold prices rose by $2.70 to $927.70 an ounce. The dollar was mixed – slightly weaker against the yen, but was stronger against the euro and pound.

Chemicals, gold miners, banking, and technology stocks had a stellar day. TaurusTrader had an OK day. No big gain or losses. No position was stopped out. However, it was a decent day for day trading. Had a nice success with TNA and FAS among the picks.

I also initiated small positions in MS ($22.30) and WFC ($13.75) at the open today ahead of FASB’s decision on mark to market scheduled for tomorrow. I wrote about it in my yesterday’s blog.

Stock Picks for Thursday, April 2: There are good news coming in small doses. The worst is not over, yet. The pain is still there, but there is some optimism building that the pain from recession is beginning to recede. If FASB modifies the mark to market rule tomorrow in favor of banks, it should bode well not only for the banking sector, but also to the whole market in general. The markets may have already baked in for a slight disappointment in Friday’s jobless data. Unless it comes out real bad and out of whack, the markets should do fine. But, any improvement in employment numbers, however unlikely, should help vault markets higher …. Omen!!

I would like to add the following stocks to TaurusTrader swing portfolio:

  1. EXP – Buy above $25.50, stop at $22.75, target $28.50 (volatility is high)
  2. WDC – Buy above $20.01, stop at $17.98, target $23.00
  3. HSP – Buy above $31.41, stop at $28.60, target $35.50
  4. TNA – Buy above 18.60, stop at $15.75, target 21.50 (very volatile and risky)

Chemical sector is showing some momentum.  If you have additional capital to commit, I would suggest looking at DD and DOW.  Both these picks also have strong ag portfolio that compliment  their chemical business.

I’ll not day trade tomorrow as I’ll be away on my other business interest that I detailed in my earlier post on Wednesday.  However, if interested, the financials may again provide some opportunities for profitable trades.  My favorite ones are – WFC, FAS, and MS.

MON is scheduled to report earnings prior to open on Thursday.  Expect high volatility in ag and fertilizer stocks in sympathy.

If there are questions or comments, please do post.

Best regards, and happy trading ….