Tag Archives: Stocks to focus

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.



Week Ahead for Stocks – April 13 to 17, 2009

The coming week is filled with market moving economic and earnings data releases.  It would be interesting to see whether the momentum built upon WFC preannouncement would continue with other positive earning releases.  29 of S&P 500 companies, including 5 Dow components (highlighted in bold) are scheduled to announce earnings.  I would be watching the following releases intently:

  • Monday: JBHT, TLB
  • Tuesday:  FAST, GS, JNJ,ADTN, CSX, INTC
  • Friday:  AOS, BBT, C, GE

Economic data:  Following economic data releases are scheduled:

  • Tuesday:  March producer prices and Retail sales
  • Wednesday:  Consumer price index, industrial production data for March, New York manufacturing survey, and housing market index for April, Beige book, Crude inventories
  • Thursday:  Housing starts, Jobless claims, Philly Fed survey, and Natural gas report
  • Friday:  Consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan, and Ben Bernanke speaks

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

TaurusTrader portfolio:  To begin the week, the portfolio contains 12 positions.  All 12 have positive unrealized gains and some have have substantial accumulated profits.  So, I’ll be moving the ‘stop loss’ limit on these picks to protect profit and to reduce losses if the market turns against us.  The new stops are noted in “bold” in the following table. 


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






I do not have any picks for Monday … I’ll wait for a day or two and see how this earnings season would roll out. Per my previous post, I’ll not be day trading.  hence, will not provide any day trade picks for Monday also. 

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

Have a great week and happy trading.

Stocks to Watch for Thursday – April 09, 2009

Wednesday’s Market Recap: Earnings season earnestly began on a jittery note, but major indices somehow managed to have a first positive close for the week. With the disappointing earning report from AA already out, the day began with a pair of good news. First, a  WSJ report that the insurance companies might be able to tap in to TARP funds. Second, a $1.3 billion merger deal between two home building giants – PHM and CTX. SEC regulators met and put out proposals to restrict short selling for public comments. Markets greeted these news with some enthusiasm – technology, retail, and insurance stocks saw good buying interest. However, the release on recent FOMC meeting minutes in the afternoon session put a damper on the markets. The members saw escalating economic and unemployment risks through 2009 and 2010. This spooked the investors, and the sellers threatened to drag stocks lower for the third straight session. But, in the last hour of trading, buyers showed resolve and pushed all three of the major indices higher in to positive territory.

The Dow rose 47.5 points or 0.6%, to 7837, the S&P 500 rose 9.6, or 1.2%, to 825.2, and the Nasdaq gained 29.1 points or 1.9%, to 1,590.7. S&P found support around 814 for two consecutive days. Crude fell 23 cents to settle at $49.38 a barrel, and gold gained $2.60 to $885.90 an ounce.

TaurusTrader portfolio had a mixed day. OMTR was downgraded two days in a row, and was stopped out. The irony is that it was also upgraded to “buy” from RBC capital yesterday. Rest of the positions did OK. Ten of the remaining 11 picks have positive unrealized gains. Not bad!

Stocks to Focus for Thursday, April 09: Thursday will be the last trading day of the week. Markets are closed on Friday for Good Friday observance. Retailers will be in focus again tomorrow. Same stores data will be out in the morning. BBBY, JOSB, FDO, and other retailers had a fantastic Wednesday, and the sector is likely to continue with the momentum. Weekly jobless claim data could have some influence too.

I do not have any specific recommendations for Thursday. However, depending on the same stores data, I  might consider buying:

  1. XRT – buy above $24.28, stop $22.40, target $26.78

Expect volatility as we are heading in to a long weekend.  Please trade carefully, and always trade with protective stops.

If there are questions or comments, please do post …

Have a great extended weekend,



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,



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 ….



Stocks to Focus for Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday’s market Recap: A down day as predicted, but did not expect that it would be so miserable.  All three major indices lost about 3% for the day.  It could have been worse if not for a little rally in the last hour before close!

Dow tumbled 254 points for the day or 3.3%  and closed at 7522.  The S&P fell 28 points or 3.5%, to 788, while the Nasdaq lost 43 points or 2.8%,  to 1,502.  The decline was wide spread.  All 10 sectors and 90% of S&P components ended in red.  Crude lost nearly $4.00 (7.6%) to close at 48.41, and even gold fell by $7.60, to $917.30 an oz.  The dollar however,  gained against most foreign currencies.

Markets were in oversold condition, and needed some excuse to sell off.  An announcement by Obama administration to let GM and Chrysler to go bust, and presumably, Tim Geithmer’s assessment over the weekend that banks may need more federal injection of funds, provided just the pretense to sell off.  In my opinion, nothing had changed from last week to this week with auto makers and the bankers.  This pull back was some what prudent considering that the markets had such historic gains within a short period.  Despite the two-day drop, the Dow is still up 975 points or 14.9%, from its low of 6547 on March 9, when it ended at its worst level since April 1997. The S&P 500 index is also still up 16.4%  from its low.

In TaurusTrader swing portfolio, some positions were stopped out.  We were prepared for this pull back, hence the stops were raised for some volatile positions after the big market run up. Stops were hit with BAC (-12.6%), RIO (-4.9), HNT (-7.3%), MDR (+1.2%), and MBT (+3.9%).  If you remember we had  12 straight winners before this! We won MORE, and lost a FEW … However, above all, we knew exactly how much we would lose, if we lost, and how much we would win, if we won!.  That’s “peace of mind” trading, which comes from discipline and adherence to a set of trading rules.

At the end of the day, TaurusTrader portfolio was left with positions in – FCN, AMR, WNR, AGU, and HON.

I did not day trade.  None of the day trade picks from yesterday worked out for day trading!

Picks for Tuesday, March 31: No major market moving economic events are scheduled, so expect for more volatility and choppiness in the market. Traders will be positioning for jobs and unemployment data to be released later in the week as well as for the official beginning of the 1st quarter earnings season beginning next week.  It is also the last day of the quarter, and some funds might even try to push price of some stocks higher to make their portfolio look good for customers!

Even though I’m very tempted, I do not want to add any new position to swing portfolio.  I’ll wait for another day or two before adding long positions.  Congressional Hearing on Thursday on Mark to market will have significant impact on the markets in general and financial stocks in particular.

For day trading, I’ll reluctantly focus on – FAS or FAZ, DUG or DIG, DGP or DZZ, and  TNA.

If there are questions or comments, please do post.

Happy trading ….