Earnings – STX, URI and ISRG

We are not out of the woods yet, but today’s price action is a step in the right direction.  The Dow posted its best day since March 13th gaining 194 points +1.50% and in the process moved back above its 50 day moving average.  The S&P 500 and NASDAQ also moved above their 50 day lines gaining +1.55% and +1.82% respectively. NASDAQ made its biggest gains since Dec 20th, 2011. Advancing stocks led declining stocks by 3.25 to 1 on both the NYSE and NASDAQ. But the turnover was slightly lower in both the exchange.

This rally was courtesy – demand of Spanish bonds and good earnings. The investors showed good appetite for Spanish bonds, even though the yields on 10 year notes spiked. It’s early in the earnings reporting season, but as of Tuesday morning 74% of the 39 companies that have reported exceeded analysts’ expectations. But the fickleness of news and volatility of the market definitely reminds me of last year. So being defensive is not bad at all. That said, I am taking out the small index short but will leave the BLV and TLT in place.

Lastly, a buy order of AAPL set long time ago at $581 got triggered today. Let’s see where it takes us.

EARNINGS –

Seagate technologies, STX, the one that I have advocated for last month or so came out with flying colors.

The hard drive maker brought in revenue of $4.4 billion, up from $2.7 billion in the prior year’s quarter, and above the average analysts’ forecast of $4.38 billion. Excluding items, Seagate earned $2.64 a share on net income of $1.2 billion, up from 25 cents a share and $113 million in the prior year’s quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for earnings of $2.11 a share.

Seagate also achieved a gross margin of 37% during the third quarter, comfortably above its forecast of 33%. These margins are strongest in company’s history. Seagate reaffirmed its $5 billion revenue target for its fiscal fourth quarter on Tuesday, as well as its $20 billion goal for calendar year 2012. The hard drive specialist also raised its fourth-quarter gross margin forecast from 33% to 34.5%.

This stock has formed a two month-long base and will breakout with a gap tomorrow. If you are interested then set a buy for $28.7 and double it up if it goes below $28. If we are in a bull we will go up till $30 in next few days or so. Following is an older chart of STX but the picture still remains the same expect for another blockbuster earnings.

United Rentals, URI,  is the one that I bought around $42 when it broke out a month ago but got out when it went below $40 and 50 DMA. The company mainly rents construction and industrial equipment in North America, including backhoes, forklifts and heaters. It also sells some new and used gear. The company has moved away from the construction rentals with the purchase of RSC holdings that gave URI quite a bit of industrial exposure.

United Rentals earned 36 cents a share in first quarter, reversing a 32-cent loss in the same quarter last year, and trouncing the Street’s estimate of 5 cents. Sales climbed 25% to $656 million, easily topping projections of $610 mil. For the prior three-quarters, sales grew 13%, 18% and 25%. The company’s rental revenue increased 21% in the quarter, reflecting year-over-year increases of 6.3% in rental rates and 18.4% in the volume of equipment on rent. 

“Once again, we drove profitable growth faster than the construction recovery,” CEO Michael Kneeland said. “Both core areas of our business — general rentals and specialty operations — realized higher rates year-over-year on a fleet that was about $600 million larger on average.”

Tomorrow URI will open above consolidation. Once again if this is a bull market it will start drifting towards $50. Remember PEAD.

Intuitive Surgical, ISRG, is a medical robot maker and has been one of the strongest leader of this bull.

The medical robotics maker’s earnings rose 35% to $3.50 a share. Revenue climbed 28% to $495 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected Intuitive Surgical to earn $3.14 a share on sales of $464.7 million. Intuitive Surgical also forecast 2012 sales will rise about 20% from 2011’s $1.76 billion. It had expected 17% to 19% growth. A key to growth has been winning acceptance for robotic-assisted surgery in more procedures. The company said da Vinci-assisted procedures grew 29% in Q1 from a year earlier.

Gross margin edged up to 71.9% from 71.8%. Revenue from instruments and accessories climbed 32%, while services revenue jumped 27%. Systems revenue grew 24%, as da Vinci systems sold rose to 140 units from 120 units a year earlier. 

With a new product in late 2011, Intuitive Surgical aims to expand robotics-assisted surgery to gallbladder operations and cardiac procedures, such as heart valve repairs.

I am a big fan of this company and owned it’s share for short period prior to last quarter’s revenue. I will add some if the price drops to $555.

IBM and INTC

There were other earnings such as IBM’s better than expected earnings but a slight miss on revenue side. Chipmaker Intel  posted better-than-expected first-quarter results, easing concerns that sluggish PC sales might weigh on its performance. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company also forecast revenue for the current quarter above analyst expectations. But the company said its gross profit margin would fall this quarter. Intel earned 53 cents a share in the first quarter, down 5% from the year-earlier quarter but 3 cents better than analysts were expecting. Sales rose 0.5% to $12.91 billion, vs. views of $12.84 billion.

Tomorrow’s earnings –

Date After Close Before Open
18-Apr KMP
VMW
MLNX
FFIV
SCSS
PLCM
CLB PII
QCOM
CBST HAL
YUM
EBAY
TSCO

More on the day Ahead

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Deja Vu!

Before we move forward let’s review the market

If you look at the half-hourly chart of S & P 500 for last few weeks you will observe a lot of indecision. This can stem from a market that is awaiting a jobs report or the one that has rallied almost 25% since October bottom but bumping into some bad data or a market that is just waiting for earnings to come out. This is a typical sideways movement that needs just one or two catalysts to either jump up or break down.

Till Friday morning, we were all hunky dory – raising toast to the best quarter since 1998.

But by now, you guys must have heard, read and pondered about the jobs report that came out on Friday morning. Entire market was expecting creation of 205000 jobs with lowest estimate being 193K but to everyone’s disappointment the number came in at 120000. This is exactly the catalyst that I mentioned above. Following is the S & P 500 futures –

Going Forward –

The question is where are we heading from here. Let’s look at the slightly bigger picture –

We will definitely get temporary support at 1375-1370. But that floor might not last long if Alcoa comes out with bad numbers on Tuesday after close. I personally expect the floor to crack on Monday itself. This market might turn into a sideways market or 5-7% correction if this is just one-off jobs miss and not a trend.

The real correction will start if –

  1. We get more of such job reports.
  2. The companies fail to meet Q1 numbers.
  3. Manufacturing margins start contracting.
  4. The inventories start piling up.
  5. Europe’s problem resurfaces.
  6. Israel goes after Iran.

All these events individually have the capability of turning a flat market in to an intermediate/full blown correction. A correction that can go beyond 12-15% – That’s spooky.

In terms of technicals if we fail to hold on to 1336, we are looking at lower lows and lower highs. This means that we are in correction. The breakouts will fail, the industrial sector & commodities will sink and we will stare at repeat of 2011.

Deja Vu!

There is a stark resemblance between job numbers & rally at the beginning of 2011 and the similar macro economic data points in 2012. All of them  fizzled out, making 2011 one of the worst trading year in last 20 years. In case 2012 tries to follow the suit of 2011, I suggest that please sit on the sidelines unless you are nimble (like really really nimble) or you are willing to take 15-20% loss or you want to buy stocks such as QCOM,APA, EMC, etc for long-term. The top traders have always said that it’s good to sit out when market goes sideways and hop in when the direction is confirmed.

This is the kind of summer where I would use the old adage -“Sell in Summer and go away”.

Question is why side ways and why not a full fledged correction?

Never underestimate the Printing Press. One off job report might not bring back QE3 from dead but few of such reports will definitely get Feds going.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly what do we do with current portfolio?

Just as not all fingers are alike similarly different kinds of stock in a portfolio deserve different treatment.

  1. Reduce all the momo stocks such as LULU, ALLT, SCSS, TPX, HLF, ULTA, CLR, ALXN, etc to 1/3 of original position. A risk averse investor might sell all. The reason is the panic grips the owners of such stocks with higher multiples faster than does the rest of the market. Just a reminder, small cap stocks corrects more than larger cap stocks during a correction.
  2. Stick with oldies such as HAL, APA, STX, WDC, PG, COV,etc unless the fundamentals show a major shift such as margins contraction trend,etc. Some of them have already seen fair share of correction.
  3. To defend your portfolio you can buy long term US treasury bonds such as BLV, TLT, etc. They tend to be haven during such corrections.
  4. A very active trader might try putting in shorts such as SH, HDGE, RWM, etc.
  5. Keep an eye on the leaders of this bull and see how they perform during the correction. By leaders I mean – AAPL, ISRG, CMG, SCSS, ULTA, LULU, TSCO, FFIV, etc.
  6. Start running scans to look for stocks with excellent fundamentals that are holding up well. They might be the future leaders.
  7. Lastly add to your existing value positions or buy new ones (after fishing for course) after market has gone corrected by 10%. But remember an oversold market can become more oversold!
  8. Again, In case 2012 tries to follow the suit of 2011, I would suggest that please sit on the sidelines unless you are nimble (like really really nimble) or you are willing to take 15-20% loss or you want to buy stocks such as QCOM,APA, EMC, etc for long-term.

I believe that capital preserved is the capital created for future investment opportunities.

If you are really, really lost, I will talk more about correction, handling of stocks during corrections and going short later on in the week.

By the what do you think?

Thanks For participating!