We finally had a bit of a tumultuous week in the market - the S&P 500 shed a bit over 1% and Wednesday's trading action saw a 2.5% trading range after the FOMC minutes were released and the notion of QE slowing was brought to the table. News network anchors screamed - literally, shouted - that we were seeing a market reversal and that the correction was here. Thursday and Friday saw much less volatility, however, despite a 7% selloff of the Japanese Nikkei during their Thursday trading day. That being said, let's take a look at the performance of the stocks recommended last week:
The recommendations proved to be terrific last week. Though I'm bullish on shares of James River Coal Company (JRCC) to head higher through the summer, it was clear that many investors preferred to take profits off the table amidst the midweek uncertainty. Even so, investors with a mid to long term horizon are still holding positions 27% more valuable than at the beginning of the week's trading.
While it was very dependent on happenstance (luck!) that the company disclosed its debt transfer, it should also be noted that it mirrors other tactics that JRCC has recently shown towards strengthening its balance sheet and making a full-fledged push toward recovery. Additionally, the swing play on the S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures (VXX) was a terrific call and surpassed the target price of $19.20. Investors saw a maximum potential return of over 8.5% this week with a VXX investment.
Last week is behind us now, and we're looking forward to the coming week of trading. While it is shortened by a day due to the holiday, it should still be exciting given the events and continuing uncertainty of last week. Here's a look at this week's five stock picks.
Hewlett Packard Co (HPQ)
If you've read any past installments of this series, you know that I believe in picking companies with strong leadership. There might not be a stronger leader in corporate America than Meg Whitman. She continues to surpass all expectations at HPQ - six months ago the stock traded at $12 and has more than doubled since. Whitman and HPQ continue to deliver stellar earnings performances - the company announced last week EPS of $0.87, beating the street's estimates by $0.06. After rallying to nearly $25, the stock shed nearly 3% of its value in Friday's trading session. Look for this stock to settle back into a range with a target acquisition price of $23.50 and a price target of $28.
Westmoreland Coal Company (WLB)
WLB is a lesser-known coal company, and while it is engaged in the mining and distribution of thermal coal, it seems strategically placed to succeed in the coming years far more than some of its counterparts. Like the aforementioned JRCC, WLB has taken great strides to strengthen its balance sheet. Also like JRCC, the shrinking demand for coal has significantly impacted its operations. The company features a unique "mine-to-mouth" business model that focuses on mining in strategic locations where customers are central to operations. The reduced costs the company sees on freight and shipping not only allow WLB to provide coal at a discount to most major companies, but also increase its own bottom line with higher margins. Consider WLB a long-term play with a price target of $14.80.
Direxion Daily S&P 500 Bear 3x Shares (SPXS)
While I'm a long-term bull on this market, I do believe that the uncertainties over the movement of the FOMC might stall us at these levels. We've run a long way YTD and the markets are due for a break, maybe even a slight pullback. I continue to hold my long positions, but I do not believe that the downturn we saw last week will be the last of it. While we made excellent short-term profits from the trade on VXX last week, a new recommendation of SPXS is another way (leveraged ETF) to hedge against any negativity in the market. I recommend a small investment in this ETF (remember it is leveraged 3x, so a 10% overall portfolio investment is actually showing daily swings mirroring 30% of your portfolio) with a price target of $11.80, a 15% premium to the ETF's current trading price.
Shares of FB continue to suffer amidst uncertainty of where the company is actually headed and what the sustainable value proposition will prove to be. Investors continue to undervalue FB because of their lack of vision for what this company can provide. The stock was overvalued at the time of the IPO, but after shedding over half of their value, shares have rallied back in recent months. Still, the stock trades at a 35% discount to its IPO price despite the fact that the company continues to meet or exceed street expectations on mobile monetization revenue numbers. There might be a short-term lull here, but FB continues to innovate and drive the future of mobile monetization; this stock will trade at $30 at some time before the end of this year. Shares entered bearish territory on Friday when they broke through the $25 support level, so be prudent on any investment here. With a longer term horizon, though, certainly begin building a position at $24 with 25% upside by the end of this year.
Investors in WHR have seen shares appreciate more than 110% in the past year alone. They're up 6.5x since the meltdown in early 2009. There is still room to grow. The company is just beginning to cash in on the rejuvenation of the domestic housing market and forecasts earnings growth of more than 100% by 2016. While WHR trades at a trailing P/E of 18.6x, which is right in line with the consumer cyclical sector average, it is bolstered by the potential for terrific growth and grounded with a solid 1.95% dividend yield. For investors with a long-term trading horizon, WHR provides an opportunity for a company that is currently fairly valued yet poised to grow well through 2016. One year price target of $144.