The week yesterday started out with a confused market. It opened strong with tailwinds from last week driving investors to buy more. But hints of higher interest rates soon snuffed that little rally.
Then, at mid-morning, the S&P found support around 1640 and decided interest rates weren't that big a deal and started back towards the 1650s on widespread buying. McDonald's (MCD) better-than-expected store sales seemed enough to propel the market, along with a generally positive Asian market. Keep in mind though, we had no news and, in fact, face a week devoid of many economic reports or corporate reports, with corporate earnings season about over.
Alas, the European markets couldn't find anything to excite them and sold off, which seemed to give our market second thoughts. It followed suit, dropping the S&P 500 to the support level mentioned above.
Feeling a little roller-coaster nausea?
You should, because about 2:00 EDT the Bulls gained the upper hand based on something I'm not sure anyone really understands. News from Apple (AAPL) on the iOS 7 and lots of new features, perhaps? Or Nike's (NKE) good day in Japan? Or were the Bulls simply having fun on the market roller coaster?
Whatever the reasons, the market reached for earlier highs but failed, and the support level held again. The S&P 500 closed essentially flat for the day, while the Nasdaq managed a small gain and the Dow posted a small loss. Few ended up happy, but then again, few ended up unhappy.
Questions abound. Will interest rates start rising now in a meaningful way? Will the European courts find yet another way to derail the country bail-outs? Will Asian issues result in something positive for our markets, or will Asia continue to vacillate on most matters? (See the feature story in this week's Time magazine.)
One thing is certain; we are unlikely to see any economic news until at least Thursday of this week. That's when we get numbers for retail sales, initial jobless claims, import and export prices, and business inventories. Friday brings us reports on industrial production, the Producer Price Index (PPI), and consumer sentiment from the Reuters/University of Michigan survey.
With serious risks in the bond markets and no real yields anywhere else, we are indeed left to our continual search for undervalued growth stocks or good dividend plays. We have a few ideas below.
Don't forget to consider hedging with VIX-related positions. VIX, you'll recall, is the S&P 500 Volatility Index (nicknamed the "fear index"), which itself isn't tradable, but you can trade it with the VXX, which is an iPath ETN (exchange-traded note) that tracks the VIX.
Hedging is important, if market volatility finally gets some traction.
4 Stock Ideas for this Market
I selected the following stocks from two different searches in MyStockFinder, the first concentrating on undervalued large-cap stocks and the second, on high-growth stocks.
EMC Corporation (EMC) -- Technology -- Large-cap
- Supplies infrastructure solutions for the IT industry
- Steady earnings growth, expected 13.16% per year over next 5 years, with a forward P/E of 11.9
Macy's (M) Consumer Cyclicals - Large-cap
- Expected to grow at 15% per year over next 5 years Current P/E of 14, with a forward P/E of 11
- Pays 2.1% dividend
WisdomTree Investments (WETF) - Financials - Mid-cap
- Fastest growing sponsor of ETFs
- Expected growth rate is 350% for current quarter, 245.5% for 2013, and 62.7% per year for next 5 years.
- Current P/E of 94 makes for a high cost, but the growth may be there, and the forward P/E is 24
PetSmart (PETM) - Consumer Cyclicals - Large-cap
- Retailer of pet products
- Steady earnings growth expected to continue at 15.38% per year over next 5 years
- Forward P/E of 15.2