Summer stock gyrations are notoriously fickle. The low volume trading can be especially noticeable before and after major holidays. On average, Tuesday was not an exception, but there were some noteworthy stocks amid the most active and biggest percentage price gainers. Investors should view some of the stock price moves and trading volume with some skepticism, but still, investors would be wise to take a closer look at these names.
Accenture Plc (ACN): The management and technology consulting firm's stock traded at nearly 16x average daily trading volume but was up only 1.45% on the day. While the company likely benefited from an increased price target at Susquehanna brokers from $60 to $71, the activity was almost certainly an extension of behavior related to the company's recent addition to the S&P 500 Index. If so, trading volume will likely subside in the coming days and weeks.
Sirius XM Radio (SIRI): The satellite radio company is among the market's most heavily traded stocks. Tuesday's trading volume was moderately less than the average daily volume, but considering that many other names were trading at around half of average daily volume, Tuesday's trading is still impressive. There was not any company-specific news on Tuesday, but there are some undercurrents to the stock that are worth noting. The recent stock rally has happened amid the first decline in short interest since February 15. Any further decline in short interest could further fuel the stock's upside.
In addition, the competitive landscape is likely to change in the coming months as internet music providers Pandora Media (P) and Slacker continue to aggressively challenge each other. Most recently, Slacker entered a partnership with AARP to provide free internet radio just days after announcing a partnership with AOL to drive its AOL Radio service. While the internet radio business is much more reliant on internet advertising than SIRI -- which relies largely on subscription fees -- in the fast-changing technology world, investors should always be vigilant.
Microsoft Corp (MSFT): The technology giant appears to be shedding its anti-competitive image as it continues to branch out and develop partnerships. Not only does the company have Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings on its board of directors, it also owns a portion of social media stalwart Facebook. On Tuesday, it announced an English language search engine partnership between Bing and Baidu (BIDU). While the companies did not disclose financial details, the partnership is nonetheless exciting for Microsoft shareholders, who are anxious for the company to capitalize on its promising Bing search engine. The partnership is especially exciting because it gives Microsoft some access to China's 450+ million internet users. As Google (GOOG) proved, significant cultural, legal and technological hurdles exist for outside market entrants. Microsoft circumventing these obstacles is a huge potential gain for the tech giant.
We previously highlighted MSFT among 7 Dividend Paying Stocks Now Trading Near 52 Week Lows, but if the company continues to make such important partnerships, it could transition towards a high growth company that happens to pay a dividend.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV): The popular silver proxy was among the most popular securities traded on US stock exchanges. While the volume was around a third of the average daily volume, it was enough to propel the exchange traded fund up nearly 5%. Because of the low volume, investors should view the strength with some skepticism, but considering the metal's sharp drop from its April 2011 highs, we wouldn't be surprised by further upside.
Immucor, Inc (BLUD) manufactures and develops blood testing equipment. It announced an agreement to be acquired by private equity firm TPG Capital for $27 per share. The company is not necessarily cheap based on trailing earnings. The company has a P/E of 21.94 and a PEG ratio of 1.72, but is highly profitable and its revenues have grown in recent years. In addition, the company's strong balance sheet limits the capital needed for investment. The company has some noteworthy investors, including Perkins Investment, Pzena Investment and ValueAct Holdings.
Ameron International (AMN): The commercial parts and equipment manufacturer jumped more than 28% on 23.5x normal trading volume following the announcement that National Oilwell Varco (NOV) had agreed to purchase it for $85 per share in cash. Some shareholders have argued that the deal undervalues AMN, but based solely on trailing earnings, this is not obvious. Trailing P/E is 19.3 and forward P/E is 23.50. In addition, revenues remain significantly below 2008 levels despite a rebound in the economy and in the energy sector. Notable shareholders include Dreman Value Management and Millennium Management.
Novagold Resources Inc (NG): The mining stock was up more than 11% on 2.5x normal trading volume. Gold and silver were up on the day, but without obvious fundamental stock news, this move may have some technical and structural significance. In addition to the company's leveraged exposure to gold prices, it also has a healthy short interest which has the potential to accentuate rallies in the stock price. According to the Nasdaq, as of June 15, the company had short interest of 12.49 million, or around 3.34 days to cover. Another possibility is that on a day where other gold miners traded near their average daily volume, NG's elevated volume may have been the result of aggressive accumulation by a large fund.
The company has a major following among some of the industry's most revered investors, including Paulson & Co, Aletheia Research & Management, Blue Ridge Capital, Chilton Investment and Soros Fund Management.