Thanks to recent problems in Europe, and by recent, I mean ongoing, along with the failure of Congress to work on some debt resolutions, the markets have lost a bit of ground. The Dow is down almost 1,000 points in the past two weeks. At times like these, it is those willing to take some risk that usually end up getting nice profits when the market rebounds. I've gotten a few questions lately about some "in the news" stocks, so now is a good time to determine if you should buy these names.
Apple (AAPL): Apple closed at $363.57 on Friday, falling below its 200 day moving average near $364. There were reports out that the Kindle Fire is taking away some market share from the iPad, but Apple is down with the overall market. Days like this are a dream come true to those waiting to get in Apple. I've recommended the name below $375, so I think this the perfect time for accumulation. At these levels, Apple is trading at just 9.4 times 2013 earnings, and we are now more than $60 off the all time high near $427. This stock is getting ready for its next big run, and you don't want to miss it. This is one of my top picks right now, and at this price, I don't see how you can go wrong.
Salesforce.com (CRM): Salesforce recently reported its quarterly results, and the stock has taken a beating since. On a GAAP basis, the company lost money, but revenues did beat, showing 36% year over year growth. Fourth quarter revenue guidance was above analyst estimates, but EPS was in-line to a penny below. The company raised its full-year outlook on both the top and bottom line. Both revenues and EPS for the full year are now expected to be above current analyst estimates. However, the stock has taken a beating, and that's mostly due to market action. Before the earnings report, we were trading in the high $130s, but the company fell below $105 at Friday's close. The company is increasing its revenues at a decent clip, but costs are seemingly more than expected, so the company is not delivering great bottom line results. I think the recent selloff is a little overblown, but I wouldn't buy my entire position at this price. If you are thinking of buying, buy half now and wait a bit. If the stock continues to decline, you can buy more at a lower price, but this way you won't miss a rally if the name bounces back. I like the name at $105, but I think you'll see it below $100 before it completely rebounds.
LinkedIn (LNKD): Shares of the name have been under pressure recently as the insider lockup expired last week, meaning about 24 million shares are now eligible to be sold. As you can read on Seeking Alpha's Linkedin quote page, Bain Capital appears to want to sell all of its 3.7 million shares. LinkedIn's 3-month average volume going into this past week was 927,000 shares, and now it's about 1.06 million. Volume has certainly increased and so has the selling. Friday's close near $63 was the lowest so far for the company. I would not be a buyer of LinkedIn right now. It does worry me a bit that Bain is selling all of its position, and although they've made a nice profit, the lockup did cost them several million dollars. Remember, LinkedIn was well over $100 a couple of times, and has been above $80 for quite some time. I think the stock trades down from here in the short term. I would stay away for now and pay attention to what insiders are doing. If the stock is at $50 in January, I might change my opinion, but for now, I think there's more risk than reward.
Research in Motion (RIMM): Shares of the Blackberry maker have fallen to a new 52-week low as multiple analysts came out with bearish notes last Monday morning. Three analysts cut their EPS estimates, with one of them even setting a $12 price target on the name. Ouch. RIMM closed at $16 on Friday, a new 52-week low closing price. Bears will tell you that this stock is going to zero, and bulls will tell you that it will be bought out. The analyst notes this past week point out that RIMM has a poor patent pool and a heavy $8 billion plus enterprise value, making an acquisition unlikely. I just don't see it either. I'm not a buyer of this stock, and I don't see a price where I'd be willing to jump in. The company is losing plenty of market share. I don't want to say its a definite short at these levels, given the recent market selloff, but it might be worth shorting on a pop. Otherwise, just stay away.
Priceline (PCLN): Shares of the online travel company have taken a beating with the market going lower and have lost all of their post-earnings gains. Just two weeks ago, the stock was at $550, and has lost nearly $90 since then. I've said in past articles that my buying range for Priceline is $450 to $475, so we're pretty much at those levels now. Priceline reported a great quarter. The stock initially sold off as the guidance numbers were a disappointment, but the company is notorious for low guidance. The stock ended up 8% the day after the report. I think any chance to get in at these levels is good, and you should take it. I will mention that if we do go lower, the next level of support is $440.
Universal Display (PANL): This name has been one of the biggest movers over the last couple of months. The company officially engages in R&D and commercialization of OLEDs (organic light emitting diodes) for uses in flat panel displays, solid-state lighting and other technical applications. The company had a huge run in August, doubling after it announced some partnership agreements. However, financial details were not disclosed, so many became skeptical of the company, which was losing money until last quarter. The company is very expensive on a price to sales and a P/E basis, but that doesn't necessarily mean you can't buy it. Goldman Sachs (GS) said this name was a buy recently, and the recent drop could be your ticket in. The name has seen recent support in the $40 to $45 range, and we are just below there now. However, I would recommend it as a trade only, not an investment. I would get in and out quickly, taking any gains. Until this company proves it can start to make money consistently, it's not a long term investment, but can make a good trade.
Amazon (AMZN): Shares of Amazon have come down a bit, like everything else recently; this has made their lofty P/E valuation seem just a bit better. Closing Friday at $182.40, the stock lost $15 this past week and double that over the past ten days. Black Friday online sales saw huge growth over last year, so you would expect Amazon to be a beneficiary of that. Despite the recent drop, Amazon's forward P/E is still 89, although it was over 105 just a short time ago. But this number may not really matter, as I've recently discussed. Amazon's earnings numbers have been slashed, but since the stock really trades off of its sales numbers, those are the ones to watch. So far, those numbers have held up, and are actually increasing slightly. I have Amazon as a short in my theoretical short portfolio, but I may be looking to cover that position if we go any lower.