U.S. stock markets recovered from losses earlier in the week to retain double-digit gains for the year. The Nasdaq Composite index is up 18% and the S&P 500 is up 11% for 2012. The strong return brought with it excessive bullishness from analysts and from pundits like CNBC Mad Money's Jim Cramer. Tech
On the S&P 500, analysts expect 38 out of 43 stocks with the biggest target price revisions last week to rise further. On CNBC's Mad Money, Jim Cramer was bullish on 55 stocks, 83% of the stocks mentioned. Cramer's technology stock picks were also bullish. He was bullish on 7 of the 9 stocks mentioned:
Research In Motion
If the professional stock-pickers are net bullish on stocks, which companies should investors be buying?
Broadcom Corporation (BRCM), which Cramer rates as a "buy," said on March 21 that it was buying BroadLight for $195M. The strategic objective of the purchase was to expand its portfolio in broadband access. The acquisition will not impact earnings. BroadLight makes chips that are used in fiber optic networks. It is used for TV over Internet, high-speed internet, and high-definition TV broadcasting.
Broadcom is already up 39.84% from its 52-week low. Earlier in the week, Broadcom won a permanent injunction against Emulex (ELX). This banned Emulex from importing products that would infringe on two of Broadcom's patents. Broadcom will earn a 9% royalty rate for sales made by Emulex during the injunction period.
Intel Corporation (INTC) is another stock trading close to a 52-week high after closing at $27.88. Shares are up 15.86% for the current year. Intel is still a stock to buy. The company is planning to release 22nm chips in 2013. It was rumored last week that the company could possibly be releasing a SoC, or system on a chip code-named "Valley View." The chip will have up to four cores, USB 3.0, 8GB RAM, and a 400% performance improvement over the Atom line-up.
Intel is scheduled to report earnings on April 17 after market close.
Priceline.com (PCLN) was another company trading at a 52-week high that Cramer said to buy. Priceline closed at $714.99 after gaining 5.9% last week, and is up 52.87% year-to-date. Cramer cited growth in Europe, good execution, and earnings beating estimates as reasons to be bullish on the company. Cramer was not alone in his bullish call. An analyst at Piper Jaffray wrote that Priceline.com could reach $1,000 over the next 24 months.
In its Form 10-K filing, Priceline.com said that:
Given the sheer size of our hotel reservation business, we believe it is highly likely that our year-over-year growth rates will generally decelerate on a quarterly sequential basis in the future.
Year-over-year hotel room night reservation growth slowed during the first quarter of 2012. The company said that it expects growth rates to continue to decelerate in 2012 and beyond. Another reason to avoid priceline.com is insider share sales. Insiders sold 548,336 shares or $51.2M worth in March.
Cramer thought that Netflix, Inc (NFLX) could make a rebound. The company is already recovering. Shares are up 92.70% from its 52-week low after closing at $120.19 last week. The company added more original programming for 2013 with a horror series directed by Eli Roth called "Hemlock Grove." Netflix rallied over 4% on the day of the announcement. Shares are set to move higher as investors reframe Netflix as a content player.
On the bearish front, Cramer was negative on Research in Motion (RIMM) after noting the company would be reporting earnings on March 29. Bloomberg reported last week that RIM lost its top spot in Canada in 2011 for the first time ever. RIM shipped 2.08M units, well-below the 2.85M units shipped by Apple.
There are two big risks for RIM in the short-term. First, the declining sales for BlackBerry devices in North America may enable carriers to negotiate lower monthly carrier subscriber fees. The second major risk is BlackBerry 10. RIM delayed the BlackBerry 10 to the second half of 2012. The company will need heavy marketing and application developer by early summer. This would give RIM some momentum for a pick-up in sales during the important back-to-school season.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.