No, the correction is not over. Only one week in duration and with prices on most major indexes having only reached 5% or so off of their 52-week highs, it would seem natural for the market to correct further over the next few weeks. A correction in both price and time would be healthy and allow the major indexes to consolidate and proper leadership to form that will propel us for the next up-leg.
While the underlying technicals of the market have weakened somewhat of late, with 52-week lows outpacing 52-week highs on the Nasdaq on some days this past week, these readings are consistent with levels typically seen during a healthy correction. Bearishness has also begun to build, an important ingredient that will help to weed out the last of the weak hands.
Renewed debt concerns in Europe should serve as the primary reason for the correction to linger. With Spanish stocks down another 2% early Friday morning, European concerns should set the stage for another day or two of heartache in the near-term. We plan on layering purchases into such a pullback, however, as earnings should gain the upper hand on macro fears starting next week.
We expect very strong earnings from Intel (INTC) and Mellanox (MLNX) to propel these stocks to new highs next week. With Apple's (AAPL) earnings expected to blow out the week after, and other tech names such as Salesforce.com (CRM), Equinix (EQIX), LinkedIn (LNKD), Teradata (TDC) and VMware (VMW) all on the verge of breaking out in the near-term, a new batch of leaders is getting poised to usher us out of this correction. Here is how we plan to play these expected moves.
During any market correction, the smart money is accumulating those stocks which will emerge as new leadership for the next up-leg. Not surprisingly, companies posting big earnings surprises are ripe targets for institutional accumulation. Coinstar (CSTR) pre-released blow-out numbers on Thursday, enough to gap it to 10-year highs on Friday. Titan Machinery (TITN) smashed numbers on Tuesday afternoon, citing a rebounding construction market and a strong agricultural market as reasons for its blowout quarter and upwardly revised 2012 guidance higher. With only 20 million shares outstanding, institutional demand in TITN was so strong that the stock blasted to all-time highs on Thursday afternoon. A quick $40 seems next. We expect this optimistic tenor to carry over into a number of high-profile reports next week.
Intel seems to be an obvious choice for institutional investors next week. Earnings are due on the 17th. Romley is in high demand with the data center hot and even the PC space has had some positive data points of late. INTC's cash flow will accelerate and earnings numbers seem too low. Unlike a number of other tech names, we were impressed with how well the stock held up earlier this past week above its 50-day moving average and how the stock moved to new highs on Thursday. A move into the $30s appears imminent.
Mellanox is another name that seems poised to report strong numbers next week. The stock was upgraded a few times during the past month. The company is in the sweet spot in the cloud revolution. There are 40 million shares outstanding, but only 30 million or so in the float. Any beat and raise should be enough to propel the stock to the mid-$40s. Over the past six years, the company has grown earnings 1,000% from $.10 in 2005. $2 in earnings power for 2013 seems very reasonable, meaning that the company is on pace to grow its earnings 2000% over the past eight years! Looked at from this perspective, a 25X multiple seems appropriate, leading us to an eventual price of $50 for MLNX. Buy the pullback here.
For those looking to buy into the bottom of an emerging, secular trend look no further than Cree (CREE). J.P. Morgan upgraded the stock earlier this week ahead of its numbers on the 17th. In addition to very strong sales trends in March for the company, CREE also introduced its next-generation LED product this past week. With pricing on par with current offerings for streetlights, it seems natural to expect accelerated adoption for this new product. Estimates seem to be nearing or already at a trough and should soon begin to turn higher. $2 in eventual earnings power should not be too far out of sight. Only buy CREE on pullbacks though, as it ran up 10% this week.
Looking ahead past next week, Apple reports on the 24th. We all know how this is going to go. How quickly will Apple head to $700? We would welcome an entry in the $610 range next week.
Moving onto other stocks poised to emerge as leaders for the next up-leg, LinkedIn received another upgrade this week. After Goldman raised its price target a few weeks ago on the name, Morgan Stanley raised their price target to $115 on Thursday. Interesting to note that the shorts have backed away from LNKD in a meaningful way over the past few three months from over 7 million shares short to just over 4 million shares short now. We like LNKD on any pullback to the low $100s. Earnings should be out the first week in May.
Although Equinix has run up a lot, we still see room for another 10-15% higher over the next few months. Channel checks point to firm colocation pricing and also to strong leasing activity for the company - with Asian markets ramping strongly, EQIX seems poised to offer a strong forward Q2 guide.
Slowed down for now by the market correction, we expect RedHat (RHT) to be one of the first big-cap tech names to break out, possibly as early as this upcoming week. A move through $62 should act as a spur for shares to head up to a quick $65.
Broadcom (BRCM) was upgraded on Friday morning. Along with QCOM, they are our two favorite semiconductor names besides Intel.
In the small-cap space, CalAmp (CAMP) remains a favorite idea of ours. The company already pre-announced a very strong quarter in early March and intimated that forward guidance would be robust. We see a move to $6 in CAMP by the late spring.
In search of the next multi-billion technology vertical to be derived from social media, we have begun to research the social t.v. space. With Facebook, Google, and Microsoft each scrambling to claim a lead in a vertical that could become a $20 billion opportunity by 2020, we are on the hunt for technology companies that can participate in this space. Considering that rVue Holdings (RVUE.OB) recently secured a partnership with Verizon (VZ), and that rVue's CEO recently presented at the social TV summit, rVue is a very interesting value at current levels and perhaps the purest way for investors to play this space.
On the short side, a select number of charts have begun to break down. While not enough to start a new bear market, one gets the sense that select short ideas should work this spring and summer. As a hedge to our current long exposure, we are short of Spain's stock market via its ETF, EWP. We are also short Carbo Ceramics (CRR). After missing earnings last quarter, CRR seems poised to disappoint again. Downside could be to the mid-to-high $70s if estimates move lower into the $5.50 range. We are also monitoring DG Fast Channel (DGIT), whose balance sheet seems to be too over-leveraged, and Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) as two other short plays in the coming weeks.
In summary, do not fear a further correction in stocks. The bull market is not over and it is time to back up one's conviction with new long ideas, while complementing them with some short ideas that will in time not just serve as a hedge, but also as a profit driver for you.