Earnings Season Heats Up: Accumulate These Stocks Patiently

by: Marc Courtenay

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." - Johann Goethe (German Scientist, Polymath, Artist, Poet and Philosopher 1749-1832)

Stocks boldly surged almost 200 DJIA points on Tuesday after some positive earnings news and a decent debt auction by Spain. Goethe in this market environment may have said that "whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it patiently and with forethought".

According to the Associated Press, Tuesday's relief rally"... followed a batch of mixed economic news. The number of permits requested by homebuilders for future projects reached a 3½-year high, an indication that the housing market might stop weighing down the economy."

But builders broke ground on new homes at a slower pace in March. Factory output also fell after four strong months of gains.

Companies like Coca-Cola (KO), Goldman Sachs (GS) and even Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) appeared to have better than anticipated earnings. Interesting that GS stock fell 1%. JNJ shares went nowhere as well. Gold's price fell a little while silver and copper prices were flat.

Anthony Chan, chief economist with J.P. Morgan Private Wealth management, said of the Spanish debt auction. "The market is reassessing and feeling a little better."

Too Early Into Earnings Season to Sound the "All-Clear" Signal

"Markets have been encouraged so far by companies that beat analyst expectations," Chan said.

But he warned against judging the quarter based on the small number of companies that have reported at this early stage.

Intel (INTC) reported earnings after the markets closed Tuesday. It beat quarterly earnings estimates by 3 cents, but fell over 3% in after-hours trading. A company like INTC, the world's largest chipmaker, is a case-in-point of the kind of stock we can accumulate on big market down-days.INTC saw its 1st-quarter 2012 earnings fall 13% as spending on research and marketing rose while sales were flat.

"Buy the rumor and sell the news!". That's what will probably happen to INTC over the days ahead, but their 3% dividend will limit the sell-off.

The company said that a shortage of hard drives led to reduced demand for their chips. But Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith said hard-drive supplies improved during the first quarter and the shortage is now history.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company said it expects $13.1 billion to $14.1 billion in second-quarter revenue. That places Intel's revenue midpoint at $13.6 billion, above the analyst forecast of $13.4 billion. That may mean they'll raise their dividend! You can read a "live-blogging" report on INTC earnings conference call and try to intuit where the stock price is heading from here.

IBM (NYSE:IBM) reported quarterly earnings that beat analysts' expectations. But as CNBC reported, they missed slightly on revenue, sending its shares lower in after-hours trading on Tuesday (down about 2.3%). (See earnings call transcript.)

Wednesday April 18th will see companies like Qualcomm (QCOM) and American Express (AXP) report earnings. Perhaps both will sell-off after they report, especially if the market stumbles on Wednesday and/or Thursday.

Analyst Mark Sue at RBC Capital Markets recently said in an interview that QCOM ..."is seeing a lot of growth in the wireless space." "This year it's all about 4G LTE," or fourth-generation wireless mobile broadband technology, "and chips are being designed into popular devices from Apple, Samsung and others."

"Sue, with a $75 price target and an outperform rating on Qualcomm stock, expects continued growth in the smartphone market, and wants to see Qualcomm move beyond Android- or Apple-powered phones into those using Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows 8".

Many investors know that QCOM is a supplier to Apple (AAPL), but the stock has had an aggressive run-up over the past 4 months.

Chart forQUALCOMM Incorporated (<a href=

As this 6-month chart demonstrates, QCOM is well above its 200-day moving average and its Bollinger Band range is looking "stretched". Patient investors may get a chance to buy some shares near or slightly below its 50-day moving average, currently around $65.

Thursday April 19th Spain is supposed to have an auction of 10-year bonds that some well-known "talking heads" think won't go well.

Thursday is also when Bank of America (BAC) and Morgan Stanley (MS) announce earnings before the bell. Microsoft announces after the bell.

Of the three, Morgan Stanley may present a more deeply-discounted buying opportunity.

Who knows, maybe this unloved financial giant with a forward PE ratio of less than 8 may go on sale for close to $16, the low end of its Bollinger Band range.

Friday we'll see General Electric (GE) report along with Honeywell (HON), Kimberly-Clark (KMB) and Under Armour (UA).

Dividend lovers may have a chance to snag some GE, HON, KMB on any sell-off. UA looks too rich for my blood, trading at a P/E ratio of 52.

Keep Your Eyes on the Bottom Line

Listen carefully to these earnings reports if you can. Examine the forward guidance of each company and how the markets react to them. These big stocks have had a huge move higher, and this current market "consolidation"(stocks correcting to better values) may not be over.

At some point though Dr. Bernanke and The Fed will surprise many with further massive monetary easing. The investment markets will love it!

Billionaire John Embry, the Chief Investment Strategist at Sprott Asset Management, recently summarized the situation in a great interview he did at King World News.

"The interpretation of the FOMC minutes that there would be no more QE is preposterous."

"Last year, when they had about $1.5 trillion in budget deficits, they monetized some 61% of it."

"I think the budget deficit will be equally as large going forward and there are less and less buyers. So, the idea that there is no QE coming, only a moron would believe that."

With that in mind, patiently build your wish-list, and buy the strongest companies at the lowest prices possible. Then let the Fed do the rest!.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in MS over the next 72 hours.