Six Stocks to Buy, Five Stocks to Short

by: Prashanth Cherukuri

I think Yahoo Finance should have a disclaimer on its website that says "For weak hearts only", and before anyone attempts to buy a stock, the same message should be shown. The stock market has become too volatile to handle for many people, including me.

Here's how my portfolio performed this past week, just as an indication of how things were, and FYI, I am 30% short and 70% long.

  • Up 1% on Monday Up 6% on Tuesday
  • Up 1% on Wednesday, thanks to my (NYSE:CRM) and Staren Networks (NYSE:STAR) short positions
  • Down a whopping 22% on Thursday, thanks to heavy selling in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN)
  • Down 10% on Friday, in spite of my First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) short position negating losses from AAPL.

I devoted 30% of my portfolio to short stocks since I could not withstand the highly volatile movements in the market, and honestly that has not changed anything.

My opinion is that the markets are headed in no direction right now. Everyday, I dread to switch on CNBC at 8AM, because I'll have to hear of more credit-related writedowns, this time from a new bank. This is insane enough, and now Bernanke comes out with comments that the economy is slowing down. Sometimes I wonder, what does it take for these geniuses to just keep their opinions to themselves? The investors are spooked out enough and do not need another reason to be warned of the impending doom. Honestly it does not help in anyway to predict a recession. Why don't they do something about it instead of being soothsayers? The banks also are not doing us any favors. I am of the opinion that they should come clean with all the losses at once and take the hit instead of handling us a daily dose of gloom pills.

However, the last two trading days of the week were worse, in that tech stocks took the biggest blow, thanks to earnings from Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM). These companies had great results and good forecasts, but were overly punished. We are talking about two tech behemoths who have enough resources and cash to withstand a recession, but even these were not spared.

Considering all the bad news, I am positioning myself to take advantage of the banks' misery. Here's some stock ideas going forward, both long and short:

Stocks to Buy

EMC (EMC) @ $18: VMW is still strong, storage requirements will only go up with tech spending.

VMWare (NYSE:VMW) @ $75: If things get bad, this stock could get to $75, and that is when you jump in. There's no reason a company like VMW should take a 33% hit in stock price

Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN) @ $80: This company is down about 40 bucks from its high, and India and China are just warming up to GPS devices. This is an opportunity you should not miss out. Read the latest earnings report. This is a pullback which you must cash in on.

Suntech Power (NYSE:STP) @ $55, watch out for earnings: I have always liked this stock, and recommended it way back here, on September 17, 2007. The stock has gone up almost 75% since then, and most of it is due to the runup in the solar sector as a whole. Now its pulling back, and earnings are on November 15th. If stock goes down to $55, buy before earnings, else buy after earnings. Check out JA Solar (NASDAQ:JASO) today which Friday reported great numbers but sold on news due to recent runup on no news.

Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ:AKAM) @ $34: Another stock which I like a lot. Solid fundamentals, is in a growing business, and the best of breed with the best companies as its customers. Had a good runup after earnings, but gave everything back this week. I would consider waiting till it hits 34, and buy for the long term, since this is a winner.

Uranium Resources (NASDAQ:URRE) @ 12: I recommended this stock at $8 a share, and it has seen healthy growth even as Uranium spot prices showed moderate growth. U308 prices are expected to peak again in 2008, and this is the stock you should own to leverage that rise in price.

The company reported earnings Friday and went as high as $14, but the market brought the stock down to close up 4 cents. I expect the stock to approach its 52 week high at $15 next week on the back of very strong results and guidance.

Stocks to Short

First Solar (FSLR): Current Price $206: This stock has had an unbelievable runup in the past year, since it IPOed at $20, and hit $230 on Thursday, since when it has taken a 10% hit. The company reported earnings on Wednesday, which grew ten-fold, but the reason for that was adjustment of earnings due to stock offering. Company trades at a Forward PE of 125, and the PEG is 4.6, which is highly overvalued. For more, read here on FSLR.

JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM): Current Price $42: If the banks were the reason for all this turmoil, shouldn't they be the one that face all the fire? Every bank's stock price has seen a 30% drop atleast, except for JP Morgan and one of the reasons for this is that they still haven't fully disclosed their share of the credit-related losses. As they come out with their dark story, expect some selling here. I shorted at $43 and I will cover only when this whole murky picture gets cleared. Right now, everyone is afraid of banks, and those are the places to short. (NASDAQ:CTRP): Current Price $59: Another good company but valuation is high at PE of 55. Till now it was China's Priceline and saw a nice growth as more and more Chinese took to traveling. Now, Priceline has purchased an Asian company Agoda, and could serve stiff competition to CTRP.

Limelight Networks (NASDAQ:LLNW): IPOed amidst a lot of hype and has seen a nice rise since then. It was touted to be the answer to Akamai's monopoly, but earnings were less than impressive, with a loss in the third quarter. However, the PE is 60 and any growth is already priced in. Customers say that service is also not of the greatest quality and is not good enough to steal business from Akamai.

Yingli Green Energy (NYSE:YGE): Is this the Solar bubble this time, like the dotcom bubble in 2000? Any company that has solar in its name seems to have its stock up 100% recently. YGE for example, went up from 15 to 39 in a matter of 3 months, without any earnings release or major event. It got a few contracts, but nothing to warrant doubling of stock price. Stock fell sharply to 32, and I expect further decline, to $20s, as crude oil takes a breather.

Oversold Stocks

Meanwhile, check out the action on LDK Solar (NYSE:LDK) Thursday and Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX) Friday, as the whole market was tumbling. Both these stocks have been way oversold. Fundamentals remain very strong.

Disclosure: Author holds positions in the above-mentioned stocks