Bernanke did investors little good yesterday, but maybe we should view it as a small victory as his not helping us was paired with his comments not hurting us either - a wash if you will. He has more testimony today however we would expect much of the same. Greece appears to be creeping back up into the headlines and as we write US futures are lower.
We do have economic news out today including the MBA Mortgage Index, Housing Starts (Consensus 743k), Building Permits (Consensus 765k), Crude Inventories and the Fed's Beige Book. We think tomorrow's news is what the market will be looking ahead to, however.
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Looking at Asian markets we see markets are mixed:
All Ordinaries - down 0.45%
Shanghai Composite - up 0.37%
Nikkei 225 - down 0.32%
NZSE 50 - up 0.15%
Seoul Composite - down 1.48%
In Europe markets are higher:
CAC 40 - up 0.72%
DAX - up 0.23%
FTSE 100 - up 0.11%
OSE - up 0.39%
Sprint (S) rose $0.19 (5.49%) to close at $3.65/share on volume of 99.1 million shares in yesterday's trading. This continues the winning streak for the company and the high volume confirms that this move is for real. The company reports earnings next week and there will surely be something said during the conference call to justify this move higher. We have risen about 20% over the course of the past month and much of that has come in the past few trading sessions to put us at 6 month highs for the shares.
Sirius XM (SIRI) has been building a base in the $0.10 range discussed in detail here before. Yesterday the shares hit an intraday high of $2.10/share and backed off to close at $2.09/share after rising $0.02 (0.97%) on volume of 49.8 million shares. The shares have shown strength in the face of a handful of headwinds and that we find bullish. We will have to look at this one over the next few days, but will probably not change our range until after earnings when we have all of the information on the table and the conference call transcript to read over. Too many questions out there to be super bullish right now, and our bullishness has waned over the past few weeks, although we are still leaning towards that way as of now.
It is early in the morning and we see that Arena Pharmaceuticals' (ARNA) competitor received approval from the FDA for their drug. We took a glance at the press release and some other documents we had in our inbox, but will take a day to review all of the pertinent information before making any big calls. Arena shares fell $0.06 (0.54%) to close at $11.05/share in regular trading yesterday and fell down to the $10/share range in the after hours session while Vivus (VVUS) was halted. Volume was 23.5 million shares and we fully expect a flurry of trading today as traders take off their hedges and close various trades. We see where Twitter blew up with Vivus and Arena shareholders had a lot of back and forth slamming the other company, but these are not the two to argue about as each offers their own pros and cons. Consumers have a choice, and now it is about product differentiation and the market is more than large enough to allow both companies to have ample sales and profits. If the two want to argue about something it should be the third wheel who's shares have to be overvalued at this point. What investors need to remember is that Arena still has a billion dollar blockbuster at the absolute worst case, and for a worst case scenario that does not sound too awful.
Regions Financial (RF) will report earnings next week, and in the meantime the company's shares have risen strongly. Volume was 22.6 million shares yesterday as the stock moved up $0.19 (2.85%) to close at $6.85/share. The daily chart looked quite strong and we suspect that investors are expecting the same strong earnings on rising mortgage demand and possible loan growth at the bank. We think that the shares will break through the $7/share level on earnings and could melt-up towards the $8/share level after that - assuming that the company beats and provides guidance in-line with that of its peers who have already reported.
When it comes to Chinese stocks these days, simply stay away. There is far too much fraud going on here for the average investor to keep up with everything and on top of that figure out if a company is legitimate or not. Leave that game to the pros and watch even them struggle with it - as they have already! All this brings us to New Oriental Education & Technology Group (EDU) which saw its shares fall $7.64 (34.32%) to close at $14.62/share on volume of 30.6 million shares. Regulators are looking into this and that has never been a good situation as it usually is the beginning of the end. Personally we have not seen many Chinese stock make it through scrutiny like EDU is about to get, so we would encourage readers to simply stay clear of this potential train wreck.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.