Monday was a decent day for US markets, with all three major indices up two thirds of a percent or more. With earnings season about to swing into full gear, there will be a ton of headlines over the next couple of weeks, and that means a bit more volatility. There are a number of names that were in focus on Monday that could continue moving sharply over the next couple of days. Here are five of Monday's focus stocks to follow over the next couple of days.
It looks like the Softbank deal to buy Sprint may be a step further towards completion now, as an agreement is in place. 55% of Sprint shares will be purchased for $7.30, or about $12.1 billion. Another $8 billion will be spent to obtain Sprint shares (through a new offering and convertible bond) at $5.25 per share. The $20 plus billion price will give Softbank a 70% stake in Sprint. Sprint will most likely use the proceeds to repay some of its debt, something I just recently covered. It is also possible that Sprint could turn around and buy out Clearwire, which it already owns almost half of. However, a Clearwire deal could require some federal approval, and it is not yet known whether a deal will actually take place.
Sprint shares declined by 4 cents on Monday after a 14.3% rally on Friday. Volume has been very heavy. Additionally, Clearwire shares have more than doubled since the news first came out, but again, a deal there is not yet certain. Sprint appears to be taking the stance that it will not make a Clearwire move for at least 6-8 months, as they wait to get the Softbank deal done first.
At this point, I'm not recommending a position in either Sprint or Clearwire, as investors looking to buy now have certainly missed a major move. Shares in either could certainly rally more, but this is a large deal and there certainly is the risk of it not being completed. Should that occur, these stocks could easily lose most of their post-deal rumor gains. Don't forget, earnings for Sprint are due out next week, so investors will be looking to see how Sprint is doing in the iPhone battle. If investors had to buy one of these names, I would think Sprint is in better position now, just because I see less downside risk for Sprint if the deal does not go through. These names will be very volatile for the short-term, and for long term investors, I would recommend staying away to avoid the volatility. Clearwire shares are at $2.69, well above the $0.83 low they hit only a few months ago. Those gains could easily evaporate if a buyout of the company does not take place.
Intuitive Surgical (ISRG):
Intuitive saw a nice rally on Monday after a JP Morgan analyst upgraded the stock. The analyst upgraded the stock from neutral to overweight, with a $625 price target. The analyst boosted 2012 and 2013 estimates on Intuitive, based on promising sales opportunities. The analyst believes that an increase in procedures done with Intuitive's da Vinci system will offset a slowdown in da Vinci installations. On the news, Intuitive shares rallied nearly $18 (3.63%) to $512.53.
While the analyst said this upgrade had nothing to do with Intuitive's quarter, you do have to question the timing. Intuitive is scheduled to report Q3 results Tuesday afternoon. Was this upgrade telling investors to buy before a potential good report, or was it an effort to get some investors out at inflated prices before a drop? We'll find out soon enough. No matter what the analyst says, the timing is questionable.
For the quarter, analysts are expecting Intuitive to report a 19.8% rise in quarterly revenues to just under $535 million. Earnings per share are expected to rise from $3.05 to $3.50. Intuitive has been known for blowing out estimates in recent years, and in the past four quarters, has beaten earnings estimates by an average of 9.8%. That's no small margin for a company expected to do three and a half bucks in earnings. Despite strong beats, Intuitive has not always rallied post-earnings. But some of those post-earnings drops have been great opportunities for long investors in this name. With a great report, this stock could easily challenge its $595 all-time high within the next couple of weeks. But if we get a good report and the stock sells off, it would probably be a very good time to buy. I probably will.
The financial giant rose 5.5% on Monday as investors were pleased that adjusted earnings and revenues beat expectations. The general opinion was that results were solid and core revenues were better than expected. Net interest margin actually rose 5 basis points to 2.86%, while expectations called for a decline of 11 basis points after multiple financials showed margins declining last week. The firm's allowance for loan losses was $25.9B, or 4% of total loans. That compares against $32.1B, or 5.1% of total loans a year ago. Tangible book value per share was $52.70, up six percent from a year ago.
This was certainly great news for shareholders, and the close on Monday was the highest close since early April. The average analyst price target is still about $4 above Monday's close, but I think that we will see some upgrades and target increases on this news. Citigroup may not be back where it was a few years ago just yet, but Monday's news was certainly a step in the right direction.
Netflix shares didn't move too much on Monday, compared to recent trading sessions, but there was an important news story.
Netflix announced the first part of their Scandinavian expansion, a move into Sweden. The service will cost about $12 a month, and the company expects to go live in Norway, Finland, and Denmark later this week. Four countries may seem like a lot, but as I've detailed in the past, those countries have a population roughly equal to state of Texas. It isn't that big of a move, less than half the size of the UK and Ireland move they made earlier this year.
This is a big move for Netflix in terms of content. The company stated that it has invested heavily in this expansion, stating that this launch has the most content of any launch. While that might provide a good boost to initial sign-ups, will the move prove to be too costly? Only time will tell. Again, this is a small market, and there is expected to be some decent competition from names like HBO, which is launching a similar service. This move will cause Netflix to report a Q4 loss, as we were told that at the Q2 results. Netflix will report Q3 results on Tuesday, October 23rd, a big day for long and short investors.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in ISRG over the next 72 hours.