The Market Wants Clarity Now

by: David Brown

From the Fed, from Congress and the President, and from Europe, for starters. Chairman Bernanke may give us the former as he testifies on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Congress must act by Friday over the sequestration issues. And Italy could've helped a bit today if its election resulted in a more stable government, although that does appear to be happening. But clearly, Friday's Congressional decision on the sequestration issue is the key development of the week.

The week is full of economic announcements, including the important Consumer Confidence on Tuesday and Durable Goods on Wednesday. The GDP's second reading for Q4 will be closely watched on Thursday, along with Initial Jobless Claims and the Chicago PMI. Friday brings us the sequestration deadline, plus Personal Income, the final Michigan Consumer Sentiment reading of February, and Consumer Spending.

Obviously, it is a week for caution. It will most likely be a flight-to-safety week, with Consumer Non-Cyclicals, Utilities and Health Care. This week's March 4th edition of Time magazine includes an in-depth, scathing overview of the health care sector entitled, "Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us", written by Steven Brill. Read it. It's very frightening, and it will make you very angry, although it is more about non-profits than the publicly held portion of the health care industry (although it might apply to both).

Confused? Join the crowd. We have several undervalued stocks listed below for your consideration, but I would strongly urge you to consider hedging with VIX derivatives which, while slightly off lows, are far from 2012 highs. The VIX was up 34% today, and the VXX was up 15.3%. If Italy is in gridlock, I would enter a hedge position as the market opens. If Italy is carried by Bersani's party rather Berlusconi, you might wait until we get a feel for Bernanke's comments. But if Berlusconi wins all or it is deadlocked, I would hedge at the open.

Here are the Market Stats.

4 Stock Ideas For This Market

This week, I used the GARP (Growth at a Reasonable Price) preset search in MyStockFinder, filtering only for large cap stocks, which our market stats indicate should be more stable in periods of market volatility.

Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) - Industrials

  • Trading for under 12x current earnings and 4.75x forward earnings
  • 2013 projected EPS growth of 38.3%; 340% current quarter; 36.2% next quarter
  • Long-term projected EPS growth of 26%

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) - Technology

  • Trading at 10x current earnings and 8.8x forward earnings
  • 20% long-term projected EPS growth rate
  • Apple is significantly discounted after its sell-off. With more growth on tap in markets that haven't been entered, like China, we expected Apple's stock price to recover

AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) - Health Care

  • Recently spun-off from Abbot Labs to focus on advanced biotech research and new pipeline products
  • Declared 4.20% yearly dividend yield
  • Positive 2013 guidance mainly from its arthritis treatment, Humira, one world's best-selling medicines

Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE:TSN) - Consumer Non-Cyclical

  • Trading for 14.4x current earnings and under 10x forward earnings
  • 9.9% 2013 projected EPS growth; 6.8% current quarter; 8% next quarter
  • Long-term EPS growth rate of 8.5%

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.