Caution Is The Word Of The Week

by: David Brown

After two consecutive weeks of more than 200 basis points of growth in S&P 500 market prices resulting from general enthusiasm over the stimulus decisions of the ECB, Fed, and Japanese Central Bank, the market took profits relatively quietly last week. Last week's economic reports were generally flat. Existing Home Sales were up more than expected, and Philly Fed was down less than expected -- except for a terrible Empire Manufacturing report at -10 versus last month's -5.

This week delivers a wide number of reports, including Consumer Confidence tomorrow, New Home Sales Wednesday, and a bevy of indicators on Thursday: Initial Jobless Claims, Durable Goods, and the final Q2 GDP. Friday will include Personal Income, Chicago PMI, and Michigan Sentiment final for August. The most closely watched should be Consumer Confidence, Durable Goods, Personal Income and Chicago PMI. The latter four are all expected to be off somewhat from previous readings, and none would likely reflect any changes from the aforementioned Central Bank activity.

Here are the market stats.

In last week's trading, the market demonstrated its frequent flight-to-safety tendencies that follow a nice rise and precede important news. Health Care, Consumer Non-Cyclical, and Telecom led the way. Large-cap Growth was the top style/cap, albeit down -0.15%. Mid-cap Value was the worst, down -1.93%.

Overnight, the foreign markets were generally somewhat lower, caused in part by weaker economic numbers from Germany, which in turn led to a negative open for our domestic markets. A number of less-than-exciting reports and downgrades today from the Technology sector had it slipping badly -- nearly 1%. One of those impacting the sector was Apple's (OTC:APPL) iPhone 5 sales for the first weekend, which totaled 5 million, although some optimistic pundits had projected at least 10 million.

Lennar's (NYSE:LEN) revenue and earnings handily beat estimates this morning (earnings more than quadrupled), but not only did it fail to spur a spike in its own stock but also in the SPDR S&P Homebuilder's Index (NYSEARCA:XHB) -- both were down over 1% and Lennar continued to fall in after hours trading. We suggest caution, as we have Lennar ranked "Strong Sell" due to its already bloated forward P/E of 27 -- far above the average of our top 300 GARP (Growth at a Reasonable Price) stocks, which is well below ten 10!

The market will likely focus on the U.S. election for the next seven weeks, as it is quite important that our government regains its capability to function after several years of gridlock. Of course, any hiccup in the implementation of the central bank stimulus plans would create market havoc. Couple this with Germany's disappointment, and there is legitimate reason to be cautious. However, we have four large-cap GARP stocks below for the cautious investor to mull over.

4 Stock Ideas for this Market

This week, I used the GARP preset search in MyStockFinder and filtered for purely large-cap stocks. Here are four you may find interesting:

HCA Holdings Inc. (HCA) - Healthcare

Valero Energy Corporation (VLO) - Energy

NetEase, Inc. (NTES) - Technology

Encore Capital Group Inc. (ECPG) - Financials

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.