Tech Spending and Stop Losses
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 Your Daily Profit

 

December 18, 2008

 

*****Tech Spending

*****Stop Losses

***** Stock Summit 2008: Profits After the Fall

 

Dear Investor,

 

Up 359 on Tuesday, down 99 on Wednesday. I can live with that. But I still have to wonder how long the relative optimism for stocks will last. General Electric (NYSE:GE) was downgraded and received a rare “sell” rating by Sterne Agee & Leach, and, as we saw with Honda yesterday, companies are starting lower 4th quarter earnings estimates.

 

We’ve been expecting earnings estimates to come down for some time. But it remains to be seen how much is already priced in. For the financials, it could be argued that the worst is priced.

 

Consider Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS). That company posted a $2.37 billion dollar loss during its 4th quarter, which ended November 30. That worked out to a loss of $2.34 a share. A poll from Reuter’s showed analysts were expecting a loss of just $0.34 a share. A month ago, analysts were expecting a $0.30 profit.

 

The analysts missed by a mile. They were totally unprepared for such a weak quarter from Morgan Stanley. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? Well, after a somewhat rough start to the day, Morgan Stanley shares finished with a 2% gain.

 

The same thing happened over at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). Goldman lost $2.1 billion, which was roughly in inline with expectations even though there were some wacky calls for losses as high as $6 a share. The stock jumped 14% Tuesday and added another 3.6% yesterday.

 

*****The Fed’s rate cut helped Goldman and Morgan Stanley out, for sure. But there’s also the mark to market accounting that each company has to use. That means the companies must price all assets every quarter. In the case of mortgage related assets, where the prices are effectively nil, they are forced to take steep write-downs.

 

Morgan Stanley took around $2.2 billion in write-downs as it re-priced damaged assets. At present, these are paper losses. But it goes to demonstrate the difficulty of earnings estimates. So what looks like a staggering surprise loss may not be quite as bad as it first appears.

 

Of course, there’s also the flipside, which would be that the assets could be subject to more write-downs in the future. But for now, the companies are getting the benefit of the doubt.

 

*****We’ve seen the bottom fall out of homes sales, commodity prices, retail sales and lending. Technology spending has remained fairly strong. You may recall I discussed IBM (NYSE:IBM)’s 3Q earnings in Daily Profit as a strong point of the earnings season when it reaffirmed its 2008 full year earnings back in October.  

 

That was then. Now analysts are expecting tech spending to be the next domino to fall. A Citigroup analyst says the first quarter could be the worst ever for software companies. A Gartner analyst is saying “There’s going to be a period of reckoning that’s not going to be pretty…”

 

IBM and Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq:JAVA) are two companies that could suffer.

 

IBM sold off sharply in the Fall, dropping from 52-week highs around $130 to as low as $70 a share. A casual look at one- or two-year chart might make it look as though a downturn is priced in. But a look at a longer term chart gives a different perspective.

 

In late 1999, at the height of the technology bubble, IBM traded as high as $140 a share. Between 2003 and 2007, IBM was range-bound between $75 and $100.  In 2007, the stock took off again and rallied to the $130 area in spring and summer of 2008.

 

Now, IBM is back in that $75-$100 zone. For us to start talking about IBM hitting 10-year lows, like we have with so many other stocks, we’d have to see prices drop to the $50-$60 range. 

 

Sun Microsystems looks even more vulnerable than IBM. Sun was already in a downtrend when IBM was hitting highs in mid-2008. The stock currently trades just above $4 a share.

 

*****One stock that may be an attractive alternative to the high-end server and software companies like IBM and Sun is VMware (NYSE:VMW). VMware makes “virtualization” software that allows companies to get more bang for their buck from their networks.

 

The stock has been whacked pretty good this year (what hasn’t?) but may actually benefit from cuts in corporate IT budgets.

 

*****Finally, I want to address some of the stocks we’ve talked about here in Daily Profit. We’ve managed to get in some positions that are doing well. Both Graham Corp (NYSE:GHM) and Emergent Biosciences (NYSE:EBS) are up nicely since they were first discussed here. It’s time to protect those gains.

 

Shortly after I recommended a stop-loss on Questcor Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:QCOR), the stock started selling off. That stop loss should have taken you out of the position at $8.80, preserving your gains and keeping from suffering as the stock continued to fall.

 

Now is the time to put in stops on Emergent and Graham. Graham’s got support at $10, so a stop at $9.75 should keep you in on a routine sell-off but take you out if the stock is going to head back to its lows.

 

A stop-loss at $22 will do the same for Emergent.

 

Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) is far more volatile and I also consider it more of a long-term holding. For that reason, I’m content to let it go, for now.

 

*****Monday’s landmark video investment conference, Stock Summit 2008: Profits After the Fall, was a huge hit. The turnout was phenomenal…thousands tuned in to watch TradeMaster Chief Trading Strategist Benson George give his blueprint for profits in 2009…and his top “breakout” stocks are already showing gains

 

Well, it’s not too late for you to share the wealth

 

I’ve seen this happen more times than I can count. Benson uncovers an absolute gem of a stock with his TradeMaster system, and the profits start rolling in the very next day.

 

It’s like clockwork. But the thing is, those profits don’t stop after a day. That’s the key to the TradeMaster system. One-day gains turn into two-day gains…and then three-day gains…and pretty soon you’ve got a big winner on your hands.

 

Now, I want to show you how you start profiting with Benson and the TradeMaster system.

 

It’s quick. It’s easy. And it won’t cost you a single dime…

 

Here’s what you do – go to www.TradeMaster.tv to check out the replay of Stock Summit 2008: Profits After the Fall. You’ll discover the secrets to Benson’s amazing trading strategy that’s consistently putting up double-digit gains while the markets collapse around us.

 

Then accept my invitation to try Benson’s TradeMaster service and get you immediate access to the Special Report TradeMaster’s Top 5 Breakout Stocks. Take some time and watch the video then try the service with no commitment or obligation on your part to continue.

 

That’s it. That’s all you need to be well-armed to start making some money as soon as the opening bell rings on the New York Stock Exchange tomorrow morning.

 

Best regards,

 

Ian Wyatt

Founder and Publisher

TradeMaster Daily Stock Alerts

 

PS – After you view the video from the comfort of your home or office and sign up to try TradeMaster, don’t forget to grab your two Bonus Special Reports – The Beginners Guide to Shorting Stocks and Technical Analysis: Top 4 Indicators for Profits. Along with TradeMaster’s Top 5 Breakout Stocks, you’ll be armed for profits tomorrow!

 





Posted 12-18-2008 6:12 PM by Ian Wyatt

Comments

chesapeake energy corp | Digg hot tags wrote chesapeake energy corp | Digg hot tags
on 12-18-2008 8:45 PM

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