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The stock market showed lopsided action Friday, even though the major indexes pretty much failed to reflect it. However, energy stocks rebounded sharply one day after suffering deep losses Thursday.
WTI crude oil futures rallied 2.1% to $46.46 a barrel, helping stocks in the oil drilling, field services, international oil and gas exploration and U.S. exploration groups jump 2% or more.
IBD’s oil drilling group is still 35% below its 52-week high in Dec. 12. As seen in IBD’s 33 industry sector rankings, the oil sector is not a leader but a laggard at No. 31, close to dead last. The best growth companies tend to come from the highest ranking sectors (currently Computer, Chips, Leisure, Electronics and Banks, as seen in the current NYSE + Nasdaq Smart Tables feature in the Data Tables section at Investors.com) or from sectors that are jumping up fast through the rankings.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost less than 0.1%; at 20,939, the blue-chip gauge is poised to lose little for the week after the prior week’s 1.9% upward thrust.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite inched a few points higher at 1 p.m. New York time following a solid April jobs report (211,000 net new jobs created, 4.4% jobless rate, 0.3% hike in hourly wages month on month).
Some observers noted the heavily watched U-6 unemployment rate, which includes so-called “discouraged workers,” fell 30 basis points to 8.6%, another positive sign of the ongoing economic recovery.
“On the negative side, wages were expected to rise 2.7% on an annual basis, but only rose 2.5%,” Matthew Peterson, chief wealth strategist at LPL Financial, told clients in a note Friday.
The market showed conflicting signals in terms of internals. On the NYSE, advancing stocks exceed decliners by nearly a 2-1 ratio, but on the Nasdaq losers are ahead of winners by nearly 200 issues.
In the tech world, internet content names continued to accelerate in terms of relative price performance. IBD’s Internet-Content group has vaulted into the top 20 among 197 groups ranked daily in terms of six-month price performance.
In that group, the newest big cap is Snap (SNAP), which gained more than 1.3% to 22.90. It’s on track to make its highest daily close since March 27, when the Snapchat operator finished the day at 23.83. Snap debuted on March 2 at 17 a share. It has 1.16 billion shares outstanding.
Watch for wild or tight action in Snap shares ahead of the Venice, Calif., company’s first ever quarterly results announcement on May 11 after the close. The Street sees a Q1 net loss of 19 cents a share despite a 306% leap in revenue to $157.5 million.
As noted in an earlier Stock Market Today column on April 17, analysts will perhaps be eager to see how the company reins in its explosive growth in operating costs.
A seasoned investor could argue that Snap is on the verge of forming a six-week cup base with an aggressive 24.50 buy point. Keep in mind, that buy point is still below the stock’s ultimate high of 29.44. Hence, the stock could run into severe overhead supply.
When a stock reaches certain prior price levels, disgruntled investors often come out of the woodwork and sell indiscriminately. Those folks are known as overhead supply.
IBD Founder Bill O’Neil has often said that overhead supply matters at price levels seen within the past 18 months. After that long period of time, old highs matter less.
Elsewhere, Apple (AAPL) continued to show that it wants to remain a leader in the current bull cycle; shares, up more than 1.4% to 148.43 in fast turnover, rose further past a 141.12 4-weeks-tight follow-on entry (please see a full analysis and annotated charts of Apple’s daily and weekly charts at Leaderboard).
At the start of the year, Apple showed a lowly IBD Composite Rating of 51 on a scale of 1 (poor) to 99 (excellent), and a 59 Relative Price Strength rating. However, that “low” RS rating is typical for a company that builds long bottoming base patterns.
Now, that RS Rating, based on 12-month relative price performance, has improved to a very respectable 89, especially for a company with a market cap approaching $780 billion. That rating is third highest in IBD’s Telecom-Consumer Products industry group (see the Stock Checkup to see who is ranked No. 1 and No. 2).
Apple has gained 25% since clearing a 118.12 cup-with-handle buy point, noted often in the Stock Market Today and other IBD columns in early January. One of IBD’s top offense-style sell rules is to sell on the way up, especially when the gain reaches 20% to 25% over a period of month to six months or longer.
An investor with supreme conviction, however, thinking that Apple is on track with new products in the pipeline, a rising dividend, plans for more share buybacks, and ongoing strength in its services businesses, may decide to hold longer.
Keep watching for signals of heavy institutional selling, which would trigger an exit point.
Also in tech land, Nvidia (NVDA), one of the top dogs in 2016, continues to trade quietly yet remains slightly above the key 50-day line, a good sign.
The stock, down 0.3% to 103.47 in dull volume, is just 14% off its all-time peak.
The RS Rating remains superior at 97 as seen in IBD Stock Checkup, but watch for an improvement in its Accumulation/Distribution Rating, which is still horrible at D-.
For now, the stock’s sideways action is impressive given the huge gains made after Nvidia broke out of a perfect cup with handle at 33.16 in March of last year. But the current base is amorphous; too wiggly to be a sturdy cup, too deep to be a flat base, and flawed as a double bottom.
Remember, in a double-bottom base, the second big sell-off must undercut the first sell-off. In Nvidia’s case, the stock did not go below the first low of 95.17; so the shakeout wasn’t deep enough, a characteristic of excellent double-bottom bases. For an example of an outstanding double bottom, see Nokia (NOK) from July to October 1998, coinciding with a swift bear market that was spurred by the Russian ruble crisis, the bailout of the big hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management, and the collapse of Japan’s Long-Term Credit Bank (nicknamed “Chogin”).
Nvidia’s fiscal first quarter ended in April; the Street sees solid results ahead (EPS up 46% to 67 cents a share, revenue up 46% to $1.91 billion), but keep in mind that growth in Q2, ending in July, are seen slowing to a 17% gain on the bottom line and a 33% gain on the top line.
Of course, the formidable competitor in processors for video game consoles, PCs, self-driving technology, AI research and data center equipment is facing incredible year-over-year comps going forward.
In Q1 and Q2 of FY 2017, EPS rose 39% and 56%, respectively. But then earnings accelerated to a 104% gain in Q3 and 117% in Q4 last year.
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