Biotech and internet-related large caps helped the Nasdaq composite forge a solid gain of 1% Monday, while General Electric (GE) is trying to put the skids on a sharp five-day slide that sucked out nearly $28 billion worth of the company’s market value.
X Meanwhile, oil and gas shares continued to advance in droves as energy prices remain strong. WTI crude oil futures reversed from small early losses and edged 0.2% higher to $63.49 a barrel.
GE, the focus of a front-page story in the latest IBD Weekly, has a $139 billion market cap and 8.67 billion shares outstanding. At the end of the devastating 2008-09 bear market, GE traded as low as 5.73 a share, equivalent to a $49 billion market value at that time.
The Nasdaq 100 — led by 1%-plus gains from tech heavyweights Alphabet (GOOGL), Intel (INTC) and Microsoft (MSFT) — lifted 0.8%. The S&P 500 gained 0.8% while the Dow Jones industrial average lagged, up nearly 0.6%.
Apple (AAPL), the largest company on the Nasdaq and a Dow 30 component, fell 0.8% to 177 but volume was dull. The iPhone giant, despite getting new downgrades, is not triggering any sell signals. Shares are up 10% since clearing a fine second-stage cup with handle at 160.97 on Oct. 27, and slightly above the more recent entry at 176.34.
The megacap tech recently hopped off its 50-day moving average near 170 three weeks ago, justifying a follow-on buy for holders with a nice profit cushion in the stock.
The Russell 2000 rose nearly 0.4%. Volume rose on the Nasdaq and was sharply down on the NYSE, according to preliminary data.
GE, part of the 30-stock Dow industrials, is now trading 33% below its 200-day moving average, which too has been falling hard since May of last year. Excluding the brief flash crash of August 2015, the last time GE fell this hard below the important long-term level was all the way back in March 2009, the tail end of the market’s severe slide after topping in November 2007.
Plus, notice how a rally in early January this year failed to keep GE shares above their 50-day moving average for long. Healthy stocks trade above their 50-day moving average, which in turn leads the 200-day moving average higher. For GE, the opposite is occurring.
Technically speaking, GE could find some buyers among the value investing crowd. However, as noted in this GE feature by IBD, GE faces the unenviable task of deciding whether to maintain positions in the power, aviation and health care markets, or to sell more parts of itself to become leaner and meaner.
GE’s attractiveness as a dividend play has definitely lost its luster after the board approved a 50% haircut in the quarterly dividend to 12 cents a share in November.
Within the Dow Jones industrial average, fellow component Verizon Communications (VZ) makes IBD’s Dividend Leaders screen. The telecom giant, which has a 4.5% annualized yield and a terrific three-year Earnings Stability Factor of 5 on a scale of zero to 99, rose nearly 2% to 52.89 in fast turnover. A move past 53.79, 10 cents above the high in the handle of a long saucer base, could present a timely buy point.
The Street expects Verizon to post a 2% rise in fourth-quarter profit to 88 cents a share on a 3% lift in revenue to $33.25 billion. Results come out Tuesday before the market open. (Check IBD’s earnings calendar for other companies set to report results.)
Meanwhile, fellow Dow 30 components Intel (INTC) and Goldman Sachs (GS) continue to do well, with gains of 2% each. The former is still forming a new base. The latter appears to be building a shallow new base atop a much longer saucer with handle that furnished a breakout past 247.17 on Nov. 30.
Elsewhere in the stock market today, biotechs helped lead the upside following news that French pharma giant Sanofi (SNY) is buying Biogen (BIIB) spinoff Bioverativ (BIVV) for more than $11 billion, while Celgene (CELG) confirmed rumors that it’s buying Juno Therapeutics (JUNO).
At least 11 of the 463 companies in IBD’s biotech industry group hold a solid Composite Rating of 90 or higher and trade at least 10 a share. They include Ligand Pharmaceuticals (LGND) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX), which hold an awesome score of 98 and 97, respectively.
Ligand ran up nearly 3% to 160.26 in afternoon trading, extending gains from a 149.41 buy point in an eight-week flat base to 7%, so it’s a bit extended in price.
Vertex, which reports Q4 results on Jan. 31 after the close, is trying to clear stubborn resistance near 160 as it builds a long flat base that could also be viewed as a saucer pattern. The standard buy point is 167.95.
(Follow Saito-Chung on Twitter at @IBD_DChung for more analysis on growth stocks, charts, and financial markets.)
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