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Zacks

Christmas Comes a Day Late

We’ve gone from the worst Christmas Eve session in history to the best Dec. 26th performance ever! And the best part is that today’s surge more than made up for Monday’s selloff, reinvigorating hopes for a Santa Claus rally in the days ahead.

For the first time in weeks, we can actually say it was a fun session in the market. The NASDAQ jumped 5.8% (or about 361 points) to 6554.35. The Dow’s surge of 1086.25 points was the greatest one-day point gain ever, marking a rise of nearly 5% to 22,878.45. The S&P rose 4.96% to 2467.7.

The indices had their best single session in years, which shows just how oversold the market has been for the past few months.

Stocks started the session solidly in the green, but then gave it all back and bounced around breakeven for a while. And right when we were all thinking “here we go again”, the real rally started shortly before midday and didn’t stop. Stocks rallied right into the close.

All right, it was a great day in the market, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The 1000-point rise today was still just a drop in the bucket of what we’ve lost in December alone… not to mention the past three months. The problems that have been plaguing the market are not resolved, including the fear of rising rates, slowing economic growth across the globe, and the trade conflicts with China. Now there’s even a partial government shutdown to contend with.

So everybody is wondering if the bottom is finally in… or if this is just a normal bounce back rally in a bearish environment that will be picked away in the upcoming sessions. We’ll have a better idea in the days to come.

But for the moment, we should just enjoy this performance. It’s still Christmastime and we’ve been asking for a day like this for a while now. 

Today's Portfolio Highlights:

Insider Trader:
As she has said several times before, Tracey believes the selling in the energy space is way overdone. While shares could still fall from here, the editor thinks that a lot of the pain has already been priced in. Therefore, today’s rally provided the portfolio an opportunity to add to its energy positions.

Tracey bought Parsley Energy (PE) and Berry Petroleum (BRY) on Wednesday with 6% allocations each. Shares of PE are down 47% over the last three months, but that didn’t keep three directors from buying shares of their own company over the past 30 days. Meanwhile, BRY actually announced a share buyback in the midst of the oil price plunge! That surely caught Tracey’s attention, as it did two insiders who bought on the same day as the announcement.

The portfolio also added about 2% each to its Encana (ECA) and Matador (MTDR) positions. These stocks have both gotten beaten up since Tracey bought them, which she considers to be a great opportunity to buy more in an oversold industry. Read the complete commentary for specifics on all of today’s moves and the editor’s energy outlook.

TAZR Trader: If there’s one good thing about this sharp correction, its that many growth stocks have suddenly become more affordable again. Case in point is Twitter (TWTR), which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 50% in its third quarter and has been holding above its October post-earnings lows around $26. Kevin therefore added TWTR on Wednesday with a starter allocation. Meanwhile, he also added to the portfolio’s position in ProShares UltraPro QQQ 3X Bull (TQQQ). Again, he feels that the market has dropped enough for a significant bounce from here and he sees a 70% probability that the lows are in for the next few weeks and wants to capitalize on the relief rally. Make sure to read his commentaries for specifics on these moves and to look at his most recent “Scenarios and Probabilities Map”.

Momentum Trader: Ever since reporting a positive surprise of more than 16% in its third quarter, shares of Xperi Corp. (XPER) have been showing good momentum. Earnings estimates also turned sharply higher in the past 30 days, underscoring its status as a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Dave likes what he’s seeing in this stock, so he added XPER on Wednesday with a 12.5% allocation. The company, which was formerly known as Tessera, is a product and technology licensing company that manufactures semiconductors and related products for a variety of different areas. Read the full write-up for more.

Healthcare Innovators: Today’s market rally has pushed Kevin to make a couple moves. First of all, he’s getting back into CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP), which is a name the portfolio took a tax loss on in October. But the correction has pulled the stock well under $30. Subscribers know how bullish the editor is on CRISPR technologies, so this looks like a great time to get positioned for the long-term.

Meanwhile, Kevin got out of Illumina (ILMN) a couple of weeks ago for a small profit because he knew the pounding that this company would take as the market continued to selloff. That was at about $335. He was certainly correct as the stock is now around $280. Time to get back in! Learn more about today’s moves in the full write-up.

Options Trader: "Stocks soared with all of the major indexes gaining nearly 5% or more, while the Dow notched its largest point gain ever. In fact, today's rebound erased the last two down days and then some.

"With stocks considered grossly oversold, especially given the robust economy, the market was due for a bounce. And word that large money managers and professionals were buying only fueled the rally even more.

"The same old concerns are still out there. But there’s a sense that they didn’t warrant the kind of pullback that we’ve seen. Who knows what the rest of the week will bring. But it’s nice to be so decisively off the lows."
-- Kevin Matras

Have a Great Evening,
Jim Giaquinto

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