Put down the 10-K filings and the stock screeners. It's time to take a break from the traditional methods of generating investment ideas. Instead, let the crowd do it for you.
From hedge funds to individual investors, scores of market participants are turning to social media to figure out which stocks are worth watching. It's a concept that's known as "crowdsourcing," and it uses the masses to identify emerging trends in the market.
Crowdsourcing has long been a popular tool for the advertising industry, but it also makes a lot of sense as an investment tool. After all, the market is completely driven by the supply and demand, so it can be valuable to see what names are trending among the crowd.
While some fund managers are already trying to leverage social media resources like Twitter to find algorithmic trading opportunities, for most investors, crowdsourcing works best as a starting point for investors who want a starting point in their analysis.
Today, we'll leverage the power of the crowd to take a look at some of the most active stocks on the market.
- Nearest Resistance: $7
- Nearest Support: $6
- Catalyst: Q2 Earnings
$20 billion steel producer ArcelorMittal (MT) - Get Report got a shot in the arm on Friday, boosted by the firm's second-quarter earnings call. ArcelorMittal reported profits of $1.11 billion on revenues of $14.74 billion for the quarter, which works out to earnings of 19.3 cents per share. The results definitively came in above expectations, with analysts counting on a 5.7-cent profit, on average. The earnings beat was good enough to send shares up 6% on big volume by the time Friday's session ended.
The ArcelorMittal result was also significant from a technical standpoint. Friday's price action broke shares above former resistance at $6, a price that this stock had failed to surpass on ever test since last November. With $6 now behind is, the stage is set for ArcelorMittal to take on its 2015 highs in the second half of this year. Consider Friday's breakout a pretty definitive buy signal for traders who've been waiting for a buying opportunity in this big metals stock.
VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF
- Nearest Resistance: $31
- Nearest Support: $28
- Catalyst: Spot Gold Prices
The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) - Get Report has been one of the NYSE's most actively traded issues in 2016, and this past week was no different. Shares ended the week almost 3% higher Friday, staging a rebound that's put shares back within grabbing distance of the high water mark set at the start of July.
All year long, GDX has been in a very well-defined uptrend, bouncing its way higher from January's lows to today. The most recent bounce came last week, when shares touched their trendline support level for the fourth time. GDX is still a "buy-the-dips stock" this summer, and that means that last week's swing higher represents a buyable move for traders who've been late to the party on GDX. If you decide to jump into this big ETF here, the 50-day moving average makes a logical place to park a protective stop.
- Nearest Resistance: $25
- Nearest Support: N/A
- Catalyst: Clinical Trial Failure
Small-cap drug maker Seres Therapeutics (MCRB) - Get Report was one of the most heavily traded stocks on the Nasdaq on Friday, selling off almost 70% during the session following news that the firm's lead experimental drug, SER-109, had failed in a clinical trial. A prior trial had shown positive results for Seres' therapy, and the surprise about-face caught investors by surprise, sending shares plunging to lifetime lows on Friday.
Shares of Seres had actually been showing some positive price trajectory for most of 2016, but that's over now. No two ways about it, the selloff from Friday means that Seres' chart is broken. Buyers should avoid trying to bargain-hunt in this stock until shares can establish some semblance of support again.
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN
- Nearest Resistance: N/A
- Nearest Support: N/A
- Catalyst: Market Highs
The S&P 500 made new all-time highs on Friday, and that translated into another day of all-time lows for shares of the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) - Get Report . VXX is a popular way for investors to get easy exposure to the VIX Volatility Index, but it's been an awful holding in 2016, thanks to low volatility market-wide, as well as the negative correlation between the VIX and the S&P 500 as the latter breaks price records. Put simply, it's hard to miss the big trend in VXX right now. As this big exchange-traded note moves down and to the right, it's still best avoided this summer.
An important note about this exchange-traded note is the fact that VXX doesn't have conventional support and resistance levels like a normal stock. Since the price action in VXX is determined by a statistical formula, not directly supply and demand from market participants, it's important not to try to use conventional technical tools on this unique exchange-traded note. But as long as the uptrend in the S&P remains intact, you don't want to own VXX.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
- Nearest Resistance: $25
- Nearest Support: $19
- Catalyst: Buyout Interest Rumors
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) - Get Report shot up on Friday, jumping to 3.5% gains on the day with a surge in trading volume after a report hit that private equity firms are considering taking the $34 billion tech company private. A report published by The Information said that KKR, Apollo Global Management and Carlyle Group are mulling over a buyout of HPE. Shares actually rallied approximately 8% immediately after the news hit before giving back about half of the jump by the time the closing bell rang.
From a technical standpoint, HPE looks attractive here. Shares have been in an uptrend all year long, bouncing their way higher in a well-defined price channel. The most recent bounce at the end of June was the latest buying opportunity that sent HPE up to the middle of its price channel, where shares sit now. Regardless of whether there's any merit to the private equity rumors, it makes sense to buy the dips in HPE this summer.
- Nearest Resistance: $17.50
- Nearest Support: $15.50
- Catalyst: Q2 Earnings
Shares of fertilizer company Potash (POT) corrected for a second day to end last week, shedding more than 10% of their market value in the final three days of the week. Potash earned a profit of 17.9 cents per share for the second quarter, coming more or less in-line with the 18-cent earnings that Wall Street was hoping for. Even so, guidance for the third quarter missed the mark, and investors unloaded shares on fears of lower volume and slipping pricing.
Technically speaking, Potash is holding up, but this $12 billion fertilizer stock is teetering on the edge of a potential breakdown. Shares ended the week just ten cents above key support at $15.50, a price level that, if violated, would signal a lot more downside risk for this stock in August. It makes sense to keep a close eye on how Potash reacts to this latest touch of support in the week ahead.
- Nearest Resistance: $62
- Nearest Support: $47.50
- Catalyst: Q4 Earnings
Western Digital (WDC) - Get Report ended last week on a sour note, selling off 11.5% on Friday after the firm's fiscal fourth-quarter numbers were released to Wall Street. Western Digital actually beat earnings estimates, bringing home a 79-cent per share profit that came in ahead of the 72-cent best guess from investors. But the firm's sales outlook came in below expectations, spooking analysts and triggering downgrades.
The good news for Western Digital bulls is that while shares are down, they're not out. This stock has actually been in a well-defined uptrend since mid-May, bouncing higher on the last three touches of trendline support. If shares can bounce off of that support line for a fourth time in the week ahead, we've got a clear-cut buy signal from WDC. Keep a close eye on how this one opens next week.
Disclosure: This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.