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: $100
- Nearest Support: $95
- Catalyst: Q1 Earnings
Up first on the list is Apple (AAPL) - Get Report . This tech giant is seeing big volume this afternoon, following the firm's first-quarter earnings numbers. Apple posted record sales and profit numbers in the first quarter, bringing in earnings of $3.28 per share. Analysts were looking for $3.22 per share for the quarter. Even so, Apple is correcting this afternoon, down 4.5% after guidance for next quarter pointed to the company's first small year-over-year sales decline since 2003.
Despite the selling, Apple is actually holding up quite well this afternoon. Shares are holding onto support at $95 right now, an important price floor that previously got successfully tested this past fall. Fundamentally, Apple looks incredibly cheap right now -- a bounce off of $95 here looks like a low-risk buying opportunity.
TheStreet's Jim Cramer owns Apple for his Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust portfolio.
"All in all, we acknowledge the near-term is concerning but are confident in the long-term, and view weakness in shares, which may extend beyond next quarter, as an opportunity for long-term investors," Cramer and portfolio co-manager Jack Mohr wrote today for Action Alerts PLUS. "We believe the suggestion that the company's growth days are over is narrow-minded at best and ignorant at worst. Catalysts are abundant, in our view."
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- Nearest Resistance: $13.50
- Nearest Support: $11.50
- Catalyst: Ex-Dividend
Ford started the week testing a key support level at $11.50, a price level that hadn't been tested since August. But shares look like they're managing to catch a bid off of that level today, signaling the potential for a re-test of the highs made last fall.
If you decide to buy Ford here, it makes sense to keep a protective stop just on the other side of $11.50. If that line in the sand gets violated, then sellers are back in control.
- Nearest Resistance: $18
- Nearest Support: $11
- Catalyst: Oprah
Last up on our list of high-volume stocks is Weight Watchers (WTW) - Get Report . This weight loss company is up slightly on big volume this afternoon, continuing to see attention following an Oprah-fueled rally Tuesday. Oprah posted a video ad for Weight Watchers to her 31 million Twitter followers yesterday, announcing that she'd lost 26 pounds on the diet program. Shares rallied almost 20% in reaction to the high-profile update.
From a technical standpoint, Weight Watchers looks bullish long-term Shares are in a primary uptrend, and a correction in the last six weeks is creating what looks like a buyable bounce in this stock. If you decide to be a buyer here, the 200-day moving average looks like a logical place to park a protective stop.
Disclosure: This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL.