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.
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN
- Nearest Resistance: N/A
- Nearest Support: N/A
- Catalyst: Volatility Jump
Leading things off from a volume standpoint on Friday was the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) - Get Report . VXX spiked 9% Friday, rallying as the broad market corrected for a second straight trading session. Voltility may have ended the week higher, but it's still pointing lower over the long term, after touching new lows for 2016 just a few sessions ago.
One 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 ETN. That said, the fact that VXX just hit new lows for the year is significant -- and since volatility is cyclical, some semblance of a rebound here this week isn't totally unexpected.
- Nearest Resistance: $8.20
- Nearest Support: $7.60
- Catalyst: Merger Confidence
Pharmacy chain Rite Aid (RAD) - Get Report bounced 3.4% to end last week, rallying after a report from the New York Post pointed to growing confidence that the Federal Trade Commission will approve the firm's buyout by Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) - Get Report . Rite Aid still trades for a significant discount to its $9 per share offer price, a 15% delta at current price levels.
Rite Aid's price action has been trading in a well-defined price channel since last fall, grinding sideways between resistance up at $8.20 and support down at $7.60. There's a lot of headline risk left in this stock right now. If the deal gets approval, shares are likely to close the gap to $9 very quickly. If it doesn't, expect $7.60 support to get violated.
- Nearest Resistance: $12
- Nearest Support: $10
- Catalyst: Technical Setup
Freeport-McMoRan ended the week at a major support level, a price line that's being tested as this stock forms a bearish descending triangle pattern. Put simply, if Freeport-McMoRan violates support at $10, then shares open up a lot of downside risk. $10 is the line in the sand to keep a close eye on this week.
- Nearest Resistance: $32.56
- Nearest Support: $32
- Catalyst: Acquisition News
Shareholders of Axiall (AXLL) ended last week on a very good note. Shares of the $2.3 billion chemical maker popped 26% on Friday, rallying on news that the firm is being bought out byWestlake Chemical (WLK) - Get Report . Westlake will pay $33 per share for Axiall, a deal that's valued at $3.8 billion including the target's debt.
Axiall popped to within a couple of points of that $33 target price at the open on Friday, which means that the money has already basically been made on this trade. Investors should look elsewhere for other opportunities.
- Nearest Resistance: $32.50
- Nearest Support: $29.50
- Catalyst: Apple Order
Intel (INTC) - Get Report caught investors' attention on Friday after rumors hit that the firm had received a mobile connectivity chip order from Apple (AAPL) - Get Report for the iPhone 7, a major win for Intel's mobile business. While the order doesn't necessarily represent game-changing financials for Intel, it does provide a very important endorsement that could lead to more mobile business, an area than Intel has been trying hard to grow amid slowing PC numbers.
Technically speaking, Intel has spent the last couple of months forming a rounding bottom pattern, a bullish pattern that triggers a buy with a breakout through resistance up at $32.50. If Intel can manage to catch a bid above that $32.50 level in June, we've got an important buy signal in this stock.
- Nearest Resistance: $60
- Nearest Support: $50
- Catalyst: Technical Setup
Long-term, Microsoft has been in a well-defined uptrend, catching a bid at all of this stock's touches of the bottom of its price channel. This coming week, as Microsoft starts things off right at the bottom of that channel, the next bounce higher makes for a solid and straightforward buy signal in this stock.
- Nearest Resistance: $25
- Nearest Support: $22
- Catalyst: Q4 Earnings
Fourth-quarter earnings were better than expected at H&R Block (HRB) - Get Report last week. Shares popped 12.4% on Friday after posting comparable profits of $3.16 per share. Analysts were expecting about a penny less in profit on average, and the strong number led to some positive notes from firms. After selling off hard this year, H&R Block could be in store for higher ground.
That's due in large part to the technical importance of Friday's move. Shares punched squarely through prior resistance at $22, a level that had been acting like a ceiling for shares. With the downtrend that's harangued this stock all year long finally out of the way, H&R Block looks likely to keep moving higher this summer.
Disclosure: This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL.