Traders can attempt to capture the technology sector's remaining upside momentum, but deciding whether to add to holdings in this group is a tough call if you are a long-term investor. That said, technology remains the cheapest sector in the market according to my model, at 13.2% undervalued. Its weekly chart profile would stay positive on a close this week above the five-week modified moving average at 2137. With my quarterly risky level at 2319, the upside to the end of the year appears to be limited to 6.4% above Tuesday's close of 2178. Leading technology higher is the Nasdaq 100 Unit Trust ( QQQQ), which tested $40.91, a level not seen since January 2002. The upside into year-end is my quarterly resistance at $42.51. Weekly support lags at $39.04. Semiconductors generally lead the Nasdaq higher, a key sector represented by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index. The group is showing some improvement, but that improvement looks limited. The SOX's weekly chart profile will shift to positive at Friday's close if it's above its five-week modified moving average at 451.25. My monthly pivot is 438.20 with my quarterly resistance or risky level at 487.90, which should curb upside for the SOX. Soon, we'll have more insight not only into semis but computer manufacturing and software. Together these are my three focus industries, and this week's tech stock earnings reports include both undervalued and overvalued companies in all three groups. By Friday morning, we will know whether demand for semiconductors remains strong, and if that demand is leading to business for leading semi equipment maker Applied Materials ( AMAT). Will Marvell Semiconductor ( MRVL) achieve yet another 52-week high despite being more than 20% overvalued? Is Network Appliance ( NTAP) taking market share from storage leader EMC ( EMC)? Does Autodesk ( ADSK) have the momentum for new highs despite being 15% overvalued? Is the turnaround at Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) on track?
Getting back to the larger view, from a valuation standpoint, a rotation into technology still makes sense. At the end of the third quarter, energy was 17.2% overvalued; recent weakness has left it now 2.8% overvalued. Public utilities were 11.5% overvalued at the third quarter's close, too, and following weakness, that sector is now 3.2% overvalued. The transports are now the most overvalued at 6.9% over fair value. All three groups are still expensive compared with tech stocks, so I don't expect them to attract capital. The weekly chart profiles are not in total alignment with the valuations, however. To be in sync, all major averages must have the same profile, and all are positive except utilities. The Dow Utility average would stay negative on a close this week below its five-week MMA at 398.94, and this follows an all-time high of 438.74 set on Oct. 4. Investors still will want to keep a sharp eye on my value levels and risky levels: As I explained in a
recent column, my model suggests "Nasdaq 2300 or bust" or "Nasdaq 2300, then bust." Holding Nasdaq monthly pivots at 2121/2095 targets my quarterly risky level at 2319. Now that we've taken a broader look at the sector, let's look at how the companies I mentioned above are set going into their earnings reports.
Shares of Network Appliance are 25.4% undervalued, with fair value at $37.23, as the company faces down EPS expectations of 18 cents. The weekly chart profile stays positive on a close this week above the five-week MMA at $25.76. I show risk to my monthly value level at $23.10 on a negative reaction to earnings. The upside on a positive earnings reaction is to semiannual and quarterly risky levels at $28.99 and $29.07.