BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- 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 today.
These "most active" names are the most heavily-traded names on the market -- and often, uber-active names have some sort of a technical or fundamental catalyst driving investors' attention on shares. And when there's a big catalyst, there's often a trading opportunity.
Without further ado, here's a look at today's stocks.
Nearest Resistance: $65
Nearest Support: $55
Catalyst: Q1 Earnings
Social media giant Facebook (FB) is seeing big volume this afternoon after posting its first quarter earnings numbers after the bell yesterday. Facebook reported earnings of 34 cents per share, a number that came in above consensus. Importantly, mobile ads made up almost 60% of total ad revenues, doubling over the same quarter last year. But if Facebook's 1.1% move on big volume seems less than impressive today, a look at the chart is in order.
Facebook has been forming a bearish head and shoulders setup for the last four months, a price pattern that indicates exhaustion among buyers. We're seeing that exhaustion in FB's lack of follow-through today. If shares can't move above the 50-day moving average, the $55 neckline level is the price to watch. If Facebook slips below $55, look out below.
Nearest Resistance: $5.50
Nearest Support: $4
Catalyst: Q1 Earnings
Facebook's "little buddy," Zynga (ZNGA), is down 3.6% on big volume this afternoon, shoved lower by its own earnings call. Zynga lost 1 cent per share for the quarter, a number that met Wall Street's expectations. But the firm didn't impress with forward guidance, which it expects to come in at a narrow profit for the full year. Zynga founder Mark Pincus also announced that he would no longer be involved in day-to-day operations at the firm.
The earnings reaction isn't exactly inspiring today, but frankly, the chart could look a lot worse. ZNGA has been in a textbook uptrend since last fall, and that makes a pullback a good opportunity to get in with a buy. Support at $4 is an optimal entry point.
Nearest Resistance: $570
Nearest Support: $540
Catalyst: Q2 Earnings
Apple (AAPL) is another name that's getting big attention following earnings. For its fiscal second quarter, Apple earned $11.62 per share, a number that beat the average analyst estimate by $1.44. Strong iPhone sales made up for weakness in iPads for the quarter, helping the firm deliver more than $13.5 billion in operating cash flow last quarter in the process. Apple also announced an aggressive plan to return capital to shareholders to the tune of $130 billion by the end of next year.
Technically speaking, AAPL's 8% gap up today is an important breakout. Shares had been basing in an inverse head and shoulders setup for the last few months, but today's move has Apple testing 52-week highs again. Once AAPL can catch a bid above $570, shares should have considerable room to move higher.
Nearest Resistance: $84
Nearest Support: $77
Catalyst: Q2 Earnings
Bad guidance is to blame for Qualcomm's (QCOM) 3.4% stumble on big volume this afternoon. The mobile chipmaker reported profits of $1.31 per share, beating Wall Street's $1.22 best guess. But QCOM's guidance came in on the low side of analysts' estimates, and that's a big part of today's downside move.
Qualcomm has been a "buy the dips" name since last fall, when it started bouncing higher in an uptrending channel. So while today's stumble looks negative at first glance, it's giving QCOM buyers yet another dip to buy -- the last seven have been optimal buying opportunities. If you decide to go long here, I'd recommend putting a protective stop just below the 50-day moving average.
To see these stocks in action, check out the at Most-Active Stocks portfolio on Stockpickr.
-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.