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.

J.C. Penney

  • Nearest Resistance: $9
  • Nearest Support: $7
  • Catalyst: Q1 Earnings

Leading off the list of last week's most active stocks is J.C. Penney  (JCP - Get Report) . This $2 billion department store retailer was one of the most heavily traded stocks during Friday's session, when shares dipped 2.7% in reaction to the firm's first-quarter earnings call. J.C. Penney lost 32 cents per share for the quarter - and while the result was "less bad" than Wall Street was expecting, Friday's drop was primarily driven by lower than anticipated revenue and unexpectedly weak comps.

Technically speaking, J.C. Penney hasn't looked particularly attractive for a while now. Shares rolled over back in March, and they've been selling off ever since, breaking through trendline support at the beginning of this month with little effort. At this point, sellers are clearly in control of JCP. It makes sense to stay away from the long-side of this retailer until that changes.


  • Nearest Resistance: N/A
  • Nearest Support: $37.50
  • Catalyst: Q1 Earnings

Shares of tech firm Nvidia  (NVDA - Get Report)  ended last week on a strong note, rallying 15% to all-time highs following the firm's first-quarter earnings results. Nvidia reported profits of 46 cents per share excluding one-time items, besting the 41 cents that analysts were hoping for. Better still, the firm's sales forecasts topped expectations, giving tech sector followers a positive surprise that offsets concerns of declining PC sales.

From a technical standpoint, Nvidia looks excellent. Friday's breakout to all-time highs means that everyone who has ever bought this stock is currently sitting on gains, a fact that provides some positive reinforcement for buyers right now. For investors who aren't risk-averse, it still makes sense to grab onto that bullish momentum this week.


  • Nearest Resistance: $45
  • Nearest Support: N/A
  • Catalyst: Q1 Earnings

Nordstrom  (JWN - Get Report)  ended the week with a selloff, plunging 13.4% on Friday following the firm's first-quarter earnings call. Nordstrom missed estimates with a profit of 36 cents per share; analysts had previously been expecting earnings of nearly 46 cents on average. Likewise, Nordstrom posted a significantly lower earnings forecast for the full year, and reduced sales growth estimates to between 2.5 and 4.5%. Previously, the company had said that it expected to see growth as high as 5.5%.

Put simply, Nordstrom's chart is broken. This stock violated an important long-term support level at $45, plummeting to new 52-week lows. From here, shares could have further to fall before this stock finds some semblance of support again. It makes sense to stay away from Nordstrom for the time being.


  • Nearest Resistance: $5.20
  • Nearest Support: $4
  • Catalyst: Politics

The political situation in Brazil is driving volume into shares of $20 billion Brazilian mining stock Vale (VALE - Get Report) . Investors ended the week on an active note following news that President Dilma Rousseff was suspended to face impeachment proceedings. Rousseff has had a reputation for being a thorn in investors' sides, and the prospect that interim President Michel Temer could be more friendly to investors is sure to keep driving volume in the Brazilian markets this week.

Even so, technically, Vale isn't looking particularly attractive right now. Shares violated an important uptrend at the beginning of May, and this big stock has been moving lower ever since. Until shares are able to establish support, it makes sense for buyers to keep their attention on less volatile stocks.

iShares China Large-Cap ETF

  • Nearest Resistance: $35
  • Nearest Support: $30
  • Catalyst: Technical Setup

China has been getting some big macro attention in the past week, which is part of the reason why the iShares China Large-Cap ETF  (FXI - Get Report)  ended Friday as one of the highest-volume issues on the NYSE.

Unfortunately for bulls, the technical setup that's driving volume into FXI isn't exactly good. Shares broke a well-defined uptrend in late April, and they've been trading lower ever since. $30 could be the next potential pocket of demand for FXI on the way down, but at this point, it's a little too early to call that level "buyable."

Chesapeake Energy

  • Nearest Resistance: $7.50
  • Nearest Support: $4
  • Catalyst: Debt Exchange

Chesapeake Energy  (CHK - Get Report)  saw a big-volume day on Friday, ending the week down 2.4% on a rate downgrade. S&P cut Chesapeake's debt rating to "selective default" after the firm exchanged 28 million shares for bonds worth $153 million. The prolonged rout in energy prices has threatened Chesapeake's business, driving job cuts and asset sales in an effort to keep the company afloat.

The good news for investors is that Chesapeake could actually look a lot worse from a technical standpoint. Shares are testing a trend line support level heading into the new week, giving investors an attractive buying opportunity on the next bounce off of support from here. On the flip side, if shares violate key support at $4, Chesapeake opens up a lot more downside risk.

Exco Resources

  • Nearest Resistance: $0.70
  • Nearest Support: $1
  • Catalyst: Strategic Alternatives

Finally, small-cap oil and gas company Exco Resources  (XCO)  managed the distinction of being one of the highest-volume stocks on the NYSE Friday -- albeit not for the best of reasons. Exco shed nearly 59% of its market value on Friday, selling off after reporting that it had formed a special committee to evaluate strategic alternatives and deal with its $1.32 billion debt load, including restructuring. The selloff came on fears that a failure to figure out a solution could put shareholder value in jeopardy.

Friday's violation of trend line support means that Exco just opened up a lot more downside risk, even in spite of the size of the selloff. Shares could potentially test their lows from last fall before catching a bid. The headline risk is pretty high in this stock right now; it makes sense for anyone without a big risk appetite to avoid shares.

Disclosure: This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.