The short trading week is coming with some big opportunities for investors this year, as the S&P 500 kicks things off sitting just 0.5% shy of all-time highs.
There's reason to believe that the S&P is likely to break that record in the final stretch of 2016. That's because, historically, the stretch between Thanksgiving and the end of the year is a profitable one for stocks. In the past decade, only two years were negative during the Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve timeframe--on average, this final holiday stretch has been good for a 2.66% rally since 2007.
And with the stock market finally finding its legs again following the conclusion of this month's election drama, now might be the perfect time to take advantage of the "Thanksgiving Effect."
Of course, some stocks are better-positioned to profit in the final weeks of 2016 than others. To figure out which stocks you should buy here, we're turning to a new set of Rocket Stocks worth buying this week.
In case you're not familiar with it, Rocket Stocks are our list of companies with short-term gain catalysts and longer-term growth potential. To find them, I run a weekly quantitative screen that seeks out stocks with a combination of analyst upgrades and positive earnings surprises to identify rising analyst expectations, a bullish signal for stocks in any market. After all, where analysts' expectations are increasing, institutional cash often follows. In the past 374 weeks, our weekly list of five plays has outperformed the S&P 500's record-breaking run by 80.39%.
So, without further ado, here's a look at this week's Rocket Stocks.
International Business Machines
Leading things off this week is tech staple International Business Machines (IBM) . IBM is in a league of its own this year--while the big technology sector indices and ETFs are up around 10% since the calendar flipped to January, IBM has seen total returns above 21% year-to-date. And IBM isn't showing any signs of its momentum fizzling out this fall ...
IBM is one of the largest enterprise IT companies in the world, providing companies, institutions, and government agencies with software, hardware, and services to keep their operations running smoothly. While it lacks the consumer-facing side of the business that many of its similar-sized tech peers have, that core focus on the enterprise has been a piece of prescient timing on IBM's part. The firm sold off its PC business years before most peers caught onto the commoditization of the computer, turning the ship full steam toward the enterprise years before other computer companies did the same. The complexity of enterprise IT needs meshes well with IBM's scale. Because the firm is able to leverage its large size to build big data frameworks like its Watson computing system, it can offer a higher level of margin-rich products than even its well-equipped peers.
One result of that is a massive backlog. IBM has more than $120 billion in services waiting to be completed, demand that helps to smooth out performance across economic hiccups. While IBM lacks the headline-grabbing appeal of some other large tech stocks in 2016, it's the one that's leading the pack from a performance standpoint. That earns IBM Rocket Stock status this week ...