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 and market data 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.
So, today, we'll leverage the power of the crowd to take a look at some of the most active stocks on the market ...
Frontier Communications Corp.
- Nearest Resistance: $3
- Nearest Support: N/A
- Catalyst: Analyst Downgrade
Up first on our list of the market's most actively traded stocks today is $2.4 billion telco Frontier Communications Corp. (FTR) . Frontier is down nearly 11% this afternoon, swatted lower following an analyst downgrade from Goldman Sachs. Frontier was downgraded by Goldman to sell, with a price target lowered from $3 to $1.50.
From a technical standpoint, Frontier Communications has looked toxic all month long. Shares violated an important support level at $3 at the end of February, and they've been pointing lower ever since. Today's double-digit drop is a reminder that the downside risk in FTR hasn't been worked out yet.
- Nearest Resistance: $57
- Nearest Support: $54
- Catalyst: Q3 Earnings
Athletic apparel giant Nike Inc. (NKE) is another stock that's off this afternoon--in Nike's case, Wednesday's 6% selloff is coming on the heels of the firm's third-quarter earnings release. While Nike earned adjusted profits of 67.7 cents per share, besting analysts' expectations of a 53-cent profit, on average, top-line numbers missed the mark. Now, Nike is correcting.
There's an important distinction between what we're seeing today in Nike's price action, and a crash, however. While Nike is dipping down to test the bottom of its uptrend as I write this afternoon, that uptrend is still intact at this point. The next bounce higher in Nike is a buy signal.
Sears Holdings Corp.
- Nearest Resistance: $9
- Nearest Support: $6.50
- Catalyst: Going Concern Language
Beleaguered department store chain Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) is down more than 16% this afternoon, after the firm's most recent annual report contained going-concern language indicating "substantial doubt" about Sears' future. While going concern language in and of itself isn't necessarily the death knell for SHLD (or even especially uncommon), the addition of the statement is putting Sears' financial issues front-and-center.
Annual report aside, good evidence that you should avoid Sears has come from this stock's chart. Shares have been stuck in a well-defined downtrend since last summer, retreating on every attempt through trendline support. With Sears' latest failure at $9, it makes sense to stay clear of shares for the foreseeable future ...
- Nearest Resistance: $23.50
- Nearest Support: $19
- Catalyst: Analyst Rating
Recent IPO Snap Inc. (SNAP) is seeing an 8.6% shot in the arm this afternoon, boosted by news that the stock had been initiated at Drexel Hamilton as a Buy, with a $30 price target. That price target implied nearly 36% upside potential from where shares of Snap sit. Technically, SNAP is catching a bid this week, swinging higher after bottoming at $19 support last week. For traders willing to stomach the risk of a new IPO, there's still time to play this trend.
Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais
- Nearest Resistance: $3.80
- Nearest Support: $2.40
- Catalyst: Court Decision
Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais (CIG) , the Brazilian energy utility better known as CEMIG, is tipping the scales as one of the NYSE's most actively traded stocks, following a decision by Brazil's Supreme Court. The court revoked a preliminary injunction that allowed CEMIG to maintain its Jaguara dam license under the original terms of its contract. Shares are down 2.8% on big volume, slumping for another session today.
CEMIG may be down, but shares aren't out just yet. This stock is still holding onto an uptrend in the longer-term, a trend that's been in play since late May. CIG bulls should wait for the correction to play out, and look for a bounce off the bottom of the price channel, currently around the $2.40 level.
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN
- Nearest Resistance: N/A
- Nearest Support: N/A
- Catalyst: New S&P 500 Highs
Lastly, the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) is up slightly on big volume this afternoon, getting attention from investors under the prospect of more volatility in the market. But that doesn't make it a buy. The VIX Volatility Index correlates negatively with the S&P 500, meaning that as the big stock market index continues to hover around all-time highs, VXX has been under pressure. The big trend in this ETN is hard to miss: as long as the big market indices keep on moving up and to the right, you don't want to own it.
An 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 exchange traded note. But, as long as the uptrend in the S&P remains intact, you don't want to own VXX.