Saturday, December 13, 2008

Four Cases of Stocks Up on Bad News

Lately its seems like investor sentiment has been improving but its hard to pin down exactly why. One thing I've noticed over the past week or so is that stocks are shrugging off bad news. They will initially be down on some worst than expected headline number and reverse course later on in the day. Without thinking too hard you can see how this might be a good thing. If stocks aren't going down on bad news then what will happen if there is even a hint of good news? It seems to me like the mood is shifting towards more optimism about the market. When stocks are down it is being perceived as an opportunity rather than a reason to panic. So for you tonight I've got four extra ordinary cases of stocks going up on bad news recently.

1. Stock market rallies on worst than expected job losses, largest in 34 years.

From Bloomberg Friday Dec 5th, "Employers cut 533,000 jobs last month, bringing losses so far this year to 1.91 million, the Labor Department said today in Washington. November’s drop exceeded all 73 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. The unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent, the highest level since 1993. ...

Payrolls were forecast to drop by 335,000, according to the median estimate in the Bloomberg survey. The jobless rate was projected to rise to 6.8 percent. Revisions for September and October increased job losses by 199,000. November was the 11th consecutive drop in payrolls. ...

Stock futures sank. Contracts on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 2.1 percent to 829.90 at 8:34 a.m. in New York. "

Yep the futures sank alright, just before they popped to gain 4%+ on the day. Note the first red arrow in the chart below, the second red arrow is from #4.

2. Semiconductor stocks rallied on disappointing earnings and lowered guidance.

"Texas Instruments(TXN) tore down its estimates for fourth-quarter results late Monday, offering a revenue midpoint that was 30% below third-quarter results.

Similarly, National Semiconductor(NSM) said its fiscal third-quarter revenue would fall 30% sequentially, well below the Street's consensus analyst estimate. "

Despite the bad news NSM popped more than 10% and TXN was +6% along with the entire sector which had gaped lower Tuesday morning on all the bad news. Now some would make a lot bigger deal about the semiconductor strength than I will. In the last two bull markets this sector was a leader and was widely followed by traders looking for guidance. There may be some truth to this philosophy because the last peak for SMH was in July 2007, three months before the all time high in the dow and S&P. Personally, I preffer to follow the small caps for leadership.

3. Solar stocks held on lowered guidance and downgrades.

Tuesday, "shares of several solar companies sunk after German photovoltaic cell producer Q-Cells SE lowered its outlook through 2009 because of an expected inventory glut."

Then First Solar, was downgraded to Wednesday by Stanford Research.

And later that day, JASO CEO Samuel Yang said "over the past few weeks, we have seen a dramatic slowdown in orders, which we believe is related to macro economic conditions."

Well the solars didn't exactly pop on the news but they didn't sell off either. Each dip was met with buyers and TAN, the solar ETF, remained in a two week range. This is more of a case of stocks not dropping rather than rallying but its bullish that these stocks were able to shrug off bad news.

4. Broad market rallies with auto companies on Senate auto bailout rejection.

"Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- European and U.S. stock-index futures tumbled as the Senate’s rejection of a $14 billion rescue package for American automakers threatened to deepen the global economic slump. Treasuries rose, while the dollar slid. ...

“When something like this news hits the streets, all the good news is gone,” said Nicole Sze, a Singapore-based investment analyst at Bank Julius Baer & Co., which manages $350 billion. “Given the concerns over the job losses if the auto industry were to collapse, and if the rescue fails, it will send a big dampening effect to investor sentiment.”

Futures on the Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 Index, a benchmark for the euro region, lost 117, or 4.7 percent, to 2,369 at 7:42 a.m. in London. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures expiring in March slid 4.1 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is set to open 151 points lower, according to IG Markets. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 3.4 percent. "

We got this news Friday morning, which nuked the overseas markets and US futures. Somehow stocks crawled back and managed to even close green. The dow and S&P gained about .7% while the small caps vaulted over 3%. GM closed down only 4% after having crashed 37% earlier in the day and Ford was up 5%. Now I realize there was alot of speculation in the media about a Treasury funded rescue but I think many agree that would have been expected in the event of a Senate rejection. The big news was that congress rejected the automaker's requests/plans, and stocks went up despite that news.

I think this another good reason to believe a major bottom has been made in stocks. I'm not saying the bear market is over or that the ultimate lows have been made. But I think stocks are due for a prolonged rally that may or may not develop into the next bull market. When I see stocks moving up on bad news I take that as a sign that its time to be buying dips rather than shorting rips.

Disclosure: I have bullish positions in solars, NSM and RUT.

1 comment:

pythagoruz said...

And this is what happens when stocksget good news (in an environment when they go up on bad news):

"Stocks surge as Fed pledges broad economic support"

yes, it is time to be aggressively long for a another +1,000 or so on the dow.