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JimVanMeerten (65.24)

January 2010

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3

Do you get your investment advice from Wall Street or Washington?

January 30, 2010 – Comments (1)

I like to analyze the market by using a combination of fundamental and technical analysis. Normally using that combination keeps me on the right side of the market. Lately the market seems to act irrationally every time a President or other politician opens their mouths. Somewhere back in a high school civics class I thought I remembered a teacher saying the purpose of government was to make and enforce laws and provide the common services that public and private companies couldn't provide.

These days the main purpose of the government seems to be to control the capital and equity markets, lower your taxes by limiting your bonuses, spend money they don't have on stimulus packages that don't create new jobs ( which increases the deficit) and scare the heck out of the stock market whenever it seems things are going great.

So far the scoreboard for the middle class is you are either unemployed or taking home less money because you've lost your bonus, the balance on your 401K or IRA is half of what it was 2 years ago, your house is underwater because the value is down but the mortgage balance isn't and if you need a loan to tide your small business over till the recession ends no bank will loan you money.

Yes Obama has made good on his promise to lower the tax bill of the middle class but he forgot to tell us he would do it by lowering the numbers on your W-2.

Well it's the weekend again and time to take a look on what the market did. As usual I go to Barchart for my data and I look at the Value Line Index because it is contains 1700 stocks and is broader than the narrower S&P 500 or Dow 30.

Value Line Index -- 1700 stocks -- down 2.3 % for the week. That makes us down 3 weeks in a row and down for the month by 2.89%. Remember we were up in November by 3.74% and December up by 7.01%. Is that a correction or change of direction?  [more]

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3

Hang up on Motorola

January 28, 2010 – Comments (3) | RELATED TICKERS: MSI

Motorola (MOT) continues to disappoint. Now they are finally selling their cell phone business. Time for you to get out of Dodge too.

My points:
Price decrease in 8 of the last 20 trading sessions Price loss of 18.07% in a month Barchart has 13 of 13 technical indicators signaling see Analysts predict 5 year compounded EPS loss of 4.55%

Sell of short immediately  [more]

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1

Dump the Depot

January 28, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: ODP

Office Depot (ODP) is being cut for my Marketocracy S&P 500 portfolio. I've got some rules that I follow religiously and ODP violates them all. Very simply put my investments must meet some basic criteria:
1 - They must have current price appreciation in recent trading sessions  [more]

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3

I'm still on the sidelines -- maybe tomorrow I'll be back

January 28, 2010 – Comments (1) | RELATED TICKERS: SPY

I just ran an hourly chart on the Value line Index - an arithmetic index of 1700 stock followed by Value Line. The index shows trading below its 20, 50 and 100 hourly moving averages.

The index is trading at 2235.80 with resistance at 2267.55 and support at 2214.83.

My advice is to trim stocks trading below their 50 day moving averages but I'd not replace them until I see some support in the market.



Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes on financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please leave a comment below or email JimVanMeerten@gmail.com   [more]

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7

I'm on the sidelines - Want to join me?

January 26, 2010 – Comments (1) | RELATED TICKERS: FDS

This is just a quick note to tell you that I'm sitting on the sidelines right now until after I see how the market reacts on Thursday to the State of the Union address Wednesday evening. I've learned in the last few years how I can be lulled into a trance because I see market and economic signs that are either positive or negative, so I place my bet on that direction. Then someone opens their mouth on TV or at a press conference and I have months of gains wiped out in an instant. Long trades tank or short positions need to be covered because of a short term media generated blip. I'm not blaming Obama on this; it just happens. Press conferences by Bush, Greenspan, Obama and Bernanke have all caused me to take a hit. I blame no one but other panicky investors.

I do believe that in the long run, the only thing that counts is earnings. My accounting background makes me a fundamentalist at heart. Companies with increasing earnings eventually go up and companies with increasing losses eventually go down. It's that in between time that bothers me. The real numbers and the perceived numbers sometimes have a disconnect and it's during that period of disconnect that people get hurt.

My decision to procrastinate is a decision. I am cutting Factset Research (FDS) from my Wall Street Survivor portfolio. They seem to be having just that disconnect I'm talking about and I don't know why. Although the numbers and press look good the stock is taking a hit so I'm out. I'll think about replacing the funds but not before I see how the market reacts to the State of the Union address.

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes on financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please leave a comment below or email JimVanMeerten@gmail.com
  [more]

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15

Prez yells FIRE! in a crowded theater

January 23, 2010 – Comments (8)

Every week after the market closes on Friday I go to Barchart and use the same methodology to gauge what happened to the market in the previous week and plan what my strategy will be for the next week. Things started out fine early in the week but then our Prez dropped a bomb when he demonized the banks and everything on Wall Street. Most of the middle class owns a mutual fund, has an IRA or a securities account and has a bank account and/or loans with a bank. The confidence that the middle class has in these institutions is the key to this economic recovery. The balance and direction of the stock market is tied to the confidence people have in the banks and securities firms. I find it hard that he did not know the consequence of his attacks. Enough of that let's see what kind of damage he did.

Value Line Index -- contains 1700 stocks so it is much broader than the S&P 500 or the very narrow Dow 30 -- 20 DMA is sensitive and signaling caution
1 - The Index was down 3.37% for the week and is down .61% for the month  [more]

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Estee Lauder is more than make-up on a pig

January 22, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: EL

Sometimes a stock comes up on my Barchart screening for stocks hitting new highs just out of the blue. Estee Lauder (EL) might be more than just shear illusion and might actually be a thing of beauty. We all have heard the name and if you look in your wife's cabinet you will probably find the products. Before you think I'm sexist they also make Aramis; and I've been using those products since I was in college. So maybe I change my title to "Just make-up on a boar"


Estee Lauder Co. manufacturers and marketers of skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products. Brand names include Estee Lauder, Clinique, Aramis, Prescriptives, Origins, M.A.C, Bobbi Brown essentials, La Mer, jane, Aveda, Stila, Jo Malone and Bumble and bumble. The company is also the global licensee for fragrances and cosmetics sold under the TommyHilfiger, Donna Karan and Kate Spade brands. You can't walk through Nordstroms without being sprayed with one of their products.

I first noticed the stock because all of Barchart's 13 technical indicators signaled a 100% buy rating. The stock hasn't closed below its 50 day moving average since back in October of last year and has had a 30.77% price appreciation in the last 65 days.

On a fundamental basis analyst expect the stock to have a 5.3% increase in revenue next year and a 15.7% earnings increase. The best part is they expect that EPS increase to continue for the next 5 years at that same rate. There are 6 major buy recommendations and 9 analysts have increased their earning projections in the last week alone.

On other sites Wall Street Survivor readers give the stock a 5/5 Survivor Sentiment followed by a 4/5 fundamental rating and a 5/5 technical rating. Motley Fool CAPS members think the stock will out perform the market by a vote of 123 to 7 with the All Stars in agreement 40 to 15.

Warren Buffett always says he doesn't buy stocks he buys companies he understands and that he will want to hold for a lifetime. This company has seen a lot of competitors come and go and is still around to make us all appear a little bit above average.

Recommendation: Buy Estee Lauder below 55 with a stop loss no lower than 48.

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who write about financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please leave a comment below or email JimVanMeerten@gmail.com

Disclosure: No positions in EL at the time of publication   [more]

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Is NutriSystem the Biggest Loser?

January 21, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: NTRI

There is a special situation you all need to monitor. There is something going on with NutriSystem (NTRI) and I'm not sure what it is. NutriSystem is a provider of weight management products and services. They offer an at-home weight loss program based on portion-controlled, lower Glycemic Index prepared meals, weight loss plans, and private telephone and online support. Well that's the company's line anyway.

What they really offer is a hope and a prayer and maybe a shoulder to cry on. I don't think there is a person in America that doesn't understand that if you want to loss weight you just need to eat less and exercise more but their ads tell you otherwise. They offer the promise of success. So do the analysts following this stock.

The more analysts that jump on board this stock the lower the price goes. There will be a profit to be made here for those that know what they are doing and are nimble enough to execute the proper trades.

Analysts have 3 buy ratings out there and Zacks recently came out with a strong buy. The consensus is that sales will grow by 13.2% next year and earning by a whopping 56.6%, Estimates of a 5 year compounded growth rate of 16% make this a stock to watch.

On some sites like Wall Street Survivor their readers give the stock a 5/5 Survivor Sentiment rating. On Motley Fool the CAPS members think the stock will out perform the market with a vote of 815 to 97 and the All Stars have a similar vote of 215 to 23.

So why aren't I on board with the rest of the world? Barchart has this stock rated as a short term sell. The stock has lost value in 11 of the last 20 trading sessions and is down 28.07% in the last 20 sessions. This is why I'm not following the rest of the lemmings. Here's my recommendation:

I think the stock has promise. Watch the price carefully and buy on the dip. Place a protective stop loss very closely on your position in case the pundits are wrong.

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes on financial matters here and on Financial Tides.

Please leave a comment below or email JimVanMeerten@gmail.com

Disclosure: No positions in NTRI at the time of publication   [more]

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Stryker operates on profits

January 20, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: SYK

Health care is on center stage these days. It doesn't matter whether you believe in universal health care, public or private, individually insured or tax payer funded; there will always be people that need surgery. Stryker (SYK) does everything imaginable in the surgical arena.

Stryker Corporation develops, manufactures, and markets specialty surgical and medical products, including orthopaedic implants, bone cement, trauma systems used in bone repair, powered surgical instruments, endoscopic systems, craniomaxillofacial fixation devices, specialty surgical equipment used in neurosurgery and patient care and handling equipment for the global market and provide outpatient physical and occupational rehabilitation services. Stryker products will be in almost every operating room you will find.

The stock has a large following and there are 11 buy recommendations out there from major brokerage firms. Analysts predict a 7.8% increase in sales next year and an 11.6% increase in earnings per share. A compounded 5 year EPS growth rate of 11.11% is expected.


On a technical basis Barchart has a buy signal on 12 of its 13 technical indicators for an overall buy rating of 96%. The stock has had month over month price appreciation in the last 5 months and just keeps on truckin'.

Other sites like Wall Street Survivor readers give the stock a 5/5 Survivor Sentiment rating. Motley Fool CAPS members feel the stock will out perform the market by a vote of 1344 to 37 with the All Stars in agreement 500 to 9.

The smart boys, the short sellers have closed out positions since last year from a high of 12 million shares last February down to around 6.5 million at the end of the year.

Recommendation: SYK looks like a buy to me around 56 with a protective stop loss no lower than 52.

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes on financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please leave a comment below or email JimVanMeerten@gmail.com

Disclosure: No positions in SYK at the time of publication   [more]

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Citi: Are the Fools foolish?

January 19, 2010 – Comments (2) | RELATED TICKERS: C

As I'm writing this article Citi (C) is the leading volume leader today and is out trading the second place stock by 6 to 1. They announced another loss and the stock goes up. I think it's time you all take a step back and look at what you're doing.

If I told you I had a stock that in December 2006 sold for 51.54 and last year in March sold for 97 cents, just announced that it lost 7.6 billion dollars in the last quarter, has negative cash flow, negative earnings, negative profit margins and negative return on investments but is a real buy you would laugh right in my face.

I keep reading about all the penny stock pump and dump stocks and I think this one qualifies. This time instead of a smokey back room with a bunch of kids fresh out of college with liberal arts degrees calling every sucker who has ever expressed an interest in the stock market we have some of the largest brokerage firms in the world endorsing this stock. There are actually 7 buys and only 4 sells out there by major firms. They all have this too big to fail mentality and they as selling it to all the sheep who are just dying to be slaughtered.

Let's look at the facts. I already mentioned the fundamentals and they stink. The stock is trading below it's 50 & 100 day moving averages and the 20 day moving average has been sliding down since last October. Barchart's 13 technical indicators have a sell signal on 8 of them for a 56% sell rating. There are approximately 6000 tradeable stocks to choose from and you think this is the best one you all can find?

My recommendation: A fool and his money can be parted if you think that Citi (C) is the best stock on the market. I am not a buyer of this stock and it would take a big, big change in the fundamentals of this sinking battleship to make me even take a flyer here. You really can't find a better stock to buy with your hard earned money?

Disclosure: I hold no position in Citi at the time of publication.

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes about financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please leave a comment below or email JimVanMeerten@gmail.com   [more]

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Profit in health care gatekeeping

January 19, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: UAM

Health care has so many moving parts that sometimes it's hard to track them all. First there is access to health care professionals like doctors. nurses and EMT's. You don't feel well or you're having some emergency issue and need to see a professional fast. In the US we all seem to have initial access to these. Anyone can call 911, go to an emergency room or get an sick visit appointment with a doctor. If you are bleeding, having a heart attack or broken bones -- you will be treated. After a doctor has examined you and determined that you are really sick is when the problems start.

After the doctor has seen you, you'll need access to labs, MRIs, CAT scans and all those diagnostic tests that are used to find out what's wrong and how to fix it. Here's where the gate keepers come in. After this point your care will be determined by your ability to get the bills paid. If you don't have what Obama terms as a "Cadillac Health Plan" the tests you get may be prioritized not by your medical needs but your financial ability to pay. After your ailment is diagnosed, care boils down strictly to your ability to pay. In the treatment phase the money is where the rubber meets the road. So how can money be made?

Health care insurance and health care management is the gate keeper between your ailment and your treatment and Universal American (UAM) is involved in both. They offer all kinds of health insurance products mainly to the senior market. They offer both comprehensive co-payment and reimbursement insurance plans. Additionally they offer heath care management systems to other insurers, health care professionals and hospitals. I've read articles that claim over 20% of all health care costs are in these gate keeping administrative areas so we are talking big bucks here and I think they are poised to get more than their fair share of the market.

Analysts following this stock think that there will be a 2.3% increase in sales next year and an 18.5% increase in earning per share. The consensus is for an 8% EPS growth rate for at least the next 5 years. Positive sales and earning growth is what we look for.

I think the stock is undervalued and it shows in the recent 65 day price appreciation of 63.80%. All 13 of Barchart's technical indicators signal buy for a 100% Barchart buy rating. The stock has had price appreciation in 14 of the last 20 trading session and was 4 for 5 recently.

On other sites Wall Street Survivor readers give the stock a 5/5 Survivor Sentiment rating and Motley Fool members think the stock will out perform the market by a vote of 54 to 4. The All Stars confirm 26 to 1.

Recommendation: I recently sold Verizon (VZ) in my Wall Street Survivor portfolio due to deteriorating price performance and failure to maintain a price above its 50 day moving average. Universal American ( UAM) is in the center of the health care market and has been having positive price appreciation recently plus positive sales and earnings projections. I'm adding it to my WSS portfolio around 14 and will use a moving protective stop loss no lower than 11.50.

I hold no positions in Universal American at the time of publication

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes about financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please leave a comment below or email JimVanMeerten@gmail.com   [more]

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Will the market stall?

January 16, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: SPY

I love flying small planes. My first flying lesson was in a J-3 Cub at a grass field in Newberry, SC. Under the wing was a little horn that would beep if the plane was going to stall. When you heard the noise you had to make a quick decision: either drop the nose and apply power or let it stall and hope you didn't spin and lose control. The market is right in that stall warning place now and you have to make your decision: 1-- false alarm buy more on the dip, 2 -- tighten my stop losses and ride it out, or 3 -- the market is in a true stall and it's time top go short.

Let's step back and go through my standard weekly exercise on evaluating the market by using some of the data readily available on Barchart. Actually I do this every evening but just publish it once a week.

Value Line Index - contains 1700 stocks so it's broader than the S&P 500 or Dow 30 a lot of others use -- Not as strong as last week but still no sign of panic
1 - The Index was up 3 days and down 2 days for a net loss of .82% for the week  [more]

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A hackers nightmare

January 15, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: SYMC

Back when I first got out of college I was an Internal Auditor at Retail Credit Company - later renamed Equifax, Inc. Back then the company was on the cutting edge in data security, but since it was a closed system computer security was making sure no one could enter your computer room, cut off your land line connection or power source and all your back up data and programs were properly secured off site in a vault. People had to physically get into your installation to do damage.

Boy have things changed. Hackers with a $500 computer and an Internet connection in Nigeria or Romania can raise havoc to computers any where in the world. They can access not only private computers, but even the computers of companies, governments and even worse defense systems. Data and access is everywhere and lots of hackers consider it a challenge. If I can believe my spyware detection programs even the computer I use at home has 15 - 35 hacking attempts a day. Identity theft is a fear and concern of anyone who does anything on line.

Luckily we can all make a profit not only on the prevention of data theft but the fear that drives software and computer users to purchase and constantly upgrade their protection software. Symantec ( SYMC ) is at the center of this industry and provides Internet security technology in the form of anti-virus protection, Internet content and e-mail filtering, and mobile code detection technologies. Look down on your tool bar and you just might see their logo.

The company is making money and has a large Wall Street following. Analysts think the company will increase sales by 4.2% and earning per share by 7.6% next year. They estimate a 5 year annual growth in EPS of 9.23% per year. The 31 analysts presently following the stock have 21 buy recommendation with the others recommending hold and no major firms signal a sell. In the past year short interest has come down from 33 million shares to 22 million shares by year end.

The company has had price advances on 11 of the last 20 trading sessions and was also had 5 increases on the last 5 sessions. They have enjoyed a 65 day price appreciation of 21.24%. All 13 of Barchart's technical indicators signal buy for a 100% buy signal.

On other sites Wall Street Survivor readers give it a 5/5 Survivor Sentiment rating and the Motley Fool crowd thinks the stock will out perform the market by a vote of 461 to 94. The All Stars concur with a vote of 125 to 25. Fool's Wall Street columnist have buy stories out 19 to 1 but the lone dissenter's vote was back in 2007 -- too far back to even count.

Recommendation: Access to computer and mobile device data has never been more open and available but with that open access are open threats from hackers. Symantec is a leader in protecting your computer's data. The stock is making money and has a positive 5 year consensus to increase sales and earning. Barchart's 13 technical indicators all signal buy and other sites agree. Buy around 19 and have a protective stop loss no lower than 17.50.

Disclosure : no positions in this stock at the time of publication

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes on financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please leave a comment below or email JimVanMeerten@gmail.com   [more]

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3

My favorite drug

January 14, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: MRK

Drugs have always fascinated me - the legitimate kind of course. What can I say I was in high school and college during the 60's? The reason drugs hold my interest is I'm amazed how by adding some chemicals to your body, the body either begins rejecting the disease that has taken over or turns off its bad habits and makes you well. No surgery, just the addition of some chemicals and poof -- wellness.

One of the best drug companies is Merck (MRK). It's one of the largest companies in the world and a Dow 30 component. They make drugs for both humans and animals. What a market - curing our families, pets and livestock. I can't read a magazine or turn on my TV without being exposed to one of their ads. See what you recognize from this list: Singular -- asthma and allergies, Fosamax -- osteoporosis, Procepia -- male pattern baldness or Gardacil -- cervical cancer. They do a great job of not only discovering new drugs -- with new patents of course -- but also manufacturing, marketing and distributing them. All full service drug powerhouse.

Analysts love this stock too with 10 buy, 5 hold and no sell recommendations. They look for 67.0% growth in sales next year with a 6.1 EPS growth and additional positive EPS growth for the next 5 years. The smart boys of Wall Street -- the short sellers -- made a big 180 and cut their short interest from a high of 206 million in the fall to only 23 million by year end.

Barchart's 13 technical indicators all signal buy; its not often a Dow 30 get a 100% buy signal. Since the stock's low on 3/9/09 the stock has gained 49.29% and since mid July has never seen a day below its 100 day moving average.

On other sites Wall Street Survivor readers give the stock a 5/5 Survivor Sentiment rating. The Motley Fool CAPS members think the stock will out perform the market by a vote of 2338 to 184 with the All Stars in agreement voting 705 to 38. Even the Wall Street columnists Fool follows have had 27 to 1 favorable endorsements.

Recommendation: All portfolios need some foundation stocks and what better one then Merck (MRK). They find, manufacturer, market and distribute drugs for humans, pets and livestock. Their products a some of the most recognizable and they keep adding to the pipeline all the time. Growth expected in both sales and earnings for the next 5 years and a positive following with short interest falling like a rock. The technicals are recently very positive. Purchase around 40 and since this is a long term holding use the 100 day moving average of 36 as your stop loss. Just keep sliding that stop loss up on a monthly basis to preserve your long term profits.

Disclosure: No holding in Merck at the time of publication

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes on financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please leave a comment below or email JimVanMeerten@gmail.com   [more]

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1

Profit from cutting edge medical technology

January 13, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: ILMN

I always begin my search for good investments by screening on Barchart for those companies hitting the most new highs recently. Illumina (ILMN) has had price appreciation on 15 of the last 20 trading sessions and is 5 for 5 recently. There has been a 57.01% price appreciation in the last 65 days.

ILMN is a developer of tools for the analysis of genetic variation and function. Hopefully, that information that could be used to improve drugs and therapies, customize diagnoses and treatment, and cure disease. Molecular medicine is a new and growing field. I've heard Warren Buffet advice that you shouldn't invest in a company you don't understand but although everything that they do might be over my head I do know that the analysis of DNA to fight both inherited and acquired diseases and viruses is the direction medicine is headed. Not everything can be cured with an antibiotic anymore.

Of the 15 analysts following this stock 10 of the 15 have buy recommendations in with the other 5 giving holds. They are looking for a 22.5% increase in sales next year and a 35.1% increase in EPS. Their expected 5 year compounded EPS growth rate of 19.98% is a big reason to consider this as a long term holding.

On a technical basis Barchart's 5 short term technical indicators all signal buy. Other sites like Wall Street Survivor have rating of a 5/5 Survivor Sentiment rating, a 5/5 technical rating and a 5/5 fundamental rating. Motley Fool CAPS members think the stock will outperform the market by a vote of 536 to 43 with the All Stars in agreement 192 to 13. The Wall Street columnists that Fool follows give it a 16 to 1 vote. The lone dissenting vote is from Jim Cramer and he hasn't reviewed the stock since February 2007. The stock has increase 117.16% since then.

Recommendation: This stock has it all. They are on the cutting edge of medical research. They have great fundamentals with analysts predicting increases in both sales and earnings. I do have one reservation. In the last quarter there has been an increase in short interests. Because of this please keep your stop losses tight. The stock can be purchased around 43 and set your initial stop loss no lower than 30 and be prepared to move it up to keep this trade profitable.

Disclosure: I hold no positions in Illumina at the time of publication

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes on financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please leave a comment below or email JimVanMeerten@gmail.com   [more]

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9

Not too late to join the party at Ford

January 12, 2010 – Comments (4) | RELATED TICKERS: F

Sometimes you can see a good investment but sit on the sideline trying to make up your mind too long. When I began looking for an addition to my S&P 500 portfolio I screened on Barchart for the S&P 500 companies with the highest relative price strength and Ford ( F ) came up on the top of the list. At first I was a little skeptical because I'd watched it run on up and in the back of my mind thought it might have had its run but the numbers tell me otherwise.

Ford seems to have a good solid plan to take advantage of the recovery and also seems to be at the center of the Buy American ideas that appear to be sweeping the country. The forecast for survival is better than the prospects for GM or Chrysler for those who wonder if the company will be around to honor their warranties. They are producing the products that the American public likes. It has the auto market covered with 4 major divisions: Auto manufacturing, automotive systems, auto financing and truck and auto leasing through it's Hertz division.

The stock has had price appreciation in 12 of the last 20 trading sessions and is 4 for the last 5. The price appreciation in the last 65 days of 76.06% gives me butterflies. The stock has a buy signal on 12 of the 13 technical indicators on Barchart for an overall buy rating of 96%

There are 15 Wall Street analysts following the company and although they aren't predicting sky rocket sales they are looking for a 15% per year EPS growth for the next 5 years. Short interests are falling from a high last year at 292 million to around 140 million at year end.

Other sites like the stock too. Wall Street Survivor readers give the stock a 5/5 Survivor Sentiment and over on Motley Fool the CAPS members vote 5536 to 2496 that the stock will out perform the market. The All Stars are more positive with a vote of 1313 to 387.

The stock does meet my normal criteria:
1 - Price appreciation on better than 50% of the recent trading sessions  [more]

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5

Profits in POS scanning

January 12, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: SCSC

Whenever I begin looking for stocks to add to my portfolios I always begin by screening on Barchart for the stocks hitting the most new highs in the recent trading sessions. I don't look for the highest percentage appreciation but I look for the stocks hitting new highs day after day on a consistent basis. Today ScanSources (SCSC) was near the top of the list.

As this economy begins to turn around control of the movement of merchandise from manufacturer, to wholesalers and distributors and finally from the retailers to the consumer will be essential. SCSC is a distributor of the optical scanning devices that will be at the heart inventory control as the inventory goes through the various levels. They are a key player in optical scanning devices in the US, Latin America and Europe.

It has had a price appreciation on 15 of the last 20 trading sessions and continues with 4 of the most recent 5 sessions. The price appreciation in the last 65 days has been 30.04%. The stock's price has recently turned upward and the stock has 5 buy signals on Barchart's 5 short term technical indicators of a 100% short term buy signal.

The stock is not widely followed by Wall Street but analyst predict that sales will increase by 6.6% and EPS by 17.1% in the coming year. There are no major sell recommendations out there and the smart money -- the short sellers -- have reduced short sales from 2.8 million shares to below 980,000 share in the past year. Fewer people are betting against them.

On other sites Wall Street Survivor reader give the stock a 5/5 Survivor Sentiment rating. Over on Motely Fool their CAPS members think the stock will out perform the market by a vote of 73 to 4 with the All Stars in agreement 31 to 1. Of the Wall Street columnists Foll follows they are favorable 3 to 0.

The stock has what I look for :
1 - Hitting new highs in better than 50% of recent trading sessions  [more]

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3

Nusts and bolts investing

January 10, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: FAST

Whenever I'm looking for new stocks to add to my portfolios the first thing I do is go to Barchart and sort for the stocks that are hitting the most frequent new highs and then sort through that list. Fastenal (FAST) came right at the top of that list this weekend. The economy, according to the leading economic indicators is recovering and the stock market has been advancing nicely so what I needed was a real nuts and bolts investing idea and that exactly what FAST does.

The company is a wholesaler and retailer of all kinds of fasteners like nuts, bolts, screws in addition to janitorial supplies. If you are going to run a factory, machine shop or repair facility you will need most of the products FAST sells and distributes. They also provide products to the electrical and construction industries. If this economic party is going to get started companies are going to need to buy products through FAST to being production. This company will be in the middle of it all if this economic engine ever gets started.

On the technical side FAST has enjoyed prices advances in 16 of the last 20 trading sessions and was 5 for 5 this week. It's had a nice 36.53% price appreciation in the last 65 days. All 13 of Barchart's 13 technical indicators have a buy signal for a 100% overall Barchart buy recommendation.

Wall Street analysts feel the stock will have an 8.9% sales increase and a 20% earnings increase next year and Piper Jaffray has just this week came out with an overweight recommendation. The fundamentals look very good.

On other sites Wall Street Survivor readers give the stock a 5/5 Survivor Sentiment rating and on Motley Fool CAPS members think the stock will out perform the market by a vote of 785 to 46 with the All Stars in agreement 240 to 11.

This stock meets my criteria:
1 - The stock has had recent price appreciation in more than 50% of the recent trading sessions  [more]

Recs

4

Is equipment better than oil?

January 08, 2010 – Comments (1) | RELATED TICKERS: CAM

When I start out looking for new stocks to add to my Wall Street Survivor portfolio my process begins on a purely technical price momentum basis. I look for the stocks that are presently hitting the most new highs and then begin a filtering process till I'm down to just a few. I then look for further reasons to narrow my list.

This week when I sorted on Barchart for the stocks hitting the most highs Cameron International Corp (CAM) came on the top of my list. Cameron is a manufacturer of the field equipment that oil and gas exploration companies use to explore for new oil and gas fields. While oil and gas prices bounce around all over the place the demand for the equipment to find new fields is far more stable. Whether oil prices are high or low we just need to continue to explore and buy more exploration equipment.

Something else I like about this company is something that scares me about playing around with oil prices. I hear the commentators on TV talk about short interest on oil and gas contacts and I've seen the effect that press releases can have on a stock when all the folks who sold it short try to cover their short positions to stop the bleeding they are feeling in a rising stock market. Since August the short interest ratio in this stock has dropped from 3.6 to 1.5. Simply put fewer people each month are shorting this stock, that's a pretty good vote of confidence from the short sellers. Short sellers tend to be more sophisticated and savvy then the rest of us so it's nice to find a stock that fewer of them are shorting.

CAM has made 17 price advances in the last 20 trading sessions and is 5 for 5 recently. There has been a nice price appreciation of 26.32% over the last 65 days. 12 Barchart's 13 technical indicators are signaling buy for a 96% overall technical buy rating.

24 Wall Street brokerage firms follow this stock and13 have buy recommendations out with no strong sell calls. The analysts are expecting a 10.0% increase in revenue next year with an annual EPS growth rate of 12% per year for the next 5 years.

Other technical sites like Wall Street Survivor readers give the stock a 5/5 Survivor Sentiment rating and on Motley Fool their readers think the stock will out perform the market by a vote of 965 to 18 with the All Star members giving it a vote of 212 to 3. Even the Wall Street journalists Fool follows like the stock 15 to 0.

I've got some solid reasons to like this stock:
1 - The stock is hitting new highs better than 50% for the recent trading sessions  [more]

Recs

2

Foreign energy independence

January 06, 2010 – Comments (1) | RELATED TICKERS: VNR

Everywhere we turn these days talking heads and politicians are harping about finding new ways to make sure the US isn't dependent on foreign oil and energy sources. Others are telling us that oil isn't the answer and natural gas is the way of the future. Well today my favorite stock to add to my Wall Street Survivor portfolio is Vanguard Natural Resources -- VNR.

The stock came up on my radar while I was using Barchart to screen for stocks hitting the most frequent new highs and this one hit the top of my list with 17 new price advances in the last 20 trading sessions and 4 new highs in the last 5 days. The stock has had a 44.32% price appreciation in the last 65 days and has buy signals on 12 of Barchart's 13 technical indicators for a 96% buy rating.

What made me fall in love with this stock is that it has what everyone seems to be looking for these days. They focus on the acquisition, exploitation and development of both natural gas and oil properties in the US. Most of their natural gas reserves are located in the southern portion of the Appalachian Basin, primarily in southeast Kentucky and northeast Tennessee. We don't have to worry about foreign interests and since they explore for both oil and gas we can have it either way.

On a fundamental basis this stock makes money and has a following. 6 brokerage firms follow the stock and 4 have buy recommendations with the other 2 a hold. No sell recommendations. The consensus is for a 30.4% increase in revenue next year and a 9.9% growth in earnings per share.

Before I put in my buy order I decided to check the other sites and Wall Street Survivor members have a 5/5 Survivor Sentiment rating, with a 4/5 fundamental and 5/5 technical rating. On Motley Fool CAPS members think the stock will out perform the market by a vote of 170 to 11 with the All Stars in agreement 61 to 1. The 3 Wall Street columnist that Fool follows like it 3 to 0.

I want to make a major point here before I receive criticism from any of you who are reading me for the first time. I try to find the stocks on my own. I do not buy them because they are popular with the analysts or other sites. I use these sources as a sounding board. If I want to buy a stock I look to see if others are trashing it. If I like it but others don't then I give it a second look to see it they saw something negative that I was missing. I just like to have that second and third opinion but I make my own finds.

This stock has what I like:
1 - The stock is hitting new highs better than 50% of the recent trading sessions  [more]

Recs

4

Buy the Auditors

January 05, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: PRGX

Before you jump to conclusions the title doesn't say "Buy-off the auditors". You need to read more carefully. We are in a recession and many businesses are about to run out of cash. There is a big difference between having a passionate business idea and actually running a business. The reasons most businesses fold -- and guess what -- the majority do -- is not that they had a bad product or didn't know their market; it's because of poor business practices.

PRG-Schultz International, Inc. is a leading provider of accounts payable and other recovery audit services to large and mid-size businesses and certain governmental agencies having numerous payment transactions with many vendors. The company has four distinct operating segments consisting of Accounts Payable Services, Freight Services, Tax Services and Facilities Services. Each segment represents a strategic business unit that offers a different type of recovery audit service.

PRGX makes sure you get what you pay for. They audit bills and contracts and give you assistance to manage your accounts receivable and payable. Most business owners fail miserably in these basic areas.

Barchart shows this stock has had price appreciation on 15 of the last 20 trading sessions and 4 of 5 recently. It has had a nice 34.44% price appreciation in the last 65 days.

This stock is not closely followed on Wall Street but analysts expect an annual growth rate of 20% for the next 5 years.

On other sites Wall Street Survivor readers give the stock a 5/5 Survivor Sentiment rating plus a 5/5 technical and a 5/5 fundamental rating. Over on Motley Fool the CAPS members think the stock will out perform the market 157 to 12 with the All Stars in agreement 60 to 2.

This stock has what I look for:
1 - Hitting new highs in more than 50% of the recent trading sessions  [more]

Recs

1

Doctor's orders - Take Biogen

January 04, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: BIIB

Biogen Idec -- BIIB is being added to my Marketocracy S&P 500 model portfolio. IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company engaged primarily in the research, development and commercialization of targeted therapies for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Their first commercial product, Rituxan, and our most advanced product candidate, ZEVALIN, are for use in the treatment of certain B-cellnon-Hodgkin's lymphomas. They are also developing products for the treatment of various autoimmune diseases (such as psoriasis, rheumatoidarthritis and lupus).

I screened for S&P 500 stocks showing the highest relative strength on Barchart and then used my normal elimination procedures. Biogen was on the short list. The stock has had 13 new days of price appreciation in the last 20 sessions and was 3 for 5 recently. 11 of Barchart's technical indicators rate the stock a buy for an 80% technical buy rating.

There are 20 brokerage firms following the company with no recent sell recommendations. 7 have buy recommendations on the stock.

On other sites Wall Street Survivor has a 5/5 sentiment rating with a 4/5 fundamental rating and a 5/5 technical rating. Motley Fool Caps members feel the stock will outperform the market by a vote of 622 to 45 with the All Stars in agreement 204 to 9 and the Wall Street columnists Fool follows are voting 10 to 3.

This stock has met my criteria:
1 - Hitting new highs better than 50% of recent days  [more]

Recs

5

Micron Technologies -- MU first pick of the new year

January 04, 2010 – Comments (1) | RELATED TICKERS: MU

I needed to search of a new addition to my Marketocracy S&P 500 fund VMFIV. I used Barchart to screen the S&P 500 stocks that were presently exhibiting the highest relative strength and then used my normal screening criteria to come up with my pick. Micron Technologies -- MU was the strongest on my short list.

Micron Technology, Inc. has established itself as one of the leading worldwide providers of semiconductor memory solutions. The company's quality memory solutions serve customers in a variety of industries including computer and computer-peripheral manufacturing, consumer electronics, CAD/CAM, telecommunications, office automation, network and data processing, and graphics display. The company's mission is to be the most efficient and innovative global provider of semiconductor memory solutions.

On Barchart MU has hit 14 new highs in the last 20 trading sessions and is 4 out of 5 recently. The stock has enjoyed a 65 day price appreciation of 76.96% and is rated a buy on 12 of Barchart's 13 technical indicators for a 96% overall technical buy rating.

On a fundamental basis the stock has a wide Wall Street following and analysts estimate the stock will have an annual growth of 8.6% on sales and 136.8% on earning per share next year. 17 analysts have upgraded their EPS estimates in the last 30 days. Of the 10 brokerage firms following this stock 14 rate it a buy.

On other sites Wall Street Survivor members give a Sentiment rating of 5/5 and a fundamental rating of 5/5. Motley Fool CAPS members think the stock will beat the market with a vote of 608 to 109 with the All Stars in agreement 154 to 20. The Wall Street columnist Fool follows like to stock 19 to 0.

This stock meets my criteria:
1 - The stock is hitting new highs in more than 50% of the recent sessions  [more]

Recs

3

Nice end to the year

January 03, 2010 – Comments (0)

Every week I like to step back and use the same tools to evaluate the market and try to decide my investment strategy for the coming week. I use Barchart for my data and the Value Line Index as my yardstick. I like the Value Line Index because it contains 1700 stocks giving me a broader view than the S&P 500 or the very narrow Dow 30. Let's see how the market did.

Value Line Index - 1700 stocks - seems bullish
1 - Down 1.20% for the week  [more]

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