The St. Louis Fed put out a graph of initial claims for unemployment benefits. 253,000 is the lowest number seen since the 1970s. You can see how the major spikes coincide with recessions. It has been such a long time without a major rise that it seems impossible that the current trend can hold much longer. I drew a line that shows the bottom of the trend. The line arguably could be a little higher and flatter. It seems to fit the bottom best here though. Regardless, we are overdue for a spike.
This graph shows just how well the economy has been doing. The FED keeps touting 2% inflation targets or whatever magic figure it is. What a joke. We don't need it. Clearly, the only need for such targets is national debt service on our huge national debt. GDP growth last year was modest considering the situation. Some day inflation is going to take off and the FED will be to slow to adapt. That's how it has always been done in history atleast.
While looking through a stock scanner for stocks showing high buy volume spikes I came across a familiar name. Jones Soda (JSDA) has been around a long time and even have their products in my local high end grocery store Harris Teeter. It's been almost forgot now though and trades on the OTC with other penny stocks at just $.51 a share. It bottomed out lately at about $.30 a share. Average daily trading volume on JSDA is 85,000 shares. It traded 1.5 million shares Friday!
This is a $21 million company. Looking at the balance sheet everything is fine. No long-term debt and a 1.5 current ratio. Hardly your typical penny stock. Something must be wrong. Yes, revenues have been flat to down the past couple years. Gross margins are stable now though. I think this is one of those companies where expectations are so bleak that anything positive boosts the stock. I see that likely hood a lot more than I see the revenue and earnings getting worse. With the balance sheet the way it is they have plenty of time to get it together. Technically, the stock has bottomed. It looks like a high bull flag going on here. If it breaks over $.56 again it's off to the races.
Some of you may have heard about the Valeant Pharma (VRX) news story awhile back. The company was doing some suspicious things and Citron called them out on it. Their report opened up the doors for further investigations. Citron Research does analysis from frauds to simple shorts on overvaluation. There is a short bias tilt. Anyway, be it something fraudulent or just a simple possible short people give Citron attention. That in itself has debatably triggered bear raids on lower volume names. Even larger volume large-cap stocks can see bearish action.
Their newest article is on Monster Beverage (MNST). No big smoking gun here. Just simple overvaluation. The stock looks a little expensive. The entire case is in this article here on Monster Beverage (MNST).
I quickly went through a net current asset stock screen. There is not much out there to no surprise. There are a few though that have potential. I've been blogging on them some. The SORL, the SPU. I've blogged about these two deep value stocks a lot in the past. First up is Emerson Radio (MSN)and it has always been around net current asset value and profitable. I took a look at Emerson again and this is what I see currently. I see cash on the balance sheet stable the past year. It is actually marginally up from last year. Cash is 28.1 million. There is zero long-term debt. Total liabilities are just 3.9 million. So net cash is roughly $24 million. The market capitalization of the company is $27 million. So it is right around net cash with the stock at 1.01 per share. I don't think it is any coincidence the stock has bottomed out and found support around 1.00 the past couple years. You can see that here in this chart below.
They squeaked out a small profit last quarter though revenue doesn't look good. Who knows what is to come. I am going to put a limit order to buy some shares around 1.11 or lower. If the price drops below .90 the thesis doesn't work anymore and I'll take the loss.
Coffee Holding JVA is very close to being a net current asset stock. It's been a net tangible asset value stock for awhile. The price has just been in free fall this year. It appears technically it could be bottoming. I hope it keeps dropping though. I see this as the best net current asset value if we get there. It almost got there in early October this year in the 3.80s. That was the bottom though and it got picked up on strong buy volume. This one really just needs an activist investor I think. Something like that. I don't know a whole lot about this company but wholesale coffee can be consistently profitable.
The US stock market keeps ripping higher with mediocre global economic data at best. Company revenues and earnings locally here in the US aren't stellar either. Take for instance Caterpillar (CAT). The company reported quarterly earnings yesterday that were abysmal. The company is still practically in a death spiral. And they may be one of the best indicators of future growth. The stock has been in a strong downtrend but surged higher on heavy trading volume the day of the earnings announcement. It even followed through more today!
Just looking at the major indices the steady climb higher reminds me of the surge off of the 2009 lows. It looks like the aftermath bottom following the 2010 flash crash and the mini flash crash of last fall. What did all of those have in common? One thing. High frequency trading (HFT) or program trading. Here is a video from the summer of 2009 where an institutional trader talks about HFT. He said it just overwhelmed the tape and no one can fight it.
Many stocks were driven higher with uncanny price action. One that comes to my mind in particular from 2009 is Beazer Homes (BZH). If you are familiar with "truly" manipulated penny stocks aka pump and dumps this chart will ring a bell. This is BZH in 2009. See how it goes up day after day without consolidating? And any red days are met with a continuation of the uptrend. Then it soars at the end and crashes.
Here is the current S&P 500 index in its sharp uptrend
They say officially that 50-60% of the volume on the exchanges are high frequency trading. I've always been skeptical and assume its closer to 70 or 80% or more. I don't personally have any problem with HFT.
I think we are seeing a high frequency trading bottom being put in here on the major indices. When we are going higher everyday don't fight it. I wouldn't be surprised if this keeps up for weeks. It smells like QE is here or is coming.
Sometimes there are strong leading indicators in markets. A leading indicator is when one market leads another. One will go up or down and the other will simply follow a little behind. The two are correlated. You can gauge the next movement by seeing what the leading indicator is doing. An example of this is crude oil and the US stock market in late February early March of 2009. Crude oil was a leading indicator for the market. In October of 2007 the Chinese stock market was a leading indicator for US markets. This year corporate bonds specifically high yield corporates are a leading indicator of the stock market. The correlation is continuing even this week. Tickers like JNK, HYG and LQD are leading. Here's JNK the high yield bond ETF beginning it's trading range breakdown in early June.
The S&P 500 didn't really fall significantly until August. You could maybe argue very late June it had a scare but it held in. Still late June is far from early June. So what does this mean? Watch friggin bonds folks! HYG and JNK lead the way again 4 trading days ago when they started breaking down again. The market followed the very next day. We are one or two days behind now. JNK just printed a nasty shooting star yesterday the 22nd. Bearish prints on both of these. I'm writing this early morning here on the 23rd. The downtrend is strong and intact on HYG and JNK. They are coming off of a clear bear flag and it appears the lows will be tested.