Stocks Gain Modestly


Stocks achieved decent gains Wednesday for a second straight session, recovering further from Monday’s broad sell-off.

The S&P 500 rose 0.9%, while the Nasdaq and Dow Jones industrial average both added 0.7%. Volume decreased a little on the NYSE, but increased slightly on the Nasdaq, according to early data.

Nationstar Mortgage Holdings (NSM) jumped 7% in huge volume following a bullish pending-home sales report. The mortgage servicer cleared a 20.46 buy point from a three-weeks-tight pattern. The March IPO has an IBD Composite Rating of 98, near the best-possible grade of 99.

On the downside, O’Reilly Automotive (ORLY) plunged 14% a day after the auto parts retailer cut its same-store sales forecast. It dropped below its 200-day moving average in big trade. O’Reilly is No. 21 in the latest IBD 50 lineup.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) fell 6% in heavy turnover, closing below its 50-day moving average. A negative analyst note appeared to spur the selling. Investment Technology Group said in a report that Chipotle’s same-store sales appear to be decelerating.

In economic news Wednesday, U.S. pending-home sales rose 5.9% in May to the highest level since April 2010. Analysts expected a 1.2% gain. Stocks had pulled back ahead of the report, but strengthened after its release. Also, orders for durable goods rose much more than expected in May.

On Thursday, the session’s economic news will include an updated estimate for U.S. first-quarter GDP, as well as fresh data on new weekly jobless claims. EU officials also will begin a two-day meeting about their ongoing debt crisis, and the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand out its ruling on President Obama’s health care reform.

Family Dollar (FDO), Accenture (ACN) and Nike (NKE) are among the companies expected to report quarterly earnings.


Stocks End Up in Higher Volume; Many Stocks Break Out


Stocks ended solidly higher Tuesday but pulled back from their intraday highs amid hopes for more Federal Reserve stimulus.

The Nasdaq was up 1.2%, the S&P 500 1% and the Dow Jones industrial average 0.7%. Volume increased from Monday’s levels on the Nasdaq and NYSE.

The Nasdaq and S&P 500 closed above their 50-day moving averages for the first time since early May. Many highly rated stocks broke out above their buy points Tuesday.

The Fed wraps up a two-day meeting Wednesday that many investors anticipate will result in more help for the struggling U.S. economy. A Goldman Sachs note on Tuesday forecast an easing of monetary policy that could include buying more mortgage-backed securities or other bonds to keep borrowing costs low.

Among IBD 50 stocks, Texas Capital Bancshares (TCBI) jumped 3% in more than double its average daily volume, as the stock made its third attempt at advancing past a 39.41 buy point from a flat base. Texas Capital moved above 39.41 on June 11 and June 13, but couldn’t close above the entry mark, although it never fell so much as to trip IBD’s 7% or 8% sell rule.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) rose 5% in heavy turnover. The drugmaker moved past a flat-base entry at 95.11, as well as a possible handle buy point at 94.46.

SXC Health Solutions (SXCI) reversed to end little changed after earlier jumping as much as 5% and clearing a 100.60 flat-base buy point. The pharmacy benefits manager is now holding below 100.60.

Ashland (ASH) rose 2% in strong volume, clearing a 67.69 buy point from a square-box base. The chemicals maker isn’t in the IBD 50, but it has an IBD Composite Rating of 98, near the best-possible grade of 99.

Sally Beauty Holdings (SBH) gained 2% in strong turnover, as it topped a 27.84 entry from a flat base. The beauty products retailer has an excellent Composite Rating of 98.

Stericycle (SRCL) advanced 2% in double its normal turnover, moving above a long consolidation with resistance around 90. The medical waste handler has an 85 Composite Rating, which is respectable but not stellar, in part due to its relatively modest quarterly gains in EPS and revenue.

Microsoft (MSFT) rose 3% in big trade, helped by its announcement late Monday that it’s entering the tablet market with its new Surface device. The tech giant has lifted above its 50-day line and now stands about 6% off its 52-week high. Microsoft showed only single-digit percentage gains in quarterly EPS and revenue in the last two quarters. It has an OK Composite Rating of 82.

Oracle (ORCL) climbed 3% in strong turnover. Late Monday, the company reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue for its fiscal fourth quarter. It posted its Q4 results three days ahead of schedule. Oracle had been up as much as 6% out of the gate. The stock, which has a middling Composite Rating of 69, has climbed above its 50-day line, but it remains 18% below its 52-week high.

On the downside, Walgreen (WAG) tumbled 6% in huge volume after agreeing to pay $6.7 billion for a 45% stake in Europe’s largest pharmacy chain, Alliance Boots. The cash-stock deal is Walgreen’s first overseas venture. Walgreen said it expects the deal to close by September. It has a weak Composite Rating of 31 and is trading below its 50-day and 200-day moving averages.

In economic news, housing starts for May dropped to 708,000 units, missing forecasts, but new building permits rose more than expected. In addition, figures for March and April were revised up.

Stocks Tack On Gains, But Volume Unimpressive


Stocks tacked on gains Tuesday, but low volume suggested that big money stayed on the sidelines. The Nasdaq advanced 0.7%, while the S&P 500 and the NYSE composite each added 0.6%. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 0.2%. The Philadelphia semiconductor index jumped 2.2%.

Volume fell on both major exchanges, according to unconfirmed figures.

The iPath Dow Jones Copper Subindex (JJC) dropped 1%. The copper ETF has been in a rolling downtrend since February 2011. Copper price is said to have a Ph.D. in economics because it often acts as an economic bellwether.

Financials did best on the S&P 100 with Morgan Stanley (MS) jumping 4%, though volume was below average.

Top-rated stocks were mostly up as stocks in the IBD 50 rose by a 5-2 ratio. Moves in big volume, though, were scarce.

Dollar General (DG) attracted 173% greater volume as the stock lost 3.5%. The company reported better-than-expected results late Monday but a secondary offering appeared to dampen the enthusiasm. The stock lost its 50-day line.

On the Big Cap 20, which only has 17 members this week because of weakness, Walt Disney (DIS) rose 1% in a fifth faster volume. The stock broke out May 9, clearing a 44.60 buy point in a square box base. The stock is less than 1% above the buy point.

Upscale retailer Lululemon Athletica (LULU) gained almost 2% in volume that was 26% above average. The stock is still under its 50-day line.

Among industry groups, fertilizers did best and retail wholesale building products were weakest.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is expected to release its beige book survey of economic conditions throughout the nation. Before the open, the latest readings on productivity and costs are due out.