Tag Archives: AAPL

Best Tech Stocks To Watch For 2018

William Patalon III

Having spent the last 30 years observing public companies and their leaders, here’s one important lesson I’ve learned.

Of all the mistakes that corporate CEOs can make, there are two that are nail-down-the-lid-on-your-own-coffin, wipe-yourself-out killers.

Both have to do with emerging “threats” to the company’s core business. Those new “threats” can take a number of different forms. Perhaps it’s a new technology. Or a new rival. Or some sort of societal change that structurally changes customer wants, needs or tastes.

With any of those options, you’re talking about a change in the company’s business landscape.

And how the CEO responds to those threats not only bolsters or slashes his or her company’s stock price – it can also determine whether that firm thrives… or fails.

Best Tech Stocks To Watch For 2018: L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc.(LLL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    Headquartered in New York City, large cap L3 Technologies Inc (NYSE: LLL) employs approximately 38,000 people worldwide and is a leading provider of a broad range of communication, electronic and sensor systems used on military, homeland security and commercial platforms. L3 is also a prime contractor in aerospace systems, security and detection systems, and pilot training. The Company reported 2016 sales of $10.5 billion.

  • [By Peter Graham]

    A long term performance chart shows ViaSat, Inc plus mid to large cap communications stockslikeHarris Corporation (NYSE: HRS) and L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc (NYSE: LLL)had been moving in tandem until last yearwhile small cap Gogo Inc has underperformed:

  • [By Chris Lange]

    L3 Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LLL) just hosted its investor day and projected that it wants to be considered among the top defense firms. Multiple analysts have raised their target prices. RBC raised its rating to Outperform from Sector Perform and its target price to $239 from $202. Other price target hikes were seen as follows: Cowen to $210 from $200, Jefferies to $201 from $188 and JPMorgan to $220 from $205.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Five teams are expected to compete for the contract: Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) has joined with Saab to offer a clean-sheet design; Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) has teamed up with BAE Systems and L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (NYSE: LLL) on another clean-sheet design; Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) are going with a modified KAI T-50; Raytheon Corp. (NYSE: RTN) has joined with Italy’s Leonardo and Canada’s CAE Inc. (NYSE: CAE) on a version of Leonardo’s M-346 trainer that it calls the T-100; and privately held Sierra Nevada has partnered with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) on another clean-sheet design.

Best Tech Stocks To Watch For 2018: Sapiens International Corporation N.V.(SPNS)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin] Gainers
    Trevena Inc (NASDAQ: TRVN) rose 10.8 percent to $3.60 in pre-market trading after dropping 4.97 percent on Wednesday.
    Yum China Holdings Inc (NYSE: YUMC) rose 10.2 percent to $31.05 in pre-market trading after the company reported upbeat earnings for its first quarter.
    Seres Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: MCRB) rose 9.1 percent to $11.39 in pre-market trading after dropping 5.26 percent on Wednesday.
    Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ: PLUG) rose 8.9 percent to $2.45 in pre-market trading after surging 73.08 percent on Wednesday.
    Coach Inc (NYSE: COH) rose 6.7 percent to $41.98 in pre-market trading. Coach named Ian Bickley as President, Global Business Development and Strategic Alliances.
    Sapiens International Corporation N.V. (NASDAQ: SPNS) shares rose 6.1 percent to $13.91 in pre-market trading after gaining 0.54 percent on Wednesday.
    Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (NASDAQ: JAZZ) rose 6.1 percent to $149.15 in pre-market trading. Jazz Pharma reached a settlement with Hikma Pharma related to Xyrem patent case. Mizuho downgraded Jazz from Buy to Neutral.
    Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: IBKR) shares rose 6 percent to $36.72 in pre-market trading after declining 0.03 percent on Wednesday.
    Rewalk Robotics Ltd (NASDAQ: RWLK) rose 5.3 percent to $2.00 in pre-market trading after the company disclosed that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs purchased 28 added Exoskeleton Systems.
    Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: MACK) rose 5.1 percent to $3.29 in pre-market trading. Merrimack declared a $1.06 special dividend.
    BioTime, Inc. (NYSE: BTX) shares rose 4.8 percent to $3.50 in pre-market trading. BioTime, reported the formation of new subsidiary AgeX Therapeutics, Inc.
    Akari Therapeutics PLC (ADR) (NASDAQ: AKTX) shares rose 4.8 percent to $12.26 in pre-market trading after gaining 0.69 percent on Wednesday.
    Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY) rose 3.6 percent to $39.15 in pre-market trading after the company posted better-than

Best Tech Stocks To Watch For 2018: Motorola Solutions, Inc.(MSI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    A long term performance chart shows large caps Cisco Systems and Motorola Solutions Inc (NYSE: MSI) giving roughly the same positive albeit sometimes bumpy performance whileQualcomm, Inc (NASDAQ: QCOM) has fallen in and out of negative territory:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    A long term performance chart shows large caps Cisco Systems and Motorola Solutions Inc (NYSE: MSI) giving roughly the same performance whileQualcomm, Inc (NASDAQ: QCOM) began going in the other directionaround 2015:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    A long term performance chart shows Qualcomm breaking even whilepotential peers Cisco Systems, Inc (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Motorola Solutions Inc (NYSE: MSI) have performed better albeit they have seen their share of volatility:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    A long term performance chart shows large caps Cisco Systems and Motorola Solutions Inc (NYSE: MSI) giving roughly the same positive performance whileQualcomm, Inc (NASDAQ: QCOM) began going in the other directionaround 2014/2015:

Best Tech Stocks To Watch For 2018: Apple Inc.(AAPL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Virendra Singh Chauhan]

    The iPhone 8 Super Cycle, due to start with the expected launch of the new iPhone in September 2018, has been talked about a lot. There has been a lot of hype among Apple analysts and investors alike. A couple of recent analyst notes come to mind in this context. RBC capital recently added AAPL stock to its top tech stock picks for 2017. As reported by IBD, RBC analysts Amit Daryani and Mitch Stevessaid “The iPhone 8 could trigger a supercycle given the aging installed base of iPhones in use.” This came closely on Gene Munster’s last AAPL note from the desks of Piper Jaffray. The departing Apple analyst expects the iPhone 7 unit growth to come in higher than consensus while predicting next year’s iPhone model to be “compelling enough to sustain high single-digit to low double-digit unit growth,” as reported by Bloomberg. With major feature updates in store for the loyal Apple fan base, it is reasonable that the iPhone 8 will fly off the shelves, faster than ever. Add to this the fact that the 8 models could rake in higher ASPs and higher profit margins and the positive impact on Apple’s largest revenue segment becomes hard to ignore. (See also: An Unexpected Catalyst For Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) iPhone 8 Super Cycle)

  • [By Kumar Abhishek]

    Since its near-death experience in the 1990s, Cupertino-basedtech giant Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL),which is one of the greatest cash machinesin corporate history, has been rather conservative when it came to its finances and balance sheet. The MacBook maker had hardly any debt on its balance sheet throughout Steve Jobs’ second stint as its CEO, and invested all its cash in highly liquid U.S treasuries. Apple Inc was also very conservative in rewarding investors through dividends and stock buybacks. Back in 2010, Reuters published an article titled “Cash-rich Apple’s CFO may have world’s best job” describing Apple’s conservative financial practices.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) both recently introduced their mobile payment systems, Apple Pay and Android Pay, in Japan, where the technology has been in use for a dozen years. In 2015, mobile payments accounted for $44 billion in sales in Japan.

  • [By Casey Wilson]

    The company’s robots sort, paint, fill, and count everything from trucks, to medicine, to ketchup for big-name customers like General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM). The company is also a key Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) supplier.

  • [By Jack Foley]

    Autonomous vehicles is another segment of the auto industry that Trump is expected to attack. Why? Well if autonomous vehicles gain traction in the years ahead, the US economy is looking at massive job losses. Remember, all this industry will have to see here will be a hesitancy on the government’s part for approving this technology for the future investments to disappear. The technology is definitely there as illustrated by companies such as Alphabet (NSDQ:GOOGL)and Apple (NSDQ:AAPL)which are developing the software, but that is only one piece of the puzzle.

Best Tech Stocks To Watch For 2018: Analog Devices, Inc.(ADI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lee Jackson]

    Analog Devices Inc. (NYSE: ADI) has been on a huge run, and a director at the chip company took advantage by selling a block of 50,000 shares of the stock at prices that ranged from $83.00 to $83.50. The total of the sale was set at $4 million. The shares ended Friday at $83.26, in a 52-week trading range is $52.17 to $84.24. The consensus price target is $89.42.

  • [By WWW.THESTREET.COM]

    Chips from Texas Instruments (TXN) are built into a lot of devices that matter, Cramer said, and if investors want autonomous vehicles, they should be looking at Analog Devices (ADI) .

  • [By WWW.THESTREET.COM]

    Cramer was not bullish on Campbell Soup (CPB) , which also reports Tuesday, but did have good things to say about Tech Data (TECD) , Analog Devices (ADI) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) , an Action Alerts PLUS holding.

  • [By Leo Sun]

    If you think that Apple still has room to run, you should also check out three of its top suppliers — Cirrus Logic (NASDAQ:CRUS), Analog Devices (NASDAQ:ADI), and Skyworks Solutions (NASDAQ:SWKS) — which could all be lifted by the tech giant’s rally.

Best Tech Stocks To Watch For 2018: FormFactor, Inc.(FORM)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jim Robertson]

    On Tuesday, our Elite Opportunity Pronewsletter suggested small cap semiconductor equipment & testing stock FormFactor, Inc (NASDAQ: FORM) as a short term long trade thats a pure small cap play with excellent valuation metrics, in addition to some very attractive chart implications right now:

7 Stocks With ‘Tax Cut’ Dividend Increases on Tap

Congress and President Donald Trump passed a historic tax cut late last year, lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. This monumental legislation should place hundreds of billions of dollars back in the hands of corporations. But which companies will put these dollars in the hands of investors as dividend increases?

Some companies will use the money saved — or repatriated from overseas — to reinvest in their businesses. Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA), for example, will invest $50 billion into infrastructure in the coming years.

Other companies will use the money to repurchase stock. Regrettably, those stocks are very overvalued right now.

Many companies, however, will boost their dividends to reward shareholders. This will be particularly true of companies that are already cash flow positive and are struggling to grow or would struggle anyway just given their business.

Here are seven likely candidates for dividend increases.

Dividend Increases: Apple (AAPL) Apple Inc. (AAPL)investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/aaplmsn-300×165.jpg 300w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/aaplmsn-55×30.jpg 55w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/aaplmsn-200×110.jpg 200w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/aaplmsn-162×88.jpg 162w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/aaplmsn-65×36.jpg 65w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/aaplmsn-100×55.jpg 100w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/aaplmsn-91×50.jpg 91w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/aaplmsn-78×43.jpg 78w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/aaplmsn-170×93.jpg 170w” sizes=”(max-width: 728px) 100vw, 728px” /> Source: via Apple

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be one of the big winners in the tax cut game. For starters, it should be able to repatriate about $215 billion. It will also save about $2.2 billion in taxes. Now, Apple not only will have all that cash on hand, it also has free cash flow in excess of $50 billion.

What’s interesting about AAPL stock is the yield is only 1.49%, based on a $2.52 per share dividend. Apple could literally afford to plow the entire tax savings into an increased dividend — boosting it by $0.44 per share — to $2.96 per share or 1.72%.

Dividend Increases: Home Depot (HD) Why HD Stock Is Finally Too Expensiveinvestorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/hdmsn-300×165.jpg 300w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/hdmsn-55×30.jpg 55w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/hdmsn-200×110.jpg 200w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/hdmsn-162×88.jpg 162w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/hdmsn-65×36.jpg 65w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/hdmsn-100×55.jpg 100w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/hdmsn-91×50.jpg 91w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/hdmsn-78×43.jpg 78w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/hdmsn-170×93.jpg 170w” sizes=”(max-width: 728px) 100vw, 728px” /> Source: Mike Mozart via Flickr (Modified)

Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) is another huge winner in the corporate tax cut parade. HD will save close to $675 million annually.

The beauty of Home Depot is that the company is currently firing on all cylinders. They’re seeing fabulous same-store comps. And their current dividend payout is presently a mere 40% of free cash flow.

Home Depot can and should plow their entire tax savings into a dividend increase of $0.65 per share, lifting the dividend from $3.56 to $4.21 per share. That would push the yield from 1.88% to 2.22%.

Dividend Increases: Pfizer (PFE) PFE Stockinvestorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/pfemsn-300×150.jpg 300w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/pfemsn-768×384.jpg 768w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/pfemsn-60×30.jpg 60w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/pfemsn-200×100.jpg 200w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/pfemsn-400×200.jpg 400w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/pfemsn-116×58.jpg 116w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/pfemsn-100×50.jpg 100w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/pfemsn-78×39.jpg 78w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/pfemsn-800×400.jpg 800w,https://investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/pfemsn-170×85.jpg 170w” sizes=”(max-width: 950px) 100vw, 950px” /> Source: Shutterstock

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) stands to save about $150 million annually. As a big pharma company, Pfizer must continually feed its R&D machine. R&D routinely costs about $7.5 – $8.5 billion annually, yet that money comes out of its extremely robust free cash flow which runs $13 – 16 billion annually.

Figure a $.025 dividend increase on top of its already annual increase, which results in a small increase in yield from 3.75% to 3.77%. Not big, but a lot of retirement investors hold PFE stock.

Dividend Increases: Cisco (CSCO) investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cscomsn-300×165.jpg 300w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cscomsn-55×30.jpg 55w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cscomsn-200×110.jpg 200w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cscomsn-162×88.jpg 162w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cscomsn-400×220.jpg 400w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cscomsn-116×64.jpg 116w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cscomsn-100×55.jpg 100w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cscomsn-91×50.jpg 91w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cscomsn-78×43.jpg 78w,https://investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cscomsn-170×93.jpg 170w” sizes=”(max-width: 728px) 100vw, 728px” /> Source: Shutterstock

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) has fallen into no/slow-growth territory with net income effectively stalling over the past couple of years. Nevertheless, CSCO stock generates about $13 billion annually in free cash flow. That’s pretty amazing, so the additional $350 million in tax savings would likely all go to increasing the dividend.

The $.07 per share increase would push the dividend from $1.16 per share to $1.23 per share, lifting the yield from 3.03% to 3.14%.

Dividend Increases: Coca-Cola (KO) The Coca-Cola Co KO stockinvestorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/komsn2-300×165.jpg 300w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/komsn2-55×30.jpg 55w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/komsn2-200×110.jpg 200w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/komsn2-162×88.jpg 162w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/komsn2-65×36.jpg 65w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/komsn2-100×55.jpg 100w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/komsn2-91×50.jpg 91w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/komsn2-78×43.jpg 78w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/komsn2-170×93.jpg 170w” sizes=”(max-width: 728px) 100vw, 728px” /> Source: Leo Hidalgo via Flickr (Modified)

The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE:KO) has really been struggling the past few years. The world moved away from sugary drinks and toward healthier choices. Revenue is falling, as is net income.

Nevertheless, KO stock has enjoyed bountiful cash flow for decades and has almost $40 billion of cash on hand. So while business is struggling, much of the $220 million in tax savings may go to either stock repurchases or dividend increases.

If the latter, that means a $0.05 per share increase to $1.53 per share, boosting the yield from 3.23% to 3.36%.

Dividend Increases: Microsoft (MSFT) Why You Should Buy Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Stock on the Dipinvestorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/MSFTMSN-300×165.jpg 300w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/MSFTMSN-73×40.jpg 73w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/MSFTMSN-55×30.jpg 55w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/MSFTMSN-250×137.jpg 250w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/MSFTMSN-200×110.jpg 200w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/MSFTMSN-162×88.jpg 162w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/MSFTMSN-160×88.jpg 160w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/MSFTMSN-65×36.jpg 65w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/MSFTMSN-100×55.jpg 100w,https://investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/MSFTMSN-91×50.jpg 91w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/MSFTMSN-78×43.jpg 78w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/MSFTMSN-170×93.jpg 170w” sizes=”(max-width: 728px) 100vw, 728px” /> Source: Mike Mozart Via Flickr

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) will win big with the tax cut as well. Because Microsoft is finally growing earnings again, but has tons of cash and cash flow, there is no need to plow the tax savings into the business.

MSFT can also start to make big strides towards becoming an income stock. Get this — before the cut, MSFT generated $30 billion in free cash flow last year, and paid out only $11.8 billion in dividends.

Tax savings could push another $0.04 per share into the dividend, lifting it to $1.72 per share.

Dividend Increases: Boeing (BA) Boeing BA stockinvestorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/bamsn-1-300×165.jpg 300w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/bamsn-1-73×40.jpg 73w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/bamsn-1-55×30.jpg 55w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/bamsn-1-250×137.jpg 250w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/bamsn-1-200×110.jpg 200w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/bamsn-1-162×88.jpg 162w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/bamsn-1-160×88.jpg 160w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/bamsn-1-65×36.jpg 65w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/bamsn-1-100×55.jpg 100w,https://investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/bamsn-1-91×50.jpg 91w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/bamsn-1-78×43.jpg 78w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/bamsn-1-170×93.jpg 170w” sizes=”(max-width: 728px) 100vw, 728px” /> Source: Phillip Capper via Flickr

Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) is another widely-held stock that’s in a sweet-spot as far as how to use its tax windfall. They aren’t saving an enormous chunk of money — about $93 million — but that still translates to a $0.16 per share dividend increase.

That would push the dividend right up to $7 per share, lifting the yield from 2.32% to 2.34%.

Lawrence Meyers is the CEO of PDL Capital, a specialty lender focusing on consumer finance and is the Manager of The Liberty Portfolio at www.thelibertyportfolio.com. He does not own any stock mentioned. He has 23 years’ experience in the stock market, and has written more than 1,800 articles on investing. Lawrence Meyers can be reached at TheLibertyPortfolio@gmail.com.

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Hot Start to 2018 Pushes Markets Higher

U.S. equities pushed confidently higher on Tuesday, the first trading day of the new year, resulting in the best kickoff for the tech-heavy Nasdaq since 2013. Bitcoin was hot. Gold well bid. But bonds were slammed, pushing up yields, in a possible sign that inflation and economic growth expectations are rising and will put further pressure on the fixed-income market.

In the end, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4%, the S&P 500 gained 0.8%, the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.5% and the Russell 2000 gained 0.9%. Treasury bonds declined, the dollar weakened again, gold gained 0.5% for its eighth consecutive gain and crude oil lost 0.1% after a run of strength.

Energy stocks led the way, in what could be possible sector rotation as crude oil tests above the $60-a-barrel threshold for the first time since 2015. Utilities were the laggards on yield pressure, falling 0.9%.

Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) gained 4.8% after being upgraded by analysts at Macquarie noting changing consumer preferences to ad-free television and the impact of a second round of price increases. Citigroup analysts believe there is a 40% chance the company is acquired by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE:JWN) gained 3.7% on an upgrade at JPMorgan on expected tailwinds from stock market gains and tax cut stimulus. On the downside, Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI) lost 2.9% on a downgrade from JPMorgan on increased royalty costs.

On the economic front, the Market U.S. Manufacturing PMI came in slightly better than the flash reading, indicating the strong pace of factory activity in 11 months. Job growth was at the strongest since September 2014. And Eurozone activity increased to its best level since the survey began in June 1997.

Conclusion

With the books closed on 2017, the die has been cast: It was a record year, with stocks rising on a total return basis in each and every month for the first time in history.

For now, the consensus on Wall Street is that the uptrend will continue.

Goldman Sachs is looking for “rational exuberance” in 2018 on a combination of strong GDP growth, low and slowly rising interest rates, and profit growth driven by the recently passed GOP tax cut legislation. JPMorgan says investors should “Eat, drink, and be merry” in the new year on higher consumer spending and an even tighter labor market.

But others, including Societe Generale and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, are sounding the alarm. The former is looking for the S&P 500 to drop to 2,000 by the end of 2018, a loss of 26% in what would be a bear market decline.

The latter, courtesy of strategist Michael Hartnett, fears a 1987/1994/1998-style “flash crash” within the next three months caused by rising interest rates.

investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/midterm-election-300×175.jpg 300w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/midterm-election-51×30.jpg 51w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/midterm-election-200×117.jpg 200w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/midterm-election-400×234.jpg 400w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/midterm-election-116×68.jpg 116w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/midterm-election-100×58.jpg 100w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/midterm-election-86×50.jpg 86w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/midterm-election-78×46.jpg 78w,https://investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/midterm-election-170×99.jpg 170w” sizes=”(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px” />

Checking in with seasonality, the folks at the Almanac Trader note that January has had a volatile reputation since 2000, with 10 of the last 18 years featuring nasty declines starting with the 5.1% pullback that kicked off the dot-com collapse. January 2009 featured a 8.6% loss that was the worst January on record going back to 1930.

Mid-term election year performances were also tepid, as shown above. SentimenTrader notes that options traders are betting heavily on a spike in volatility in the coming weeks. And these folks tend to be right at extremes.  

Today’s Trading Landscape

To see a list of the companies reporting earnings today, click here.

For a list of this week’s economic reports due out, click here.

Anthony Mirhaydari is the founder of the Edge and Edge Pro investment advisory newsletters. Free two- and four-week trial offers have been extended to InvestorPlace readers.

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Hot Start to 2018 Pushes Markets Higher

U.S. equities pushed confidently higher on Tuesday, the first trading day of the new year, resulting in the best kickoff for the tech-heavy Nasdaq since 2013. Bitcoin was hot. Gold well bid. But bonds were slammed, pushing up yields, in a possible sign that inflation and economic growth expectations are rising and will put further pressure on the fixed-income market.

In the end, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4%, the S&P 500 gained 0.8%, the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.5% and the Russell 2000 gained 0.9%. Treasury bonds declined, the dollar weakened again, gold gained 0.5% for its eighth consecutive gain and crude oil lost 0.1% after a run of strength.

Energy stocks led the way, in what could be possible sector rotation as crude oil tests above the $60-a-barrel threshold for the first time since 2015. Utilities were the laggards on yield pressure, falling 0.9%.

Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) gained 4.8% after being upgraded by analysts at Macquarie noting changing consumer preferences to ad-free television and the impact of a second round of price increases. Citigroup analysts believe there is a 40% chance the company is acquired by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE:JWN) gained 3.7% on an upgrade at JPMorgan on expected tailwinds from stock market gains and tax cut stimulus. On the downside, Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI) lost 2.9% on a downgrade from JPMorgan on increased royalty costs.

On the economic front, the Market U.S. Manufacturing PMI came in slightly better than the flash reading, indicating the strong pace of factory activity in 11 months. Job growth was at the strongest since September 2014. And Eurozone activity increased to its best level since the survey began in June 1997.

Conclusion

With the books closed on 2017, the die has been cast: It was a record year, with stocks rising on a total return basis in each and every month for the first time in history.

For now, the consensus on Wall Street is that the uptrend will continue.

Goldman Sachs is looking for “rational exuberance” in 2018 on a combination of strong GDP growth, low and slowly rising interest rates, and profit growth driven by the recently passed GOP tax cut legislation. JPMorgan says investors should “Eat, drink, and be merry” in the new year on higher consumer spending and an even tighter labor market.

But others, including Societe Generale and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, are sounding the alarm. The former is looking for the S&P 500 to drop to 2,000 by the end of 2018, a loss of 26% in what would be a bear market decline.

The latter, courtesy of strategist Michael Hartnett, fears a 1987/1994/1998-style “flash crash” within the next three months caused by rising interest rates.

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Checking in with seasonality, the folks at the Almanac Trader note that January has had a volatile reputation since 2000, with 10 of the last 18 years featuring nasty declines starting with the 5.1% pullback that kicked off the dot-com collapse. January 2009 featured a 8.6% loss that was the worst January on record going back to 1930.

Mid-term election year performances were also tepid, as shown above. SentimenTrader notes that options traders are betting heavily on a spike in volatility in the coming weeks. And these folks tend to be right at extremes.  

Today’s Trading Landscape

To see a list of the companies reporting earnings today, click here.

For a list of this week’s economic reports due out, click here.

Anthony Mirhaydari is the founder of the Edge and Edge Pro investment advisory newsletters. Free two- and four-week trial offers have been extended to InvestorPlace readers.

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Mondays Vital Data: Apple, Micron and General Electric

U.S. stock futures are headed lower this morning, as Wall Street digests the possibility of more interest rate hikes in 2018. On Friday, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester hinted to Reuters at the possibility of four rate hikes this year. On Saturday, San Francisco Fed President John Williams backed the current pace of three hikes due to economic lift from the tax plan.

More from the Fed will arrive today. Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic is due to speak at the Rotary Club of Atlanta this afternoon. Additionally, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren will participate in a panel to discuss whether Fed should stick to a 2% inflation target.

While futures were headed higher early this morning, they have since reversed course. At last check, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are down 0.06%, S&P 500 futures are off 0.15% and Nasdaq-100 futures have fallen 0.13%.

Turning to the options pits, Friday’s volume remained brisk. Overall, about 20.5 million calls and 16.4 million puts changed hands. The CBOE single-session equity put/call volume ratio rose to 0.58. The 10-day moving average held at 0.56.

Taking a closer look at Friday’s options activity, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) attracted heavy call volume heading into what proved to be a rather rough weekend for the company. Meanwhile, Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) options received a sentiment boost after a bullish note on memory chip demand from Keybank. Finally, General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), last year’s ultimate dog of the Dow, has emerged as one of 2018’s top 10 favorites.

Monday’s Vital Options Data: Apple Inc (AAPL), Micron Technology, Inc. (MU) and General Electric Company (GE)investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/01-08-2017-Top-Ten-Options-300×138.png 300w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/01-08-2017-Top-Ten-Options-65×30.png 65w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/01-08-2017-Top-Ten-Options-200×92.png 200w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/01-08-2017-Top-Ten-Options-400×184.png 400w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/01-08-2017-Top-Ten-Options-116×53.png 116w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/01-08-2017-Top-Ten-Options-100×46.png 100w,https://investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/01-08-2017-Top-Ten-Options-109×50.png 109w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/01-08-2017-Top-Ten-Options-78×36.png 78w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/01-08-2017-Top-Ten-Options-170×78.png 170w” sizes=”(max-width: 547px) 100vw, 547px” />

Apple Inc (AAPL)

Apple stock options were extremely call heavy on Friday. Volume topped out at 543,000 contracts, with calls snapping up an above average 69% of the day’s take. The net effect was to drive AAPL’s January 2018 put/call open interest ratio lower from a reading near 1.16 to today’s perch at 1.12.

Sentiment was up after the company said that it would quickly patch any semiconductor vulnerabilities. Chip stocks were hit hard after revelations of exploits affecting Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) processors.

Today, however, could be a different story. Apple was hit with fresh concerns over worker conditions in China following the suicide of a Foxconn worker at an iPhone production plant this weekend. Additionally, investors are calling for Apple to investigate the potential harm of iPhone and tablet-like devices on children.

AAPL stock is down fractionally in pre-market trading.

Micron Technology, Inc. (MU)

Micron stock remained volatile on Friday, despite a bullish research note from analysts at Keybanc. According to Keybanc, news in the DRAM and NAND markets is “neutral to good.” Specifically, DRAM supply is tight and should help support prices, while NAND is headed for “oversupply.” However, NAND oversupply should work its way out of the system later this year, returning pricing power to Micron.

Options traders appeared to take profits following the recent run higher, however. Volume on Friday rose to 305,000 contracts, with calls accounting for 65% of the day’s take.

The resulting January 2018 put/call OI ratio rose to 0.65 from last week’s reading of 0.62. The activity hints that options traders may be taking profits after MU rallied more than 11% last week.

General Electric Company (GE)

After finishing 2017 as the worst performing member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, GE stock has emerged as one of the potential top performers of 2018. General Electric has made the top 10 list of several notable top-ranked stock newsletters, including George Putnam’s, The Turnaround Letter.

GE stock is already up more than 6% in 2018, enjoying a solid first week for the year. Options traders have also taken up the bullish call. Volume on Friday rose to 272,000 contracts, or more than 1.5 times GE’s daily average. Calls gobbled up 72% of the day’s take.

Short-term options traders have grown heavily bullish on GE stock heading into the first expiration of 2018. Specifically, the January put/call OI ratio has fallen to a reading of 0.43, with calls more than doubling puts among front-month options.

Finally, there could be more gains to come. GE closed above its 50-day moving average on Friday and could be set to challenge resistance at $19 this week. A breakout above resistance at $19 could be a significant short-term boon for GE bulls.

As of this writing, Joseph Hargett was long General Electric Company (GE) stock.

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