Stock Exchange: Technical or Fundamental?

Market participants split sharply on whether it is better to use technical or fundamental analysis. The question rivals “Ginger or Mary Ann” in popularity.

Technical experts are a rich source of new stock ideas. Our trading models each specialize in a different time frame and level of risk. Before their weekly poker game, they spend a few minutes trading ideas. They like to call this their “Stock Exchange.” I am the only human and the only one using fundamental analysis.

The group had a winning call on energy two weeks ago, without clear support from the fundamentals. Just luck? Temporary? Time will tell.

The key difference between the approaches: The technical analyst thinks the market is describing the world. The fundamental analyst looks to the world, and then for mispricing in markets. This series expands upon this story, with interesting new ideas each week, as well as answers to reader questions.

This Week’s Ideas

Our technical experts have varying ideas this week. As usual, I disagree with most of them. Let us have a word from each.

Felix

I look for long-term themes, and I have already shared several. Another good one is technology. One of my favorites is Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE).

[Jeff] Ahh! That is the portion Meg Whitman chose to run after the company split into two parts.

[Felix] Who is Meg Whitman?

[Jeff] She is the CEO of the original Hewlett Packard and now HPE.

[Felix] I only know that the market approves! Investors are applauding her. This is an excellent example of momentum in action. I expect more gains to come.

[Felix] We had some questions for this week’s post! I thank my fans, and I am happy to answer.

Seeking Alpha’s poorman#whocares asks: What does Felix think about RIO?

 

My response (via Jeff Miller):

I rank RIO in the top third of our stock universe, with a pretty solid hold/buy rating. In our own trading we stick to the top 20, so it is pretty exclusive.

Thanks for joining in!

 

Our second question comes from Seeking Alpha’s 03FOSTER: How does Felix feel about UNH? It would seem to fit his personal presences.

 

My response:

I rate UNH in the middle of the rankings — still a reasonable, positive rating. I do like the company, but I am not overly excited about the stock. Some human once said that a good company is not necessarily a good stock. This intelligent reader raised a very good question.

 

Oscar

I like the Diversified Utility sector (XLU). It is March Madness in action. It’s been on a breakaway since the early spring, and it’s still an easy layup. We may be off the yearly highs, but to me that seems like a buying opportunity more than anything else.

Looking closer, holding EXC (a part of XLU) is a near mirror image of that wider sector. You’d be opening yourself up to a bit more volatility there, though that may carry some extra upside along with it.

[Jeff] You got your nose out of the sports section long enough to spot EXC. I do not care for most of the sector, but Exelon is a good dividend stock especially if you write calls against it as I do for our Enhanced Yield program. The valuation is reasonable and the yield is 3.7%.

[Oscar] Thank you – I think…

Holmes

I like DuPont (DD) This giant Chemical company sold off pretty hard in the last 6 weeks, seems to have rested and consolidated, and is now ready to resume its long term bullish move. I expect new highs pretty soon.

[Jeff] I like a lot of industrial stocks, but this one is significantly overvalued.

[Holmes] I sniff out opportunities, deduce the risk and reward, and swiftly change course when I am occasionally mistaken. This pick fits my approach.

Athena

I have a great choice this week, but before I share it, what is this Ginger or Mary Ann question? Why not ask “Gilligan or the Professor?”

[Jeff] Hmm. That question has not caught on yet.

[Athena] Perhaps it will as wisdom improves. Turning to my excellent choice this week, if you had ever wondered what a textbook definition of “momentum” would look like, here it is. Intel (INTC). After climbing out of lows early in 2016, this stock has been red hot. Of course, I expect the gains to continue for some time. If something goes wrong with that plan, I’ll drop the stock and find a stronger and wiser warrior.

[Jeff] This is a reasonable choice, but I do not see the explosive upside from current valuations. It is another stodgy holding suitable for writing calls.

[Athena] Are you going to fight with me every week? You shall learn my wisdom!

Questions

If you want an opinion about a specific stock or sector, even those we did not mention, just ask! Put questions in the comments. Address them to a specific expert if you wish. Each has a special expertise. Who is your favorite? (You are allowed to choose me, although my feelings will not be hurt very much if you prefer one of the models).

Cast of Characters

Felix is fussy, precise, and very cautious. He looks for what is working, but it also must have upside potential. He is an investor who thinks long term. Felix will not usually announce new picks, but he will answer questions, saying what he thinks about specific stocks. He will also comment on favorite themes and sectors.

Oscar is naturally optimistic and a bit excitable. He definitely likes to go with winners, and focuses on a one-month time frame. He trades either sector ETFs, or a basket of stocks (equally weighted) that reflect a sector. Oscar will mention a favorite sector each week, and will also answer questions about sectors.

Holmes is a trader, but a cautious one. Holmes emphasizes asset protection through profit taking, stops, and trailing stops. He is careful in selecting new positions, and generally looks at an intermediate time frame. There is no set holding period, but two or three months is not unusual. Holmes will tell us one stock recommended that week. For those who sign up for his email list (no charge, privacy respected, holmes at newarc dot com) he will report exits with a one-day delay.

Athena trades more frequently than the others, but still limits risk. Her inspiration helps to find good ideas. Her excellent quant skills find attractive risk/reward opportunities. Her wisdom leads her to exit trades that are not working. Athena will provide a new idea each week.

Jeff usually has some comments about stock or market fundamentals. Unlike the other witty participants, he sounds like an old prof.

An Important Note to Readers – from Jeff

All of the characters (except me!) are models, carefully engineered and tested by one of the leading developers of the last thirty years. They are highly-modified momentum models, with different time frames and features.

I humanize them to make it easier to understand the characteristics in their design. I always remind readers that my posts are informational, not investment advice, and that is especially true here. While we are trading based upon all four models, we are always watching and can act quickly when necessary. The models are not suitable for all investors. If you like the approach, reach out to us and I will see if you qualify for one of the programs.

The conversation is light-hearted, but the stock analysis is serious. We own positions in each of the stocks mentioned.

Finding great stock picks can be fun! I hope readers will join in making it so.

7 thoughts on “Stock Exchange: Technical or Fundamental?”

    1. Handy — Felix ranks TROW near the bottom of the 700 stock universe. I do not mind it as a stodgy, income stock. We own it in our Enhanced Yield program where we write near-term calls against the position.

      Thanks for your question!

      Jeff

      1. Ah hah! Maybe I need to get into that program.

        What about CYD? It seems to have hit bedrock. What say Felix?

        1. Handy — We are only trading the 800 most liquid stocks, so CYD is not on the list. We are considering an expansion of the ratings to include names we cannot trader ourselves. Sorry that Felix can’t help now. If there is enough interest, we’ll add to the list.

          Jeff

  1. Hi, i was wondering why you prefer writing calls versus buying puts as insurance for an underlying stock…..?

    Thank you…

    1. daVinci — As I’m sure you know, they are functional equivalents You need to make sure that you have enough cash to buy the stock if assigned.

      For client accounts, there are often restrictions on naked short options, even when the logic is sound. We also like to collect the dividend as part of the yield. While most comes from the call sale, dividends provide about 25% of the return.

      Good question!

      Jeff

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