The weekly charts of the indexes paint a picture of perfection since the Christmas Eve lows. The NASDAQ Composite Index claimed its tenth-straight week to the upside since those lows this past week, closing at a higher closing high on the daily on lighter daily volume. On the daily chart, the index remains within a five-day consolidation along the 200-dma.
The weekly chart, however, is just one big blue streak to the upside over the past ten weeks. I’m sure that if someone had told me on Christmas Eve that the NASDAQ would charge higher over the next ten weeks, I would have perhaps admitted that as possible, but only remotely so. But what might have seemed like a low-probability event back then is now market reality as we begin the third trading month of 2019.
The Dow Jones Industrials Index finally saw its own blue streak end this past week, closing in the red on the weekly chart on this latest price bar. It is now up only nine out of ten weeks in a row, matching the S&P 500 Index which was up for the week but had posted a down week six weeks ago on its weekly chart, not shown.
As long as we’re looking at weekly index charts, we might take note of the fact that not only has the NASDAQ Composite closed positive ten weeks in a row, but so has the small-cap Russell 2000 Index. The weekly chart of its proxy, the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) show a nice blue streak off the Christmas Eve lows and its second weekly close above the 40-week (200-day on the daily) moving average.
Looking at the action on these weekly charts, which are extremely impressive, to say the least, it’s hard, if not impossible, to get bearish. Sure, you could get nervous, since the longer such a streak continues, the more extended things get, and thus the more susceptible to a pullback the market becomes. But, as always, we simply remain focused on the stocks, and the opportunities that present themselves to us in real-time.
Most of the high-velocity action continues to come from high time-value opportunities in stocks that have just reported earnings. That, of course, is nothing new, since it has been one of the major prongs of my current approach to the market during earnings season. Despite the consistent market uptrend, opportunities that occur as a result of high-beta movement in stocks that have just reported earnings have been two-side.
For example, Friday was an interesting day with respect to earnings season action, because three of the stocks on my cloud watch list that is posted in the premium section of the website reported on Thursday after the close and opened positive on Friday. All three turned out to be shortable gap-ups on Friday, consistent with my view that each of these was more likely to be shortable at the open, as discussed in my Thursday evening video report.
The first was Workday (WDAY), one of the big cloud leaders in this market rally that never really broke down during the late-2018 market correction. The stock opened higher at 199.85, briefly kissed the $200 Century Mark level, and then broke sharply to the downside from there. In essence, it was Jesse Livermore’s Century Mark Rule in Reverse for the short side that drove the set-up.
Once WDAY failed at the $200 level almost right at the opening bell, it was all downhill from there. The stock did close above the 20-dema after dipping below it early in the day, but the move was good for a very fast short-sale trade that took advantage of the high-velocity, high time-value nature of this post-earnings movement.
Now we’ll see whether WDAY can hold the 20-dema and regroup. We’ve seen more than a few stocks recover from bad downside breaks after earnings, so while WDAY continues to hold above the 20-dema, I would be open to the possibility of recovery, depending on the real-time evidence that occurs in the coming days. For now, WDAY was a nice tag on the short side Friday.
The second was Splunk (SPLK), a stock that had trended strongly off the lows of late December and was admittedly quite extended at that point. It had recently broken out of a five-month base, but the reality is that the time to buy it was along the 200-dma back in early January, as I discussed in my reports at that time.
Friday’s big-volume outside reversal looks ugly and produced a nice short-sale opportunity on that day, but SPLK still held above its 20-dema. After opening at 167.77, it briefly rallied to an intraday peak of 169.05 and then headed directly to the downside from there. It eventually bounced off the 200-dema early in the day and closed about 2% above the line.
With the stock now back on top of its prior breakout point and the 20-dema, there is the potential for a recovery given that the breakout has not completely failed – yet. Thus, SPLK is sitting on the fence here, and we will soon find out just how much of a bearish sign Friday’s action was over the coming days.
The third shortable gap-up was Autodesk (ADSK), which opened at 167.77 on Friday morning and immediately broke to the downside. Like SPLK, the stock had broken out of a long base, in this case six months in duration, and had done so just this past Monday. Personally, I do not favor buying into base breakouts as an initial entry point, and certainly not just ahead of an expected earnings report.
However, the post-earnings action was quite actionable once ADSK reversed on the 620-intraday chart. It’s now sitting just above its 20-dema and right at its prior breakout point. Like WDAY and SPLK, the stock is now sitting on the fence between recovery and failure. If any of these three stocks decisively breached their 20-demas, they would trigger as fresh short-sale entries at that point.
All this depends on how things play out in the coming days, but in all three cases, Friday’s post-earnings moves were short-sale trades. They may only be good for one day, but they represented high-velocity, high time-value short-sale set-ups that occurred amid a general market rally on Friday.
So main point I would make about all these short-sale trades is that they all occur outside the jurisdiction of the general market rally, so to speak. As I’ve discussed repeatedly over the past several weeks throughout earnings season, high time-value trades on either side of the market will tend to occur after earnings. I don’t have enough fingers on both of my hands to count all of those that have occurred since earnings season began, from buyable gap-ups to shortable gap-ups to buyable gap-downs, etc.
To play such moves it is not necessary to have a bullish or bearish bias. You simply observe the real-time action and operate from there. I did, however, intimate in Thursday’s GVR that WDAY, SPLK and ADSK could turn out to be shortable gap-ups given the lack of thrust in the after-hours session on Thursday.
In the post-earnings action arena this week on the bullish side, Etsy (ETSY) continues to trek higher after Tuesday’s post-earnings buyable gap-up move. Note that volume is declining sharply, so a pullback here would not be a surprise. The 10-dma and 20-dema have a long way to go before they even get close to the current price, so for now the nearest reference for downside support is the 64.25 intraday low of Tuesday’s gap-up price range.
A wedging volume pattern, where volume is declining sharply, as a stock moves higher does not have to always indicate an imminent pullback, however. In the case of Roku (ROKU) we can see that after its buyable gap-up of two Fridays ago the stock edged higher as volume declined sharply.
So sometimes a tendency to drift higher as volume dries up means that sellers are drying up as much as buyers. Once the sellers fail to show up, buyers waiting for a pullback simply move right in, driving the stock higher on increased volume. Friday’s volume wasn’t heavy, but it showed that the balance of volume in ROKU remains bullish. As ROKU moves higher, it approaches its all-time high of early October 2018, and is now just over 12% away.
As I noted in my last report, the weekly chart shows a steep, narrow punchbowl type of formation. At some point, the stock will need to build a handle, but so far it shows no tendency to back off just yet. Meanwhile, the 10-dma is now at 60.76 and is therefore your nearest reference for support on any pullback from current levels.
A good example of the type of action I’d be on the lookout for in WDAY, SPLK, and ADSK this coming week is Planet Fitness (PLNT). The stock reported after the close on Tuesday and gapped up Wednesday morning. This played out as a shortable gap-up, and was a very nice, high-velocity, high time-value trade for all of two days.
As I wrote on Wednesday, “The only positive point here is that PLNT held support along its 10-dma and 20-dema, which always sets up the possibility of a re-breakout attempt.” That is precisely what we saw on Friday as PLNT pushed back above its prior breakout point of, I’m going to say, $60. Volume was well above average and increased from Thursday’s levels. This looks like surprising action given the two ugly reversals on breakout attempts over the past six trading days on the chart.
However, we might consider that after getting slammed twice over the past week and one day, sellers were now out of the way. If you like breakouts, then this is within buying range of the $60 breakout point, but not before a quick short-sale scalp presented itself on Wednesday. Surprise!
Trade Desk (TTD) has not been able to gather any additional momentum after its buyable gap-up two Fridays ago after it reported earnings. We could give the stock some slack, since the huge move it had on that day had quite a bit of momentum. The failure to clear the $200 Century Mark is not necessarily bearish, since, as I wrote on Wednesday, “So far that resistance has held up but given the magnitude of last Friday’s move I would expect the stock to at least pause for a few days.”
And so that’s what is happening here. While the $200 level represents near-term resistance, the tight sideways action after a strong upside move is constructive. Thus, a clean and decisive move above the $200 level would trigger a new long entry point based on Jesse Livermore’s Century Mark Rule for the long side.
Meanwhile, the 10-dma has risen well above the 173.50 intraday low of the buyable gap-up price range and is now at 179.89. That would now represent deep support for any pullback that might occur from present price levels. It will also likely be even higher over the next few days as it continues to move higher in rapid fashion.
Most cloud names that I follow remain constructive, and I would note that despite the deleterious action in WDAY, SPLK, and ADSK on Friday, these stocks were already quite extended and perhaps subject to some sell-the-news action. And, since each held support at their 20-dema lines, they are still not quite dead yet, and could recover in the style of PLNT.
Tableau Software (DATA) is one cloud name that isn’t going anywhere, but it is building what so far looks like a solid base. The stock posted a pocket pivot at its 10-dma on Thursday as it makes another re-breakout attempt. So far, each move to new highs has met with volume selling but note how this selling has diminished with each successive spike.
Bottom line: DATA is in buyable position right here, right now, based on Thursday’s pocket pivot. One can then use the 10-dma or 20-dema as tight selling guides. Alternatively, one can use the 50-dma as a wider selling guide.
Other clouds have held in tight sideways patterns, generally along their 10-dmas, and I discussed two of these in Wednesday’s report, Atlassian Corp. (TEAM) and Zendesk (ZEN). Both have been moving tight sideways along their 10-dmas for some time now, and barring some pullbacks from time to time, have been able to hold up well.
TEAM is the stronger of the two as evidenced by its strong upside move to new highs on Friday. The stock was last most optimally buyable on the pullback to the 20-dema, as you will note from the chart below. It is now extended.
This may sound bizarre, but this past week I was playing Zendesk (ZEN) in both directions, long and short. This was because I was trying to get a visceral feel as to whether there is a strong bid or a strong offer in the stock at current levels. Every time it hit 80 it was a short, which was then coverable at the 10-dma, whereupon I would go long, trading it up to 80 and change.
All I really discovered is that I could get away with a point or so in each direction after shorting at the $80 price level and then going long at the 10-dma. Meanwhile, ZEN has held squeaky tight along the 10-dma, despite running into some above-average selling twice over the past eight trading days.
Thus, the bottom line with ZEN, at least as I can figure it out, is that despite the strong move to new highs since reversing after earnings in early February, it doesn’t seem to want to give up much at current levels. Even after taking some above-average volume selling. My call: If the general market goes higher, ZEN goes higher, so you can buy it here and use the 10-dma as a tight selling guide until evidence to the contrary is forthcoming.
Other cloud names on the watch list I have posted in the written reports recently are acting very similarly. Coupa Software (COUP), ServiceNow (NOW), and Salesforce.com (CRM), which is expected to report earnings Monday, are all moving tight along their 10-dmas.
Twilio (TWLO) pushed to new highs on Friday but was last buyable along the 20-dema over two weeks ago per my comments at the time when I referred to the MAU&R set-up at the 20-dema. Also note how this serves as something of a precedent for what WDAY, SPLK, and ADSK might do if they hold their 20-demas after getting sold hard on Friday.
Back in mid-February, TWLO reported earnings and got body-slammed just below its 20-dema. But it held along the 20-dema, and then finally posted a moving-average undercut & rally (MAU&R)
ZScaler (ZS) has been on my cloud watch list from the start, and it reported earnings Thursday after the close. This led to a buyable gap-up move on Friday that didn’t start out that way. The stock opened at 57.49, then dropped to a low of 55.30 within the first ten minutes of trade. It then turned on the 620-intraday chart and never looked back, closing at 60.57.
This is extended from the BGU low of 55.30, so only pullbacks from here down closer to that price level would offer lower-risk entries. Hopefully, members were prepared for this since I had mentioned ZS’ impending earnings report in my Wednesday report.
First Solar (FSLR), not shown, has moved a little further above its 10-dma after being buyable along the line per my comments in Wednesday’s report. It still needs to settle in here a bit more, so I’d watch for pullbacks to the 10-dma at 52.06 as potential lower-risk entries.
GoDaddy (GDDY) is doing a great job of absorbing the 8.55 million shares it dumped into the market on a secondary offering that was priced at 73.35 a share on Tuesday. It closed Friday at 74.95, right at its 10-dma, as volume dried up nicely on Friday. It is also well within buying range of the 74.46 intraday low of its buyable gap-up (BGU) price range at 75.35 a share.
This is therefore buyable right here, using the 74.46 BGU low as your selling guide, allowing for any additional downside according to your own risk tolerance. GDDY is constructive on at least three levels here: 1) it is holding up after a post-earnings BGU, 2) it has absorbed the additional 8.55 million shares well as trading volume has dried up, and 3) at the same time it is holding tight along the 10-dma. Play it as it lies!
GDDY’s cousin-stock, Wix.com (WIX), is rolling back below the 20-dema here as it retests the lows of the prior week, when it gapped down sharply after earnings. It’s a bit slow, and my preference would be to focus on GDDY, but this is still a potential Ugly Duckling set-up here.
Friday’s pullback came on lighter volume, so we may be looking at a Wyckoffian Retest here. The other option is that it could undercut the prior low of seven trading days ago on the chart, and then rally back up through that low. While that has not happened yet, it may be something to watch for if WIX does in fact undercut that prior 107.70 low.
Arista Networks (ANET) has been up eight out of nine days in a row since its buyable gap-up after earnings two weeks ago. The 10-dma is quickly catching up to the stock and is now at 276.53, after being at 267.07 on Wednesday, as I noted in my report of that day. Pullbacks to the 10-dma would offer lower-risk entries from here.
Viavi Solutions (VIAV) is meeting up with its 10-dma here following a breakout from a cup base two weeks ago. The stock was first discussed in the GVR in early February after posting a buyable gap-up following its earnings report. The stock drifted in for two days as it tested the 11.70 intraday low of the BGU day price range and has since broken out to new highs.
The 10-dma has now caught up to the stock. With volume drying up nicely on Friday to -47.9% below-average, this puts the stock in another entry position, using the 10-dma or 20-dema as selling guides. VIAV is a strong play on 3D sensors, and its story was discussed in the February 17th report, which members can access in the report archives.
CyberArk Software (CYBR) remains extended, but the 10-dma is now at 105.78, so that would serve as your reference for support on any pullbacks from current price levels.
Palo Alto Networks (PANW) has dropped below the 250.60 intraday price low of Wednesday’s buyable gap-up (BGU) move after earnings. However, 2-3% of downside porosity is allowable here. I would also note that the stock is pulling back to the top of its prior cup base breakout point at around 240.
This puts it in a lower-risk entry position here, using the $240 price level or the 10-dma at 235.56 as a relatively tight selling guide. Remember that 2.5 points is equal to 1%, so don’t fixate on the points but the percentages here. And the bottom line is that given the fact that it trundled straight up from the lows of a deep cup base, the pullback is likely normal selling into the earnings news.
Qualys (QLYS) didn’t hold its 20-dema, but I probably could have guessed that it wouldn’t since it appears that the 200-dma serves as more solid near-term support following the big-volume gap-down break after earnings. And the stock again held support at the 200-dma on Friday, posting a five-day pocket pivot at the line.
As I wrote on Wednesday, “This latest move above the 20-dema is constructive, although volume was tepid. However, it does not appear that sellers are intent on coming after the stock again, so a re-breakout remains a possibility after the post-earnings gap-down break two weeks ago. That remains the case until and unless support at the 200-dma is broken.”
And that remains the case. Notice also that Friday’s action was an undercut & rally back up through the low of this past Tuesday. I still view this as a viable long based on the strength of the cyber-security group and QLYS’ Ugly Duckling characteristics as it tries to recover from the big post-earnings gap-down. It remains buyable here, using the 200-dma as your selling guide.
Over in big-stock NASDAQ land, things remain relatively unexciting. But you never know, quiet action, particularly if it results in constructive basing time, can lead to eventual excitement. In that spirit, we can look at Netflix (NFLX) as being in a more opportunistic long entry position here as it pulls into its 20-dema on light volume that was -54% below average.
Meanwhile, the biggest of the big-stock NASDAQ names, Apple (AAPL), continues to percolate along its 10-dma. Notice that volume has picked up over the past three days, with Wednesday’s action constituting a pocket pivot at the 10-dma. AAPL therefore remains in a buyable position based on the pocket pivot while using the 10-dma as a tight selling guide, or the 20-dema as a wider selling guide.
Nvidia (NVDA) is still hanging along its 20-dema, although I don’t show a chart here. It looks more or less like it did on Wednesday, when I last discussed it. If it can hold the 20-dema, then it remains in a potentially lower-risk entry position using the 20-dema as a tight selling guide.
Percolation seems to be a theme among big-stock NASDAQ names. I’ve been mostly viewing Facebook (FB) as a short on rallies up into the 200-dma, but I’m not so sure the stock isn’t just forming a flag following its post-earnings, gap-up move. The fact that it has recently run into resistance at the 200-dma may just be incidental, and I am always open to changing my views on a stock as fresh information shows up on the chart.
What seems to be more important here is the action along the 20-dema. While FB has come under fire from various states and governments for its business practices, it has not come apart. Instead, it is tucking into its 20-dema, where it has previously found support with volume drying up even more. On Friday, it traded volume that was -53% below average.
And all this is occurring after the stock bottomed following several clusters of oversold Bingo indicator bars showing up on its daily chart. Notice also the number of blue-highlighted five-day and ten-day pocket pivot volume signatures on the chart since the late December low. So, I’m now looking at this as a long right here, right now, using the 20-dema as a tight selling guide.
Twitter (TWTR), FB’s smaller social-networking cousin, remains something of a mess. It keeps running into resistance at its 50-dma where it has been shortable repeatedly over the past two weeks. In this market there are Ugly Ducklings to be found, but for now TWTR looks more like a lame duck, until further notice.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) bounced off its 20-dema on Thursday but ran into some resistance at its 10-dma on Friday. It continues to build what is now a four-week base since its post-earnings buyable gap-up in late January. Pullbacks to the 20-dema, now at 23.30, would continue to serve as lower-risk entry opportunities.
Yeti (YETI) bolted to new highs on Friday as it caromed off its 10-dma moving average. This is extended here, but as I noted in my Wednesday report, one could have added shares at the 10-dma at that time. But if YETI was somewhat extended then, it is more so now. The stock has acted well since I first discussed it in early January, and at this point we’re just watching.
The weed patch had a flurry of upside action on Thursday when Martha Stewart agreed to partner with Canopy Growth (CGC) in an advisory role for the development of a line of CBD products. CBD, or cannabidiol, is the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant that has many beneficial properties. It has become somewhat of a fade as of late.
CGC gapped above its 10-dma on the news, but it lacked any real volume thrust. The stock then drifted back down toward its 10-dma on Friday as volume declined to -50% below average. I like this closer to the 10-dma at 46.01 and would wait to see if the stock edges a bit further down toward the line as volume continues to decline as a lower-risk entry.
While other weed patch names that I follow also rallied on the news Thursday, they gave up those moves on Friday. Tilray (TLRY) is still hanging along its 50-dma following the pocket pivot of eight trading days ago. It rallied on Thursday but gave up all that move on Friday as it ducked back into the confluence of its 10-dma, 20-dema, and 50-dma.
Volume dried up on Friday to -46% below-average as the stock pulled back.
This remains in a buyable position using the 50-dma as a tight selling guide. Buying it here means you are looking for a strong move to develop ahead of the company’s expected March 18th earnings report.
Aurora Cannabis (ACB) is pulling back to its 10-dma and 20-dema following Tuesday’s pocket pivot move at the 10-dma. Volume increased, so while the stock could hold support here at the two shorter moving averages there is still a possibility that it could test the 200-dma once again. That would be the more opportunistic entry, but it is buyable here using the 10-dma/20-dema lines as a tight selling guide.
Pinduoduo (PDD) posted a surprising pocket pivot at its 10-dma on Thursday. Volume was very heavy, at 27.7 million shares, not that much less than the 32.2 million shares that traded on the day it priced a 55-million share secondary offering at $25 three weeks ago. It continues to run into resistance along the all-time highs around $30, but overall acts very well considering the large amount of new supply that was dumped into the market after the secondary.
In this position, one would be chasing the stock at resistance. For that reason, I continue to believe that the most opportunistic approach is to wait for the 50-dma to catch up to the stock, or to look for some tighter action to develop along the 10-dma and 20-dema. PDD is expected to report earnings on March 13th, so there is also no reason to buy shares at current levels ahead of the report.
Momo (MOMO) is expected to report earnings on March 12th based on updated information. As earnings approach, there isn’t much to do with the stock and it will remain on Earnings Watch for now.
Iqiyi (IQ) is extended from the 200-dma. It was last buyable near the 200-dma on Tuesday. Constructive pullbacks to the 200-dma from here would offer lower-risk entries, if you can get ‘em.
For newer members: Please note that when I use the term “20-day moving average,” “20-day line,” or “20-dema” I am referring to the 20-day exponential moving average. I use four primary moving averages on my daily charts: a 10-day simple (the magenta line), 20-day exponential (the green line), 50-day simple (the blue line) and 200-day simple moving average (the red line). On rare occasions, I will also employ a 65-day exponential moving average (thin black line). In all cases I will mostly use the shorthand version of “10-dma,” “50-dma,” etc.
This week will market the 10th anniversary of the Great QE Market Bottom when the S&P 500 Index bottomed out at 666. I’m sure everyone knows the significance of the number, and I’m sure there are also some who think it was more than a coincidence. At that point, some might argue that this number is appropriate since that is when the Fed made a deal with devil.
That deal involved printing money with abandon in an all-out effort to stem the Great 2007-2009 Financial Crisis & Bear Market. And it worked, at least for the past ten years. It continues to work today, and in my view the current market rally is mostly a product of the Fed’s shift to a dovish tone in late December and early January.
While that dovishness remains in force, stocks may very well continue their uptrend. And if the right patterns and set-ups are there, I’m more than willing to go with them until evidence to the contrary becomes, well, evident. Meanwhile, things continue to get more extended on the upside, and many of the weekly charts of leading stocks reflect this extreme extension, which I will discuss in more detail in my weekend GVR.
Without trying to pick a top, or allowing the bullish environment to make one giddy, we can remain focused on a two-pronged strategy. As I’ve discussed since the start of earnings season, this involves looking to capitalize on strong, high-velocity, high time-value price moves in stocks that have just reported earnings. At the same time, we take an opportunistic approach to taking advantage of weakness in leading names on constructive pullbacks.
That strikes me as an easy recipe to follow. It merely involves continuing to monitor one’s long watch list, having an actionable list for each trading day to focus on, and working things from there. And, when looking to capitalize on price moves after earnings, I find that a flexible willingness to look at this from both sides, as either potential longs or potential shorts, is effective.
There is a bearish side to earnings that shows up from time to time, and we need only look at the reversals this week in names like ADSK, SPLK, WDAY, PLNT right after earnings to see the opportunities that can come on the short side. However, we must also recognize that such breakdowns and reversals can lead to recoveries, which then become opportunistic long entries.
A case in point is Veeva Systems (VEEV), a name I shorted into earnings and picked up a quick, nice short-sale profit on the day after it reported earnings and gapped up at the open. Notice how it found support that day at the 20-dema, and then turned and rallied. This should remind you of at least four other stocks discussed further above in this report.
I think we know what to look for in this market, and the character of the price movements that tend to dominate the action. The Ugly Duckling is often alive and well in this market.. Once this pattern changes, and we begin to see these Ugly Duckling recoveries change character, namely, by leading stocks lower, then the first clues of a market reversal may be at hand.
Until the character of this market changes, however, the market uptrend remains in force. Ten-straight weeks up is quite a blue streak, to be sure, and may indicate that a pullback here is necessary. But it alone does not mean that the market must top and reverse. That will only occur when it occurs. Until then, play it as it lies.
CEO and Principal, Gil Morales & Company, LLC
Managing Director and Principal, MoKa Investors, LLC
Managing Director and Principal, Virtue of Selfish Investing, LLC