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The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet’s guest contributor program, which is separate from the company’s news coverage. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not represent the views of TheStreet or its management.
NEW YORK (Scott's Investments) -- Each week I publish stocks to watch for the upcoming week as potential momentum trades or longer-term investments. The stocks below all have a 50,000 minimum average daily share volume and traded at a 52-week high on strong volume, with a minimum of two times relative volume on Friday, July 1. In addition, stocks were required to close Friday higher than the open price. The full list with weekly performance is tracked on the right-hand side of Scott's Investments.
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Last week 30 stocks made the list, and this week we also find 30 stocks on the list. There are several intriguing trade candidates on this week's list. Biotech/drug manufacturing remains a hot, speculative industry. SPDR Health Care ETF (XLV) is also a top 3 selection in my http://scottsinvestments.blogspot.com/2011/07/us-and-global-etf-sector-p... " target="_blank">U.S. Sector ETF Portfolio for July due to its relative strength compared to other sectors. I will be watching the following stocks this week and in coming weeks for sustained momentum and improving fundamentals:
Antares Pharma: Antares Pharma (AIS), a pharmaceutical company, focuses on self-injection pharmaceutical products and technologies, and topical gel-based products. The stock is up over 28% in a month and 36% year-to-date. It saw increased volume in June and could be poised for further gains. Oppenheimer initiated coverage in May with a $3.20 price target and an outperform rating. Insiders purchased shares in March and April below $2 and Deerfield Capital recently reported a 9.59% passive ownership in the company. The company did announce a share offering in May of 12,500,000 shares at $1.60 a share, which is dilutive to existing shareholders. The company has new treatments in Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, which could serve as future catalyst.
My primary interest in the company is from a technical perspective. It is in a sector currently showing strength and the stock recently broke through a trading range of $1.40 to $2 and hit a multi-year high as indicated by the weekly chart below:
Charts courtesy of Finviz
Questcor: Questcor (QCOR) is another health care/biotechnology stock showing recent price momentum. Its primary drug is H.P. Acthar Gel (repository corticotropin injection), an injectable drug that is approved for the treatment of certain disorders with an inflammatory component, including the treatment of exacerbations associated with multiple sclerosis, infantile spasms, opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome, and nephrotic syndrome. It is up almost 80% year-to-date and over 15% in a month. With no debt, a strong balance sheet and earnings expected to grow at over 40% next year, the stock could see further gains, especially given that institutions have been accumulating the stock. Institutional ownership increased from 15.6 million shares (fourth-quarter 2010) to 20.7 million shares in the first quarter of 2011 (source: AlphaClone). It also sports a return on equity and return on investment of over 35%.
Recently the stock hit an all-time high as indicated by the weekly chart:
Darden Restaurants: Darden Restaurants (DRI), through its subsidiaries, owns, operates and franchises full service restaurants in the U.S. and Canada. The company operates restaurants under the brand names of Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52. Last week DRI reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1 a share, up from 81 cents a year ago. Revenue was also up 6.8% vs. the prior year quarter. Darden expects 2012 earnings per share growth in the range of 12% to 15%, based on overall sales growth between 6% and 7%, giving it a forward P/E ratio of 12. It also hiked its dividend, declaring a $.43/share quarterly dividend payable on August 1st, up from the previous dividend of $.32/share. This gives DRI a current yield of 3.26%.
It is also trading a new all-time high as indicated by the weekly chart:
While I track the overall weekly performance of each list, my objective is not to purchase or recommend every stock on the list. The primary objective is to identify stocks that are either short-term trades or long-term investments. PriceSmart (PSMT) was featured in my May 6 list and had volatile price action in subsequent weeks. After waiting for PSMT to form a wedge pattern, I initiated a long position. I like the long-term growth prospects of PSMT and technicals; however, my long position was not initiated until over a month after it appeared on my "Stocks to Watch This Week" list.
Disclosure: Long PSMT. May initiate positions at any time in the future in the stocks mentioned in this article.
At the time of writing, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.
Scott's Investments focuses on consolidating and tracking free online investment resources for the public with an emphasis on ETFs, portfolio/trading strategies and macroeconomics. Follow Scott's Investments on Twitter.