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BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Put down the 10-K filings and the stock screeners. It's time to take a break from the traditional methods of generating investment ideas. Instead, let the crowd do it for you.
From hedge funds to individual investors, scores of market participants are turning to social media to figure out which stocks are worth watching. It's a concept that's known as "crowdsourcing," and it uses the masses to identify emerging trends in the market.
Crowdsourcing has long been a popular tool for the advertising industry, but it also makes a lot of sense as an investment tool. After all, the market is completely driven by the supply and demand, so it can be valuable to see what names are trending among the crowd.
While some fund managers are already trying to leverage social media resources like Twitter to find algorithmic trading opportunities, for most investors, crowdsourcing works best as a starting point for investors who want a starting point in their analysis. Today, we'll leverage the power of the crowd to take a look at some of the most active stocks on the market today.
These "most active" names are the most heavily-traded names on the market -- and often, uber-active names have some sort of a technical or fundamental catalyst driving investors' attention on shares. That's especially true now that earnings season is officially underway. And when there's a big catalyst, there's often a trading opportunity.
Without further ado, here's a look at today's stocks.
Nearest Resistance: $29.50
Nearest Support: $27.50
Catalyst: Zoetis Spin-Off
Drug giant Pfizer (PFE) is seeing hefty trading volume this morning after distributing shares of its animal health care spinoff Zoetis (ZTS) to its own shareholder base. Pfizer offered investors the chance to swap 0.9898 shares of ZTS for each share of PFE tendered. Demand was high enough to oversubscribe the offer, sparking a trade of 401 million Zoetis shares in exchange for 405 million shares of Pfizer. That means that Zoetis is now fully divested from its former parent's balance sheet.
Despite the excitement in shares of ZTS, Pfizer is looking less attractive from a technical standpoint. The stock's uptrend broke back in late April, and PFE has been making lower highs ever since. Unless Pfizer can break above its nearest $29.50 resistance level (and end its downtrend), I'd suggest staying away from the long side of this pharma behemoth.
National Bank of Greece
Nearest Resistance: $4
Nearest Support: N/A
Catalyst: Short Selling Regulations
The drama continues over at National Bank of Greece (NBG), the aptly named big Greek bank. NBG has seen insane trading volume here in its U.S.-based ADR. But price action has been even crazier. Shares of NBG are down almost 84% since I recommended staying the heck away from it back in mid-May. And now loosening bank short selling regulations in Greece are spurring an exodus from this stock.
As I write, NBG is down in the $3.20 area -- that's 21% lower than where shares ended at yesterday's close, and it's a new 52-week low in the stock. With no sign of support anywhere nearby, I'd recommend staying away from NBG. This isn't a "buy the dips" name by any stretch of the imagination -- but it is fun to watch.
Nearest Resistance: $2
Nearest Support: $1.75
Catalyst: Technical Setup
Bargain-priced communications stock Alcatel Lucent (ALU) is getting bid higher this afternoon, after hitting a technical support level at $1.75. Now, with hefty call option volume pouring into shares, ALU is ratcheting up more than 5.5% on the day.
ALU has been looking "toppy" for the last few sessions, but today's bounce indicates that this stock can still catch a bid at $1.75 -- at least for now. That's going to be an important level to watch in this stock for the next week or so. While it's impressive that ALU buyers are stepping in en masse here, a break below $1.75 is a strong sell signal for this stock.
Nearest Resistance: $33.50
Nearest Support: $32.50
Catalyst: Shareholder Settlement, Restructuring
Last up, News Corp. (NWSA) is seeing hefty trading volume this afternoon after news hit that a judge had approved the firm's $139 million settlement with shareholders over the phone hacking scandal. The arrangement means a payout from the firm's insurers to NWSA's own coffers, a move that rewards shareholders through an equity boost. At the same time, ongoing restructuring news is adding to the buoyancy in News Corp's shares today. As I write, the stock is up more than 2%.
In the near-term, News Corp. is breaking out today, rallying above the $32.50 level in a rounding bottom pattern. It's a short-term pattern, so it's likely to hit its head on resistance at $33.50 in the more intermediate term, but for investors looking for an entry, this is a good one. NWSA's uptrend this year remains intact, and the technicals look attractive at this point.
If you decide to buy, keep a protective stop in place.
To see these stocks in action, check out the at Most-Active Stocks portfolio on Stockpickr.
-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.
At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.
Jonas Elmerraji, CMT, is a senior market analyst at Agora Financial in Baltimore and a contributor to TheStreet. Before that, he managed a portfolio of stocks for an investment advisory returned 15% in 2008. He has been featured in Forbes , Investor's Business Daily, and on CNBC.com. Jonas holds a degree in financial economics from UMBC and the Chartered Market Technician designation.
Follow Jonas on Twitter @JonasElmerraji