The End-of-Year Melt Up Continues (IPSU, BJ, JAS, NBL, RNOW, SHZ, BTX)
The market continued its almost glacial pace of moving higher to close out the year. In fact, the past week or so it’s been more of a refusal to take any big type of step back than positive momentum driving the gains. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a market pullback sometime early next year to up the fear level just a bit, given that investors seem to have suddenly become a little too comfortable. At this point, we’re leaning a bit bullish overall for 2011 given still relatively attractive market valuations and a recovering economy, but there is enough uncertainty out there that investors will have to keep on their toes next year.
The Rare Earth Stocks Index was the top performing tickerspy Index on the day, led by China Shen Zhou Mining (SHZ) with a 69% gain. The Stem Cell Stocks Index was the day’s worst performing tickerspy Index, with BioTime (BTX) down -9%.
Stocks edged higher on the day, with the Dow rising 10 points to 11,585. The S&P added 1 point to 1,260, while the Nasdaq tacked on 4 points to close at 2,667. Oil fell -37 cents to $91.12 a barrel, while gold gained $7.90 to $1,413.50 an ounce.
In earnings news, shares of Imperial Sugar (IPSU) slipped -6.1% after the company said it lost -$2.3 million during its fourth quarter. For the period ended September 30th, Imperial Sugar lost -19 cents a share, compared with a loss of -$0.2 million, or -2 cents a share, last year. Analysts were expecting a loss of -24 cents a share. Revenue rose to $264.4 million from $147.3 million, coming in below the $272.9 million consensus.
BJ’s Wholesale Club (BJ) saw its shares rise 7.1% on speculation that the warehouse club operator is a possible buyout target. The New York Post reported that Leonard Green & Partners, which bought a 9.5% stake in BJ’s in July, may make a hostile bid for the company if a sales auction isn’t initiated by mid-January. Last week, Leonard Green announced its acquisition of fabric and crafts company Jo-Ann Stores (JAS) for about $1.6 billion. Six Pros held the stock in their top-15 U.S.-listed equity positions at the end of Q3, and over 70 tickerspy members hold the stock in their portfolios.
Shares of Noble Energy (NBL) rose 2.6% on news drilling test results have shown a find of at least 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in its Leviathan field, which is located off of Israel’s coast. Noble holds about a 40% stake in the field; other partners include Israeli Delek Drilling, Avner Oil & Gas, and Ratio Oil Exploration. Noble CEO, Charles Davidson, said that Leviathan is “easily the largest exploration discovery in our history.” Nineteen Pros held the stock in their top-15 U.S.-listed equity positions at the end of Q3, and 115 tickerspy members hold the stock in their portfolios.
Piper Jaffray analyst Mark R. Murphy upgraded customer service software maker RightNow Technologies (RNOW) to “overweight” from “neutral,” sending shares of the stock soaring 18.8%. The analyst placed a $26 price target on the stock and said yesterday’s selloff of -13% was “unwarranted.” He believes that the stock is cheap compared to other “software as a service” stocks and expects that, due to a billing change, RightNow’s cash flow will be more transparent by 2012.
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