Thursday, February 11, 2010

Model portfolio deletetions February 11, 2010

The following stocks are being deleted from my model portfolios for poor price performance and failure to maintain a price above even the 100 day moving averages :

VM500 - S&P 500 portolio - SKY - Skyline

VMNHI - the new high portfolio for stocks trading above 100K shares a day and above $5 -- Bios -- Bioscrip Inc

Both VMSIX - S&P 600 portfolio and VMSLO - portfolio for stocks hitting new highs but trading less than 100K shares a day and/or less than $5 -- WXS - Wright Express

VMSHT - short porfolio -- NTRI - NutriSystems - has had a price collapse and has been ADDED to the short portofolio

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who write on financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please leave a comment below or email

Disclosure - no positions in these stocks at the time of publication

Stock picks for February 11, 2010

The following stocks might be possible additions to your portfolio. Use BarChart to find further information:

NQM - Nuveen Inv Quality - closed end Muni bond fund -- recent price appreciation in 5 of 5 days

CRWG - Crowdgather -- a OTC bulletin board stock -- social networking -- recent price appreciation in 5 of the last 5 trading sessions

MPAC -- Mod - Pac -- a small run specialty printing firm -- recent price appreciation in 5 of the last 5 trading sessions

TBNK -- Territorial BanCorp -- small regional banks are hot and this one is in the prime market of Hiwaii -- 5 of 5 days of price appreciation

MEND --Micrus Endovascular -- medical devices --5 straight day of upward momentum

These are just a start -- please use Barchart and your own tools before adding to your portfolio

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes on financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please leave a comment below or email

Disclosure -- no positions in these stocks at the time of this publication.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Small banks are hot

As always I start my quest for the next great stock by taking the new high list on Barchart and sorting for frequency. I then take the top 10 and look for something interesting. Yesterday when all the major banks were getting hit on the chin the smaller and regional banks seemed to be doing better. Sandy Spring seems to be that small bank I'm looking for.

SANDY SPRING ( SASR ) is a bank holding company for Sandy Spring National Bank of Maryland. The bank is community oriented, and conducts a full-service commercial banking business through community offices located in Montgomery, Howard, Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties in Maryland. Looks like they are in a very strategic geographic region.

The analysts are beginning to take note and Janney Montgomery Scott, FBR Capital and Robert W. Baird have all recently upgraded their recommendations on this stock. In the last 7 days there has been 5 upward EPS revisions and the consensus is that there will be an increase in revenue of 6.7% plus an EPS improvement from a 28 cent loss this year to a profit of 83 cents. Nice EPS improvement.

On the technical side Barchart has 4 of the 5 short term technical indicators as a buy with one hold for an 80% short term rating. The stock had 13 new price appreciations the last month for a 48% price gain.

Now I'm not sure which banks are going to survive but I do know that the industry as a whole will survive. The industry is just too vital to the economy and the way we all do business everyday not to have a place in our communities. Small community banks will survive and Obama has promised to make that happen and give them support.

I'm taking a flyer on this one and adding Sandy Springs ( SASR ) to my VMSLO portfolio. This is the more risky of my 2 model portfolios but it goes in the risky portfolio because the trading volume recently has been below 100K shares per day.

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes on financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please make a comment below or email

Disclosure: I hold no positions in SASR at the time of publication.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Is hot air deflating your portfolio?

I just returned from a week in Orlando at the Money Show. The speakers were terrific and I came back with a lot of good ideas that I'll share in the coming weeks. I'm not sure what happened to your portfolio but I came back to a lot of triggered stop losses. My Wall Street Survivor portfolio is down 1.97% for the month which puts me back in 6th place behind this months winner so far, Tobin Smith who has a 1.56% gain.

Most speakers at the Money Show had different opinions on the market, how to play it and what's in store for the next 6 months but one thing they all agreed on was that earnings, the economy and job numbers are not being properly factored into this market. Things are improving but every time someone in Washington opens their mouth the hot air deflates the market. Is the hot air deflating your portfolio?

Let's take a step back and see how the market did. As usual I'll use Barchart for my data.

Value Line Index -- I use this index because it contains 1700 stocks making it broader than the narrower Dow 30 or the S&P 500 -- this week down by .95%
  • Barchart's technical indicators signal a 40% sell signal -- 3 buys, 2 holds and 8 sells
  • The index closed Friday below its 20, 50 & 100 day moving averages for the first time in many months

Barchart's market momentum indicator -- approximately 6000 stock are used -- the percentage of stocks closing above their daily moving averages for various time frames -- above 50% good but below 50% bad -- this week all 3 looked bad

  • 20 DMA -- only 20.08% closed above
  • 50 DMA -- only 35.45% closed above
  • 100 DMA -- only 45.78 closed above

Ratio of stocks hitting new highs to stocks hitting new lows for various time periods -- 1.0+ bullish, 1.0 neutral, below .99 bearish -- this week all 3 time frames were very bearish

  • 20 day ratio of new highs to new lows -- 278/3660 = .08
  • 50 day ration of new highs to new lows -- 152/1733 = .09
  • 100 day ratio of new highs to new lows -- 74/962 = .08

Summary -- The market is reacting very negatively to the hot air spewing out of Washington. The improving economy, job numbers and earnings are being overshadowed by the threats coming out of the White House. Isn't it ironic that Obama took all the campaign handouts from Wall Street, the banks and hedge fund managers and now spends his time demonizing them and telling the common folk how he will punish them. This week I'll trim non-performing stocks from my portfolios but I'll hold up replacing them till I see a little bit of support in the market numbers.

Alternative strategy -- At the Money Show I ran into 2 of my all time Wall Street heroes -- Robert Stovall and Paul Kangas. Both these guys are going strong and still giving us all some productive and sane advice. Since it's Super Bowl Sunday it might be time to give a return visit to Mister Stovall's Super Bowl indicator. He's observed that the winner of the Super Bowl predicts the performance of the market for the rest of the year. If the NFL wins he can look forward to an up market, if the AFL wins the market will perform poorly. Don't laugh; the indicator has been correct for 34 of the last 43 Super Bowls. Before you go to bed tonight the Bowl game winner will be determined and you'll know how to play the market. I'm not taking sides, I just want to know whether to go long or short.

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes on financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please leave a comment below or email

Disclosure: I have no positions in the stock in my Wall Street Survivor portfolio