March is winding down, and that means the end of the first quarter of 2019. The Q4 earnings season has all but wrapped up. So it’s time to prepare for to the second quarter and take a look at some stocks on the rise now.
Identifying those stocks is easier said than done though, particularly in this environment. The bulls are determined to hold onto the hard-won gains reaped since the late-December low, but it’s becoming more and more difficult. The more the market goes up, the less the buyers are interested in buying in, and trading volume wanes.
Nevertheless, there are some stocks on the rise and positioned to continue rallying into the foreseeable future. These names are a trader’s best bet at what’s often a modestly bullish time of year for the market.
With that as the backdrop, here’s a rundown of the best stocks to buy as we enter Q2.
Nielsen Holdings (NLSN)
Yes, this is the same Nielsen Holdings (NYSE:NLSN) that measures viewership of television shows. It’s more than that, however, the company also measures the efficacy of online and offline marketing campaigns.
The past couple of years have been tough for shareholders. NLSN stock fell from a 2016 high near $56 to a mid-2018 low around $21. But the past few months have been progressive. Nielsen shares have recently broken through their 200-day moving average, and bullish crosses of other key moving-average lines are on the radar. Keep in mind, however, that we’ve seen this headfake before.
This movement, along with the stock’s forward P/E of 14.6 and the fact that it’s going to begin quantifying data regarding Canada’s cannabis industry, suddenly makes NLSN an interesting prospect.
Like most other names, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) stock was up-ended during Q4 of 2018. Unlike most other stocks, however, AMZN didn’t produce the rip-roaring rally most other names did in January and February.
That’s changed this month. Despite the slow start to its rebound, AMZN stock is now on the rise. Shares just fought their way back above the pivotal 200-day moving average line, but have plenty more room to make gains.
There’s also plenty of bullish fodder, including the company’s planned expansion of its grocery business and the ongoing growth of Amazon Web Services.
Fun fact: AMZN stock averages a 14% gain during the second calendar quarter of the year.
TreeHouse Foods (THS)
This stock is exactly a household name, but many households are regular users of its products without even realizing it. TreeHouse Foods (NYSE:THS) makes a variety of private-label foods sold by grocers and restaurants.
TreeHouse Foods hasn’t exactly been firing on all cylinders lately. The current quarter’s per-share profits are projected to fall — as are full-year sales.
The company’s fiscal results are poised to begin improving in the foreseeable future though, fueled by an industry-wide movement that puts even more focus on so-called ‘house brands’ of food and condiments. That’s why investors have been willing to bid THS stock up nearly 65% since 2018’s lows. And there’s still a lot of opportunity for more gains thanks to THS stock’s 2016/2017 meltdown.
Align Technology (ALGN)
Align Technology (NASDAQ:ALGN) is the company behind Invisalign’s clear braces. Align has been successful for years, but found a sweet spot between price, demand and marketing beginning in 2016. From the end of 2015 to the middle of last year, ALGN stock gained more than 500%.
That rally unraveled last year, with Align shares being chopped in half in the face of legal woes surrounding certain patents on its technology… a matter that’s still not been firmly decided. Investors are regaining confidence in the company’s prospects though. Up more than 40% above its early January low, Align is one of a handful of stocks on the rise moving into Q2.
Century Aluminum (CENX)
Despite respectable economic growth for the past year and a half, aluminum prices have been falling. Indeed, over the past twelve months, the price of aluminum is down roughly 13%, and still in position to edge lower.
It’s taken a toll on most of the industry’s stocks, including Century Aluminum (NASDAQ:CENX). But, CENX may be on the verge of a turnaround. It’s just crossed above several key moving averages, and those moving average lines have just dished out bullish crosses of their own.
It also helps to know that Century Aluminum shares, like aluminum prices, have been reliably cyclical. The current shift out of a downtrend and testing the waters of an uptrend looks an awful lot like the rebounds we saw in 2016 and 2013.
London-based Pentair (NYSE:PNR) makes a variety of ‘smart water’ solutions, ranging from pumps to filters to agricultural applications.
It’s not a high-growth business, but it is a reliably profitable business, even if those profits can be a bit uneven at times.
Butt his year should be a decent one. Revenue is projected to improve by 5.3%, and per-shares profits are expected to reach $2.55 — up from last year’s $2.35. That progress has translated into new bullishness for PNR shares too. After a hard reversal near the end of 2018, Pentair stock is finally toying with highs above its technical ceiling at $43.60.
Cabot Oil & Gas (COG)
Energy stocks are inherently volatile, even more so in the current environment. But after tumbling in Q4 alongside falling crude prices, they’re looking like good bets again.
Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG) is shaping up to one of the top prospects from the energy sector. Investors have to zoom out to a weekly chart to fully appreciate it, but shares have slowly shifted out of a downtrend and into an uptrend over the course of the past several months. One more good gain could complete the breakout effort, which has pushed COG stock past all key moving averages.
The kicker: COG averages a Q2 gain of 7.4%.
Allergan (NYSE:AGN) has been a poor performer since peaking in the middle of 2015. In fact, AGN stock is down more than 50% from that high, and hit a new 52-week low in December. It’s been a challenging name to own, to say the least.
Yet, a shocking number of hedge funds and institutional investors now own a beaten-down Allergan. As Sanford C. Bernstein’s pharmaceutical analyst Ronny Gal explained last month, Allergan has become a very popular holding, partially because it has buyout potential and partially because the company is just doing well. Additionally, Gal is excited about the value creation that could stem from an increasingly likely breakup of Allergan’s different arms.
Molson Coors Brewing (TAP)
Molson Coors Brewing (NYSE:TAP) has been in a downtrend since the middle of 2016 and reached new multi-year lows in December of last year. TAP stock has been toying with a reversal since October though — an effort marked by a lot of volatility and several big countermoves. The bulls are testing the waters, even if they’re not making a lot of not progress. But one more good ‘umph’ could get — and keep — TAP shares above key moving averages and break through the technical ceiling that’s formed near $67.00.
The calendar is working in TAP stock’s favor as well. Molson Coors shares gain an average of 3% during Q2, but keep on moving through September to log an and additional average gain of about 4% during Q3.
Old Republic International (ORI)
Finally, add Old Republic International (NYSE:ORI) to your list stocks on the rise as the Q2 begins.
Like most insurance stocks, ORI has had its recent ups and downs. Unlike most of its peers though, Old Republic is making reliable net progress, taking two steps forward for every one step back. ORI has been weak since September, but appears to be pushing off of a support line that extends all the way back to early 2015.
Analysts agree there are higher highs in store. Although ORI is not widely followed by professionals, the ones that do keep tabs on it collectively say the stock’s worth $24 per share, which would put it near the upper boundary of the trading range that’s been in place since 2015.
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