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5 Blue-Chip Stocks to Sell for December

Anthony Mirhaydari

Stocks continue to grind higher, led by the near-vertical rise of big-cap tech stocks like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). But change is in the air.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch chief investment strategist Michael Hartnett, in a note to clients this week, believes it will all end within the next seven months forecasting, “The Big Top” in the first half of 2018 as “the last flames of [quantitative easing], U.S. tax reform and robust [earnings growth] force everyone still skeptical into the market.”

The catalyst for the eventual top will be the reappearance of inflation pressure, which will be a “game changer” for this era of central bank largesse that shatters the “Goldilocks consensus” that weak growth is good (since it means more monetary stimulus) and strong growth is good (since rates will remain low anyway).

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The consequence? An end to the current 50-year low in stock market volatility with a “flash crash” in the vain of the 1987, 1994 and 1998 episodes.

If so, these five stocks will suffer:


Blue-Chip Stocks to Sell in December: Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)

Healthcare stocks, in general, have been drifting lower since October, on uncertainty surrounding the Obamacare individual mandate and other issues.

Biotech has taken the brunt of the damage, with the iShares Biotech (NYSEARCA:IBB) down nearly 10%. But larger plays like Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) have been caught in the whirlwind as well.

The company will next report results on Jan. 23. Analysts are looking for earnings of $1.72 per share on revenues of $20.1 billion. When the company last reported on Oct. 17, earnings of $1.90 per share beat estimates by 10 cents on a 10.3% rise in revenues.

Blue-Chip Stocks to Sell in December: Transocean (RIG)

Shares of oilfield services provider Transocean Ltd. (NYSE:RIG) have dropped back down to test its 200-day moving average, falling some 12% from the highs seen in early November.

Oil stocks have failed to follow the rebound in crude oil in recent days, an expression of uncertainty that chatter of an OPEC oil freeze agreement extension will actually result in persistently higher prices — especially with U.S. shale ready and willing to come into the market.

The company will next report results on Feb. 21. Analysts are looking for a loss of 24 cents per share on revenues of $650.7 million.

When the company last reported on Nov. 1, earnings of 16 cents per share beat estimates by 22 cents despite a 10.8% drop in revenues.


Blue-Chip Stocks to Sell in December: Bank of America (BAC)

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) shares are down more than 5% from their recent high as a flattening of the yield curve — as long-term interest rates decline — has put pressure on net interest margins hopes and thus profitability expectations.

Big bank stocks in general, as a result, have been lagging the broad market’s recent push to new record highs.

The company will next report results on Jan. 17 before the bell. Analysts are looking for earnings of 48 cents per share on revenues of $22.1 billion. When the company last reported on Oct. 13, earnings of 48 cents per share beat estimates by three cents on a 2.1% rise in revenues.


Blue-Chip Stocks to Sell in December: Wells Fargo (WFC)

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC) shares, like other big bank stocks, have been hit by the recent fall in long-term yields. Adding to the pressure has been talk of a reduction or an outright elimination of the mortgage interest deduction as Congress considers tax reform legislation.

That would obviously have a dampening effect on loan activity, since it reduces the affordability of large mortgages, and thus revenue growth for banks.

The company will next report results on Jan. 12. Analysts are looking for earnings of $1.02 per share on revenues of $22.1 billion.

When the company previously reported on Oct. 13, earnings of 84 cents missed estimates by 19 cents on a 1.8% drop in revenues.


Blue-Chip Stocks to Sell in December: Halliburton (HAL)

Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) shares are drifting lower to test their October lows, down some 10% from their recent double-top highs as oilfield services stocks come under pressure.

The decline has cut in half the rally out of the early 2016 low, which saw shares roughly double on hopes surrounding the OPEC supply freeze agreement. Those hopes are fading now as U.S. shale has lowered their cost basis, causing the global oversupply to persist.

The company will next report results on Jan. 22 before the bell. Analysts are looking for earnings of 46 cents per share on revenues of $5.6 billion. When the company reported on Oct. 23, earnings of 42 cents per share beat estimates by four cents on a 42% rise in revenues.

Anthony Mirhaydari is the founder of the Edge (ETFs) and Edge Pro (Options) investment advisory newsletters. Free two- and four-week trial offers have been extended to InvestorPlace readers.

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