175.19 -0.08 (-0.05%)
After hours: 7:59PM EDT
|Bid||175.20 x 1000|
|Ask||175.34 x 800|
|Day's Range||172.82 - 177.18|
|52 Week Range||121.60 - 187.05|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.81|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||33.66|
|Earnings Date||Oct 22, 2019 - Oct 28, 2019|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||1.00 (0.57%)|
|1y Target Est||201.33|
Benzinga is highlighting nominees for the fifth annual Benzinga Global Fintech Awards ahead of the event Nov. 19 in New York City. One nominee is PayMate, a B2B digital payments solution. Background PayMate ...
The stock market's major indices are at or near all-time highs, and as stocks go up, dividend yields go down. As a result, many of the best dividend stocks to buy right now sport relatively modest yields.That's OK. Because your focus also should be on dividend safety and payout growth that will enhance your yield over time.Not every stock has been caught up in 2019's surge to new peaks. GameStop (GME), CenturyLink (CTL), Vodafone (VOD), Pitney Bowes (PBI), L Brands (LB), Deutsche Bank (DB) - all of these well-known companies have either cut or outright suspended their dividends this year. Those moves were a blow to all existing shareholders, but especially those who were relying on the income from these sometimes generous dividend payers to tackle regular expenses in retirement.How do you ensure the dividend stocks you're invested in won't do the same? One way is to monitor the DIVCON system from exchange-traded fund provider Reality Shares. DIVCON's methodology uses a five-tier rating to provide a snapshot of companies' dividend health, where DIVCON 5 indicates the highest probability for a dividend increase, and DIVCON 1 the highest probability for a dividend cut. And within each of these ratings is a composite score determined by cash flow, earnings, stock buybacks and other factors.These are 13 of the safest dividend stocks to buy right now. Each stock has not only achieved a DIVCON 5 score, but a composite score within the top 15 of all stocks that DIVCON has evaluated. This makes them the crème de la crème of dividend safety - and more likely to keep the dividend increases coming going forward. SEE ALSO: 25 Stocks Every Retiree Should Own
Visa (NYSE:V), seeking entrance into the center of 21st century banking, has joined MasterCard (NYSE:MA) in taking a stake in fintech startup Plaid. Plaid writes application program interfaces that act as the infrastructure beneath bank accounts. This lets it power customer-facing fintech specialists like PayPal's (NASDAQ:PYPL) Venmo, Robinhood, Chime and Betterment.Source: Shutterstock Enabling new banking services could make Plaid a sort of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) for the fintech age -- an operating system for computerized banking.Plaid has attracted $310 million in financing. Its most recent funding round valued it at $2.7 billion. Other backers include Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Citigroup (NYSE:C) and American Express (NYSE:AXP).InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsBut it's Visa and MasterCard, which have a joint value of almost $700 billion, that are the real get. They have global scale, brand names and good reputations for security and reliability. Battling AlibabaPlaid is ranked as the eighth largest fintech startup. The list is led by credit card issuer Stripe and includes SoFi, a lender whose name will grace the new Los Angeles football stadium. Fintech companies raised a total of nearly $40 billion last year.Fintech startups are trying to get around the high costs of working with the present banking system. Visa and Mastercard are part of that. But Visa and Mastercard are also trying to get around those costs, seeing the growth of chat-based Chinese payment systems from Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) and Tencent Holding (OTCMKTS:TCEHY). * 7 Momentum Stocks to Buy On the Dip There was an assumption that Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) Libra -- a cheaper payment system riding on FB's data network -- might be the first to escape the high costs. Both Visa and MasterCard were part of Libra's 28-member founding group announced in June. But there are increasing doubts that financial regulators will allow Libra to launch, as many fear Facebook's size. These regulators seem to have no such fears regarding the payment processors. The Fintech StackThe investment in Plaid, which already serves cryptocurrency companies like Coinbase, brings Visa and MasterCard closer to the new financial world's operating system.Fintech is building a new financial payments stack. Right now, most of the value in the stack is in the loans it creates or the investments it enables. But as the software stack evolves, history shows that it's the company at the bottom of that stack that gains the most power, as Microsoft did starting in the early 1990s.Plaid CEO Zach Perret said his goal is to create a digitized financial system. Visa executive Bill Sheedy said his strategic goal is more important than the financial investment.That strategic goal increasingly looks like a bank. Verifying users and account balances is key to enabling loans, payments and investment -- essentially all the functions of banks like JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM). Visa stock's market cap exceeded that of JPMorgan just in the last year. Many Plaid customers compete directly with banks like JPMorgan. The Bottom Line for Visa Stock and PlaidWhile Visa's payment network has proven to have enormous financial power, it still faces challenges. It can charge merchants up to 3% of a transaction's cost to process through its network. The money is soaked up by processors and banks that are part of the Visa stock network.These payment networks won't work in developing nations. The cost is too high for small merchants to bear. Instead of staying with cash, many are moving to cheaper fintech alternatives that can run through customers' mobile phones.Whether these merchants will stay with Chinese and Indian payment systems, or seek Western alternatives to access Western wallets, remains an open question. The Plaid investment shows just how desperate Visa and Mastercard are to answer that question in the affirmative.Dana Blankenhorn is a financial and technology journalist. He is the author of the environmental story, Bridget O'Flynn and the Bear, available at the Amazon Kindle store. Write him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @danablankenhorn. As of this writing he owned shares in MSFT, BABA and JPM. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Momentum Stocks to Buy On the Dip * 7 Dow Titans Breaking Higher * 5 Growth Stocks to Sell as Rates Move Higher The post Visa's Investment Shows Plaid Could Replace Libra in Fintech Space appeared first on InvestorPlace.
The negative reputation of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) looks increasingly likely to stifle its efforts to build out the Libra cryptocurrency. Despite having a 28-company consortium behind it and Facebook's efforts to reassure governments that its mobile money complies with regulations, resistance to FB's involvement seems to be hardening.Source: justplay1412 / Shutterstock.com Facebook has created a $533 billion market cap in 15 years, compared to the $378 billion JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) created in 150 years. FB built its market cap on a network of cloud data centers and free consumer services.A joint statement from French and German regulators seems unequivocal. "We believe that no private entity can claim monetary power, which is inherent to the sovereignty of Nations," representatives from the two nations wrote. European governments say they want a stable cryptocurrency, but only a cryptocurrency that they control.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips Is Facebook's Libra a Threat to Banking?The Libra Association consists of 28 founding members, including Visa (NYSE:V), Mastercard (NYSE:MA) and PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL). Those three companies alone have a market cap of over $800 billion. Visa, like Facebook, is worth more than JPMorgan Chase. Payments, traditionally the job of banks, already circulate through dedicated payment networks.In theory, Libra is just a cheaper way of processing transactions. Libra coins would be tied to existing currencies and processed like credit card transactions. But transaction details wouldn't enter the world of "real money," so merchant fees would be eliminated. * 7 Momentum Stocks to Buy On the Dip The problem is that Calibra, a unit of Facebook, would handle the wallets. This seems to be behind government rejection of Libra. Regulators fear that the popularity of Facebook services, which already reach nearly two billion people, would allow it to create its own banking system. U.S. regulators also fear that Libra could be used by terrorists or as a money laundering instrument.Banks, strictly regulated by governments, are not part of the Libra group or process. JPMorgan Chase has its own coin, dubbed JPM Coin, and customer trials are underway. Big traders are getting the benefits of stable coins. Small merchants and consumers are not.Government resistance is spooking some Libra backers, who are thinking of walking away. Facebook, meanwhile, is tired of being the only company sticking its neck out. The Payment World TurnsMeanwhile, the payment world continues to turn.Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) and Tencent Holding (OTCMKTS:TCEHY) already have cost-effective, chat-based payment systems. India's Unified Payments Interface is increasingly popular. Indian mobile wallets, some backed by Alibaba, are accepted by African merchants. European banks are working with these African payment networks rather than rejecting them.Other cryptocurrencies are jumping into the payments space, claiming to be Libra's competitors. None are likely to gain traction, because they lack market penetration. But they could serve as guinea pigs for banks that want to operate cryptocurrency. One, or several, might then be acquired by banks or other payment processors and slowly scaled to compete. The Bottom Line on FB Stock and LibraTransaction processing systems have a First World problem. Their costs are only acceptable in the First World.Many nations can't afford the fees that Visa and Mastercard charge through local banks. Facebook promised such a mechanism to avoid high fees. Facebook has a global, scaled, cloud-based data network on which low-cost transaction processing services could ride. This would in theory allow Visa and MasterCard to compete with the Chinese and Indian payment groups.But Facebook's leadership of Libra frightens governments. Nations see Facebook as a threat to government sovereignty in a way that Visa and Mastercard are not.Before Libra can get going, Facebook may have to take a back seat in its own invention.Dana Blankenhorn is a financial and technology journalist. He is the author of the environmental story, Bridget O'Flynn and the Bear, available at the Amazon Kindle store. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @danablankenhorn. As of this writing he owned shares in BABA and JPM. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Momentum Stocks to Buy On the Dip * 7 Dow Titans Breaking Higher * 5 Growth Stocks to Sell as Rates Move Higher The post Facebook's Reputation May Cause Libra to Fail appeared first on InvestorPlace.
The new trading week didn't get started on a particularly impressive foot. Even with the intraday recovery effort, the S&P 500 still ended the day lower by 0.31%. Surging oil prices, thanks to an attack in the Middle East, sparked concern of a ripple effect.Source: Shutterstock Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) was the proverbial problem child, falling more than 20% to log a second day of losses following last week's big runup. Ford (NYSE:F) fell a more nominal 1.6%, with investors digesting the response to a recent UAW threat to go on strike, in addition to news that the company is recalling more than 300,000 Explorers due to dangerous seat edges. * 10 Recession-Resistant Services Stocks to Buy Headed into today's trading action, it's the stock charts of Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), Visa (NYSE:V) and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) that have earned a closer inspection. Here's why, and what to look for.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips Coca-Cola (KO)It has been one of the healthier trades this year, despite the drinking public's growing aversion to sugary beverages. In fact, Coca-Cola shares have rallied an amazing 20% since March's low, overcoming its February stumble with relative ease.The sheer speed and span of the move in an environment that doesn't favor most of the company's fare, however, has left KO stock vulnerable to some profit-taking. One more technical misstep could push Coca-Cola shares over that edge. * Click to EnlargeThe "edge" in question is the straight-line support that connects the bulk of the lows seen since March's pivot. It's plotted as a dashed blue line on both stock charts. * KO shares are no stranger to big swings. In fact, they make them on a rather reliable basis. All of the recent cases where the weekly chart's RSI line entered overbought territory led to major setbacks. * Although up for the past couple of months, take note of the fact that there's been more bearish volume than bullish volume. * The purple 50-day moving average line may also be a make-or-break support level at this time. It has been in the past. Southwest Airlines (LUV)Airline stocks are inherently erratic, impacted not just by the ebb and flow of demand for travel, but by the ebb and flow of oil prices. The two differing factors don't always behave with respect to one another as one might expect. Southwest Airlines has been no exception to this norm.There has been a method to the madness though. LUV stock has hammered out the formation of a familiar and telling shape. And, it has done so with a fairly predictable context that implies a breakout thrust could be brewing. * 7 Momentum Stocks to Buy On the Dip * Click to EnlargeThe bigger-picture pattern is a converging wedge shape, marked in blue lines on both stock charts. The lower edge of the wedge patterns, as can only be seen on the weekly chart, extends all the way back to 2015. * There's also something important but easy to overlook in the moving average lines plotted on both stock charts. They're all essentially converged now, setting the stage for a divergence from this point forward. * Tilting the scales in a bullish direction is the high-volume gains that started to materialize last week, and the subsequent push above a not entirely perfect upper boundary of the wedge shape. Visa (V)Finally, Visa has dished out some unexpectedly lengthy and sizable rallies since the beginning of 2017. In fact, the only real rough patch was the weakness most other stocks suffered in the final quarter of last year. And even then, V stock snapped back to an even stronger rally.As could be expected though, the weight of that eight-month gain is starting to prove unbearable. Visa shares have been hit hard a couple of times since last month, and while the advance hasn't been shattered yet, it's nearing that point. * Click to EnlargeThe weekly chart puts things in perspective. Last week's high had V shares more than 17% above the 200-day moving average line marked in white on both stock charts. That's the biggest divergence in years. * The line in the sand, so to speak, is the 100-day moving average line marked in gray. * Possible landing points include the $156.70 area marked in yellow on the daily chart, where V shares found support a couple of times in May, and then the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement line at $162.16, marked on the weekly chart.As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. You can learn more about him at his website jamesbrumley.com, or follow him on Twitter, at @jbrumley. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Momentum Stocks to Buy On the Dip * 7 Dow Titans Breaking Higher * 5 Growth Stocks to Sell as Rates Move Higher The post 3 Big Stock Charts for Tuesday: Southwest Airlines, Visa and Coca-Cola appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Square (NYSE:SQ), the San Francisco based payment processor, had been on a roll. Since its initial IPO in November 2015 with the SQ stock price at $58, investors who got in early rode the price up to over $101 in September 2018. Since then, however, it has been an all-downhill roller coaster.Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com Square stock recently closed back down to the IPO price of $58, and may yet again test its all-time low of $49. The underlying technology for Square stock by all accounts is undoubtedly sound. The market may be cool on SQ stock, but customers like the service.Square has steady increased top-line revenues every year. In fact, from the pre-IPO days of the creation of Square by Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) founder Jack Dorsey back in 2011, revenues have increased more than 15-fold. However, Square stock has yet to generate positive net income.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips * 7 Tech Stocks You Should Avoid Now As the hard-pressed investors of Uber (NASDAQ:UBER) stock know all too well, dazzling technology and great top-line revenue growth are all swell. But if there is no positive net income in sight and losses keep growing by staggering amounts, there is no reason to hold the stock.Despite robust sales growth, just within days after reporting disappointing second-quarter earnings announced on Aug. 1st, Square stock dropped around 40%. Similarly, the shares of Visa (NYSE:V), MasterCard (NYSE:MA), and PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) - comparative payment processors - have also been struggling in the market.When it comes to the tech sector nowadays, investors are getting tired of talk and want to see some beef on the bones in terms of bottom line earnings. Or they vote with their feet.With the massive sell-off in SQ stock, will the bears finally back off?Here are two reasons why Square is now becoming a great value play in the FinTech sector. Free Stock Trades Will Drive New Revenues, Enhance SQ ValuationAccording to a recent report in Bloomberg, Square is in the initial stages of testing a new feature allowing users of its Cash App service to buy and sell listed U.S. equities for free. A free stock trading functionality would put Square into direct competition with Robinhood, an online broker launched as a smartphone app in 2014. Backed by the venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, Robinhood is valued at approximately $7.6 billion.Many skeptics will wonder what the point is about spending heavily to launch and maintain a free service. As many analysts of the online brokerage wars know all too well, free stock trades are akin to a bar offering free salty peanuts to customers. After eating the free peanuts, those customers soon pony up the cash to buy expensive drinks. The trading of stocks may be free, but everything else comes at a price.Robinhood, for example, will charge a premium for offering investors telephone advice, foreign stock transactions, interest on uninvested cash holdings, as well as interest on margin loans. Robinhood will also sell to a captive market other high margin financial products such as credit cards, insurance and auto loans. Similarly, for Square, offering users free stock trades will attract more users and drive more volume and thus revenues to their payment processing services.Offering free stock trades will not be the first free service for Square. In their recent earnings statement, Square noted that they offer their existing Cash App clients peer-to-peer cash transfer service for free as a marketing tool to drive new business. SQ Is Best in Class Infrastructure - And Getting BetterMobile payments processing is still a nascent industry just at the beginning of growth. According to the consulting firm McKinsey, the global payments industry is a $1.9-trillion business. Much like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Twitter in the early years, Square admittedly is less concerned with profitability and far more concerned with building their engineering platform to compete and win in the market against the giants of the financial services industry.According to the most recent earnings release for the second quarter of 2019, product development expenses for Square stock were $174 million in the second quarter of 2019, up 52% year-over-year. This increase was driven primarily by costs related to engineering, data science, and technical design.In short, Square is spending heavily on technology to out-build and beat the competition for the future of the industry. Bottom Line on SQ StockThere is certainly no shortage of deep-pocketed competitors in the payment processing business. In fact, recent months have seen Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) announce major new investments in their payment solutions offering.Yet, Square stock has been showing a decent support level at the $50 to $52 range. Square stock represents a proven and solid value play in what is usually a risky and overvalued FinTech sector.At the time of writing, Theodore Kim, CFA, holds no position in any of the stocks mentioned above. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Recession-Resistant Services Stocks to Buy * 7 Hot Penny Stocks to Consider Now * 7 Tech Stocks You Should Avoid Now The post Is SQ Stock Ready to Bounce Back? appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Benzinga is highlighting nominees for the fifth annual Benzinga Fintech Awards ahead of the event on Nov. 19 in New York City. The Company MyGini is a payments and shopping app that is bridging the gap ...
Actress and environmental activist Shailene Woodley joins Yahoo Finance to chat about her efforts to rid the world of harmful plastics in oceans.
- Q2 2019 share repurchases were $164.5 billion - 20.1% lower than Q1 2019, 13.7% lower than Q2 2018, and 26.2% lower than the record Q4 2018. - Apple continues to lead, spending $18.2 billion - down from ...
The fintech startup, whose technology lets people connect their bank accounts to mobile apps like Venmo, did not disclose the size of Visa and Mastercard's investment in a statement announcing the deal. "Financial services is in the midst of a digital revolution, led by the fintech market," Zach Perret, Plaid's chief executive officer, said in the statement.
Over the past decade, Square (NYSE:SQ) has become a dominant player in the mobile payments and financing sphere. And the SQ stock price since 2015 has reflected the company's exponential growth.Source: IgorGolovniov / Shutterstock.com However, Square stock is off its recent highs, as the shares got penalized following its second-quarter earnings report in August. Year-to-date, the SQ stock price is basically flat. Now may be a good time to ask why Square shares have been falling and what we can expect in the final quarter of 2019.I believe that the owners of Square stock may have to reset their growth and share price expectations. In the coming weeks, I'd be a buyer below $55, especially if the price approaches or even goes below $50. Here are the must-know fundamental metric and price levels for SQ stock.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips Square Stock's Q3 Guidance Failed to ImpressSquare was co-founded in February 2009 by Jack Dorsey, who is also the CEO of Twitter (NYSE:TWTR). Its payments processing business, also referred to as "payments as a service," has been a game changer in serving small businesses. To the delight of early investors, this innovative financial services company has expanded quickly and become a disruptor.SQ stock reported Q2 earnings on Aug. 1 after market close. Notably, the payment-solutions company posted better-than-expected earnings and revenues. Its total net revenue increased 44% year-over-year to $1.17 billion. * 7 Tech Stocks You Should Avoid Now And on an adjusted basis, earnings were 21 cents per share, beating Wall Street's expectation of 17 cents per share. A year ago in Q3, Square stock's adjusted earnings per share came in at 13 cents.Square's subscription and services-based revenue also increased 87% to $251 million. Gross payment volume of $26.8 billion increased from $21.4 billion year-over-year. This growth has been driven by its Cash App, Square Capital and Instant Deposit. Analysts were especially impressed with Cash App -- quarterly revenue came at $135 million.The quarterly report once again confirmed that Square stock is a high-growth equity. Such shares in general are far more volatile than market indices or mature companies. Whenever investors feel growth expectations need to be toned down, they sell the stock first and ask questions later.Investors were especially concerned by the company's lower-than-expected Q3 guidance. Its Q3 adjusted-EPS guidance of 18 cents to 20 cents trailed the average estimate of 22 cents. Square management now expects Q3 adjusted revenue to be between $590 million and $600 million as opposed to the consensus of $599 million.Square stock's losses on the bottom line are also projected to be higher than expected. And many shareholders have likely felt that for the rest of the year, SQ stock may face a rising tide. Where SQ Stock's Price Is NowThe U.S. stock market has had several big winners in the past year. However, Square stock has not been one of them. Over the past 12 months, SQ shares are down about 36%.Let us briefly remember how the Square stock price has acted over the years to have a better view on what to expect in the coming weeks.Following SQ stock's IPO in late 2015, its price surged from $9 to an all-time high of $101.15 in October 2018, as the company became a darling of long-term investors.SQ stock went on a big tear during the summer of 2018, baking in plenty of euphoria. As a result, shares have been weak since reaching its all-time high on Oct. 1, 2018. By late December 2018, SQ was hovering around $50.After a highly volatile first half of 2019, August has not been a good month for Square shares either. That's of course due to the weak Q3 guidance which has underwhelmed investors.On earnings day, Square stock closed at $80.98. The next morning, SQ shares gapped down to open at $70.80. Now the shares are hovering around $58.From a technical perspective, I'm not expecting Square stock to make another significant leg up any time soon. In the next few weeks, shares are likely to be rangebound between $50 and $55.Plus, based on options trading, many bets are being placed that Square shares will see $50 before too long.The upside momentum can build up only when long-term investors feel that the SQ stock price justifies the future growth expectations. Consequently, investors need to be careful about chasing Square stock at this point. Square Stock Is Still Richly ValuedAlthough the decline in Square's stock has improved the valuation, the shares are still richly valued.While SQ currently enjoys a head start in serving small businesses, Wall Street has questions about whether it can maintain that growth. If the U.S. economy slows, Square's growth may start to decelerate rather quickly.Furthermore, Square is not yet profitable. Its net loss was $7 million in Q2, compared to a net loss of $6 million in the year-ago quarter. The company has reported net losses in five of the last six quarters. And unless it increases its revenue, Wall Street may take the high valuation of SQ stock down even further.The expansion of Square's ecosystem also means that SQ is facing increased competition. Square must now compete with many well-capitalized companies, including the global online-payments company PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL), transaction-processing leader Visa (NYSE:V) and Fiserv (NASDAQ:FISV), which is shaping up to become a global-payments giant.Most SQ stock holders are well aware that the shares do not trade at bargain-bin valuation ratios, especially compared to its competitors. For example, SQ's forward price-to-earnings ratio is over 50. On the other hand forward P/E ratios for PYPL, V and FISV stocks are about 30, 28 and 26 respectively.Similarly Square stock's current price-to-sales ratio is over 6.3x. Companies generate revenue from the sale of goods and services. Analysts prefer a low P/S multiple, ideally below 1x. However, a P/S number between 1x and 2x is more common. To put the metric into perspective, S&P 500's average price-to-sales ratio is 2.1x.In short, I do not think there is much room for Square stock's valuation to head higher in the final quarter of the year. Sooner or later, SQ stock's valuation and revenue growth will be more in balance. Should You Buy SQ Stock?The fintech app revolution is quickly changing the way traditional banks, credit card issuers and mobile-payments companies work with businesses as well as with their retail customers. Therefore, over the long term, I would not bet against SQ stock. In the short term, though, stakeholders shouldn't expect smooth sailing.I believe the volatility and selling in the markets will continue in September as well as in early October. Like many momentum plays, SQ stock is likely to be a battleground between two camps: investors and traders.Square is a high beta stock at 3.3. The stock market has a beta of 1.0. SQ stock's beta measures its volatility in relation to the market. In other words, Square stock rises more than the market in bullish conditions and decreases more when markets are falling. Short-term traders should exercise caution if they want to participate in SQ stock's wide daily swings.It is likely that Square shares will fall toward $50, where I'd expect SQ stock to start to stabilize and then trade sideways until the next earnings release, expected in early November.Indeed, Square stock may become one of the first momentum stocks to test the lows it saw between $49-$50 in December 2018, hence making a double bottom in technical charts. Only then the twice-touched low may become a more reliable long-term support level.In other words, I'd not rush to buy Square stock yet. However, I'd get ready to initiate a position as the price declines further, toward $50.At the time of writing, Tezcan Gecgil did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Recession-Resistant Services Stocks to Buy * 7 Hot Penny Stocks to Consider Now * 7 Tech Stocks You Should Avoid Now The post Square Stock Has Been Under Pressure, May Retest $50 appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Visa is committed to working with innovative companies in the insurance industry to help turn outdated and time-consuming processes associated with insurance claim payouts into near real-time1 access to payments when individuals, families and businesses need them the most. “Visa believes that money shouldn’t be a stressor in moments of crisis and waiting on average six to 10 days to access the money from insurance checks, is outdated, frustrating and costly to those in need,” said Bill Sheley, SVP and Global Head of Visa Direct, Visa. “Being such a globally trusted brand, Visa knows trust is the underpinning of the insurance industry.
Stocks traded higher again Wednesday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average positioned for a seventh consecutive winning day as the European Central Bank (ECB) delved further into easy monetary, and amid news that trade tensions between the U.S. and China continue to thaw.Source: ymgerman / Shutterstock.com Given President Donald Trump's Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) volatility, it's wise to approach good trade news with some caution, but over the course of this week, some green shoots have emerged.The White House pledge to push back some proposed tariffs on Chinese goods while China is promising to rollback some levies on U.S. imports in conjunction with upping purchases of American farm products.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsToday, reports emerged that the White House has discussed offering some form of a limited trade pact to China. Whether or not that agreement is accepted remains to be seen, but the overarching issue is that both sides, at least for now, are showing willingness to work on trade deals. * 10 Battered Tech Stocks to Buy Now In Europe, the ECB cut its benchmark lending rate to -0.5% and pledged to buy $22 billion worth of euro-denominated bonds per month.Those headlines got us to the Nasdaq Composite gaining 0.30% today while the S&P 500 jumped 0.29%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tacked on 0.17%. In late trading, 23 of the 30 Dow stocks, one of the better ratios this week, were trading higher. First, the Bad NewsYes, there were some glum performances among Dow stocks today. For example, Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) slipped about 1% after Wells Fargo downgraded the construction machinery maker to "market perform" from "outperform." The bank also pared its price target on that Dow stock to $143 from $150."U.S. construction equipment demand is at or near peak, which will put downward pressure on earnings power," said Wells Fargo.On a technical basis, Caterpillar recently bumped into some overhead resistance and looking at the chart, the shares look primed to pull back over the near-term.Speaking of analyst chatter hurting Dow stocks, Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) was the worst-performing Dow stock today, sliding over 4% after Deutsche Bank analyst George Hill initiated coverage of the stock with a "sell" rating.Hill had a tepid take on Dow stock UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH), starting coverage of that laggard with a "hold" rating. Shares of UNH also finished lower today. Bright Spots on the DowVisa (NYSE:V) was the best-performing Dow stock today, adding 1.71%. It looks like buyers stepped into the name after the shares pulled back following a record close last Friday. The stock had been nearly 4% over the past several days.Shares of Walmart (NYSE:WMT) added nearly 1% after the largest U.S. retailer unveiled an expansion to its grocery delivering service. Priced at $98 annually, or $82 less per year than the fee on Amazon Fresh.Whether its streaming entertainment or food delivery, pricing power matters. Companies that can offer it without disrupting the long case for their stocks usually get a boost from investors. Walmart plans to expand the new grocery delivery service to 200 metro areas across the country.Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) bounced back today as some of the concerns about Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) streaming effort ebbed.Disney has its own streaming plans, Disney +, and Credit Suisse says that if that offering can attract 10 million subscribers by the end of this year, that could bring double-digit upside for the stock. DJIA Bottom LineCentral banks around the world are acting to prop up economies that are in far worse shape than the U.S., and it's likely the Federal Reserve will follow suit to avoid having to act when it's too late.In comments made in Chicago today, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen affirmed that the Fed stands at the ready to shore up the world's largest economy, which she still views as solid. However, she doesn't believe the central bank will follow the ECB playbook of negative rates.Todd Shriber does not own any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Battered Tech Stocks to Buy Now * 7 Strong-Buy Stocks Hedge Funds Are Buying Now * The 7 Best Penny Stocks to Buy The post Dow Jones Today: Maybe We're Getting Somewhere appeared first on InvestorPlace.
For the last few days the stock markets have been healthy. Sentiment has taken a turn to positive and it's like nothing bad is ever going to happen again. Just yesterday the indices rallied through incredible levels especially in small cap stocks. So there's no doubt that there are stocks to buy here.Today we discuss three high-profile stocks to buy: Visa (NYSE:V), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). These are fallen angels stocks because they have recently corrected off of their highs just when they looked like their rallies would never end. * 10 Battered Tech Stocks to Buy Now The time frames differ among them, but the concept remains the same. They were headed to the moon, then they tripped. So now the opportunity is to pick the right level to buy these stocks. All three management teams are impeccable and they rarely falter on their own. So the bullish thesis for all three AMZN, MSFT and V assumes that markets in general are not going to crash any time soon.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips Microsoft (MSFT)It's hard to call MSFT stock a fallen angel stock because it's still up 34% year-to-date and it's only 5% off of the highs. Nevertheless, it has had a tough time in the last trading week, and what makes it interesting is that it did this while the equity markets were rallying hard.Normally, this raises an alarm and causes me to look into weaknesses which would bring sustained selling. But that's not the case here. This is a proven company who is merely having a normal price action give-and-take inside a very healthy ascending trend.Fundamentally MSFT is not cheap since it sells at 29 trailing price-to-earnings ratio and 8 times sales. But this is a company that deserves the benefit of the doubt so it is possible that they deliver strong growth to justify the higher valuations.This is all to say that Microsoft stock is not cheap but it still is a good one to own for the long term. So these dips are normal and should not cause a panic out of the stock.Technically, the zone around $130 per share is pivotal for MSFT stock. This was resistance in April, then a break out in June, and then a successful test for support in early August when markets fell in fear of the 10% additional tariffs tweet. So clearly the bulls earned the right to use it that support.Knowing this, makes it possible for the buy-programs to prevail over the bears in the battle over MSFT for as long as the equity markets are healthy. If I own shares, I don't panic out of them on these dips. Moreover, if I want to own some for the future then this is as good a time as any to start a position there.Alternatively I can use options to sell puts or spreads below said support to generate income without needing rallies. For this, it is important to note that if stocks correct this year from geopolitical risk, then Microsoft stock is vulnerable to a 12% correction. Visa (V)V stock is in a similar situation to that of Microsoft. It's a proven winner that was seemingly rallying to the moon without interruption. But then in the last few days, it fell 6% while the general markets are up big.Here too, the drop is not a reflection on Visa itself but rather part of normal price action. For the longest time credit card stocks with a presence in the fintech space like Visa and MasterCard (NYSE:MA) have been darlings because the investment dollars allotted to bet on financials shied away from buying money-center banks like Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM). Instead they piled into fintech.However the recent rally in yields caused a frenzied wave of buying the traditional banks and money has to come from the same bucket. So there is a rotation out of winners like V stock into laggards. The opportunity here is that rotations are usually temporary. Meaning the dip in Visa stock should be a buying opportunity.Just like Microsoft, Visa is not cheap. It sells at 35 trailing P/E and 18 times its sales. But this alone is not cause for alarm because that's how it's always been. So unless the bears have developed sudden incredible fortitude, I bet that the selling will abate soon.Technically, Visa stock should have support around $172 per share. Moreover there is bigger support from pivotal zones at $165 per share. So if I owned shares I don't panic yet. If seeking a long entry with room to spare, I like to sell puts into support zones on bad days to generate income as long as I can gauge the risk. * 10 Healthcare Stocks to Buy Despite the Headlines Visa stock is 7% off its highs, so if I sell a put in V stock at $160 per share I would own it after a 15% correction. This is a risk I can tolerate and I bet would be a fruitful one. I should know that there is short-term risk looming. if Visa falls below $183.75, it could invite sellers to $168 per share. Amazon (AMZN)I cannot write about potential upside of fallen angels stocks without including the biggest momentum story of all time. AMZN stock is one that has been in the news for decades. It draws critics and fans in droves and is subject to many a heated debate.After the May correction, Amazon stock made a nice recovery but it gave almost all of it back. And it now sits 10% lower than the July highs. The size of the moves in Amazon stock should never surprise investors. This is the mother of all momentum stocks and when it moves, it does it fast and long. So it is best to wait for confirmation of breakouts in either direction before trading it.Short term, Amazon stock rallies if above $1,853 per share, and could even recover what they lost since July. There will be resistance points along the way so it won't be easy. Conversely, if it falls below recent support near $1,740 then they could extend the correction down to $1,600 per share.In essence, the battle is between completing an ABC technical move lower or establishing a base for a rebound rally to breakout from the necklines above. Meanwhile, the AMZN stock is ping-ponging inside a tight range and I should chase the break out of either sides. I personally favor the upside potential for as long as the markets in general are healthy.For those thinking of turning this into an investment, Amazon is a safe bet in the long run in spite of its high valuation. It sells at 75 trailing P/E but only 3.4 x sales. So as long as they are delivering growth, a high P/E is a prerequisite. You have to spend a lot in order to grow a lot.We still have the same geopolitical risks we had when we first started this correction. So we are one headline away from rekindled panics. This is all to say that traders shouldn't take giant positions all at once with great conviction because we have are still hostage to headlines. The best homework can be obliterated short-term by silly headlines. So I don't risk what I cannot afford to lose.Nicolas Chahine is the managing director of SellSpreads.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Join his live chat room for free here. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Battered Tech Stocks to Buy Now * 7 Strong-Buy Stocks Hedge Funds Are Buying Now * The 7 Best Penny Stocks to Buy The post 3 Fallen Angel Stocks to Buy Before They Fly Again appeared first on InvestorPlace.
DOW UPDATE The Dow Jones Industrial Average is climbing Thursday morning with shares of Visa and American Express leading the way for the blue-chip average. Shares of Visa (V) and American Express (AXP) are contributing to the index's intraday rally, as the Dow (DJIA) was most recently trading 157 points (0.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is on the move thanks to an improved trade war outlook after China offered to increase purchases of U.S. agricultural products if the U.S. lessened restrictions on Huawei last week. The index, which is comprised of 30 American blue chip stocks, has climbed 3% in the last five days. This has not escaped the Street’s attention, with analysts saying that a few Dow stocks are heating up.“It seems like the tone on trade has gotten better. As long as we don’t have another tweet storm around trade, I think the market can stay in the upper end of this range,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities. Using the TipRanks Stock Comparison tool, we were able to see how a few of the index’s stocks measure up against each other. We just typed in up to seven tickers and the tool compared each of the stocks based on market cap, PE ratio, analyst consensus and average analyst price target. Based on the results from the comparison, we were able to find 3 Dow stocks that have garnered substantial support from Wall Street with a “Strong Buy” analyst consensus. This is based on the last three months’ worth of ratings from all other analysts. Let’s take a closer look. Visa Inc. Visa Inc. (V– Get Report) has had a tough week, with the payments processor seeing shares plummet almost 6% in the last three days. A few analysts say that the stock market's "sector rotation" as investors rotate out of big winners and into the biggest underperformers ahead of year end was to blame for this dip. That being said, some analysts are telling investors that its core strategy will pay off long-term. Even with the pullback Visa shares have gained 33% year-to-date, with the company standing to reap the benefits as the world goes cashless. According to its July 23 fiscal Q3 2019 earnings release, the company looks solid. Total payments volume, the dollar amount of purchases made with cards carrying Visa’s branding, jumped almost 9% year-over-year to reach $2.23 trillion on a constant dollar basis. To further capitalize on the cashless payments movement, the company recently partnered with MoneyGram (MGI) on a peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer option that lets customers in the U.S. send money domestically through the MGI website or app to an eligible debit card. The product, which was unveiled on September 9, starts at $1.99 and enables 24-7 transfers using Visa’s real-time push payment platform, Visa Direct.Adding to the good news, the Foreign Trade Commission (FTC) granted antitrust clearance for Visa’s acquisition of Verifi. The deal will give V access to improved dispute management technology. One top analyst points out that its substantial efforts to expand its business to business (B2B) payments arm are especially exciting, highlighting its July PayMate investment and Rambus acquisition back in June. As a result, Guggenheim analyst Jeff Cantwell reiterated his Buy rating and $199 price target on August 28. The five-star analyst sees potential for 14% upside.All in all, Wall Street agrees with Cantwell. Visa boasts a ‘Strong Buy’ analyst consensus as well as a $202 average price target, indicating 14% upside potential. McDonald's Corporation With the fast food company already gaining 18% year-to-date, some analysts believe investors should still put McDonald’s Corporation (MCD– Get Report) on their plates.While MCD is known as a burger chain, the company is making a name for itself as a tech company thanks to its significant focus on digitization. These efforts include products to speed up ordering and fulfillment such as self-ordering kiosks in many of its locations. Management noted in its July 26 Q2 earnings release that its global comparable sales growth shows the kiosks are already paying off, as customers tend to order more food or extra side items when compared to traditional ordering. With its mobile app, diners have the option to choose the time and pickup method. Not to mention the app can be synced with a user’s digital payment wallet. To further strengthen its delivery options, MCD announced its partnership with online food delivery service DoorDash in July. Most exciting though is the fast food giant’s foray into the world of artificial intelligence (AI). The company announced on September 10 that it’s set to acquire voice-based AI startup Apprente in order to improve the drive-thru experience. The startup, which will be housed under the new “McD Tech Labs” unit, will allow MCD to create voice-activated drive-thrus, speeding up the process as well as requiring less staff to operate restaurants. This is on top of its $300 million acquisition of online personalization company Dynamic Yield back in March.While some investors originally expressed concerns over MCD’s discounted pricing, SunTrust Robinson analyst Jake Bartlett believes the above factors will keep MCD on an upward trajectory. “We think the MCD buy-one-get-one for $1 promotion shows an effort to drive traffic, but also highlights the restaurant chain's focus on franchisee profitability,” he explained. As a result, he reiterated his Buy rating and $246 average price target on August 27. The five-star analyst believes shares could gain 17% over the next twelve months. With 16 Buy ratings vs 5 Holds assigned in the last three months, the word on the Street is that MCD is a ‘Strong Buy’. Its $231 average price target suggests 9% upside potential. The Walt Disney CompanyDisney (DIS\- Get Report) has attracted substantial buzz from the Street thanks to its new streaming service, Disney+, with shares already gaining 24% year-to-date. That being said, the house of mouse has seen shares dip 2% in the last three days thanks to Apple’s (AAPL) product update on September 10.Apple announced at its September 2019 Keynote that its new streaming service, Apple TV+, will start at a much lower price point than previously expected. After its November 1 launch, Apple TV+ will be available starting at $4.99 per month. This directly undercuts Disney as its own service will start at $6.99 per month, with the premium bundle running at $12.99 per month. It should be noted that Apple’s streaming service will feature less content than Disney’s. One top analyst believes that competition from Apple doesn’t change Disney’s strong long-term growth narrative. Credit Suisse’s Douglas Mitchelson conducted a survey of 40 investors in order to measure investor sentiment. The headline results were resoundingly bullish, with 58% now overweight vs 37% pre-Analyst Day in April as the Disney+ launch on November 12 is expected to be a major catalyst. That being said, in order to see significant upside Disney will need a big launch. DIS should also get a boost from its collaboration with Target (TGT) that includes the opening of 25 Disney stores within TGT locations on October 4. Investors have yet another reason to be excited as the company has an ambitious plan to give its Epcot theme park a major upgrade with new interactive elements, show space and new rides based on popular Disney films.Based on all of the above factors, Mitchelson reiterated his Buy rating and $150 price target. The 4.5-star analyst thinks shares could surge 10% over the next twelve months. 10 Buy ratings and 2 Holds assigned in the last three months add up to a ‘Strong Buy’ analyst consensus. Its average price target of $158 implies 16% upside potential. Discover Wall Street’s most loved stocks with the Top Analysts’ Stocks tool
Visa (NYSE:V) today announced it has completed the acquisition of Verifi, a leader in technology solutions that reduce chargebacks. The acquisition of Verifi strengthens Visa’s role of facilitating trust and transparency across the buying experience by extending its dispute resolution capabilities to support a broad range of payments brands and partners across the ecosystem.
One of the most widely used phrases in the investment world is "follow the smart money," and it broadly means that investors would be wise to follow the investments of hedge funds and institutional investors (the "smart money").As hedge fund tracking site Whale Wisdom shows us, following the smart money over the past several years has been a very profitable thing to do. Whale Wisdom has comprised what it calls the WhaleIndex, which is a portfolio of the 100 highest-conviction stocks held by leading hedge fund managers, as shown in quarterly 13-F filings. Since 2006, the WhaleIndex has returned about 370%, crushing the 200% S&P 500 return over that same time frame.Clearly, following the smart money has been the smart move. No pun intended.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips * 10 Stocks to Sell in Market-Cursed September With that in mind, let's take a look at seven stocks that Whale Wisdom says hedge funds love. That is, the seven highest-conviction stocks that hedge funds own the most of, as of second-quarter 13-F filings. Best Stocks Hedge Funds Are Buying: Microsoft (MSFT)Source: Shutterstock The most owned stock among hedge funds is technology giant Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), with an aggregate second quarter 13-F holding value of $735 billion.This seems like an obvious choice for smart money. Microsoft is a blue chip technology giant which has been around forever, has a huge ecosystem of products and services, and most importantly, has found its growth stride again through enterprise cloud services migration and expansion. The company consistently beats Street estimates, has a long track record of cloud-driven double-digit revenue growth, and is benefiting from upside margin drivers which are driving even bigger profit growth.There's a lot to like about the fundamentals supporting MSFT stock. Perhaps the best thing to like is the valuation. Even with all these favorable attributes, MSFT stock still trades at just just 22.8-times forward earnings -- a bargain for a mega-cap, big-growth cloud stock.All in all, then, it makes sense that the smart money loves Microsoft stock. This is a big company with big growth drivers trading at a very reasonable valuation. That's a winning combination that has propelled the stock 100% higher over the past three years. It should propel similarly large gains going forward, too. Apple (AAPL)Source: mama_mia / Shutterstock.com The second-most owned stock among hedge funds is consumer technology giant Apple (NADSAQ:APPL), with an aggregate second quarter 13-F holding value of $550 billion.Another obvious choice for smart money, Apple has many of the same winning characteristics as Microsoft. This is a blue-chip technology giant with a long track record of growth, and which has created an ecosystem of consumer technology hardware products that over a billion people around the world use every day. The first part of the Apple growth narrative was all about building out that hardware ecosystem. The second part -- which the company is transitioning to now -- is all about monetizing that ecosystem with software subscription services, like Apple TV+ and Apple Music.In other words, this company has a history of a big growth, and a very smart game-plan to sustain that big growth for the foreseeable future. At the same time, software businesses carry higher margins than hardware businesses, so this pivot to software-focused growth is also additive to margins and should super-charge profit growth.Apple has a robust profit growth trajectory ahead of it. Even with that robust profit growth outlook, AAPL stock still trades at less than 18-times forward earnings -- the lowest multiple in the entire mega-cap technology group. * 7 Automotive Stocks to Buy Now As such, with Apple (much like Microsoft) you have a host of favorable characteristics on top of a reasonable valuation. This has driven big gains in the stock over the past several years, and should continue to do so. Amazon (AMZN)Source: Zapp2Photo / Shutterstock.com The third most owned stock among hedge funds is e-commerce and cloud giant Amazon (NADSAQ:AMZN), with an aggregate second quarter 13-F holding value of $515 billion.Hedge funds have fallen in love with Amazon stock for two big reasons. One, we live in the era of the growth trade, supported by the fact that interest rates are very low and Treasury yields globally are near record lows (and often in negative territory). When rates are low, the growth trade works. That's because growth stocks derive most of their value from future profits, and when rates are low, the present value of those future profits increases because the discount rate used to discount back those future profits goes down.Two, Amazon is the king of the growth stocks. This is a company which consistently fires off 20%-plus revenue growth rates on anemic margins, under the promise that one day, the company will dominate its addressable markets, ease its growth spend, and expand margins on a huge revenue base. As such, this company is all about deriving its value from future profits. Given the company's huge revenue base, those future profits could one day be very, very big. Thus, we live in a low rate world that is perfect for Amazon stock to succeed.All in all, it should be no surprise that AMZN stock has turned into a hedge fund favorite. This is the king of the growth stocks, in an era where growth stocks rule the land.The reality is that so long as rates remain depressed, growth stocks should continue to out-perform, and AMZN stock will continue to grind higher. Facebook (FB)Source: Ink Drop / Shutterstock.com The fourth most owned stock among hedge funds is social media giant Facebook (NADSAQ:FB), with an aggregate second quarter 13-F holding value of $345 billion.Facebook being a hedge fund favorite likely has to do with the fact that Facebook is the ideal GARP, or growth-at-a-reasonable-price, stock. Consider this: Facebook has largely been for its entire history as a public company a 20%-plus revenue growth company. It remains so today, and projects to remain in 20%-plus revenue growth territory for the next few years.At the same time, operating margins used to be at 50%. Sure, they have come down dramatically since the Cambridge Analytica scandal forced the company to spend more on data security. But, margins are bottoming in the mid-30% range, and should move higher going forward.Thus, this is a 20%-plus revenue growth company with upside margin drivers. That combination implies 25%-plus profit growth potential here. FB stock trades at just 23-times forward earnings for that 25%-plus profit growth potential. That's a bargain which hedge funds clearly love. * 8 Precious Metals Stocks to Mine For Even further, Facebook's 25%-plus profit growth potential is supported by the fact that 2.7 billion globally use one of the company's four apps every single month, and that the 2.7 billion number has never done anything besides go up. In other words, it's a very well-supported 25%-plus profit growth company, trading at a discounted valuation. That's a recipe for big share price gains. Visa (V)Source: Shutterstock The fifth most owned stock among hedge funds is global payments giant Visa (NYSE:V), with an aggregate second quarter 13-F holding value of $275 billion.Hedge funds love Visa for six very simple reasons. One, Visa operates in the secular growth card payments space. In 2018, payment cards generated 368.92 billion purchase transactions for goods and services, up nearly 25% year-over-year from 2017. Two, Visa dominates this 25% growth space, accounting for nearly 45% of those 369 billion transactions in 2018. Three, Visa's dominance in the secular growth card payments space has consistently powered high single-digit to double-digit volume, transaction, and revenue growth over the past few years.Four, margins are stable and big. Five, healthy revenue growth plus stable and big margins has powered and continues to power robust profit growth. Six, for that robust profit growth, Visa stock trades at just 33-times forward earnings -- which, while not cheap, is certainly reasonable for a company that is as dominant and has as much visibility and growth potential as Visa.As such, it makes sense that hedge funds love Visa stock. This company has all the attributes of a long term winning investments. Those attributes aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Thus, Visa stock will continue to look and act like a long term winner. JP Morgan (JPM)Source: Bjorn Bakstad / Shutterstock.com The sixth most owned stock among hedge funds is banking giant JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM), with an aggregate second quarter 13-F holding value of $255 billion.The first five stocks on this list were arguably all technology companies. But, hedge funds can't exclusively love technology stocks -- they, like every other investor, need to diversify their exposure to the market. One way to do that? Buy a bank stock for financial sector exposure. When buying bank stocks, hedge funds have most often opted for JP Morgan.Why? A few reasons. For starter's, JP Morgan is the largest bank in the U.S., so it's an obvious choice when seeking financial sector exposure. Also, JP Morgan has consistently operated at a higher clip than its peers over the past several years. Over the past three years, JPM stock is up more than 60%, versus a 35% gain for the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEARCA:XLF). Even further, JPM has been exceptionally innovative on the technology front, doing things like partnering with Amazon on a credit card.Big picture, hedge funds need bank exposure, too, and when seeking that bank exposure, they have most often bought JPM stock because JPM is bigger, better, and innovating faster than its peers. * 7 Low-Risk Mutual Funds to Buy Now Does that mean JPM stock will continue to move higher? Probably not. So long as the yield curve remains inverted and "lower for longer" remains the theme in the yields world, JPM stock will struggle to move higher. Those conditions simply are not favorable for bank stocks. Alphabet (GOOGL)Source: rvlsoft / Shutterstock.com The seventh most owned stock among hedge funds is digital ad and cloud giant Alphabet (NADSAQ:GOOGL, NASDAQ:GOOG), with an aggregate second quarter 13-F holding value of $250 billion.To be fair, Whale Wisdom separates GOOG and GOOGL into two different entries, each of which had an aggregate second quarter 13-F holding value of $250 billion. Thus, the total holding value in all of Alphabet stock (GOOG and GOOGL) is about $500 billion, which would peg it as the fourth -- not seventh -- most owned stock among hedge funds.It makes sense that Alphabet would be so high on hedge funds' buy list. This is a company which has built the backbone of the internet with Google Search. Everyone and their best friend in the world uses that backbone. Alphabet has leveraged the utility of Google Search to develop a broad ecosystem of widely used software services (Gmail, YouTube, Google Docs, etc), and has monetized that ecosystem with ads, ads, and more ads.This strategy has worked. Now, Alphabet is the unchallenged titan in the global digital ad industry. That industry is growing at a 20%-plus pace. On top of that, Alphabet has also created a leading cloud infrastructure services business that operates in the 20%-plus growth cloud sector, is building out an ecosystem of consumer technology hardware products that are rapidly gaining, and has turned into the clear leader in the self-driving space with its Waymo unit.In other words, there are multiple growth drivers here, all of which have the potential to produce huge profits at scale. As such, Alphabet remains a big growth company. For all that growth, GOOG stock trades at just 22-times forward earnings.That's a combination that has powered big gains in GOOG stock over the past several years. It should continue to do for the next several years, too.As of this writing, Luke Lango was long AMZN, FB, and GOOG. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Stocks to Sell in Market-Cursed September * 7 of the Worst IPO Stocks in 2019 * 7 Best Stocks That Crushed It This Earnings Season The post The 7 Stocks Hedge Funds Are Buying Big appeared first on InvestorPlace.
U.S. stock futures are trading higher this morning in what looks to be a quiet open for the market. Ahead of the bell, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.17% and S&P 500 futures are higher by 0.13%. Nasdaq-100 futures have added 0.17%.Source: Shutterstock In the options pits, call volume saw a modest uptick, helping to drive overall volume above average levels. Specifically, about 21.7 million calls and 17.9 million puts changed hands on the session.At the CBOE, the single-session equity put/call volume ratio rose to 0.65 -- a one-week high, and the dead center of its 2019 range. The 10-day moving average held its ground at 0.65.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsOptions traders swarmed in Ford (NYSE:F),Visa (NYSE:V) and Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU) among others. Below we'll explore the catalysts and investigate their price action. Ford Motors (F)Volatility seized Ford shares yesterday after the automaker saw its credit downgraded to junk by Moody's. The ratings agency believes Ford sits in a poor financial position for its multi-billion dollar restructuring. Traders viewed the stock's large down gap as a buying opportunity, however.Initially, the company saw its shares open down 5%, but bulls swarmed to pare the losses to just 1.26% by day's end. Trading volumes surged to over 70 million shares for the session, marking the highest volume day since late-July. The price trend of Ford stock leaves much to be desired. It rests below its 50-day moving average but above the 20-day and 200-day. The mixed messages suggests neutrality more than anything. * 10 Healthcare Stocks to Buy Despite the Headlines While the trend gives traders little to latch on to, the beefy 6.37% dividend is likely sufficient to keep income seekers targeting the stock for the foreseeable future.On the options trading front, calls slightly outpaced puts on the day. Activity swelled to 335% of the average daily volume, with 145,384 total contracts traded. The increased demand drove implied volatility up to 34%, placing it at the 24th percentile of its one-year range. Premiums are now pricing in daily moves of 20 cents or 2.1%. Visa (V)Credit card stocks have not fared well over the past two sessions. Visa has fallen almost 6% from Monday's intraday high on above-average volume. Yesterday's whack pushed V stock back below its 50-day moving average. Normally that kind of breach would question a stock's uptrend, but Visa has seen multiple probes below the 50-day during its trend and few have actually mattered.Bottom line: this is probably a dip worth buying.On the options trading front, speculators favored calls throughout the session. Total activity jumped to 220% of the average daily volume, with 114,740 contracts traded. Calls claimed 53% of the take.Implied volatility cruised higher to 23% and now sits at the 27th percentile of its one-year range. Premiums are baking in daily moves of $2.57 or 1.5% so set your expectations accordingly. Roku (ROKU)Roku stock is finally receiving its comeuppance. Monday's wicked bearish engulfing candle marked a short-term top and yesterday's epic plunge confirmed the easy money in its upswing is over. ROKU stock has fallen 18.4% over the past two days.The action reminds me of the old trading adage, "bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered." Roku's ascent had long since left the stratosphere and was well on its way to the moon when profit-taking and the inevitable pullback commenced. And, like so many gravity-defying rallies before it, Roku learned that gravity always wins in the end. * 7 Upcoming IPOs for September On a positive note, because ROKU had risen so far off of support and its major moving averages, this pullback hasn't broken any critical support levels. With its overall trend still pointing higher, it might just need a reset or time of rest before eventually moving higher.On the options trading front activity pushed to 218% of the average daily volume, with 309,379 total contracts traded. Calls barely inched out puts driving 51% of the session's sum.Implied volatility rallied to 66%, placing it at the 32nd percentile of its one-year range. Selling bull puts is the way to go if you're in the mood for buying the dip.As of this writing, Tyler Craig held bullish options positions in Roku. Check out his recently released Bear Market Survival Guide to learn how to defend your portfolio against market volatility. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Stocks to Sell in Market-Cursed September * 7 of the Worst IPO Stocks in 2019 * 7 Best Stocks That Crushed It This Earnings Season The post Wednesday's Vital Data: Ford, Visa and Roku appeared first on InvestorPlace.