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This Stock Leads Oil Plays Up; Apple Fine; How Far Will This Bitcoin ETF Fall? | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

Major indexes traded mostly flat in afternoon trading Wednesday, leading some observers to believe that the expected major tax reform legislation has already been baked into the stock market’s advance. However, another view could be that U.S. equities are holding on to solid gains for the fourth quarter and are not showing any signs of heavy selling.

XMeanwhile, one of the hottest exchange traded funds dropped hard for a second straight session, but the two-day correction for Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) looks normal after a 250% run-up from a Nov. 22 breakout past 985.10 in a deep cup with handle.

Bitcoin Investment Trust fell as much as 24.8% intraday and briefly undercut its short-term 10-day moving average. The ETF is now down 16% to 2,518, still holding a 155% post-breakout gain.

At 2:30 p.m. ET, the Nasdaq composite was still trading flat, but at 6964 the tech-rich index is still up nearly 0.4% for the week and holding a 7.2% gain since Oct. 1. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average squeezed out fractional gains. Volume is running mildly lower vs. the same time Tuesday on both main exchanges.

Steel, oil and gas, metal ores, air freight and gold mining shares led the market’s upside, offsetting sharp drops in desktop software, tobacco, dairy, hospital, restaurant and electric utility stocks.

The Dow utility average, sinking 1% and 1.6% on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, sank another 0.4% amid a rebound in interest rates. The yield on the benchmark U.S. Treasury 10-year note is trying to clear 2.50%.

The CME Group’s Fed Watch tool now shows a 56% probability that the Federal Reserve will hike the fed funds rate on overnight bank loans by a quarter point to a 1.5%-1.75% target range when it meets on March 21, 2018.

 

As noted in a prior IBD Stock Market Today column, Bitcoin Investment has had such a monster run that the 50-day moving average is irrelevant as a technical tool to determine the right time to sell the hot security. Instead, a clean break of the 10-day line would be a good trigger for holders to capture at least partial profits in a core position.

Bitcoin, which now trades a record 112,000 shares on average over the past 50 sessions, broke out of a deep yet satisfactory cup with handle on Nov. 22 by surpassing the high of the handle at 985 by 10 cents. Add 10 cents to the highest price within a handle in good bases such as the cup, saucer or double bottom to determine the correct entry point.

Among big and megacap techs, Apple (AAPL) continues to do just fine. However, Monday’s breakout from a new flat base at 176.34 has failed to bear fruit so far. Shares are virtually break-even at 174.43, hovering just below the proper entry.

While Monday’s nice gain showed little gusto in terms of volume, on Friday the iPhone marketer showed heavy institutional activity as shares rose 1%. In that session, 40.2 million shares exchanged hands, 49% above the stock’s 50-day average. That’s a sign of persistent demand ever since Apple broke out of a first-stage cup with handle at 118.12 in early January.

Go to that breakout and volume was limp. But investors were waiting for quarterly results. And volume gushed higher on Feb. 1 after Apple began reporting its string of new year-over-year increases in both the top and bottom lines.

Earnings in that December-ended fiscal first quarter edged up 2% to $3.36 a share, halting a three-quarter slide. Then earnings ramped up 11%, 18% and 24% in the next three quarters.

Wall Street sees profit rising 12% to $3.77 a share in the December-ending fiscal first quarter of FY 2018 on a 10% pick-up in sales to $86.23 billion.

Meanwhile, Concho Resources (CXO), a former big market winner, rose more than 3% to 144.46 in slightly higher than normal turnover and is close to surpassing a new 147.87 buy point in a nearly six-week flat base.

That flat base sits on top of a much larger, wilder base that has elements of both a double bottom and a cup with handle. See the mild three-week pullback in October? The 6.2% drop from 137.28 to 128.86 generated a good handle that showed quiet volume and a downward slant along the lows.

Both of these elements are necessary ingredients for a good handle, which is essentially a final shakeout of uncommitted shareholders before the stock sees a big jump in institutional demand, sparking a breakout.

Concho, which specializes in the Permian Basin and West Texas, is staging a solid turnaround in fundamentals. It showed falling earnings and net losses for eight straight quarters through Q3 of 2016. But in the past two quarters, Concho has boosted profit 100% and 41% on revenue gains of 43% and 46%.

The relatively weak 69 RS Rating, as seen in Stock Checkup, reflects the stock’s long basing action. Watch to see if that rating improves quickly. The EPS Rating is 68 on a scale from 1 to 99, but that masks Wall Street’s consensus estimate for earnings to rise 150% this year to $1.85 a share and up 28% to $2.36 in 2018.

West Texas Intermediate near-term oil futures jumped 0.8% to $58 a barrel. Brent crude also rallied 0.8% to $64.33.

Elsewhere, some biotechs are making a slow comeback. Biogen (BIIB) rallied and is working on the right side of a new base that so far has the dimensions of a flat base. The potential entry for now is 348.94.

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