Monday does’t seem like a particularly good day for U.S. stocks, at least in context. All three broad market indices did gain. But neither the 0.35% increase in the S&P 500 nor the 0.56% gain for the NASDAQ Composite, offset losses seen on Friday.
That said, looking closer, Monday’s trading looks much more positive. After all, the U.S. strike against Iran last week could have rattled markets. Indeed, the news did lead to Friday’s sell-off — and U.S. stocks saw an intraday rally fade that day.
Major indices then opened lower on Monday. But investors stepped in, and those indices closed at the highs.
Despite rising geopolitical concerns, investors still seem happy to own U.S. stocks. That would be good news for the names featured in Tuesday’s big stock charts. All three charts show a need for external momentum to drive a rally. And so continued broader optimism thus could be a catalyst for near-term rallies in these three stocks.
The first of Tuesday’s big stock charts has a lot going on. But one thing is clear: PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) looks likely to make a move in the near term:
- There’s no shortage of technical indicators at play at the moment. PEP stock has established a triangle pattern, from which it exited to the downside in recent sessions. Support has held at $135 of late, after providing resistance earlier this year. And shares have dipped below near-term moving averages. As with the triangle, though, the slippage so far is minor.
- On the whole, the indicators suggest that PEP is looking for direction and might find it soon. Interestingly, the company’s rival, Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), seems to be in a similar position, as detailed yesterday. Both stocks are showing some signs of weakness at the moment, but both big stock charts suggest solid gains could follow even a minor reversal. If PEP can bounce from here, support is confirmed and an upside breakout from the triangle would confirm the recent uptrend.
- From here, PEP stock looks like the stronger play, both fundamentally and technically. PEP is cheaper on an earnings basis despite stronger growth. It seems likely that support will hold here, even with some concerns in the recent pullback. But both stocks probably need some external help. At the least, investors need to keep paying historically high earnings multiples for these two defensive plays.
Wells Fargo (WFC)
The rally in Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) is starting to fade. And the second of our big stock charts suggests the downside could continue:
- WFC exited its narrowing ascending wedge, a pattern which often leads to a bearish reversal. Shares have slipped below near-term moving averages as well. There is a scenario in which WFC retreats all the way back to the 200-day moving average, but with some buyers the last few sessions that seems too bearish. Still, selling pressure could continue.
- Looking to the longer-term chart, the issue becomes apparent. Wells Fargo stock simply hasn’t been able to maintain its rallies. A head-and-shoulder pattern in 2017-2018 has played out, but this remains a stock that has traded sideways for some five years now. And after reaching a 2019 high in late November, that issue has risen again.
- Big bank earnings loom, with Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), and Citigroup (NYSE:C) all reporting fourth quarter results on Jan. 14. For the recent fade to reverse, Wells Fargo needs to deliver a strong quarter — and likely needs to see its peers do the same.
Helmerich & Payne (HP)
Energy stocks like Helmerich & Payne (NYSE:HP) have been given a reprieve. Oil prices already were rallying before rising tensions in the Middle East amplified the gains. HP stock has been a big beneficiary of late, and the third of Tuesday’s big stock charts shows the stock could have more upside ahead:
- Simply put, HP stock needs to break through resistance. And there are reasons to believe that it can. The rally of late has been strong, with volume relatively solid. The nearly 2.8% rise on Monday pushed the stock above the 200-day moving average. HP stock may see some consolidation around that average, and this key level, but there’s reason to see a rally toward at least $50, where the stock hovered in June and July.
- Fundamentally, the outlook is a bit dicier. Helmerich & Payne stock is expensive by energy standards, at about 27x fiscal 2019 (ending September) earnings per share, excluding one-time items. Rig deployments in the Middle East and Colombia can drive growth, and HP stock probably deserves a premium to pure-play U.S. shale exploration companies. But it’s getting that premium at the moment.
- And so for the momentum behind HP stock to continue, the momentum behind energy prices needs to continue. Traders betting on a continued rally in oil, in particular, should consider Helmerich & Payne stock as an intriguing proxy with a path to a breakout. But if that oil rally doesn’t materialize, HP shares can reverse in a hurry.
As of this writing, Vince Martin has no positions in any securities mentioned.