Turkey Ruins Week for Dow, S&P

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The major indices were all set for a positive week heading into Friday’s session…and then Turkey came along and spoiled it with their currency crisis. As a result, the Dow and S&P registered their first weekly losses in a while and the NASDAQ’s eight-session winning streak came to an end. 

The Turkish lira dropped to a record low against the dollar. In fact, it fell by 20% at its worst of the day after President Trump tweeted about doubling metals tariffs on the country. We've seen this before. The market hates the suggestion of contagion in this global economy, but for now there's not much panic that this will spread into a major problem.

However there was enough concern to wreck Friday’s session. After a mostly positive week, any investors who wanted to take some profits found the perfect excuse. The Dow now has a three-day losing streak, but today’s plunge of 0.77% to 25,313.1 was much steeper than the previous two days. It was in the green for the week as the session began, but ended with a loss of nearly 0.6%.

Remember when we were all wondering if the S&P could reach new highs this week? Not only did it fail to accomplish that feat, but it is no longer within 1% of making history. It slipped 0.71% to 2833.3 and was off 0.2% over the past 5 days.

But the NASDAQ didn’t let us down. The tech-heavy index’s winning streak may be over and it did fall 0.67% on Friday to 7839.1, but it was up 0.3% for the week.

Trade concerns reestablished a foothold in the market this week after retreating to the background during this epic earnings season. On Wednesday, China announced plans for a 25% tariff on $16 billion worth of U.S. imports, a retaliation to the White House’s list of $16 billion worth of Chinese goods to be hit with tariffs.

And while the Turkey problem is freshest on the market’s mind, the biggest news of the week was likely Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter announcement of possibly taking the company private. That news came out on Tuesday…and we’re still talking about it! Now it’s pretty much a soap opera as we wait and see if there were any SEC violations.

You can bet that trade issues and the Musk drama will be part of the market next week, but will Turkey still be? We’ll see…

Today's Portfolio Highlights:

Surprise Trader: The portfolio wanted to get into the transports in the early days of this earnings season due to this strong economy…and now it’s time to cash in. Dave sold trucking and shipping company Hub Group (HUBG) on Friday for a more than 11% return in a little over 2 weeks.

The editor also bought Agilent Technologies (A), which hasn’t missed earnings estimates in 12 quarters! It has a modest Earnings ESP of 1.15% for the report coming on Tuesday after the bell, but Dave feels pretty good that this Electronics – Testing Equipment company is poised for lucky number 13 next week. The complete commentary has more on these trades.

Technology Innovators: For some reason, the market didn’t like the beat and raise quarter just reported from Avalara (AVLR), as shares were down double digits this morning. But Brian Bolan loved it! The editor especially liked the market’s illogical reaction because he picked up this tax & accounting software company on a dip. Now he can take advantage of a post earnings drift higher. Learn more about AVLR in the complete commentary.

Insider Trader: Shares of DowDuPont (DWDP) are down 5.2% year to date as this mega-cap prepares to be split into three companies next year. Wall Street seems to be ignoring it at the moment, which is probably why the CEO bought more than 29,000 shares recently. Tracey calls it a “confidence buy”. This insider wants the market to know that he still believes in the company, which convinced our editor to give it a chance.

Meanwhile, Western Alliance Bancorporation (WAL) had one of the best earnings reports of the regional banks this quarter. Tracey still likes the banks, but she was really intrigued when the CFO and CEO both bought shares just a few days after its quarterly report on July 23. She's giving each of these buys a 10% allocation. Read the complete commentary for more on all of today’s moves, which includes a couple of sells.

Healthcare Innovators: The short-term for bluebird bio (BLUE) looks rather uneventful until the ASH (American Society of Hematology) annual meeting in December. Meanwhile, this immune-oncology player could be under further valuation pressure. Kevin still loves this name and feels it’s a long-term buy near $150. However, since he picked it up under $95 in the early days of the portfolio, the editor felt this was a great time to sell it and protect a nearly 67% long-term return. Don’t be surprised if Kevin picks this name up again later this year, especially since it has solid R&D assets and two big partners (CELG and REGN). The portfolio also sold Spark Therapeutics (ONCE) for a 4.2% profit. Get more specifics on these trades in the full write-up.

Value Investor: Insurance may seem boring, but Tracey has shown that it can be a great investment. She’s hoping to prove it all over again with Progressive (PGR), a personal & auto insurer that has 10% of the auto market. Shares are up 12.6% so far this year, but it still has a forward P/E of only 14.2 and a respectable price-to-book of 3.3. In addition, earnings are expected to rise 66% in 2018 and some analysts believe its dividend yield could reach 3.5% this year.

Meanwhile, the portfolio doesn’t have much exposure to transportation, so Tracey was excited to add Ryder (R) on Friday as well. In addition to classic value fundamentals, this commercial transportation & logistics company beat big in the second quarter. Also, earnings are expected to rise 27% this year and 12% next year. See the full write-up for more on both of these moves.

Have a Great Weekend!
Jim Giaquinto

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