It’s undeniable that a big tech IPO like Twitter (TWTR) is noteworthy. The buzz from consumers and investors alike makes these initial public offerings a staple on cable news programs — even those without a financial bent.
And when you have an IPO like Twitter that gaps up 73% above its offer price on the first day of trading, it sucks even more oxygen out of the room.
But if you were tied to your tablet watching the countdown to Twitter’s pricing and IPO and then surfing all the related punditry on whether it was a good or a bad buy, you might have missed some very important developments elsewhere on Wall Street.
Here are five important headlines and related trading ideas that were overshadowed by the Twitter IPO frenzy last week:
U.S. Equities Look Bullish
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average notched new record highs last week
- U.S. GDP grew faster than expected with 2.8% growth.
- Hiring was strong in October even amid a government shutdown.
The macro news out of the U.S. was very strong last week, indicating that October wasn’t quite so bad that many had expected given the shenanigans in Washington.
This could be another nail in the coffin of the stock market bears who think this rally is going up in smoke. And if that’s true, Twitter isn’t the only stock that’s got momentum on its side.
If you want to play this trade broadly, the best way is to simply buy the market broadly — via the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) or any other index fund pegged to a major U.S. index.
The Dollar Snaps Back
After the U.S. dollar’s big strength across the past year, the buck broke down in October to bottom at its lowest level since February. But if you weren’t watching the dollar during the Twitter IPO carnival, you might have missed a heck of a snapback in the greenback.
A report from Bloomberg stated, “Pension funds and institutions bought the most dollar-denominated assets in late October since at least January 2009” and the U.S. Dollar Index rallied almost 3% in a week’s time to get back to late-September levels in a snap.
So how do you trade this?
A stronger dollar environment will ultimately keep commodity costs lower, since energy and food and materials priced in U.S. currency are more affordable when the greenback is strong. Check out the return of $3 gas in some states as proof of this ceiling on commodities.
That ceiling is good for manufacturers, but bad for a company like Exxon Mobil (XOM) that gets a lower price for oil and gas in this environment.
A strong dollar also creates headwinds for U.S. based multinationals that will see unfavorable currency exchange rates drag on their foreign sales and profits. The impact isn’t dramatic, but in this environment where every penny of EPS is hard to come by for some corporations, it’s noteworthy that global players like Coca-Cola (KO), Procter & Gamble (PG) or Microsoft (MSFT) will see pressure in a strong dollar environment.
To hedge if the dollar keeps rising? Well, you can always buy the Dollar Index itself via the PowerShares U.S. Dollar Index (UUP) exchange-traded product.
M&A Hunt Continues
This is on the heels of a massive $7.2 billion buyout of electronics firm Molex (MOLX) by Koch Industries in September and a host of other massive deals earlier in the year — led by the $28 billion Heinz buyout orchestrated by Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B).
Last year there were only seven deals worth more than $5 billion, yet in 2013, we’ve already seen six that are worth $10 billion-plus — showing that big-ticker mergers and acquisitions are en vogue.
What does this mean for traders, then?
Well, buying small caps in the hopes of buyouts is one way to play this trend — though instead of picking individual companies, you might be better served by casting a wide net with small-cap funds.
Biotech is always red-hot when it comes to M&A, so the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) is a good sector to camp out in. Otherwise, you might want to broadly play small-cap buyout targets via a fund like widely held iShares Russell 2000 Index (IWM).
Hope in China
China’s manufacturing sector continues to bounce back. We just learned in the last week or so that China PMI came in at the strongest level in 18 months.<