In several recent sessions of Big Stock Charts, we’ve focused on names with sideways trading largely for two reasons.
First, stock charts heading generally sideways sometimes — but not always — can be easier to read. When a stock goes parabolic like Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has of late, or plunges to multi-year lows, there often aren’t the same key levels on which to focus technical analysis.
Second, in this market, sideways stocks simply are more interesting. Particularly in recent years, this bull market has seen winners keep winning and laggards keep lagging. There have been exceptions: Tesla stock has recovered from a huge plunge just last year, cannabis stocks collapsed after huge gains, and companies like Target (NYSE:TGT) have managed to reinvent themselves. From a broad standpoint, however, investors have been best served following the old advice of letting their winners run and quickly cutting their losers loose.
Friday’s big stock charts feature three more names that have traded sideways, including one that has done so in an almost bizarre fashion. All three names have hopes to join the broader rally and, at least according to the charts, all three have at least a decent chance of doing so.
Dollar General (DG)
When we highlighted Dollar General (NYSE:DG) as one of our big stock charts back on Dec. 3, DG stock seemed to be in a precarious position. Ahead of an important earnings report, the stock had dipped modestly below support. But buyers stepped in, and two months later, the first of Friday’s big stock charts looks more positive:
- DG stock has seen a bit of a bounce in the last four sessions, gaining over 3%. That’s moved the stock away from support and led it to exit both a descending triangle and a wedge pattern. Those exits suggest a breakout could be at hand, particularly if DG can rally past January highs of $160. Gains Thursday on a red day for broad market indices add to the sense that this rally should have legs.
- Fundamentally, the case does get a bit dicier. DG stock trades at 24x the consensus fiscal 2020 earnings per share estimate. That’s a big multiple by retail standards and higher than those assigned both Target and Walmart (NYSE:WMT). With Walmart stock actually negative so far in 2020, and earnings due on Wednesday, there seems a chance investors could rotate out of DG and into WMT before or after that release.
- Still, this is a stock I’ve long thought was attractive from a long-term standpoint. And with the combination of a defensive business model and solid earnings growth, investors are likely to agree. Investors have been willing to pay similar, or higher, multiples for other quality businesses, and I believe they’ll do the same with Dollar General. If that’s the case, the strength of late should continue, with new highs on the way in 2020.
IPG Photonics (IPGP)
Not that long ago, IPG Photonics (NASDAQ:IPGP) was one of those growth stocks investors were wise to hold onto no matter the valuation. IPGP stock tripled between November 2016 and late 2017.
IPG would buck the broader trend, however: shares promptly lost half their value in a matter of months during 2018, and since an early 2019 rally they’ve stalled out. But after fourth quarter earnings this week, the second of our big stock charts suggests a bounce might be in store:
- IPGP stock, if narrowly, has exited both a wedge and a descending triangle. And buyers flooded in after fourth quarter earnings on Thursday: shares were down nearly 10% in early trading but closed up 2%. That trading, on high volume, suggests strength going forward. It could be enough to breach support that has held repeatedly at or just above $150.
- Even off 2018 highs, IPGP stock looks reasonably expensive, at 31x 2020 EPS estimates. That’s particularly true relative to recent performance: revenue actually declined 10% in 2019, and the Street sees less than 2% top-line growth in 2020. But China is a key market, and long-term opportunities for the laser manufacturer in lasers and electric vehicle batteries suggest performance should improve at some point.
- The reaction on Thursday suggests that investors are willing to look past short-term worries. That’s undoubtedly a good thing for IPGP stock. If the market stays patient, the chart suggests IPGP should have more upside ahead.
American Eagle Outfitters (AEO)
The third of Friday’s big stock charts takes sideways trading to a whole new level. American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) stock incredibly has closed with a $14 handle for 44 consecutive sessions. There are stocks with announced takeover offers that show more volatility.
That trading obviously suggests rather firm resistance at $15. But there’s also a consolidating base, and some reason to see a reversal before, or after, fourth quarter earnings next month:
- The steady sideways trading does set AEO stock up for a reversal out of a descending narrowing wedge. While resistance is firm, support clearly is as well. Obviously, Q4 earnings will be the deciding factor here, but AEO should be able to at least challenge the 200-day moving average at $16 with a beat next month.
- Fundamentally, American Eagle stock looks awfully cheap, at almost exactly 10x EPS estimates for this year. Estimates for fiscal 2020 (ending January 2021), however, highlight the potential bull/bear divide here. The high Street figure is at $1.63, implying double-digit growth. The low estimate of $1.23 would represent a 16% decline. Trading over the past two months suggests that the market as a whole is waiting for more information in terms of making its own decision — which Q4 results and commentary can provide.
- And so there’s at least a path for AEO stock to rally which should make the stock attractive to retail bulls. The company’s aerie segment continues to outperform L Brands (NYSE:LB) unit Victoria’s Secret. The balance sheet is solid, with about $1.60 per share in cash and no debt. Same-store sales remain positive. AEO, as seen on the monthly chart, has posted nice rallies in the past. At some point, this stock is going to move, and a big Q4 report would mean it would move in the right direction.
As of this writing, Vince Martin has no positions in any securities mentioned.