On the last day of May, the bears had their say, but “Sell in May and go away” hasn’t held true. The Dow Industrials and the S&P are up 3.5 percent and even Nasdaq is up approximately 5 percent since the first of the year. In other words “Sell in May and Go Away” has not held true this year but the bears are grunting with the market down nearly 209 points the last day in May.
While the Dow Industrials closed at all-time highs May 28, the broader market has moved sideways over the past two weeks with interest rates rising.
The Treasury yields are rising with the 10-year note now doing better than 2 percent for the first time this year. This will hurt utility and favorite stocks that pay a yield of approximately 3 percent. Stocks bought primarily for their dividend yields will be hit hardest.
This past week the Japanese stock market became volatile when the Nikkei shed 5 percent and the $1 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund considered changes in the allocation and drifted away from their targeted levels. Other governments are watching the outcome.
The dollar is regaining strength but the Federal Reserve could make a policy change that would reduce or end quantitative easing or end the stimulus. Once the stimulus stops, we will return to old fundamental practices.
Several pundits commented that something’s up. Every analyst can tell, but nobody is quite sure what it is. Is it time to sell a small portion of the portfolio and keep a little cash on hand? No, the bulls still have the driving hand and investors shouldn’t read too much into one month’s data.
Here’s a look at two Town Crier stocks in the news this week.
• Cisco Systems Inc. ($24.26; CSCO) has challenged the European Commission’s approval of Microsoft’s $8.5 billion purchase of Skype, a provider of Internet video and phone service in 2011.
Cisco’s earnings per share increased 6 percent to $0.51 excluding special items in the April Quarter, topping the consensus by $0.02. Revenue climbed 5 percent to $12.22 billion, also ahead of expectations. Cisco is looking toward a repeat performance for the fourth quarter.
Cisco expects to boost its strength in mobile services through more acquisitions and several product expansions through additions.
Cisco is considered a current and a long-term buy with numerous analysts.
• Applied Materials Inc. ($15.39; AMAT) provides manufacturing equipment, services and software to the semiconductor, flat panel display and related industries worldwide. The stock of the Santa Clara firm has moved up 35 percent since the first of the year with a market cap of $17.87 billion.
Applied Materials reported its second quarter operating income of $285 million and adjusted income of $199 million of 16 cents per diluted share. Net sales were $1.97 billion, up 25 percent.
“For the second quarter in a row, Applied had strong order performance of more than $2 billion,” said Chairman and CEO Mike Splinter. “We are seeing increasing pull from some of out largest strategic customers for our key enabling technologies.”
Analysts were mixed on future results with numerous recommending downgrades to hold or neutral. The Street rates Applied as a hold. The company’s strengths can be seen in multiple areas such as its solid stock price performance with reasonable debt levels and expanding profit margins.
Mean target price is $15.08 which has already been passed. High target price is $20.