The following lists some of the more popular stocks – not in any order of ranking – traded by POEMS clients along with major stock announcements in the month of August.
At a glance:
- After moving down sharply, all three major indices trended higher in the second half of the month, to record highs.
- US infrastructure package has been approved. The Fed said tapering could start this year.
All three US major indices – Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite – traded higher to record levels in August. In the middle of the month, all three indices had dipped on the back of fears of the COVID-19 Delta variant and a 1.1% fall in retail sales, which was worse than the -0.3% expected.
|S&P 500||Nasdaq||Dow Jones|
|Month opening||4,406.86 points||14,758.60 points||34,968.56 points|
|Highest before dip||4,479.72 points
|Lowest after dip||4,382.44 points
Percentage gains were calculated from month openings
The month marked an important milestone for the S&P 500 as it doubled from its pandemic low of 2,237.40.
All three indices managed to close higher despite the setbacks, suggesting market confidence.
Biden’ long-awaited infrastructure package was approved, though the budget was short of his March 202 proposal by US$2.3tn. The money will be used to upgrade roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, rail networks and the power grid. Americans’ access to broadband and clean drinking water will also be improved. As the package will widen the US’ national budget deficit by US$256bn, several measures will have to be taken to fund it. About US$200bn of unspent COVID-19 relief money that was intended for unemployment insurance will likely be used. A tax on cryptocurrencies is also being considered.
The annual Jackson Hole Symposium took place late in the month, causing the three indices to rebound from their previous bearish lows. On the first day of the symposium, Nasdaq gained 0.83%, S&P gained 0.81% while the Dow recovered the least, by 0.64%. Jay Jerome.
Powell signalled that the Fed could start tapering this year when inflation reaches around 2% and substantial progress has been made towards maximum employment. Powell is still confident that inflation is transitory, with the higher prices coming from sectors that were badly hit by the pandemic.
Additionally, the Fed says any decision to raise rates will not be affected by tapering, although the requirements for raising interest rates are similar to those for tapering, with the added requirement of inflation being on track to exceed 2% for some time.
The Fed is being careful with monetary tightening as it is worried of unnecessarily roiling markets. If tightening is premature, there might be a repeat of the taper tantrum in 2013 when Treasury yields spiked, triggering volatility and sell-offs in the market.
As usual, we have included technical charts for our 10 counters. The charts are for your information only and the support and resistance levels discussed are solely based on our dealers’ views. They should not be construed as buy or sell recommendations and investors/traders are advised to exercise their own due diligence before making any trade.
Amazon (NYSE: AMZN)
Share price of the largest e-commerce player by revenue dropped after earnings were announced in August. It dropped by 5.28%, from an opening price of US$3,353.10 to a low of US$3,175.76.
Q2 EPS was US$15.12, 46.79% higher than Q2 2020’s US$10.30. Net income was US$7.8bn, 50% higher than Q2 2020’s US$5.2bn. The increase could be explained by consumers flocking to online shopping while taking shelter at home. But as the pandemic wanes, quarantines will be lifted and consumers will be able to shop more conveniently in malls. This may lead to slower growth in Q3 for Amazon.
Amazon Web Services, which accounts for 54% of the company’s operating income, announced a partnership with Dish Network to build out cloud-based 5G infrastructure. It said it would open data centres in Israel and the UAE. These will enable Amazon to serve end-users in the Middle East, providing room for further growth even if its e-commerce business slows down.
Immediate resistance must be broken for more upside
Sea Limited (NYSE: SE)
Sea is a Singapore-based consumer Internet company that operates Garena, Shopee and SeaMoney. It surged up to a new high of US$344.77, up 23.22% from its month opening of US$279.80. The increase could be largely attributed to the company’s high revenue growth.
Sea reported an adjusted loss per share of 61 cents on revenue of US$2.28bn. Analysts had expected an adjusted loss per share of 49 cents on revenue of US$2.06bn, with a net loss of US$433.7mn, 10.21% more than the US$393.5mn in Q2 2020. Revenue, however, grew to US$2.3bn in Q2, 160% more than the previous year’s US$882mn. The increase in net loss despite higher revenue was due to a 126.6% jump in operating expenses, from US$573.6mn to US$1.3bn. The money was mostly spent on sales and marketing as the company aggressively chased after market share for potentially even higher revenue growth in the near future.
Sea raised its guidance for both digital entertainment and e-commerce. Digital entertainment bookings are expected to be between US$4.5bn and US$4.7bn while e-commerce revenue is expected to be between US$4.7bn and US$4.9bn in 2021. This could cover Sea’s high operating expenses. Based on the guidance, analysts believe that the company will post a final loss in 2021 before a turnaround to profits in 2022.
Status: Bullish market structure
Immediate resistance must be broken for more upside
Vaxart Inc (NASDAQ: VXRT)
Vaxart is an American biotech vaccine developer. It announced that Julie M. Cherrington is joining its board of directors. Julie M. Cherrington is experienced in biological sciences and well-versed in the transfer of drugs from the development process to commercialisation.
Dr. Cherrington is seen as a great asset to Vaxart, which is preparing to start Phase II trials of COVID-19 oral pills. Oral pills hold promise as existing injected vaccines need to be transported using cold chain logistics, which is still lacking in some areas.
Transportation difficulties coupled with the emergence of the more contagious Delta variant and vaccination hesitancy indicate that the pandemic could be around for a while. With the pandemic not subsiding anytime soon, having pills can help countries gain herd immunity, especially in areas with poor accessibility. Vaxart’s lowest trading price during the month was US$7.61 while its highest was US$10.33.
Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD)
AMD, a global company that designs and develops semiconductor devices used in computer processing, went on a bull run for six days after releasing earnings. It hit an all-time high of US$122.49, up 15.62% from its month opening of US$105.93.
Q2 2021 revenue was US$3.85bn, 99% higher than Q2 2020’s US$1.932bn. Net income was US$778mn, 260% higher than Q2 2020’s US$216mn. This led to an EPS of US$0.63, 250% higher than Q2 2020’s US$0.18.
AMD expects 2021 revenue to rise 60% YoY, on the basis that Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) will be using its processors and GPUs for its new Tesla Model S and X vehicles. AMD also shared that more than 40 game developers have pledged to support its FidelityFX Super Resolution.
Ocugen Inc (NASDAQ: OCGN)
Ocugen is a biopharmaceutical company focusing on curing blindness. Its share price touched a month-high of US$9.35 and also a low of US$6.68. The company has partnered Bharat Biotech to create a COVID-19 vaccine called Covaxin.
The development of this vaccine caused an issue for the company . Ocugen had released an announcement in February 2021, which caused a huge spike in its share price to US$18.77. The announcement was subsequently deemed misleading as Ocugen’s application to the FDA had failed to include sufficient data to support an emergency use authorisation. The stock was sold down, which caused investors who suffered losses to file a lawsuit against the company for damages. Its shares are now trading at around US$7. Investors have to ponder whether its share price has factored in the worst.
As of now, Covaxin is under review for emergency use in Canada.
Robinhood Markets (NASDAQ: HOOD)
Robinhood is a US fintech company with 31mn users. It offers commission-free trading and various financial products for investment. Revenue is earned from order flows and premium membership fees.
Robinhood got listed on the Nasdaq on 29 July 2021 at US38. It closed at US$34.82 on its debut, reflecting investors’ hesitance over possible regulatory scrutiny. Share price subsequently went on a bull charge for four days, hitting a high of US$85. This was up 123.7% from its opening price of US$38, possibly due to Ark Invest’s – Cathie Wood – purchase of 3.15mn shares worth US$147.5mn.
Shortly after, its share price fell as the company reported a net loss of US$502mn. It also warned investors that its Q3 results could be affected by a slowdown in trading after a record Q2. Early investors also started to take profits. These included a number of venture capital firms such as Andreessen Horowitz and New Enterprise Associates. Filing to sell up to 97,876,033 shares, they contributed to a 47.86% drop in Robinhood from its month high to a closing price of US$44.32.
QuantumScape (NYSE: QS)
QuantumScape is a battery start-up backed by Bill Gates and Volkswagen. It has a vision to extend battery ranges to support fast charging and lower costs. The stock is trading at around US$21, down from its all-time high of US$114.7.
QuantumScape’s prototype batteries will be delivered in 2022. CEO Jagdeep Singh said the company recently managed to produce a 10-layer battery cell which will help improve battery performance to a level of parity with combustion engines. This breakthrough has given Singh the confidence that the company could commercialise the batteries by 2025.
That said, there is no way investors are able to test the claims, given the secrecy surrounding the battery-development industry. According to an analysis by Seeking Alpha, the batteries were not tested out of the lab and are currently still the size of an iWatch battery. This indicates they are still far from commercialisation, requiring lots of funding for research and development. Which means QuantumScape is unlikely to be profitable in the mid-term.
Once commercialised, Volkswagen will be able to source from QuantumScape the batteries it needs for its electric vehicles. QuantumScape will be able to tap the experience of Bill Gates and Volkswagen to stride towards its goals.
Palantir Technologies (NYSE: PLTR)
Palantir is an American software company specialising in big data analytics. It released its Q2 earnings on 12 August 2021. Revenue grew 49% YoY to US$376mn, beating estimates of US$352.3mn. Twenty net new customers were added, translating to a 13% increase in total customers QoQ.
Palantir expects Q3 revenue to be around US$385mn and annual revenue growth of 30% or more through 2025 . It is reducing its reliance on contracts from the government, by wooing commercial customers through subscription-based data gathering and analytics technologies. This could diversify its revenue streams.
One area that has drawn scrutiny is Palantir’s increased investments in special purpose acquisition companies or SPACs. Palantir is seen as using these vehicles to win business from emerging companies that can benefit from its big data analytics software, in other words acquiring revenue the easy way.
Shortly after its earnings announcement, Cathie Wood’s active funds bought US$139mn worth of Palantir shares. This was on the back of its buoyant sales forecasts. Its share price leapt by 20.22% from its opening price of US$21.91 to close at US$26.34.
Status: Bullish market structure
Immediate resistance has to be broken for more upside
AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE: AMC)
The largest cinema chain in the US, AMC Entertainment, reported better-than-expected Q2 earnings. Revenue of US$444.7mn and a net loss of 71 cents a share beat market expectations of US$382mn and loss per share of US$1.42. AMC reached a high of US$48.30 and a low of US$28.91.
A few other things were also announced by AMC during the month. One was its acceptance of bitcoins in the US by year-end, citing increasing enthusiasm on cryptocurrencies. AMC will also start accepting Apple Pay and Google Pay. However, it did not specify how bitcoins would be used for payment. Additionally, AMC is adding new theaters in three locations: two in LA, two in Chicago and one in Atlanta. This is in preparation for a return to cinemas by movie goers.
AMC traded sharply higher on 24 August 2021, opening at US$37.19 and closing at US$44.26. The reason for the spike was increased discussions on Reddit’s forum and AMC’s trending to social media. This suggests that AMC is still highly driven by speculation and investors have to be wary.
Naked Brand Group (NASDAQ: NAKD)
A meme stock, Naked Brand is an apparel and swimwear company based in Australia. At the beginning of the year, it leveraged its higher share price to sell shares, raising cash to repay debts and acquire businesses. In August, its shares troughed at US$0.50 and peaked at US$0.698, a far cry from its IPO price of US$1.70 in January 2021. This reflected a short squeeze on its stock following a meme-stock rally in January 2021.
Naked Brand has lost no time in acquiring a company, though no details have been revealed. The reason for its rush is its potential delisting from Nasdaq in October 2021. Naked Brand has received notification from Nasdaq “that the minimum bid price for the Company’s ordinary shares was below $1.00 per share for a period of 30 consecutive business days”, which is against its listing rules. If removed, its shares will trade over the counter. The company will have to ensure that its stock is able to trade at least at US$1.00 for a minimum of 10 consecutive days to remain listed.
If management is able to prove that its acquisition can add synergies to the group, this may also save Naked Brand from a delisting. Its Nasdaq fate now appears to hinge on an outcome of the acquisition.
Bloomberg analysts’ recommendations
The table below shows the consensus ratings and average ratings of all analysts updated on Bloomberg in the last 12 months. Consensus ratings have been computed by standardising analysts’ ratings to a scale of 1 (Strong Sell) to 5 (Strong Buy). The table also shows the number of analysts’ recommendations to buy, hold or sell the stocks as well as their average target prices.
|Security||Consensus Rating||BUY||HOLD||SELL||Target Price (US$)|
|Amazon (NYSE: AMZN)||4.96||55(100%)||0(0%)||0(0%)||4156.52|
|Sea Limited (NYSE: SE)||4.85||25(96.2%)||1(3.8%)||0(0%)||360.05|
|Vaxart Inc (NASDAQ: VXRT)||4.5||3(75%)||1(25%)||0(0%)||12.5|
|Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD)||4.05||25(58.1%)||16(37.2%)||2(4.7%)||111.77|
|Ocugen Inc (NASDAQ: OCGN)||3.8||2(40%)||3(60%)||0(0%)||7.28|
|Robinhood Markets (NASDAQ: HOOD)||3.79||7(50%)||6(42.9%)||1(7.1%)||54.08|
|QuantumScape (NYSE: QS)||3.29||2(28.6%)||4(57.1%)||1(14.3%)||36.33|
|Palantir Technologies(NYSE: PLTR)||2.75||2(25%)||3(37.5%)||3(37.5%)||24.67|
|AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE: AMC)||1.89||0(0%)||4(44.4%)||5(55.6%)||5.44|
|Naked Brand Group (NASDAQ: NAKD)||–||–||–||–||–|
To round up
In general, investors are advised to be cautious with meme stocks as they are fundamentally overpriced. Compared to meme stocks, growth stocks such as AMZN.US still have some slack to the Bloomberg analysts’ target prices. Based on the recent Jackson Hole Symposium, monetary policy should not tighten so soon. As such, the interest-rate-sensitive tech sector should continue to grow. Non-farm payroll data came in worse than expected, at 235,000 in September 2021 vs expectations of 720,000. This justifies the Fed’s view that more work has to be done on the employment side before scaling back on monetary policy.
The next major market event is the FOMC meeting on 21-22 September. The meeting may provide better clarity on US monetary policy. Markets are expected to be relatively muted before that.
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-  “”Split over crypto tax threatens to bog down US infrastructure bill.” 6 Aug. 2021, https://www.ft.com/content/6a398ea8-e5d8-4489-bf7c-06932618e45b Accessed 25 Aug. 2021.
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-  “COVID-19 Consumer Healthcare Insights: What 2021 may hold.” 24 Jun. 2021, https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/covid-19-consumer-healthcare-insights-what-2021-may-hold Accessed 2 Sep. 2021.
-  “AMD Reports Second Quarter 2021 Financial Results – Advanced ….” 27 Jul. 2021, https://ir.amd.com/news-events/press-releases/detail/1014/amd-reports-second-quarter-2021-financial-results Accessed 31 Aug. 2021.
-  “Ocugen, Inc. – Schall Law Firm, https://schallfirm.com/cases/ocugen-inc/ Accessed 26 Aug. 2021.
-  “Covid-19: Ocugen says Covaxin under ‘active review’ in Canada.” 7 Aug. 2021, https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/covid19-ocugen-says-covaxin-under-active-review-in-canada-101628328295627.html Accessed 26 Aug. 2021.
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-  “Here’s Why Robinhood Stock Plunged Today | The Motley Fool.” 5 Aug. 2021, , https://www.ft.com/content/f889e461-1a7c-46ec-8cc8-d1b6433e39ee Accessed 28 Aug. 2021.
-  “QuantumScape: Electric vehicles are here, the future is solid.”, https://www.quantumscape.com/ Accessed 27 Aug. 2021.
-  “QuantumScape’s Solid State Batteries Have Significant Technical Hurdles To Overcome” , https://seekingalpha.com/article/4397130-quantumscapes-solid-state-batteries-significant-technical-hurdles-to-overcome/ Accessed 3 Sep. 2021.
-  “Palantir revenue jumps 49% in second quarter – CNBC.” 12 Aug. 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/12/palantir-pltr-q2-2021-earnings.html Accessed 1 Sept. 2021.
-  “Palantir Technologies: Intriguing SPAC Investments – Yahoo Finance.” 1 Sept. 2021, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/palantir-technologies-intriguing-spac-investments-070417739.html Accessed 3 Sept. 2021.
-  “Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest bought $139 million of Palantir stock.” 13 Aug. 2021, , https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/cathie-wood-palantir-stock-purchase-q2-earnings-forecast-ark-invest-2021-08 Accessed 1 Sept. 2021.
-  “AMC Entertainment Will Accept Bitcoin For US Tickets By Year End.” 9 Aug. 2021, , https://deadline.com/2021/08/amc-entertainment-bitcoin-for-u-s-tickets-concessions-by-year-end-ceo-adam-aron-1234811787/ Accessed 26 Aug. 2021.
-  “AMC Adds Several New Theaters This Year, With Most Being ….” 9 Aug. 2021, https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/amc-adds-several-theaters-bulk-214347589.html Accessed 26 Aug. 2021.
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-  “Reddit-fuelled Naked Brand in merger talks – AFR.” , https://www.afr.com/technology/reddit-fuelled-naked-brand-in-merger-talks-20210820-p58kfr Accessed 25 Aug. 2021.
-  “Naked Brand Group Limited Receives NASDAQ Notice of.” 29 Apr. 2021, https://ir.nakedbrands.com/press-releases/detail/141/naked-brand-group-limited-receives-nasdaq-notice-of-minimum Accessed 26 Aug. 2021.
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