Tech Stocks Bouncing Back?

May has been a rough month for tech stocks, even as many companies have posted record earnings. This past month saw a huge selloff in the stock market, particularly in the tech sector. Yesterday was finally a decent day of trading for tech stocks. Today saw prices dip slightly from yesterday, but it’s still an improvement from the past few weeks.

The NASDAQ Composite was down .04% today, but it outperformed the S&P 500 (-0.21%) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.24%). The NASDAQ is up a total of 2.67% for the last 5 days. Looking at graphs showing the past 30 days, it looks like the stock market and tech sector in particular, is ready to bounce back from its May slump. Is it time to buy the dip?

I’ve recently bought some Snowflake Inc. (SNOW), DraftKings (DKNG), GoodRX (GDRX), and Lemonade, Inc. (LMND) and made some small gains. Besides DraftKings, which has been traded since July 25, 2019, all of these companies are within one year of their IPO. I personally believe all four of these companies are recovering from the recent dip in the stock market and poised to make good gains. This is my opinion and not financial advice.

What do these companies do? DraftKings is the premier sports betting app that is only gaining in popularity as professional sports are all officially back now from the Covid-19 hiatus. Snowflake is a cloud-based data platform and offers “an ecosystem that enables customers to consolidate data into a single source of truth to drive meaningful business insights, build data-driven applications, and share data” (Yahoo Finance). Lemonade Inc. is an internet-based insurance company, I personally use them for renters insurance (don’t judge me for renting). GoodRX provides information and tools that enable customers to compare prices and save on their prescription drug purchases.

What’s your thoughts about these four stocks and the tech sector in general? Is it time to buy the dip or wait? Is the stock market starting to bounce back? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Photo by Gilly on Unsplash

Friday’s Weekly Market Wrap Up 5/21/21

This was a rough week for the cryptocurrency market. I wrote about the almost $1 trillion that evaporated from the crypto market in my last post “Crypto Market Meltdown“. This plunge was primarily driven by news that China is cracking down on institutions involved in any cryptocurrency activities. Bitcoin has come crashing down from its all-time high of over $64,000 per coin on April 14th down to around $36,400 as of now. This news came in the wake of Elon Musk criticizing Bitcoin for the energy required to run their blockchain, which was also very damaging to the price of Bitcoin.

On Friday morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook took the witness stand to defend his companies control of their App Store. In case you’re not familiar with the case, Apple is currently involved in an antitrust case where the makers of the popular videogame Fortnite, Epic Games, are arguing that Apple’s practice of charging a 30% commission on app developers that make at least $1 million a year violates antitrust laws. This battle started in August 2020 when Fortnite was removed from the Apple App Store after Epic Games added its own payment option for in-app purchases, which violated Apple’s rules requiring developers to use their purchasing system. Tim Cook emphasized Apple’s public commitment to privacy and data security as key reasons for its tight control over the App Store.

Many investors are increasingly worried about inflation, which has helped cause the recent downturn in the stock market over the past few weeks. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ have had a mixed week full of up and downs, but both ended the week slightly down less than half a percent. Wednesday was a rough day for both the stock market and cryptocurrency market, although the stock market got close to being back to where it started the week. Tech stocks have underperformed the market average, but does this just mean buy the dip?

I recently bought the dip and picked up some tech stocks including Snowflake Inc., Lemonade Inc., GoodRX, and DraftKings Inc. and they all appear to have hit a floor price and are slowly bouncing back, hopefully. These could be a few stocks to keep an eye on. That’s my thoughts and opinions anyways, but this is not financial advice.

The digital artist beeple recently released an amazing picture of two barbarian looking fellows eating around a fire with a giant dead bull in the background entitled, “Crypto Winter”. I feel like this image sums up many investors’ feelings about cryptocurrencies at the moment. I currently have some Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, and Polygon in my crypto portfolio but I don’t plan on adding until the market starts picking back up. I plan on not selling and diamond handing these until they hopefully have another massive bull run like we experienced over the past few months. What’s your thoughts on the current state of the cryptocurrency market? What’s your thoughts on tech stocks and the stock market? Leave me a comment and share your thoughts!

Image by beeple (Twitter @beeple)

Tech Giants Crush Earnings Report Expectations

This was a huge week for giant tech companies including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon just to name a few. They all released their quarterly earnings statements, and they all beat expectations. Many of the companies reported huge double digit growth. A full list of the different companies that reported their earnings this week can be found online.

Amazon (AMZN) for example performed better than expected and just reported a 44% increase in their revenue. The bar was set high for them this year with expectations for their Q1 revenue to be $104.57 billion. Amazon had first-quarter revenues of $75.5 billion last year and they absolutely demolished expectations when they reported $108.5 billion for Q1 this year. Their earnings per share (EPS) are $15.79 versus the $9.69 that was expected.

Alphabet Inc (GOOG), which is Google’s technical corporate name, also reported fantastic numbers. They were expected to have an EPS of $15.82 and they almost doubled it by reporting and EPS of $26.29. Alphabet’s revenue for Q1 was $55.31 billion vs. $51.70 billion expected. Google’s revenue rose 34% from the same period last year. The good financial news caused their stock price to skyrocket overnight from around $2,300 per share up to above $2,400 per share.

Tesla (TSLA) was another company to beat Wall Street expectations this week. Estimates for their EPS were expected to be 0.79 and they actually reported 0.93 this quarter. Tesla’s revenue was $10.39 billion vs. $10.29 billion expected. This is up 74% from a year ago. Unlike Alphabet and Amazon that experienced a sharp rise in their stock price, Tesla has been on a downward slope ever since reporting their earnings.

Some analysts are skeptical about Tesla because they had some other ways of generating revenue besides normal car and solar panel sales. Tesla made a profit of $101 million this quarter from selling some of the Bitcoin it had previously invested in. Tesla also recorded $518 million in revenue from sales of regulatory credits during the period. The company did this while also delivering a record 184,800 Model 3 and Model Y cars.

The tech sector all had an amazing quarter, including Tesla. They beat their record of vehicles delivered in a quarter while making some smart business decisions to generate extra capital. What are your thoughts on Tesla and all the other earnings reports that were released this week? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Photo by Chris Ried on Unsplash

What Exactly is Payment for Order Flow?

Ever since Robinhood was in the news back in January for their involvement in the GameStop controversy, the way brokerage firms get paid has come into question. Popular stockbrokerage companies such as Robinhood, Webull, E*Trade, and TD Ameritrade all utilize a practice that is known as “payment for order flow”. Payment for order flow is the process where the stockbrokers receive payments from the market makers (dealers) for routing trades to them. The brokerage firm is essentially acting as the middleman between you (the retail investor) and the market makers.

Who are the market makers? The bigger market makers are Citadel Securities, Susquehanna, Virtu, Two Sigma and UBS. The SEC defines a “market maker” as a firm that stands ready to buy and sell stock on a regular and continuous basis at a publicly quoted price. Market makers are essentially companies or individuals that buy up large quantities of stocks to sell hoping to make a profit on the bid–ask spread, or turn.

The market makers profit from buying shares for cheap and selling them for more expensive. The brokers on the other hand profit through making the trades actually happen by acting as the wholesaler between retail investors and market makers. The broker basically directs traffic to the market maker that can best fulfill the order. The stockbrokers will generally have prearranged agreements with market makers who will compete for the order flow.

The controversy with the payment for order flow process comes into play here. While the brokers should choose the market maker that will quickly and efficiently fill the order at the lowest market price, this isn’t always the case. An order flow agreement might make brokers direct traffic to a prearranged third-party. The third party compensates the broker for sending traffic their way, often at the expense of the retail investor.

One of the biggest worries with payment for order flow is that the brokerage firms might be routing orders to a particular market maker for their own benefit and not in the best interest of the the investors. Other concerns are that order flow arrangements empower market makers with the additional liquidity to bundle large orders, deal from inventory, and take the opposite sides of trades to buffer exposure risk.

Payment for order flow has been considered revolutionary for retail investors because it has all but eliminated the commissions and fees associated with trading stocks. But some argue that the negative consequences caused by the payment for order flow process outweigh the benefits of not paying commissions and fees. What are your thoughts about payment for order flow? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Photo by Vance Alm

Investing 101: Dividends

What are dividends? A dividend is the distribution of some of a company’s profits or earnings to its shareholders. Dividends are generally paid out on a regularly scheduled basis, this typically happens quarterly. Not all companies pay dividends though so this is something important to look out for in the stocks your choose to invest in.

Companies that pay dividends are usually the larger, more established companies with more predictable profits. These companies are often in the banking, utilities, or oil and gas industries. Because growth is generally slower in these industries compared to the technology or biotech sectors, they use dividends as a way to attract investors. Dividend payments vary in amount from company to company, they can even vary in the same company but they are usually between 1%-5%.

Choosing a dividend stock can be tricky because you want to balance a good dividend yield with a strong company that has a stock price that could still potentially rise in value. Chevron (CVX) is one of the best value dividend stocks because of it has a long history of dividend growth. Chevron currently offers a dividend yield of 5.11%. The pharmaceutical company AbbVie (ABBV) has 8 successive years of dividend growth with a dividend yield of 4.73%. Verizon (VZ) has a dividend yield of 4.38% and it has raised dividends in the past 8 straight years.

What are your thoughts on dividends? Do they help influence you to choose a certain stock to invest in? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on dividends. Don’t forget to follow my blog so you can stay up to date on the latest investing news.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Cryptocurrency Crash

At 8:30pm Pacific time on Saturday night, the entire cryptocurrency market crashed. Bitcoin (BTC) for example was trading around $61,000-$63,000 the past week, and it dropped by $10,000 per coin to a price of $51,300. This is the lowest price Bitcoin has been at since February. At the same time, Ethereum (ETH) was trading around $2,400-$2,500 this past week and it dropped down to $2,000 at the same time Bitcoin dipped.

Other cryptocurrencies like Cardano (ADA) and Litecoin (LTC) all experienced the same drop in their prices. This left everyone asking why? What caused the crypto market to crash? There are numerous rumors floating around the internet as to what triggered the price of the entire cryptocurrency market to plummet.

The leading answer to this crypto market dip is reports of the US Treasury cracking down on financial institutions for money laundering involving digital assets and cryptocurrencies. I have not seen any hard facts about this, such as which financial institutions were involved, but if the stories are true, that would be a huge step backwards in the movement trying to establish cryptos like Bitcoin as a legitimate form of currency. The drop in cryptocurrency prices has also been linked to a massive blackout in China’s Xinjiang region, which allegedly powers a lot of Bitcoin mining. Bitcoin mining is how the blockchain network operates and how new Bitcoins are entered into circulation. Another factor causing fears is India’s announcement that they were banning cryptocurrencies.

I personally find it suspicious that the cryptocurrency market simultaneously bottomed out at 8:30pm Saturday night. I personally think some financial institutions or big hedge funds were involved in the massive sell-off, driving the price down. This would make sense if they were under investigation and feared news of that would lower crypto prices. Realistically, it was probably a perfect storm and the combination of all of the above. And on top of that, Bitcoin and Ethereum are both coming off of record setting weeks where they hit their highest prices ever so it’s natural that they experience a dip back down.

That’s my thoughts on what caused the crypto crash. Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Don’t forget to follow my blog to stay up to date on the latest news in the investing world.

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

Friday’s Bull Market Wrap Up

To say we’re in a bull market is an understatement. The Dow Jones and the S&P 500 both finished the week at record numbers. The S&P 500 made history last week when it surpassed 4,000 for the first time in history and it hasn’t looked back since. On Friday, the S&P 500 closed at a record setting 4,128.80 and the Dow Jones closed at a record 33,800.60.

This record setting week is most likely in response to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reassuring investors the central bank won’t raise interest rates, President Biden’s infrastructure plan, and excitement about the first-quarter earnings season starting next week. Analysts expect S&P 500 firms to report their highest earnings growth in more than a decade. Recently, there has been worries about treasury bond rates rising but Mr. Powell has been working diligently to reassure the public that there won’t be any major policy shifts while unemployment is high. Mr. Powell reiterated that the Fed was looking for “actual progress” rather than “forecasts” for progress toward employment and inflation goals.

Giant names like Apple, Amazon, and Tesla have been leading the growth in the stock market. Blue-chip stocks like Microsoft (MSFT), Alphabet (GOOGL) and Facebook (FB) each recorded intraday and closing highs on Thursday. While tech stocks have done outstanding, other sectors have not had the same success. Crude oil and gold are both down along with a number of cyclical and value names.

There has been speculation about how long this bull market will last but it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. With the market flying high, are you jumping on the bandwagon and buying in or are you waiting on the sidelines for a dip? Leave me a comment on what strategy you’re taking and what companies you’re investing in during this bull market.

Photo by Alec Favale on Unsplash

Stocks Versus ETFs: Which is Better to Invest In?

Well first off, what is an ETF? ETF stands for exchange traded fund and they are assets typically comprised of stocks from multiple companies bundled together. ETFs can also be made up of commodities, bonds, or a mixture of investment types. ETFs are traded on exchanges just like stocks are. The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index, or S&P 500, by far the most famous ETF. The S&P 500 represents the 500 largest companies and is often used as a measure for how the U.S. economy is doing.

What is the best ETF? There is no right answer for that. There are numerous different types of ETFs that you could potentially invest in such as bond (might include government, corporate, or state bonds), industry (track a particular industry such as technology, banking, or the oil sector.), commodity (gold, oil, etc.), and currency (Euro, Yen, etc.) ETFs. There are even inverse ETFs comprised of stocks you’re shorting.

So what exactly is a stock? Stocks are shares of a publicly traded company that people can buy and sell on exchanges like the NYSE and Nasdaq. Companies that want to sell stocks go through an IPO process where they are valuated and establish a number of shares they want to allow the public to purchase. Once a target IPO price is established and they can start being traded, then it’s up to the supply and demand of shares that drives stock prices up or down.

Now that we’ve clarified exactly what the difference is between the two, which is better? That depends on your strategy. Purchasing stocks gives you the opportunity to focus on the companies that stand out within their given industries or that you feel are undervalued. ETFs are good for the longer term and a good way to diversify your portfolio because they can give you access to many stocks across various industries.

I currently don’t have any ETFs in my portfolio but I am going to start researching them more. I’ve been keeping an eye on ARKK and ARKF, both are popular tech ETFs managed by famous investor Cathie Wood. What are your thoughts on ETFs vs. stocks? Leave me a comment and let me know. Follow my Twitter @VanceAlm where I’m constantly posting articles and blogs about news in the financial word.

Photo by Patrick Weissenberger on Unsplash