Whoa! What Just Happened With My Stock?

While the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) jumped almost 1% yesterday, rising 86 points to cross the 13,000 level again -- a seesaw action it's been engaged in since the re-election of President Obama -- some stocks managed to do even better than that, rising by double-digit percentages.

Where Dow component Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) surged almost 6% on news that Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) will slash 11,000 jobs -- fulfilling my former boss's edict that "it's not so much that I succeed but that you should fail" -- the companies were able to put on an even better show for reasons that seem more grounded than the apparent demise of a competitor.

Company

Gain

McMoRan Exploration (NYSE: MMR  )

87.0%

OCZ Technology (NASDAQ: OCZ  )

12.8%

Nokia (NYSE: NOK  )

12.8%

Yet resist the urge to high-five everyone in the cubicles next to you. Smart investors won't celebrate until they know why their stock surged, because without a fundamental basis for the bounce, these stocks could just as quickly make the return trip down.

Hitting a gusher
Ultra-deep-sea oil driller McMoRan Exploration rocketed higher yesterday on the news that gold and copper miner Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE: FCX  ) was returning to its roots -- and returning McMoRan to the fold -- by making a $9 billion bid for the driller and its co-owner Plains Exploration & Production (UNKNOWN: PXP.DL2  ) .

Freeport had spun out McMoRan back in the 1990s when it sought to focus its efforts on digging up precious metals. But with copper becoming a more difficult commodity to mine, it's decided to diversify its operations by going back to what it knows: oil. Plains gives it rich onshore assets its Texas, California, and Louisiana, while McMoRan sits atop a huge oilfield discovery in the Gulf of Mexico and could prove a lucrative bet -- if its ability to reach the ultra-deep reserves proves accurate.

While Freeport investors didn't much like the move, dropping its stock 16%, since they had bought a miner not a driller, McMoRan investors are enjoying a premium to the bid price perhaps in hopes that an even better offer may be forthcoming.

The wizard of OCZ
There was no news per se to trigger the rise in OCZ Technology's stock, but drive makers in general were higher with Seagate Technology (NASDAQ: STX  ) up 4% and Western Digital (NASDAQ: WDC  ) up 7%.

OCZ did announce SED International (UNKNOWN: SED.DL  ) would be distributing its full line of drives in Latin America, which mirrors Seagate's expansion in Brazil by offering cloud-based technology through its Evault subsidiary. Earlier OCZ also got some positive reviews for its new Vector SSD.

There's still the persistent hope that Seagate will eventually buy OCZ, and with its short interest ratio rising to 10 days to cover, the positive developments may have led some shorts to start covering the positions. Let me know in the comments box below if you think the move higher for the drive maker will be sustained.

Orient express
I've noted before that with the introduction of Nokia's well-received Lumia 920, wireless carriers such as Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) , Sprint (NYSE: S  ) , and AT&T (NYSE: T  ) are willing to support it in an effort to break the leverage held by Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Android platform. Apparently China wants to get in on the act too.

Nokia landed a huge deal with China Mobile (NYSE: CHL  ) , one of the biggest carriers in the world, allowing it to thumb its nose at the iPhone. While it's going to carry a hefty price tag in China ($740 without a license), China Mobile may very well kick in a subsidy to bring it down to more reasonable levels.

I've been betting against Nokia on Motley Fool CAPS, the 180,000-member investor community where informed opinion is translated into stock ratings of one to five stars. Nokia carries a low two-star rating, suggesting others were as doubtful as I was that it could make the turnaround, but I'd have to say this new China Mobile deal, along with the prospects of its Lumia line gaining traction, leads me to close out that underperform rating. Let me know below why you think I should have pulled the plug on it sooner.

Whoa, Nelly!
Nokia's been struggling in a world of Apple and Android smartphone dominance. However, the company has banked its future on its next generation of Windows smartphones. Motley Fool analyst Charly Travers has created a new premium report that digs into both the opportunities and risks facing Nokia to help investors decide if the company is a buy or sell. To get started, simply click here now.


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  • Report this Comment On December 06, 2012, at 9:48 PM, SUPERMANSTOCKS wrote:

    Ok now that Brandon has covered it all. I think Mr Rich, the author of this article, has been thinking the wrong way all along. Now Mr. Rich you missed the bottom and like all of Wall Street you just on the wagon way too late. However we're all glad you woke up finally!

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