Whoa! My Stock Just Rocketed Higher!

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Inching closer as we are to an agreement that will avert the fiscal cliff disaster, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had its second consecutive day closing higher by 100 or more points yesterday. With seeming agreement over raising taxes on the so-called rich (a fluid term that now seems to be those making more than $400,000 -- though House Speaker John Boehner has a "Plan B" to raise taxes on those making $1 million or more if all else fails) but still without any guarantees of spending cuts, the markets are buoyant from the belief that something will be done before the end of the year.

Naturally, Bank of America was the beneficiary once again, jumping over 3% on the day, but several industrial giants, including United Technologies and Caterpillar, were higher as well as the potential for settling an uncertain tax situation, even if it meant higher taxes, apparently boded well for increased industrial demand.

While I'm skeptical of the rationale, the three stocks below managed to far outpace the Dow or its components, surging higher by double-digit percentages. Resist the urge to high-five everyone in the cubicles next to you, however. 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.



Youku Tudou (UNKNOWN: YOKU.DL  )


Maxwell Technologies (NASDAQ: MXWL  )




On a roll
China's version of Google's YouTube jumped yesterday after analysts weighed in on Youku Tudou and raised their price target to $21, a 23% premium to where it was trading beforehand. Of course, Morgan Stanley had also previously raised its target price to $21 a few days prior, back when it was trading below $16 a share, so the video-sharing site has covered a lot of that ground. Indeed, the stock has risen 40% from the 52-week low it hit on Dec. 7, though it still sits a nearly similarly percentage below the highs it reached back in March.

Its decline began when it made the acquisition of Tudou for $1.1 billion, a big bite that may still cause it indigestion down the road. While the purchase gave it a substantial lead on, profits remain scarce and will remain so for the foreseeable future. I'm unconvinced the vaunted synergies it heralded will materialize, so I believe the gains it's made on the backs of improving analyst sentiment will eventually fade.

Getting a charge out of batteries
Shares of energy storage specialist Maxwell Technologies didn't have the benefit of rising analyst sentiment to boost its shares yesterday. Actually, there was no discernable reason it jumped almost 13% yesterday, though with its short interest ratio having risen to over 15 days to cover in the last reporting period, the initial bounce may have fed into short-sellers covering their position.

Yet battery makers in general have been enjoying rising share prices over the past few days, with lead-acid battery maker Exide Technologies (NASDAQOTH: XIDEQ  ) , which recently became a partner with Maxwell to develop storage technology for electric vehicles, witnessing a 9% bounce in its stock over the past week. Johnson Controls, which is in court trying to acquire the assets of bankrupt EV battery maker A123 Systems, has seen its stock move 4% higher over the past two days.

Maxwell's move suggests investors may be getting more interested in what's coming out of storage technology in the near future.

The middle path
Perhaps because its stun guns are a less-than-lethal weapon, TASER (NASDAQ: TASR  ) bucked the trend weighing down gun makers Smith & Wesson Holding and Sturm, Ruger in the wake of the Connecticut shooting tragedy.

As yet another mass school shooting unfolds, the need for an armed presence in schools to deter and protect children becomes more apparent, and the Taser may be an acceptable alternative for districts with zero-tolerance gun policies. While the stun gun itself comes with a lot of baggage over misuse and some high-profile deaths after it's been deployed, Taser may see a spike in sales as schools move to arm their resource officers.

The fate of the gun makers and weapons in general won't be ending anytime soon, but Taser might offer a middle ground that many would find acceptable.

Johnson Controls is a big-league provider of parts and services to companies like Ford and Toyota and is very well-positioned to grow with China's economy. The company is perhaps best known among investors as a maker of batteries for cars, including the lithium-ion battery packs used in electric cars and the most advanced hybrids. This space has gathered a lot of investor interest, but is JCI the best way to play it? The Motley Fool answers this question and more in our most in-depth Johnson Controls research available for smart investors like you. Thousands have already claimed their own premium ticker coverage, and you can gain instant access to your own by clicking here now.

Read/Post Comments (2) | Recommend This Article (1)

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  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2012, at 2:00 PM, Straightener wrote:

    "...Exide Technologies (NASDAQ: XIDE ) , which recently became a partner with Maxwell to develop storage technology for electric vehicles..."

    Not true. The technology you refer to is a combination ultracapacitor and lead-acid battery designed for micro-hybrid cars. It has nothing to do with electric cars. Micro-hybrid cars are standard internal combustion cars which employ stop-start systems to prevent car idling. Stopping and starting the car many times a day will wear out a battery, and this new technology prevents that by starting with an ultracapacitor and using the battery for hotel loads.

  • Report this Comment On December 20, 2012, at 5:16 AM, rsinj wrote:

    Re: Maxwell

    My personal belief is that the move was the result of the culmination of a number of technical factors.

    1. The stock has been hammered and continually quashed for the past 6 months.

    2. In the face of nothing but a stream of good news from the company, the known shorting continued.

    3. On Tuesday the entire market was up. As indicated in the article, combined with the large short position, this triggered some covering, causing the price rise, and more covering, etc.

    4. We have December options expiration this week and the stock was trading just slightly below the $7.50 strike.

    5. Stock price movement seasonality. Look at the 5 year chart. During the final two weeks of every year there has been an upward movement.

    I think that some or all these technical factors contributed to the movement which occured over the past two days. As noted, there was no fundamental change which took place - the benefits of Maxwell's technology and recent joint venture are both well-known, so I don't think it has anything to do with investors waking up Tuesday morning saying "Hey, you know, Maxwell has this really great joint venture with Exide for hybrids - I'm buying today".

    I suspect that we may continue to see some volatility in the share price over the next week due to the above technical points combined with end of year tax selling/positioning.

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