This should be a big week for economic data, with minutes from the last Federal Open Market Committee meeting due tomorrow, weekly initial jobless claims and the Treasury budget to be released on Thursday, and the March Producer Price Index and University of Michigan consumer sentiment reading out on Friday. Today, however, the broad-based S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) wandered around like a lost puppy.
The past three days have been absolutely abysmal for the S&P 500, which sustained its worst losing streak in nearly three months. On the minds of investors is whether companies can continue to grow at a sufficiently strong rate to counter the impact of reduced quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve. Earnings guidance early in the second quarter could tell the tale, but the past couple days of trading made it clear investors aren't convinced that everything is peachy.
Today's trading appears to have highlighted nothing more than a modest rebound after multiple days of selling, with the S&P 500 advancing 6.92 points (0.38%) to close at 1,851.96, ending its three-day losing streak.
Leading the charge to the upside is the so-called "Craigslist of China," 58.com (NYSE:WUBA), which rose 14.9% after a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that Tiger Global Management had increased its stake in the company. According to its latest filing, Tiger Global Management now owns 2.52 million shares, equating to 6.5% of all outstanding stock, a 300,000-share increase from its last holdings update. The China-based online marketplace is already profitable and set to grow by 65% in 2014 and 45% in 2015, so it's showing little signs of lost momentum. Despite a forward P/E of 42, I suspect there could be additional upside to this stock.
Cloud-based security and storage solutions provider Barracuda Networks (NYSE:CUDA) jumped 11.4% after saying in a press release this morning that it had "ranked number one in integrated purpose built backup appliance units shipped worldwide with 53.5% market share for 2013." The press release also noted that the company finished the fourth quarter with a 53.7% market share, implying that its momentum is only growing. As data centers expand and storage security becomes a primary concern of businesses, it's quite possible Barracuda's top line could maintain low double-digit growth for the foreseeable future. However, with the company only marginally profitable, I would consider passing it up for more lucrative investment opportunities.
Lastly, and returning to China-based retailers, online retailing giant Vipshop Holdings (NYSE:VIPS) rose 11.1% after receiving an upgrade from Credit Suisse. Before the opening bell, Credit Suisse upgraded Vipshop to outperform from neutral and bumped up its price target by more than 20%, from $145 to $178. The financial services company said it expects cosmetics and baby products to drive growth at Vipshop. Similar to 58.com, there's a lot of growth potential here with China's middle-class looking to spend, but we also have to consider that Vipshop has more than quintupled over the past year, so its hypergrowth may already be baked into the share price.
Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
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