Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
As we head for the back end of earnings season and prepare for the holiday shopping season to begin, investors seem a little wary of what may lie ahead. St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard this morning indicated that his taper plan is rather modest, and many now believe we will not see the Fed's $85 billion monthly bond-buying program slow down until next year. While that's good for stocks, it may not be the best news for business, as it indicates that the economy is not that strong yet. Therefore, as of 1:10 p.m. EST, the major indexes are flat: The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is down seven points, or 0.04%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have risen 0.13% each.
Shares of Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) are up more than 6% this afternoon after a Deutsche Bank analyst recommended using the stock's recent 20% decline as a buying opportunity. Deutsche has a buy rating on Groupon with a $17 price target. While I regularly argue that investors should wait for pullbacks before buying, I would disagree that today is the best time to acquire the stock. With the company scheduled to report third-quarter results on Thursday, investors would be better off waiting to see how Groupon is performing before jumping into the stock.
Shares of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) are also rallying today, up almost 6% just before tomorrow's earnings report. The stock had been a highflier over the past year. Shares are up 414% over the past 52 weeks, but October was a rough month as investors began taking money off the table and the stock shed 10% of its value. Today's move doesn't seem to have a origin other than positive feelings headed into tomorrow's report; as I mentioned above, it can be dangerous simply to jump into a stock blindfolded and hope for things to turn in your favor.
Lastly, shares of Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) are down 1.5% today, perhaps because hedge fund Pershing Square released its performance numbers for October today, and Reuters reported that two inside sources have confirmed that Pershing chief CEO Bill Ackman is planning to make a new Herbalife presentation later this month. Ackman nearly a year ago first gave his PowerPoint presentation on Herbalife, explaining why he had built a short position of nearly $1 billion betting against the company. Over the past 52 weeks the stock is up more than 30%, causing Ackman's fund to report unrealized losses in the millions. While it's fun to follow the story, investors shouldn't follow big hedge-fund managers into a position blindly; in the Herbalife case, there are a number of differing opinions and big names like Carl Ichan on the other side of Ackman's trade.