Tag Archives: JPM

Short Sellers Cut and Run From Major Banks

The financial sector was a major part of the Great Recession, and it has been a major part of the recovery and raging bull market since then. Generally speaking, the major financial institutions in the United States are a good barometer of the current state of U.S. markets.

So when short sellers make a play against these major banks, they are effectively betting for a downturn. Conversely, when they back off they might be expecting a surge. Granted, some plays are directly against individual companies, like we saw with Wells Fargo early in 2017.

The April 30 short interest data have been compared with the previous figures, and short interest in most of these selected big bank stocks decreased.

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) saw its short interest decrease to 121.00 million shares. The previous level was 123.19 million. Shares were last seen trading at $30.90, in a 52-week range of $22.07 to $33.05.

The number of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) shares short fell to 22.84 million from the previous level of 24.65 million. Shares recently traded at $113.65, in a 52-week range of $81.64 to $119.33.

Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) short interest decreased to 18.31 million from the previous level of 22.40 million. Shares were trading at $72.40, in a 52-week range of $59.10 to $80.70.

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) short interest rose to 31.18 million shares from the previous reading of 29.85 million. Shares were trading at $54.05, within a 52-week range of $49.27 to $66.31.

Short interest in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) decreased to 5.71 million shares from the previous 6.08 million. The stock recently traded at $242.25, within a 52-week range of $209.62 to $275.31.

Morgan Stanley’s (NYSE: MS) short interest for this settlement date increased to 11.34 million shares from the previous 9.67 million. Shares were changing hands at $54.50, in a 52-week range of $40.43 to $59.38.

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Investor Movement Index April Summary

This article was originally published on TD Ameritrade's IMX page.

Monthly Summary

The IMX moved lower for the fourth month in a row, ending the period down 8.24 percent at 4.79.

The April IMX period started out with volatility in equity markets, and the IMX took another dip lower. Continuing their behavior for the past year, TD Ameritrade clients were net buyers during the period. However, many widely held positions saw their volatility relative to the overall equity market decrease once again, causing a decrease in the overall IMX score. Volatility of the S&P 500, as measured by the Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, averaged over 20 for the first five days of April before subsiding near the end of the period.

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April began with equity market volatility, and all three major equity indices moved lower during the first five business days of the month. The S&P 500 traded lower by 2.2 percent during the first day of April, its worst start ever to a second quarter. Markets rebounded during the last three weeks for the period, with the S&P 500 ending the period up 1.10 percent. The NASDAQ Composite Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average also increased during the period, up 0.80 percent and 0.86 percent, respectively. Market volatility was in part driven by global economic concerns following the Trump administration's proposed tariffs on $50 billion of goods from China. Following the market selloff early in the period, the S&P 500 traded at the lowest price-to-earnings ratio in nearly two years compared to expected earnings over the next 12 months, although the metric is still higher than historical averages. Later in the period, geopolitical tensions in Asia seemed to ease and some solid corporate earnings helped push equity markets higher.

Trading

TD Ameritrade clients were net buyers during the April period, buying some volatile names during earnings season. Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) was net bought for the third month in a row. The company reported better-than-expected earnings during the month, but traded lower after reports it may purchase a movie theatre chain. For the first time in 2018, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) was net bought as the company traded lower following an earnings miss due to cord-cutting increases. Spotify Technology SA (NYSE: SPOT) was also a net buy following the company's IPO early in the period. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD), which has seen volatility recently and posted an earnings beat, was net bought. For the fifth month in a row, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) was net bought. The company traded higher during the period on the back of an earnings beat and analyst upgrades. Square Inc. (NYSE: SQ), which was off approximately 20 percent from recent highs as the company announced an acquisition of another online company, Weebly, was also a net buy.

Additional popular names bought include General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA), and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM).

TD Ameritrade clients appeared to take some profits in multiple names during the period. Oil companies were popular sells with ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), BP  PLC (ADR) (NYSE: BP), National-Oilwell Varco Inc. (NYSE: NOV), and Transocean LTD (NYSE: RIG) all net sold. Oil prices traded near three-year highs on higher global demand and possible OPEC-led production cuts. COP and BP both traded at multi-year highs, while NOV and RIG reached 52-week highs, enticing clients to take profits in all four names. Alcoa Corp. (NYSE: AA) traded at levels not seen since before the financial crisis following proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, and was net sold. For the third month in a row, Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) was net sold after CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress regarding the misuse of user data and a beat on earnings.

Additional names sold include Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX), Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG), and Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR).

Inclusion of specific security names in this commentary does not constitute a recommendation from TD Ameritrade to buy, sell, or hold.

Historical Overview

TD Ameritrade's Investor Movement Index (IMX) has generally correlated with the S&P 500 as clients react to equity price movements, but the index has gone through uncorrelated periods. Beginning in January 2010, when TD Ameritrade started tracking the IMX, the index rose with equity markets until April 2010, when it peaked at 5.40. In May 2010 investors experienced the "Flash Crash" and the IMX began a sharp downward trend. The IMX didn't reach 5.00 again until the S&P 500 was well above April 2010 levels.

The index eventually peaked at 5.56 in June 2011. This peak was immediately followed by a plunge in equity markets, and in the IMX, as the media was dominated by the U.S. debt ceiling debate, S&P downgrade of U.S. debt, and European debt concerns. The S&P 500 began to recover in the fall of 2011, but the IMX continued to decline until it reached a new low at the time in January 2012. As the S&P 500 began to sustain an upward trend in early 2012, the IMX started to rise. In 2013, as economic conditions improved and the S&P 500 climbed to record levels, the IMX rose to the high end of its historical range, finishing 2013 at 5.62, and continued to rise in 2014 amid geopolitical tensions related to Ukraine and the Middle East, until seeing slight declines in October and November.

By the middle of 2015, the IMX had seen increases, as equity market volatility had reduced to near historical levels while the market continued its upward trend. As 2015 ended its third quarter, volatility had returned to markets as global economic concerns and speculation around the timing and trajectory of Federal Reserve rate increases seemed to rattle overall equity markets. This uncertainty continued to play a role in the equity markets through the fourth quarter of 2015 and into early 2016. The volatility accompanying this uncertainty abated in the second quarter of 2016 and remained low until late in the third quarter. Just as it had in 2015, the IMX saw increases mid-year during the period of lower volatility. The IMX continued to climb into the fourth quarter reaching 5.83 in October 2016, its highest point in two years. A brief spike in volatility during November, timed around the U.S. presidential election, coincided with a slight pull back in the IMX, which then ended 2016 at the high end of its historical range.

The IMX started 2017 with an upward trend and reaching an all-time high in March, before pausing in April as lower volatility led to a decrease in the IMX. The momentum resumed in May, with the IMX breaching 7.0 for the first time ever in July of 2017. The IMX took another brief pause in September, before following markets higher and breaching 8.0 for the first time ever in November and ending 2017 at an all-time high. Volatility returned to the markets in early 2018, and the IMX decreased for three consecutive months to start the year.

Information from TDA is not intended to be investment advice or construed as a recommendation or endorsement of any particular investment or investment strategy, and is for illustrative purposes only. Be sure to understand all risks involved with each strategy, including commission costs, before attempting to place any trade.

Stocks Brace for Impact With Looming Jobs Report

Stocks rebounded strongly on Thursday following Wednesday’s slump, and it looks like the trend will continue at the sound of the opening bell today, with the S&P 500 up 0.31%, Nasdaq Composite up 0.18% and Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.31% in pre-market trading.

This all comes thanks to diminishing fears on trade, the Mueller investigation and the likelihood of an air strike against Syria by President Trump.

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Financial stocks led the way ahead of the start of the Q1 earnings season on Friday, with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) up 3.1%.

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Asset management titan BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) gained 1.5% on better-than-expected earnings and revenues, raising hopes for the big bank groups when they report.

Crude oil continues to be strong on tensions in the Middle East and evidence of building inflationary pressures. Investors are bracing for a possible production slowdown should U.S. and allied forces hit Syria for an alleged chemical weapons attack. Yesterday, Trump tweeted that the attack could “be very soon or not so soon at all!” In an apparent attempt to regain the element of surprise.

USO stockinvestorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/uso12-300×183.png 300w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/uso12-200×122.png 200w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/uso12-400×245.png 400w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/uso12-116×71.png 116w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/uso12-100×61.png 100w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/uso12-82×50.png 82w, investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/uso12-78×48.png 78w” sizes=”(max-width: 520px) 100vw, 520px” />

That boosted the United States Oil Fund LP (ETF) (NYSEARCA:USO) 0.5% to a new high.

Looking ahead, Friday will feature another speech by Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell. Watch for confirmation of the firming inflation bias, raising the odds of another three quarter-point rate hikes this year. Moreover, we will have a job openings data update and the start of the earnings reporting season.

Check out Serge Berger’s Trade of the Day for April 13.

Today’s Trading Landscape

To see a list of the companies reporting earnings today, click here.

For a list of this week’s economic reports due out, click here.

Tell us what you think about this article! Drop us an email at editor@investorplace.com, chat with us on Twitter at @InvestorPlace or comment on the post on Facebook. Read more about our comments policy here.

Anthony Mirhaydari is founder of the Edge (ETFs) and Edge Pro (Options) investment advisory newsletters. Free two- and four-week trial offers have been extended to InvestorPlace readers.

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The 10 Best Stocks to Invest In Right Now

It’s a different market than it was at the end of January. Volatility has returned, even if it remains modest relative to historical levels. Big names like Procter & Gamble Co (NYSE:PG) and Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT), among others, have seen precipitous share price declines after record highs.

It’s a choppier, more cautious, environment. That’s not a bad thing, however. After a basically uninterrupted post-election rally, several stocks have seen pullbacks that provide more attractive entry points. Others simply haven’t received their due credit from the market.

While there might be reasons for caution overall — higher interest rates, trade war concerns — more opportunities exist as well.

This more and more looks like a “stockpicker’s market.” For those stockpickers, here are 10 stocks to buy that look particularly attractive at the moment.

Editor’s Note: This story originally ran on March 15, 2018

10 Best Stocks to Invest In Right Now: Exxon Mobil xom stock Source: Shutterstock

I’m as surprised as anyone that Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) makes this list. I’ve long been skeptical toward XOM. The internal hedge between upstream and downstream operations makes Exxon stock a surprisingly poor play on higher oil prices. Overall, it leads XOM to stay relatively rangebound — as it has been for basically a decade now.

But price matters. And XOM is at its lowest levels in more than two years after a steady decline since late January. With the dividend over 4% and a 16x forward P/E multiple, Exxon Mobil stock looks like a value play. Meanwhile, management is forecasting that earnings can double by 2025, adding a modest growth component to the story.

Obviously, there’s a risk that Exxon management is being too optimistic. Years of underperformance relative to peers like Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and even BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) has eroded the market’s confidence. If Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) can lead a true electric car revolution, that, too, could impact demand and pricing going forward.

At current levels, however, the market is pricing in close to zero chance of Exxon hitting its targets. And that’s why XOM is attractive right now. A continuation of the status quo still gives investors 4%+ income annually. Any improvements in production, or pricing, provide upside. At a two-year low, Exxon doesn’t have to be perfect to see upside in XOM stock.

10 Best Stocks to Invest In Right Now: Nathan’s Famous Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest 2017 Source: Flickr

In this market, recommending a restaurant owner — let alone a hot dog restaurant owner — might seem silly at best. But there’s a strong bull case for Nathan’s Famous, Inc. (NASDAQ:NATH) at the moment.

NATH, too, has seen a sharp pullback of late. The stock touched a 52-week (and all-time) high just over $100 in November. It’s since come down about 25%, though roughly one-sixth of the decline can be attributed to a $5 per share special dividend paid in December.

Yet the story hasn’t really changed all that much. Fiscal Q3 earnings in February were solid. The company’s agreement with John Morrell, who manufactures Nathan’s product for retail sale and Sam’s Club operations, offers huge margins, while revenue continues to grow. Foodservice sales similarly are increasing.

The restaurant business has been choppier. But it remains profitable. The mostly-franchised model there is similar to those of Domino’s Pizza, Inc. (NYSE:DPZ) and Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), among others, all of whom are getting well above-market multiples.

All told, Nathan’s has an attractive licensing model, which leverages revenue growth across the operating businesses. And yet, at 13x EV/EBITDA, and 20x P/FCF, the stock trades at a significant discount to peers. NATH has stabilized over the past few weeks, and Q4 earnings in June could be a catalyst for upside. Investors would do well to buy NATH ahead of that report.

10 Best Stocks to Invest In Right Now: Bank of America 3 Reasons BAC Stock Has More Upside Source: Shutterstock

Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) trades at its highest levels since the financial crisis, and has gained over 150% from July 2016 lows. Trading has been a bit choppier of late — no surprise for a macro-sensitive stock in this market — and there’s a case, perhaps, to wait for a better entry point.

But I’ve liked BAC stock for some time now, and as I wrote last month I don’t see any reason to back off yet. Earnings growth should be solid for the foreseeable future, given rising Fed rates and a strong economy.

BofA itself has executed nicely over the past few years. The company’s credit profile is solid and its stock has outperformed other big banks like Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) and even JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM). And tax reform and easing capital restrictions mean a big dividend hike could be on the way as well.

And despite the big run, it’s not as if BAC is expensive. The stock still trades at less than 11x 2019 EPS estimates. Unless the economy turns south quickly, that seems too cheap. So it looks like the big run in Bank of America stock isn’t over yet.

10 Best Stocks to Invest In Right Now: Nutrisystem Source: Nutrisystem

Nutrisystem Inc. (NASDAQ:NTRI) is another candidate to buy on a pullback. In a disappointing Q4 earnings release at the end of February, Nutrisystem disclosed a rough start to 2018. The beginning of the year is known as “diet season”, a key period for companies like Nutrisystem and  Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE:WTW), as many customers look to act on New Year’s Resolutions.

But marketing missteps led to poor results from Nutrisystem. 2018 guidance now implies basically zero revenue growth — after analysts had projected a 13% increase for the full year.

Still, Nutrisystem is now priced almost as if growth is coming to an end for good. And I as argued at the time, that’s just too pessimistic. The average Street target price still is well above $40, implying over 30% upside. NTRI now trades at under 14x the midpoint of 2018 EPS guidance, and yields 3.5%.

The valuation implies that Nutrisystem management is wrong — that 2018’s deceleration is a permanent change. If Nutrisystem management is right — and they’ve earned some credibility in leading revenue and profit to soar over the past few years — then $29 is a far too cheap price for NTRI.

10 Best Stocks to Invest In Right Now: Roku Why There's a Lot of Volatility Coming for ROKU Stock Source: Shutterstock

Roku Inc (NASDAQ:ROKU) undoubtedly is the riskiest stock on this list. And there certainly is a case for caution. The company remains unprofitable on even an Adjusted EBITDA basis. A ~7x EV/revenue multiple isn’t cheap; it’s even higher considering that almost half of 2018 revenue will come from the player business, which is a ‘loss leader’ for advertising and platform revenue.

But management also detailed a really interesting future on the Q4 call. The company is looking to build a true content ecosystem — and from a subscriber standpoint, already has surpassed Charter Communications Inc (NASDAQ:CHTR) and trails only AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA).

Again, this is a high-risk play — but it’s also a high-reward opportunity. Margins in the platform segment are very attractive, and should allow Roku to turn profitable relatively quickly. International markets remain largely untapped. There’s a case for waiting for a better entry point, or selling puts. But I like ROKU at these levels for the growth/high-risk portion of an investor’s portfolio.

10 Best Stocks to Invest In Right Now: Brunswick Source: Shutterstock

Brunswick Corporation (NYSE:BC) is due for a breakout. The boat, engine, and fitness equipment manufacturer is nearing resistance around $63 that’s held for close to a year now. Despite a boating sector that has roared of late, BC — the industry leader — has been mostly left out.

Over the last year, smaller manufacturers Marine Products Corp. (NYSE:MPX), Malibu Boats Inc (NASDAQ:MBUU), and MCBC Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:MCFT) have gained 51%, 71%, and 68%, respectively. BC, in contrast, has gained less than 2%. It actually trades at a discount to MBUU and MCFT — despite its leadership position and strong earnings growth of late.

Efforts to build out a fitness business have had mixed results, and may support some of the market’s skepticism toward the stock. But Brunswick now is spinning that business off, returning to be a boating pure-play.

Cyclical risk is worth noting, and there are questions as to whether millennials will have the same fervor for boating as their parents. But at 12x EPS, with earnings still growing double-digits, BC is easily worth those risks.

And if the stock finally can break through resistance, a breakout toward $70+ seems likely.

10 Best Stocks to Invest In Right Now: Pfizer 3 Reasons to Be Bullish on PFE Stock Source: Shutterstock

Few investors like the pharmaceutical space at this point — or even healthcare as a whole. But amidst that negativity, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) looks forgotten.

This still is the most valuable drug manufacturer in the world (for now; it’s neck and neck with Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS)). It trades at just 12x EPS, a multiple that suggests profits will stay basically flat in perpetuity. To top it off, PFE offers a 3.8% dividend yield.

Obviously, there are risks here. Drug pricing continues to be subject to political scrutiny (though the spotlight seems to have dimmed of late). Revenue growth has flattened out of late. But Pfizer still is growing earnings, with adjusted EPS rising 11% last year and guidance suggesting a similar increase this year. Tom Taulli last month cited three reasons to buy Pfizer stock – and I think he’s got it about right.

10 Best Stocks to Invest In Right Now: Valmont Industries Source: Shutterstocks

Valmont Industries, Inc. (NYSE:VMI) offers a diversified portfolio — and across the board, business has been relatively weak of late. The irrigation business has been hit by years of declining farm income. Support structures manufactured for utilities and highways have seen choppy demand due to uneven government spending. Mining weakness has had an impact on Valmont’s smaller businesses as well.

Valmont is a cyclical business where the cycles simply haven’t been much in the company’s favor. Yet that should start to change. 5G and increasing wireless usage should help the company’s business with cellular phone companies. Irrigation demand almost has to return at some point. And a possible infrastructure plan from the Trump Administration would benefit Valmont as well.

Concerns about the recently imposed tariffs on steel likely have hit VMI, and sent it back to support below $150. But many of Valmont’s contracts are ‘pass-through’, which limits the direct impact of those higher costs on the company itself. Despite uneven demand, EPS has been growing steadily, and should do so in 2018 as well.

And yet VMI trades at an attractive 16x multiple — a multiple that suggests Valmont is closer to the top of the cycle than the bottom. That seems unlikely to be the case, and as earnings grow and the multiple expands, VMI has a clear path to upside.

10 Best Stocks to Invest In Right Now: American Eagle Outfitters

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American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) is one of the, if not the, best stocks in retail — and that’s kind of the problem. Mall retailing, in particular, has been a very tough space over the past few years. And it’s not just the impact of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and other online retailers. Traffic continues to decline, which pressures sales and has led to intense competition on price, hurting margins.

But American Eagle has survived rather well so far, keeping comps positive and earnings stable. And yet this stock, too, trades at around 12x EPS, backing out its net cash. And American Eagle has an ace in the hole: its aerie line, which continues to grow at a breakneck pace. aerie brand comparable sales rose 27% in fiscal 2017, on top of a 23% rise the year before.

The company’s bralettes and other products clearly are taking share from L Brands Inc (NYSE:LB) unit Victoria’s Secret. And the e-commerce growth in that business, and for American Eagle as a whole, suggests an ability to dodge the intense pressure on mall-based retailers.

In short, American Eagle isn’t going anywhere. There’s enough here to suggest American Eagle can eke out some growth, and a 2.6% dividend provides income in the meantime.

The stock already is recovering from a post-earnings sell-off last week, and should continue to do so. And longer-term, there’s still room for consistent growth, and more upside.

10 Best Stocks to Invest In Right Now: United Parcel Service Source: UPS

United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS) fell when the broad market did in February — and simply never recovered. A disappointing Q4 earnings report, in which investors saw signs of higher spending, drove some of the decline. But UPS stock wound up falling 22% in a matter of weeks — which looks like an unjustified sell-off.

UPS is going to have to spend to add capacity, and in this space too there’s the ever-present threat of Amazon. But UPS is an entrenched leader, along with rival FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX), and it at worst can co-exist with Amazon. E-commerce growth overall should continue to increase demand; there’s enough room for multiple players in the global market.

Meanwhile, the sell-off and benefits from tax reform mean that UPS now is trading at just 15x the midpoint of its guidance for 2018. And the stock yields a healthy 3.4%. Investors clearly see a risk that growth will decelerate, but UPS stock is priced as if that deceleration is guaranteed.

As of this writing, Vince Martin is long shares of Exxon Mobil and Nutrisystem. He has no positions in any other securities mentioned.

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