What Seasonal Analysis Tells Me About E*Trade

Most analysts and fund managers use some combination of fundamental and technical analysis to create a list of candidates for trade/position possibilities.

Believing a three-legged stool is more stable than a two-legged one, I add seasonal analysis to most trade evaluations. I want to see not only a good story stock with a good chart pattern, but also evidence of regular, most likely institutional, trading in the stock at similar times in the past. Like a shark learning where the best feeding is, astute institutional traders will return each year to play the same sales/earnings/seasonal cycles in stocks they've become very familiar with.

My seasonal analysis works the other way too. Even if a stock has good fundamentals, a nice chart setup, and even some good news, if it has a history of selling off over the next several weeks, I will cross it off my candidates list.

Using seasonal analysis, I question the crowd favorite stock Apple (AAPL) in my May 22nd 2015 article titled An Apple Of No One’s Eye. Today I have another example.

I have a great deal of respect for Jim Cramer and TheStreet.com, and often some of our picks match. But again, I look at things a little differently.

Last Tuesday, Jonus Elmerraji of TheStreet.com published 5 Rocket Stocks to Buy for Blastoff Gains. Jonus describes the selection process as:

“For the uninitiated, “Rocket Stocks” are our list of companies with short-term gain catalysts and longer-term growth potential. To find them, I run a weekly quantitative screen that seeks out stocks with a combination of analyst upgrades and positive earnings surprises to identify rising analyst expectations, a bullish signal for stocks in any market.”

Curious, I began paging through the 5 picks. I go thorough Cisco (CSCO), Goldman Sachs (GS), Activision (ATVI), and United Rentals (URI). Since I didn't know what happened to URI since that article was published (URI dropped 15% over the last two sessions), and without further investigation, I liked the reasoning presented.

But I was familiar with the fifth ‘Rocket Stock' : E*Trade (ETFC). The article's reasoning on this one didn't resonate with me as much. But I am quite familiar with ETFC's seasonal pattern for this time of year, and because of it, I would immediately cross this one off my list of candidates.

As of last Tuesday (5/26/2015), ETFC's daily chart actually looked pretty good. The stock has marched upwards since the beginning of the year, and there is evidence of mild institutional accumulation (volume on up-close days somewhat overwhelming volume on down-close days, or green volume bar height vs. red volume bar height below).

Not bad. Good looking chart.

But as far as ETFC's seasonal pattern, its track record over the next several weeks, it isn't so good. Over the next 3 weeks ETFC has lost an average 3.8%, with losses in 11 out of 18 years. Yes, the past two years produced 4.8% and 4.0% gains. But the previous 5 years were all losses of 5.9% or greater.

Even if you look out further, buying ETFC this time of year still produced an average 1.2% loss, 22 weeks later. And look at some of those losses:

ETFC's track record is one of a very erratic stock over the next several months. And for the next few weeks, I'd be on the lookout for a pullback in ETFC. Who knows if it will happen this year, and if it does, how to recognize it as it starts? A breakdown in ETFC may start with sudden drop on very high volume. We'll just have to keep on the lookout for one.

By the way, here is the above ETFC chart updated through Friday's trading…

Of course, there's much more you need to know and many more stocks you can capitalize upon each and every day.  To find out more, please click on the following link: www.markettamer.com/seasonal

By Gregg Harris, MarketTamer Chief Technical Strategist

Copyright (C) 2015 Stock & Options Training LLC

Unless indicated otherwise, at the time of this writing, the author has no positions in any of the above-mentioned securities.

Gregg Harris is the Chief Technical Strategist at MarketTamer.com.

The content on any of Market Tamer websites, products, or communication is for educational purposes only. Nothing in its products, services, or communications shall be construed as a solicitation and/or recommendation to buy or sell a security. Trading stocks, options, and other securities involve risk. The risk of loss in trading securities can be substantial. The risk involved with trading stocks, options and other securities are not suitable for all investors. Prior to buying or selling an option, an investor must evaluate his/her own personal financial situation and consider all relevant risk factors. See: Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options (http://www.optionsclearing.com/publications/risks/riskstoc.pdf). The www.MarketTamer.com educational training program and software services are provided to improve financial understanding.

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