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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

TradeRadar - Version 1.1 Released

The latest version of TradeRadar has been released. It is easier to use and has a bug fix that will make your SELL signals more accurate.

New Features

  • Corrected a bug in the Signal Strength calculation when generating a SELL signal
  • Added ability to click on a point on a chart and set that point as either the Window Start or Window End
  • Full install and upgrade available

Special Instructions for Current Users Only

Warning - If you have downloaded TradeRadar before and you elect to download and run the full install, be sure to back up your database to a different folder. You may use the Backup feature from within the TradeRadar software for this. The installation will over-write your existing database. When the installation is complete, copy your old database over the new one. You may use the Restore feature from within the TradeRadar software to do this.

Upgrade - If you are a current user of TradeRadar and you do not wish to run the full installation, there is an upgrade available. This is a much smaller, faster download and you will not have to worry about over-writing your database. Just copy the new program and help file to your current TradeRadar directory. Be sure to check the Read-Me file included in the download to review these instructions.

Monday, January 29, 2007

TradeRadar Bottom-fishing

It is getting about that time when we announce the Trade Radar Pick o' the Month. I haven't made my mind up yet but I wanted to list a few stocks that have developed promising patterns but haven't quite generated unambiguous BUY signals. The current list is as follows:

National Interstate (NATL) - provides insurance for the transportation industry (today's close: $26.70)

Diodes Inc (DIOD) - semiconductor manufacturer (today's close: $36.27)

Evergreen Energy (EEE) - provides lower emission fuel to coal-fired utilities and industries (today's close: $10.48)

Alkermes Inc (ALKS) - a pharmaceutical company with an alcoholism treatment (today's close: $15.04)

Abaxis (ABAX) - makes easy-to-use blood test kits for humans and animals (today's close: $21.80)

All of these stocks have been trending downward for the last few months, some more steeply than others, but have recently announced better earnings and/or have garnered analyst upgrades. I am definitely bottom-fishing here, looking to catch one at an inflection point. In the case of ABAX, we may already be too late as it has moved from a low of $17 to almost $22 in just a few days. Is that the start of a strong up-trend? We'll need to dig into the fundamentals in order to make a decision on that. Some of the others mentioned, however, seem to be more of a technical play with potential upside still available.

Check them out and see what you think. Try running them through the or tools located in the left side-bar. Comment if you feel one stands out above above the rest.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Weekly Market Update: Earnings and Interest Rates

Weekly Market Call

Earnings and interest rates dominated the week and made for a volatile stew. Much as we observed last week, most earnings reports are decent but we have seen better news in past quarters. Earnings to date are not driving the market upward in any consistent way. Indeed, all the major averages lost 0.6% this week except for the Russell 2000 which managed a gain of 0.4%.

Tech rallied on Wednesday due to good news from Yahoo and Sun but the rally couldn't last and the NASDAQ finished the week on a sour note. AMD plunged on a loss, Microsoft and eBay rose on strong earnings. Amid the inconsistency and volatility, TradeRadar is now flashing another weak SELL signal on the QQQQ as it did a few weeks ago. The fact that the signal strength is again weak is clearly indicative of a market that is treading water with no clear sense of direction.

On the other hand, TradeRadar continues to indicate that the Dow and S&P 500 remain in their up-trend though perhaps not as firmly as before.

Bad news from the housing market seems to be getting less bad. We have now had two months of rising housing starts and median prices of existing homes fell less than the previous month. Existing homes sales fell only slightly. The feeling among traders is that we may be near the bottom.

Against the backdrop of the housing market improving, December durable goods orders up 3.1% over November and still decent earnings from most companies, the other big driver in the market became a fear of the Fed. Whereas investors have been hoping for a rate cut by June, the feeling now is that we won't be seeing rates cut until December. Indeed, there are those who fear further tightening. This really took the wind out of the sails of the market after Wednesday's big rally. Note that bond yields have been moving steadily upward since the beginning of December, possibly confirming this expectation of higher rates.

Bottom line: uncertainty and caution are the rule of the day.

ETF Comments

As we said lask week, XLK, the tech ETF is mirroring the action on the QQQQ. This trend is continuing and we see the same kind of weak TradeRadar SELL signal for XLK. The decent news in housing didn't do much for XHB, the home builders ETF but IYR, the US Real Estate ETF (with more of a REIT orientation), reacted positively and continues its strong up-trend. Oil was up and down and XLE, the energy ETF, reacted accordingly. It remains above its 20-day and 200-day moving averages but below its 50-day moving average. Tough to make a call here.

TradeRadar Stock Picks

No major news for the three current stock picks that we continue to maintain as open long positions. Tarragon (TARR) drooped this week after recovering last week. Generex (GNBT) didn't budge. PacifiNet (PACT) lost a dime on continued profit taking. Whenever it gets up to the $6.50 to $7 range it seems to run into resistance.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Weekly Market Update: Watching those earnings

Weekly Market Call

Oil prices fell again though they made a comeback on Friday amid colder weather and Boone Pickens still looking for $70 a barrel before the year is out. Earnings season continued with disappointments from several tech bellwethers (Intel, IBM, Apple, Motorola). Some of the large caps (GE, Citi) did OK and kept the ongoing rally from flagging too badly. In general, earnings thus far are not setting the world on fire but are not causing investors to rush to the exits. Next week, the pace of reporting picks up and we'll get a better look at what 2007 might hold in store.

On the other hand, the averages did look a bit tired this week. Nevertheless, the Dow and the S&P 500 continue in their respective uptrends. The tech-heavy NASDAQ 100 was weak but not weak enough to have TradeRadar flash the SELL signal. Still, I am uncomfortable. There are a number of warning signs. The TradeRadar chart for QQQQ has been vacillating over the last few weeks. Tech sectors like semiconductors have been selling off and then perking up at the last minute as they did Friday. The tech bellwethers mentioned above displayed various problems (even Apple, who carried the market the week before last). Some delivered great earnings (Apple, of course) and others delivered lackluster earnings or news of job cuts (Motorola). All of them, however, have delivered downbeat forecasts for upcoming quarters. We may need to accept that the QQQQ still has a real potential to go sideways or even correct over the next few months.

ETF Comments

For those of you who are holding XLK, the tech ETF, it is exhibiting the same characteristics as the QQQQ. It is off its high but still no TradeRadar SELL signal. We mentioned oil in the first part of this post. It you are still holding XLE, the energy ETF, be aware that it has made a higher high and a higher low compared to previous peaks and valleys. It has dropped just below its 200-day moving average and crossed above it again with Friday's close. This is behavior that it has repeated twice before and then rallied significantly. TradeRadar's SELL signal at the recent peak back in December was not particlulary strong and there is now a weak BUY signal developing. Don't be surprised to see XLE bounce up from these levels. Then there is IYR, the US Real Estate ETF. In spite of all the handwringing over the current real estate market, this ETF shows no signs of stopping, hitting a new 2-year high this week.

Trade Radar Stock Picks

Taragon (TARR) disclosed this week that it had sold apartments in Connecticut for over $30M. The stock moved up to close the week at $11.67, a few cents above our recommended purchase price.

PacificNet (PACT) delivered still more upbeat news this week. They received an order for slot machines and announced an agreement to provide services to China's State Tax Bureau. The stock is still seeing some profit taking but the trend remains up and we continue to be holders at this point. PACT closed the week at $6.58, showing over a 25% gain thus far.

Generex (GNBT) had been a disappointment but the stock has perked up lately, possibly on bird flu concerns, and despite profit taking, managed to hang on to some gains this week. At least we are back in positive territory, closing at $1.76 with a 4% gain.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Social Networks and "You", the Investor

Time magazine recently ran its Person of the Year feature and it was "You". Time was trying to recognize all the ways that average folks are gaining their 15 minutes of fame, becoming instant pundits and sharing their opinions and lives with one another. Time also made a point of showing how the Internet has enabled much of this activity with web sites like MySpace and YouTube and the millions of blogs that have sprung up. The techies look at this ferment as one aspect of Web 2.0, where the Internet is evolving from being company and commerce driven to being more interactive in both technology and the kinds of bottom-up creativity that take the form of online sharing and collaboration, social networking sites, wikis, etc.

Some of us who are serious about investing are, shall we say, "of a certain age" and tend toward the conservative. We are not so likely to be embracing every new Internet fad that comes along. Nevertheless, if you are an investor and you are out there surfing the web and reading blogs (or writing your own) you may be more involved in the Web 2.0 phenomena than you may realize. And now we have a number of different ways to explore all this.

There is a new crop of web sites that aims to bring investors together to share ideas and stock recommendations. Users can comment on each others investing picks, ideas or strategies. Users who contribute stock picks or portfolios (real or virtual) are ranked based on their performance.

Taking a different approach, there are sites that allow users to rank news stories, articles and blog posts. The most highly ranked items tend to get plenty of readers, attention and traffic. And you can submit your comments in order to become part of the conversation. To further target specific communities, like investors, these sites often provide the ability to filter on particular subject matter so you can focus on business and investing and, if you desire, receive an RSS feed throughout the day, every day.

I have compiled a list of the sites that are currently involved in this movement (many thanks to the Wall Street Journal for bringing a few of them to my attention and for partially inspiring this post) - Users collaborate and share investing knowledge through blogs, discussion, and virtual trading. Users are ranked based on performance of their forecasts and trades in their virtual portfolio.

CAPS feature at - Make predictions on whether a stock will beat the S&P 500. Users are rated based on performance of their picks.

ClearStation - the grandaddy of these sites, ClearStation has featured user recommendations and discussion since the tech bubble was in full in swing. Now owned by E*Trade, they continue to support a community approach to investing, featuring user picks and ranking of users based on accuracy, personal portfolios and watchlists, ability to comment on articles and posts, etc. - Users 'tag' their favorite web sites, blogs, articles or posts. Their list of bookmarks is then viewable by all other users. Search for bookmarks using tag keywords. We feature the TradeRadarOperator tags (all related to investing) on each page of the site. - Users vote for the best articles and posts. We carry their RSS feed, filtered for topics related to business and investing, on The Daily News Page on - Users vote for the best articles and posts related to strictly business and investing. We carry their RSS feed on The Daily News Page on - Users issue ratings on stocks and earn a "reputation" or score based on how the stock performs. Site support forums and individual blogs - bills itself as a community for stock market investors to share investment ideas, exchange market research, and track peers' investment performance. Users can create networks, share tips and track each others investment performance. Users are rated based on performance of their picks and other users' feedback. - Now featured on the MarketWatch site, StockPickr offers a number of interesting features. See the portfolios of famous investors like Warren Buffet and George Soros. Make your own recommendations and subscribe to the recommendations of other users both professional and amateur. The site matches your portfolio with the thousands of hedge funds, mutual funds and other peer portfolios (DIY portfolios) that have a similar composition. It also allows you to network, research and discover new ideas in the financial market arena. - StockTickr is a free portfolio tracker with a twist: all watchlists are shared among all users who assign 'tags' to stocks to keep track of performance across categories. - Tailrank tracks and displays the conversation between blogs, highlighting the most discussed articles and posts. We carry their RSS feed, filtered for investment topics, on The Daily News Page on

(Note: These links are also available on the Investor Toolbox page at

The reason I categorize these sites as part of the Web 2.0, social networking movement is that the emphasis is very much on us, everyday investors, not experts. These sites aim to build an online community of people that want to discuss investing, stocks, business, the economy, etc. These sites hope to facilitate the dialog between you and me. They believe that you don't have to work on Wall Street to have a good idea about investing.

So try out a few of these sites. You may make new friends, find some interesting ideas and engage in good conversation. And maybe find a few new ways to profit.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Weekly Market Update: NASDAQ back in the saddle?

Weekly Market Call

It's been a pretty good week. Oil prices fell and retail sales were up. Earnings season kicked off and results thus far have been reasonably encouraging. Against this backdrop, the markets are back on track. The Dow and the S&P 500 continue in their respective uptrends with the Dow hitting a new high.

With the strong showing in retail sales this week, preceded by a strong jobs report last week, the market is now assuming that the Fed will not lower interest rates any time during the first half of the year. The market has managed to shrug off this concern and look to fundamentals. With commodity prices falling, margins should be increasing. Lower gas prices will put more spending money in consumers pockets. The housing downturn doesn't seem to be spilling over into the general economy. There are good reasons to bullish!

Now, on to the NASDAQ. After having TradeRadar flash the SELL signal for the last few weeks, the NASDAQ has started a turnaround and it actually managed to hit a new high, closing the week with a gain of 3.6% YTD, far outdistancing the Dow and the S&P which are sporting less than 1% gains apiece.

Is this enough to make the TradeRadar signal reverse from the SELL signal that was first flashed three weeks ago? (To see the TradeRadar SELL signal from 12/30/2006, click here) The TradeRadar system likes to see more than a few weeks of data between a buy signal and a sell signal but reducing the filtering does generate a new buy signal based on this week's activity.

On the other hand, though the chart tells me BUY, I can't help wondering if all this upside activity in tech and the NASDAQ is just a byproduct of the hysteria over Apple's new iPhone, introduced at this week's MacWorld. Is an expensive music-playing cellphone the most solid base to build a rally on?

TradeRadar Stock Picks

Taragon (TARR) can't seem to make up its mind as to which way to go. It continues to meander a few percent below the price where the TradeRadar BUY signal kicked in.

PacificNet (PACT) delivered some more upbeat news this week. They will be designing, building and supporting Sony's new e-commerce site. The stock spiked up and then immediately ran into profit taking. The trend remains up, however, and we continue to be holders at this point.

Generex (GNBT) had been a disappointment but the stock perked up this week and we are back in positive territory, with a 6.5% gain.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

TradeRadar Software Updated

The TradeRadar software has been updated and is available for free download. The newest feature allows the user to directly retrieve historical prices from Yahoo from within the TradeRadar software. No more manual downloading and loading of CSV files; it all works automatically as long as you have an Internet connection. Click the button and you are immediately able to begin using the charting functions to generate buy/sell signals.

Further refinements have been made when loading historical price data from the Yahoo or MSN Money sites. Existing data is now over-written if date ranges overlap; ie, errors will no longer be displayed if a new file contains prices for dates that are already in the TradeRadar database.

In addition, the TradeRadar Help file has been improved. The new version is bundled with the TradeRadar software download and is also available for viewing from both the Download page and the Features page.

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Disclaimer: This site may include market analysis. All ideas, opinions, and/or forecasts, expressed or implied herein, are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as a recommendation to invest, trade, and/or speculate in the markets. Any investments, trades, and/or speculations made in light of the ideas, opinions, and/or forecasts, expressed or implied herein, are committed at your own risk, financial or otherwise.