STOCKS

It's going to be a volatile market for a while but that doesn't mean investors have to sit on their hands observes Mike Cintolo of Cabot Market Letter.

The majority of potential investors are still paying more attention to the economic and political troubles of the world than they are to the stock market. Indeed, almost no one in the market is looking for really big gains today. We think they should.

But we’ve had a couple of rare signals of extreme market strength in recent weeks; the odds strongly favor higher prices ahead. Here's a look at some tech stocks we rate as buys: Amazon.com (AMZN), eBay (EBAY), Equinix (EQIX), and Facebook (FB).

As to the general market, we note that we have seen a rare Breadth Thrust; the broad market went from very oversold to very overbought in just a two-week period. Historically, that has portended great gains for the market in the months ahead (an average S&P 500 gain of 15% six months later)—and just as important to us, it has remained a rare occurrence. It was just the eighth signal in 32 years!

That was bullish enough, but then, on the heels of the fiscal cliff settlement, the market displayed another rare show of power: For two straight days, the total up volume on the NYSE outpaced total down volume by greater than 9:1. Since 1950, this Volume Blast-Off indicator has happened just six other times (the last time in January 1987).

Not surprisingly, such overwhelming strength has led to superb results: According to Sundial Capital Research, after these previous signals, the S&P 500 was up an average of 6% one month later, up 13% three months later; and up 19% six months out.

Amazon.com
Amazon.com has been all over the map in recent weeks, first pushing above key resistance, then getting caught up in the late-December fiscal cliff panic, and now snapping back. Helping out was some bullish analyst commentary; the analyst believes global e-commerce will double to $1 trillion by 2016, with Amazon possibly tripling sales during that time!

Another interesting fact is that 40% of all items sold on Amazon are from third-party sellers, who pay to ship the product, leaving Amazon with “free” commissions. We’ll stay on buy, but some consolidation could be in order.

eBay
eBay isn’t on the lips of every investor because it’s more of a steady performer. But that’s fine with us! The stock has done well recently, spiking toward new-high ground before pausing for breath.

A break below $49 to $50 on the downside could have us booking our profit, but we’re optimistic the firm will have bullish enough news to keep the stock’s overall uptrend intact.

Equinix
Equinix has been quiet on the news front for a couple of weeks, but that hasn’t stopped the stock from nosing into new high ground.

Granted, volume on the recent push higher has been light, and earnings are likely out in the beginning of February, so EQIX might take a breather here. But we think demand for this firm’s various interconnection services remains robust, and that demand could even accelerate if businesses begin to put some of their record cash hoards to work (especially for technology projects).

There’s also rumors that the firm’s switch to a REIT structure could occur in 2014, a year ahead of schedule. Look for a pullback of a few points to establish a new position.

Facebook
Facebook needs no introduction; it’s the most visited Web site in the world, so if you don’t use it you surely know someone who does. The question since the company came public last May is whether or not management, led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, can truly monetize its vast viewership.

Initially, the answer was no, but more and more big investors are coming around to the view that Facebook is succeeding in its mobile strategy—mobile ads made up 14% of total ad revenue in the third quarter, and indications are that figure is growing rapidly. All told, we think the company’s combination of 30%-ish revenue and earnings growth should keep hundreds of institutional investors interested.

Stock-wise, after a quick, big-volume rally in late-November, FB pulled back for a month and is now resuming its upmove. We think it’s buyable here, with a mental stop in the $25 area.

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Tickers Mentioned: Tickers: AMZN, EBAY, EQIX, FB

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