Stock Ideas

Where the bulls are: Ten U.S. large-cap stocks poised for a breakout


Gary Christie


September 16, 2019

What are we looking for?

U.S. large-cap stocks showing price momentum across multiple time frames.

We changed our view to bullish on the S&P 500 after the index broke above a short-term consolidation zone and key resistance at 2,950. The index also broke above its 50-day moving average, another bullish technical event.

In light of our bullish view of U.S. equity markets, we followed our top-down methodology and looked for large-cap stocks showing strong upward momentum in anticipation of a breakout to record highs in U.S. indexes.

The screen

We will be using Trading Central Strategy Builder to screen for U.S. large-cap stocks demonstrating strong upward price momentum. We will start by screening for U.S. stocks with a market capitalization of at least US$15-billion. This will limit our search to the largest and most stable companies in the market.

Next, we will search for stocks demonstrating price momentum across multiple time horizons. We will screen for a five-day price performance of more than 2 per cent, 13-week price performance greater than 10 per cent and a year-to-date performance of at least 20 per cent.

The current price-to-earnings ratio of the S&P 500 is at 19.6, therefore we want stocks at or below that level to keep valuations at a reasonable level relative to the market.

Finally, we were interested in stocks that are trading within 5 per cent of their 52-week highs because stocks making new highs usually continue to do so over the next six months because of strong price momentum.

What did we find?

Topping our list is telecom and media conglomerate AT&T Inc. The stock has just broken above its 200-week moving average, which is a strong bullish technical signal. Note also that AT&T has the highest dividend yield on our list, at 5.3 per cent. The company has been in financial headlines recently after activist investment firm Elliot Management Corp. disclosed an investment of US$3.2-billion in the company. While Elliot Management called for strategic changes identified in a four-step plan, the firm expressed deep conviction in the value of AT&T’s future, which has helped to propel the stock higher this week.

The stock with the largest market cap on our list is tech giant Apple Inc., which has seen an impressive price gain of 41.7 per cent year-to-date. With a P/E of 19 and momentum on the upside, the stock is on its way to test October highs. This week the company showcased the new iPhone 11 Pro and other devices, as well as TV+, its new video-streaming service that will be offered at a lower monthly subscription fee than competitors such as Walt Disney Co., Inc. and Netflix Inc.

The investment ideas presented here are for information only.  They do not constitute advice or a recommendation by Trading Central in respect of the investment in financial instruments. Investors should conduct further research before investing. Learn more.

Gary Christie

Head of North American Research
Gary has over 15 years in financial markets. Prior to joining TC, he served as an equity & derivatives specialist with TD Bank and Bank of America. Gary is regularly quoted in Bloomberg News, conducts many education and market outlook webinars for investment institutions all over the world and has been a guest speaker at the New York Traders Expo.
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