3 Stocks Portfolio Managers May Be Buying

NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA), First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), and Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE:WTW) are among the top-performing stocks over the past six months

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Dec 28, 2015 at 11:42 AM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

As we approach the end of the quarter -- and the year -- now is the time when portfolio managers will try to spice up their stock holdings to make themselves look good. In a process known as "window dressing," mutual funds and other institutions buy outperformers and sell underperformers just before publicly disclosing their holdings. As a result, the market beaters may get an additional short-term boost, while laggards may feel extra weight.

With that in mind, if you're a retail investor, you may want to follow the "smart money." Toward that end, Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White put together a list of the best stocks over the past six months -- as seen below -- which portfolio managers may be accumulating. Among the top performers are NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA), First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), and Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE:WTW).

151228windowdressing1

Per the chart above, which is based on last Wednesday's closing prices, NVDA sports a six-month return of more than 64%. Earlier this month, the shares hit a nearly eight-year high of $33.81, as well. Today, the equity is hovering 2.3% lower at $32.41.

While these technicals are impressive in and of themselves, NVDA could be further bolstered by an unwinding of negativity among option traders. Specifically, the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.70 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) ranks in the high 90th percentile of its annual range.

Adding to the contrarian-bullish case, short interest on NVIDIA Corporation is heavy. Specifically, 40.5 million shares are sold short, representing nearly seven days of pent-up buying activity, assuming average volumes. In sum, the stock could be on the verge of a short-squeeze situation.

Shifting to FSLR, its six-month return stands at nearly 41%. If that's not enough, the stock has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 46.4 percentage points over the last 60 sessions, and last Thursday hit an annual high of $67.80. At last check, the shares were perched not far from that mark, at $65.34.

Nonetheless, there's plenty of sideline cash available to fuel additional gains. Over 7% of First Solar, Inc.'s float is sold short, and would take more than four sessions to buy back, at average daily volumes. Future upgrades remain a possibility, too, with seven analysts rating the stock a "hold" or worse.

Last but not least, WTW is the top-performing stock over the past six months, with a gain of 285.2%. The shares are adding to that lead today, up 3.2% at $18.58 following the release of ads featuring investor and media mogul Oprah Winfrey.

Despite these mind-bending gains, Weight Watchers International, Inc.'s Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) rests at a 2.67 -- with short-term puts nearly tripling calls. What's more, this ratio ranks in the 86th percentile of its 12-month range. Further skepticism is seen among short sellers, as 47.1% of WTW's float is sold short. Should these bears begin to throw in the towel, it could provide a tailwind.

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