2 Dow Stocks Bulls Should Watch In the Third Quarter

Mastercard and Merck historically outperform during the July-September period

by Emma Duncan

Published on Jun 29, 2018 at 12:34 PM
Updated on Jul 2, 2018 at 8:28 AM

As the second quarter comes to a close, two Dow names traders may want to consider are Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) and Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA). Below, we will take a closer look at MRK and MA, and dig into how the blue chips landed on Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White's list of the best 25 stocks to own in the third quarter.

MRK Has Made Outsized Moves In the Past Year

MRK has slowly made its way higher since its early April, benefiting from the 50-day moving average, which has acted as a level of support for the shares since May. The stock has picked up nearly 9% year-to-date, with MRK is up 1.7% at $61.25, at last check.

According to White, the equity has averaged a gain of 3% in the third quarter during the past 10 years, and boasts a 90% win rate in the July-September period. Based on its current perch, another move of this magnitude would put the shares near $63.08.

Daily Chart of MRK with 50MA Since December 17

Digging deeper, now seems to be a great time to target short-term options on the pharmaceutical concern. This is according to its Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 19%, which ranks in the 30th percentile of its annual range. 

What's more, the security has consistently rewarded premium buyers over the past year. This is based on MRK's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) reading of 76 out of a possible 100, which indicates the equity has tended to make outsized moves in the last 12 months, relative to what the options market has priced in.

Near-Term MA Options Traders Call-Heavy

Unlike its fellow blue chip, Mastercard stock has been an outperformer for years, most recently touching an all-time high of $204 on June 7. Following brief pullbacks, the shares have benefited from the support of the rising 80-day moving average. MA is up 62% year-over-year, and at last check, was trading at $197.01.

Per White's data, the finance name has averaged a gain of 4.36% in the third quarter during the past 10 years, while boasting an 80% win rate in the July-September period. Based on its current perch, another move of this magnitude would put the shares just above $205 -- another record high for the stock.

2nd Daily Chart of MA with 80MA Since June 17

Meanwhile, the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) comes in at 0.68, ranking in the 27th percentile of its annual range. This low ranking shows that speculators targeting option contracts expiring within three months are unusually call-skewed at the moment. 

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