Stocks To Buy Now: Summer Swoon Equals Buying Opportunity?

| June 13, 2011 | 0 Comments

It’s official.  The stock market summer swoon has begun.  Keep reading to find out if it’s time to bail out, or if we’re on the cusp of a tremendous buying opportunity.

Another week, another lower close…

Last week marked the sixth straight down week for the major US stock market indices.  That’s the longest weekly losing streak in the S&P 500 since 2008.  And you’d have to go back to October 2002 to find a similar down period in the Dow.

No doubt about it, the markets are dropping faster than Congressman Anthony Weiner’s pants during a Twitter post.  Ok, maybe they’re not dropping quite that quickly.

But you get the point.

Since the S&P 500 peaked on April 29th, the index has given up 6.8% of its value.  And the Dow has retreated by a similar 6.7%.  That may not sound too bad when put in percentage terms.

But try this on for size… over the same time period, US stocks have lost a whopping $1 TRILLION in market value.  No wonder investors are getting skittish.

What’s behind all the selling?

A good number of investors are worried recent economic data suggests the US economy is slipping into a double-dip recession.  In case you missed it, several important economic numbers came in worse than expected over the past few weeks.

It all started with weaker than expected April housing data.

New home construction plunged by nearly 24% from the prior year.  New building permits, a gauge of future construction, dropped 4% from March levels.  And topping it off, the S&P/Case Shiller Index of real estate prices in 20 major cities dropped below the lows hit during the worst of the financial crisis.

These disturbing numbers were followed by surprisingly tepid consumer spending figures for April.

Consumer spending rose just 0.4% in April, less than the downwardly revised 0.5% increase in March.  And when adjusted for inflation, spending rose by only 0.1% for the second month in a row.  That’s bad news for an economy where 70% of growth is driven by consumer spending.

Another sign of growing economic weakness came from the May ISM report on manufacturing.

The good news is manufacturing activity expanded in May for the 22nd consecutive month.  The bad news is manufacturing activity plunged 6.9 percentage points from April’s levels.  The big month-to-month drop has many worried we’re headed for a recession.

And finally, the icing on the cake was the shockingly bad May unemployment numbers.

US employers added just 54,000 jobs during the month.  It was the smallest increase in eight months.  Analysts had been expecting the economy to add 150,000 jobs.  What’s more, the unemployment rate actually rose from 9% to 9.1%.

With economic data like this, it’s no wonder investors are worried the US economic recovery is stalling.  And it’s no surprise many investors are lightening up on stocks.

But are these fears realistic, or are investors merely overreacting?

Based on a recent Bloomberg survey of 67 economists, I’d say investors are overreacting.

According to these economic experts, the slowdown in consumer spending and employment is just temporary.  Moreover, they expect US economic growth will rebound in the second half of 2011.

Here’s why…

“Rising exports, stable fuel prices, record levels of cash in company coffers, and easier lending rules will be enough to overcome the damage done by one-time events like poor weather and the disaster in Japan…”  As a result, economic growth is expected to jump from 2.3% in the second quarter to 3.2% from now through December.

What’s more, economists are expecting a big increase in corporate spending.  One of the primary reasons for the recent slowdown is companies hoarding cash like Ebenezer Scrooge.  At the end of the first quarter, companies had a record $1.91 trillion in cash and other liquid assets.

The experts say companies will start using this money to ratchet up capital investment and hiring later this year.

And don’t forget the power of consumer spending.

After increasing at just a 2.1% rate in the second quarter, consumer spending is expected to rise by 2.95% in the second half of 2011.  Of course, an uptick in consumer spending of this magnitude will provide a nice boost to GDP growth.

Last but not least, the recent slowdown should push out the Fed’s timetable for raising interest rates.  Instead of boosting rates in the first quarter of 2012 as many expected, the Fed probably won’t raise rates until the second quarter at the earliest.

Based on this bullish outlook for the economy, I’m convinced the recent stock market weakness is a terrific buying opportunity.  The time is now to put together a shopping list for good quality stocks.

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Category: Stocks

About the Author ()

Robert Morris is the editor of Penny Stock All-Stars, an investment advisory focused on discovering small-cap and micro-cap stocks that are destined to become the market’s next Blue Chips. The Wall Street veteran and small-cap stock specialist is also a regular contributor to Penny Stock Research. Every week, Robert shares his thoughts with our readers on a variety of penny stock-related topics. In addition to Penny Stock Research, Robert also writes frequently for two other free financial e-letters, ETF Trading Research and the Dynamic Wealth Report. He’s also the editor of two highly successful and popular investment advisories, Biotech SuperTrader and China Stock Insider.

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