Among the biggest winners in Friday's early trading are Nanometrics (Nasdaq: NANO), ScanSource (Nasdaq: SCSC) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG).
|Top Percentage Gainers -- Friday, July 9, 2010|
|Company Name (Ticker)||Intra-Day Price||Intra-Day
|52-Week High||52-Week Low|
|Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)||$466.88||+2.3%||$629.51||$405.80|
*Table includes companies with minimum market capitalizations of $200 million and three month trading volumes of at least 100,000 shares. All percentage returns are listed as of 11:44AM Eastern Standard Time. Click on ticker symbols for up-to-the-minute price quotes and percentage gain data.
Shares of semiconductor test equipment maker Nanometrics (Nasdaq: NANO) are rebounding +4.5% on Friday after the company issued a press release Thursday evening refuting bearish comments from analysts at Oppenheimer. Analysts had slashed their sales and profit forecasts while cutting their target price from $13 to $10 after the company lost out on a lucrative new contract with Intel (Nasdaq: INTC).
Management did not directly address the analysts' assertions, but instead simply noted that "the current business environment is extremely healthy." Investors will need to wait until the August 5th conference call to find out what that really means.
Action to Take --> Nanometrics' quarterly results have been very erratic, and management may be signaling that the current quarter will be one of the more robust ones. That does nothing to assuage Oppenheimer's concerns that long-term growth rates may need to be tempered. As is the case with many tech stocks right now, shares are quite cheap at about eight times projected 2010 profits. The real catalyst for this and other tech stocks is a lifting of fears that industry sales are on the cusp of heading south. That may not happen until investors come to believe that the global economy is on healthy footing.
ScanSource's Bullish View
Investors that continually check the health of spending among small and medium-sized businesses often eagerly await the end-of-quarter sales announcement from ScanSource (Nasdaq: SCSC). The company distributes a range of small electronics such as barcode systems, point-of-sale systems and telephone equipment to companies that are too small to deal directly with manufacturers.
Action to Take --> Shares of ScanSource have been in the $25 to $30 range for much of the past five years, even as sales have risen +30% during that time. The company is mostly focused on the North American market and is insulated from international economic concerns, but it's too soon call this bullish report a trend, as quarterly sales reports have been quite erratic. ScanSource represents much more of a solid long-term holding than a short-term trade.
Google looks to rebuild Lost Chinese
In the battle between the world's most promising new tech economy and the world's hottest tech company, the company blinked. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is officially back in business in China after agreeing to alter how users access its search service. The move is pushing shares up, even as it garners jeers from human rights campaigners that had hoped Google would stand firm with its anti-censorship stance.
The business-boosting move for Google is a clear negative for Chinese search competitor Baidu.com (Nasdaq: BIDU), which was able to almost completely dominate the market while Google was inactive. Shares of Baidu are trading down -3% on Friday but above levels seen when Google's market re-entry first hit the tape.
It remains to be seen how much brand loyalty Baidu was able to garner in Google's absence.
Action to Take --> The move is unlikely to alter analysts' earnings forecasts for Google, as China likely represents less than 2% of total sales. But if the search giant is able to regain a foothold and also eventually become a player in the PC software and mobile phone markets in China through its Android platform, then China could eventually come to represent a major growth driver. Only a quarter of the Chinese population has Internet access, but the market could triple in size to achieve penetration rates similar to those found in Japan and Korea.