Lousy economic data and a looming Greek electoral disaster caused the Dow Jones Industrial Average to jump another 115 points Friday, or almost 1%, because they fueled the hope the Fed and global central bankers would flood the markets with even more cheap and easy money. Yet some stocks missed out on the joyride and fell by double-digit percentages. Let's see whether they had good reason to drop and sit out the manic ride up as panic-fueled declines can sometimes make for excellent buying opportunities.
Small fish, small pond
As broad-based as the Dow's surge was, not every component stock went up. Even with new Fed stimulus, the decline in consumer confidence doesn't bode well for some sectors of the economy, which is why we saw consumer goods companies Procter & Gamble and Kraft sit out the rally.
Companies trying to break into the consumer goods market face an uphill battle. Microvision (NAS: MVIS) is developing a microprojector that was once the subject of idle speculation it would be included in the iPhone or iPad, but the pace of development by other tech titans like Texas Instruments (NYS: TXN) and Samsung, which is incorporating its own pico-projector into its Galaxy Beam smartphone, seems to be passing the upstart by.
Although Microvision does have a deal with Pioneer to have its technology incorporated into an unspecified consumer product that will reportedly appear later this year, the company is just struggling to stay afloat right now. It had to perform a reverse split to keep from getting booted off the Nasdaq exchange and managed to get back in compliance just last week. But it lost almost a quarter of its value on Friday after it priced an offering of stock and warrants that would net it $10 million just to finance general corporate purposes.
The company I once thought had a shot of making a big splash looks like it will hardly make a ripple, and as CAPS All-Star TMFCandyMountain says, it "looks headed toward bankruptcy barring a significant improvement in their cash flow." A dilutive offering does nothing to improve that prospect.
Tell me on the Microvision CAPS page or in the comments section below if you think it's doomed, then add its stock to the Fool's free stock-tracking service to see if Pioneer's product can save it from ruination.
Cloudy days ahead
In addition to consumer goods, Fed easing and ECB banking intervention policies won't help correct an inventory glut of solar panels. Indeed, it's such government intervention -- China's -- that caused the imbalance in the first place and the effects of it continue to ripple out and effect other businesses and industries. Specialty chemicals maker II-VI (NAS: IIVI) continued its slide last Friday, falling another 14%, as its guidance was gloomy based on falling tellurium prices, a key ingredient in chemical alloys and solar panels.
First Solar (NAS: FSLR) is the top manufacturer of tellurium-based PV panels and it has lost 88% of its value over the past year. Few are buying into the concept there will be sustained demand in Europe such as that which caused the panel maker to delay the shuttering of its German manufacturing facility.
China has been pumping out solar panels, which has led to a collapse in pricing. Even though Bloomberg estimates demand won't catch up to supply until 2014 at the earliest, analysts think the industry is in line to receive a large portion of a new $300 billion Chinese stimulus program that will only exacerbate the problems.
Of course tellurium is used in other processes as well, but II-VI says demand is weak there as well and expects to write off as much as $2 million worth of tellurium inventory in the coming quarter. For the quarter that ends this month, II-VI cut per-share earnings estimates to $0.23 to $0.25, below the consensus estimates of $0.29 and well below its previous range of $0.27 to $0.31 per share.
The highly rated company retains a broad level of support on CAPS, with 98% of the 1,329 members rating the chemical specialist marking it to outperform the broad market averages. While its shares are down 32% over the past year, the weak pricing environment has been a known quantity for some time now and should not have caused the 12% drop the stock experienced.
While I think solar stocks are a losing bet at this hour and II-VI will have some rough portage to cross, I agree with the sentiments of those who suggest the sell-off was a bit overdone and think there's a positive longer-term outlook that's being ignored. As a result, I'm making an outperform CAPScall on II-VI. Add its stock to your watchlist to see whether it can dig up new growth, then tell me in the comments box below or on the II-VI CAPS page if you think the market's only looking at half the story.
Ready for a resurrection
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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Rich Duprey holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of II-VI. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of II-VI, First Solar, and Procter & Gamble. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
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