Whoa! What Just Happened to My Stock?


Okay, maybe the Fed won't be stepping on the QE brake anytime soon after all. A day after the committee's minutes were released showing they were thinking about doing just that, St. Louis Fed president James Bullard said it's not the brake they're going to be stepping on, but the gas! Because quantitative easing "packs a punch," he noted the Fed is going to be "very aggressive" with its easy money ways for a "long time."

That was enough to convince traders there's plenty of time to party hearty and they sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average soaring again, causing it to rise 119 points and putting it at 14,000 at Friday's close.

With almost three quarters of all stocks on the New York Stock Exchange advancing, the three stocks below were notable for rising by double-digit percentages. But resist the urge to high-five everyone in the cubicles next to you. Smart investors won't celebrate until they know why their stock surged, because without a fundamental basis for the bounce, these stocks could just as quickly make the return trip down.



Shutterstock (NYSE: SSTK)


Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ)




Shake it like a Polaroid
Stock photo site Shutterstock isn't standing stock still. It reported fourth-quarter earnings that exceeded analyst expectations by a wide margin as it continues to expand into new markets but finds North America growing ahead of the average rate of the entire company. It expanded well above 40% year over year compared to the low 30s in Europe.

Overall revenue in the quarter jumped 42% as downloads hit a record 21.4 million. Revenue retention remained around 100%, meaning that customers that contributed to its revenue in 2011 contributed, in the aggregate, just as much revenue in 2012 as they did in 2011. Shutterstock doesn't expect the pieces to always fall together as nicely as they have, but they have good visibility into their business and what they're seeing is a level of consistency in things like average revenue per customer and lifetime value that they were able to raise their guidance. Revenue is now expected to range from $213 million to $219 million, up from previous expectations of $204 million to $208 million.

With market researchers expecting the industry to grow to $6 billion by 2016, it seems Shutterstock has the big picture in hand and will be able to continue expanding its share.

Big day for big data
If you want another reason why the Dow jumped on Friday, look no further than Hewlett-Packard, which posted quarterly results that beat analyst expectations but were also below last year's efforts. However, the market was cheered that perhaps its new focus on the mobile arena and the realization the PC market will do less for it going forward meant it had finally turned the corner on its woes.

It's going to take more than a single quarter of positive developments to make a trend and with a lot of HP's gains driven by cost-cutting initiatives, there's only so far it will be able to take that avenue before it will need to show real growth. Its foray into business software and big data opportunities hold real potential, but with computers still a large part of its operations, even if it's looking in other directions, the risks remain if the market erodes further.

The 12% jump in HP's stock marks the largest one-day gain it's experienced in nearly five years and I'm not sure we should expect the tech giant to record many more such increases.

Why, oh why?
Like Shutterstock, Chinese social networking site YY recently went public, but unlike the photo site, YY has yet to figure out how to make money. Considering it's basing its revenue model on selling tokens players can use to buy virtual stuff for the web-based games featured on its platform, it seems like it's setting investors up for disaster. If Zynga and Glu Mobile are finding it difficult to make a go of the freemium model, I don't see why YY will do any better. There is plenty of competition in China for social networking attention and there's nothing that distinguishes this player from the rest.

There was no real reason for yesterday's jump in value other than it announced it was planning on reporting quarterly results on March 7, and unless investors are expecting it to turn a profit ahead of forecasts, it seems like it will be a stock price gain that will have a hard time holding. I'll be heading over to Motley Fool CAPS to mark this one to underperform over the long haul.

Whoa, Nelly!
The massive wave of mobile computing has done much to unseat the major players in the PC market, including venerable technology names like Hewlett-Packard. However, HP's rapidly shifting its strategy under the new leadership of CEO Meg Whitman. But does this make HP one of the least-appreciated turnaround stories on the market, or is this a minor blip on its road to irrelevance? The Motley Fool's technology analyst details exactly what investors need to know about HP in our new premium research report. Just click here now to get your copy today.