March Money Madness Round 2 Recap

24 Mar

The Market

Well, as good as the market performed during the first round of March Money Madness, it performed almost equally as bad during the second round.

In what turned out to be the worst week of the year for two of the top benchmarks, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.2% and the S&P 500 fell by 0.5%.

The Nasdaq Composite Index held its ground and rose 0.4% on the week

Key Takeaways From Each Region

Technology Region

EBAY -1.59% defeats RIMM -5.01%

Last week Blackberry maker Research In Motion (RIMM), pulled off an upset by knocking off Netflix (NFLX).  This week, the tables turned as it couldn’t muster enough mojo to beat eBay (EBAY).  Investors seem to have reacted negatively to a report that for the first time, there were more iPhones sold in Canada (where RIMM is Headquartered) than Blackberries.  RIMM apparently no longer has a home field advantage.

AAPL +1.79% defeats JDSU -2.32%

Not only did Apple (AAPL) benefit from the news that its iPhone is now beating Blackberry in Canada, there’s also evidence that Apple is invading another area that has long been a cash cow for the Blackberry: corporate users.  Apple has been scoring enterprise wins recently, with even old school company Halliburton transitioning to iPhones. You know your technology is going mainstream when your grandfathers are starting to use it.

PCLN +5.85% defeats JDSU -0.54%

Online travel company Priceline.com (PCLN) may have killed off its famous pitchman in a commercial, but its growth is definitely not slowing.  Priceline shares crossed the 700 barrier and during the week an analyst from Piper Jaffray released a report saying that he believes the stock may hit $1,000.  Priceline continues to take market share from the other online travel sites and has the most exposure in the international markets, and international is where the growth is.

GOOG +2.81% defeats ORCL -4.00%

Even though database maker Oracle (ORCL) released its quarterly earnings report in which its third quarter net income of 62 cents per share beat analysts estimates by 8 cents, some investors began to worry that the company is starting to lose business to “cloud” based software companies like Salesforce.com.  Oracle provides software that must be install on the customer’s computers.  Cloud based companies deliver software via the “cloud”, meaning the applications are hosted on the web and are easier to deploy and support.

Financial Region

MS  +4.10% defeats ETFC +2.08% and C +1.21 defeats WFC -1.06

Good news kept coming from financial stocks last week as Morgan Stanley (MS) announced that is was interested in purchasing Citigroup’s (C) share in the wealth management joint venture (Morgan Stanley-Smith Barney) that was hastily put together during the financial crisis. Investors cheered this news with the feeling that Morgan Stanley wouldn’t be willing to offer between $15-20 billion for the stake, if things weren’t going well for the company, and Citigroup benefits as the recipient of those funds.

GS  +2.64% defeats ALL +0.52%

It looks like Goldman Sachs (GS) takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’! Even in the aftermath of a scathing resignation letter from one of its executives that was published in the New York Times, in which the exec alleges that other Goldman employees routinely called its clients “muppets” (because the execs could get the clients to do whatever they told them to) and continuously acted in the best interest of the firm rather than its clients….the stock still went up 2% last week.  Perhaps rich people LIKE being called muppets?

Consumer Region

CROX  +6.61% defeats HD +1.00%

Despite losing ground after issuing disappointing quarterly performance, guidance, and at one point dropping by 10%, shares of footwear maker Crocs (CROX) still ended the week up by more than 6%.  It may have a hard time repeating this feat (no pun intended) next week as investors appear to be concerned the company may be hitting a peak after hitting a record $100 million in sales in 2011.

CMG  +1.12% defeats CAG -1.44%

Apparently burritos are popular in a down economy.  Mexican restaurant Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) continued a win streak (that started before the opening round of MMM) that has seen it’s stock price rise for an amazing 14 straight weeks.  Investors are impressed with the growth that it has achieved in the Americas and are further excited about the prospects overseas as the company starts to open more stores abroad.

Industrial Region

In case you hadn’t noticed, things aren’t going so well in Europe, financially speaking.  This affected ALL of the remaining stocks in the Industrial Region as NONE of them had a positive return on the week.  Weak manufacturing data from Europe and China hit commodities and related firms such as Alcoa (AA) and U.S. Steel (X). In March Money Madness games where both stocks have a negative return on the week, the stock with the LEAST NEGATIVE return wins the game.

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