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Stock Market Today: Apple Steady After Downgrade; Why This Bitcoin ETF Hasn’t Topped | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

A Wall Street analyst’s downgrade of megacap tech leader Apple (AAPL) didn’t ruffle the feathers of institutional investors, even as major stock indexes cooled mildly Tuesday. Apple, down 0.9% to 174.79, still hovered only 1% below its newest buy point, 176.34 in a flat base.

X Apple is also still extended from a prior buy point at 160.97, stemming from an eight-week cup with handle.

Apple is also up more than 47% since it broke out of a first-stage cup with handle at 118.12 in early January. That cup with handle was part of a long bottoming base pattern, one of the most bullish chart patterns that help an investor time a new buy correctly after a stock has made a devastating correction.

Nomura Instinet cut its rating on Apple to neutral on concerns that iPhone X sales are already incorporated into the stock’s price. Jeffrey Kvall also noted a “historically full multiple.”

Meanwhile, Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) took a well needed break, showing wild action as the Bitcoin-tracking exchange traded fund careened from a new all-time high of 3,523 to an intraday low of 2,630.

With an intraday range of 33.9%, Bitcoin Investment is definitely not for the faint of heart. Yet for those who embrace time-proven chart patterns that have shown up in the greatest stock market winners going back to the late 19th century, Bitcoin Investment is acting just as one would expect after it bolted out of a deep yet well-formed cup with handle at 985.10.

The gain from that Nov. 22 breakout has now exceeded 257%. The buy point is derived by adding 10 cents to the highest price within the two-week handle, or 985.00.

At 3:40 p.m. ET, the Nasdaq composite rebounded a bit to cut its losses to around 0.4%. The leading U.S. equities index is also still up for the week following Monday’s 0.8% boost. Investors are showing unwillingness to dump stocks as the House of Representatives passed a major tax reform package on Tuesday. The Senate is expected to do the same as early as Tuesday evening and send it to the White House for President Trump’s signature before Christmas.

The S&P 500 eased almost 0.2%. Finance, REIT, utility, solar and automaker stocks led the downside.

Volume is running lower vs. the same time Monday on both main exchanges.

The Dow Jones industrial average was off nearly 0.1%, with just two more components in addition to Apple down 1 point or more: Visa (V) and Goldman Sachs (GS). Goldman has gained nearly 4% since clearing a 247.84 buy point in a nine-month saucer with handle.

Notice on a daily chart that Goldman broke out past the proper entry on Nov. 30 with a 2.6% gain in volume that expanded 148% higher than its 50-day average, a good sign. The Street expects the giant in fixed income and commodity trading and mergers and acquisitions to increase Q4 profits 2% to $5.16 a share.

Microsoft (MSFT), one of the tech components within the Dow 30, dropped 1% to 85.53 in light trade and is mildly below an 86.30 buy point in a new flat base. The cloud computing, business software and Xbox giant initiated its slow yet steady advance with a late-July 2016 breakout past a 56.87 buy point in a three-month flat base that’s part of a longer saucer pattern.

As noted in this Investor’s Corner column, the saucer pattern requires patience on the part of the investor before a proper new buy point finally emerges.

Microsoft holds a solid 91 Composite Rating from IBD Stock Checkup. Apple sports a 94 Composite, supported in part by a stronger EPS Rating than Microsoft (90 for Apple on a scale of 1 to 99, 68 for Microsoft). A 90 EPS Rating means that Apple is superior to 90% of all companies in IBD’s database in terms of near-term quarterly and long-term annual profit growth.

Back to Bitcoin Investment Trust. While the ETF has simply skyrocketed amid a surge in interest in the alternative currency, one reason why Bitcoin perhaps has not yet reached bubble conditions is the fact that both the Cboe and CME Group have only recently begun trading futures on their respective exchanges.

Two, the total value of Bitcoin being traded globally is said to be only a fraction of the total value of trading in bonds, stocks, commodities and forex.

A third reason why Bitcoin could see future growth is that professional money managers are showing an increasing appetite. The Bitcoin.com news website reported that hedge fund manager Bill Miller, a former star of the Legg Mason Value Trust mutual fund, currently has half of its assets in Bitcoin.

While biotech shares have not had a merry fourth quarter, Biogen (BIIB) stands out as one large-cap firm that could potentially break out.

The stock got hammered after so-so Q3 results (earnings up 22% to $6.31 a share, revenue up just 4% to $3.08 billion), but the sell-off was limited to 13% after Biogen notched a 52-week peak of 348.48. Since then, the stock has been forming a flat base that could also stretch into a saucerlike pattern.

Biogen’s earnings have nearly quintupled from $4.12 a share in 2009 to $20.22 last year. However, growth is expected to slow amid stiff competition in treatments for multiple sclerosis and other chronic medical conditions. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters see earnings rising just 9% to $22.06 a share this year and up 8% to $23.81 in 2018.

Within the IBD Big Cap 20, the current list showcases just one medical stock, AbbVie (ABBV).

In other financial markets, investors dumped U.S. government bonds following the Federal Reserve’s third hike in short-term interest rates of the year. On Dec. 13, the fed funds rate rose to a target range of 1.25%-1.50%, up from 0.25%-0.50% in December 2015.

Utility stocks fell en masse, with the Dow utility average sinking 1.6%. The Dow transports edged 0.2% higher despite a bump up in crude oil prices. WTI near-term futures rose 0.5% to $57.42 a barrel.

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