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Stock Market Today: Indexes Regain Mojo, Bitcoin ETF Sinks; Will This China Energy Play Soar? | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

Investors continued to deploy more money into stocks Thursday after light declines the prior session. Investors apparently took profits in Bitcoin-related securities Thursday following news that a South Korean justice minister is reiterating pledges to clamp down on local transactions in the alternative digital currency.

X Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), an enormous winner in Q4 of last year, dived 8% to 1,805 in light trading and is approaching its critical 50-day moving average. The exchange traded note has fallen 48% below its 3,522 peak.

Such a correction is normal for stocks or ETFs that break out of bases and rise 200%, 500% or more. In Bitcoin Investment Trust’s case, the move from a Nov. 22 breakout from a very deep cup with handle at 985.10 was 257%.

Meanwhile, energy plays gained more steam, and a former huge winner from the mid 2000s, PetroChina (PTR), extended its gains from a recent breakout from a long bottoming base pattern.

The Nasdaq composite held a small lead over other major indexes, rising 0.6% in midafternoon trading. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average rose around 0.5%.

In the 30-stock Dow industrial average, at least six components gained 1 point or more, including oil and gas titan Chevron (CVX) (up 3%) and mining and construction play Caterpillar (CAT) (up 2%).

Cat broke out in April last year past a 99.56 buy point in a 12-week flat base and has gained more than 69%. Investors could consider taking at least partial profits while holding a core position to give the industrial turnaround and global economy play more room to potentially grow.

At least seven of the day’s top 10 industry groups among 197 tracked by IBD hail from the oil and gas and solar industries. Market breadth is positive, with winners beating losers on both exchanges by a nearly 3-1 ratio.

The Chinese government-controlled PetroChina cleared a 72.10 aggressive entry within its yearlong cup base on Jan. 2 this year, pulled back the next session, then gapped up sharply a day later amid a strong rally in crude prices.

Since Jan. 1, near-term WTI crude oil futures — currently near $64.50 a barrel — have risen 6.8% while the S&P 500 has gained nearly 3.4%.

At this point, PetroChina is slightly extended from the 72.10 buy point, up 5.5%. An investor can watch to see if the megacap stock ($139 billion in market value) will pull back in normal fashion, ideally in lighter turnover, and return within the 5% buy zone. Or one could wait for a potential handle to form on the existing deep cup base. The correction within the cup from high to low is 26%, falling within normal range.

Earnings estimates are rosy for the explorer, producer, refiner, transporter and marketer of oil and gas. Wall Street expects earnings to rise 310% to $2.42 in 2017, rebounding from an 81% plunge in 2016, then rise an additional 29% to $3.12 a share this year.

While the Composite Rating is a crummy 51 on a scale of 1 to 99 in IBD Stock Checkup, such ratings are normal for turnaround plays.

When Apple (AAPL), one of the finest earnings turnarounds among large-cap techs in 2017, began trading in 2017, its Composite score was a horrid 51. But today, following several quarters of renewed double-digit top and bottom line growth, the Composite has soared to 90.

Diamondback Energy (FANG), a Leaderboard member, erased losses in the prior two days of trading with a 3% lift to 131.18. The Permian Basin exploration play was added to Leaderboard on Dec. 20 when shares traded near 117. On that session, the stock broke out, clearing a tightly wound flat base with a 115.03 buy point, and has since rallied nearly 15%.

Fourth-quarter earnings are seen rising 63% to $1.47 a share. That’s impressive, given that in the year-ago quarter, Diamondback had grown profits by 58%.


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