Five Stocks to Watch in February

After Friday's -251 point or -1.5 percent decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the bellwether index finished the month of January down -3.7 percent overall at 17,166. Friday also saw the S&P 500 Index decline by -26.26 or -1.3 percent ending the month at 1,994.99, while the tech laden Nasdaq composite index closed down -48.17 or -1.03 percent to 4,635.24.

The S&P finished the month off -3.1 percent and the Nasdaq index lost -2.1 percent for the month. According to an old Wall Street adage, January generally sets the tone for the market for the rest of the year. This month's stocks to watch include two initial offerings, a tech company, a pharmaceutical company and an oil company.

Box Inc. (BOX)– Los Altos, California based Box Inc. had its initial public offering at $14 per share. The stock ended its first day of trading at $23.23 up +9.23 or +65.93 percent. The company, run by 30-year old Aaron Levie offers file sharing and cloud storage solutions for mobile devices running iOS, Android, WebOS, Blackberry and Windows mobile. The stock closed at $18.81 per share on Friday.

Shake Shack Inc. (SHAK) – New York, NY based Shake Shack was started in 2001 and now has 63 restaurants, including restaurants in Dubai, Las Vegas, London and Dubai. Its initial public offering on Friday at $21 per share soared to over $50 per share finally closing at $45.90. People have been known to wait as much as one hour to get a burger and fries at their restaurants. The company, started by Danny Meyer plans to open as many as 450 restaurants at an annual pace of 10 per year.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) – After gaining over 50 percent in the last 18 months, Microsoft stock got hit hard after disappointing second quarter earnings last week. The stock dropped a whopping -9.25 percent after concerns that the company's transition to the cloud might not make up for declines in the PC market and the strength of the U.S. Dollar. Microsoft is still the world's largest software maker with a market cap of $344 billion. Also, the company has $90.25 billion in cash and long term debt of only $18.26 billion. Microsoft stock closed at $40.40 on Friday.

Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ICPT) – After receiving breakthrough therapy designation from the FDA last week, the company's stock soared from $170 per share to just under $230 per share. The company is on the cutting edge for liver disease treatment with its obeticholic acid (OCA) for the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The company's stock is extremely volatile, having sold off later in the week closing at $201.03 per share on Friday.

Exxon Mobile Corp. (XOM)– As the price of crude oil continues trading under $50 a barrel, Exxon Mobile Corp — the largest energy company in the United States — announced a -21 percent decline in fourth quarter earnings. Also, Exxon reduced its share buyback program from $3 billion to $1 billion. Nevertheless, the company's stock is up a fraction in this morning's premarket due to the drop in earnings being lower than expected. Fourth quarter earnings came to $6.57 billion or $1.56 per share compared to $8.35 billion or $1.91 per share in last year's fourth quarter. Analysts were expecting fourth quarter earnings of $1.34 per share.

Published on Feb 2, 2015
By Jay Hawk
Jay Hawk
Jay Hawk enjoyed a 12-year professional financial markets career incorporating extensive first hand futures and options experience obtained by trading in the stock, commodity and forex markets on U.S. exchanges. Since retiring as a full-time financial market professional, he has been actively trading stock, commodities, forex and options for his own account and managing funds for others, as well as writing financial market commentary and educational articles.

Copyrighted 2016. Content published with author's permission.

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