BHP BILLITON (BHP)
I continue to be a very strong believer in the prospects for this diversified global commodity play. Despite increased volatility in financial markets, underlying demand for commodities remains strong across all sectors of the global economy. BHP rival Rio Tinto reported a 75% increase in profits this past week. BHP — which itself is reporting earnings in just over two weeks — should match or surpass those of Rio Tinto. That should give a boost to the stock as we enter into the early fall months.
COGNIZANT TECHNOLOGY (CTSH)
Despite the stock nudging past $70 last week, and the options up 44% since our recommendation, we were still reluctant to take profits on CTSH last week. Why hold on for more gains in a tough market? Cognizant continues to surprise on the upside. Last week, CTSH reported very strong second-quarter revenues of $336.8 million, up a whopping 59% from the same quarter a year ago. Banc of America increased its earnings-per-share estimates to $1.49 from $1.41 for 2006 and $2.09 from $2.00 for 2007. It also raised its target price to $84 from $79. That means almost another 25% gain from the current price of the stock. So ride out the bumps for bigger gains in the near future.
AstraZeneca and Pozen announced their plans to cooperate on the development of a medication for chronic pain. This type of cooperation agreement between this pharmaceutical giant with a small but innovative company is emblematic of the new AstraZeneca — combining the huge financial resources of a blue chip with the innovativeness of a promising niche player. As such, AstraZeneca remains a strong and steady component of the Global Bull Market Alert portfolio.
Our other holdings are showing strong gains — with oil services firm Acergy (ACGY) up almost 9% (options up 35%) and North European Royalty Trust (NRT) up almost 5% (plus a 2% dividend coming up on August 30th). Move your stop on NRT to $34.40. Japanese banking giant Mitsubishi UFJ (MTU) is also up over 7%, and last week’s Irish biotech play Icon PLC, propelled ahead nearly 2% today after treading water during its first week in the portfolio.
We were stopped out of our short position in Mobile Telesystems (MBT) last week. This is good news for Global Bull Markets overall. When even a weak stock in a risky Russian market can rally as strongly as it has, it’s a good indication that the markets have settled down from their May and June flutters.