A Big Week for the Bull — and Upping Your Bet on Alexion

Nicholas Vardy

Nicholas Vardy has a unique background that has proven his knack for making money in different markets around the world.

Stocks delivered a mixed performance Friday, but finished with solid gains for the week. The S&P 500 advanced 1.4% and the Dow rose 1.2%. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index did even better, and jumped 2.35%. The Dow now has gained ground in five out of the past seven weeks, while the other two indexes have risen in six out of the last seven weeks.

As impressive as these numbers are, your Bull Market Alert portfolio has performed much better. The National Bank of Greece (NBG) soared 12.21% higher last week on the back of positive news from Greece, whose most recent bailout was approved in the early morning hours today. NBG is up exactly 100% this year. I expect Bank of Ireland (IRE) to benefit from the Greek news as well. IRE was already up 4% in Europe on Monday on the bank’s return to profitability in 2011. In addition to the remarkable performance of these stocks since the start of the year, four of your other positions in Bull Market Alert — ALXN, F, MA and MPEL — also now boast double-digit percentage gains.

An exception to last week’s strong performance was Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) which fell 2.92% — though it is still up a whopping 20.37% since you bought it. Last week’s pullback in the stock offers you the perfect opportunity to buy more options to continue to profit from Alexion’s relentless ride higher. I recommend that you buy the May 2012 $85 call options (ALXN120519C00085000).

Another exception was Life Sciences (LIFE), which dropped sharply on news of a rival DNA sequencing technology from privately held Oxford Nanopore. From what I’ve seen, Oxford Nanopore technology is still more theory than practice. Bottom line? This is an overreaction and it is a good time to add to your position in LIFE.

This week’s Bull Market Alert recommendation had such a strong run late last week that I want to wait for it to consolidate its gains. Also, the options are overvalued at current levels, after such a spike in volatility. So, I am going to hold off on sending out this recommendation until the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 23, around 3:00 PM (EST). Stay patient until Thursday and I believe you’ll be rewarded.

Portfolio Update

Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) fell 2.92%. Morgan Stanley gave Alexion a nice Valentine’s Day present last week by upping its price target for the stock to $96. This target is nearly 16% above the current price level. ALXN also hit a new 52-week high early last week. ALXN is a BUY.

Bank of Ireland (IRE) rose 2.86% through Friday. Bank of Ireland swung to a full-year net profit of €45m in 2011 from a €614m loss last year. Shares in the bank, the only one of half a dozen Irish lenders not under state control, rose another 4% overnight — extending a near-80% gain this year. IRE is a BUY.

National Bank of Greece SA (NBG) powered 12.21% higher over the past five trading days. NBG’s price action mirrored that of IRE’s as NBG also experienced a pop later in the week. With the latest Greek bailout a done deal, NBG is a BUY.

Companhia de Bebidas Das Americas (ABV) gained 3.95% last week, hitting a new 52-week high. ABV earned a 5-star ranking (the highest) from the 180,000-member Motley Fool CAPS investing community. Comprised of retail investors, this constitutes a significant vote of confidence in a tremendous stock. ABV reports earnings March 8. ABV is a BUY.

MasterCard Inc. (MA) came in flat for the week. MasterCard recently announced plans to build a new R&D office in Dublin, Ireland. Designated MasterCard’s Global Technologies Office, this lab will work to further enhance credit card security and technology. MA is a BUY.

Ford Motor Co. (F) rose 2.49% last week. Ford posted a 3% gain last Thursday alone on news that competitor General Motors posted record profits. The report also noted a good portion of this increase came from North American markets. F is a BUY.

Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (ISRG) added 3.09% over the past five trading days, logging a new 52-week high. ISRG makes a pretty penny on sales of its groundbreaking, one-of-a-kind medical technology. ISRG also earns a significant stream of recurring income on system maintenance charges as it effectively has this high-tech market cornered. ISRG is a BUY.

Melco Crown (MPEL) jumped 5.46% for the week. MPEL posted significant gains on strong volume last week as the afterglow of its earnings report continued to shine. MPEL is a BUY.

Life Technologies (LIFE) dropped 7.33%. LIFE suffered last Friday as investors overreacted to a report of a competing technology by Oxford Nanopore. The new technology, named MinION, constitutes next-generation gene-sequencing technology. Initial indications are that the new technology is overhyped and literally still on the drawing board. This pullback is likely an excellent news-generated entry point. LIFE is a BUY.

Stratasys Inc. (SSYS) jumped 4.73% last week. Stratasys celebrated the 10th anniversary of its 3D-printing technology this week. The benefits of 3D printing were limited to a high-end user base prior to the introduction of Stratasys’ product line. This breakthrough in availability gave users access to a solution at nearly half the entry cost normally incurred for such technology. SSYS is a BUY.

SPDR S&P BRIC 40 ETF (BIK) added 2.82% in its first week in your portfolio. The BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) continued their leadership role in global markets last week. As long as the bull continues to rage in Brazil, Russia, India and China, BIK will remain a solid performer in your Bull Market Alert portfolio. BIK is a BUY

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