A gain of 80.01% in 2019 for shares of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) tells a story of a stock gaining alongside a high amount of unusual trading activity. It's bullish activity because the shares are heading higher on increasing volumes, indicating that a buyer is involved.
Over time, we've learned how stocks with a history of strong fundamentals tend to rise in price. Smart money managers are always looking to bet on the next outlier stocks … the best in class. I actually wrote about AMD in April, when I was noticing the same activity. You can read that article here. The shares are up 14.23% since that post.
The main criteria we look for when betting on upside are a history of strong fundamentals, strong technicals, and big potential buying in the shares. I'll go into the fundamental picture later, but the true tell on the near-term trajectory of a stock lies in the trading activity of the shares. Simply put, it's all about supply and demand. When demand is higher than supply, the stock rises. When demand is lower than supply, stocks fall. For most of 2019, AMD has been in an uptrend accompanied by unusual buy signals. It's all about stacking the odds in your favor.
For Mapsignals, when we look for an entry on a leading stock, we want to see an increase of potential buying. Just to show you graphically what our unusual trading activity signals look like, have a look at all of the unusual institutional (UI) signals AMD stock has made over the past year. Beginning this year, there have been days when the shares appear to have had a buyer. This is notable because stocks move based on supply and demand. What is really catching our eye now is the recent UI buying. You can also see how 2018 had many of these signals:
In 2019, AMD has logged nine unusually high-volume days, indicative of buying in the shares starting on Jan. 31, 2019 (see chart above). This points to AMD shares gaining in an unusual way, which suggests tjhat demand for the stock is increasing.
If you are going to make a bet on the direction of a stock, it is prudent to pay attention to how the shares are trading. Just like you don't want to fight the trend, you also don't want to fight a stock that shows increasing price alongside an increase in the volume traded. Someone could potentially be accumulating a position.
Mapsignals' goal is to identify tomorrow's top stocks today. We're basically looking for outlier companies with healthy fundamentals accompanied by outsized unusual institutional trading activity. By studying these data points, we can make an educated guess as to which equities institutions are trafficking in and marry this information with fundamentally sound companies. We want the odds on our side when looking for the highest-quality stocks.
When we decide on a strong candidate, we consider prior leaders that have a history of technical outperformance. When they show leadership, we see these as opportunities. The following are a few areas in which AMD stock has grabbed our attention year to date:
- YTD outperformance vs. market: +63.88% vs. SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY)
- YTD outperformance vs. sector: +55.43% vs. Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK)
- Recent bullish unusual trading signals
Now, we take it a step further and score the best stocks showing unusual trading activity. Below you can see the historical times since 2018 when AMD made the top 20 report for Mapsignals. These are the highest-rated signals in our stock universe. Clearly, we caught the big run-up beginning in 2018. That's exactly what our process is designed to do. We'd even venture to call this stock an outlier:
On top of a technical picture that is strong, one should also look under the hood to see if the fundamental picture supports a long-term investment. AMD and other high-quality semiconductor companies are coming off of a tough year of earnings.
- Q1 2019 YoY gross margin expansion: +5 percentage points
- Q2 2019 guidance, sequential revenue growth rate: +19%
AMD is breaking out recently alongside other semiconductor stocks. We believe that the current level for the shares is in position for further upside. The narrative for Advanced Micro Devices and other semiconductor companies is one of returning to growth. We are always on the lookout for great companies showing usual trading activity in the shares. The best companies tend to trend higher over the long run. All of this points to a long-term opportunity for the stock.
The Bottom Line
AMD represents a potential buying opportunity for the long-term investor. Given the lift in price, growing fundamentals, and recent unusual buying signals, this stock could be worth a spot in a growth-oriented portfolio.
Disclosure: The author holds no position in AMD shares at the time of publication.