Just 13 out of 102 iShares DJ Technology Sector ETF (IYW) components gained ground in Friday's brutal decline, highlighting broad-based sector selling pressure that caught many complacent bulls by surprise. The most reliable buying signals are often set into motion when the expected fails to materialize, telling observant market players to examine the narrow basket of tech stocks that closed in the green that day.
Three stocks from that list deserve a second look because they are also trading close enough to resistance levels that little buying pressure will be needed to trigger breakouts. In addition, identifying possible catalysts for their short-term resiliency could allow investors to gauge future prospects while deciding if exposure makes sense despite tech headwinds that could grow to gale force in the coming weeks. (For more, check out The Tech Bubble Will Burst: The Question Is When.)
Luxembourg-based MagnaChip Semiconductor Corporation (MX) builds components for UHD, OLED and LED displays, notebooks, and mobile devices. The stock went public on the U.S. exchanges in the mid-teens in 2011 and fell quickly to $5.10. The subsequent bounce brought the stock to an all-time high at $23.89 in 2013, ahead of a multiyear downtrend that sent the shares to an all-time low at $3.10 in February 2016.
A recovery wave into September stalled at the August 2015 swing high just below $10.00, giving way to a decline that posted a higher November low at $5.20. The stock has slowly worked its way back to resistance in the past seven months, with a breakout into double digits setting the stage for continued upside into the mid-teens. The on-balance volume (OBV) indicator is now testing the two-year high, signaling loyal ownership that may have underpinned last week's relative strength. (See also: Why MagnaChip Semiconductor Could Be Positioned for a Surge.)
Envestnet, Inc. (ENV) builds financial and wealth management software that serves banks, brokerages and financial advisors. It came public near $9.50 in July 2010 and entered a trading range between that level and the upper teens. A 2013 range breakout caught fire, lifting the stock in a trend advance that topped out in the upper $50s in 2015. However, the shares sold off in multiple waves into early 2016, finding support in the upper teens, ahead of a bounce that ended at $41.47 in August.
Lower highs and lower lows since that time have carved a shallow channel with support near $31 and resistance in the upper $30s. The stock bounced off support for the third time in March, reaching channel resistance during Friday's big sell-off. The stock fell into the close but still ended the session in the green, setting up a potential breakout above $39. Even so, it needs to hold short-term support below $36 or join its tech peers in the developing correction. (For more, see Why Envestnet Could Be an Impressive Growth Stock.)
Electronics for Imaging, Inc. (EFII), listed on the Nasdaq exchange since the early 1990s, provides display graphics for printers as well as automation software solutions. It hit an all-time high at $69.31 in 2000 and sold off in a downtrend that finally ended in 2008 at $7.56. A recovery wave into the new decade accelerated in 2012, lifting the stock into the lower $40s in 2014, ahead of a narrow consolidation pattern that has now entered its fourth year.
Nominally higher highs stretched resistance up to $51 in 2016, when the stock gapped down in a six-point one-day decline on April 21. Price action since that time has been filling the four-point gap and has now settled about three points under the prior high. It's likely the April plunge removed so much selling pressure that Friday's tech rout caused little anxiety with current shareholders. (To learn more, check out Technical Analysis: Support and Resistance.)
The Bottom Line
Stocks that trade higher during big declines reveal resiliency that could signal loyal sponsorship, underlying strength or hidden catalysts that support even higher prices. Follow-up price action is needed to confirm this positive behavior because delayed reactions to market stressors are always possible, especially in the early stages of a broad correction. (For additional reading, see Why Investors Are Doubling Down on Tech Stocks.)
<Disclosure: the author held no positions in aforementioned stocks at the time of publication.>