A gain of 66.01% in 2019 for shares of Paycom Software, Inc. (PAYC) 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. I actually wrote about this activity on Paycom shares back in January. You can read it here. The shares are up roughly 48% since that write-up.
Over time, we've learned how stocks with a history or strong fundamentals tend to rise in price. Smart money managers are always looking to bet on the next outlier stocks … the best in class. The main criteria we look for when betting on upside in a stock are a history of strong fundamentals, strong technicals and big potential buying in the shares.
I'll go into some of those fundamentals in a bit, but the biggest tell on the near-term trajectory of the 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. In 2019, Paycom stock has been gaining month after month. This is indicative of buyers supporting the shares.
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 Paycom stock has made over the past year.
After the meltdown in markets in Q4 of 2018, the gas pedal was pressed on high-quality growth stocks. And Paycom fits the bill as a top-rated stock. This is notable because stocks move based on supply and demand. Clearly, demand is outstripping supply this year:
So far in 2019, Paycom logged 18 unusually high-volume days, indicative of buying in the shares on Jan. 22, 2019 (see chart above). What gets our attention now is that Paycom is gaining quietly but in an unusual way, which suggests that demand for the stock is increasing.
If you are going to make a bet on the direction of the 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. Here are a few areas in which Paycom stock has grabbed our attention year to date (YTD):
Now, we take it a step further and score the best stocks showing unusual trading activity. Below you can see the historical times since 2016 when Paycom made buy signals for Mapsignals. These are the highest-rated signals in our stock universe. Clearly, we have been all over the massive run-up over the past few years. 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. As you can see, Paycom's latest earnings report showed solid growth:
- Q1 2019 YoY revenue growth rate: +30%
- Q1 2019 YoY non-GAAP net income growth rate: +24%
Paycom is breaking out and has a history of great fundamentals. We believe that the current level for the shares is in position for further upside. The narrative for Paycom and other software companies is one of a growing business model. I am 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
Paycom represents a potential buying opportunity for the long-term investor. Given the lift in price, historical fundamental outperformance and recent unusual buying signals, this stock could be worth a spot in a growth-oriented portfolio.
Disclosure: The author holds no position in Paycom shares at the time of publication.