This tech earnings season has had some heroes and some zeros.
Thursday, Amazon (AMZN) and Pandora Media (P) were the winners. Amazon surprised with a profit. Pandora failed to crumble in the face of increased competition from Apple's (AAPL) streaming service. Both were up over 15% at one point today. (Amazon is part of TheStreet's Growth Seeker portfolio.)
TrueCar (TRUE), which was a $24 stock near the start of the year, fell below $7 Friday after warning about a bad corner referring buyers to car dealers.
Today, in a microcosm, is the tech market we now live in. Companies are either surprising or just completely blowing due to their own performance. There's no easy one-way trade to follow that works for everyone anymore. Those days ended a long time ago.
In the midst of this, we have unicorns lining up to IPO. We also got news that Square had confidentially filed to IPO. It won't be long before we hear about others like Uber and Dropbox.
As I've argued here before, these IPOs are to be avoided. They are being used by venture investors to dump their shares at the maximum price while they can.
But the broader market is still under pressure. There's skepticism and fear, even though the near-term threats of Greece and China have subsided. We still have the strong dollar hurting all commodities, which has also spread weakness to the solar sector.
Where do you go from here?
It takes individual work in researching the various stories of these stocks.
I like Apple here after a mini-pullback because it's still a monster and I'm seeing a lot of Apple Watches on wrists as I travel this summer.
I liked Pandora even before Friday's jump because, despite the concerns, it remains a tremendously popular app on the charts. People love it and continue to download it.
I think Yahoo! (YHOO) has max pessimism surrounding it and no faith in its CEO. Yet, that's the exact time in the past when it has outperformed (especially after a disappointing first half of the year).
You need to be wary of stocks that are near their all-time highs. The one exception here might be Facebook (FB). It has received some recent upgrades going in to earnings on the backs of video strength. All the same, I'll stay on the sidelines and watch. The same with Netflix (NFLX) for a few more weeks. (Apple and Facebook are part of TheStreet's Action Alerts PLUS portfolio.)
Tesla (TSLA) reports next week. It's only 8% below its all-time highs. Fabulous company. I missed the move and I find a hard time finding a reason to play this now just because earnings are upon us.
If you're not doing months of research before jumping in to a tech stock in this market, you're playing with fire.