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Daily Newsletter, Monday, 07/21/2008

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Table of Contents

  1. Market Wrap
  2. The Contrarian
  3. New Option Plays
  4. In Play Updates and Reviews

Market Wrap

Market Wrap

If the rest of the week is like today I would like to just wrap it up and go on vacation. That basically means that it was overall a boring and uneventful day when looking at the broader markets. But there were many pockets of action throughout the day that we will go through in a little bit. I intend on covering the market internals first.

The S&P 500 declined for the second day in a row. However, it fell only 0.66 points today. The NYSE composite advanced 48 points today. There were 12 new 52 week highs and 49 new lows. Internally it was a decent day for the bulls with a 2 to 1 advance/decline ratio (2043 Advanced versus 1155 Declined). The $TRIN (ARMs Index) spiked to close at 1.59. In addition the $TRIN usually spikes on big down days. As mentioned earlier the NYSE was up with positive advance/decline. Closes above 1.5 on the TRIN normally signals a short term long trade on the broad market index. A better signal is at ratios greater than 2.0. If you trade anything other than futures the $TRIN trade becomes a fade the close trade that is betting on a gap up. Volume, 1,514 million shares, was far below the average of 1,624 million.

On the Nasdaq Composite the volume today was lower at 1,823 million versus the average of 2,100 million shares. It closed down 3.25 with 1626 advancing issues versus 1262 declining issues. There were 30 new highs and 55 new lows. The $TRINQ closed at 1.21.

Before the Closing Bell

Bank of America (BAC) gapped nearly three points higher at 30.31 and closed up $0.31 at $28.56 after reporting a 43% year-over-year drop in second quarter earnings per share to $0.72, which was higher than Wall Street's forecast of $0.53 per share. BAC's CEO said that management plans to recommend that the board leave its quarterly dividend at $0.64 per share. The dividend had been a major source of concern for investors until the CEO made a statement after the close on 7/15 regarding that the company would maintain its dividend. The stock closed that day at $18.52 or $10.04 lower. BAC has jumped 53% in four days.

Yahoo! posted some interesting news today about how activist investor Carl Icahn and the company reached an agreement regarding his appointment to the board as well as two additional members from Icahns short list of board seat candidates. YHOO dropped $1.13 to $21.67 one day before their earnings are released.

In the gaming sector, my favorite if anyone cares, Wynn Resorts gapped higher and ran to an intraday high of $96.59 before contracting a bit to $93.43. Last week WYNN announced it would be buying back stock and said today that the company would be hiring new employees. Prior to the buy back announcement WYNN was trading at $75.61. 20 points in a week is huge. WYNN reports earnings on July 24th.

Merck and Schering-Plough were under pressure today when the postponed their earnings release to this evening after the bell. The companies continued to decline after discussing a new study regarding the cholesterol drug Vytorin. The study didnt meet the goals set forth and also found a potential cancer risk in certain Vytorin patients.

Other than energy Biotech has been one of the few sectors that have actually outperformed this year. Genentech (DNA) received a bid for $43.7 billion or $89 per share in cash from Roche. The bid was for the remaining 44% that Roche didnt already own. DNA is trading higher at $93.88 on the belief that Roche will have to raise its bid. I am not sure how that would work if Roche controls the majority of the voting shares. Citing an article by Dana Cimilluca of the WSJ The process of buying out minority shareholders when you already own a majority stake in a company (sometimes referred to as a squeeze out) is a delicate one. Any hint that the controlling shareholder got a sweetheart deal is sure to result in a flurry of shareholder lawsuits. Another burden would-be acquirers like Roche face is the inevitable perception by some that its position as an insider at the target company gives it an unfair advantage in the negotiations.

That is why negotiations between Roche, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, and Genentech will be handled by a panel of the biotechnology companys three independent directors. (It has a total of seven, three appointed by Roche.)

It looks like a potential arbitrage trade in which the premium of $4.88 on the stock may be over inflated. If you thought that there werent going to be any more offers higher than the 8.8% premium you could sell the August 90 calls for $4.70 or the 95 August calls for $1.45. The deal, if ever done, could take a while to complete. So selling the August calls could be very risky, especially if there is counter offer from DNA. If however, you were anticipating a counter offer or higher bid from another suitor, you could control 100 shares of stock for the next 60 days for $14.80 per contract on the September 80 strike or $1,480. At the $89 purchase price the position would lose $5.80 per share if the deal goes through at that the current offer or lose $1.75 per share if the stock stayed at the same price for 60 days (unlikely).

Ding Ding Ding

And the flat day turned ugly after hours. The futures closed virtually flat on the day and are now down $12.50 in globex trading. I am not surprised to see a pull back from the sudden move from last Tuesdays lows. Apple (AAPL) reported earnings after the close today and beat the EPS estimates by $0.11. The company reported earnings of $1.19 per share. Revenues rose 38% year over year to $7.46 billion versus the $7.27 billion consensus estimate.

Texas Instruments (TXN) missed EPS estimate by $0.02. TXN issued downside guidance for the third quarter and sees EPS of $0.41 0.47 versus the $0.51 consensus. TXN said demand slowed unexpectedly in June primarily because distributors reduced inventory levels and did not replenish them late in the quarter.

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Other misses included American Express (AXP) and Sandisk (SNDK). SNDK missed by $0.23 per share. SNDKs estimate was for a gain of $0.10 and they lost $0.13 per share. SNDK is delaying the next phase of production until next April. SNDK said Our Q2 sales were well below our expectations due to the rapid deterioration in consumer confidence which impacted our sales in U.S. retail and to handset OEMs. Product gross margin was negatively impacted by the lower sales volume and a substantial inventory write-down.

AXP Reported 2nd quarter (Jun) earnings of $0.56 per share or $0.27 worse than the First Call consensus estimate of $0.83. The revenues rose 7.9% year/year to $7.48 billion versus the $7.6 billion consensus. The second quarter results included a $600 million ($374 million after-tax) addition to U.S. lending credit reserves that reflects a deterioration of credit indicators beyond our prior expectation. In addition, a $136 mln ($85 mln after-tax) charge to the fair market value of the AXPs retained interest in securitized Card member loans. AXP is basically outlining their current exposure to the credit crunch. A good spread idea is long Visa (V) or MasterCard (MA) and short AXP. However, it might be too late to get the most bang out of that idea.

As noted this is not the complete list of companies scheduled to report earnings tomorrow. There were about 180+ companies on the list. So I look the discretion to only post the more widely followed stocks. Sorry if your favorite stock isnt on the list.

Some of the big names that can move the markets are Yahoo! (YHOO), United Parcel (UPS), Chicago Mercantile (CME), Caterpillar (CAT) and DuPont (DD). Royal Caribbean should give some insight into the travel/leisure industry. There are a few semiconductor companies reporting tomorrow including Manhattan Associates (MANH), Linear Technology (LLTC). E*Trade Financial and OptionsXpress report from the discount side of the brokerage business while Raymond James Financial reports earnings from the traditional side of the brokerage industry. Some major banks including Fifth Third, SunTrust, Washington Mutual and Wachovia could throw in some added volatility for tomorrows trading. There are some big name drillers and oil service providers reporting their earnings tomorrow. Some of those include Baker Hughes, Halliburton, BJ Services, XTO Energy, Inc. and Nabors Industries. So the summarize, tomorrow should be another tug of war day with multiple major industries reporting earnings.

There arent any major economic reports due out tomorrow. The next report is the Crude Inventories on Wednesday morning followed by the Feds Beige Book. As for today the only report was the Leading Indicators that reported that 8 of the 10 economic sectors in positive territory. The report is a collection of previously announced economic indicators, including jobless claims, money supply, average workweek, building permits and stock prices. The results of the June leading indicators show that it fell 0.1%, which was in-line with expectations.

The Indices Recap

The S&P 500 has bounced up about 60 points from the low it established last Tuesday. As the daily chart of the SPX shows, the Bollinger bands squeezing together. The lower bands are now increasing upward and therefore reducing the room the SPXs range according to the standard deviation of the 21 day Exponential Moving Average (EMA). The 8 day EMA (magenta line) is also curling up toward the flattening 21 day EMA. The SPX still hasnt closed above the 21 day EMA (1272). But the SPX has remained above the 8 day EMA (1252) for the last three days. The RSI is at 57.40 and still below overbought. However, slow Stochastics is overbought at 94.01.

Resistance is at 1277 from the 7/9 high and 1272 from the 21 day EMA. I drew the Fibonacci retracement lines from last weeks low to the May high in order to determine the new range the market is in. Over the last few days the SPX has traded in and around the 23.6% retracement level. 1272 is the coincidence resistance level with the 21 day EMA and the 38.2% retracement level at the same price. Remember, multiple indicators at the same level show multiple traders perspectives of support and resistance. The 50 day EMA is falling quickly and is at 1311. With the 50 (blue) and 200 (red) day SMAs both way above the current price the moving averages the bias is still negative until the SPX can close above the 50 day moving average. However, short term trades can be made from the shorter term 8 and 21 day EMAs. For instance, a long confirmation trade can be taken once the SPX breaks above the 21 day EMA. On the other hand a short term break down could occur as signaled by the SPX breaking and closing below the 8 day EMA. Should that occur, a short position could be taken with a tight stop at a close back above the 8 day EMA, for example.

The Nasdaq 100 (NDX) ran into resistance on Thursday at 1862.99 and simultaneously setting a lower high in the recent series of spikes. The low last week came close to filling in the 1751.99 gap but still came close only hitting a 1761 low. The futures are currently pointing to a lower open which would put the NDX down below 1800. I would like to see a close above the recent high of 1863 for a long or the gap to be filled at 1750 before going long on the NDX. According to the 50 and 200 day SMAs, the bias on the NDX is negative until the 50 day can close above the 200 day SMA. On the positive side there is an upside target that could be achieved from the gap down on 6/26.


According to the Bollinger bands there is a squeeze or contraction in the volatility of the NDX. The low range is at 1775 while the upward expansion level is at 1934. RSI is currently declining after peaking in Thursday around 60, well below the overbought territory. In addition, the slow Stochastic has turned over and re emerged to the downside from overbought territory. It looks like the NDX is leading the SPX right now. The 8 day EMA turned downward with the NDX closing below the moving average for the last two days. With only 8 days to calculate, the 8 day EMA is very reactive to price action. Using it along with the 21 day EMA provides entry points and confirmation levels. For instance, the close below the 8 day EMS after failing to close above the 21 day EMA signals a short term short trade. A close above Thursdays high and the 21 day EMA would signal a long trade with a stop at a close or trade below the 8 day EMA, for instance.

Black Gold

Oil bounced a little today but failed at the 50 day EMA (orange line shown below). The 50 day SMA is at 134 (blue line) and should provide additional resistance. My target is a test of the 89 day SMA (grey line) at 124 per barrel. The advance in oil spurred some buying in the oil related sectors. That made my oil short on DUG decline. But I am fine with that after the run it had and the fact that we sold the $44 calls for August.

Open Interest


The NDX shows peak open interest at the 1800 put strike with 8,811 options open. Resistance is found at 1850 with 5,400 options open but its peak resistance for August is at 2025/2050 with a combined 20,600 options open. Since we dont know if this is just a short call spread we will assume that the 2025 strike is the short option.

The peak open interest on the August Puts is at the 1250 strike price (118,792 option open interest). The SPX closed at exactly 1260 today or 10 points higher than the peak open interest strike price. The next major peak in open interest doesnt come into play until the 1200 put strike. The 1250 strike is also the call peak open interest strike. There are peaks at 1260, 1275 and 1300. Many times when these numbers are close they can be attributed to institutional positions making large market neutral positions like Double Diagonals and Iron Condors and Double Winged Butterflies. The next level is at the 1275 strike with 47,917 option open interest. Good trading to all!
 


The Contrarian

The CBOE Equity Put/Call Ratio

This is just a quick update in order to supplement the weekly full version of the newsletter. The CBOE Equity Put/Call indexs 10 and 20 day moving averages curled downward on Fridays close. The 10 day moving average peaked on Thursday at 0.838 and closed down to 0.824 on Friday. In addition the 20 day moving average (our confirmation line) curled over a little to 0.796 from 0.798. Last week I wrote We are currently on a Negative signal waiting for a dip in the 10 day MA to put the signal back to a Neutral bias. Our short term Negative bias is now returning to a Neutral bias signal. We need to lean the portfolios more positively by buying (covering short) calls or selling puts short (short put verticals).

The Signal: We are currently on a NEUTRAL signal. The signal will become positive once the 10 day moving average closes below the 20 day moving average. SIGNAL: NEUTRAL BIAS

The CBOE Volatility Index ($VIX)

The signal: As you can see from the chart the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) 10 day moving average (DMA) closed down from Wednesdays peak of 26.00 to 25.84. The 20 day MA closed up at 24.66 from 24.53. Last Tuesday the VIX spiked up to an intraday high of 30.74 followed by a contraction to 28.54. Last Wednesday I suggested that this was the capitulation the market was looking for all along. The interesting thing to note is that the talking heads on TV are still looking for a massive sell off. I think we got the mass exodus last week and the indicators are now confirming it. As mentioned in last weeks commentary The signal will be changed to Neutral if the 10 day moving average curls over or the 10 day MA run up to the new resistance at 27. The signal is being changed to a Neutral bias. SIGNAL: NEUTRAL

Summary: The Investors Intelligence polls remain on a Positive bias signal while the VIX and Put/Call ratio are on a Neutral bias. We still arent on a complete Positive (bullish) bias but are getting close. The way to read this is that we are mostly Neutral with a slight Positive bias.


Robert J. Ogilvie

CIO & Portfolio Manager
Skybox Trading
skyboxtrading.com

DISCLAIMER
Copyright 2006 Skybox Trading. All rights reserved. Data and information is provided for informational purposes only. Neither Skybox Trading nor any of its data or content providers shall be liable for errors or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. This newsletter is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities or commodity futures. The author of this newsletter is an independent registered representative of thinkorswim, Inc. The opinions and views of the author are not necessarily those of the thinkorswim Group of companies. Skybox Trading shall not be liable for any damages or costs of any type arising out of or in any way connected with your use of the services of the brokerage company. All published results are hypothetical gross results without adjustment for trading costs (commissions, fees & slippage).
 


New Plays

New Option Plays

Call Options Plays
Put Options Plays
Strangle Options Plays
None None None

New Calls

None today.
 

New Puts

None today.
 

New Strangles

None today.
 


Play Updates

In Play Updates and Reviews

Call Updates

CurrencyShares Euro - FXE - cls: 159.35 chg: +0.66 stop: 157.75*new*

After a three-day bounce the U.S. dollar rolled over and the FXE rallied in response. We're going to get more aggressive here and suggest calls right now on today's bounce. More conservative traders may want to stick to our previous suggestion and wait for a new high over $160.55. We'll start with a stop loss at $157.75. Our ten-week target is $169.50. We're suggesting the September calls.

Picked on July 21 at $159.35
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 00/00/00
Average Daily Volume = 909 thousand

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Intl. Bus. Mach. - IBM - cls: 128.66 chg: -1.23 stop: 124.45

As we expected shares of IBM witnessed some profit taking today. Our problem is that the low was only $127.64. Our suggested entry point to buy calls was the $127.00-126.00 zone. The afternoon bounce in shares of IBM looks tempting. We are going to risk IBM running away from us by sticking to our original plan and entry point. More aggressive traders might want to consider positions now. An alternative entry point would be to wait for a new relative high over resistance at $130.00. If we are triggered at $127.00 our target is the $134.75 mark. We're suggesting the August calls.

Picked on July xx at $ xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 07/17/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 7.7 million

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United States Oil - USO - close: 106.67 chg: +2.23 stop: 103.49

No one should be surprised that the weekend talks with Iran did not bear any fruit. Jim warned us this weekend that Iran would not cooperate. The threat of new sanctions on Iran coupled with tropical storm Dolly as a potential threat to our oil facilities helped lift crude oil higher. The USO opened at $105.10 and rallied 2.1% closing near its highs for the session. We had suggested that readers buy calls at the open today. We are raising the stop loss to $103.49. Our target is the $110-112 zone. We are fighting the new trend so consider this an aggressive play.

Picked on July 21 at $105.10
Change since picked: + 1.57
Earnings Date 00/00/00
Average Daily Volume = 14.8 million
 

Put Updates

Freddie Mac - FRE - close: 8.75 change: -0.43 stop: n/a

Shares of FRE's sister company FNM rose today as the SEC's recently announced ban on naked short-selling took affect today. That didn't seem to impact FRE. The stock gapped open at $10.18 and quickly turned south. FRE ended the session down 4.6%. We didn't see any news after hours but FRE briefly spiked to over $10 again in after tonight but was back to trading around $8.30 by the time of this update. We remain bearish on FRE and would still consider new positions here. This is a speculative, high-risk play (no stop loss) on the expectation that FRE will do something drastic that damages or eliminates the common stock. Our short-term target would be a move back to $5.00. More aggressive traders may want to aim lower.

Picked on July 20 at $ 9.18
Change since picked: - 0.43
Earnings Date 08/28/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 45.5 million
 

Strangle Updates

(What is a strangle? It's when a trader buys an out-of-the-money (OTM) call and an OTM put on the same stock. The strategy is neutral. You do not care what direction the stock moves as long as the move is big enough to make your investment profitable.)

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Apple Inc. - AAPL - close: 166.29 chg: +1.14 stop: n/a

It was a rocky session for AAPL but the stock was rebounding into the closing bell. Those buying the bounce are going to have buyer's remorse. AAPL reported earnings out after the bell tonight. The company bested estimates but then warned. Shares are getting crushed after hours. AAPL was trading under $148.00 in after hours markets. If the put options spike high enough readers will have a choice tomorrow. Do you sell on the initial spike (if the position is profitable) or do you hold on for a few days and see if there is any follow through selling. I suspect the $146-144 zone might offer some support. We are no longer suggesting new strangle positions. The options we suggested were the August $180 calls (APV-HP) and the August $150 puts (APV-TJ). Our estimated cost is $8.90. We want to sell if either option hits $14.50 or more.

Picked on July 20 at $165.15
Change since picked: + 1.14
Earnings Date 07/21/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 31.7 million

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Popular Inc. - BPOP - close: 6.06 change: -0.83 stop: n/a

There was some significant profit-taking in BPOP today. The stock plunged over 12%. Negative analyst comments exacerbated the move. Shares are back to what could be short-term support near $6.00 and its 10-dma. We're no longer suggesting new plays. The options we listed were the August $7.50 calls (BQW-HU) and the August $5.00 puts (BQW-TA). Our estimated cost was $0.65. We want to sell if either option hits $1.45 or more.

Picked on July 16 at $ 5.82
Change since picked: + 0.24
Earnings Date 07/18/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 3.4 million

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DIAMONDS - DIA - close: 114.65 chg: -0.30 stop: n/a

The DJIA bounced around sideways on Monday. We don't see any changes from our previous comments. We are not suggesting new strangles. The options we suggested were the August $115 calls (DIA-HK) and the August $109 puts (DIA-TE). Our estimated cost is $4.35. We want to sell if either option hits $6.90 or more.

Picked on July 07 at $112.21
Change since picked: + 2.44
Earnings Date 00/00/00
Average Daily Volume = 15.5 million

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iShares Brazil - EWZ - cls: 82.62 chg: +1.70 stop: n/a

There is still no movement in the EWZ. We're getting really close to closing this play early. If we don't see some significant movement by the end of next week (July 25th) we'll consider abandoning this play. We are not suggesting new strangle positions. The options we suggested were the August $90 calls (EWZ-HR) and the August $75 puts (EWQ-TO). Our estimated cost is $3.95. We want to sell if either option hits $5.90.

Picked on July 03 at $ 83.06
Change since picked: - 0.44
Earnings Date 00/00/00
Average Daily Volume = 13.6 million

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FosterWheeler - FWLT - close: 58.25 chg: +0.31 stop: n/a

FWLT managed a very minor bounce today, which isn't saying much. We are not suggesting new strangle positions in FWLT at this time. The options we suggested were the August $70 calls (UFB-HN) and the August $50 puts (UFB-TJ). Our estimated cost was $2.60. We want to sell if either option hits $4.00.

Picked on July 15 at $ 61.24
Change since picked: - 2.99
Earnings Date 08/06/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.5 million

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Corning Inc. - GLW - close: 20.52 chg: +0.32 stop: n/a

GLW also spent the day moving sideways. Lack of follow through on Friday's bearish candlestick is a good sign for the bulls. We had previously suggested readers open strangle positions in the $20.25-19.75 zone. The options we suggested were the August $22.50 calls (GLW-HX) and the August $17.50 puts (GLW-TW). Our estimated cost is $0.75. We want to sell if either option hits $1.50. Try and keep your investment balanced on both sides of the trade.

Picked on July 10 at $ 20.16
Change since picked: + 0.36
Earnings Date 07/30/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 15.9 million

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Google Inc. - GOOG - close: 468.80 chg: -12.52 stop: n/a

GOOG continues to slide. The stock lost another 2.6% on Monday with volume coming in above average on the decline. The stock closed near its lows for the session, which is bearish. The August $480 put hit a high of $25.69 and is currently trading around $24.00. The negative AAPL earnings news out tonight could push tech stocks lower again tomorrow. We're not suggesting new strangle positions in GOOG at this time. The options we listed were the August $590 calls (GOO-HR) and the August $480 puts (GOP-TI). Our estimated cost was $19.10. We want to sell if either option hits $30.00 or more.

Picked on July 16 at $535.60
Change since picked: -66.80
Earnings Date 07/17/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 4.5 million

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Internet Holders - HHH - cls: 47.87 change: -0.73 stop: n/a

The HHH continues to drift lower. Volume was extremely light today. If we don't see another big move by the end of next week we're going to be considering an early exit! We are not suggesting new positions. The options we suggested were the August $55 calls (HHH-HK) and the August $45 puts (HHH-TI). Our estimated cost is $1.65. We want to sell if either option hits $2.45.

Picked on July 03 at $ 50.50
Change since picked: - 2.63
Earnings Date 00/00/00
Average Daily Volume = 132 thousand

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iShares Rus.2000 - IWM - cls: 69.72 chg: +0.84 stop: n/a

The small cap index recovered from its intraday lows to close up on the session and out performing its larger-cap rivals. We are not suggesting new strangle positions at this time. The options we suggested were the August $70 calls (DIW-HR) and the August $61 puts (DIW-TI). Our estimated cost is $1.84. We want to sell if either option hits $2.75. More aggressive traders may want to aim for more.

Picked on July 14 at $ 66.16
Change since picked: + 3.56
Earnings Date 00/00/00
Average Daily Volume = 90 million

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MarketVectors Agribusiness- MOO - close: 56.85 chg: +2.10 stop: n/a

As soon as the MOO appeared to pick a direction last week the sector has reversed again and is back inside the previous trading range. Today's sharp 3.8% bounce makes Friday's drop look like a bear trap except that the trend of lower highs is still in place. We're not suggesting new positions at this time. The options we suggested were the August $62 calls (MYV-HJ) and the August $50 puts (MOO-TX). Our estimated cost is $2.10. We want to sell if either option hits $3.15.

Picked on July 03 at $ 57.25
Change since picked: - 0.40
Earnings Date 00/00/00
Average Daily Volume = 745 thousand

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PowerShares QQQ - QQQQ - cls: 44.78 chg: +0.19 stop: n/a

There was very little movement in the NDX on Monday. That could change tomorrow with AAPL, one of its biggest components, poised to gap down tomorrow morning. We're not suggesting new positions at this time. The options we suggested were the August $47 calls (QQQ-HU) and the August $43 puts (QQQ-TQ). Our estimated cost is $1.80. We want to sell if either option hits $2.75 or more.

Picked on July 07 at $ 44.90
Change since picked: - 0.12
Earnings Date 00/00/00
Average Daily Volume = 148 million

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Starbucks - SBUX - close: 14.09 change: -0.25 stop: n/a

The bounce in SBUX appears to be rolling over under its 10-dma. We are not suggesting new strangle positions at this time. The options we suggested for the strangle were the August $14.00 calls (SQX-HK) and the August $13.00 puts (SQX-TJ). Our estimated cost was $1.38. We want to sell if either option hits $3.50 or more.

Picked on July 15 at $ 13.58
Change since picked: + 0.51
Earnings Date 07/30/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 14 million

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UBS Ag - UBS - close: 21.59 change: +0.11 stop: n/a

UBS gapped open higher and hit $22.49 before fading lower. Volume dropped as well. The very short-term trend is still up but UBS is also growing short-term oversold. We're not suggesting new positions at this time. We listed two different strangles.

UBS Strangle #1) This uses the August $22.50 calls (UBS-HX) and $17.50 puts (UBS-TW). Our estimated cost was $1.90. We want to sell if either option hits $3.00.

UBS Strangle #2) This uses the August $25.00 calls (UBS-HE) and $15.00 puts (UBS-TC). Our estimated cost was $0.90. We want to sell if either option hits $1.90.

Picked on July 13 at $19.49
Change since picked: + 2.10
Earnings Date 08/12/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 7.3 million

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Ultra Financials - UYG - close: 20.42 chg: +0.02 stop: n/a

The UYG posted another gain but the momentum is clearly stalling. We are no longer suggesting new strangle positions at this time. The options we suggested were the August $20.00 calls (UYG-HD) and the Augsut $11.00 puts (UUF-TM). Our estimated cost was $1.45. We want to sell if either option hits $3.50 or more.

Picked on July 15 at $ 14.75
Change since picked: + 5.67
Earnings Date 00/00/00
Average Daily Volume = 27.3 million

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Wachovia - WB - close: 13.18 change: +0.21 stop: n/a

Tomorrow will be the big day for WB when the company reports earnings tomorrow morning. We are no longer suggesting new strangle positions on the stock. The options we suggested were the August $15.00 calls (WB-HC) and the August $10.00 puts (WB-TB). Our estimated cost is $2.00. We want to sell if either option hits $3.50 or more.

Picked on July 20 at $ 12.97
Change since picked: + 0.21
Earnings Date 07/22/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 64 million

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Washington Mutual - WM - close: 5.48 chg: -0.44 stop: n/a

The rally in financials is definitely slowing down and WM actually gave back 7.4% today. The stock traded on both sides of $6.00 giving us plenty of opportunities to open positions. If you missed your chance today tomorrow is your last chance. However, if WB has big news with its earnings report tomorrow morning shares of WM could react sharply and that might force you to adjust your strategy. The options we suggested were the August $8.00 calls (WM-HV) and the August $4.00 puts (WM-TH). Our estimated cost is $0.72. We want to sell if either option hits $2.25 or more.

Picked on July 20 at $ 5.92
Change since picked: - 0.44
Earnings Date 07/22/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 57 million

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FinancialSector SPDR - XLF - cls: 20.75 chg: +0.08 stop: n/a

The XLF peaked at $21.48 today and almost closed in the red before the day was done. We are not suggesting new positions at this time. The options we ended up with given the Monday, July 14th, morning open on the XLF were the August $21 calls (XLF-HU) and the August $17 puts (XJZ-TQ). Our estimated cost was $1.22. We want to sell if either option hits $2.85.

Picked on July 14 at $ 19.12
Change since picked: + 1.63
Earnings Date 00/00/00
Average Daily Volume = 128 million
 

Dropped Calls

CBOE Volatility Index - VIX - close: 23.05 chg: -1.00 stop:

We are closing the call play on the VIX. Our weekend comments said if the VIX closed under 24 or its 200-dma we'd close the play. The VIX did both today. The Volatility index had already exceeded our first target at 29.50 a few days ago. When the market bounce begins to stall we're going to reconsider new call positions on the VIX.

Picked on June 30 at $ 23.95 /1st target hit 29.50
Change since picked: - 0.90
Earnings Date 00/00/00
Average Daily Volume = n/a million
 

Dropped Puts

None
 

Dropped Strangles

None
 

Today's Newsletter Notes: Market Wrap and The Contrarian by Robert Ogilvie and all other plays and content by the Option Investor staff.

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