Option Investor
Newsletter

Daily Newsletter, Thursday, 9/3/2015

Table of Contents

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

Market Wrap

Positive Data Supports Market

by Thomas Hughes

Click here to email Thomas Hughes
A round of positive economic data helped support the market while we await tomorrows NFP, the last major employment report before the September FOMC meeting.

Introduction

A round of positive data helped to support the market today. News from Challenger, the jobless claims report and ISM Services suggest that labor markets remain stable and that the US economy is still expanding.

Early morning news was focused on the data, as well as the ECB meeting and press conference. Asian markets were quiet, China is closed for a two day government holiday and will reopen on Monday. Japan was able to bounce back from recent lows, if only marginally, and close with a gain of 0.48%. European shares were able to post a nice rally, spurred on by comments from Mario Draghi that have renewed hopes of additional QE measures.

In the official statement the ECB lowered its EU GDP and inflation growth targets for the next 3 years. In comments following the release Draghi said that downside risks have reappeared despite ongoing asset purchases and that that program could be increased. No changes to current policy were made, rates were held at current levels. In other news from the EU PMI came in at 54.3, the highest level in 4 years.

Market Statistics

Futures trading indicated a positive open for equities all morning. The trade spiked following the release of data and the ECB statements but did not hold the highs going into the opening bell. After the open the indices waffled for a moment and then began a steady climb that took them to the highs of the day by 11AM. Once the early high was hit the market began to sell off in a slow and steady decline that took the indices back to the low of the day by 1:10PM.

A small bounce formed once the low of the day was hit. This lasted for about an hour but did not rally take hold. The afternoon high was hit around 2:30PM at which time the market began to fall back once more. A new low was hit late afternoon, just below break even levels, but these levels too did not hold. Another small bounce, going into the close of the day, carried most indices back into positive territory .

Economic Calendar

The Economy

The Challenger, Grey & Christmas report on planned lay-offs was released in the early morning. The report shows a -61% decline in planned lay-off's from last month's 4 year high. This month the number of lay-offs was reported as 41,286 and is +2.9% higher that this same time last year. On a year to date basis 2015 lay-offs are now at 434,554, 31% higher than last year at this time. Retail led this month with planned lay-off's totaling 9,601, most of which are due to the bankruptcy of grocery chain A&P. Low oil prices were blamed for 3,808 job losses bringing the total to 82,268 for the year. This is still a little less than expectations which called for energy related losses in the range of 90,000.

Now, if we back out job losses related to energy the year to date total drops down to 352, 256 and only +6% from last year (don't forget that last year there were less than 5,000 jobs lost in the energy sector, -93% less than this year).

There are some other things to consider when looking at the year to date job loss numbers. One, many of last months proposed lay-offs are in government/military and are scheduled over the next 2-3 years. Another is that a sizable portion of this years cuts are also due to major lay-offs in the tech sector, namely by Hewlett Packard and Microsoft, and have been largely anticipated and/or telegraphed by the respective companies.


Initial claims for unemployment made a surprise gain of +12,000 to reach 282,000. Last week's figure was revised lower by -1,000. The 4 week moving average gained 3,250 to reach 275,500. This is the highest level for the average in four weeks but it and the headline number remain near the long term low and consistent with ongoing labor market health. On a not adjusted basis claims rose by 1.7% versus the drop of -2.4% predicted by the seasonal factors. Pennsylvania and New York led with increases of 1,875 and 832 while Kansas and California posted the largest declines in claims, -1,473 and -1,302.


Continuing claims shed -9,000 from a downward revision of -3,000 to hit 2.257 million. This is the 8th week of continuing claims coming in around 2.3 million and just off the long term low. It looks like continuing claims have leveled off, at least for now, and have not shown an impact from the past month's rise in initial claims.

The total number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits is 2.210 million, a rise of 3,050 from last week's report. This number continues to trend near long term lows and, along with the rest of this week's labor data, suggests that the NFP will be steady at least. ADP was a little below expectations and could indicate the same for the NFP. Expectation is in the range of 215,000.


The NFP will be an important number not only as a sign of economic recovery but also as an indication of what to expect at the FOMC meeting. Also of importance will be the unemployment rate, and hourly earnings. The labor data so far suggest that a rate hike is due, if not overdue, while inflation data remains tame. The caveat is that there are growing signs of wage inflation, mentioned in several earnings reports this past go round, that could show up in this month's report. Consensus for hourly earnings is +0.2%, steady from last month.

The services sector ISM numbers were releases at 10AM. The August reading of 59% is firmly expansionary but reflects a mild slow down from the previous month's reading of 60.3%. Within the report all segments remained positive and expansionary if somewhat slowed from last month. Business activity came in at 63.9%, New Orders came in at 63.4% and Employment is at 56%. These readings are the 73rd consecutive month that Business Activity has been expansionary, and the 18th consecutive month of positive gains for employment. Prices paid are also expansionary but have declined to 50.8%.

The Oil Index

Oil prices tried to stage a rebound today but were not able to hold their gains. Positive US data and hopes for renewed EU QE may have been the cause for the early rally but supply/demand fundamentals remain unchanged. Yesterday's build in US crude stockpiles underscores that position and the impending nuclear agreement with Iran will only increase global supply. WTI end the day near break even with Brent falling by a half percent.

The Oil Index tried to post a rally today as well, and like the underlying commodity was not able to hold the gains. Today's action was centered around the 61.8% retracement line and created a relatively small bodied candle with long upper shadow indicating some resistance above the retracement line. The indicators, however, are bullish and suggest that further testing of resistance is likely with a possible move up to the short term moving average and/or my resistance line near 1,170. However, looking at the MACD over the longer term, the most recent bear peak is significantly large, convergent with the recent low and a retest of that low. If oil prices fall, and/or the index is not able to move above current resistance at the retracement level (near 1,115), then a move down to the recent low near 1,020 is likely.


The Gold Index

Gold prices fell in today's action as data and ECB outlook has strengthened the dollar. Despite the gain in dollar value gold prices remain above $1,120. Gold prices continue to be influenced by data and FOMC speculation and will likely experience more volatility over the coming weeks. Near term support targets are near $1110 with long term targets near $1080. Resistance target is $1130 and then above that near $1150. Without inflation present it looks like gold has nowhere to go but down. Economic data is strengthening the dollar, the FOMC is expected to strengthen it more (if not this meeting then at a meeting real soon) and today's news from the ECB may only increase the effect. Not to mention ongoing QE from the BOJ as well as any currency moves put forth by the PBOC.

The gold miners tried to stage a rally in the early portion of the day but fell back in afternoon trading. The miners ETF GDX ended the day with a loss near -1.75% but is basically flat for the past week. The indicators have rolled into what looks like a potentially strong bearish signal, in line with the ongoing down trend in gold stocks, that could take the ETF down to recent lows near $13 or lower.


In The News, Story Stocks and Earnings

Joy Global, maker and servicer of surface mining equipment, reported earnings before the bell. The company reported a miss, -26% below estimated, driven by "one of the most challenging (business environment) seen in decades". Along with the miss on earnings Joy reported a -31% decline in bookings, a -16% decline in services bookings and a -10% decline in net sales over the same period a year ago. Along with the drop in commodity pricing the shift away from coal is having an impact on business. Execs lowered guidance as well, to a range around $1.80, far below consensus estimates in the range of $2.50. Shares of the stock lost more than -15% and set a new 6 year low.


Verizon announced an increase to its dividend this morning before the market opened. The company raised the quarterly dividend by 2.7% to $0.565, or $2.26 per share annually. This is the 9th year that Verizon has raised its dividend in some way and, based on earnings expectations for the next quarter, may not be the last. The telecommunications, according to data from FactSet, is expected to lead earnings growth in the 3rd quarter and the full year with increases of over +18% and +16.9%. Shares of the stock gained more than 2% on an intra-day basis but gains were capped at the short term moving average.


Campbell's Soup Company reported an earnings beat on revenue slightly below expectations. The company reported adjusted earnings of $0.43 versus the expectation for $0.42. Fourth quarter sales came in -9% lower than the fourth quarter of last year but were negatively impacted by a calendar shift which decreased the number of weeks in the quarter by 1 compared to last year's fiscal fourth quarter. Along with the report execs reaffirmed guidance in a range of $2.53-$2.58, a nickel above consensus. Shares of the stock dropped in the pre-market session, gapped lower, moved lower to test support but rallied off the low to close with a gain greater than 1.5%.


Medtronic, a global leader in medical devices, released earnings before the bell and beat on the top and bottom line. Despite the beat company execs reaffirmed guidance in a tight range around current consensus. Shares of the stock were able to open strong but fell back during the day. Shares were down -2.25% with strong bearish momentum by close of the day.


The Indices

The market tried to rally and extend yesterday's bounce from support but was not able to hold the gains. Most indices tested previous support/resistance lines in today's session, lines that capped gains and sent them back to near term support. Today's action was led by the Dow Jones Industrial Average which gained 0.14%. The blue chips created a doji candle with long upper shadow that may become a shooting star/pin bar type candle if confirmed. This candle often precedes a decline and could result in a full retest of recent lows. The indicators remain bearish and consistent with such a test, in particular MACD which is convergent with the recent low. Support target is just below yesterday's open near 16,000 with resistance just above today's candle near 16,575.


The S&P 500 made the 2nd biggest gain, 0.12%, and also created a possible pin bar doji. Today's action crossed above my resistance line at 1,960 and the recently broken long term trend line, where bullish action was capped and reversed. This confirms resistance at the trend line and is accompanied by bearish indications. Bearish MACD momentum is in declining but it remains convergent with the recently set low and suggestive of a retest of the low. Stochastic is moving lower in both the near and short term, also suggestive of lower prices. Resistance is the bottom of the trend line, near 1,960, with support targets near 1,900 and just below that near 1,875.


The Dow Jones Transportation Average made the smallest gain, 0.07%, and also created a pin bar like doji. The difference here is that is a small doji, including the upper shadow, and may in fact be just a spinning top. Also, where the first two are testing resistance levels, this index has not yet reached resistance, next target will be the short term moving average. The indicators are consistent with a possible retest of support, MACD is convergent with the recent low and stochastic is still moving lower, but yesterday's candle appears to be confirming support at/near the 7,750 level.


The NASDAQ Composite is the only index of the four majors that did not close in the green. The tech heavy index flirted with lower prices for most of the day, after an initial push higher, and closed with a loss of -0.35%. Today's candle is small bodied but confirms the presence of resistance, at least on a technical basis, at the November 2014 all time high near 4,800. The indicators are mixed, bearish MACD has declined to near zero and stochastic has begun to move higher, but are consistent with a possible move lower to retest support with a target near 4,500.


It looks like the indices have hit a bottom and begun to bounce higher, but is also looks like the lows, or at least support, will be tested again before/if the bull market will resume. I remain bullish into the long term, on earnings and the economy, but with 3rd quarters earnings expectations weakening like they are it is very possible we have not seen the low of this correction.

There are lots of worries weighing the market down and most, if not all, will still be here next week so there is significant risk of continued downside. Of them all only the FOMC rate hike time-line has any hope of being resolved in the near future and its effect on the market is highly questionable. In between now and then there will be plenty of headlines to move the market up or down, whichever way the wind is blowing.

Tomorrow could be a big day, the NFP is coming out and could easily move the market. A strong number is good for economic expansion and ordinarily bullish, but at this time would also help cement the idea of a September rate hike and possibly bearish in the near term. Longer term I stand by my opinion that a rate hike is overdue and would be a sign of US economic health.

The market will be closed on Monday because of the Labor Day holiday so tomorrow's trading will have an extra twist to it as market participants position for the long weekend.

Until then, remember the trend!

Thomas Hughes


New Option Plays

Correction? What Correction?

by James Brown

Click here to email James Brown


NEW DIRECTIONAL CALL PLAYS

Constellation Brands Inc. - STZ - close: 129.00 change: +0.00

Stop Loss: None, no stop at this time.
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: Unopened
Average Daily Volume = 1.1 million
Entry on September -- at $---.--
Listed on September 3, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to October option expiration
New Positions: Yes, see below

Company Description

Trade Description:
Major beer brands have suffered from the boom in craft beers. Yet STZ's Corona and Modelo have seen significant growth, especially in the U.S. The company's earnings and revenue growth has fueled a rally in the stock that has outpaced the major marker indices.

STZ is in the consumer goods sector. According to the company, "Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ and STZ.B) is a leading international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits with operations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and Italy. In 2014, Constellation was one of the top performing stocks in the S&P 500 Consumer Staples Index. Constellation is the number three beer company in the U.S. with high-end, iconic imported brands including Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Negra Modelo and Pacifico. Constellation is also the world`s leader in premium wine, selling great brands that people love including Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Kim Crawford, Rex Goliath, Mark West, Franciscan Estate, Ruffino and Jackson-Triggs. The company`s premium spirits brands include SVEDKA Vodka and Black Velvet Canadian Whisky.

Based in Victor, N.Y., the company believes that industry leadership involves a commitment to brand-building, our trade partners, the environment, our investors and to consumers around the world who choose our products when celebrating big moments or enjoying quiet ones. Founded in 1945, Constellation has grown to become a significant player in the beverage alcohol industry with more than 100 brands in its portfolio, sales in approximately 100 countries, about 40 facilities and approximately 7,200 talented employees."

This past January STZ reported their fiscal year 2015 Q3 results that beat analysts' estimates on both the top and bottom line. Management raised their 2015 guidance. Their Q4 results were announced on April 9th. Earnings were up +37% from a year ago to $1.03 per share. That was 9 cents above estimates. Revenues were up +5% to $1.35 billion. Gross margins improved to 44%.

STZ said they're seeing strong demand for their Mexican beer brands Corona and Modelo. They're gaining market share in both the spirits and wine categories as well.

The company said 2015 sales were up +24% from the prior year to $6.03 billion. STZ's management guided in-line for fiscal 2016 and forecast earnings of $4.70 to $4.90 per share. That compares to 2015's profit of $4.17 per share (essentially +12% to +17.5% earnings growth).

STZ's most recent earnings report was July 1st. Wall Street was expecting a profit of $1.24 per share on revenues of $1.62 billion. STZ narrowly beat expectations with a profit f $1.26 per share. Revenues were up +7% to $1.63 billion. Management then raised their full-year 2016 earnings guidance from $4.70-4.90 to $4.80-5.00 a share.

The stock did not get much of a reaction from its earnings news or improved guidance. There was a brief spike higher but it didn't last. STZ spent almost the entire month of July consolidating sideways.

The technical picture changed in August. STZ began to rally and displayed impressive strength with a climb from its July 27th low near $115 to $130 by August 18th. Then STZ gave it all back in about three days as the U.S. market tanked. The sharp correction lower saw STZ plunge back toward support in the $114-115 area. What is shocking is how fast STZ has recovered. Buyers just poured into this stock and now STZ is testing its all-time highs near $130 again.

While the three-day crash is a bit terrifying the relative strength in STZ's rebound is impressive. I would consider this an aggressive, higher-risk trade due to STZ's volatility. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $130.55. We'll exit prior to the October option expiration.

Trigger @ $130.55

- Suggested Positions -

Buy the OCT $135 CALL (STZ151016C135) current ask $2.00
option price is a current quote and not a suggested entry price.

Entry disclaimer: To avoid an unfavorable entry point, we will not launch a new play if the stock gaps open more than $1.00 past our suggested entry point.

Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

Daily Chart:

Weekly Chart:



In Play Updates and Reviews

U.S. Stocks Narrow Ahead Of Jobs Number

by James Brown

Click here to email James Brown

Editor's Note:

European markets delivered widespread gains. Japan posted a gain as well while the China market was closed. Strength overseas gave U.S. stocks a boost this morning but gains faded. Investors are waiting for the jobs report tomorrow morning.

We are giving NFLX a stop loss at $98.45.

MLM, POST, and TJX hit our bullish entry triggers today.


Current Portfolio:


CALL Play Updates

The Walt Disney Co. - DIS - close: 101.99 change: +0.10

Stop Loss: None. No stop at this time.
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: -8.3%
Average Daily Volume = 8.5 million
Entry on August 27 at $101.35
Listed on August 24, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to October option expiration
New Positions: see below

Comments:
09/03/15: Stocks closed relatively unchanged on Thursday as investors await tomorrow's jobs report. DIS followed suit and closed virtually unchanged on the session.

The $95 level looks like support while $105 looks like resistance. No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: August 24, 2015:
We are bringing DIS back. The sell-off from its August high has been extreme. At its low today near $90.00 DIS was down -26% from its high. The retreat offers a lot of opportunity. Jump to the bottom of this play update for our entry point strategy.

Disney reported earnings on August 4th and beat the street with earnings of $1.45 compared to estimates for $1.42. The very next day shares fell -$11.00 to $110. The sell-off in DIS stock has continued thanks to a global market meltdown.

We think this pullback in the stock is way overdone. Disney posted $13.1 billion in revenue compared to estimates for $13.2 billion. That minor miss was not the reason for the huge decline in the stock. Disney said revenues in its cable products rose +5% BUT they had seen some pressure from online streaming. Subscription growth to the ESPN cable bundle had slowed, not declined, just slowed.

There are multiple reasons. There are no major sporting events this summer like the World Cup, Olympics, etc. Some consumers are cutting the cord to cable because they are now getting their TV programming from Netflix, Hulu, etc. Cable is expensive compared to the streaming options. The drop off in ESPN growth is not related specifically to Disney. CEO Bob Iger said subscriptions would pick back up in 2016 and expand sharply in 2017 thanks to a flood of sporting events due to come online next year.

Disney has already purchased the rights to nearly every sporting event available in the next five years but the old contracts with the prior rights holders have yet to expire. As those contracts expire and the new Disney contracts begin the content on ESPN will surge.

This slowdown in ESPN growth should be ignored. This is just a small part of the Disney empire and everything else is growing like crazy. Parks and resorts revenue rose +4%. Consumer products revenue rose +6% thanks to Frozen, Avengers and Star Wars merchandise. The only weak spot was interactive gaming, which declined -$58 million to $208 million. Disney expects that to rebound in Q4 as new games are released and holiday shopping begins.

The real key here is the theme parks, cruises and most of all the movie franchises. They have five Star Wars movies in the pipeline and the one opening this December is expected to gross $2.2 billion and provide Disney with more than $1 billion in profits. This is just one of the blockbusters they have scheduled.

Analysts are claiming Disney shares could add 25% before the end of December because of their strong movie schedule and coming attractions. The Avengers movie in April was a hit and added greatly to their Q2 earnings. However, that will just be a drop in the bucket compared to the money they are going to make on the Star Wars reboot in December. That is the first of five Star Wars movies on the calendar. Remember, Disney now has Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars (Lucasfilm) all under the same roof.

Disney Movie Schedule (partial)

Dec. 18, 2015 - "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens"
2016 - "The Incredibles 2"
2016 - "Frozen" sequel
April 29, 2016 - "Captain America: Civil War"
June 17, 2016 - "Finding Dory"
Dec. 16, 2016 - "Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One"
May 26, 2017 - "Star Wars: Episode VIII"
June 16, 2017 - "Toy Story 4"
Late 2017 - "Thor: Ragnarok"
May 4, 2018 - "Avengers: Infinity War - Part I"
2018 - "Untitled Star Wars Anthology Project"
May 3, 2019 - "Avengers: Infinity War - Part II"
2019 - "Star Wars: Episode IX"

The four-week drop in DIS' stock has sent shares back to their 2015 lows. During the panic this morning investors bought the dip at round-number support near $90.00 (FYI: the February 2015 low was $90.06). When the market bounced DIS rallied more than +10% only to stall at round-number resistance at $100.00. DIS closed right in the middle of this $90-100 trading range today.

We want to be ready no matter what direction DIS moves. That's why we are listing two different entry point strategies.

Our first plan is to buy calls on a dip at $91.00 should DIS dip toward today's low. The second entry trigger is to buy calls on a breakout at $101.00 since the $100 level was resistance.

We are not listing a stop loss tonight. The market volatility has been extreme. The intraday moves in the market are a little ridiculous and nearly impossible to trade around if you're not glued to your screen and day trading. You can manage your risk by limiting your position size. We'll add a stop loss once the dust settles, likely in a couple of days.

- Suggested Positions -

Long OCT $105 CALL (DIS151016C105) entry $2.52

08/27/15 triggered on gap open at $101.35, suggested entry was $101.00
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Facebook, Inc. - FB - close: 88.15 change: -1.74

Stop Loss: No stop at the moment (See August 24th update)
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: +238.1%
Average Daily Volume = 27.3 million
Entry on August 24 at $77.03
Listed on August 20, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to October option expiration
New Positions: see below

Comments:
09/03/15: Big, high-profile tech names like FB underperformed today. Shares slipped -1.9%, underperforming the broader market. FB has yet to break its bearish trend of lower highs. If shares dip again tomorrow the nearest support is probably $85.00.

No new positions at this time.

Trade Description:
Facebook needs no introduction. It is the largest social media platform on the planet. As of June 30th, 2015 the company reported 1.49 billion monthly active users and 968 million daily active users. If FB were a country that makes them the most populous country on the planet. China has 1.35 billion while India has 1.25 billion people.

Earlier this year (March) the company announced a new mobile payment service through FB's messenger app. The new service will compete with similar programs through PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Wallet.

Meanwhile business at FB is great. According to IBD, FB's Q4 earnings, announced in January, were up +69% from a year ago. Revenues were up +49%. The company released their Q1 results on April 22nd. Earnings were up +20% to $0.42 per share, which beat estimates. Revenues were up +41.6% to $3.54 billion in the first quarter.

FB's Q2 results, announced July 29th, were also better than expected. Earnings were $0.50 per share, which was three cents above estimates. Revenues surged +39% to $4.04 billion, above expectations. Daily active users were up +17%. Mobile daily active users were up +29%. Monthly actives were up +13%. Wall Street expects income to surge next year with +12% profit growth in 2015 but +32% profit growth in 2016.

FB continues to see growth among its niche properties. The company bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012. Last late year Instagram surpassed Twitter with more than 300 million active users. FB is also a dominant player in the messenger industry with more than 600 million users on WhatsApp and 145 million users on Facebook Messenger.

FB has not yet started to truly monetize its WhatsApp and Messenger properties. It's just now starting to include ads in Instagram. Eventually, with audiences this big, FB will be able to generate a lot of cash through additional advertising. On the subject of Instagram advertising, FB just released the advertising API for the photo-sharing service in August 2015. The API or application programming interface will allow third-party marketers to plug into the system to buy advertising. Instagram could soon rival Google and Twitter for the online ad market. According to EMarketer, Instagram will surpass Google and Twitter for U.S. mobile display ad revenue by 2017.

Since we are talking about advertising, this year has seen FB jump into the video ad market with both feet and it's off to a strong start. FB claims that it's already up to four billion video views a day. They had 315 billion video views in Q1 2015. That's pretty significant. YouTube had 756 billion video views in Q1 but YouTube has been around for ten years (FYI: YouTube is owned by Google). FB has only recently focused on video.

Wall Street is growing more optimistic as FB develops its blooming video ad business, its Instagram business, and messaging properties. In the last several weeks the stock has seen a number of price target upgrades. Bank of America upped their FB price target from $95 to $105. Cantor Fitzergerald upped theirs to $100. Brean Capital raised theirs to $108. Piper Jaffray upgraded their FB target to $120.

After surging to new highs in mid July shares of FB had been consolidating sideways in the $92-99 zone. The stock broke down through the bottom of that trading range today with a -4.98% plunge toward technical support at the simple 50-dma. The broader market looks very vulnerable right now with the S&P 500, the NASDAQ composite, and the small cap Russell 2000 all piercing key support levels with today's sell-off. If this market weakness continues we want to take advantage of it.

Stocks tend to overreact to big market moves, especially to the downside. FB is no exception. When traders panic they sell everything. We want to be ready to buy FB when it nears support. Prior resistance near $85-86 should be new support. Tonight we are suggesting a buy-the-dip trigger to buy FB calls at $85.50. If triggered we'll start with a stop at $81.40, just below the simple 200-dma.

- Suggested Positions -

Long OCT $90 CALL (FB151016C90) entry $1.05

08/27/15 Zuckerberg announced that FB hit a new milestone - one billion people used FB in a single day.
08/24/15 Strategy Update = remove the stop loss. Expect more volatility
08/24/15 Trade opens. FB gapped down at $77.03.
08/22/15 Adjusted entry point. FB missed our buy-the-dip trigger at $85.50 by a few cents on Friday. We want to buy calls at the opening bell on Monday morning, August 24th.
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


iShares Russell 2000 ETF - IWM - close: 113.73 change: -0.18

Stop Loss: No stop at the moment (See August 24th update)
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: -4.3%
Average Daily Volume = 31 million
Entry on August 25 at $114.05
Listed on August 22, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to October option expiration
New Positions: see below

Comments:
09/03/15: Early morning gains faded and the IWM settled with a fractional loss. My crystal ball is out for repairs but I'm going to venture a guess on tomorrow anyway. If the jobs number comes in stronger than expected, strong enough the market thinks the Fed will raise rates in September, then stocks could sell-off. If the market declines on rate hike fears then we could see the IWM drop toward last week's lows near $110 or even its Monday low near $108.25.

Note I said the market "could" sell off on a strong jobs number. No one knows and that is why stocks closed flat on the session.

No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: August 22, 2015:
Stocks are getting crushed. Worries about a slowing Chinese economy worsened this week. This China concern combined with uncertainty about the Federal Reserve raising rates was enough of a catalyst to spark a serious sell-off. The U.S. market just experienced its worst weekly decline in more than four years.

Friday's action looks like a capitulation sell-off. Volume soared. It was the heaviest volume day of the year. Most of that volume was down volume. The S&P 500 posted zero new highs on Friday. All ten sectors were in the red. The two-day (Thursday-Friday) decline has pushed all of the major U.S. indices into negative territory for 2015 (although the NASDAQ composite is only -0.6% year to date).

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ-100 index are both in correction territory, which is a decline of more than -10% from its highs. The small cap Russell 2000 index also hit correction territory on Friday. The tone on Friday was fearful with the volatility index (VIX), a.k.a. the fear gauge, soaring +46% to a new high for 2015. One CNBC commentator described the action on Friday as investors just "puking" up stocks to get out of the market.

According to 18th century British nobleman Baron Rothschild, "The time to buy is when there's blood in the streets." We think Friday's market sell-off qualifies as a "bloody" day for stocks.

Did you notice that the Dow Industrials, the NASDAQ composite, and the S&P 500 were all down -3.1% (or worse) but the small cap Russell 2000 index was only down -1.3% on Friday? This relative strength is a reflection of investors' fears. If China is the bogeyman then no one wants big multi-nationals that do a lot of business overseas. Small cap companies tend to be more U.S. focused. They do less business overseas and should have less exposure to China or a rising U.S. dollar.

Tonight we are suggesting a bullish trade to buy calls on the IWM, which is the small cap Russell 2000 ETF. The afternoon peak on Friday was $116.66 for the IWM. We are suggesting a trigger to buy calls if the IWM trades at $116.85 or higher.

Please note that this is just a trade. We are not calling a bottom for the stock market. On a short-term basis stocks are very oversold and due for a bounce. The big cap indices (S&P 500, NASDAQ, and Dow Industrials) all closed on their low for the day. Normally that's a bearish indication for the next trading day. There is a very good chance that stocks see another spike lower on Monday morning before bouncing. That's one reason why we are suggesting a trigger to buy IWM calls on a bounce.

- Suggested Positions -

Long NOV $115 CALL (IWM151120C115) entry $4.15

08/25/15 Trade opened this morning. The IWM gapped higher at $114.05
08/24/15 Adjust Entry Strategy = new entry = buy IWM calls at the opening bell tomorrow (Tuesday, August 25th). No stop loss at the moment.
Previous entry trigger was $116.85
08/24/15 Adjust option strike = use the November $115 calls
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. - MLM - close: 167.91 change: -0.64

Stop Loss: None, no stop at this time
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: -28.6%
Average Daily Volume = 855 thousand
Entry on September 03 at $170.46
Listed on September 2, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to October option expiration
New Positions: see below

Comments:
09/03/15: The MLM trade is open. Shares rallied this morning and hit $172.00 at its peak. Our suggested entry point was $170.25 but MLM actually gapped higher intraday so our entry is $170.46. The retreat back below $170.00 is worrisome. I would wait for a new rally past $170.25 before considering new bullish positions.

Trade Description: September 2, 2015:
Industrial sector stocks have not had a good year. The IYJ industrial ETF is down -7.4%. The XLI industrial ETF is down -9.7% year to date. Yet shares of MLM are up +52.7% for 2015. (for the record the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down -8.3%).

If you're not familiar with MLM, here is a brief description, "Martin Marietta, an American-based company and a member of the S&P 500 Index, is a leading supplier of aggregates and heavy building materials, with operations spanning 32 states, Canada and the Caribbean. Dedicated teams at Martin Marietta supply the resources for the roads, sidewalks and foundations on which we live. Martin Marietta's Magnesia Specialties business provides a full range of magnesium oxide, magnesium hydroxide and dolomitic lime products."

If you look at a year-to-date chart of MLM then you probably noticed the huge rally in MLM back in February. That was a reaction to its 2014 Q4 results. Earnings were above expectations and revenues soared +57% from a year ago to $856 million, which was also above analysts' estimates.

The company also announced a 20 million share stock buyback program back in February. Now 20 million shares may not sound like much but MLM only has 67.48 million shares outstanding.

The stock spent the following eight weeks slowly drifting lower. It finally found support in the $135.00 area. Then suddenly MLM found its mojo again when the company reported its 2015 Q1 results on April 30th. The funny thing is MLM actually missed Wall Street estimates. Analysts were expecting a profit of $0.09-0.12 a share for the first quarter. MLM only delivered $0.07 but it was better than a loss of $0.47 a year ago. 2015 Q1 was the first time MLM had reported a profit in the first quarter since 2008.

MLM said revenues rose +61% from a year ago to $691.4 million. That too was below expectations but traders didn't care. Management said their margins improved 500 basis points. Business was strong enough they were able to raise prices +11%.

MLM's Q2 results, announced on August 4th, were not quite as good. The company missed estimates. Wall Street was expecting a profit of $1.60 per share on revenues of $1.01 billion. MLM only delivered $1.22 per share (relatively flat from a year ago) as revenues were up +37.7% to $921 million. Management did say their gross margins improved 350 basis points. They also provided a relatively optimistic outlook for the rest of 2015 and 2016 albeit without significantly raising their estimates.

The company said this year was the second wettest year in the last 100 years. A lot of companies postponed construction projects, which delayed sales for MLM. They expect this pent up demand to return.

Investors must have been in a forgiving mood because shares of MLM soared following this Q2 report. The stock delivered a string of all-time highs before collapsing during the stock market's recent correction. Shares fell from $175.00 to $$143.16 (at its intraday low on Aug. 24th) in just four days. That's a -$32.00 drop (a -18% correction).

Since that market correction MLM has rebounded back above previous resistance at $156 and $160. Shares were showing relative strength today with a +2.95% gain and a close above all its key moving averages. The point & figure chart has gone from bullish to bearish and back to bullish with a $197.00 target. The next hurdle could be potential round-number resistance at $170.00. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $170.25.

- Suggested Positions -

Long OCT $175 CALL (mlm151016C175) entry $5.60

09/03/15 triggered on intraday gap at $170.46, suggested entry was $170.25
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Netflix, Inc. - NFLX - close: 101.06 change: -4.38

Stop Loss: $98.45
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: -54.9%
Average Daily Volume = 8.0 million
Entry on August 27 at $114.94
Listed on August 25, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to Earnings in October
New Positions: see below

Comments:
09/03/15: NFLX is not having a good week. Shares underperformed the market again today with a -4.1% decline. The stock has been bouncing along round-number support at the $100.00 level.

Tonight we are adding a stop loss at $98.45. If shares continue to breakdown then we want out.

No new trades at this time.

Trade Description: August 25, 2015:
Some of the market's best-loved stocks have been crushed in the last couple of weeks. NFLX is one of them but this big decline offers a big opportunity.

If you're not familiar with NFLX, here is a brief summary from the company, "Netflix is the world's leading Internet television network with over 62 million members in over 50 countries enjoying more than 100 million hours of TV shows and movies per day, including original series, documentaries and feature films. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments."

NFLX is cashing in on a massive sea change in consumer media viewing habits. Traditional TV is dead. Cable is worried as more and more consumers "cut their cord" and only consume media on streaming services. NFLX is the leading streaming service in the world.

The company said their customers watched over 10 billion hours of streaming content in the first quarter of 2015. That is a +20% jump from a year ago. The company has been focused on building up their own original content creation and expanding overseas. Just this week NFLX announced a deal with Japanese company SoftBank that would bring NFLX to Japan. Softbank is a bit of a technology conglomerate with stakes in multiple companies. One of their biggest investments is an 80% stake in Sprint (S). NFLX also struck a deal with T-Mobile. There seems to be a trend here of consumers, Netflix, and their smart phones.

The carnage over the last several days has been brutal. Shares of NFLX have plunged from its recent highs above $125.00 to almost $85.00 during Monday's market crash. Today the stock bounced with a range of $101.52-107.88. There is no denying the volatility in NFLX's stock. However, multiple analysts have said that investors should buy the "market darlings" like NFLX during this sell-off. They believe stocks like NFLX will outperform in the next few weeks and over the next few months.

Prior to the market's crash over the last few days analysts were upgrading their price targets on NFLX into the $140 area.

Tonight we are listing two different entry triggers to buy calls.

NOTE: This is an aggressive, higher-risk trade. NFLX options are expensive and the stock is volatile. We are not listing a stop loss at this time. Traders can try and limit their risk by adjusting their position size.

If NFLX rallies from current levels then we want to buy calls if shares traded at $110.65. We'll use the November $120 call.

If NFXL sinks from current levels then we want to buy calls on a dip at $92.00. We'll use the November $100 call.

- Suggested Positions -

Long NOV $120 CALL (NFLX151120C120) entry $12.65

09/03/15 new stop loss @ $98.45
08/27/15 Trade is open. NFLX gapped higher at $114.94
08/26/15 removed the gap-open disclaimer on entry points for NFLX
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Post Holdings, Inc. - POST - close: 65.53 change: -0.03

Stop Loss: None, no stop at this time.
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: -17.7%
Average Daily Volume = 1.0 million
Entry on September 03 at $66.55
Listed on August 29, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to October option expiration
New Positions: see below

Comments:
09/03/15: POST rallied to a new all-time high midday and almost hit $67.00. Our trigger to launch bullish positions was hit at $66.55. Unfortunately POST, like the market, retreated from its highs and closed almost unchanged on the session.

I would wait for a new rise past $66.50 before considering new positions.

Trade Description: August 29, 2015:
Shares of ready-to-eat cereal maker POST have shown surprising strength this month and the last few days during the market turmoil. POST is also poised to be one of the better performing stocks this year with a +57% gain year to date.

POST is in the consumer goods sector. According to the company, "Post Holdings, Inc., headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is a consumer packaged goods holding company operating in the center-of-the-store, private label, refrigerated and active nutrition food categories. Through its Post Consumer Brands business, Post is a leader in the ready-to-eat cereal category and offers a broad portfolio that includes recognized brands such as Honey Bunches of Oats(R), Pebbles(TM), Great Grains(R), Grape-Nuts(R), Honeycomb(R), Frosted Mini Spooners(R), Golden Puffs(R), Cinnamon Toasters(R), Fruity Dyno-Bites(R), Cocoa Dyno-Bites(R), Berry Colossal Crunch(R) and Malt-O-Meal(R) hot wheat cereal.

Post's Michael Foods Group supplies value-added egg products, refrigerated potato products, cheese and other dairy case products and dry pasta products to the foodservice, food ingredient and private label retail channels and markets retail brands including All Whites(R), Better'n Eggs(R), Simply Potatoes(R) and Crystal Farms(R). Post's active nutrition platform aids consumers in adopting healthier lifestyles through brands such as PowerBar(R), Premier Protein(R) and Dymatize(R). Post's Private Brands Group manufactures private label peanut butter and other nut butters, dried fruits, baking and snacking nuts, cereal and granola."

The earnings picture has improved significantly. Back in February 2015 POST reported its Q1 results that missed estimates by a wide margin. Yet the last couple of quarters the company has seen earnings and revenues soar. Their Q2 report said revenues were up +140%. Their Q3 results, announced on August 6th, reported revenue growth of +91%. Earnings were $0.27 per share, which was $0.20 better than expected. Management raised their full year guidance from $585-610 million up to $635-650 million. A lot of POST's revenue growth has been due to its aggressive acquisition strategy but Wall Street doesn't seem to care.

As a matter of fact, Wall Street has ignored POST's warnings about its egg supply. The company uses a lot of eggs and the U.S. egg-production industry has been hammered by an outbreak of Avian Influenza (AI). The last significant outbreak of AI was back in the early 1980s. According to CNN the current outbreak has been causing havoc since December 2014 and 35 million egg-laying hens have been killed. The price of eggs surged this summer but looks like it may have peaked.

Back in May this year POST warned that the outbreak had infected a significant portion of their company-owned flocks and 35% of their egg commitments could be impacted. Fortunately, a few weeks later they said the damage may be down to just 25% of their egg supply but they still expected a $20 million hit to earnings. The market doesn't seem to care.

Instead POST seems to be getting a boost from the crop outlook for the rest of 2015. The USDA raised their estimates for crop productions. The harvest this year could see record soybean numbers. Corn could produce the third largest crop on record. This is pushing commodity prices lower, which is a bullish tailwind for cereal makers like POST.

Shares of POST have been very strong this month. The market's reaction to their Q3 results produced a bullish breakout in POST with a rally past resistance near $55.00 and a surge to all-time highs. When the market crashed late last week and this past Monday, shares of POST did see a decline but it was minor compared to the rest of the market. POST didn't even dip to support at $60.00.

Today POST is surging. Shares are poised to breakout past their mid-August high. If that happens POST could see more short covering. The most recent data listed short interest at 19% of the 54.2 million share float. The point & figure chart is bullish and forecasting at $78.00 target. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to open bullish positions at $66.55.

- Suggested Positions -

Long OCT $70 CALL (POST151016C70) entry $2.43

09/03/15 triggered @ $66.55
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Skechers USA Inc. - SKX - close: 136.77 change: -2.61

Stop Loss: None, no stop at this time.
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: Unopened
Average Daily Volume = 1.3 million
Entry on August -- at $---.--
Listed on August 27, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to the 3-for-1 stock split in mid October
New Positions: Yes, see below

Comments:
09/03/15: SKX looks weak here. Shares underperformed the market with a -1.8% decline. The stock looks like it's about to test short-term support near $135.00 or its simple 50-dma near $133.50.

We are still on the sidelines. Currently our suggested entry point is $145.15.

Trade Description: August 27, 2015:
SKX seems to be doing everything right and investors have noticed. Shares are one of the best performing stocks this year. At its early August high near $160.00 a share SKX was up +190% for the year. Today SKX is only up +158% year to date. The company is growing faster than rivals Nike (NKE), Under Armour (UA), and Adidas.

SKX is in the consumer goods sector. According to the company, "SKECHERS USA, Inc., based in Manhattan Beach, California, designs, develops and markets a diverse range of lifestyle footwear for men, women and children, as well as performance footwear for men and women. SKECHERS footwear is available in the United States and over 120 countries and territories worldwide via department and specialty stores, more than 1,100 SKECHERS retail stores, and the Company's e-commerce website. The Company manages its international business through a network of global distributors, joint venture partners in Asia, and 12 wholly-owned subsidiaries in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Japan and throughout Europe."

Earnings have been great. SKX reported their Q1 results on April 22nd. Results of $1.10 per share beat estimates by nine cents. Revenues soared +40% to $768 million, above expectations. Their Q1 earnings were +80% higher from a year ago. These results were in spite of the West Coast port slowdown.

The winning results continued in the second quarter. SKX reported their Q2 results on July 29th and they were record-breaking for the company. Wall Street was expecting a profit of $1.01 per share on revenues of $740 million. SKX blew those numbers away with a profit of $1.55 per share. That's a +128% improvement from a year ago. Revenues were up +36.4% to $800 million.

Under Armour's revenues were up only +28% and Nike's were only up +5%. It probably helped that SKX was able to pass along a +9% increase in their average selling price.

Naturally management was bullish. David Weinberg, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, commented on his company's quarterly results, saying,

"Our record first half of 2015 follows a record 2014, and is a result of the universal demand for our wide assortment of diverse footwear collections for men, women and kids. At no other time in the history of our company have so many product lines resonated with consumers, giving us a broad base to continue to build upon and grow. With increased year-over-year backlogs at the end of June, strong incoming order rates and July sales, as well as the positive sell-through reports from wholesale and an additional 125 to 135 Company-owned and third-party-owned Skechers retail stores planned to open later this year, we believe that we will continue to achieve new sales and profit records through 2015. With $513.9 million in cash, inventories in line with sales, and improved efficiencies and capacity in both our North American and European distribution centers, we believe we are well prepared for our planned growth. We remain comfortable with the analysts' current consensus estimates for the back half of 2015."
Shares of SKX soared to new highs following their Q2 results. A month later, August 21st, SKX announced a 3-for-1 stock split. Here's a bit from their press release, the "Board of Directors has approved a three-for-one split of the Company's Class A and Class B common stock that will be distributed in the form of a stock dividend." The stock split is subject to shareholder approval. They're holding a shareholder meeting on September 24th, 2015. If approved the stock split should take place on October 16th.

Odds are pretty good that SKX could see a run up into its stock split. During the market's recent turmoil SKX managed to maintain its long-term up trend. Shares filled the gap from late July and bounced off support near $120.00. Today's high was $144.86. We are suggesting a trigger to buy calls if SKX trades at $145.15.

We will plan on exiting prior to the 3-for-1 split.

Trigger @ $145.15

- Suggested Positions -

Buy the OCT $150 CALL (SKX151016C150)

Entry disclaimer: To avoid an unfavorable entry point, we will not launch a new play if the stock gaps open more than $1.00 past our suggested entry point.

Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Stamps.com Inc. - STMP - close: 80.99 change: +0.06

Stop Loss: None, no stop at this time.
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: -44.2%
Average Daily Volume = 222 thousand
Entry on August 31 at $83.55
Listed on August 29, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to October option expiration
New Positions: see below

Comments:
09/03/15: Thursday proved to be a very quiet day for shares of STMP. The stock drifted sideways in a narrow range.

I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Trade Description: August 29, 2015:
STMP is another stock showing significant relative strength this year. Shares were not immune to the market's recent sell-off. STMP fell about -14% but investors bought the dip near support. Even with the pullback STMP maintained its long-term up trend. The recent bounce has lifted STMP to a +73% gain year to date.

STMP is in the technology sector. They're considered part of the application software industry. According to the company, "Stamps.com is the leading provider of Internet-based mailing and shipping services to over 500,000 customers. Stamps.com's services enable customers to print U.S. Postal Service-approved postage with just a computer, printer and Internet connection, right from their homes or offices. The company has been the leader in transforming the world of mailing and shipping for small business owners, e-commerce sellers, high volume shippers, and enterprise organizations alike."

The company has been showing very strong earnings and revenue growth. They have beaten Wall Street's estimates on both the top and bottom line the last three quarters in a row. Q4 revenues were up +29%. Q1 revenues were up +32%. Q2 revenues, announced on August 6th, were up +41% from a year ago to $48.4 million. Q2 earnings were $0.97 per share, which beat estimates by 26 cents. STMP management has raised their guidance two quarters in a row.

Ken McBride, Stamps.com's chairman and CEO, commented on his company's recent quarter, "We are pleased with our continued strong revenue and earnings growth this quarter. We achieved record performance across multiple financial and customer metrics including total revenue, core mailing and shipping revenue, non-GAAP earnings per share, paid customers and average revenue per paid customer. In addition, we saw continued growth across all of our business segments and we experienced positive contributions from our ShipStation and ShipWorks subsidiaries. We remain excited about our future prospects which led us to increase our guidance for 2015."

STMP raised their 2015 earnings guidance from $2.55-2.90 per share to $3.10-3.50. Wall Street estimates were around $2.90.

The market's reaction to the better than expected earnings, revenues, and bullish guidance launched STMP to levels not seen since early 2000. STMP closed at $88.25 on August 19th, just before the market's correction. The pullback in STMP saw shares decline to support near $75-76 and its rising 50-dma. You can see on the weekly chart that STMP did not break its long-term up trend. The point & figure chart has already reversed back into positive territory and is forecasting at $132.00 target.

Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to launch bullish positions at $83.55.

- Suggested Positions -

Long OCT $85 CALL (STMP151016C85) entry $4.30

08/31/15 triggered @ $83.55
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


The TJX Companies - TJX - close: 71.44 change: +0.60

Stop Loss: None. No stop at this time
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: -12.1%
Average Daily Volume = 3.0 million
Entry on September 03 at $72.05
Listed on August 26, 2015
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
09/03/15: We have been patient with TJX and shares displayed relative strength midday. The stock finally crossed above short-term resistance at $72.00 and hit our suggested entry point at $72.05. TJX did pare its gains but closed up +0.8$, outperforming the broader market.

Let us hope the market doesn't collapse on the jobs number tomorrow. I would wait for a rally past today's high ($72.18) before launching new positions.

Trade Description: August 26, 2015
Believe it or not but there are only 120 days until Christmas 2015. Most of us are just adjusting to school starting again but retailers are already planning for the 2015 holiday shopping season. Historically the time to buy retailers has been early fall (i.e. right now) and then sell on Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving). TJX could be a great way to play that seasonal trend.

TJX is in the services sector. According to the company, "The TJX Companies, Inc. is the leading off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions in the U.S. and worldwide. As of May 2, 2015, the end of the Company's first quarter, the Company operated a total of 3,441 stores in seven countries, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Poland, and Austria, and three e-commerce sites. These include 1,126 T.J. Maxx, 987 Marshalls, 498 HomeGoods and 6 Sierra Trading Post stores, as well as tjmaxx.com and sierratradingpost.com in the United States; 239 Winners, 97 HomeSense, and 39 Marshalls stores in Canada; and 416 T.K. Maxx and 33 HomeSense stores, as well as tkmaxx.com, in Europe."

Just a couple of days before the market collapsed TJX reported its Q2 2016 earnings results (on August 18th). Wall Street was looking for a profit of $0.76 per share on revenues of $7.25 billion. TJX beat both estimates with a profit of $0.80 per share and revenues of $7.36 billion. Earnings were up +7% from a year ago and revenues were up +6.5%. Gross margins improved. Comparable-store sales improved from +3% a year ago to +6%. TJX said their customer traffic improved for the fifth quarter in a row.

Most retailers have not been doing so hot this year so TJX management was naturally optimistic given their strong results. Carol Meyrowitz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The TJX Companies, Inc., commented on her company's quarter,

"We are extremely pleased that our momentum continued in the second quarter. Our 6% consolidated comparable store sales growth and 7% adjusted EPS growth significantly exceeded our expectations. It was great to see that comp sales were entirely driven by customer traffic - our fifth consecutive quarter of sequential traffic improvement - and that we had strong sales across all of our divisions. Our flexible model and ability to offer an eclectic, exciting merchandise mix at outstanding values continues to resonate with consumers in all of our geographies. We were also very pleased with our solid merchandise margins. We are proud of our strong comp sales, traffic increases and merchandise margins, all of which are core to a successful retail business. We enter the back half of the year in an excellent position to keep our momentum going and have many exciting initiatives planned. I am convinced that our gift-giving selections will be better than ever this year, and that our fall and holiday marketing campaigns will keep attracting more shoppers to our stores. Above all, we will be offering consumers amazing values every day! The third quarter is off to a solid start and we are raising our full year comp sales and earnings per share guidance. Today, we are a nearly $30 billion retailer with a clear vision for growth, a differentiated apparel and home fashions business, and world-class organization. Looking ahead, we are confident that we will achieve, and hope to surpass, our plans as we continue to bring value around the world and grow TJX to a $40 billion-plus company!"
TJX management did lower their Q3 guidance but they raised their full year 2016 EPS forecast. They also raised their 2016 comparable store sales estimate from +2-3% to +3-4%. It was the second quarter in a row that management raised their guidance.

The stock market's recent sell-off produced a correction in shares of TJX, which fell from its August high of $76.78 down to an intraday low of $67.25 on Monday morning. That is a -12.4% correction. Shares just happened to bounce near technical support at the simple 200-dma and its late July lows near $67.00. In spite of the sharp retreat the point & figure chart is still bullish and still forecasting at long-term $98.00 target.

Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $72.05. This is a relatively longer-term trade and hope to hold this position for several weeks.

- Suggested Positions -

Long 2016 Jan $75 CALL (TJX160115C75) entry $2.90

09/03/15 triggered @ $72.05
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike




PUT Play Updates

Jack In The Box - JACK - close: 78.65 change: +0.61

Stop Loss: 82.55
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: -40.1%
Average Daily Volume = 677 thousand
Entry on September 01 at $76.88
Listed on August 31, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to October option expiration
New Positions: see below

Comments:
09/03/15: JACK gapped open higher this morning and then spent the rest of the session churning sideways in the $78.40-79.20 range. I don't see any specific reason behind the gap higher. The stock is nearing what should be resistance at $80.00.

Nimble traders could watch for a failed rally close to the $80.00 level as a new bearish entry point.

Trade Description: August 31, 2015:
It's a burger-eat-burger world out there in the fast-food business. Jack in the Box is small fries compared to its larger rivals like McDonalds (36,258 locations) and Wendy's (6,515 locations). Let's not forget heavy weights like Taco Bell, Burger King, Subway, Dairy Queen, and a handful of pizza chains. JACK only has about 2,200 restaurants but it also has a secret weapon and that is the Qdoba Mexican Grill, a fast-casual restaurant with about 600 locations. Fast-casual restaurant rival Chipotle Mexican Grill has almost 1,800 locations.

Some of that intense competition being felt by McDonalds and Chipotle Mexican Grill is coming from Jack in the Box and its Qdoba brand, which is growing sharply. A majority of their Qdoba franchisees own multiple stores with 10, 20 even 40 stores common. Enterprising business owners don't open additional stores if the original stores are not working. To have so many owners with high numbers of stores suggests the franchise is consistently profitable.

To be profitable they need solid customer traffic, good food and decent margins. Shares of JACK have been one of the best performers on the S&P over the last couple of years because the company has been posting solid earnings and growth.

Customers are trending towards healthier foods and away from the mass produced burgers and fries at McDonalds. Did you know there are 19 ingredients in McDonalds fries? Surely you didn't think they were just potatoes and grease? This trend may not help the Jack in the box brand but it's good news for Qdoba. Restaurants like Qdoba and Chipotle are capitalizing on the healthy food craze.

Management is trying to be shareholder friendly. They have an active share buyback program and they reduced the share count by 10% over the last few quarters. In their Q2 earnings report (May 13th) the company raised their quarterly dividend by +50%.

JACK reported its Q1 2015 earnings on February 17th. Analysts were expecting a profit of $0.87 a share on revenues of $461.2 million. JACK delivered earnings of $0.93 a share. That's a +24% improvement from a year ago. Revenues were up +4.1% to $468.6 million, above estimates. Their operating margins improved 1% to 19.3%. Management raised their 2015 guidance.

The company did it again in May with their Q2 report. Estimates were for $0.66 per share on revenues of $356 million. JACK reported $0.69 per share with revenues up +5.0% to $358 million. That is a +35.2% earnings improvement from a year ago. Their consolidated restaurant operating margins improved 210 basis points to 20.6%. Plus, management raised their 2015 guidance again.

If we stopped right here the story for JACK looks pretty bullish. They definitely seem to be outgrowing their competition. However, the picture appeared to change in the third quarter.

It looks like growth slowed down a bit too much for the market's liking. JACK reported its Q3 earnings on August 5th. Earnings were $0.76 per share. That beat analysts' estimates by three cents. Revenues only rose +3.2% to $359.5 million, which was essentially in-line with estimates. JACK is still seeing strong same-store sales growth with Q3's SSS up +7.3% for their Jack in the Box brand and +7.7% for the Qdoba business. Management said they are only expecting +3.5-5.5% same-store sales growth for Jack in the Box and +5.0-7.0% growth for Qdoba in the fourth quarter.

Investors must have been expecting more from the company because they sold JACK after its earnings report. Shares corrected pretty fast with a -$10.00 drop in following week. JACK was trying to hold support near $85.00 and then the market collapsed. Last Monday saw shares of JACK plunge to an intraday low of $63.94. The oversold bounce just failed at its 10-dma.

Technically JACK looks broken. After incredible gains over the last couple of years JACK is now in a bear market. The peak in August was a lower high. The breakdown under major support near $85 and its 200-dma was bearish. Now JACK has broken one of its long-term trend lines of support. It looks like JACK has further to fall. Today's low was $78.00. Last Wednesday's low was $77.81. I am suggesting a trigger to buy puts at $77.70.

- Suggested Positions -

Long OCT $75 PUT (JACK151016P75) entry $2.84

09/01/15 triggered on gap down at $76.88, suggested entry was $77.70
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Wynn Resorts Ltd. - WYNN - close: 73.82 change: +1.39

Stop Loss: None, no stop at this time.
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: Unopened
Average Daily Volume = 2.7 million
Entry on September -- at $---.--
Listed on September 1, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to October option expiration
New Positions: Yes, see below

Comments:
09/03/15: The oversold bounce in WYNN continued on Thursday with a +1.9% gain. The stock is nearing what should be short-term resistance near $75.00.

Currently we are on the sidelines and waiting for a breakdown below support near $70.00. Our suggested entry point to buy puts is at $69.85.

Trade Description: September 1, 2015:
We recently traded WYNN as a bearish play. The bounce from last week's lows stopped us out on Friday, which was unfortunate since WYNN has continued to show relative weakness and plunged to new multi-year lows this week. We believe WYNN still has much further to fall as the company's Macau-region revenues plunged -35% in August. The Chinese weakness shows no signs of slowing down.

What follows is an updated version of our bearish trade description for WYNN:

Updated Bearish Trade Description:

Casino stocks have been a bad bet this year. CZR, LVS, and MGM are all down for the year. One of the biggest losers in the group is WYNN. Shares of WYNN are down -52% in 2015. The bear market started last year. Shares of WYNN peaked just below $250.00 in early 2014 and now they're down -70% from the highs. The catalyst for this dramatic decline is a plunge in gaming revenues from Macau.

WYNN is in the services sector. According to the company, "Wynn Resorts, Limited, owns 72.2% of Wynn Macau, Limited (www.wynnmacaulimited.com), which operates a casino hotel resort property in the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. The Company also owns and operates a casino hotel resort property in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Our Macau resort is a resort destination casino with two luxury hotel towers (Wynn Macau and Encore) with a total of 1,008 spacious rooms and suites, approximately 280,000 square feet of casino space, casual and fine dining in eight restaurants, approximately 57,000 square feet of retail space, and recreation and leisure facilities, including two health clubs and spas and a pool.

Our Las Vegas operations (Wynn Las Vegas and Encore) feature two luxury hotel towers with a total of 4,748 spacious hotel rooms, suites and villas, approximately 186,000 square feet of casino space, 34 food and beverage outlets featuring signature chefs, an on-site 18-hole golf course, meeting space, a Ferrari and Maserati dealership, approximately 96,000 square feet of retail space, two showrooms, three nightclubs and a beach club."

Problems in Macau

The problems started in June 2014. China launched a nationwide crackdown on corruption. This had a huge impact on how many government officials decided to vacation and gamble in Macau. The region also saw a drop in other high rollers not wanting to be seen tossing money around. Plus the Chinese government enacted harsh no-smoking rules in Macau. There was a direct impact on gambling revenues that is still being felt today.

WYNN reported its 2015 Q1 results on April 28th. Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.33 per share on revenues of $1.17 billion. The company delivered a profit of $0.70 (big miss) and revenues plunged -27.8% to $1.09 billion. Its Macau revenues were down -37.7%. Management also announced they were reducing their quarterly dividend.

We looked at playing WYNN as a bearish candidate back in June after several bearish analyst calls on the gambling companies with exposure to Macau. A Sterne Agee analyst noted that table-only gross gaming revenues in Macau were down -46% from a year ago in the first week of June. They estimate that June 2015 will see Macau gambling revenues fall -33% to -38%. June is on track to be the 13th monthly decline in gambling revenues and the tenth month in a row of double-digit declines.

A Susquehanna Financial Group analyst also warned that the region could suffer further declines. There are rumors of an complete smoking ban and there seems to be no let up on the government's anti-corruption efforts. Meanwhile a Wells Fargo analyst is forecasting June gambling revenues in Macau to plunged -30% to -40% to about $2 billion. This would be the lowest monthly total in more than four years.

The stock saw a big bounce in early July on an upgrade but the rally didn't last. WYNN reported its Q2 results on July 29th. Analysts were forecasting $0.97 per share on revenues of $1.07 billion. WYNN missed both estimates with a profit of $0.74 as revenues plunged -26% to $1.04 billion. Their Macau business saw revenues drop -35.8%.

Believe it or not but shares of WYNN saw a relief rally on this earnings news. Maybe investors were expecting even worse numbers. Yet the rally failed the very next day. That's because the situation in Macau hasn't changed.

I mentioned earlier that WYNN's Macau revenues for August fell -35% from a year ago. August is the 15th month in a row of declining revenues for the casino industry.

The recent headlines regarding the Chinese government's devaluation of their currency (the yuan) could be a clue that their economy is slowing down faster than expected. That's bad news for the casino business. If the Chinese economy is retreating it would seem unreasonable to expect a recovery in the gambling business.

Traders should note that WYNN can be a volatile stock. The most recent data listed short interest at 13% of the relatively small 80.8 million share float. It looks like bears have the right idea. It could be a long time before gambling recovers in Macau.

What to watch for:

I also want to warn readers that this is an aggressive trade for technical reasons. WYNN is extremely oversold. On the weekly chart (see below) the stock is nearing potential support at the bottom of its bearish channel. Now that channel does not guarantee a bounce. WYNN could break through it or it could follow the lower boundary. I do want investors to be aware of it.

The last few days have seen WYNN churn sideways in the $70-80 range. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to buy puts at $69.85. Where WYNN bottoms is anyone's guess. The stock hasn't been this low since 2010. Looking at its trading in 2009 you could argue for potential support at $60, at $50, or $30. The bear-market bottom from early 2009 was near $15.00 a share. We are planning to exit prior to October option expiration. WYNN reports earnings in late October.

Trigger @ $69.85 *caution - WYNN is a volatile stock*

- Suggested Positions -

Buy the OCT $65 PUT (WYNN151016P65)

Entry disclaimer: To avoid an unfavorable entry point, we will not launch a new play if the stock gaps open more than $1.00 past our suggested entry point.

Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike