Option Investor
Newsletter

Daily Newsletter, Monday, 6/5/2017

Table of Contents

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

Market Wrap

Cautious Market Holds Steady

by Thomas Hughes

Click here to email Thomas Hughes

Introduction

Today's session was bogged down by geopolitical concern but the indices were able to hold their highs. The latest round of terror attacks in England have the world on edge and, surprisingly enough, a bloc of Arab nations have banded together in protest of Qatar, a country known to harbor terrorists. Along with this are mounting political concerns in the EU and ongoing issues faced by the Trump administration. Elections in both the UK and Italy are drawing near and causing jitters among investors, add to this an ECB meeting on Thursday and there is cause enough for cautious, quiet trading and I've not even mentioned former FBI director Comey's testimony to congress.

International indices were mostly down following the London attacks. Asian markets fell -0.25% to -0.5% in quiet trading. European indices were more firmly lower with losses in a range roughly double that of Asia. Weaker than expected PMI helped push indices and the euro lower as ECB expectations began to cool off. The ECB meets Wednesday/Thursday and is expected to to say or do something along the lines of increased tapering.

Market Statistics

Futures trading was flat all morning. Today's economic data was positive but rear-looking or showed slowing growth so not the catalyst it could have been. The open was quiet, the S&P shed 4 points in the first minutes and then regained them to trade near the flat-line for the remainder of the day. Not even Trump's speech on infrastructure and privatizing air-traffic control was able to move the market.

Economic Calendar

The Economy

There was a fair amount of data for a Monday including revisions to Productivity and Factory Orders. Productivity was revised up for the first quarter from the previously released -0.6% to UNCH and is up 1.6% over the same period last year. This led to a downward revision in Labor Cost which are now up only 2.2% from the previous quarter and 1.1% on a TTM basis.


Factory Orders fell -0.2% in April after rising the previous 4 months and a full percent the month of March. Shipments was unchanged, unfilled orders rose by 0.2% and inventories rose 0.1%.


The ISM Services index fell -0.6% to 56.9%. This shows growth but slower growth than last month and is the 89th month the index has been positive. Activity fell -0.7% to 60.7 and remains high. New Orders is also firmly positive at 57.7 but down -5.5% in the last month. Employment increased adding 6.4% to hit 57.8% and is the strongest level in over 6 months.


Moody's Survey of Business Confidence gained 0.6% to hit 36.2. This is the highest level in nearly 20 months. Mr. Zandi says that confidence is remarkably strong and stable, supported by buoyant global financial markets. He notes that there are no blemishes on survey results, that recently soft outlook for present-conditions has firmed and forward outlook remains positive. Looking at the chart it is easy to see that confidence has been building since late summer last year. Now that it has broken out above 35 it could easily continue up to test the highs set in 2015.


The 1st quarter earnings cycle is just about played out. Just over 99% of the S&P 500 has reported for the quarter with the final 2 or 3 scheduled this week and next. The final rate of growth for the index is 14% and much better than expected. A total of 9 sectors outperformed expectations in part to low estimates but also in part to improvements to business


Looking forward growth remains in the forecast. Assuming that estimates do not fall further and that the final rate for each quarter will improve an average of 4% by the end of the respective reporting season we could easily see double digit growth all year. The 2nd quarter estimate has stabilized at 6.6% over the past few weeks, add in the average amount of increase seen in the final rate over the past 2 years and that could easily grow to 10% by the time the next cycle is over. Looking forward 3rd quarter growth is estimated at 7.5% and 4th quarter at 12.5% which equate to 11.5% and 16.5% in my scenario. If I'm even half right this means the full year 2017 estimate of 9.9% earnings growth is off by nearly 2%.


The Dollar Index

The Dollar Index moved up in today's trade but only about 0.1% and not enough to regain support levels broken on Friday. The weak jobs numbers have further weakened FOMC outlook and the dollar which caused Friday's dip to new lows, today's move was sparked by weak EU data that have put a damper on ECB expectations. The index is now trading below the $97 level and possibly at a bearish extreme. This low is driven on central bank expectations that are likely to be left 1) unfulfilled 2) not as fulfilled as expected or 3) only as fulfilled as expected and, to varying degrees of strength, sell-the-news types of events. This week we have the ECB and expectation they will at least talk about more tapering, next week the FOMC and a 96% of a 25 bps interest rate increase so expect some volatility no matter what happens. A continuation of the down trend has a target near $95, a reversal may go to $100 before hitting significant resistance.


The Gold Index

Spot gold crept higher on last week's NFP and renewed safe-haven demand. The metal is now trading just shy of $1,290, near the April highs and below resistance. The near-term trend is up and is supported by geo-political events along with a weakening dollar but there are risks to the rally. For one, geopolitical fear could evaporate at the drop of a Tweet. For another, the ECB or FOMC meetings could result in a stronger dollar and weaker gold. A break above $1,290 for gold would face next resistance at $1,300, a drop from this level may find first support near $1,260.

The Gold Miners ETF GDX continues to trade within its ever narrowing range, focused on the FOMC meeting next week. Today the ETF fell about -0.5% in near sideways trading after opening near resistance at the 150 day moving average and the down-sloping upper range boundary. The indicators remain neutral and consistent with range-bound trading. A break to either side of this range, below $21 or above $23, could produce a fairly strong near-term movement.


The Oil Index

Oil prices got a shake up this morning as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain joined forces in cutting ties to Qatar in response to growing global terrorism. What the move means for spreading violence is unclear, as is its impact on oil prices. The first reaction was to drive prices higher on fear of supply disruption, the second reaction was to drive prices lower on fears the OPEC production cap extension would be broken and flood the market with more oil. WTI trade in a +2% range today and closed near $47.30 with a loss of -0.5%.

The Oil Index continues to struggle along with oil prices. It created a green bodied candle in today's action but closed with a gains less than 0.2% and below my support line at $1,120. The indicators persist in throwing mixed signals indicating near-term bearishness but divergent in the short-term, suggestive of support. Support may still be at the current level, my line may be off by a hair, but if downward pressure continues a move to the low end of last years trading range near $1,075 becomes a possibility. I am still bullish for the long-term due to forward earnings outlook, I think there's a bottom around here somewhere.


In The News, Story Stocks and Earnings

Apple is holding their developers conference and was all over the news today. The biggest headline came out this morning and was a downgrade by Pacific Crest. The advisory firm says iPhone sales will not live up to expectations. The firm reduced the stock from overweight to sector weight and caused a -1.0% decline in share value. On the flipside, Apple is holding their developers conference and unveiled a powerful new Mac OS, peer-to-peer payments and a host of other new updates. Shares of the stock are trading just off the latest set high and look poised to continue the upward trend. Price action is forming a bullish triangle confirmed by stochastic but not yet by MACD.


The VIX trade more or less sideways from yesterday's candle and within near-term ranges but tried to set a new low. The fear index shed a little more than -1% to move below $9.70 but did not hold the move, closing above $10. Regardless, the index is showing historic low prices for options and bull market conditions suggestive of continued rally. The indicators remains bearish and are pointing lower at this time with no indication of bottoming or reversal that I can see.


The Indices

The indices moved lower today, but not by very much. Today's leader is the Dow Jones Transportation Average with a loss of -0.26%. The transports created a small red bodied spinning top candle at the 9,300 resistance line. The indicators persist in bullishness and continue to rise so a move up from here looks very likely. Next resistance is the current all-time high near 9,650.


The NASDAQ Composite shed -0.16% in a move creating a small red candle falling from the current all-time high. The index is in up-trend and supported by the indicators which have begun to show a little bit of strength. Stochastic is moving above the upper signal line, consistent with a sustained upward movement within an up-trend, and suggestive of higher prices. Upside targets are 6,400 and 6,600.


The S&P 500 made the third largest decline today, -0.12%. The broad market created a small, spinning top doji candle falling from the current all-time high. Today's move is a natural pause in the near-term up-trend and not unexpected, a deeper move lower may prove otherwise. The indicators are both bullish and pointing higher in support of higher prices so it looks like the move will continue. Upside target is 2,480 in the near-term.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average is the today's winner with a loss of only -0.10%. The blue chips created a small spinning top doji just below the all-time high set Friday and looks like it will continue to drift higher. The indicators are both bullish and confirm the break to new highs, stochastic showing a bit of strength with a move above the upper signal line. Upside target is 21,500.


There is a bullish tide rolling into the market, how high it will go and when is the question as always. The charts are looking good for a continuation of near-term trends despite a growing wall of worries. These worries may eventually weigh the market down enough to cause correction but there is no sign of it now that I can see. Until there is I have to follow the signals as they come and the signals I see are bullish. I am still cautious for the near-term because we've two major central bank meetings at hand, but looking to see the indices set more new all-time highs over the summer.

Until then, remember the trend!

Thomas Hughes


New Option Plays

Cloud Advertising

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown

Editors Note:

The internet advertising model has changed significantly over the last ten year. Trade Desk is revolutionizing the model again.


NEW DIRECTIONAL CALL PLAYS

TTD - The Trade Desk - Company Profile

The Trade Desk is a technology company that empowers buyers of advertising. Through its self-service, cloud-based platform, ad buyers can create, manage, and optimize more expressive data-driven digital advertising campaigns across ad formats, including display, video, audio, native and, social, on a multitude of devices, such as computers, mobile devices, and connected TV. Integrations with major data, inventory, and publisher partners ensure maximum reach and decisioning capabilities, and enterprise APIs enable custom development on top of the platform. Headquartered in Ventura, CA, The Trade Desk has offices across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Company description from Trade Desk.

In May the company reported adjusted earnings of 18 cents on revenue of $53.4 million. They did not give earnings guidance but their revenue guidance was $43 million. They guided for EBITDA of -$2 to +$2 million and posted $6.3 million.

Since going public last September they have beaten guidance on all three quarterly reports. Year over year revenue growth has risen 84%, 70% and now 76% for those three reports. Customer retention has been over 95% for 13 consecutive quarters.

The company guided for full year revenue of $291 million, up from $270 million in the prior guidance. The adjusted EBITDA goal was raised from $72 million to $78 million.

Earnings August 10th.

Shares have been in a steady uptrend since mid-April. The $14 earnings spike only took a couple days to consolidate and shares are moving up again.

There are no August options so we have to use July and exit well before earnings.

Buy July $60 call, currently $2.35, initial stop loss $50.50.


NEW DIRECTIONAL PUT PLAYS

No New Bearish Plays



In Play Updates and Reviews

Pause to Reset

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown

Editors Note:

All the major indexes posted only minor declines after closing at new highs on Friday. If there is going to be a pause to reset this was about as painless as possible. There were no material declines and the three big cap indexes remained at their Friday highs.

Monday was the perfect consolidation day. There were lots of news headlines from ASCO, Apple's WWDC and Washington, and there was no material selling. It appears investors are expecting the market to move higher.



Current Portfolio


Stop Loss Updates

Check the graphic below for any new stop losses in bright yellow. We need to always be prepared for an unexpected decline.


Profit Targets

Check the graphic below for any profit stops in green. We need to always be prepared for a profit exit at resistance.





Current Position Changes


COST - Costco
The long call position was entered at the open.



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Credit spreads and naked puts = OptionWriter

Long term option investments = LEAPS Investor

3-6 month Option Trades = Ultimate Investor

Iron Condors = Couch Potato Trader

Long and short equity trades = Premier Investor



BULLISH Play Updates

AAPL - Apple Inc - Company Profile

Comments:

Apple announced a ton of new features and a couple new devices on the opening day of the WWDC. The Apple Watch was upgraded with dozens of new features that will actually make is useful. They announced the new macOS called High Sierra and a bunch of new MacBooks to go with the OS. They announced a new iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air. The iMac Pro will start at $4,999 with a 5K display from Nvidia. Buyers will have a choice of a 8, 12 or 18 core processor, which is maximum overkill. They announced peer-to-peer payments to compete with Paypal, Venmo and Square Cash. They announced the ARKit which will allow developers to easily creare augmented reality apps for iOS devices. They upgraded the 105 and 12.9 inch iPads but left the 9.7 inch model alone. They announced the Apple HomePod speaker, powered by Siri, to compete with Google and Amazon's Echo.

Shares declined because an idiot at Pacific Crest downgraded the stock from overweight to sector weight and removed his price target. The analyst said the iPhone 8 was already priced into the stock. It was interesting that he chose this morning to do it before Apple announced all the new products, that are not priced into the stock.

Original Trade Description: May 27th.

Apple Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players to consumers, small and mid-sized businesses, and education, enterprise, and government customers worldwide. The company also sells related software, services, accessories, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications. It offers iPhone, a line of smartphones; iPad, a line of multi-purpose tablets; and Mac, a line of desktop and portable personal computers. The company also provides iLife, a consumer-oriented digital lifestyle software application suite; iWork, an integrated productivity suite that helps users create, present, and publish documents, presentations, and spreadsheets; and other application software, such as Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro X, and FileMaker Pro. In addition, it offers Apple TV that connects to consumers' TV and enables them to access digital content directly for streaming high definition video, playing music and games, and viewing photos; Apple Watch, a personal electronic device; and iPod, a line of portable digital music and media players. Further, the company sells Apple-branded and third-party Mac-compatible, and iOS-compatible accessories, such as headphones, displays, storage devices, Beats products, and other connectivity and computing products and supplies. Additionally, it offers iCloud, a cloud service; AppleCare that offers support options for its customers; and Apple Pay, a mobile payment service. The company sells and delivers digital content and applications through the iTunes Store, App Store, Mac App Store, TV App Store, iBooks Store, and Apple Music. It also sells its products through its retail and online stores, and direct sales force, as well as through third-party cellular network carriers, wholesalers, retailers, and value-added resellers. Company description from FinViz.com.

The eyes of the world will be focused on Apple in two weeks as it updates application developers on all the new features and software in its various products. This covers the iPhone, iPads, Macs and Watches. Apple routinely tries to keep from giving away its best secrets but it is impossible for developers to develop unless they know what they are developing. There are always leaks. This typically provides a boost to Apple shares.

Apple reports earnings on August 1st. That is getting close to the normal September announcement date for the iPhone 8. If the buzz from the developers conference is good we could see shares rise into that earnings report.

Shares have been flat for the last three weeks despite the constantly rising Nasdaq. The WWDC could be the catalyst that lifts Apple shares out of this consolidation pattern.

Update 5/31/17: ZDNet said Apple has already started production on its competitor to the Amazon Echo. The device will not be announced publicly until later but there will be clues at the WWDC that starts on Monday. Reportedly, it will have surround sound and better quality than Amazon and Google. Apple will need to release some info to developers at the conference if they want any applications available when the smart device begins shipping.

I am using the August strikes so the earnings expectations will keep the premium inflated. I do not plan on holding over earnings. We will exit in July or earlier depending on how the stock reacts to the WWDC news.

The August strikes are expensive so I am recommending a spread.

Position 5/30/17:

Long Aug $155 call @ $4.89, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Short Aug $165 call @ $1.67, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Net debit $3.22.


ADP - Automatic Data - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Minor gain in a weak market.

Original Trade Description: June 1st.

Automatic Data Processing, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides business process outsourcing services worldwide. The company operates through two segments, Employer Services and Professional Employer Organization (PEO) Services. The Employer Services segment offers a range of business outsourcing and technology-enabled human capital management (HCM) solutions, including payroll services, benefits administration services, talent management, human resources management solutions, time and attendance management solutions, insurance services, retirement services, and tax and compliance solutions. This segment's integrated HCM solutions include RUN Powered by ADP, ADP Workforce Now, ADP Vantage HCM, and ADP GlobalView, which assist employers of all sizes in all stages of the employment cycle from recruitment to retirement; and ADP SmartCompliance and ADP Health Compliance. The PEO Services segment provides a human resources (HR) outsourcing solution through a co-employment model to small and mid-sized businesses. This segment offers ADP TotalSource that provides various HR management services and employee benefits functions, such as HR administration, employee benefits, and employer liability management into a single-source solution. Company description from FinViz.com.

When ADP reported they beat on earnings with $1.29 compared to estimates for $1.23 but revenues of $3.41 billion missed estimates of $3.43 billion. The news that tanked the stock was a 7% decline in new bookings. Every other metric was fine. The company guided for full year revenue growth of 6% and earnings to rise 17-18%.

Who would not want to own a company growing revenue 6% and earnings 17% per year. Those are good solid numbers.

Apparently there were enough knee jerk sellers to crash the stock from $104 to $95. After two weeks in the doghouse shares began to rise again and they are almost back to $104.

The stock has tried to break out three times this year and each time gets just a little higher before failing. This time, I expect a breakout, market permitting.

Earnings August 2nd.

Position 6/2/17:

Long Aug $105 call @ $1.05, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


ATVI - Activision Blizzard - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Minor gain to a new closing high.

Original Trade Description: May 22nd.

Activision Blizzard, Inc. develops and publishes games for video game consoles, personal computers (PC), mobile devices, and online social platforms. The company operates through three segments: Activision Publishing, Inc., Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., and King Digital Entertainment. The company develops, publishes, and sells interactive software products and entertainment content through retail channels or digital downloads; and downloadable content. It also publishes subscription-based massive multiplayer online role-playing games; and strategy and role-playing games. In addition, the company maintains a proprietary online gaming service, Battle.net that facilitates the creation of user generated content, digital distribution, and online social connectivity in its games. Further, it engages in creating original film and television content; and provides warehousing, logistics, and sales distribution services to third-party publishers of interactive entertainment software, as well as manufacturers of interactive entertainment hardware products. The company serves retailers and distributors, including mass-market retailers, consumer electronics stores, discount warehouses, game specialty stores, and consumers through third-party distribution and licensing arrangements in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. Activision Blizzard, Inc. was incorporated in 1979 and is headquartered in Santa Monica, California. Company description from FinViz.com.

Activision reported Q1 earnings of 56 cents, up 17%. Sales rose 19% to $1.73 billion. Activision had originally guided for 25 cents and $1.55 billion. Analysts were expecting 22 cents and $1.1 billion so it was a major blowout. For the full year, they raised guidance to 88 cents and $6.1 billion, up from 72 cents and $6.0 billion.

Blizzards's monthly active users rose to 431 million. King Digital has 342 million active users. The new Overwatch game was the fastest Blizzard title to hit 25 million registered players and now has more than 30 million. Revenues from in game purchases rose 25% driven by World of Warcraft and Overwatch customization features.

Activision is a powerhouse with rapidly rising revenue and multiple game titles arriving in the coming months.

Earnings August 3rd.

Shares dropped sharply with the market last Wednesday and have already rebounded to close at a new high today.

Position 5/23/17:

Long August $60 calls @ $2.66, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


BA - Boeing - Company Profile

Comments:

Shares declined slightly on the delivery delay on the third 737-MAX which was due to be delivered this week. Now it is expected in three weeks.

Jet Airways India Ltd is in talks to buy 50 single-asile 737 MAX jets worth $5.6 billion.

Original Trade Description: May 25th.

The Boeing Company, together with its subsidiaries, designs, develops, manufactures, sells, services, and supports commercial jetliners, military aircraft, satellites, missile defense, human space flight, and launch systems and services worldwide. It operates in five segments: Commercial Airplanes, Boeing Military Aircraft, Network & Space Systems, Global Services & Support, and Boeing Capital. The Commercial Airplanes segment develops, produces, and markets commercial jet aircraft for various passenger and cargo requirements; and provides related support services to the commercial airline industry. This segment also offers aviation services support, aircraft modifications, spare parts, training, maintenance documents, and technical advice to commercial and government customers. The Boeing Military Aircraft segment researches, develops, produces, and modifies manned and unmanned military aircraft, and weapons systems for global strike, vertical lift, and autonomous systems, as well as mobility, surveillance, and engagement. The Network & Space Systems segment researches, develops, produces, and modifies strategic defense and intelligence systems, satellite systems, and space exploration products. The Global Services & Support segment provides integrated logistics services comprising supply chain management and engineering support; maintenance, modification, and upgrades for aircraft; and training systems and government services that include pilot and maintenance training. The Boeing Capital segment offers financing services and manages financing exposure for a portfolio of equipment under operating and finance leases, notes and other receivables, assets held for sale or re-lease, and investments. The company was founded in 1916 and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Company description from FinViz.com.

Boeing dipped last week after the test flights for the 737-MAX were halted temporarily. Boeing is expecting to begin deliveries of that model later this month. The problem was a low pressure disk in the LEAP-18 engine built by CFM International. That is a joint venture between GE and France's Safran. The halt was only a day before Boeing announced they were resuming flights of the planes without the LEAP-18 engines. CFM said the problem would be fixed within "weeks" because an alternate supplier was increasing production of the specific part. That problem has already been forgotten.

Boeing has dozens of projects underway and the biggest backlog of plane orders in history. The 787 Dreamliner is already on its third revision. The first plane was the 787-8 then there was the 787-9 and now the 787-10. The 787-8 was barely profitable because of higher than expected production costs. However, the improved 787-9 and 10 are highly profitable and in high demand. The delivery mix fell to only 25% model 8s in Q1. Currently there are 672 Dreamliners on order and only 89 are for the model 8. By the time the planes are actually built that will probably decline much further. Orders being transferred from airlines to leasing companies are typically upgraded to the more desirable models because the leasing companies want the longest lasting, fully featured models so the lease rates remain higher longer. The newest version the 787-10 already has 169 orders and it costs $40 million more than the model 8 but only costs a couple million more to produce. Analysts believe Boeing's profitability will rise $1.5 billion on this order shuffle alone.

Boeing got another windfall when Trump was elected and suddenly took an interest in producing more F-18 Hornet's than F-35s. Boeing was only expected to produce 5 Hornets this year with a big order for F18 Growlers filling out the production line. The Growlers are the radar jamming planes that protect a flight of fighters. In the budget that was just passed, an additional $1.1 billion was allocated for 14 additional F-18s in this year. Trump had asked for 24 but Congress only approved 14. There will be a lot more in the budget for 2018. The F-18 is the workhorse of the Navy and many of their older planes are reaching the 6,000 flight hour maximum threshold. That means the Navy will need hundreds over the next several years to replace the aging aircraft. Boeing expects the production line to increase to 3-4 per month starting in 2020. Boeing expects another 100 planes to be ordered over the next five budget cycles and possibly more as the military scales down requests for F-35s in favor of the much cheaper F-18s. Boeing has an enhancement called Block III that basically gives the F-18 the networking capability of the F-35. They envision a stealthy F-35 entering hostile airspace and doing reconnaissance and then transmitting back threat and target information to the heavily armed F-18s to actually carry out the attacks. Over the last five years, the Navy has requested five times as many F-18s as F-35s. A F-18 costs $75 million and F-35 $121 million.

Boeing said on any given day 2 out of every three F-18 planes are out of commission waiting for repairs. Planes have been flown hard in the post 9/11 world with multiple theaters of war and planes down for a single part end up getting cannibalized for other parts to keep the remaining planes flying.

Boeing will also profit from the $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia and the escalation to $350 billion over the next decade.

All of this means Boeing is going to remain highly profitable for a very long time and this is just two production lines of the dozens of products being manufactured by the company.

Earnings July 26th.

Shares made a new high on May 9th at $187 before dropping back to $182 on the market decline. That drop has been erased and shares are poised to break out to a new high and probably begin a new leg even higher.

Update 5/27/17: Tom Cruise said he was planning on filming a new Top Gun movie in 2018. Since the F-14 is no longer flown and the F-35 is not yet available for its film debut, Boeing will probably receive a major public relations bonanza with the F/A-18 Super Hornet in the title role. If it stars in the movie it would be a major advertising win because the capabilities will be shown all around the world and that could generate additional orders.

Boeing received a new $58.6 million contract to demonstrate a new generation of technology to intercept and destroy multiple missiles fired at the USA. This is a result of the accelerated missile testing currently in progress in North Korea. The technology is called the Multi-Object Kill Vehicle (MOKV). Basically, it would be one missile that would be launched at an incoming swarm of hostile missiles. As the MOKV nears the intercept point it would itself launch multiple interceptors and each would be directed to a different target by the radar and communication systems on the MOKV. Instead of firing one missile from the ground to target one incoming missile, the MOKV would be like launching a launching pad of missiles to a predetermined location and then having it attack the swarm on its own. This is not going to be cheap technology.

Boeing also said it won a $89 million contract from the Navy to incorporate the Block II Infrared Search Track System in the F/A-18 E/F aircraft.

Update 5/31/17: The Boeing Midcourse Defense anti-missile system performed flawlessly and knocked down a target ICBM fired from the Marshal Islands on Tuesday. This is the equivalent of a bullet hitting a bullet with a closing speed of more than 2,000 mph in space. That is pretty impressive. Boeing is the prime contractor with Northrop Grumman (NOC), Raytheon (RTN) and Orbital ATK (OA) the key subcontractors. Shares closed at a new high.

Update 6/1/17: Boeing shares dipped at the open after the company got into a fight with the Canadian Defense Minister. Boeing complained that Canadian firm Bombardier was selling jets to U.S. customers below cost because of subsidies from the Canadian government. The defense minister became irate and cut off contact with Boeing regarding a potential order for 18 F-18 Super Hornets to replace some of their aging CF-18 fighters. This was just a headline storm. It is not material to Boeing at this time.

Options are expensive so I am recommending a spread.

Position 5/26/17:

Long Aug $190 call @ $5.15, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Short Aug $200 call @ $1.79, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Net debit $3.36.

COST - Costco - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Nice $1.11 gain to start the position.

Original Trade Description: June 1st.

Costco Wholesale Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates membership warehouses. It offers branded and private-label products in a range of merchandise categories. The company provides dry and packaged foods, and groceries; snack foods, candies, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, and cleaning supplies; appliances, electronics, health and beauty aids, hardware, and garden and patio; meat, bakery, deli, and produces; and apparel and small appliances. It also operates gas stations, pharmacies, optical dispensing centers, food courts, and hearing-aid centers; and engages in the travel businesses. In addition, the company provides gold star individual and business membership services. As of August 28, 2016, it operated 715 warehouses, including 501 warehouses in the United States, Washington, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico; 91 in Canada; 36 in Mexico; 28 in the United Kingdom; 25 in Japan; 12 in Korea; 12 in Taiwan; 8 in Australia; and 2 in Spain. Further, the company sells its products through online. Company description from FinViz.com.

Costco reported earnings of $1.59 compared to estimates for $1.30. Revenue of $28.22 billion rose 8% but missed estimates for $28.6 billion. Same store sales rose 5% and beat expectations for 4%. Shares spiked $2.50 on the report.

Earnings August 24th.

On May 31st, Costco reported May sales results of $9.86 billion, an increase of 7%. Same store sales rose 4.5% in the U.S. and 6.4% internationally with the company average at 4.5%.

Guggenheim said the May comps reinforce the case for 20% earnings growth in Q4. Costco customers are on track to spend more than $100 billion on their Visa branded credit cards and 70% will be at retailers that are not Costco. The company stands to make $170 million on the commissions from Visa.

People love to shop at Costco and they spend a lot of money. A weekend shopping trip to the local Costco store will expose you to roughly 30 tables of free samples as Costco employees cook up concoctions available for sale in the store. Broiled salmon, cocktail weenies, crab dip, jalapeno biscuits, barbecue, etc, are all available for tasting. Weekend shopping takes on a party atmosphere and the local stores are always full. Amazon cannot crack this code.

We played Costco before the earnings and exited with a nice gain after they announced $7 special dividend for mid May. Now that earnings are over and shares are breaking out to a new high, it is time to play them again.

Position 6/5/17:

Long July $183 Call @ $2.60, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


FB - Facebook - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Shares posted a minor gain and a new closing high.

Original Trade Description: May 17th.

Facebook, Inc. provides various products to connect and share through mobile devices, personal computers, and other surfaces worldwide. Its solutions include Facebook Website and mobile application that enables people to connect, share, discover, and communicate each other on mobile devices and personal computers; Instagram, a mobile application that enables people to take photos or videos, customize them with filter effects, and share them with friends and followers in a photo feed or send them directly to friends; Messenger, a messaging application to communicate with people and businesses across platforms and devices; and WhatsApp Messenger, a mobile messaging application. The company also offers Oculus virtual reality technology and content platform, which allow people to enter an immersive and interactive environment to play games, consume content, and connect with others. Company description from FinViz.com.

Facebook also blew away earnings estimates and they are growing earnings at the fastest rate of any of the FAANG stocks. They have multiple revenue streams and sites like Instagram and WhatsApp that are just starting to accelerate earnings. They said Instagram had reached 50,000 advertisers. Facebook's problem is they do not have enough page views to monetize despite the 1.9 billion users. They have more advertisers than they have space.

Earnings August 2nd.

Facebook had been moving sideways since hitting the $153 high post earnings. Volatility was low and investors were just waiting for a market dip so they could get a better entry point. Share fell to uptrend support at $145 and even if they due decline further there is strong support around $140.

Update 5/18/27: Facebook was fined $122.4 million by EU regulators for giving them false information in the WhatsApp acquisition process. The EU asked how many WhatsApp users were also Facebook users and the company said it did not know and did not have way of matching the usernames. A year after the acquisition Facebook launched a service that did match users and the EU said they had the capability all the time.

The company also announced a new effort to reduce "clickbait" headlines and punish websites that continually publish fake news. I hope they are successful.

Update 5/19/17: Facebook is going to live stream 20 Major League Baseball Friday night games. The company also said it was adding an "Order Food" option to let some users order, pay and have food delivered or be available for pickup. The service works with restaurants that use Delivery.com or Slice.

Update 5/22/17: Facebook shares were weak after the BROWSER bill was introduced in the House. Websites and browsers must get explicit permission from users in order to collect and use personal data including browser history, search terms, cookies, etc. They also cannot deny you the use of their program if you decline to give them permission to use your data. While the bill has little chance of passing it was a wet blanket on Facebook today.

Update 5/24/17: Reuters reported that Facebook has signed content deals with Vox Media, Buzzfeed, ATTN, Group Nine Media and others to begin creating shows for its upcoming video service. They are going to develop both short and long form content with ad breaks included. The first scripted shows will be up to 30 min which Facebook will own. The second tier will be shorter scripted and unscripted shows with episodes lasting 5-10 minutes.

Position 5/18/17:

Long Aug $150 call @ $4.90, no initial stop loss.


LB - L Brands - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Minor decline in a weak market.

Original Trade Description: May 30th.

L Brands, Inc. operates as a specialty retailer of women's intimate and other apparel, beauty and personal care products, and accessories. The company operates in three segments: Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works, and Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works International. Its products include loungewear, bras, panties, swimwear, athletic attire, fragrances, shower gels and lotions, aromatherapy, soaps and sanitizers, home fragrances, handbags, jewelry, and personal care accessories. The company offers its products under the Victoria's Secret, PINK, Bath & Body Works, La Senza, Henri Bendel, C.O. Bigelow, White Barn, and other brand names. L Brands, Inc. sells its merchandise through company-owned specialty retail stores in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Greater China, which are primarily mall-based; through its Websites comprising VictoriasSecret.com, BathandBodyWorks.com, HenriBendel.com, and LaSenza.com; and through franchises, licenses, and wholesale partners. As of January 28, 2017, the company operated 2,755 retail stores in the United States; 270 retail stores in Canada; 18 retail stores in the United Kingdom; and 31 retail stores in the Greater China area. It also operated 203 La Senza stores in 24 countries; 159 Bath & Body Works stores in 30 countries; 23 Victoria's Secret stores in 12 countries; 391 Victoria's Secret Beauty and Accessories stores in 70 countries; and 5 PINK stores in 3 countries. The company was formerly known as Limited Brands, Inc. Company description from FinViz.com.

The company reported its seventh consecutive quarter of positive earnings surprises despite a minor revenue miss. Earnings of 33 cents beat estimates for 29 cents. That was well above the company's own guidance for 20-25 cents. Revenue of $2.436 billion was slightly lower than the estimate for $2.456 billion.

The bad news was a 9% decline in same store sales. The majority of that was due to the exit from swimwear and related apparel categories. This has been in progress for about two years. Those two categories created a 6% decline for the lack of swimwear and 9% decline for the related apparel. Excluding those the comp sales were in line with estimates. However, Victoria Secret lingerie sales declined -12% while PINK sales rose in the low single-digits.

They raised their 2017 guidance to earnings of $3.10-$3.40, up from $3.05-$3.35. Q2 earnings guidance was 40-45 cents. Analysts were expecting $3.19 and 45 cents.

Expected earnings Aug 16th.

Update 6/1/17: The company said despite a 10-14% impact from the discontinued swimsuit and swim apparel lines, same store sales for May only declined -7%. That means without that impact sales would have been up 3% or more.

Shares were down ahead of earnings to $47.50. They have rebounded to a two-week high and appear to be on the road to recovery. Resistance is $53.50.

Position 5/31/17:

Long August $52.50 call @ $2.35, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


MCD - McDonalds - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news and MCD shares posted a rare decline in a weak market.

Original Trade Description: May 3rd.

McDonald's Corporation operates and franchises McDonald's restaurants in the United States, Europe, the Asia/Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, Canada, Latin America, and internationally. The company's restaurants offer various food products, soft drinks, coffee, and other beverages. As of December 31, 2016, it operated 36,899 restaurants, including 31,230 franchised restaurants comprising 21,559 franchised to conventional franchisees, 6,300 licensed to developmental licensees, and 3,371 licensed to foreign affiliates; and 5,669 company-operated restaurants. McDonald's Corporation was founded in 1940 and is based in Oak Brook, Illinois. Company description from FinViz.com.

McDonalds is surging because they have overhauled their menu, offered breakfast all day, shifted to fresh beef, mobile ordering, delivery with UberEats, kiosks AND they are selling coffee for $1 and specialty drinks for $2. That is vastly lower than Starbucks and it is helping them steal market share. People stopping by to pick up a cheap coffee tend to order a snack as well. Who can resist adding an Egg McMuffin to go with that coffee.

McDonalds reported better than expected earnings and raised guidance. They reported $1.47 compared to estimates for $1.33. Revenue of $5.68 billion beat estimates for $5.53 billion. Same store sales rose 1.7% compared to expectations for an 0.8% decline. Global sales were up 4%.

Earnings July 25th.

Goldman has had a neutral rating on them forever but upgraded the fast food giant today to a buy with $153 price target. Goldman admitted they were late but said there was still plenty of time given the improved metrics. Goldman cited McDonald's "Experience of the Future" plans for mobile ordering and kiosks and said the expanding delivery options could expand revenue.

McDonalds closed at a new high today in a weak market.

Update 5/4/17: McDonalds said it was adding Signature Crafted Recipes to its stores in Florida and would be adding 5,000 workers to handle the volume.

Update 5/15/17: McDonald's Bar-B-Que opened on May 15th, 1940. The store closed and was later reopened in 1948 with only 9 items on the menu. Hamburgers were 15 cents, cheeseburgers 19 cents and cokes/coffee were 10 cents. Today, McDonalds serves 77 million customers a day. Short history of MCD in pictures The stock celebrated today with a new high.

Update 5/18/17: McDonald's added 1,000 additional restaurants to its McDelivery program utilizing UberEATS food delivery service. They had been testing at 200 stores in Florida since January. Apparently, McDonalds customers are loving it.

Update 5/22/17: The Chicago Tribune said restaurants offering the delivery service were seeing a surge in large orders. People are ordering the 40-piece Chicken McNuggets in quantity as well as the Big Mac and Chicken McNuggets Meal Bundle. That is 2 Big Macs, a 20-piece McNugget, 3 medium fries and 3 beverages for $14.99, which were also being ordered in quantities. When you think about it, if you are having friends over, ordering multiples of those deals gives everyone a choice and plenty to eat. Having UberEats deliver it is simpler than having someone gather up everyone's orders and money and then driving to McDonalds, waiting in line and then waiting while they put together your large order. If you can get it all home without spilling french fries and soda all over your car you are very lucky. This is another reason why McDonalds sales are going to rise in the coming quarters.

Update 5/31/17: McDonalds said they were expanding the mobile delivery from 1,100 stores to 3,500 by the end of June. They are planning on expanding to all 14,000 stores by the end of the year. This is a very big deal for McDonalds.

Update 6/1/17: Telsey Advisory Group reiterated an outperform but raised their price target from $150 to $165.

Position 5/4/17:

Long July $145 call @ $1.67, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


NFLX - Netflix - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Only a very minor decline from Friday's high.

Original Trade Description: May 17th.

Netflix, Inc., an Internet television network, engages in the Internet delivery of television (TV) shows and movies on various Internet-connected screens. The company operates in three segments: Domestic Streaming, International Streaming, and Domestic DVD. It offers members with the ability to receive streaming content through a host of Internet-connected screens, including TVs, digital video players, television set-top boxes, and mobile devices. The company also provides DVDs-by-mail membership services. It serves approximately 100 million streaming members in 190 countries. Netflix, Inc. was founded in 1997 and is headquartered in Los Gatos, California. Company description from FinViz.com.

Netflix posted blowout earnings and shares rocketed higher to hit $161 on Monday. I have been waiting for three weeks for a pullback. Analysts are projecting higher highs with the high price targets at $175. There have been continuous rumors that either Disney or Apple will try to buy them not only to acquire the platform but to keep the other company from acquiring it. Both have said they want to have a big presence in streaming. Tim Cook just said it last week. Both have the cash and Disney has billions of dollars in content it can immediately add to the platform.

Netflix is expected to add 3 million subscribers in Q2. They are testing higher prices in Australia to see what price levels will cause subscriber flight. Once they figure it out you can bet they will apply it to the rest of their 100 million customers. That is instant profit. Bumping rates by $5 gets them another $500 million a month in revenue.

They announced with earnings they were finally entering China through a partnership with the largest existing streamer in China. This is one more step to a full release in the future.

Update 5/18/17: The FCC voted 2-1 to roll back the 2015 net neutrality order from President Obama. Some say this will impact major internet users like Netflix. However, the company said last month that elimination of the order would not have any impact on their business because they were big enough and had a broad enough customer base that ISPs would not try to slow down their streaming traffic. The order prevented ISPs from charging for faster bandwidth for heavy users. Netflix is responsible for 40% of the internet traffic in peak hours.

Update 5/22/17: Netflix expects to have 102 million subscribers by the end of Q2 with 51.45 million in the U.S. and 50.49 million internationally. Three years ago the company only had 11 million international subscribers. They expect international numbers to exceed U.S. subscribers by the end of the third quarter. With international subscribers growing roughly 3 million per quarter they should reach 100 million in 2020 as acceptance continues to grow. That puts them on track for 200 million total subscribers by 2025.

Update 5/27/17: Piper Jaffray reiterated an overweight rating this morning but raised the price target from $166 to $190. The analyst said Netflix probably low-balled the company's 2020 earnings expectations by as much as half. The analyst said it the international viewers grow as well over the next 10 quarters as the last 10 then expectations could be 100% too low. They believe Netflix could have 180 million international subscribers by 2020. Jaffray said the total addressable market of broadband viewers could be more than 765 million by 2020.

MKM Partners also raised their price target from $175 to $195.

Update 6/2/17: Tom Lee of Fundstrat said "stick with the FANG stocks in 2H-2017 for 20% to 40% additional gains." Netflix added $2 to a new high close.

Earnings July 17th.

We have to use a spread because options are still expensive.

Position 5/18/17:

Long July $160 call @ $6.45, no initial stop loss.
Short July $175 call @ $2.16, no initial stop loss.
Net debit $4.29.


OA - Orbital ATK - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Major retracement from the new high. I could find nothing to account for the decline.

Original Trade Description: May 24th.

Orbital ATK is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies. The company designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for customers around the world, both as a prime contractor and merchant supplier. Its main products include launch vehicles and related propulsion systems; missile products, subsystems and defense electronics; precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition; satellites and associated space components and services; and advanced aerospace structures. (Company supplied description.)

The company reported earnings on May 11th of $1.23 that missed estimates for $1.39. The miss was due to a surprise hike in the tax rate that analysts were not expecting. There was an event two years ago that caused a lower tax rate in the year ago quarter. Analysts factored in that repeat rate without realizing it was a one-time event. Revenue of $1.085 billion beat estimates for $1.083 billion.

Revenue in the Flight Systems Group, Defense Systems Group and Space Systems Group was up between 4.6% and 5.2%. Order backlogs at the end of the quarter were up 12% to $9.8 billion. Total backlogs including options and indefinite quantity contracts were $14.8 billion.

The company guided for 2017 earnings of $5.80-$6.20 and revenues of $4.550-$4.625 billion. Free cash flow is expected to be $250-$300 million.

Earnings August 10th.

Today Orbital received a $76 million order for 50 caliber ammunition from the U.S. Army. Orbital operates the Lake City ammunition plant for the military under an $8 billion facilities management contract. Last month they announced a $92 million order for 5.56mm and 7.62mm ammunition. Since taking over the plant they have produced more than 17 billion rounds of small caliber ammunition. They also received a $53 million contract to produce 120mm and 105mm ammunition including the new M1002 and M724A2 rounds for howitzers and tanks. To date they have produced more than 5 million rounds of large caliber ammunition.

Orbital ATK's Defense Systems Group is an industry leader in providing innovative and affordable precision and strike weapons, advanced propulsion and hypersonics, missile components across air-, sea- and land-based systems, ammunition and related energetic products.

Shares broke over resistance at $99.75 today on the award win. With the emphasis on higher defense spending and a war fighter now in charge of the military, we can expect future orders to continue. Add in their missile systems, space launch systems, etc and Orbital is a good candidate to play this sector.

Update 5/30/17: Orbital was awarded a $9- million contract to produce composite structures for the B-2 Sprit stealth bomber. The new parts will increase the survival ability and the life span of the B-2 bombers.

Update 5/31/17: The Boeing Midcourse Defense anti-missile system performed flawlessly and knocked down a target ICBM fired from the Marshal Islands on Tuesday. This is the equivalent of a bullet hitting a bullet with a closing speed of more than 2,000 mph in space. That is pretty impressive. Boeing is the prime contractor with Northrop Grumman (NOC), Raytheon (RTN) and Orbital ATK (OA) the key subcontractors. Shares rebounded sharply.

Position 5/15/17:

Long Aug $105 call @ $2.60, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


SHOP - Shopify - Company Profile

Comments:

The S&P/TSX index is considering whether to add SHOP to the Canadian index. That would equate to about 5.4 million shares of additional buying from index funds. The rule change that would allow SHOP to benefit is out for comment until June 9th.

Original Trade Description: May 31st.

Shopify Inc. provides a cloud-based multi-channel commerce platform for small and medium-sized businesses in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and internationally. Its platform provides merchants with a single view of their business and customers in various sales channels, including Web and mobile storefronts, physical retail locations, social media storefronts, and marketplaces; and enables them to manage products and inventory, process orders and payments, ship orders, build customer relationships, and leverage analytics and reporting. The company was formerly known as Jaded Pixel Technologies Inc. and changed its name to Shopify Inc. in November 2011. Company description from FinViz.com.

The company reported a Q1 loss of 4 cents compared to estimates for a loss of 11 cents. Revenue rose 75% to $127.4 million and beat estimates for $122.1 million. Merchant solution revenue rose 92% to $65.3 million and subscription revenue rose 60% to $62.1 million. They guided for Q2 to revenues of $142-$144 million and the full year for $615-$630 million. That is above their prior guidance of $580-$600 million.

Expected earnings August 1st.

The company was very positive about the future outlook. On May 18th they announced a secondary offering for $500 million at $91 per share. The stock dropped from $91 to $81 on the news but immediately recovered. Wednesday's close was a two-week high after that announcement.

SHOP has been discussed multiple times as takeover bait for Ebay or Amazon. Neither company will comment but Amazon would be the likely player. They could gobble up Shopify at $7 billion like a late night snack.

I believe shares are going to resume their upward momentum now that the secondary offering has been consumed by the market.

I wanted to buy calls that expire after earnings but there are no August strikes yet. The next strike in October is too expensive. Even the short term strikes are expensive so I am going with a July spread to reduce the risk.

Position 6/1/17:

Long July $95 call @ $5.25, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Short July $105 call @ $2.35, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Net debit $2.90.


VAR - Varian Medical - Company Profile

Comments:

Varian announced it has joined a partnership to develop radiotherapy centers in Vietnam. This will eventually mean the deployment of multiple installations in Vietnam.

Original Trade Description: May 20th.

Varian Medical Systems, Inc. designs, manufactures, sells, and services medical devices and software products for treating cancer and other medical conditions worldwide. It operates through two segments, Oncology Systems and Imaging Components. The Oncology Systems segment provides hardware and software products for treating cancer with radiotherapy, fixed field intensity-modulated radiation therapy, image-guided radiation therapy, volumetric modulated arc therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, stereotactic body radiotherapy, and brachytherapy. Its products include linear accelerators, brachytherapy afterloaders, treatment simulation, verification equipment, and accessories; and information management, treatment planning, image processing, clinical knowledge exchange, patient care management, decision-making support, and practice management software. This segment serves university research and community hospitals, private and governmental institutions, healthcare agencies, physicians' offices, oncology practices, radiotherapy centers, and cancer care clinics. The Imaging Components segment offers X-ray imaging components for use in radiographic or fluoroscopic imaging, mammography, special procedures, computed tomography, computer aided diagnostics, and industrial applications. It also provides Linatron X-ray accelerators, imaging processing software, and image detection products for security and inspection purposes. This segment serves original equipment manufacturers, independent service companies, and end-users. In addition, the company offers products and systems for delivering proton therapy; and develops technologies in the areas of digital X-ray imaging, volumetric and functional imaging, and improved X-ray sources. The company was formerly known as Varian Associates, Inc. and changed its name to Varian Medical Systems, Inc. in April 1999. Varian Medical Systems, Inc. was founded in 1948. Company description from FinViz.com.

Drugs are not the only opportunity to rid yourself of a terrible disease. Varian produces multiple products for discovering and targeting cancer. They are the sector leader in imaging and radiation therapy.

Varian reported earnings of 89 cents that beat estimates for 88 cents. Revenue of $655 million beat estimates for $643 million. They guided for ful lyear earnings of $3.56-$3.64 per share.

Earnings July 26th.

On May 6th, the company announced a "game-changing treatment platform" to combat the cancer challenge. (their words) The new Halcyon system is an entirely new device that "simplifies and enhances virtually every aspect of image-guided volumetric intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). This new treatment system is designed to expand the availability of high quality cancer care globally and help save the lives of millions more cancer patients." The new system requires only 9 steps compared with the 30 treatment steps required by current generation equipment. "Halcyon is well suited to handle the majority of cancer patients, offering advanced treatments for prostate, breast, head & neck, and many other forms of cancer." Press Release

The company demonstrated the new device to packed crowds at the ESTRO 36 conference in Vienna on May 8th. Shares spiked $4 on the announcement.

ASCO is about cancer treatment and the conference begins on June 2nd for four days. While the drug community will be getting plenty of press, the Varian equipment should also be benefitting from the headlines.

The market decline knocked $2 off Varian shares and gave us a buying opportunity.

Update 5/24/17: Varian announced it was going to install its first Proton Therapy System in Thailand. The first one in a country is always the hardest. The order will be booked in this quarter's earnings. Shares rallied to close right on resistance at $96.75 but a breakout is imminent.

Update 5/25/17: Varian will be hosting multiple events at the ISRS meeting in Switzerland from May 28th - June 1st. They will be demonstrating their leading edge radiosurgery systems for cancer treatment.

Position 5/22/17:

Long August $100 call @ $2.00, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


$VIX - Volatility Index - Index Description

Comments:

The VIX posted a minor gain in a minimally weak market. There was no material decline in equities.

The June 2nd close at 9.75 was the lowest close since December 1993.

This is a July call. We have plenty of time and the odds of a market sell off over the next 2 months are close to 100%. The VIX cannot go much lower but it can go a lot higher.

While holding the VIX call is an insurance play for us, I hope we are never in a position to profit from it. That would mean a lot of our long positions would be under water or stopped out.

Original Trade Description: Jan 26th

The VIX is a computed index, much like the S&P 500 itself, although it is not derived based on stock prices. Instead, it uses the price of options on the S&P 500, and then estimates how volatile those options will be between the current date and the option's expiration date. The CBOE combines the price of multiple options and derives an aggregate value of volatility, which the index tracks.

The VIX closed at 10.63 and very close to record lows. You have to go back to June of 2014 for a lower recent close at 10.28. Before that, you have to travel back in time to Feb-2007 for a close at 10.05. The next lowest close was 9.48 in Dec-1993.

The point here is that volatility is near record lows only reached four times in the last 23 years. That qualifies for an abnormal event. I believe it is time we bought some VIX calls. The odds of the VIX remaining this low for the next two months are about as close to zero as you can get.

There is a very old saying in the market. "When the VIX is high, it is time to buy. When the VIX is low, it is time to go." You cannot get much lower than this.

The VIX is telling us that everyone expects the market to continue moving higher. Nobody is worried that some unexpected headline or event is going to trigger a significant market decline. When nobody expects an event is when we should be the most concerned.

Update 5/1/17: The VIX made a new intraday low at 9.90 and closed at a 10-yr low at 10.11. The government shutdown has been avoided according to reports out of Washington and that helped to deflate the VIX. Marine Le Pen is rapidly gaining on Macron in the French election runoff for next Sunday. She gained 6 points in two days to 41% in the recent polls compared to Macron's 59%. If she can gain another 6% early this week then the entire event risk scenario comes back into play with a potential come from behind win.

Position 3/30/117
Long July $14 call @ $2.55, no stop loss.
Added 5/9/17: Long July $14 call @ $1.60, no stop loss.
Average cost now $2.07.

Previously Closed 2/1/17: Long March $12 call @ $2.60, exit $2.50, -.10 loss.
Previously Closed 2/22/17: Long March $12 call @ $1.75 adj, exit $1.65, -.10 loss.
Previously Closed 4/10/17: Long Apr $13 call @ $2.30, exit $1.80, -.55 loss.



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