Option Investor
Newsletter

Daily Newsletter, Monday, 6/12/2017

Table of Contents

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

Market Wrap

Tech Sell-Off Deepens

by Thomas Hughes

Click here to email Thomas Hughes

Introduction

The FAANG led sell-off in tech stocks continued today after a downgrade of Apple sent shares of that stock down another 3.5%. Today's index action was a bit lighter than that of Friday and seen as a chance to rotate out of under-performing sectors and into those with better forward outlook. Four S&P sectors closed in the green today; energy, industrials financials and real estate. The FOMC meeting aslo overshadowed trading, adding a cautious tone to today's action.

International markets sold-off in the wake of Friday's action. Asian indices fell in the range of -0.50% with the notable exception of the Hang Send which fell more than -1.10%. Indices in Europe fell a little harder, averaging -1.00%, as political fear continues to worm its way through the market.

Market Statistics

Futures trading was negative all morning. The SPX was indicated to open with a loss near -0.2% for most of the morning and that held steady into the opening bell. The open was smooth a bit choppy, the first few minutes saw the indices move up to test resistance at Friday's close, find it and move lower. Intraday bottom was about 10AM, about -12 points for the SPX, and sideways trading prevailed from there. The index remained within the early range the rest of the day closing closer to the high end than the low.

Economic Calendar

The Economy

No economic data today but there is a bit of important news coming out later this week. Tuesday there is a single release, PPI, and then CPI Wednesday morning either of which could drastically affect FOMC outlook to the end of the year. Wednesday will also bring Retail Sales in the morning and then the FOMC decision later that afternoon. Thursday 2 regional Fed surveys are due, Philly and Empire, along with weekly jobless claims and Industrial Production. Friday wraps the week with Housing Starts, Building Permits and Michigan Sentiment.

Moody's Survey Of Business Confidence continues to rise. The index gained 0.6% in the last week to hit 36.8, the highest level since October, 2015. Mr. Zandi says that global business sentiment is strong and stable with positive forward outlook. The strongest responses are in regards to hiring and the number of responses indicating payroll reduction have hit an all-time low.


We are now officially on Q2 Earnings Watch, it is roughly 1 month until the onset of the next cycle. The estimated rate of earnings growth for the S&P 500 is 6.6% with 9 of 11 sectors expected to show growth. The caveat is that since the beginning of the 2nd quarter 10 of the 11 sectors have had their outlook lowered, led by the energy sector. In terms of company issued guidance this is the best quarter for positive pre-releases since 2012.


Forward outlook has stabilized. Earnings growth rate estimates had been falling but have held steady for nearly a month. Growth is expected to slow to 6.6% in the current quarter and then expand to 7.5% and 12.4% in the 3rd and 4th quarters with full year 2017 growth in the range of 9.9%. Growth is also still expected to expand into next year to a rate near 11.6%.


The Dollar Index

The Dollar Index fell early today but did not fall back below the $97 level. The index lost about -0.25% intraday but closed down only about -0.10% after bouncing back later in the day. Today's action was cautious and hesitant on an absence of news and anticipation of the FOMC announcement. The CME Fed Watch Tool shows a 96% chance they will raise rates at this meeting but it is the 50/50 chance they may do it again later this year traders will be focused on. If the Fed is more hawkish than what the market has priced in the dollar and Dollar Index could easily move higher. Support is at $97 for now, a move below that could find next support as early as $96.50. A move up from support may find resistance at $97.75.


The Gold Index

Gold prices fell today but losses were minimal. Spot gold trade in a narrow range of $6 and closed with a loss of only -0.2% and above support targets in the $1,250 to $1,260 region. The metal has begun to correct on declining political fears and last week's ECB meeting but an extension is not confirmed. Traders are still waiting on important inflation and FOMC data which will likely be the catalyst to send gold moving again. A move lower needs to break $1,250 but then has targets near $1,230. A move higher has targets near $1,280 and $,1300 in the near term.

The Gold Miners ETF GDX continues to hover within the short-term and narrowing trading range. Today the ETF created a very small spinning top candle at the pair of moving averages, within the range and looks like it will remain in the range for now. The catalyst for break-out is of course the FOMC meeting two days away. The indicators are consistent with range bound trading and currently pointing lower suggesting a move down to support within the range. A move down from here would find support at the bottom of the range near $21 or -8.5% from today's close. A break to the upside would of course be bullish with targets at $24 and $25 in the near term.


The Oil Index

Oil prices rose today on a bit of bullish news but the move is likely short lived. The Saudis are reported to be cutting supply to Asia and the US in July in an effort to ease over-supply issues and WTI rises more than a half percent. Adding to bullish sentiment are signs of stockpile decline at the Cushing, OK supply depot. Despite the gains WTI remains near the $46 level and well below the $52 estimated average price of oil this year.

The Oil Index gained a little more than 0.5% in an extension of last Friday's bounce from support. The index made a small gap higher to hit resistance at the short-term moving average and create a small pin-bar doji. The indicators are both confirming the move with bullish crossovers but the signal remains weak at this time. A pull back from today's levels could find support at the 1,120 support line, a break below that would likely retest Friday's low. Friday's candle is a positive sign for those like me waiting for a bottom in the oil sector. It is not a confirmed signal but highly suggestive of market support.


In The News, Story Stocks and Earnings

GE was top in the news today after the company reported Jeff Immelt was on the way out. He is slated to be replaced as CEO August 1st and Chairman of the Board at the end of the year. Incoming CEO John Flannery is a 30 veteran of GE and the current head of GE Healthcare. The news was a bit unexpected but well received by the market. Emmelt has had a hard time delivering shareholder value and long been the target of criticisms. Shares of the stock responded by jumping nearly 5% to trade at a one month high.


Apple was the cause of much of today's decline after receiving a downgrade from Mizuho Securities. The advisory firm says that much of the forward iPhone growth is already priced into the stock, the second firm in a week to say much the same thing. Shares of the stock fell nearly -5%, hit a one month low and look like they could drift lower to $140.


The VIX rose again today, the second of two advances, but does not look like it will go much further. Price action is already showing signs of resistance to higher prices at the $12 level. Today's candle is small bodied with a long upper shadow, reminiscent of a shooting star and indicative of resistance. This new resistance level is coincident with the top of a three month trading range seen earlier this year and could be significantly strong, or at least significant should the index continue to advance. The indicators are bullish and on the rise so there is a good chance resistance will be tested again. This week is OPEX which means there could be options market volatility even without the FOMC.


The Indices

The indices tried once again to move lower and once again were not able to do a convincing job of it. Today's action was light and led by an outflow from the tech sector. The NASDAQ Composite fell more than -1% intraday closing with a loss near -0.50%. The index fell to test support at the short-term moving average. The candle is a small green candle with long lower shadow sitting at support and suggestive of support. The indicators have confirmed a sell signal within an up trend and suggest that support will be tested again and perhaps broken. A move below the moving average would be bearish in the near-term with target near 6,000 at my long-term up trend line. A bounce from the moving average here would be bullish and trend following with target at the recently set all-time high.


The SPX fell -0.09% and created a small spinning top at the long-term up trend line and support. The indicators are consistent with a peak within an uptrend and test of support, suggesting that it may be tested again. A break below the trend line would be bearish in the near-term with target near 2,400. A bounce would be bullish and trend following with upside target near the current all-time high and then 2,480.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average created a small red candle at the resistance of an up trend line. The index has had a hard time regaining the upper side of this trend line as it sets new all-time highs and looks like it may fall from it. The indicators are rolling over and consistent with a peak, suggestive of consolidation or pull-back within an up trend. Support target is the short-term moving average near 21,000, a break below there would be bearish in the near to short-term. A move above the trend line would be bullish and take the index to new all-time highs.


The transports quietly moved higher to set a new 3 month closing high. The Dow Jones Transportation Average climbed a little more than 0.60% to close near the high of the day and above resistance. The index appears to be moving up to test resistance at the current all time high and the indicators support this. MACD momentum is bullish and ticking higher in support of higher prices while stochastic is set up for a bullish crossover high in the upper signal zone.


The signals are mixed but that's not too surprising ahead of the FOMC meeting and without an earnings cycle to support prices. On the one hand it looks like deeper correction could come while on the other support has been reached with trend following bounces a real possibility. The FOMC may be a catalyst for equities but it will be earnings that really moves the market, and the next round of that is still a month off. Between now and then I suspect we may see some market sidewinding and perhaps lower index prices as traders and investors rotate out of the old and into the new in preparation for the second half of the year. I'm neutral for the near-term, waiting on the Fed and the data. Today may be a buying op but I'm not ready to pull trigger on new positions just yet. I'm still firmly bullish for the long and waiting for the next great trend following entry.

Until then, remember the trend!

Thomas Hughes


New Option Plays

Buying Opportunity

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown

Editors Note:

The tech crash has given us several new opportunities. Western Digital was hammered for a $9 drop on zero news.


NEW DIRECTIONAL CALL PLAYS

WDC - Western Digital - Company Profile

Western Digital Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures, and sells data storage devices and solutions worldwide. It offers performance hard disk drives (HDDs) that are used in enterprise servers, data analysis, and other enterprise applications; capacity HDDs and drive configurations for use in data storage systems and tiered storage models, as well as for use in storage of data for years; and enterprise solid state drives (SSDs), including NAND-flash SSDs and software solutions that are designed to enhance the performance in various enterprise workload environments. The company also provides InfiniFlash System, a system solution that offers petabyte scalable capacity with performance metrics; higher value data storage platforms and systems; datacenter software and systems; and HDDs and SSDs for desktop PCs, notebook PCs, gaming consoles, set top boxes, security surveillance systems, and other computing devices. In addition, it offers embedded NAND-flash storage products, including custom embedded solutions; and iNAND embedded flash products, such as multi-chip package solutions that combine NAND and mobile dynamic random-access memory in an integrated package for mobile phones, tablets, notebook PCs, and other portable and wearable devices, as well as in automotive and connected home applications, and NAND-flash wafers. Further, it provides HDDs embedded into WD- and HGST-branded external storage products; and NAND-flash products, which include cards, universal serial bus flash drives, and wireless drives. Additionally, the company licenses its technologies. The company sells its products under the HGST, SanDisk, and WD brands to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), distributors, resellers, cloud infrastructure players, and retailers. It serves storage subsystem suppliers, OEMs, Internet and social media infrastructure players, and PC and Mac OEMs. Company description from FinViz.com.

Western Digital is in the sweet spot for hard drives and memory. After acquiring SanDisk last year they have been integrating memory products into their product lines and business is booming. Their hard drives are the state of the art with 10 terabyte drives now the leading edge of capacity. Their SSD drives are growing by leaps and bounds with capacities surging and prices declining.

They are currently bidding on the Toshiba NAND memory business with an $18 billion bid. Toshiba is supposed to announce the winner of the bid on Thursday. If WDC wins that bid they will be unstoppable with yet another source of highly desirable memory components. They already own half of the Toshiba business so whatever happens they will still be a part of the company. There could be a protracted legal fight if WDC is not the winner but they will still benefit.

Estimated earnings July 27th.

Shares crashed from a high of $91.94 on Friday to a low of $82.14 today. The rebound from the opening low was immediate and the stock closed at $86.64. I am looking for a return to the highs and if they win the Toshiba business we could see higher highs.

Buy Sept $90 call, currently $5.40, initial stop loss $82.85
Sell short Sept $100 call, currently $2.04, initial stop loss $82.85
Net debit $3.36


NEW DIRECTIONAL PUT PLAYS

No New Bearish Plays



In Play Updates and Reviews

Chapter Two

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown

Editors Note:

The markets dropped sharply at the open but that proved to be the lows for the day. The tech sector was the hardest hit once again but most stocks rebounded nicely with many returning to positive territory.

The problem for today was margin calls. Many previously indestructible stocks like McDonalds, Varian, etc, saw sharp losses at the open as stocks were sold to raise cash to cover margin calls. Sometimes when you get caught in a market downdraft you have to sell stocks you do not want to sell just to raise cash. That was the pattern of selling today.

Since the markets finished well off their lows today, the worst of the selling should be over. Knock, knock on wood.



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


V - Visa
The long call position was entered at the open.

MCD - McDonalds
The long call position was stopped at $149.85.

VAR - Varian Medical
The long call position was stopped at $100.85.

NFLX - Netflix
The long call position was reloaded at $154.

FB - Facebook
The long call position was reloaded at $145.25.



If you are looking for a different type of option strategy, try these newsletters:

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

ADP - Automatic Data - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Excellent rebound with a $1.43 gain.

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. The prior position was stopped out on Friday and I recommend we reload it with a trade at $58.60. Shares did not reach that level today and dipped lower at the open. I am changing the recommendation to reenter the position at $57.75. That should save us a few cents on the premium.

RELOAD: With an ATVI trade at $57.75, Buy Aug $60 Call.

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:

With an ATVI trade at $57.75
Buy August $60 calls, currently $1.75, initial stop loss $55.25.

Previously closed 6/9/17: Long August $60 calls @ $2.66, exit $2.02, -.64 loss.


BA - Boeing - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Only a 3 cent decline in a weak market.

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.

Update 6/7/17: Boeing said the current Arab argument with Qatar has not hurt the $21.1 billion order for 72 F-15QA multirole fighters. The State Dept said they still expect the order to be signed soon. Canada said it planned to increase its military spending by 73% over the next ten years and would involve a significant number of new planes. The spokesman said Canada would hold an open competition to buy 88 advanced fighters to replace its fleet of 77 CF-18 planes. Previously, the government had planned to buy 65 fighters. Part of the requirement is that the planes would have to operate seamlessly with planes and communication systems of Canada's allies. That gives Boeing a big edge up plus they are the incumbent having made and maintained the CF-18s.

Update 6/8/17: Boeing said it was going to send some of its aircraft completion work to China and a production plant near Shanghai. The plant will focus on painting and furnishing jets to be used in China. Boeing expects this to help sales to China of 6,800 jets over the next 20 years. The company said this would not impact any jobs in the USA.

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:

Amazon is the largest online seller of Costco products marketed under the Kirkland brand. They have 69.5% of the online market share for Kirkland products. Costco only has 23.2% market share online. Who knew Amazon was such a big supporter of Costco?

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. We were stopped out of the prior position and I recommended we reload the position with a trade at $145.25. FB traded down to $144.56 to trigger the entry into the new position. Excellent $4 rebound from the lows.

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 6/12/17:

Long Aug $150 call @ $4.75, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

Previously closed 6/9/17: Long Aug $150 call @ $4.90, exit $6.80, +$1.90 gain.


LB - L Brands - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Another excellent gain of $1.51 in a mixed 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. The stock crashed as investors were forced to raise cash for margin calls and to offset losses in other positions. We were stopped out for a nice gain.

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:

Closed 6/12/17: Long July $145 call @ $1.67, exit $6.21, +4.54 gain.


NFLX - Netflix - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. We were stopped out of the prior position on Friday and I recommended we reload with a NFLX trade at $154. Shares fell to $148.31 before rebounding. We were triggered on the new position. Apparently, I did not have the entry point low enough but that was support.

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.

Update 6/6/17: Cantor Fitzgerald raised their price target from $165 to $190 saying international subscriptions are set to surge. The analyst said Netflix has 50% penetration in the US households with broadband access but only 5.7% internationally. He expects that international number to rise dramatically as advertising and acceptance grows.

Earnings July 17th.

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

Position 6/12/17:

Long July $160 call @ $4.96, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Short July $175 call @ $1.65, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Net debit $3.31.

Previously closed 6/9/17:
Long July $160 call @ $6.45, exit $7.50, +1.05 gain.
Short July $175 call @ $2.16, exit $2.41, -.25 loss.
Net gain 80 cents.


RMD - ResMed Inc - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Big drop at the open but rebounded to close back over resistance at $73.

Original Trade Description: June 6th.

ResMed Inc. designs, develops, manufactures, and markets medical devices and cloud-based software applications that diagnose, treat, and manage respiratory disorders. Its portfolio of products include devices, such as air flow generators, ventilators, and oxygen concentrators; diagnostic products; mask systems; headgear and other accessories; dental devices; portable oxygen concentrators; and cloud-based software informatics solutions. The company also produces continuous positive airway pressure, variable positive airway pressure, and AutoSet systems for the titration and treatment of sleep disordered breathing (SDB). In addition, it offers data communications and control products, such as EasyCare, ResLink, ResControl, ResControl II, TxControl, ResScan, and ResTraxx modules that facilitate the transfer of data and other information to and from the flow generators. The company markets its products to sleep clinics, home healthcare dealers, patients, hospitals, physicians, and third-party payers through a network of distributors and direct sales force in approximately 100 countries. Company description from FinViz.com.

ResMed reported earnings of 71 cents that rose 2.8% and beat estimates by a penny. Revenue of $514.2 million rose 13.3% but missed estimates for $519 million. Revenue in the America's rose 18% compared to a 9% rise in EMEA and APAC. Gross margin was 58.3%. They ended the quarter with $827.3 million in cash. They announced a quarterly dividend of 33 cents, payable on June 15th.

Expected earnings July 27th.

ResMed's recent claim to fame is the ResMed AirMini, the world's smallest CPAP mask. Their goal is to change 20 million lies by 2020 with products that improve patient outcomes and daily lives. They manufacture and market products for chronic diseases where there is a large patient base.

They currently provide remote monitoring for more than three million patients around the world.

Shares closed at a two year high on Wednesday. Earnings are July 27th and the July options will deflate too quickly. I am recommending the October strikes but we will exit before the earnings. We can always buy time but we do not have to use it.

Position 6/8/17:

Long $75 call @ $2.90, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


SHOP - Shopify - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. We were stopped out on the prior position on Friday and I recommended we reload with a trade at $93.50. SHOP fell to $82.51 at the open before rebounding. I am lowering the entry trigger to $90.75.

RELOAD: With a SHOP trade at $90.75, Buy July $95 Call. Sell July $105 call.

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.

Update 6/5/17: 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.

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.

With a SHOP trade at $90.75:

Buy July $95 call, currently $4.00, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Sell July $105 call, currently $1.90, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

Previously closed 6/9/17:
Long July $95 call @ $5.25, exit $5.00, -.25 loss.
Short July $105 call @ $2.35, exit 2.50, -.15 loss.
Net loss 40 cents.


V - Visa Inc - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Shares gapped down to the stop loss. Since nobody would have had a chance to enter the position we were rewarded with a better than expected entry rather than being stopped out. I lowered the stop loss for tomorrow.

Original Trade Description: June 10th.

Visa Inc. operates as a payments technology company worldwide. The company facilitates commerce through the transfer of value and information among consumers, merchants, financial institutions, businesses, strategic partners, and government entities. It operates VisaNet, a processing network that enables authorization, clearing, and settlement of payment transactions; and offers fraud protection for account holders and assured payment for merchants. The company also offers gateway services for merchants to accept, process, and reconcile payments; manage fraud; and safeguard payment security online, as well as processing services for participating issuers of visa debit, prepaid, and ATM payment products. In addition, it provides digital products, including Visa Checkout that offers consumers an expedited and secure payment experience for online transactions; and Visa Direct, a push payment product platform, which facilitates payer-initiated transactions that are sent directly to the Visa account of the recipient, as well as Visa token service that replaces the card account numbers from the transaction with a token. Further the company offers corporate (travel) and purchasing card products, as well as value-added services. It provides its services under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink, V PAY, and PLUS brands. Company description from FinViz.com.

Visa reported earnings of 86 cents compared to estimates for 79 cents. Revenue of $4.5 billion rose 23.5% and beat estimates for $4.3 billion. They raised full year revenue guidance saying they expect to come in at the high end of the $17.49-$17.79 billion prior forecast. Analysts were expecting $17.75 billion. Shares rallied $10 since the earnings report.

Estimated earnings July 20th. Visa shares declined sharply on Friday even though they are not a tech stock. The sudden need to raise cash because of losses elsewhere may have caused investors to take profits in Visa. This should be a buying opportunity. With the Fed likely to raise rates this week the financial community should continue to post gains.

Position 6/12/17:

Long Aug $95 call @ $2.30, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


VAR - Varian Medical - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. The market crash caught up to VAR today with a big drop at the open to stop us out. I debated whether to reload the position but I am going to wait and see if the rebound holds. VAR still has a lot of profit at risk.

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.

Update 6/5/17: Varian announced it has joined a partnership to develop radiotherapy centers in Vietnam. This will eventually mean the deployment of multiple installations in Vietnam.

Position 5/22/17:

Closed 6/12/17: Long August $100 call @ $2.00, exit $3.90, +1.90 gain.


$VIX - Volatility Index - Index Description

Comments:

The VIX only posted a minor bounce. However, if the market continues lower on Tuesday we are probably going to see it begin to rise sharply. Traders are not used to multi day declines and fear could return.

The June 2nd close at 9.75 was the lowest close since December 1993. The June 9th intraday low at 9.37 was also a 24-year low.

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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