Option Investor
Newsletter

Daily Newsletter, Tuesday, 6/13/2017

Table of Contents

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

Market Wrap

What Market Crash?

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown

The Dow, S&P and Russell have erased the declines to close at new highs today.

Market Statistics

The Dow, S&P and Russell 2000 all posted decent gains to close at record highs. There were no signs of weakness and even the Senate Testimony by Jeff Sessions failed to dent the rally. The Nasdaq indexes gained a decent 44 points each but they have some catch up to do before they will be making new highs again.

The big cap tech stocks posted decent gains after a sluggish start to the morning. Investors are still regaining their confidence but it is coming back.


Over the weekend I warned to be cautious until the Nasdaq 100 ($NDX) moved back over 5,750 on decent volume. The index tried to cross that level twice today, once at the open and again at the close and was unsuccessful both times. However, I do expect that level to be broken to the upside in the days ahead.


There were two economic reports today. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for May was flat with April at 104.5. The internal components were nearly unchanged but those respondents planning to increase employment rose slightly from 16% to 18%. Most of the other components were either flat or changed by only 1 point. The sales expectations were an exception with those expecting higher sales rising from 20% to 22%. Those planning on raising prices rose from 18% to 21% so that is probably why the same percentage expected sales to rise.

The Producer Price Index (PPI) for May was flat after a +0.5% rise in April. The persistent low prices for petroleum fuels are helping to keep inflation in check. Prices for goods declined -0.5%, services +0.3% and core goods +0.1%. Over the trailing 12 months, the final demand prices are up 2.4%.

Both reports were ignored with all eyes on the markets instead. The calendar for the rest of the week is headlined by the Fed rate decision and Yellen press conference on Wednesday. The chances of a rate hike on Wednesday are 100% with 99.5% expecting a quarter point and 0.4% expecting half a point. There is zero real probability of a half a point hike. That would be a market killer. The chances for a September hike are only 24%. That should change depending on the Fed's statement on Wednesday. With the Atlanta Fed real time GDP Now holding at estimates for 3.0% growth for Q2, the Fed has no reason not to hike rates this week.



The Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey is the next most important on the list because it is a proxy for the national ISM in two weeks. The NAHB Housing Index and the New Construction will be important and analysts expect them to miss estimates.


The earnings calendar is devoid of any material reports for Wednesday. The highlights for the week will be Finisar, Kroger and American Outdoor Brands, formerly Smith & Wesson.


In stock news, Tesla (TSLA) was upgraded from hold to buy at Berenberg and they raised the target price from $193 to $464. With the stock at $375, they may be a little late on that price target upgrade.

On CNBC this morning, Ron Baron was targeting $500-$600 in 2018 and $1,000 by 2020. He said they would be making a million cars a year by 2020. Add in the massive battery output from the gigafactories and the solar shingle component and they will be posting explosive growth. Let's hope he was right. Shares have doubled since December. Elon Musk is already planning a second gigafactory because demand is expected to be so strong.


Western Digital (WDC) was in the news again. The company was initiated with a buy rating and a $130 price target at Aegis Capital and saying there was additional "long term appreciation" above that level. At the same time, Japanese media said WDC would raise its bid for the Toshiba memory business to $18.2 billion. The bids close on Thursday. Guggenheim reiterated a buy rating and a $125 target saying WDC would be fine regardless of whether or not it buys Toshiba.


Goldman Sachs (GS) initiated coverage of refiner Tesoro (TSO) with a "conviction buy" rating and $121 price target saying it was undervalued after its $6.4 billion acquisition of Western Refining (WNR) that was just completed. Goldman expects the combined companies to generate solid cash flow. Western benefitted from having refineries near the Permian Basin and access to cheap oil. The company is going to change its name to Andeavor and its symbol to ANDV on August 1st. The company now has 1.1 million bpd of refining capacity. They are not going to change the name on the 3,000+ Tesoro service stations. Tesoro now has 10 refineries in 8 states.


After the bell, H&R Block (HRB) posted earnings of $3.76 compared to estimates for $3.51 per share. Revenue of $3.04 billion beat estimates for $2.32 billion. They also announced a dividend increase to 24 cents per share. They have posted consecutive dividends since 1962. They repurchased 14 million shares in the quarter for a cost of $317 million. Shares gained 10% in afterhours trading.


Shares of Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) spiked $4 in afterhours when news broke that the Biogen CFO will leave after 16 years to join Alexion as CFO. The change will be effective on July 31st. ALXN shares rose $4 and Biogen (BIIB) shares declined $6.


Yahoo (YHOO) completed the sale of its operating business to Verizon for $4.5 billion. Shareholders overwhelmingly approved the sale last week. Yahoo was one of the Internet's iconic brands and had more than 1 billion users, 750 million of which had seen their personal information stolen in two cyber attacks. Verizon is going to combine the Yahoo assets with the AOL assets into a company called Oath and led by AOL CEO Tim Armstrong. Yahoo's CEO, Marissa Mayer collected her $23 million golden parachute and is out of a job. The remaining Yahoo assets consist of approximately a 36% stake in Yahoo Japan and 15% stake in Alibaba. Yahoo will change its name to Altaba (Alternate Alibaba). The company will file with the SEC to become a publicly traded, non-diversified, closed-end investment management company. The YHOO symbol will change to AABA on June 19th.


Facebook (FB) may soon be in the subscription content business. They are considering a pay wall where content companies like the Wall Street Journal, Barron's, etc, will be able to charge for their content posted on Facebook. If you subscribe to this content, it will appear in your news feed. Content providers have been begging for this for a long time in order to have access to Facebook's 2 billion members. That is a monster advertising pool. According to a recent survey 44% of Americans get their online news from Facebook and that is scary considering how much of it is fake news. YouTube supplies 10%, Twitter 9%, Instagram 4%, Linkedin 4%, Snapchat 2% and Tumblr 1%. The real winner from this Facebook feature will of course be Facebook because they will collect a commission whether you actually read the news or not.



 

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Markets

The market rally today was boosted by the pre Fed trend where Tuesdays before a Fed meeting typically post decent gains. The Tuesday before the May meeting did not follow the trend but historically it is about 80% accurate.

The actual Fed rate decision is not expected to move the market. It is already baked into the cake but the news that could be a surprise would revolve around their balance sheet. They are still buying new treasuries as existing holdings mature. They are doing this to maintain their $4.5 trillion balance sheet. They have discussed putting a cap on their future purchases where they would only repurchase a set dollar amount per month and the rest would simply fall off. Hypothetically, if they had $60 billion maturing next month and the cap was $25 billion, then $35 billion would mature and the balance sheet would decrease by that amount. There is a shortage of treasuries in the market and the Fed's constant repurchasing to keep QE alive, is holding down interest rates because of the competition in the market for the remaining supply. By purchasing fewer treasuries, it would allow interest rates to rise slightly without being dependent on the Fed Funds Rate.

In theory, the market should be ok with this process. When the Fed mentioned in the FOMC minutes the market did not crash so that trial balloon was successful. I would not be surprised to see it again soon, if not on Wednesday. I would expect the topic to be discussed in the Yellen press conference.

The Dow has seized the leadership reins for the market. The Dow surged to a 93-point gain on a broad based rally. Only 8 Dow stocks were negative and all lost less than $1. Even Apple turned positive for the first time in several days.

Support remains 21,130 but that is rapidly fading in the rear view mirror. There is no clear-cut resistance in the near future but round numbers like 21,500 could be a challenge.



The S&P closed at a new high but only by a point. The old high was 2,439.07 and today's close was 2,440.35. That means the 2,440 resistance level is still a factor. We need one more decent gain to power the index out of its recent consolidation pattern. Support remains 2,420.


The Nasdaq Composite posted a decent gain and moved back over the prior round number support at 6,200 but just barely. The index is still 100 points below its closing high of 6,321 but definitely in reach. It took several days to recover the lost ground in the prior two selloffs. As long as the big cap stocks just remain positive, the index should do fine. There is no need for them to charge off to new highs but we would not complain.




We saw something today that we have not seen in a long time. The big cap indexes and the Russell 2000 small caps both making new highs at the same time. That is bullish for the market and suggests the rally has further to go.


The market may stutter along for the next several days but assuming Yellen does not develop foot in mouth disease and cause a market drop, we should see the rally continue. All the factors are positive with economics improving slightly in some cases and holding their gains in others. Earnings are positive with double-digit gains expected over the next three quarters. Europe has fallen out of the spotlight with the UK elections failing to cause a crash. Washington politics seemed to have turned down the volume slightly since the Comey testimony. The market did not even blink about the Sessions testimony today. If certain people can stay out of the headlines the rest of the week it would be market positive.

Just remember, the events that cause the most market damage are the ones nobody expects. If we become too complacent, trouble usually follows. We do not want a market that simply shoots straight up. Slow and steady wins the race.

Enter passively, exit aggressively!

Jim Brown

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New Option Plays

Analyst Surprise

by Jim Brown

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Editors Note:

Alibaba's investor day guidance was much higher than analysts expected and shares exploded higher. Now that the excitement is fading it may be time for an entry.


NEW DIRECTIONAL CALL PLAYS

BABA - Alibaba - Company Profile

Alibaba Group Holding Limited, through its subsidiaries, operates as an online and mobile commerce company in the People's Republic of China and internationally. It operates Taobao Marketplace, an online shopping destination; Tmall, a third-party platform for brands and retailers; Juhuasuan, a sales and marketing platform for flash sales; Alibaba.com, an online wholesale marketplace; Alitrip, an online travel booking platform; 1688.com, an online wholesale marketplace; and AliExpress, a consumer marketplace. The company also provides pay-for-performance and display marketing services through its Alimama marketing technology platform; Taobao Ad Network and Exchange (TANX), a real-time bidding online marketing exchange in China; and data management platform through TANX for marketers to execute their campaigns with proprietary and tailored data. In addition, it offers cloud computing services, including elastic computing, database, storage and content delivery network, large scale computing, security, and management and application services through its Alibaba Cloud Computing platform; Web hosting and domain name registration services; payment and escrow services; and develops and operates mobile Web browsers. The company provides its solutions primarily for businesses. Company description from FinViz.com

Alibaba is the poor investor's Amazon. With shares at $135, the options are at least reasonable but not cheap. Alibaba is growing as fast or faster than Amazon and tries to copy everything Amazon does.

When the company reported earnings for the last quarter at 63 cents, they missed estimates for 68 cents. Revenue of $5.6 billion easily beat estimates for $5.2 billion. Other than the earnings miss it was a solid quarter with ecommerce up 47% and cloud computing up 102%. Digital media growth was up 234%. Mobile MAUs rose from 493 to 507 million. That is important because 90% of China's ecommerce occurs on a mobile device.

The company announced plans to buy back $6 billion in stock over a two-year period.

Earnings August 18th.

Shares dipped on the earnings miss then spiked on the guidance to $125.50, which was a new high. After a little more than two weeks of post earnings consolidation, shares returned to that $125.50 level and closed at a new high.

There was an analyst day last week and that kicked the stock up to another level with a $10 gain. The company guided for 45% to 49% revenue growth in this year and analysts were only expecting 37%. MKM partners raised the price target to $177. Pacific Crest raised their price target to $160 from $137. Needham raised their target to $155. The Benchmark Company is targeting $175.

Shares declined on Tuesday on no news. With the stock overbought after the analyst meeting we could be seeing some simple profit taking. I am going to put an entry trigger on the position. If shares continue lower I will revise the entry.

With a BABA trade at $142.50

Buy Aug $150 call, currently $3.25, initial stop loss $135.50.
Sell short Aug $160 call, currently $1.30, initial stop loss $135.50.
Net debit $1.95. Prices will rise significantly before our entry is triggered.


NEW DIRECTIONAL PUT PLAYS

No New Bearish Plays



In Play Updates and Reviews

Rally Mode

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown

Editors Note:

The markets moved back into rally mode with the Dow, S&P and Russell at new highs. The Nasdaq indexes posted decent gains as the FAANG stocks began to rebound. The rally was broad based and on decent volume.

Most of our positions posted decent gains and all sectors were positive. The only big decliner was volatility. Investors are convinced the markets are going higher and nobody is buying puts for insurance.



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


ATVI - Activision
The long call position was entered at $57.75.

WDC - Western Digital
The long call position was entered at the open.

SHOP - Shopify
The long call position remains unopened until $90.75.



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BULLISH Play Updates

ADP - Automatic Data - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Decent follow up gain to the $1.43 spike on Monday.

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. Shares gapped open to our entry point this morning so we did not save anything on the option premium but we are in the position once again.

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:

Long August $60 calls @ $2.24, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

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


BA - Boeing - Company Profile

Comments:

Multiple sources claim Ryanair is talks with Boeing over a large order for the new 737-MAX 10 that will debut at the Paris Air Show next week. Ryanair has already ordered 100 of the 737 MAX 200 planes. The MAX 200 seats 189-196 and the MAX 10 seats 230 passengers. The Ryanair CEO said the only thing preventing them from growing faster was the lack of available planes. Indonesia's Lion Air is expected to place an order for 50 of the 737 MAX 10s as early as next week. Business is good for Boeing.

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:

No specific news. Decent rebound of 82 cents.

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.

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?

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. Strong $2.24 gain to show that FAANG stocks are still going to be market leaders.

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. Minor 20 cent decline after a gain of $1.51 on Monday.

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.


NFLX - Netflix - Company Profile

Comments:

Netflix partnered with telecom giant Altice and will begin rolling out pay services in France, Portugal, Israel and the Dominican Republic in the coming months.

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. Monster $2.12 gain on no news.

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 $90.75. Shares dipped again on Tuesday but it was a higher low and support was honored. I debated lowering the entry point but decided to keep it the same so we can be sure there is a rebound in progress rather than speculate on a bottom.

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:

Visa is going to provide 1,600 point-of-sale terminals to more than 120 mobile concessionaires at the FIFA Cup to enable a "cashless experience" for card holders.

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.


$VIX - Volatility Index - Index Description

Comments:

I am giving up on the VIX position as a hedge. With the indexes making new highs and volatility making 24 yr lows, there is no reason to continue holding this position. I know that as soon as we drop it a volatility event will occur because it has been six months since the last one. Close the position.

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.


WDC - Western Digital - Company Profile

Comments:

Western Digital was initiated with a buy rating and a $130 price target at Aegis Capital and saying there was additional "long term appreciation" above that level. At the same time, Japanese media said WDC would raise its bid to $18.2 billion. The bids close on Thursday. Guggenheim reiterated a buy rating and a $125 target saying WDC would be fine regardless of whether or not it buys Toshiba.

Shares gapped open and gained $3.41 for the day.

Original Trade Description: June 10th.

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.

Position 6/13/17:

Long Sept $90 call @ $6.50, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Short Sept $100 call @ $3.09, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Net debit $3.41



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