Option Investor

Daily Newsletter, Wednesday, 11/23/2005

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Table of Contents

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

Market Wrap

Catching the Wind

A funny thing happened on the way to sailing through another positive day. With all bullish sailboats lined up for the race, futures turned lower after the Labor Department released jobless claims that were higher than expected and Research in Motion (RIMM) forecast lower numbers of subscribers. As the markets opened and the race began, investors appeared uncertain which way to send indices during earliest trading. Some indices rose modestly, sailing into the recent bullish winds. Then even their sails luffed, flapping in those bullish winds while they waited for economic releases that would show them the next direction. After the inventories numbers, the wind stiffened, sails caught the wind, and the race to see which index or sector could sail the fastest was engaged.

The TRAN, a recent market leader, headed down into the inventories numbers released at 10:30, but was to spend the day tacking back and forth, trying to catch the wind but ending up where it started. The EIA reported a rise in crude stocks by 354 thousand barrels against expectations of rise of 250 thousand. Gasoline inventories rose 238 thousand barrels against expectations of a rise of 1.1 million barrels, and distillates rose 1.17 million barrels against expectations of a rise of 750,000 barrels. U.S. refinery utilizations rose to 88.1 percent from 86.2 percent.

API figures differed, as they usually do, showing bigger increases in some inventories than the EIA figures. January crude futures had been trading between $58.45-58.50 before the release and dipped immediately toward the 200-sma for that contract. The TRAN luffed a while longer while market participants waited to see if crude would hold above the 200-sma. Then the TRAN caught the wind and shot up toward what I believe to be a possible finish line before it turned back again to close near its open. The crude contract did steady above its 200-sma, but the TRAN's sails may have just been tattered from a prolonged race.

Annotated Weekly Chart of the TRAN:

The attraction of Dow 11,000 was apparent today, as the Dow sailed through strong resistance, only to pull back to that resistance by the close. Another shot at 11,000 can't yet be ruled out, but Wednesday's close was not strong, reinforcing the importance of the resistance rather than suggesting that the Dow had cleared it. A further gust of wind to push the Dow up toward 11,000 or even 11,035-11,070 next resistance can't be ruled out, perhaps as early as Friday. However, the Dow, like other indices, has left support far behind and looks desperately in need of sideways consolidation or a pullback.

Annotated Daily Chart of the Dow:

The SPX punched up into levels not seen since the summer of 2001. In October of 2004, the SPX confirmed an inverse H&S on its weekly chart, although there are some reasons to question its validity, and the SPX has consolidated since breaking above that neckline. Some might be revisiting the idea of the big inverse H&S with this breakout, but that's a debate for another time. For now, be careful with long positions as long-term resistance is tested.

Annotated Daily Chart of the SPX:

The Nasdaq broke out above its rising wedge on its weekly chart. Friday's close will prove important.

Annotated Weekly Chart of the Nasdaq:

The SOX's daily chart shows what might happen with the Nasdaq: a breakout followed by consolidation. If trading Nasdaq stocks, watch the SOX to see if it heads down toward a gap fill. It's not particularly bullish that the SOX keeps piercing that resistance but can't close above it.

Annotated Daily Chart of the SOX:

The natural gas inventories number did not prove as market positive as the crude inventories, with the EIA reporting that working gas in storage declined 8 Bcf from the previous week and 32 Bcf than the same time last year. In all regions, inventories remained above the five-year average, however. Even the lull in the winds produced by this number was to be brief, however. Except for a brief decline near the open, the three-minute 21-ema had been bouncing the indices.

The pre-market lull had been precipitated by initial jobless claims, rising 335,000 in the week ending November 19, with those gains higher than expected. The four-week moving average rose 1,250 from the previous week's revised four-week average.

RIMM plunged in pre-market trading after the BlackBerry maker trimmed its forecast for both the third and fourth-quarter's subscriber additions. The company said its third- and fourth-quarter revenue outlooks remained the same, and blamed the subscriber difficulty on the delay in the sale of two new handsets. The stock opened at $62.60 but closed down only 1.19 percent at $66.28, well off the low of the day. RIMM's decline didn't hurt other techs, with techs being among the earliest and strongest-performing sectors in gains that were broad-based.


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Other events contributed to the pre-market jitters. Yesterday, markets had probably sailed too close to the wind after the FOMC minutes were released and they bet on an end-of-tightening rally. Overnight developments were to take some wind from those sails. Many ex and current central bank monetary policy committee members from around the globe sounded off during the night. The Bank of Japan's Fukui asserted that although the central bank shared the government's goal of bringing about sustainable economic growth and stable price movements, the central bank's policy board will make the appropriate decision and take full responsibility. Tension has existed between the central bank and the government, with the government anxious that the central bank not end easy monetary policy too soon. The Bank of England's member Walton noted that CPI was above target and that consumer spending and growth data appeared encouraging, concluding that the central bank needed to keep rates steady rather than ease, as some have hoped.

Jim Brown reported in last night's Wrap that here in the U.S., Ben Bernanke had filed his written responses to Senator Jim Bunning's questions, with Bernanke commenting that continued increases in energy prices could create upside risks in the inflationary outlook, with those comments likely to dampen the post-FOMC-minutes party spirit. Last night, two ex-Fed governors, Meyer and Hoskins, spoke of increasing inflation risks and vowed that the Fed was likely to err on the side of being too tight rather than too easy. Hoskins thought the Fed might become less transparent about its intentions soon. Current FOMC member, the Richmond Fed's Lacker, reportedly countered the more dovish tenor of the FOMC minutes released yesterday with more hawkish statements. The WSJ appeared to agree with Hoskins' belief that the Fed might be less transparent about its intentions soon.

If those pre-market events set a somewhat wary tone in earliest trading, the revised University of Michigan November sentiment figure blew toward the bullish side. That number showed a strengthening to 81.6, increased from its preliminary 79.9 number earlier in the month and from October's 74.2 reading. The help-wanted index was below consensus, but few noted the number.

Another early morning release related to the much-watched housing sector. The Mortgage Bankers Association publication on mortgage applications for the week ending November 18 showed weakness. All components fell, with refinance activity down 17.4 percent from the month-ago level. When seasonally adjusted four-week moving averages are considered, all components except for the purchase index fell. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 6.26 percent from the previous week's 6.33 percent, and points decreased.

The Dow Jones Home Construction Index's sales luffed all day, ending lower by 0.30 percent, perhaps under the weight of that mortgage information or ahead of next week's home sales figures. Not helping was a decline in bonds after lackluster demand in an auction for two-year bonds, sending yields higher. The ten-year bond closed down 10 ticks at a 4.47 percent yield.

The rise in yield did not deter rate-sensitive sectors such as the financials and utilities, as investors look ahead to a day when the Fed stops raising rates.

Even steel-related stocks climbed during the early part of the session, perhaps somewhat surprising given China's Baosteel's statement Tuesday that it was dropping product prices in the first quarter of 2006 by an average of more than 10 percent. By the end of the day, stocks such as X and PD were to drop sharply off their highs of the day, however, leaving bearish candles and potential reversal signals behind. In X's case, the day produced strong volume, showing that sellers were active.

Last week, I suggested that new bullish plays be opened on retests of and bounces from the 10-sma's on the daily charts. That would have been a good idea except that indices sailed ahead without rounding those buoys again. They've left them far in the distance, and will have to either wait until they float up to their current positions or they'll have to backtrack quite a distance. Now, with the traditionally bullish Thanksgiving week nearly completed and with indices overstretched as they face the next resistance bands, I'm recommending something different. I'm recommending that those in anything other than aggressive bullish daytrades consider locking in profits on some of those positions and tightening stops on the rest so that positions would be closed with some profit intact if a sudden downdraft should occur. A cautious stance with your bullish profits is now warranted. If your opinion is still strongly bullish, taking partial profits and tightening stops on the rest of your positions remains a good account-management tactic.

The Nasdaq has clearly broken out above the wedge's resistance but it's the weekly close that remains important. A drop below 1235-1248 seems unlikely on a holiday-shortened Friday on a week with a traditionally bullish tenor, but stranger things have happened. The SOX's example lends some caution to the belief that such a breakout would lead to an immediate thrust higher, however. The SOX expended much effort leaping above its descending trendline, and now consolidates, piercing next resistance, but not yet able to stay above it on an intraday basis. The SOX may be one of the first indices to show us whether others are likely to consolidate sideways while their 10-sma's catch up or plunge straight to--or through--those moving averages. Keep it on your radar screen Friday. The TRAN produced a doji, almost an inside-day candle, at the top of its steep climb, so that index should be watched, too, remembering that an upside break again could send it into that 4,200-4,275 next resistance zone.

By the weekend, we may have part of the answer, and Jim Brown will be letting you know what he sees. He has great perceptions on seasonal patterns.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving for our U.S. readers. Happy Thanksgiving to you all with our good wishes extended to those readers who live outside the U.S., too. We're thankful for the readers who contact us, challenge us and sometimes teach us.

Friday will be a holiday-shortened day with no major economic releases. Volume may be light, with market movements perhaps not particularly predictable according to standard technical analysis tools. If you're watching the markets, as those of us who write for the Market and Futures Monitors will be doing, consider scaling down to one and two-minute charts, paper trading the setups you see there, testing your theories but not putting your money at risk in new positions.

New Plays

Most Recent Plays

New Plays
Long Plays
Short Plays
KFT None

New Long Plays

Kraft Foods - KFT - close: 30.06 chg: +0.57 stop: 28.89

Company Description:
Kraft Foods is the largest branded food and beverage company headquartered in the United States and the second largest worldwide. Kraft Foods markets many of the world's leading food brands, including Kraft cheese, Jacobs and Maxwell House coffees, Nabisco cookies and crackers, Philadelphia cream cheese, Oscar Mayer meats, Post cereals and Milka chocolates, in more than 155 countries. (source: company press release or website)

Why We Like It:
KFT looks like a bullish candidate purely on technicals. The stock has been climbing this month and pushed through major resistance at its one-year trendline of lower highs today. If this is the beginning of a trend change we want in on it since KFT is so long-term oversold. We do expect a dip so patient traders might want to wait for a pull back toward $29.50 again and evaluate new long positions there. We'll put our stop under last week's lows to limit our risk. KFT is due to report earnings in mid January so we'll plan on holding the play until then. Our target is the $32.50 mark.

Picked on November 23 at $30.06
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 01/17/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.6 million

New Short Plays

None today.

Play Updates

Updates On Latest Picks

Long Play Updates

Burlington Coat - BCF - close: 41.24 chg: +0.38 stop: 37.45

BCF continues to inch higher and just closed at a new four-month high. Our target is the $43.50-44.00 range.

Picked on October 24 at $38.90
Change since picked: + 2.38
Earnings Date 10/06/05 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 165 thousand


Csk Auto - CAO - close: 15.72 change: -0.12 stop: 14.95

The rally in CAO is struggling under the $16 level and its exponential 200-dma. At this time we would expect shares to decline back toward the $15.50 level before mustering up enough steam to try and breakout again. We're running low on time before we have to exit ahead of CAO's earnings report so we're not suggesting new plays.

Picked on November 02 at $15.58
Change since picked: + 0.14
Earnings Date 12/02/05 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 388 thousand


CE Frankline Ltd - CFK - close: 12.01 chg: -0.46 stop: 9.99

CFK was hit by some profit taking today pulling the stock down more than 3.6% and back toward prior resistance at the $12.00 mark. We would not be surprised to see CFK dip to its simple 10-dma near $11.70 before moving higher again. A bounce from the 10-dma back over $12.00 could be used as a new entry point. Our target is going to be the $14.75-15.00 range over the next eight weeks. We are suggesting a stop loss at $9.99 but more conservative traders might want to consider something tighter (the 50-dma is near 10.95).

Picked on November 16 at $11.98
Change since picked: + 0.03
Earnings Date 10/27/05 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 150 thousand


Cree Inc. - CREE - close: 27.29 change: +0.03 stop: 24.89

Semiconductor bulls must have left early for Thanksgiving because the rally in the SOX stalled on Wednesday. We see no changes from our previous updates on CREE. Our target will be the $30.00-31.00 range.

Picked on November 20 at $26.89
Change since picked: + 0.40
Earnings Date 01/19/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.2 million


D.R.Horton - DHI - close: 36.67 chg: -0.22 stop: 32.45

Homebuilders also saw their rally stall on Wednesday and DHI turned in a quiet session. A bounce from $36 could be used as a new entry point. Our target is the $39.75-40.00 range.

Picked on November 21 at $35.85
Change since picked: + 0.82
Earnings Date 11/16/05 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 3.2 million


eBay Inc. - EBAY - close: 46.64 change: -0.11 stop: 42.45

EBAY hit a new one-year high today but could not hold its intraday gains. We would not be surprised to see a dip back toward broken resistance, now new support, at the $45 level. Actually a bounce from $45 would be a new bullish entry point. Our target is the $49.90-50.00 range.

Picked on November 21 at $45.10
Change since picked: + 1.54
Earnings Date 01/18/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 17.2 million


Corning Inc. - GLW - close: 21.02 chg: +0.00 stop: 18.99

There was no change in shares of GLW today and we see no change from our previous updates on the stock. We are not suggesting new plays at this time. Our target is the $21.90-22.00 range.

Picked on November 13 at $20.11
Change since picked: + 0.91
Earnings Date 01/25/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 11.8 million


Mentor Graphics - MENT - close: 9.22 chg: +0.39 stop: 8.64*new*

Ding! After days of waiting shares of MENT finally broke out from its four-month trading range. Our trigger to go long the stock was at $9.05 so the play is now open. Our target is the $9.95-10.00 range near its 200-dma. Please note our caution. Volume was very low, which is not what you'd expect on a significant move like this. The rally came this afternoon so it's almost as if there was a lack of sellers because they had all gone home early for the holiday. We are going to tighten our stop loss to $8.64.

Picked on November 23 at $ 9.05
Change since picked: + 0.17
Earnings Date 01/19/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 713 thousand


VCA Antech - WOOF - close: 28.13 chg: +0.18 stop: 25.90

Wednesday proved to be a quiet session for WOOF. We see no change from our previous updates. We're not suggesting new positions at this time. Our target is the $29.90-30.00 range. More conservative traders may want to tighten their stops.

Picked on November 09 at $26.74
Change since picked: + 1.39
Earnings Date 10/26/05 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 436 thousand

Short Play Updates


Closed Long Plays

Gamestop Corp. - GME - close: 35.46 chg: -1.12 stop: 34.99

Bad news! The bearish reversal in GME has continued. Today's 3% decline was fueled by news that GME's president has resigned to become the CEO for 7-Eleven. Volume was pretty strong on today's drop, which would normally suggest more weakness ahead. We're going to exit now to avoid further losses.

Picked on November 22 at $38.05
Change since picked: - 2.59
Earnings Date 11/29/05 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.1 million

Closed Short Plays


Today's Newsletter Notes: Market Wrap by Linda Piazza and all other plays and content by the Option Investor staff.


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