Option Investor

Daily Newsletter, Sunday, 10/15/2006

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Table of Contents

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

Market Wrap

Perfect Calm

A trader interviewed on CNBC on Friday described the current rally as the Perfect Calm as opposed to the Perfect Storm analogy sometimes used to describe market sell offs. He characterized the perfect calm as a slow growing economy, increasingly tame inflation, earnings on track, energy prices easing and geopolitical concerns fading. In the face of this calm period stocks are moving steadily higher although with a distinct lack of exuberance. This reminds me of a famous Art Cashin quote regarding a lackluster market, "Ships can still sink in calm seas." Whatever your choice of analogies the facts are still the same. Several indexes continue to set new highs led by the Dow and S&P with the laggard Nasdaq now only -18 points from joining them with a new multiyear high at 2376. The laggard indexes, those that had been showing weakness while the Dow was sprinting higher, are finally catching up. If you look at the graphic above you will notice that the SOX rallied +4.42% for the week to lead the major indexes with the Russell jumping +3.09% and the Nasdaq +2.49%. This compares to the Dow and S&P stalling with less than a +1% gain. This sudden surge by chips, small caps and techs shows a broadening of the rally and an expansion of the support base. If this rally holds up through the very heavy earnings week ahead we could see some excitement build but let's not count our profits just yet. Becoming

Dow Chart - Weekly

SPX Chart - Weekly

Nasdaq Chart - Weekly

Dow Transport Chart - Weekly

The economic reports on Friday continued in slow growth mode despite some surprising headline numbers. The Retail Sales for September surprised everyone with a headline drop of -0.4% with everyone expecting a much stronger number. The entire drop was due to a huge -9.3% drop in sales at gasoline stations. With gas about -70 cents per gallon below the same period in August the total dollars spent for gasoline dropped significantly. Removing autos and gasoline from the number pushed sales up by +0.8% overall with apparel leading the rebound with a +3.0% jump. Food, and department stores surged more than +1% as consumers took their gasoline savings out to eat and shop.

Confirming the relief consumers were feeling in cheaper gasoline prices the Consumer Sentiment for October surged to 92.3 from 85.4 in September. Amazing what a -70 cent drop in gasoline prices can do. The present conditions component spiked nearly +10 points to 106.1 from 96.6 and the expectations component rose to 83.4 from 78.2. The present conditions component is now at levels not seen since April but the expectations component is at levels not seen since July of last year. Inflation expectations fell to 2.9% from 3.1% in September. It appears the Fed's outlook is finally trickling down to consumers.


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The housing market slump appears to be fading from consumer views but not from homebuilder outlooks. Centex cut its profit outlook by nearly half for the quarter due to record cancellations of home sales contracts. On July 24th they had predicted earnings of $1.40 per share but those estimates were slashed to 65-75 cents today. They said they experienced record cancellations due primarily to the inability of homebuyers to resell their current homes. The existing home market in many areas had fallen to nearly a standstill over the summer. Also, much of the drop in Centex profits was related to $85-$95 million of walk-away costs for land deposits. Builders typically option land for future expansion and can walk away from these option deposits if the market turns cold before they make the actual purchase sometimes years later.

The economic calendar for next week has several crucial reports including the PPI, CPI and the Philly Fed Survey. You may remember the Philly Fed imploded last month from a headline number of 18.5 to a negative -0.4 suggesting a sudden and sharp contraction in the Philadelphia region for the first time since April 2003. At the time the markets reacted sharply with a 3-day dip, the last real dip in the current rally. In the days following the Philly drop numerous analysts suggested the numbers could have been in error and expected them to be revised with this months report. If that is the case and the Philly Survey does rebound to its prior levels it would relieve considerable concern about a hard landing. It should not impact the Fed's outlook but let's not forget that they meet again six trading days from now.

Economic Calendar

The earnings week got off to a rocky start with a mix of results. Alcoa, Legg Mason, Lazy Boy and Monsanto led a list of companies with disappointing results but the markets managed to hold on to their gains. GE, the largest Dow/S&P company, posted inline results on Friday and had decent comments about the strength of the economy. GE is normally seen as a proxy for the economy since its operations touch so many different business sectors. Unfortunately there were some cracks in the GE report. The headline number of +49 cents was "officially" inline with estimates but there was a penny gain due to a favorable tax rate. That means they actually missed by a penny but nobody seemed to care. They also "raised" their estimates for the current quarter but only raised them to the lower end of current analyst expectations. GE said they expect earnings of 62-64 cents for Q4 and analysts were already expecting 64 cents. GE dropped back to $35.50 on the news but recovered to lose only -24 cents for the day at $35.98. GE had been on a strong run, at least for GE, from $32 in July to $36.48 last week. It is hard for me to get excited about a +4.50 move over four months especially since it has been a very lopsided market for big caps over that period.

For next week the earnings will flow faster than a proverbial Texas gusher. The big techs will lead the list but there are plenty of others stepping up to the plate. This is still not the heaviest week of the season with that honor falling to the week of Oct-22nd. However we do have some critical reports ahead. Intel and IBM will be the key to the week on Tuesday with YHOO, EBAY and GOOG spread out through the week. By the end of this week we should have a much better outlook for Q4 guidance and that is of course the key for the market for Q4. So far the earnings guidance has been pretty mixed for this cycle and traders may be going out on a limb here until that guidance picture becomes clearer next week. The table below is just a representative sample of those earnings just ahead. To date 42 S&P companies have reported, 30 beat, 7 inline and 5 missed.

Earnings table

The strong sprint by the Dow on Thursday brought the remaining bulls out of hiding and predictions were flying fast. However, some of them were significantly less bullish than others. Morgan Stanley raised its target for the S&P for year-end 2006 to 1375. Yes, 1375, only 9+ points above its Friday's close. Could it be that they feel the rally needs to rest? They also raised their target for 2007 to 1475. That would be a +7% gain for the year from the current level.

Peter Canelo was much more bullish predicting Dow 12500 by year-end and 14500 in 2007. That is the kind of forecast that warms bullish hearts. He felt slowing inflation, continued economic growth bolstered by falling energy prices and a Fed on the sidelines was the perfect recipe for continued market success. It is very hard to find anyone today that has a bearish view and that alone should worry us. The S&P is up +15.7% over the last 52-weeks and that is twice what Morgan Stanley is predicting for 2007. Dow 12000 has taken on an almost cult like following with CNBC posting the distance from 12000 every 30 seconds on their random quote ticker. It has been a long time since a new milestone followed by three zeros has fallen. It has been more than six years since a triple-zero benchmark has been reached. It seems like a sure thing that traders will at least tag the 12000 level next week but it may take some strong earnings news to produce a close above that level. Most global markets have not recovered from the May commodity implosion that took some down more than -25%. There are a few analysts worried that a Dow over 12000 could restart bubble fears on the global stage. That remains to be seen but there are also those that believe a close over 12000 could spark a global rebound as the bullish sentiment becomes infectious.

Dow Benchmark Levels

We have some critical economics next week and some critical earnings but eyes will also be warily watching the Fedspeak ahead of the Oct-24th FOMC meeting. On Friday Chicago Fed President Michael Moskow kept restating his hawkish views with these comments. "Some additional firming of policy may yet be necessary to bring inflation back to a range consistent with price stability in a reasonable period of time. My current assessment is that the risk of inflation remaining too high is greater than the risk of growth being too low." And, "Looking ahead, it's likely that core inflation will come down somewhat over time. Still, there is a risk that core inflation could run above 2 percent for some time, and in turn, lead to high inflation expectations." Inflation has been above Moskow's acceptable range for 29 months. Several Fed officials have expressed this fear that inflation has just paused and not necessarily abated, five if I counted correctly and suggests there is still a chance the Fed could jump back into the picture if economics suddenly turn higher. They will want to make sure inflation continues to decline and not sprint higher after catching a breath. Without high energy prices to help fuel the gains it is likely inflation will continue to cool. It is doubtful the Fed will make any move only a few days before the elections.

There is another support plank in the market according to some. That is the coming election cycle. Right or wrong there are plenty of traders who feel the markets are being supported by those hoping to use the market and economy as platform planks against their opponents. Granted with scandals over pages and the Iraq quagmire those currently in office need something to point to in order to distract voters. An exploding stock market, a +800,000 upward revision to jobs numbers and the prospect of $2 gasoline make excellent sound bites for sagging campaigns. AAA claims the current national average for gasoline today is $2.26. While I do not believe the theory that any party in power actually influences the markets with dollars or by leaning on fund managers there is a remarkable history of rising markets ahead of elections. There are various reasons for this phenomenon and we don't have to believe in it to profit from it. We have not had a down pre-presidential election year (2007) since 1939.

Next week is also option expiration week and the gains we saw this week could have been option related. In recent years the volatility related to option expiration has been seen mostly in the week before OpEx rather than during OpEx week. Next week could be volatile but without any material gains or losses as those remaining option positions head for oblivion. Those holding quickly expiring October calls in hopes of some blowout tech earnings next week could find themselves holding some worthless positions if IBM or Intel stumble on Tuesday. This could cause a rush to the option exit and some additional volatility. Given the length of the rally and the recent strength there are quite a few calls outstanding and the liquidation of those calls could have a negative impact on any gains for the week.

On the positive side we heard today that 75% of funds are not performing alongside the market averages. Apparently quite a few were late exiting energy positions and overly cautious about jumping back into positions ahead of the normal Sept/Oct decline. When that decline never appeared they were forced to chase stocks and that is a major factor for our current rally. Funds specializing in small caps and techs were specific laggards but there were also laggards in the big cap arena. That may be hard to believe given the Dow's performance but as we know it is all in what stocks you pick not what the Dow does. Some of the blue chips faired worse than others while those with strong gains continued to sprint higher. Ironically Charles Biderman of TrimTabs.com said this week that cash held by funds had risen to 4.2% and the highest level in more than two years. The only higher level was Nov-2004 when cash topped 4.5%. While this may seem contrary to common sense Biderman pointed out that while the S&P rose +3% in August individual investors took $4 billion out of stock mutual funds. Funds seeing the cash flight went on a selling spree and ended the month with $13 billion less in stock investments than they had when the month started. This despite a +3% gain in the S&P. Biderman said this current high level of cash was a very bullish contrarian indicator suggesting the markets could add another +10% by year-end as funds chase performance. You have the January effect and the heavy wave of retirement contributions over the next 90 days as additional fuel for equities. According to Biderman the average S&P gain for Q4 over the last 18 years has been +6.448%. Funds must put that cash to work or be faced with reporting sub par results in their critical year-end statements. The head of the Graham and Dodd Fund, David Rosen, shares Biderman's view saying he expects another +4%-5% before year-end. His favorite sector is the beaten down energy sector with TSO, COP and OXY his favorite stocks.

Crude Oil Chart - Weekly

Energy prices have yet to rebound but we are seeing quite a bit of volatility above current support around $58. OPEC is still floating their trial balloons but it appears they will actually cut 1-mbpd of actual production rather than quota and that should keep prices above $55 until the actual cuts start decreasing supplies on Nov-1st. News after the bell from Venezuela was quoting a Dec-1st start date not Nov-1st as had been previously mentioned. Qatar offered to host a meeting on Oct-20th to firm up the cuts. We are seeing some other supply problems with 280,000 bpd going offline for the next two weeks in Norway, 200,000 bpd offline due to a pipeline problem in Canada and 350,000 bpd or more offline in Alaska due to storms and flooding. Nigeria is seeing more violence but additional production drops have been small. Boone Pickens was making the news circuit again on Thursday with predictions of $70 before $50 and $100 by next July or possibly earlier if the problem with Iran develops into a confrontation. He also expects $10 natural gas this winter with the qualification of only "if we have a winter." Forecasters are predicting a much warmer winter than normal but those same forecasters also predicted a much stronger hurricane season that never appeared. Tell those people in Buffalo New York that winter will be warmer as they dig out from the two feet of snow from Thursday. Natural gas in storage rose to another record high at 3,389 bcf this week despite the smaller than expected injection of +62 bcf. The colder weather across the country slowed the injection rate but storage locations reaching capacity also were a factor. The injection numbers were for the week ended Oct-6th leaving us three more weeks before the official start of the winter heating season. It is a very good chance we will hit maximum capacity for the first time ever for natural gas storage at 3,608 bcf according to EIA projections. The western producing region actually went +9 bcf over maximum EIA capacity projections this week illustrating the current storage problem. We saw more companies shut in production rather than fight the storage battle and sell for lower prices.

Nasdaq Chart - 180 min

SOX Chart - Weekly

SOX chart - 90 min

For next week the indexes face some substantial resistance highlighted by the Nasdaq top in May at 2375. The Nasdaq has rebounded +350 points from the 2012 low seen in July or a +17% gain in three months. The current resistance for the Nasdaq is 2375 and that should be tough to break before the Intel and IBM earnings on Tuesday. There are about a dozen chip stocks announcing this week and quite a few chips have already warned. Without a continued SOX rally the Nasdaq will have a tough time moving higher. The SOX continued its choppy two-week rebound to 471 and is approaching strong resistance at 475. The Russell 2000 is also helping support the Nasdaq with a +26 point rebound off the week's lows as fund managers chase performance.

Intel Chart - Daily

The Dow closed at a new all time high at 11960, +110 for the week but still less than a +1% gain. Were it not for the +95 point gain on Thursday it would have been a pitiful week. That market sprint on Thursday was described by some as an asset allocation program by a major fund assisted by short covering as bearish stops were hit. The Dow had been perfectly flat for five consecutive days while investors waited for earnings to begin and the FOMC minutes and Beige Book to signal all clear for the Fed. Now those events are behind us and we are faced with inflation data in the PPI/CPI reports and earnings from tech giants. It should be an interesting week. The Dow is in blue-sky territory and very over extended. The current bull market has run for 940 days without a correction. This is the second longest run since 1950 and the 4th longest since 1900. I am not saying there is a correction in our immediate future but it is out there lurking somewhere in our not too distant future. It would be nice for it to wait until January where funds dump their Q4 positions but we can't always have what we want.

Dow Chart - 180 min

SPX Chart - Weekly

The S&P at 1365 is right at the top of its three year channel and also due for a major pause. Instead of a retracement we have been getting a nice series of pauses for consolidation, each followed by another couple days of gains. No complaints here but this is not normal. There has not been more than a -10 point dip since Sept-22nd. Like the Dow the S&P is due for a rest. I remember several years ago in the fall of 2003 the markets kept climbing despite being severely overbought. Bulls were getting their face time on TV but the bears were the most vocal. They continued to short and the funds continued to buy. It was a perfect setup from the triple bottom in 2002-2003. After that 12-month rally (March-2003, March-2004) the markets went sideways for nearly a year. This is exactly what I fear for 2007 if these gains continue into late December. Of course we will wait to worry about that until we actually reach 2007 but funds and institutional money managers do look that far ahead and plan accordingly. On the flipside we have not had a down pre-presidential election year (2007) since 1939.

Until conditions change we are going to stick with our plan and remain long but I am changing the reversal point to 1345 from 1340. The spike over the last two days took us to 1365 from support just under 1350 and it may hold or maybe not. Either way we want to remain long and/or buy any dips back to 1350. Under 1350 I want to be neutral and below 1345 switch to flat or short. For those who subscribe to the Market Monitor I am running a contest next week to predict the close on the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P for next Friday. There is an individual prize for each index but should you pull a trifecta out of your hat and guess them all it is worth $1000. Be sure to check in on the Monitor on Monday and take our Reader Challenge. Frances Pittman won the Reader Challenge this week with a guess of 11913.50 on for the Friday close on the Dow. She was +100 points higher than the next closest guess and still missed it by 45 points. You don't have to be dead on to win, just closer than anyone else.

I would not be surprised to see the Dow surge to 12000 and ring the bell but then decline to something over 11800 if Intel or IBM stink up the place. I would buy the dip as long as the S&P stays above 1345. I would continue to favor energy stocks rather than those sectors at new highs. OPEC will eventually get their act together and it was reported on Friday that oil imports into China were up +24% in September. Think about that number. With their GDP rising at better than a +10% rate despite attempts to slow it down their requirement for oil is off the charts. This is going to continue to grow until it is more than OPEC can produce. The Discovery channel ran a program last week about China growth and said they are using 75% of the worlds cement and 50% of the global output of steel. The program said at the current rate of growth it would take the oil output from two additional Saudi Arabia size countries (9-mbpd each) to satisfy demand by 2020. At the same rate of growth it would take another planet to supply all the raw materials China will need by 2030. Obviously China's growth will slow due to rising commodity prices well before then but you get the picture. The rising cost of oil and cement due to demand from China is causing havoc in the US. Consider Tampa International Airport with bids to rebuild two taxiways. Oil based asphalt budgeted at $103.50 a ton came in at $315.35. The Econocrete base budgeted at $18 a yard came in at $46.50. Portland cement jumped from $85.47 to $107.37. Stick with energy as we head towards the end of October and I think you will be pleased when January rolls around. Long-term demand will continue to grow but reserves are falling. It is simple math for those willing to do the research.

New Plays

Most Recent Plays

New Plays
Long Plays
Short Plays
BJS None

New Long Plays

BJ Servies - BJS - close: 29.51 change: +0.53 stop: 28.99

Company Description:
BJ Services Company is a leading provider of pressure pumping and other oilfield services to the petroleum industry. (source: company press release or website)

Why We Like It:
The oil sector appears to have produced a bottom over the last few weeks. The group was definitely oversold by mid September. Now we're seeing signs of a rebound. Shares of BJS broke out over some minor resistance on Friday and the technical indicators are turning positive. We are suggesting that readers go long the stock with a trigger to open positions at $30.55. Our trigger is above the early October high near $30.50. If triggered our target is the $33.50-34.00 range. We do not want to hold over the October 31st earnings report. FYI: The P&F chart is still bearish. Be advised that BJS is an oil services company and the oil services sector tends to be more volatile than the rest of the oil sector.

Picked on October xx at $xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 10/31/06 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 5.5 million


Denbury Resources - DNR - cls: 29.27 chg: +0.77 stop: 27.99

Company Description:
Denbury Resources Inc. (www.denbury.com) is a growing independent oil and gas company. The Company is the largest oil and natural gas operator in Mississippi, owns the largest reserves of CO2 used for tertiary oil recovery east of the Mississippi River, and holds key operating acreage in the onshore Louisiana and Texas Barnett Shale areas. (source: company press release or website)

Why We Like It:
Shares of DNR have produced bottoming pattern over the last few weeks and now shares are breaking out higher. Most of the technical indicators are turning higher. More aggressive traders might want to consider long positions now with Friday's move past the exponential 200-dma or on a dip back toward $28.50. We want to see a bit more confirmation since DNR has resistance near $30.00 where its 200-dma and 50-dma are converging. We're suggesting traders use a trigger to open positions at $30.26. If triggered our target is the $33.00-34.00 range. We do not want to hold over the early November earnings report.

Picked on October xx at $xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 11/01/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 826 thousand


Newfield Expl. - NFX - close: 39.30 chg: +0.95 stop: 37.99

Company Description:
Newfield Exploration Company is an independent crude oil and natural gas exploration and production company. (source: company press release or website)

Why We Like It:
NFX is another bullish candidate from the oil sector. The stock has produced a bullish double-bottom pattern that has become pretty common in the oil stocks recently. Friday's relative strength and breakout over $39.00 looks tempting but we want to see NFX breakout over resistance at the $40.00 level before initiating long positions. We're suggesting a trigger to buy the stock at $40.26. If triggered our target is the $44.00-45.00 range. We do not want to hold over the October 26th earnings report.

Picked on October xx at $xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 10/26/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.6 million


Olympic Steel - ZEUS - close: 27.34 change: +0.90 stop: 25.95

Company Description:
Founded in 1954, Olympic Steel is a leading U.S. steel service center focused on the direct sale and distribution of large volumes of processed carbon, coated and stainless flat-rolled sheet, coil and plate steel products. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, the Company operates 16 facilities. (source: company press release or website)

Why We Like It:
It looks like the selling in ZEUS has run its course. The stock has appeared to produce a bottom over the last month and now shares are starting to breakout higher. Technical indicators are definitely improving although the P&F chart looks like it will be bearish for a while yet. We like the bounce from short-term support at $26.00 on Friday. We're suggesting long positions with ZEUS above $27.00. Our target is the $29.90-30.00 range, which is where we expect the stock to encounter resistance with its 200-dma and 100-dma. We do not want to hold over the October 26th (unconfirmed) earnings report.

Picked on October 15 at $27.34
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 10/26/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 205 thousand

New Short Plays

None today.

Play Updates

In Play Updates and Reviews

Long Play Updates

Arch Coal - ACI - close: 31.06 change: +0.02 stop: 29.99 *new*

ACI did not make a lot of progress on Friday but the pattern remains bullish. Traders were quick to buy the dip at $30.10 on Friday morning. ACI's immediate challenge is potential resistance at its descending 50-dma near $31.65. We're not suggesting new positions because we're running out of time. ACI is due to report earnings on Friday morning. Thus we plan to exit on Thursday at the closing bell to avoid holding over the report. We're going to adjust our stop loss to $29.99 in an effort to reduce our risk.

Picked on October 10 at $30.32
Change since picked: + 0.74
Earnings Date 10/20/06 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 3.5 million


Anheuser-Busch - BUD - close: 48.01 change: +0.32 stop: 46.85

BUD surprised us on Friday with some relative strength. The stock added 0.6% on strong volume. The move produced a mini-bullish engulfing candlestick pattern. Yet shares remain under resistance near the top of its trading range in the $48.00-48.15 region and its 50-dma (48.04). We would wait for another move over $48.21 or $48.25 before considering new long positions. More conservative traders may want to raise their stop toward Friday's lows near $47.40. Our target is the $49.90-51.00 range.

Picked on October 10 at $48.21
Change since picked: - 0.20
Earnings Date 10/25/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 2.6 million


D.R.Horton - DHI - close: 23.89 change: -0.91 stop: 22.99

Homebuilders tumbled on Friday. Thursday night Centex (CTX) issued a big earnings warning and traders rushed to lock in profits in the group after a strong week. The DJUSHB home construction index lost just over 4%. Shares of DHI fell 3.6%. We are still sitting on the sidelines with DHI waiting for a breakout over resistance. Our strategy will still work so we're suggesting a trigger to buy the stock at $25.51. If triggered at $25.51 our target is the $29.00-30.00 range although more conservative traders may want to exit at the 200-dma currently near 28.38.

Picked on October xx at $xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 11/14/06 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 4.1 million


IAC/InterActive - IACI - close: 29.50 change: +0.07 stop: 28.69

IACI continues to bounce but the bulls didn't make much progress on Friday. The technical picture is mixed but shorter-term technicals are suggesting the next move is higher. We are a little bit skeptical although the bounce from Wednesday's low does look like a new entry point. The lack of volume continues to make us nervous. We're going to suggest new positions but traders should be extra cautious about monitoring your stop loss. Our target is the $31.40-31.50 range. We do not want to hold over the late October earnings report.

Picked on October 04 at $29.73
Change since picked: - 0.23
Earnings Date 10/31/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 2.2 million


Intl. Game Tech. - IGT - cls: 42.00 chg: -0.50 stop: 40.95

Warning! Upward momentum in IGT is stalling. The stock's trading this past week has a bearish tilt to it. IGT looks poised to move back down toward the $41.00 level. We're not suggesting new positions at this time. If you don't want to endure the pull back then consider exiting early right now. Our target is the $44.00-45.00 range. We do not want to hold over the early November earnings report.

Picked on September 17 at $40.26
Change since picked: + 1.74
Earnings Date 11/02/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 2.2 million


Ingersoll-Rand - IR - close: 40.27 chg: +0.15 stop: 38.75 *new*

Shares of IR held up pretty well on Friday after the company announced that it was protesting a $217 million bill from the IRS. The stock has been trading sideways in an 80-cent range for a week now. Most of the longer-term technicals are bullish but the lack of progress higher this past week has caused trouble with the short-term indicators. We remain optimistic but traders have a choice. They can open positions now, wait for a breakout over its 200-dma near $40.75, or look for a dip/bounce near the $39.00-39.50 region. Bear in mind that we do not want to hold over the October 27th earnings report. Our short-term target is the $43.00-43.50 range. Please note that we're adjusting our stop loss to $38.75.

Picked on October 08 at $40.20
Change since picked: + 0.07
Earnings Date 10/27/06 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 2.8 million


Kinetic Concepts - KCI - cls: 32.58 chg: +0.49 stop: 31.49

We were beginning to worry about the rally in KCI after last Wednesday's pull back. Fortunately, the stock found support near old resistance at the $32.00 level. Volume has been pretty low this past week but that's actually what we would want to see on a consolidation lower. Traders can use Friday's bounce as a new entry point or wait for another move over $33.00. More conservative traders may want to tighten their stops toward the $32 region. Our target is the $37.50-38.00 range. We do not want to hold over the late October earnings report.

Picked on October 08 at $33.35
Change since picked: - 0.77
Earnings Date 10/30/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.4 million


Acc. Home Lenders - LEND - cls: 35.08 chg: -0.77 stop: 34.95

LEND almost completely erased Thursday's bounce. The relative weakness is not a good sign but we're not going to give up yet, especially since the play is not even open yet. LEND is trading near the bottom of its four-week trading range. Aggressive traders might want to buy a bounce from here. We're waiting for a breakout over resistance near $37.00. Our trigger to go long is at $37.16. If triggered our target is the $42.00-42.50 range. Please note that there is potential resistance at the bottom of its gap down at $38.71, and potential resistance at $40.00. The P&F chart is positive with a $50 target. We do not want to hold over the late October earnings report.

Picked on October xx at $xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 10/31/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 759 thousand


Palm Inc. - PALM - close: 16.26 chg: +0.04 stop: 14.99

Caution! The trading in PALM on Friday looks bearish with a sharp reversal from its intraday highs. Odds are good that the stock will dip towards the $16.00-15.85 region, which was resistance in the past. A bounce near $16 could be used as a new entry point to go long. Our target is the $17.90-18.00 range near its 200-dma. More conservative traders might also want to use a stop loss closer to Thursday's low (15.51). We would consider this a higher-risk play. FYI: The P&F chart points to a $20 target.

Picked on October 12 at $16.22
Change since picked: + 0.04
Earnings Date 12/20/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 4.0 million


PDL BioPharma - PDLI - close: 20.38 chg: -0.14 stop: 18.69

Biotech stocks consolidated lower on Friday and shares of PDLI joined them. The stock is consolidating sideways between the $20.00-20.60 region. The fact that it's holding above the $20 level is a good sign. We remain bullish and could continue to suggest new positions with the stock above $20.00. More conservative traders may want to consider tightening their stops toward last weeks low (19.95). Our target is the $22.25-22.50 range. We do not want to hold over the early November earnings report.

Picked on October 05 at $20.11
Change since picked: + 0.27
Earnings Date 11/02/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.3 million


Titanium Metals - TIE - close: 28.17 chg: +0.48 stop: 25.99 *new*

The rally in TIE is starting to get a little long in the tooth. Shares just posted their eight gain in a row on Friday. We're happy with the relative strength but we suspect that traders will do some profit taking once TIE hits the 100-dma near $28.70. Thus we would not consider new bullish positions at this time. Any consolidation in TIE would likely pull the stock back toward the $27 region. A bounce from $27 could be used as a new entry point. We are adjusting the stop loss to $25.99. Our target is the $29.90-30.00 range. We don't want to hold over the October 23rd earnings report (still an unconfirmed date).

Picked on October 11 at $27.01
Change since picked: + 1.16
Earnings Date 10/23/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 4.3 million


W&T Offshore - WTI - close: 30.99 chg: +1.46 stop: 28.35

Our new play in WTI is now open. Oil stocks continued to rally on Friday and shares of WTI soared 4.9% to breakout over resistance at the $30 level and its 50-dma. We had suggested a trigger to go long the stock at $30.21 so the play is open. Our target is the $34.00-35.00 range. Readers can choose to chase the breakout here or wait for a potential pull back toward the $30 level. Broken resistance at $30 should now act as new support. We will be watching the 100-dma as potential resistance. Please note we do not want to hold over the November earnings report.

Picked on October 13 at $30.21
Change since picked: + 0.78
Earnings Date 11/09/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 534 thousand

Short Play Updates


Closed Long Plays

ACADIA - ACAD - close: 10.10 chg: +0.29 stop: 8.85

Target achieved. Actually ACAD has surpassed our target in the $9.95-10.00 range. The stock shot higher on Friday morning to an intraday high of $10.33 before paring its gains. The play is closed. We'd keep an eye on the stock to see if shares make it past technical resistance at its 200-dma still overhead.

Picked on October 05 at $ 8.85
Change since picked: + 1.25
Earnings Date 11/10/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 225 thousand

Closed Short Plays


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


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