Option Investor

Daily Newsletter, Saturday, 10/13/2007

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Table of Contents

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

Market Wrap

Drum Roll Please

I can just hear it now. That slow, almost imperceptible rise in the background music as we approach the first major week of earnings. The tempo is accelerating even more because this is an expiration week. Just imagine a one of those great war movies with an ocean full of boats filled with bulls ready to charge ashore. The bears are guarding the beachfront hills (resistance highs) ready to fight to the death. The tension is mounting and the bugler is getting ready to sound the charge! The tempo brings emotions on both sides to a peak just as the action starts. What a great time to be in the markets. We have major Q3 earnings and option expiration in the same week! Volatility is going to be huge and this is going to be a pivotal point for the fourth quarter direction. Who will the winners be?

Dow Chart - Daily

Nasdaq Chart

The economics for Friday produced a Fed puzzle for analysts. The Producer Price Index (PPI) rose +1.1% for September pushing top line inflation at the producer level to 4.4% on a year-over-year basis. That inflation rate has risen +6.9% over just the last nine months. The majority of the increase came from spikes in food and energy prices. For those of you that don't use food and energy the core rate of inflation rose only +0.1% at the producer level. However, there are some strong pressures building in the crude products, things made from gas/oil, with a 21.6% gain year to date. Finished energy goods rose +4.1% for the month pushed higher by a +8.4% rise in gasoline prices. Food prices actually rose sharper than energy prices in September with a year to date rise of +26.3% and a +16.9% rise in intermediate food products. While this top line inflation appears to be rising sharply and pushing costs up for everyone in America the core rate is continuing to drop and that lets the Fed off the hook without having to worry since core inflation is still falling. This seems to me like another "emperor has no clothes" scenario. If the press and the Fed keep telling us inflation is falling we will eventually believe it even if it is not so.


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The retail sales for September rose +0.6% and twice the consensus rate of +0.3%. It is getting so you don't know whom to believe. All the retailers are complaining about bad sales but we have had positive sales growth for the last three months. What is it, good or bad? Actually both. We had positive sales growth in September because gasoline stations posted a +2.0% increase due to higher prices and auto parts dealers posted a +1.2% gain because people are fixing their older cars rather than buy new ones. Food stores saw a +0.8% gain due to higher food prices. Ex-autos and ex-gasoline the sales gain was barely positive at +0.2%. The majority of the consumer categories lost ground for the month. Furniture and home furnishings fell -0.6%, clothing and accessories -0.4%, general merchandise -0.1%. Ironically building materials dealers saw a minor gain despite the implosion in the home sector. Retailers said warmer weather depressed sales with nobody buying fall items. Meanwhile that same warmer weather should have helped building material stores by making it easier to work on those outside projects. That may have been the only thing keeping them positive with that +0.1% gain.

Consumer Sentiment for the first reading in October fell to 82.0 from September's 83.4 level. The expectations component was the drag falling from 74.1 to 71.6 while present conditions was almost flat. All the talk about a coming recession and the increase in gasoline prices was credited with the depression. The constant stream of negative housing news offset the sentiment benefits from the rising stock market. Sentiment is not expected to improve in the coming months until the home market improves and homeowners start breathing easier again.

Consumer Sentiment Chart

The economic calendar for next week has three reports that could move the market and those are the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Beige Book and Philly Fed Survey. The CPI will show how much of the increase in producer prices have been passed down to the consumer level. The Fed Beige Book is a survey of business conditions in all the Fed regions and gives an in-depth look at the current state of the economy by region. This could be very market positive if it shows conditions improving. The last report is the Philly Fed Survey. This survey tends to track well with the national ISM survey and is seen as a preview of the ISM numbers. One report that will also attract a lot of attention is the Risk of Recession on Monday. This indicator spiked to 40% in August and well out of its recent range. Expectations are for a decline but nothing is ever guaranteed. While we do have a full economic calendar next week I believe the markets will be much more interested in the full earnings calendar.

Economic Calendar

Risk of Recession Chart

Earnings will be the focus next week with six of the big techs reporting. We will see Intel, AMD, IBM, Google, Yahoo and Ebay. On the financial side Citigroup, JP Morgan, Washington Mutual, Capital One, Wells Fargo, State Street, Bank America, Bank of New York, Wachovia, Merrill and Fifth Third report. It will be the first big week of earnings with 13 Dow stocks and 80 S&P stocks reporting. By the end of this week we will know without much doubt how this earnings cycle is going to end. That makes this week a pivotal week in the markets. Pessimism is still rampant and earnings estimates were revised down again last week to a negative growth level of -0.1%. This would be the first negative growth quarter in years and could sour investor sentiment if the negative earnings really came to pass. Not everyone believes the pessimism is warranted. The Q3 earnings will be critical but guidance is going to be the key. The earnings estimates for Q4 are still in the low double digits and traders want it to stay that way. A one-quarter dip can be ignored as a subprime disaster but earnings guidance needs to remain strong for Q4. If it appears Q4 earnings are going to fall sharply the underlying bid in this market could evaporate.

Partial Earnings Calendar

On Thursday the bears got a gift from the market in the form of a sell order for 17 million shares on the QQQQ. The order caused thousands of sell stops to be hit and knocked -1.66 off the QQQQ in just minutes. That was magnified in the broader market with the Dow falling from 14198 all the way to support at 13950. That -250 point dive shook up the markets but the impact was brief. Since there was nothing in the news the selling was initially attributed to a technical sell program. It was not until after the close that the QQQQ trade hit the wires.

If you look at the market statistic table at the top of this article you will notice that all the major indexes turned in anemic results. The Dow transports were weak because of rising oil prices and the banks were weak ahead of a long list of financial earnings reports next week. The Semiconductor sector was weak with a -2.29% loss for the week. This loss was after a strong +1% rebound in the sector on Friday. The QQQQ sell order knocked over 15 points off the index from the intraday high on Thursday. On Friday UBS upgraded Novellus (NVLS) and chip stocks began to recover. Stifel Nicholas put out a note saying that Samsung was going to boost its 2007 apex spending on semiconductor production equipment by $1.2 billion. The note said it was a clear positive for equipment makers in 2007 but it could replace orders originally scheduled for 2008. The chip companies expected to benefit from the Samsung increase were Varian (VSEA), Lam Research (LRCX), Rudolph Technologies (RTEC) and Applied Materials (AMAT). All sprinted higher giving the SOX that +1% gain for the day but it was not enough to rescue the index from a weekly loss.

Baidu (BIDU) rebounded from Thursday's -65 point drop with a $14 gain after Jim Cramer said on CNBC at 2:45 it could go to $500. The drop was due to a JP Morgan downgrade and with $150 in gains over the last 6-weeks it was a rush to the exits. Personally I like BIDU but I would rather buy it closer to $290 than its $322 close on Friday.

Apple (AAPL) was knocked for a -17 intraday drop on Thursday to $153 but the dip was quickly bought and Friday's close was only $3 below its Thursday high. Apple is expected to post strong earnings and guidance and could easily run to $200 before Q4 is over. I would be a buyer now but a seller after the holidays.

Google got another upgrade when Oppenheimer joined six other firms upping their price target to $700 or more. GOOG gained +15 on the news to $637. Analysts point to development of the product and advertising models and additional services as drivers to profits. The Oppenheimer analyst raised earnings expectations for Q3 to $3.81 per share. Google reports earnings on Thursday after the close. Google has a very bad habit of dropping sharply after earnings so I would enjoy the ride now but probably bail out before the actual report.

BEA Systems (BEAS) received a $6.7 billion unsolicited offer from Oracle and Carl Icahn got an early Christmas present. BEAS had flat lined at $14 after Icahn accumulated a large portion of the outstanding stock in the $11-$13 range. Icahn claims BEAS should sell itself to unlock value in the company. BEAS quickly rejected the Oracle offer saying it was too low and that was the equivalent of putting up a for sale sign on the company lawn. Oracle offered $17 per share but the stock shot up to nearly $19 on expectations of a larger offer ahead. Oracle has a habit of throwing out low-ball bids to flush other buyers off the sidelines. Once an offer is made anyone else considering a move has to quickly decide it they want to bid before agreements start getting signed. Other prospective bidders could be IBM or HPQ. One analyst said BEAS was probably only worth $18 and an Oracle buy could double margins overnight. The analyst speculated that Oracle could fire everybody but the software engineers without rocking the boat. Since Icahn started calling for a sale and the stock topped at $14, 21.6 million shares or nearly 5.5% of the outstanding stock was sold short on expectations that Icahn would fail in his proxy battle with the board and eventually give up the fight. The Oracle bid squeezed those shorts with a $4 gap open on Friday. Icahn just reported on Friday morning that he had increased his stake in BEAS to 51.82 million shares or 13.2%. He did this by exercising 8.5 million call options for $9 a share and 26.05 million call options for $7.50 a share. The Oracle news gave him an instant $275 million profit in addition to the gains he made while accumulating his shares from $11 to $14.

BEAS Chart - Daily

Biogen Idec Chart - Daily

After the bell Biogen Idec (BIIB) said it was putting itself up for sale, possibly to Carl Icahn. Why not, he is definitely flush with a little extra cash after the BEAS deal. BIIB said it had hired Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch to pursue offers and billionaire Carl Icahn had already expressed interest. Icahn already took control of ImClone and appears to be interested in other biotechs. Analysts said there will likely be some big name drug companies also in the bidding. BIIB spiked to $81.50 on the announcement in after hours trading from its $69 close. Icahn already has a sizeable position in BIIB. The rich get richer and we get to tag along. Option Investor will be closing the long call position on BIIB on Monday.

Electronic Arts (ERTS) sprinted higher with a +2.71 gain after saying it expects to beat its Q3 earnings forecast. ERTS also said it was buying VG Holdings the parent of BioWare Corp and Pandemic Studios for $860 million. Those two studios produce action-adventure games. Several analysts questioned the high price and thought they paid too much and could have bought other game makers with better games for the same price. Traders evidently like the deal and the positive guidance.

On the surface last week looked bullish ahead of earnings. However, there were sell offs, one on Wednesday morning and one on Thursday afternoon. Those erased the gains for the week leaving the indexes relatively flat except for the NDX. The Nasdaq 100, the biggest stocks on the Nasdaq, continues to push higher with EBAY, RIMM, GOOG, etc adding to their gains. The NDX and the corresponding ETF the QQQQ have been on a vertical ascent since the last dip in early September. I see nothing on the horizon to change that but it will all depend on earnings of those same bid caps techs next week.

Merrill Lynch analyst, Mary Ann Bartels, thinks the markets will go higher thanks to the large short position held by hedge funds speculators. According to Bartels there is roughly $60 billion in buying power represented by these shorts. She gets her data from analyzing fund trading patterns and from the commitment of traders reports. Bartels said the speculators have been adding to short positions at the new highs and would eventually have to cover and go long if the indexes kept moving higher on earnings. With plenty of pessimism flowing about earnings it is drawing additional hedge fund shorts. Bartels said there was approximately $600 million in buying power on the NDX futures if shorts were forced to change sides. That was the lowest level of short interest on the futures she tracks. She said the Russell-2000 futures were second with $14 billion in buying power followed by the S&P futures at $47 billion. That is a lot of short interest in a bull market. I had been worried that the shorts were already converting to longs and that would reduce the buying power on an upside surprise. Bartels does not think so. Merrill has a 1670-1700 target on the S&P for year-end and they are reportedly buying the dips. Merrill may not have $60 billion to go long futures but I would not want them to be betting against me. What they may lack in dollars to commit to battling the bears they more than make up for with the power of their press releases. They can create any scenario they desire in the press to get the market moving in their direction. This looks like a short squeeze that will eventually end badly as long as the earnings don't disappoint.

The Dow may have only gained +29 points for the week but it is still holding very close to its all time highs set on Thursday at 14198. It would not take very much good news to produce another breakout that may have some conviction attached to it. With 13 Dow stocks reporting this week it would be an understatement to say there will probably be some increased volatility. Obviously all 13 will not surprise to the upside but all they have to do is not disappoint and let those that can surprise produce the gains. Current resistance is 14200-14250 and a strong break over that range could set the trend for the next several weeks.

The Nasdaq has more to risk since it has been the most bullish index. Positive earnings are already priced in and it will take a lot of good news to push it higher. I worry about Google earnings on Thursday night. I did not go back and research it again but I seem to remember that Google was knocked for losses on something like 9 of the last 11 earnings reports. Seems nothing they can say in earnings ever makes up for the unbridled expectations investors have placed on them. I think they dropped something like -28 on their last report. Makes me want to buy an expiring October put option just out of the money at Thursday's close. It would be a coin toss for Friday. You will either lose the entire premium or hit a home run. If Google announced their anticipated gPhone with earnings it would be a game changer and the monster of all short squeezes.

YYahoo earnings are not expected to produce fireworks and Ebay may have a little too much in the expectations department. Intel should do well but probably not a blowout. AMD is taking back share even if it is only a miniscule amount. It is forcing Intel to lower prices to compete. Like I said, this will be a pivotal week. IBM, not a Nasdaq stock but still an influence on techs, is the sleeping giant. Accenture recently reported +23% revenue growth and that should bode well for IBM. I scanned several weeks of news headlines on IBM and could not find anything other than the normal carbon copy press release by analysts saying revenue will be X and earnings Y. Replace those letters with differing amounts depending on the analyst. There was no excitement and no fears. With IBM stock moving sideways since Sept-1st there appears to be no expectations building. This could be a bright spot in next week's tech results.

The S&P is still struggling. It did move over resistance at 1555 but it can't seem to find any traction over that level. With 25% of the S&P earnings coming from financial stocks next week will be critical for direction. With more than a dozen big name financials reporting it would not take much to influence S&P earnings in either direction. The financials have been beaten, flogged, burned at the stake and buried alive in an attempt to rid Wall Street of the subprime stench. Expectations are non-existent and the bank index lost -2.29% last week. The potential for an upside surprise is huge. How bad would their earnings have to be for them to move any lower? I can't imagine anything they could say that we have not already heard. On the flip side the next largest segment is the energy sector with 18% of the S&P earnings. Incredibly we have been getting almost daily warnings from energy companies even when oil is at record highs. That sector could actually surprise to the downside. With 80 S&P companies reporting next week the odds are good we will not be pinned at 1560 this time next week. With support at 1540 and again at 1520 along with abundant pessimism should be a good recipe for a move higher. Bartels thinks any pullback on earnings could be 2-3% and that puts us right at 1520 support. I would like to see a surprise 3% breakout instead but the market rarely cares about what I would like. We just need to realize that there is still a bid under the market and how long that bid remains is predicated on the strength of earnings next week.

S&P-500 Chart - Daily

Russell-2000 Chart - Daily

The Russell 2000 actually lost its momentum last week with a small -3 point loss. I don't know if it was just fund managers withholding any more funds until the see how earnings are going to turn out or if it was those hedgies getting short at resistance. Resistance appeared at 846 and held firm all week. We also need to realize that Q3 end of the quarter retirement contributions have slowed to a trickle. Thursday's opening spike across all indexes carried the Russell to 851 but it was short lived and ended badly with the Thursday afternoon sell off to nearly 830. In the end the Russell returned to 840 to wait another day for the earnings cycle to begin. No harm, no foul and still within striking distance of a new high at 857. Since all the indexes ended the week about where they started it is hard to make a case that fund managers abandoned the Russell since there was no real selling. I think it was simply a case of buyers having established their positions ahead of earnings and settling in to wait for the first batch of results. Nothing should be deduced from the lack of movement.

This is earnings week and just like Oscar week the preparations have been made. The reporters compiled their lists and made their guesses. The companies are making their way down the red carpet and headed for their seats. The curtain will go up Monday morning followed by an endless stream of earnings applause and catcalls. Reporters will be jockeying to ask those seemingly important sound bite questions and corporations will be employing their own form of Greenspeak to spin the answers. Those answers found pleasing will be rewarded with a rise in their stock price. Those answers confessing misdeeds and failed expectations will be punished severely. We the spectators will be able to share in the rewards if we guessed right and be punished if we guessed wrong. It is a great week to be option traders!

Friday will be the 20th anniversary of Black Monday and the worst one-day decline in the U.S. markets. The Dow fell 508 points or 22.6% on one day. Analysts doubt it we could ever see a repeat because markets are more diverse and leverage is considerably less. The economic backdrop to the crash was materially different. We were facing a looming recession then and interest rates were high. The things that could trigger a market collapse today are much different including a derivatives disaster or a terrorist event. There will be numerous specials on TV this week to take you back in time and explore what happened and why. It would probably be very educational to watch at least one even if you lived through the real crash. Our brains numb over time and we forget how panic can grip the markets. As Harry Brown said so often, "Never count on being able to recreate your wealth." Protect it as though you never could. The first step in protecting it is to know how it could evaporate in another market crash. The equivalent 22% crash today would be -3209 Dow points. How would that change the value of your current positions?

New Plays

Most Recent Plays

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New Plays
Long Plays
Short Plays

New Long Plays

CompuCredit - CCRT - close: 24.98 change: +0.35 stop: 23.45

Company Description:
CompuCredit Corporation is a specialty finance company and marketer of branded credit cards and related financial services. (source: company press release or website)

Why We Like It:
A quick glance at CCRT's chart and you can see that shares appear to have put in a significant bottom. Shares hit their nadir near $20 in early September and have slowly worked their way back toward resistance near $25. The trend of higher lows is bullish. Everything seems to be suggesting another run toward the $30.00 region. We are suggesting long positions now. Nimble traders could try and jump in on a dip near $24.00. Meanwhile more conservative traders may want to wait for a new relative high over $25.50, which is probably a good idea. This week brings a lot of earnings reports from the financial sector, which could strongly influence trading in CCRT. We're starting the play with a stop loss at $23.45 but consider using a tighter stop closer to $24.00. Our target is the $29.00-30.00 range but that may be too aggressive since we only have three weeks until CCRT's earnings report. FYI: The P&F chart is still bearish but a move over $26 would reverse that into a new buy signal.

Picked on October 14 at $24.98
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 11/05/07 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 710 thousand


Computer Sciences - CSC - cls: 59.18 chg: +1.12 stop: 55.95

Company Description:
Computer Sciences Corporation is a leading global information technology (IT) services company. (source: company press release or website)

Why We Like It:
After a two-month consolidation shares of CSC are breaking out higher. This past week saw shares of CSC push through resistance in the $58.00-58.50 zone. Volume has been slowly rising on the rally, which is a good sign. There is potential resistance near $62.00-62.50 but we're aiming for the $64.00-65.00 range. The P&F chart shows a new triple-top breakout buy signal and a breakout through resistance with a $70 target. We can't find an earnings report date yet but CSC has a history of reporting in early November.

Picked on October 14 at $59.18
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 11/02/07 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.3 million


Heidrick & Struggles - HSII - cls: 40.20 chg: +1.58 stop: 37.99

Company Description:
Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. is the world's premier provider of senior-level executive search and leadership consulting services, including talent management, board building, executive on-boarding and M&A effectiveness. (source: company press release or website)

Why We Like It:
Expectations for a slow down in hiring and a downgrade to a "sell" back in early September sent shares of HSII plunging. The stock found support at $35.00 and has managed to rebound. The stock pushed back through resistance near $38.00 in early October and has already retested the $38 level as new support. We see Friday's rebound as a new bullish entry point to ride the rest of the rebound attempt. There is potential resistance at the 50-dma around $42.50. Our target is the $44.00-45.00 range. We do not want to hold over the end of October earnings report.

Picked on October 14 at $40.20
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 10/30/07 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 353 thousand


Marinemax Inc. - HZO - cls: 15.85 chg: +0.66 stop: 15.24

Company Description:
Headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, MarineMax is the nation's largest recreational boat and yacht retailer. (source: company press release or website)

Why We Like It:
HZO is still very much in a bearish down trend. However, it looks like shares may have produced a short-term bottom over the last couple of weeks. Traders bought the dip on Friday near $15 and its 10-dma. Aggressive traders could go long the stock now. We do consider this an aggressive, higher-risk play since we're fighting the trend, which is bearish. Our suggested trigger to go long the stock is at $16.26, which would be a new relative high. If triggered at $16.26 or target is the $17.90-18.00 range. Watch for potential resistance at the 50-dma. FYI: The latest data puts short interest at more than 33% of the small 17 million-share float. That's a very high amount of short interest and it wouldn't take much for the shorts to get squeezed!

Picked on October xx at $xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 11/01/07 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 454 thousand


Plexus - PLXS - close: 28.63 change: +1.17 stop: 27.49

Company Description:
Plexus is an award-winning participant in the Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) industry, providing product design, test, manufacturing and fulfillment and aftermarket solutions to branded product companies in the Wireline/Networking, Wireless Infrastructure, Medical, Industrial/Commercial and Defense/Security/Aerospace industries. (source: company press release or website)

Why We Like It:
PLXS has been pretty bullish since the mid September upgrade. Traders have been buying the dips and now the stock is poised to breakout over resistance near $29.00. We are suggesting a trigger to buy the stock at $29.05. If triggered our target is the $32.00-32.50 range. We do not want to hold over the October 31st earnings report. FYI: The P&F chart points to a $49 target.

Picked on October xx at $xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 10/31/07 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 522 thousand


Rowan Companies - RDC - cls: 40.18 change: +1.30 stop: 37.99

Company Description:
Rowan Companies, Inc. is a major provider of international and domestic offshore contract drilling services. The Company also owns and operates a manufacturing division that produces equipment for the drilling, mining and timber industries. (source: company press release or website)

Why We Like It:
Crude oil is hitting new highs and the Oil Services sector has broken out to new highs after a multi-week sideways consolidation. Shares of RDC are also breaking out higher from a multi-week consolidation. Volume has been strong on the rally, which is another positive sign. Our biggest concern would be a correction sell-off in crude oil, which is long overdue. Our target in RDC is the $44.00-44.50 range.

Picked on October xx at $xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 11/01/07 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 2.4 million

New Short Plays

Apria Healthcare - AHG - cls: 25.31 change: -1.65 stop: 26.75

Company Description:
Apria provides home respiratory therapy, home infusion therapy and home medical equipment through approximately 500 locations serving patients in all 50 states. With over $1.5 billion in annual revenues, it is one of the nation's leading home healthcare companies. (source: company press release or website)

Why We Like It:
We cannot find anything specific in the news that might account for AHG's 6% sell-off on volume that is more than three times the daily average. The stock has broken down from a multi-week consolidation pattern that re-affirms the bearish trend of lower highs. We are suggesting short positions now with AHG under $26.00. Readers can choose to open positions now or wait for a bounce and failed rally near the $25.75-26.00 zone. Our target is the $22.50-22.00 range. We do not want to hold over the (unconfirmed) October 25th earnings report. FYI: AHG has relatively high short interest. The latest data puts short interest at more than 15% of the 43.3 million-share float. This raises the risk of a short squeeze.

Picked on October 14 at $25.31 <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 10/25/07 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 696 thousand


Pacific Ethanol - PEIX - cls: 9.03 change: -0.38 stop: 9.75

Company Description:
Pacific Ethanol is the largest West Coast-based marketer and producer of ethanol. (source: company press release or website)

Why We Like It:
A glut of ethanol has cooled Wall Street's desire for shares of PEIX. The stock is in a long-term downtrend. The current consolidation looks like it's about to roll over into a new leg lower. Shares have resistance near $9.70 and short-term support near $8.50. We are suggesting shorts now although some readers may want to wait for a new decline under $9.00. Our target is the $7.75-7.50 range. Readers should note that the most recent data puts short interest at more than 16% of PEIX's 34.2 million-share float, which would raise the risk of a short squeeze.

Picked on October 14 at $ 9.03
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 11/20/07 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 839 thousand

Play Updates

Updates On Latest Picks

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Long Play Updates

Adobe - ADBE - close: 46.12 change: +0.63 stop: 42.85 *new*

ADBE continues to rally and shares hit another 52-week high on Friday afternoon. We remain bullish on ADBE but if you're looking for a new bullish entry point consider waiting for another dip back toward the rising 10-dma (currently near $44.80). We are adjusting the stop loss to $42.85 since ADBE should have short-term support near $45 and the $44 levels. Our target is the $49.50-50.00 range. The P&F chart is already bullish with a $51 target. Our time frame is about seven weeks.

Picked on October 09 at $45.05
Change since picked: + 1.07
Earnings Date 12/17/07 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 7.0 million


Cisco Systems - CSCO - cls: 32.92 change: +0.12 stop: 31.45

CSCO seemed to lag the market on Friday but the afternoon bounce does look like a new bullish entry point to consider buying the stock. The lack of follow through on Thursday's bearish reversal is a good sign. If you're feeling conservative think about raising your stop toward the October low around $31.88. Currently our stop is just under the rising 50-dma. Our target on CSCO is the $34.75-35.00 range.

Picked on September 26 at $32.65
Change since picked: + 0.27
Earnings Date 11/08/07 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 56 million


Juniper Networks - JNPR - cls: 37.12 change: +0.78 stop: 34.69

JNPR offered bulls some good news on Friday. There was no follow through on Thursday's ugly sell-off and failed rally pattern. Traders bought the dip and shares performed an inside day. We are suggesting new positions now but readers might want to wait for a new rise over $37.50 before initiating new positions. Conservative types might also want to consider raising their stop loss toward $36.00 to really reduce their exposure. Our target is the $39.85-40.00 range. The Point & Figure chart is very bullish with a $67 target. We do not want to hold over the October 23rd earnings report.

Picked on October 07 at $37.04
Change since picked: + 0.08
Earnings Date 10/23/07 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 10.0 million


Lexmark - LXK - close: 42.95 change: +0.62 stop: 39.95

Traders defended LXK near $42.00 again and the afternoon rebound looks very positive. If you think LXK can breakout past resistance near $45.00 then this would be a new entry point. Our target is the $44.85-45.00 range so we're not suggesting new positions at this time. More conservative traders might want to raise their stops toward $42.00, which has been short-term support.

Picked on October 09 at $41.06
Change since picked: + 1.89
Earnings Date 10/23/07 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 2.1 million


Knight Capital - NITE - cls: 13.58 change: +0.53 stop: 12.95*new*

NITE out performed the markets on Friday with a 4% gain. The stock got a boost on Friday morning after being upgraded. Shares are now challenging resistance near $14.00. We only have two days left. NITE is due to report earnings on Wednesday or Thursday this week. We're going to err on the side of caution and plan to exit at the closing bell this Tuesday. Please note that we are adjusting the stop loss to $12.95. Our target is the $14.65-15.00 range.

Picked on October 10 at $13.25
Change since picked: + 0.33
Earnings Date 10/17/07 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 2.0 million


NVIDIA - NVDA - close: 36.13 change: +0.86 stop: 34.49 *new*

Looking at shares of NVDA the Friday rebound from $35 looks like a new bullish entry point. However, we remain concerned over the SOX semiconductor index. The SOX broke down under support on Thursday. The Friday bounce in the SOX looks like a failed rally and new entry point for shorts. This week will be crucial with earnings reports from Intel and AMD to shed some guidance on the semiconductor industry. If you buy the bounce in NVDA then consider raising your stop loss closer to $35.00. Readers may want to wait for a new breakout over the 10-dma near $36.65 before initiating positions. We are adjusting our stop loss to $34.49. Our target is the $39.00-40.00 range. FYI: INTC reports on Tuesday and AMD on Thursday.

Picked on September 26 at $36.15
Change since picked: - 0.02
Earnings Date 11/08/07 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 15.3 million


Sirius Satellite Radio - SIRI- cls: 3.54 change: -0.03 stop: 3.29

SIRI continued to suffer some profit taking on Friday. The two-day Thursday-Friday move looks like a bearish reversal pattern. We're not suggesting new bullish positions at this time. Readers might want to consider a tighter stop loss. This remains a very speculative, higher-risk play. Our target is the $3.95-4.00 range.

Picked on September 30 at $ 3.49
Change since picked: + 0.05
Earnings Date 11/08/07 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 35.2 million


Synalloy Corp. - SYNL - cls: 21.18 change: +0.22 stop: 19.99

Friday was a very quiet session for SYNL. For much of the session SYNL traded inside a 5-cent range. The afternoon bounce could be used as a new bullish entry point but we are somewhat concerned by the very low volume. We also want to reiterate our earlier warning that we can't find an earnings report date for SYNL. That means everyday is a potential landmine if SYNL reports earnings unexpectedly and the results are negative. At this point we'd probably wait for a rally past $21.75 or $22.00 before considering new bullish positions. Our target is the $27.00-28.00 range.

Picked on October 09 at $22.39
Change since picked: - 1.21
Earnings Date 07/19/07 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 171 thousand


World Acceptance Corp. - WRLD - cls: 34.82 chg: +0.91 stop: 31.99

WRLD displayed relative strength on Friday. Shares hit an intraday high of $35.59 before paring their gains and closing with a 2.68% rally. We remain optimistic here and would continue to open new positions. However, readers should note that this week will bring a number of earnings reports from the financial sector. This flood of earnings news could produce some volatility in the sector and in shares of WRLD. Readers may want to adjust their stops closer to the $33 level. The P&F chart points to a $46 target. We're aiming for the $37.25-38.00 range. We only have one week and plan to exit ahead of the October 23rd earnings report.

Picked on October 09 at $33.93
Change since picked: + 0.89
Earnings Date 10/23/07 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 298 thousand


Zoltek - ZOLT - cls: 46.91 change: +0.95 stop: 42.90

ZOLT posted a 2% gain on Friday but it all occurred Friday morning. The stock traded sideways the rest of the session. We remain bullish on the stock but we're not suggesting new positions at this time. Readers may want to consider taking some money off the table right here. You may also want to tighten your stop closer to the $44 level. Our target is the $49.00-50.00 range.

Picked on September 24 at $43.06
Change since picked: + 3.85
Earnings Date 11/05/07 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 804 thousand

Short Play Updates


Closed Long Plays

NET Services - NETC - cls: 16.12 change: +0.18 stop: 15.60

We are giving up on NETC. Our target was the $17.75-18.00 range. The stock has gotten close to our target a couple of time but shares have taken a turn for the worse lately. The MACD on the daily chart has reversed into a new sell signal. It's possible that NETC is building a bull flag pattern or that shares will bounce near $15.50 but we don't want to risk it any further. We're suggesting an early exit now to avoid any losses.

Picked on September 24 at $15.60
Change since picked: + 0.52
Earnings Date 10/25/07 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 610 thousand


Westwood One - WON - cls: 2.63 chg: -0.00 stop: 2.59

Our speculative, higher-risk play on WON did not pan out. The stock continued to sink and hit $2.56 intraday on Friday. Our stop loss was at $2.59. We would keep an eye on WON to see if shares consolidate back toward support near $2.25, which might be another bullish entry point.

Picked on October 09 at $ 2.85
Change since picked: - 0.22
Earnings Date 11/08/07 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.5 million

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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