Option Investor
Newsletter

Daily Newsletter, Monday, 6/6/2011

Table of Contents

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

Market Wrap

Not Off To A Good Start

by Todd Shriber

Click here to email Todd Shriber
After five consecutive weeks of losses, U.S. stocks are not showing any signs of snapping that losing steak this week following a lackluster start to the week that saw three of the four major indexes loss more than 1%. The Dow was good by comparison, shedding ''just'' half a percent as losers outpaced gainers on both the NYSE and the Nasdaq by just under four-to-one.

Stats Table

One stock that experienced a nasty tumble today was biotech firm Exelixis (EXEL, which saw its shares plunge 20%. The company reported Phase II trial data for its cancer drug, cabozantinib, over the weekend at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conclave and the results showed six patient deaths. If you actively follow biotech stocks, you probably know that cancer treatment is one of the hottest sub-sectors of this universe and while unfortunate, one or two patient deaths are not uncommon during these types of trials.

Six deaths, or 1% of the trial group for cabozantinib, is too much for the market to deal with the and that much was evident in shares of Exelixis today. Making matters worse for the company is that mortality rate experienced with cabozantinib is too high for the drug to be used as part of combination therapy in late-stage cancer patients.

The company expects to have initial results around midyear from a pivotal trial of the drug as a treatment for thyroid cancer, according to Reuters, and while that may prove to be a catalyst for the stock, it might be best to let Exelixis sort itself out over the next few days before running into a new position here.

Exelixis Chart

Keeping with theme of healthcare-related names that were taken to the woodshed today, shares of medical diagnostics maker Gen-Probe (GPRO) were slammed by almost 13% on volume that was roughly 10 times the daily average after the Wall Street Journal reported that basically no one besides Swiss pharma giant Novartis (NVS) is interested in acquiring Gen-Probe anymore and even that deal may not see the light of day.

Sources cited by the Journal say Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO) and Life Technologies “are now on the sidelines.” The problem for Gen-Probe is that analysts and traders were speculating that much of Novartis's interest in Gen-Probe centered around keeping the company out of the hands of rivals. Now that those concerns do not exist, Novartis may also take a pass on the California-based company.

Gen-Probe Chart

Departing from U.S. stocks for a moment, as many readers know, I have been known to opine on politics from time to time and that can get me in some hot water, but I am going to give it a go again. Do NOT worry, I am not going to discuss U.S. politics because I do not want the offend the senses of half our readers.

Nope, Peru is the political hot spot du jour following Sunday's presidential election that saw the country elect Ollanta Humala as its next president. As some who does a lot research, analysis and trading of ETFs and has been doing so for several years now, I can safely say that I cannot remember a short that was as easy or obvious as the iShares MSCI All Peru Capped Index Fund (EPU) going into Sunday's election.

While it can be argued that most presidential elections in the developed world do not have a candidate that is clearly the wrong choice, Peru had that situation and economically speaking, Humala was clearly the wrong choice. He claims to be a reformed leftist, but in reality, he probably still is a leftist and that is not surprising given he counts Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez among his friends.

Under the previous administration, Peru had been trying to go the way of Brazil, Colombia and Chile and adopt pro-growth policies to foster foreign investment, particularly in its energy and materials industries.

All of those efforts may go for naught now that Humala has won. He previously threatened to revoke oil and minerals licenses in Peru (Translation: Watch out for nationalization) and while Peru isn't Brazil when it comes to oil production, it is a major producer of copper, gold and silver. How enthusiastic are investors about Humala's victory? EPU's chart tells the story as the ETF traded more than triple its average daily volume. The chart is a far cry from 2010 when the ETF was one of the leaders of the emerging markets asset class.

Peru ETF Chart

Speaking of ugly charts, name a big money center bank stock or an ETF that holds a collection of these market red-headed stepchildren and chances are you will find a nasty looking chart. A fine example is the SPDR KBW Bank ETF (KBE). Illustrious names (sense the sarcasm) JPM, C, WFC and BAC combine for about 29% of KBE's weight, so its no wonder this fund has been blasted recently.

Options traders may be sending the rest of us a message regarding KBE and that message is stay away or join us in buying puts. The June 24 KBE puts have open interest of over 12,600 contracts and the June 25's have open interest of nearly 5900 contracts.

KBE Chart

The after-hours session brought some good cheer, at least for shareholders of corrugated packaging maker Temple-Inland (TIN). The stock was down over 3% in the regular session, but something was afoot as volume was more than seven times the daily average. That ''something'' is an unsolicited $3.3 billion takeover offer from rival International Paper (IP) and the news has Temple-Inland shares up almost 43% in after-hours trading as of this writing.

IP is offering $30.60 for each Temple-Inland share, which is well above the $21 the stock closed at today, but even with that substantial premium, the former is not finding a willing seller in the latter. Temple-Inland's board unanimously rejected the overture with the typical ''grossly undervalues'' the company line.

''Your letter of May 27 insistently says 'timing and speed are important,' and you have threatened us with a hostile bid if we do not respond by your deadline. The speed that is 'important' to you underscores an opportunistic attempt to deprive our stockholders of the value in their company that we believe will become increasingly evident, Temple-Inland CEO Doyle Simons said in a letter to IP CEO John Faraci over the weekend, the New York Times reported.

Those are harsh words, but they appear to be good for Temple-Inland shares. Forgive me, but I cannot resist saying that I do not think anyone has been this excited about mergers and acquisitions in the paper sector since Gordon Gekko was making a run at Teldar Paper.

Temple-Inland Chart

Looking at the charts, support at 1300, be it psychological or otherwise, for the S&P 500 did not hold today and with the index laboring below 1295, there is a solid chance the 1250-1260 area is the next destination. The combination of June typically being a challenging month for stocks and economic news that simply gives buyers no reason to get in the game could prove toxic for the S&P 500 in the coming weeks. Remember,the low for the S&P 500 this year is 1256, which was last seen in mid-March.

S&P 500 Chart

The Dow may be in even worse health than the S&P 500. Support at 12,200 failed last week and now the blue chip index is clinging to 12,100. Further declines put 11,600 in play. On Monday, seven Dow stocks managed to close higher, but the same culprits continue to weigh on the index. Financials are a mess and CAT and CVX are both under $100. The last time both stocks were under $100 at the same was March. CAT's shareholders meeting is Wednesday and this is usually the time the company raises its dividend, but they may not be enough on its own to spark the rest of the Dow higher.

Dow Chart

How weak is the Nasdaq? Well AAPL's developer's conference kicked off today and Steve Jobs made an appearance, but the stock still fell 1.6%. If there was support at 2725, it did not hold today and that means 2675 is next support. From there, the Nasdaq could slide all the way back to 2615.

Nasdaq Chart

The Russell 2000 was blasted last week for a 3.3% loss and dipped another 1.6% today and below 800, a move to 775 is not that far flung. things are not looking any better to start this week. The small-cap index If that level does not hold, look for 760-765 to come into play.

Russell 2000 Chart

I happened to take a look at a chart of the S&P 500 running from the March 2009 lows through today and I only spotted one correction, assuming a correction within a bull market is 10%-15%, and it occurred between April and July 2010. The Dow is off about 4.5% from its 2011 high and the S&P 500 is off about 5% from its 2011 peak.

With all this bad economic data we are seeing and the subsequent weakness in stocks, maybe it is time for another correction. A little more bloodletting to clear out the weak hands may be just what the market needs to rally into year-end, but only time will tell if that is what we see.

Fun fact of the day: If you want to donate a boatload of money to charity and have lunch with Warren Buffett, bidding for that privilege on eBay is now up to $2.34 million. As of 11 AM New York time, the last bid was $1.51 million. Bidding closes at 7:30 PM Pacific time on June 10.


New Plays

Looking for a Bounce or Failed Rally

by James Brown

Click here to email James Brown

Editor's Note:

No new trades tonight. Stocks are starting to look a little bit oversold here. I'd rather not chase them lower. The trend is down so we want to look for a bounce or failed rally near overhead resistance as our next entry point for bearish positions.

I almost added BWLD as a bearish trade tonight with the breakdown under $60 and its simple 50-dma. Nimble traders may want to consider new positions now and target a drop toward $55 and/or its 100-dma.

- James


In Play Updates and Reviews

Sinking Into June

by James Brown

Click here to email James Brown

Editor's Note:
The stock market's correction continued on Monday. The small cap Russell 2000 index closed under the 800 level while the S&P 500 broke down under the 1300 mark.

Our CPO play has been stopped out. I am suggesting an early exit from our EMC trade.

-James

Current Portfolio:


BULLISH Play Updates

Cheesecake Factory Inc. - CAKE - close: 29.62 change: -0.26

Stop Loss: 28.95
Target(s): 33.95, 37.00
Current Gain/Loss: - 6.0%
Time Frame: 8 to 10 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/06 update: CAKE is inching closer and closer to its 200-dma near $29.20. No new positions at this time. We'll wait and see if CAKE provides a bounce from the 200-dma.

Earlier Comments:
Keep in mind that CAKE doesn't move very fast (at least not normally) so we'll need some patience for this trade to work. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for CAKE is bullish with a $59 target.

Current Position: Long CAKE stock @ $31.53

- or -

Long the July $33 call (CAKE1116G33) Entry @ $0.75

06/04 More conservative traders may want to exit early. We are expecting a drop to the 200-dma.

Entry on May 20 at $31.53
Earnings Date 07/21/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.0 million
Listed on May 19th, 2011


Dr. Pepper Snapple Group - DPS - close: 40.07 change: -0.23

Stop Loss: 38.95
Target(s): 44.90
Current Gain/Loss: - 0.4%
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/06 update: DPS posted another decline and shares settled on round-number support at the $40.00 level. You could argue the stock is short-term oversold after a two-week drop and with the stock at support this could be used as a new bullish entry point. However, I'm concerned with the weakness in the market's major averages. Readers may want to wait for the market to find a bottom or wait for DPS to bounce before initiating new positions.

We have a stop at $38.95. More conservative traders may want to use a stop closer to $40 instead.

Current Position: Long DPS stock @ $40.25

- or -

Long Aug $45 call (DPS1120H45) Entry @ $0.30

06/04 new stop loss @ 38.95

Entry on June 3 at $40.25
Earnings Date 07/28/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 2.1 million
Listed on May 14th, 2011


Ecolab Inc. - ECL - close: 53.88 change: -0.22

Stop Loss: 51.90
Target(s): 57.00, 59.90
Current Gain/Loss: + 1.4%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/06 update: ECL is still holding up reasonably well. Shares are hovering near $54.00. I don't see any changes from my prior comments. I would expect ECL to correct toward support near $53.00. No new positions at this time.

Current Position: Long ECL stock @ 53.35

- or -

Long July $55 call (ECL1116G55) Entry @ $0.60

06/04 new stop loss @ 51.90

Entry on May 26 at $53.35
Earnings Date 07/26/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.5 million
Listed on May 18th, 2011


Electronic Arts Inc. - ERTS - close: 23.80 change: -0.24

Stop Loss: 23.45
Target(s): 26.25, 28.00
Current Gain/Loss: - 2.6%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/06 update: Today's close under $24.00 and its 10-dma is bearish. More conservative traders may want to exit early or raise their stop loss. Currently our stop is at $23.45. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Earlier Comments:
I am suggesting that we keep our position size small to limit our risk. Our targets are $26.25 and $27.00.

- Small Positions -

Current Position: Long ERTS stock @ $24.44

- or -

Long July $25 call (ERTS1116G25) Entry @ $0.90

06/04 New stop @ 23.45

Entry on June 1 at $24.44
Earnings Date 08/02/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 5.8 million
Listed on May 31st, 2011


Expedia Inc. - EXPE - close: 26.93 change: -0.70

Stop Loss: 26.70
Target(s): 27.75, 29.75
Current Gain/Loss: + 4.1%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/06 update: EXPE has spent several days ignoring the market's decline. That changed today with EXPE falling -2.5%. I am repeating my earlier comments that more conservative traders will want to exit immediately. If there is any follow through lower tomorrow we will likely get stopped out at $26.70. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Current Position: Long EXPE stock @ 25.85

- or -

Long the June $25 call (EXPE1118F25) Entry @ $1.20

- or -

Long the July $27 call(EXPE1116G27) Entry @ $0.95

06/04 consider an early exit, especially if you have the June calls. Currently the bid on the June $25 call is $2.45 (+104%).
06/01 new stop loss @ 26.70
05/31 new stop loss @ 26.25
05/21 New stop loss @ 25.40
05/20 1st Target Hit @ 27.75 (+7.3%), June $25 call @ $2.70 (+125%), July $27 call @ $1.40 (+47.3%)

Entry on May 18 at $25.85
Earnings Date 07/28/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 5.5 million
Listed on May 17th, 2011


Kansas City Southern - KSU - close: 55.83 change: -0.74

Stop Loss: 54.70
Target(s): 59.75, 62.50
Current Gain/Loss: - 0.9%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/06 update: The short-term trend of lower highs and lower lows continues. KSU is headed for its next level of support near $55 and its 50-dma. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Current Position: Long KSU stock @ $56.39

- or -

Long the June $60 call (KSU1118F60) Entry @ $0.53

06/01 New stop loss @ 54.70

Entry on May 19 at $56.39
Earnings Date 07/27/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.0 million
Listed on May 18th, 2011


Rosetta Resources - ROSE - close: $45.97 change: -1.33

Stop Loss: 44.75
Target(s): 54.00
Current Gain/Loss: - 2.9%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/06 update: Energy stocks were underperformers today and ROSE was no exception. The stock lost -2.8%. If the sector continues to slide we will likely see ROSE hit our stop loss at $44.75 in the next day or two. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

-Small Bullish Positions-

Current Position: Long ROSE stock @ $47.35

- or -

Long July $50 call (ROSE1116G50) Entry @ $1.95

06/04 new stop loss @ 44.75

Entry on May 26 at $47.35
Earnings Date 08/08/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 967 thousand
Listed on May 25th, 2011


BEARISH Play Updates

Aon Corp. - AON - close: 51.49 change: -0.02

Stop Loss: 52.75
Target(s): 46.50
Current Gain/Loss: + 0.2%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/06 update: The intraday bounce in AON failed at resistance near $52. Shares are essentially bouncing sideways between the $51 and $52 levels. Readers could use today's failed rally as a new entry point or you could wait for AON to break support near $51.00.

Earlier Comments:
Our target is the $46.50 level. I would expect some support near $50.00 and the 100-dma so don't be surprised to see an initial bounce near this area. NOTE: The option spreads on AON are a little wide. Conservative traders may not want to play the options.

(small positions only)

Current Position: short AON stock @ 51.61

- or -

Long the June $50 PUT (AON1118R50) entry @ $0.45

05/31 New stop loss @ 52.75
05/23 gap down entry @ 51.61

Entry on May 23 at $51.61
Earnings Date 07/29/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.7 million
Listed on May 21st, 2011


AO Smith Corp. - AOS - close: 39.80 change: +0.40

Stop Loss: 42.05
Target(s): 36.00, 33.00
Current Gain/Loss: + 0.3%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/06 update: AOS popped higher this morning but the rally failed near $41.00. I don't see any changes from my weekend comments and would still launch new bearish positions at this time. Our targets are $36.00 and $33.00.

FYI: The Point & Figure chart for AOS is bearish with a $33 target. Traders should also note that the most recent data listed short interest at 5% of the relatively small 38.2 million share float. That does raise the risk for a possible short squeeze and explains the volatile rallies in this stock.

NOTE: AOS does have options but the spreads appear too wide for us to trade them.

Current Position: short AOS stock @ $39.92

Entry on June 6 at $39.92
Earnings Date 07/20/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 312 thousand
Listed on June 4th, 2011


Ford Motor Co. - F - close: 13.91 change: -0.10

Stop Loss: 15.15
Target(s): 13.25
Current Gain/Loss: + 3.4%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/06 update: Ford tried to bounce this morning and failed. The trend is down but the stock does look a little bit oversold here. I am not suggesting new positions at this time. We'll wait for another failed rally type of move. Currently our target is $13.25. I would keep our position size small to limit our risk.

Small Positions!

Current Position: Short F stock @ $14.40

- or -

Long July $15 PUT (F1116S15) Entry @ $0.90

Entry on May 25 at $14.40
Earnings Date 07/21/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 57 million
Listed on May 24th, 2011


Honeywell Intl. - HON - close: 57.45 change: +0.20

Stop Loss: 60.15
Target(s): 54.00 & 200-dma
Current Gain/Loss: + 0.3%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/06 update: HON bucked the trend today and managed to close in positive territory. The stock remains under new resistance at its 100-dma and the $58.00 level. There is no change from my prior comments. Readers can launch new positions here or wait for a bounce/failed rally move near the $59.00 area.

Earlier Comments:
We do want to keep our position size small to limit our risk. Our targets are $54.00 and the simple 200-dma.

- Small Positions -

Current Position: short HON stock @ 57.65

- or -

Long July $55 PUT (HON1116S55) Entry @ $0.75

Entry on June 2 at $57.65
Earnings Date 07/22/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 4.1 million
Listed on June 1st, 2011


St. Jude Medical - STJ - close: 48.04 change: -0.03

Stop Loss: 51.05
Target(s): 47.00, 45.75
Current Gain/Loss: + 5.8%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/06 update: I'm urging caution here. STJ failed to see any follow through on Friday's breakdown below the 100-dma. I suspect the stock is poised for another oversold bounce. We might see another entry point for bearish positions on a failed rally near $50 soon. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Earlier Comments:
We wanted to keep our position size small (about half or less than a normal trade) to limit our risk.

(Small Positions)

Current Position: Short STJ stock @ 51.00

- or -

Long the June $50 PUT (SJT1118R50) Entry @ $1.00

06/04 New stop loss @ 51.05, added second target at $45.75
05/23 New stop loss @ 52.26

Entry on May 20 at $51.00
Earnings Date 07/21/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 2.6 million
Listed on May 16th, 2011


Target Corp. - TGT - close: 47.36 change: -0.04

Stop Loss: 50.15
Target(s): 45.15
Current Gain/Loss: unopened
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: Yes, see trigger

Comments:
06/06 update: TGT tagged a new 52-week low but it also managed a meager bounce from the $47.00 level. We are actually expecting an oversold bounce and plan to launch bearish positions at $48.50. If triggered we'll use a stop loss at $50.15. Our first target is $45.15. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for TGT is bearish with a $43 target.

Trigger @ 48.50

Suggested Position: short TGT stock @ 48.50

- or -

buy the July $47 PUT (TGT1116S47) current ask $1.24

Entry on June x at $xx.xx
Earnings Date 08/18/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 7.1 million
Listed on June 4th, 2011


CLOSED BULLISH PLAYS

Corn Products Intl. - CPO - close: 53.65 change: -1.23

Stop Loss: 53.60
Target(s): 59.90
Current Gain/Loss: - 4.7%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/06 update: Ouch! CPO underperformed on Monday with a -2.2% decline. The stock fell toward its 50-dma. The intraday low was $53.60, which just happens to be our stop loss. The trade is closed. I'm concerned that CPO may be forming a bearish double top pattern.

closed Position: Long CPO stock @ 56.28, exit 53.60 (-4.7%)

- or -

June $55 call (CPO1118F55) Entry @ $2.10, exit $0.45 (-78.5%)

06/06 stopped out @ 53.60

chart:

Entry on May 27 at $56.28
Earnings Date 07/25/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 688 thousand
Listed on May 26th, 2011


EMC Corp. - EMC - close: 27.32 change: -0.61

Stop Loss: 26.90
Target(s): 29.95, 32.25
Current Gain/Loss: - 0.8%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/06 update: I am giving up on EMC. The stock underperformed today with a -2.1% decline and a close under the 50-dma. It's time for an early exit.

closed Position: Long EMC stock @ $27.55, exit 27.32 (-0.8%)

- or -

June $27.00 calls (EMC1118F27) Entry @ $1.35, exit $0.62 (-54.0%)

Second Option Position (listed 05/12/11)

June $29.00 calls (EMC1118F29) Entry @ $0.45, exit $0.03 (-93.3%)

06/06 exit early. EMC @ $27.32 (-0.8%)
06/04 consider an early exit now, especially if you're holding options. We will look for an exit from our option trade in the next few days.
06/01 new stop loss @ 26.90
05/12 New entry point. Added second option position.

chart:

Entry on May 3 at $27.55
Earnings Date 04/20/11
Average Daily Volume: 21.4 million
Listed on April 27th, 2011