Option Investor
Newsletter

Daily Newsletter, Wednesday, 4/18/2012

Table of Contents

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

Market Wrap

Bulls Give Back A Little

by Keene Little

Click here to email Keene Little
This being one of the more bullish weeks of the year it may have been disappointing to see a down day but so far it's just a pullback.

Market Stats

This week is typically the strongest week of the 2nd quarter and one of the strongest weeks of the year. Opex weeks tend to be bullish (or very bearish when they're not bullish) and the 2nd quarter earnings run tends to keep the bulls interested. Perhaps the biggest influence is tax day. The Treasury is expecting to pay down about $48B in short-term bills on Thursday. That frees up money for the holders of the paper and they'll want to put it to work somewhere (possibly right back into Treasuries). But money typically makes it into the stock market from this and the anticipation of this money will often have fund managers buying to take advantage of the rally. So far the pattern is working, even if today was a disappointment. Last year the S&P gained 56 point in the 7 days following tax day, which this year was April 17th.

We've had two decent days for the market, especially yesterday. To get a relatively small pullback to correct the rally shouldn't scare too many people and in fact we saw very little movement in the VIX and the equity put/call ratio did not reflect any worry (in fact call buying was heavier than usual). When we look under the hood and the price pattern there could be reason to worry but we'll review that with the charts.

Helping to spark an initial rally off the gap-down open was another upgrade for AAPL's stock. Goldman Sach's Bill Shope raised his price target price for AAPL again, now to $750 from his previous target at $700. It helped give the stock a boost this morning but it was immediately sold into. I'm sure Shope made his call because he really believes AAPL is worth the higher price. I'm sure the goal was not to get buyers to come in and take inventory from GS (cough). I'm sure the selling into the morning spike was not GS (cough, cough).

The AAPL upgrade helped NDX quickly recover from its gap down this morning and the other indexes tried to follow but were unable to close their gaps. Another afternoon attempt to rally the markets resulted in a lower high before selling off again so the bulls have some work to do to keep from losing Monday's and Tuesday's gains. So far it's just a pullback but as we'll review with the charts, the potential could be a more significant decline from here if the bulls don't step back in tomorrow.

Acting as a Debbie Downer on the market is the continued worry over European debt. More money flowed into U.S. Treasuries, as we've seen since March 20th, which has resulted in a strong turn back up in prices (back down in yields). The 10-year Treasury dropped back under 2%, closing at 1.98% today. German bunds are also seeing more buying interest and its auction on 2-year debt attracted strong enough interest to drop the yield to a record-low 0.14%. Investors will soon be paying to have the stronger governments hold their money for safe keeping.

In the meantime Spanish government bonds are once again under pressure to be sold and yields are on the rise. Non-performing loans at Spanish banks are on the rise and hit a 14-year high today. The chart below shows the Spanish 10-year bond on the rise again after spiking up to about 6.7% last November. The spread between Spanish and German yields had spiked up to about 4.8%. Then the ECB stepped in with much fanfare with their 1T euro LTRO package to help banks purchase their governments' debts. All was well with the world again, especially since Greece "solved" its debt crisis, and yields on Spanish and Italian bonds dropped.

Spanish bond yields and credit spread

The ECB fix was supposed to last for at least a year but it appears they got only about 3 months out of the deal. A rate over 6%, which is where Spanish 10-year bonds are now threatening to climb over, is considered unsustainable and it's what got the ECB involved with the bailout plan last time. They didn't want a bigger Greece on their hands. Well they got it anyway and don't have much to show for their 1T euros.

And while Italian bonds are doing relatively well it appears the bond market is most concerned about Spain's ability to pay down its debt. Compounding the problem is the fact that private investors are less reluctant to buy sovereign debt when they know the contract can simply be voided and stick the investor with the loss. It's that unintended consequence thing biting the European financial authorities in their collect derrieres.

Tomorrow we'll get another data point on the chart above to see how well Spain is doing. They will auction 2- and 10-year debt before the U.S. market opens. Based on all eyes on this auction we'll see plenty of "support" to ensure its success, and that in turn would make a failed auction (much higher yields) that much more bearish. This fear was probably part of the reason for today's market decline, especially late in the day when traders seemed more interested in protecting profits than looking to add to their positions.

Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid and Nice Burns were in the news today as they discussed their worry over the European debt. They mentioned the credit-default swap (CDS) prices have risen to the point that at least four European countries fact a "credit event", such as having to restructure their debt (Greece on steroids all over again). They cited the Markit iTraxx SovX Western Europe Index of contracts on 15 governments, including Spain and Italy, has jumped 26% in the past month. That's a huge and scary move.

Reid and Burns suggested that the next five years of corporate and financial defaults, should these implied defaults come close to being realized, will make the last five years look "relatively calm." They note that the last five years saw default rates stay in line with historical norms because of the "unprecedented intervention" of U.S. and European monetary policy decisions.

This is all in line with the huge debt overhang we have to deal with. Whether it's personal, corporate or government there is simply too much debt that has to be worked down. It's a process but that process may soon start to accelerate if defaults start to march higher.

One factor making it worse for Spanish debt is that money is fleeing the country. As investors withdraw money from the banks there is less money for the banks to buy the government debt. So the money the ECB lent to the Spanish banks is fleeing the country and going elsewhere (stronger countries, helping their markets). The chart below is from Citi that shows the sharp decline in domestic deposits since the beginning of 2011 while borrowing from the Eurosystem (ECB, other EU countries and the IMF) has risen dramatically. This is clearly an unsustainable path.

The bond market of course sees this happening and they're becoming more fearful of Spain's ability to pay back their debts. Many call them bond vigilantes and accuse them of making the problem worse. It's like blaming speculators for driving oil prices higher. There are of course traders who sense the vulnerability and trade that (shorting Spanish bonds in this case) but mostly it's simply a case of bond investors looking to protect their investments and when the risk increases it requires a higher yield to compensate for the risk. Personally I wouldn't touch Spanish bonds with a 10-foot pole, especially since we know how well private investors fared with Greek bonds.

As the situation worsens in Europe we can be sure the ECB will come out with another LTRO program (or two or three or five) as they struggle to keep the dam from bursting. Of course at some point they will simply be unable to taken on any more debt themselves. Their (U.S. and ECB) balance sheets have already ballooned over the last couple of years (months for the ECB). They're the last in line for bailouts since who's left to bailout the central banks? The taxpayers of course.

Each time the central banks try another rescue program we'll see a little euphoric response from the market and each time it will last for a shorter and shorter period as most begin to realize there's nothing the ECB or the Fed or anyone else can do to stop the correction. The market is too big to bail and the sooner it's allowed to correct the sooner we'll get to the other side and be able to start trading the market again without the interference of governments and central banks. It will be very painful period of transition (and the U.S. will have to do the same) but I look forward to the other side and the golden opportunities that we'll find.

Starting with the SPX weekly chart tonight, you can see how it dropped down to its October-November uptrend line last week and has bounced off the line. This was to be expected and now all we're waiting for is a decision by the market as to whether it will try for a new high or start a bigger pullback at a minimum. A drop below last week's low, near 1357, would be a bearish heads up. From a weekly perspective the market will not be in more serious trouble until SPX drops below 1320.

S&P 500, SPX, Weekly chart

I mentioned earlier that looking under the hood should cause bulls some concern about the bounce attempt off last week's low. The volume has tailed off since the April 10th low and that's not supporting a rise up to a new high. It can of course happen on low volume, as we saw the rally this year happening on lower volume than usual. But it's a warning sign. So far we've got a 3-wave a-b-c bounce off the April 10th low and for that reason a drop back below Monday's low at 136.58 would be bearish (it would leave a confirmed 3-wave bounce). It would also leave a confirmed failure of the back test of the broken uptrend line from October-November (bearish kiss goodbye).

SPDR S&P 500, SPY, Daily chart

For another daily perspective, I've drawn some parallel lines on the rally from December to show how price could work its way higher this month to the top of the lower channel and achieve the Gann Square of Nine target price of 1429. That will remain a possibility as long as Monday's low near 1365 holds. At the moment the 20-dma near 1394 is holding as resistance.

S&P 500, SPX, Daily chart

Key Levels for SPX:
- bullish above 1415
- bearish below 1365

The more immediately bearish wave count calls for a resumption of the selling right away on Thursday (from a bad Spanish bond auction?). The 3-wave bounce off the April 10th low fits as a 2nd wave correction to the 1st wave decline from April 2nd. I see the possibility for at least another leg up for the bounce as long as 1365 is not broken and it would become more bullish with a rally above 1408.

S&P 500, SPX, 60-min chart

I'm continuing to use the DOW to show the "one more new high" scenario that calls for a new high into the end of the month or early May, which would set up a repeat to May 2008. If the April 10th low was the completion of the 4th wave of the move up from November then the two upside projections for the 5th wave are at 13344 (5th wave = 62% of the 1st wave) and 13736 (5th = 1st). A drop below the April 10th low would negate that bullish possibility.

Dow Industrials, INDU, Daily chart

Key Levels for DOW:
- bullish above 13,100
- bearish below 12,700

While several of the individual big-cap tech stocks look to have topped or are within days of topping the NDX pattern supports the idea we'll see at least a minor new high next week. This backs up the DOW's bullish possibility shown on its chart. A parallel up-channel from December, drawn with a trend line along the December 5 - March 28 highs (potentially the 1st and 3rd waves of the move up from November) and then attaching a parallel line to the December 19th low (2nd wave), shows where the 4th wave will typically find support, which it did on Monday. The 50-dma is located at the same level, which clearly added support. The choppy pullback from March 28th looks like a bull flag.

Nasdaq-100, NDX, Daily chart

Key Levels for NDX:
- bullish above 2750
- bearish below 2660

If NDX can get above its 20-dma near 2740 it would help the bullish pattern calling for a new high into next week and I'm showing a projection to about 2810 where it would again hit the long-term broken uptrend line from 1990. As noted on the top of the chart, hitting 2805 would also have it achieving the 50% retracement of the 2000-2002 decline. A drop below Monday's low near 2660 would look more bearish even though it could be just an extension of the bull flag (a drop out the bottom of the flag would be the signal the bears will want to see).

I mentioned that there are a couple of big-cap tech stocks that appear to be in trouble and for that reason I have to wonder if NDX has a chance to make a new high. PCLN is one example -- on Monday it broke down from its up-channel from January, which was also a break of its 20-dma, something it had not even tested since January. PCLN has now bounced back up to the bottom of its broken up-channel from January, near 735. Its 20-dma is a little lower, near 729, so a failure at both will be a failed back test (kiss goodbye).

Priceline.com, PCLN, Daily chart

It's a nice setup for a short play on PCLN if resistance holds. But right now what the bulls have in their favor is that the pullback from the April 10th high is a 3-wave move. If it's just an a-b-c pullback then we'll see PCLN make a new high before finishing, perhaps even up to the $800 area. As noted on the chart, those who shorted the last high and/or the breakdown will get squeezed while the 2nd mouse that shorts the new high will get the cheese. A break below $700 would say the 2nd mouse will have to short the breakdown instead of waiting for a new high.

AAPL is of course another one of the big-cap tech stocks and one that's a favorite among those who believe stocks have much higher to go. It's a great sentiment stock. Calls for $1000 for AAPL are very reminiscent for those of us trading into the 2000 high when we heard similar calls for QCOM. I've shown AAPL's pattern recently and mentioned I was looking for the completion of the final 5th wave of its rally from 1997. I think we got it.

On Friday AAPL broke below its up-channel from January, its 20-dma and the bottom of a slightly expanding triangle from mid-March (a megaphone topping pattern). Today it made it back up to the bottom of its megaphone (the uptrend line from mid-March) but immediately pulled back some, leaving a back test followed by a bearish kiss goodbye. It also failed to hold a retest of its broken 20-dma. The chart below is with the log price scale and interestingly, using the arithmetic price scale shows the uptrend line from January was also retested today. It's a bearish setup against this morning's high at 620.25.

Apple Inc., AAPL, Daily chart

Peter Brandt wrote an update on AAPL last week in which he stated that he saw a pattern that Jesse Livermore had identified as one of his favorite short-play setups. He used a chart of AAPL and compared it to Livermore's, shown below. Livermore called it an "accumulation cylinder with widening mouth", which is an expanding wedge. Normally this is a topping pattern, which for AAPL occurred in the 2nd half of 2011 but instead of topping it led to an explosion higher. This is a good example of when a pattern fails it tends to fail hard (the spike up into the April high). Once the high is in (point 10) you look for a pullback (point 11) and then the bounce (point 12) to get short. That's the setup we have right here.

Peter Brandt's comparison between Jesse Livermore's setup and AAPL's current chart

The RUT's pattern is similar to the others in that the bounce off the April 10th low fits as an a-b-c correction to its decline. So far it has not been able to bounce back up to its 20- and 50-dma's, which are now crossing near 819. Between those MAs and a downtrend line from March 27th, near 824, watch for resistance if tested. If the RUT drops below 791 it's probably not going to go any higher.

Russell-2000, RUT, Daily chart

Key Levels for RUT:
- bullish above 835
- bearish below 791

I mentioned earlier that money has been running back into U.S. Treasuries as investors seek higher safety. That has dropped yields back down and TNX is approaching the bottom of a potential ascending triangle pattern, currently near 1.86%. I'll continue to show the potential for another leg up within the triangle to finish it before heading lower later this year. A break below the January low at 1.79% would tell us it's headed lower now, not later.

10-year Yield, TNX, Daily chart

The dollar has been in a very messy pattern for past two weeks and while I continue to believe the next big move will be to the upside I must admit to wondering what it's doing here. It should not be wasting any time getting going to the upside if a 3rd wave is about to start. But there is the possibility for a little further pullback before the rally gets started so it needs to prove it's ready to go with a rally above 80.40.

U.S. Dollar contract, DX, Daily chart

Like the dollar, the metals and other commodities, have been chopping around and not showing any desire to head off in one direction or the other. Unless gold gets back above 1718 I think we'll see lower from here but not necessarily a hard selloff until another month or more.

Gold continuous contract, GC, Daily chart

If oil drops below 100 we should see a quick test of its 200-dma at 96. If it's able to push above 105 and get above Tuesday's high as well as its 20- and 50-dmas we could see a run up to at least the 110 area. At the moment it's a coin toss.

Oil continuous contract, CL, Daily chart

Tomorrow we'll get the unemployment claims data before the open and then at 10:00 AM we'll get the existing home sales, the Philly Fed numbers and leading indicators. They all might not mean much if the market is down on a bad Spanish debt auction so take your cues from the pre-market futures.

Economic reports, summary and Key Trading Levels

Depending on the index or leading stock that I look at I could argue for another rally leg into next week or a selloff right from here. If the market can continue to push higher I think we'll see new highs before the end of the month. It would be the final high since the wave count would run out of alternative wave counts at that point and the final 5th wave would be a clear signal to look for a short play.

But the final 5th wave looks to have been made on some key stocks and indexes, which have been followed by impulsive declines (indicating a trend change to the downside). This has been followed by a 3-wave bounce to resistance (trend lines or moving averages) and is setting up a bearish kiss goodbye following a back test if we get a selloff from here. Monday's lows, and certainly the April 10th lows, are key levels for the bears to break -- get short if that happens

The bottom line is that there might be some further upside but it is insignificant compared to the downside risk. Holding long positions overnight is now a very risky position. One "credit event" is all it will take to unhinge this market. It could go either way here but as usual, the downside will likely happen much faster so be careful.

Good luck and I'll be back with you next Wednesday.

Keene H. Little, CMT

In the end everything works out and if it doesn't work out, it is not the end. Old Indian Saying


New Plays

Postsecondary Education

by James Brown

Click here to email James Brown

Editor's Note:

In addition to tonight's new candidate, consider these stocks as possible trading ideas and watch list candidates:

TK - Shares of TK may be forming a top. A drop under $34.00 could be used as a bearish entry point to scalp a couple of points.

UNT - This stock is breaking down under round-number support at the $40.00 level.

VRNT - A rally past last week's high could be a new bullish entry point.

NE & SDRL - These two oil drillers look like they might be forming a short-term bottom. I'd keep an eye on them for a bounce.


NEW BEARISH Plays

American Public Education - APEI - close: 35.15 change: -0.61

Stop Loss: 37.05
Target(s): 31.00
Current Gain/Loss: unopened
Time Frame: up to its May 10th earnings report
New Positions: Yes, see below

Company Description

Why We Like It:
APEI provides postsecondary education. The stock has been sinking under a bearish trend of lower highs and lower lows since its peak in January. Now APEI is testing round-number support at $35.00. If shares breakdown here it could herald a drop toward its October 2011 lows.

I am suggesting small bearish positions if APEI can trade at $34.75 or lower. Our exit target is $31.00 but we do not want to hold over the May 10th earnings report. Please note that we want to keep our position size small. This is a higher-risk trade. Lots of investors think APEI is going lower and the most recent data listed short interest at 20% of the very small 16.8 million share float. That does raise the risk of a short squeeze. You may want to limit your exposure by trading options.

Trigger @ $34.75 (small positions)

Suggested Position: short APEI stock @ (trigger)

- or -

buy the May $35 PUT (APEI1219Q35) current ask $2.10

Annotated chart:

Entry on April xx at $ xx.xx
Earnings Date 05/10/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 202 thousand
Listed on April 18, 2011



In Play Updates and Reviews

A Relatively Quiet Wednesday

by James Brown

Click here to email James Brown

Editor's Note:
A wide number of stocks (including many of our candidates below) spent Wednesday drifting sideways in a relatively narrow range.

Current Portfolio:


BULLISH Play Updates

Hain Celestial Group - HAIN - close: 45.01 change: +0.13

Stop Loss: 42.75
Target(s): 49.00
Current Gain/Loss: - 0.0%
Time Frame: up to its early May earnings report
New Positions: see below

Comments:
04/18 update: It was a quiet day for HAIN. Shares are chopping sideways on either side of the $45.00 mark. I am not suggesting new positions at this time but a rally past $45.50 might change my mind.

current Position: long HAIN stock @ $45.05

- or -

Long May$45 call (HAIN1219E45) Entry $1.85

04/03/12 triggered @ 45.05

Entry on April 03 at $45.05
Earnings Date 05/03/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 279 thousand
Listed on April 02, 2011


rue21, Inc. - RUE - close: 30.50 change: -0.14

Stop Loss: 28.45
Target(s): 33.50
Current Gain/Loss: + 1.2%
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
04/18 update: After yesterday's show of relative strength RUE took today off to consolidate sideways. I would still consider new positions at current levels.

Our multi-week target is $33.50. We want to exit prior to the late May earnings report. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for RUE is bullish with a long-term $48.00 target.

(small positions)

Suggested Position: Long RUE stock @ $30.25

- or -

Long May $30 call (RUE1219E30) Entry $1.70

04/17/12 triggered at $30.25

Entry on April 17 at $30.25
Earnings Date 05/24/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 304 thousand
Listed on April 164, 2011


Skullcandy - SKUL - close: 16.79 change: -0.45

Stop Loss: 15.75
Target(s): 19.70
Current Gain/Loss: + 0.2%
Time Frame: up to its May earnings report
New Positions: see below

Comments:
04/18 update: Ouch! SKUL shaved off a large chunk of our unrealized gains with a -2.6% drop today. I have been suggesting that readers look for a dip near $16.50 as a new entry point and we got that dip today.

Earlier Comments:
Shares of this headphone and audio accessory maker could see a big short squeeze soon. The most recent data listed short interest at 123% of the very small 8.3 million-share float. Yes. That was 123%.

Our target is $19.70. More aggressive traders could aim higher. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for SKUL is bullish with a long-term $24.00 target.

current Position: Long SKUL stock @ $16.75

- or -

Long May $17.50 call (SKUL1219E17.5) Entry $0.85

04/05/12 triggered at $16.75

Entry on April 05 at $16.75
Earnings Date 05/09/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 453 thousand
Listed on April 03, 2011


ProShares UltraPro Short QQQ - SQQQ - close: 11.13 change: +0.08

Stop Loss: 10.60
Target(s): 13.25
Current Gain/Loss: - 4.0%
Time Frame: 4 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
04/18 update: The SQQQ churned sideways above the $11.00 level. This ETF looks poised to rally higher. Aggressive traders could use a rise past $11.25 as a new entry point for bullish positions.

Remember, this is the triple inverse ETF on the QQQ so expect volatility.

current Position: Long SQQQ @ $11.60

- or -

Long May $12.00 call (SQQQ1219E12) Entry $0.73

04/16/12 triggered at $11.60

Entry on April 16 at $11.60
Earnings Date --/--/--
Average Daily Volume = 2.3 million
Listed on April 10, 2011


TIBCO Software - TIBX - close: 34.20 change: +1.04

Stop Loss: 31.40
Target(s): 35.75
Current Gain/Loss: + 2.0%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
04/18 update: TIBX displayed relative strength with a high-volume rally higher. The stock closed up +3.1% with volume four times the norm. That can be a bullish signal. If you were waiting for a relative high as an entry point you got it.

FYI: The Point & Figure chart for TIBX is bullish with a $58.00 target.

Current Position: Long TIBX stock @ $33.50

- or -

Long May $34 call (TIBX1219E34) Entry $1.30

04/13/12 triggered at $33.50

Entry on April 13 at $33.50
Earnings Date 03/29/12 (already announced)
Average Daily Volume = 3.1 million
Listed on April 12, 2011


UTi Worldwide Inc. - UTIW - close: 17.59 change: +0.46

Stop Loss: 16.65
Target(s): 19.50
Current Gain/Loss: unopened
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: Yes, see below

Comments:
04/18 update: UTIW delivered a quiet day of trading sideways near $17.50. We are waiting for further strength. I am suggesting a trigger to launch positions at $17.75. More conservative traders may want to wait and buy a dip near $17.00 or a close over $18.00 instead.

We want to keep our position size small. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for UTIW is bullish with a $22.00 target.

Trigger @ $17.75

Suggested Position: buy UTIW stock @ (trigger)

Entry on April xx at $ xx.xx
Earnings Date 06/07/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 443 thousand
Listed on April 17, 2011


BEARISH Play Updates

Barrick Gold - ABX - close: 41.09 change: -0.22

Stop Loss: 42.55
Target(s): 37.50
Current Gain/Loss: - 0.2%
Time Frame: up to the May 2nd earnings report
New Positions: Yes, see below

Comments:
04/18 update: ABX also produced a mild day of trading sideways. Shares are still trading under a bearish trend of lower highs. Readers may want to wait for a new drop under $40.65 before initiating positions.

More conservative traders may want to wait for a breakdown below $40.00 before initiating positions instead. Our exit target is $37.50. We do not want to hold over the early May earnings report.
FYI: The Point & Figure chart for ABX is bearish with a $32.00 target.

(small positions)

current Position: short ABX stock @ $41.02

- or -

Long May $40 PUT (ABX1219Q40) Entry $1.13

Entry on April 17 at $41.02
Earnings Date 05/02/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 7.9 million
Listed on April 164, 2011


Cabot Oil & Gas - COG - close: 30.52 change: -0.05

Stop Loss: 31.25
Target(s): 25.50
Current Gain/Loss: - 3.8%
Time Frame: up to the earnings report on April 25th
New Positions: see below

Comments:
04/18 update: It is the same story with COG. The stock drifted sideways in a narrow range. I would wait for a new drop under $29.75 before considering new bearish positions.

Earlier Comments:
The trend is down and COG appears to have formed a massive head-and-shoulder pattern (whish is bearish). Yet before you get too enthusiastic here I want to warn you that prior breakdowns under $30.00 have yet to stick. Plus the stock has spiked higher a couple of times on rumors that COG was a takeover target. Therefore we want to keep our positions small to limit our risk.

We do not want to hold over the April 25th earnings report.

(small positions)

current Position: short COG stock @ $29.40

- or -

Long May $28 PUT (COG1219Q28) Entry $1.15

Entry on April 16 at $29.40
Earnings Date 04/25/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 4.0 million
Listed on April 11, 2011


Ctrip.com Intl. - CTRP - close: 21.05 change: -0.32

Stop Loss: 22.51
Target(s): 18.00
Current Gain/Loss: + 3.0%
Time Frame: exit prior to the May 16th earnings report
New Positions: see below

Comments:
04/18 update: CTRP erased yesterday's bounce with a -1.5% decline. I'm not suggesting new positions at this time.

I am suggesting we exit our April $21 puts at the closing bell tomorrow!

Earlier Comments:
Readers may want to keep their position size small or limit their risk by trading put options. The most recent data listed short interest at about 10% of the 131 million share float. That could raise the risk of a short squeeze.

It's possible the $20.00 level could act as round-number, psychological support but we are aiming for $18.00. The Point & Figure chart for CTRP is bearish with a $15.00 target.

current Position: short CTRP stock @ $21.70

- or -

Long Apr $21 PUT (CTRP1221P21) Entry $0.65

04/18/12 prepare to exit the April $21 puts at the close tomorrow
04/12/12 new stop loss @ 22.51

Entry on April 02 at $21.70
Earnings Date 05/--/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 3.6 million
Listed on March 31, 2011


DeVry, Inc. - DV - close: 32.00 change: -0.26

Stop Loss: 33.25
Target(s): 30.25
Current Gain/Loss: + 1.7%
Time Frame: up to the April 24th earnings report
New Positions: see below

Comments:
04/18 update: Yup, you guessed it. DV produced a quiet day of trading with the stock slipping sideways. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

current Position: short DV stock @ $32.54

04/14/12 new stop loss @ 33.25
04/10/12 new stop loss @ 34.05
04/09/12 DV gapped open lower at $32.54

Entry on April 09 at $32.54
Earnings Date 04/24/12 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 670 thousand
Listed on April 07, 2011


Hi Tech Pharmacal - HITK - close: 34.03 change: +0.22

Stop Loss: 35.55
Target(s): 300-dma (moving target)
Current Gain/Loss: + 1.1%
Time Frame: 2 to 4 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
04/18 update: HITK is slowly drifting toward resistance at its simple and exponential 200d-ma in the $$34.50-34.75 area. I am not suggesting new positions at this time. Our target is the 300-dma (currently at $31.25) but more aggressive traders may want to aim for the $30.00 level.

We need to exit our April $35 puts at the closing bell tomorrow.

current Position: short HITK stock @ $34.40

- or -

Long Apr $35 PUT (HITK1221P35) Entry $1.50

04/18/12 prepare to exit our April $35 puts at the close tomorrow
04/14/12 new stop loss @ 35.55
04/10/12 triggered at $34.40

Entry on April 10 at $34.40
Earnings Date 07/05/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 155 thousand
Listed on April 09, 2011


ICICI Bank Ltd. - IBN - close: 33.75 change: -0.84

Stop Loss: 34.85
Target(s): 30.25
Current Gain/Loss: unopened
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: Yes, see below

Comments:
04/18 update: IBN gave up a good chunk of yesterday's bounce. There is no change from my weekend comments. We are waiting for a breakdown.

I am suggesting a trigger to launch bearish positions at $32.75 with a stop loss at $34.85, just above Thursday's high. Our target is $30.25. More aggressive traders could aim lower.

Trigger @ 32.75

Suggested Position: short IBN stock @ (trigger)

- or -

buy the May $32 PUT (IBN1219Q32)

Entry on April xx at $ xx.xx
Earnings Date --/--/-- (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.9 million
Listed on April 14, 2011


IPG Photonics - IPGP - close: 49.28 change: -0.10

Stop Loss: 50.75
Target(s): 42.50
Current Gain/Loss: - 1.3%
Time Frame: up to its May 1st earnings report
New Positions: see below

Comments:
04/18 update: IPGP also spent Wednesday's session drifting sideways. More conservative traders may want to tighten their stop loss. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Earlier Comments:
We want to keep our position size small because there is a risk of a short squeeze if the market suddenly bounces. The most recent data listed short interest at 17.5% of the 37.1 million-share float. Our target is $42.50. More aggressive traders could aim lower. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for IPGP is bearish with a $42.00 target.

(Small Positions)

current Position: short IPGP stock @ $48.67

- or -

Long May $45 PUT (IPGP1219Q45) Entry $1.97

Entry on April 16 at $48.67
Earnings Date 05/01/12 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 400 thousand
Listed on April 14, 2011


Rovi Corp. - ROVI - close: 29.48 change: -0.30

Stop Loss: 30.55
Target(s): 26.25
Current Gain/Loss: - 0.7%
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
04/18 update: ROVI slipped 1% but trading was generally pretty quiet. I would consider new bearish positions at current levels.

Earlier Comments:
There is potential support near $28.00 and $26.00. We are setting our exit target at $26.25.

open positions on Monday morning

Suggested Position: short ROVI stock @ $29.27

- or -

Long MAY $30 PUT (ROVI1219Q30) Entry $2.45

Entry on April 16 at $29.27
Earnings Date 05/10/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.2 million
Listed on April 14, 2011