Option Investor
Newsletter

Daily Newsletter, Thursday, 6/25/2015

Table of Contents

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

Market Wrap

Holding Pattern

by Thomas Hughes

Click here to email Thomas Hughes
The market tread water today as we wait on news from Greece, the Iranian nuclear deadline, next week's round of data and the start to earnings reporting season.

Introduction

Global markets continue to be skittish over Greece as we wait for data and earnings. No new news has yet appeared but something is expected to be announced at just about any minute; the deadline for an IMF payment is only 5 days away so we are at a turning point in the story. Asian indices felt the fear worst, falling more than a half percent on average in response to yesterday's sell-off in Europe and here at home. The mainland Chinese Shang Hai index led declines in Asia, fueled by recent volatility, shedding more than -3.5%. European indices were under pressure as well but were able to maintain break-even levels for the most part.

Market Statistics

Futures trading indicated a positive open for the US market from the start of the early pre-opening session. The trade wasn't strong but it was positive and held through until the open. Economic data released this morning was better than expected and helped to support prices along with a mid-morning announcement from the Supreme Court. The court ruled 6-3 in favor of Obamacare subsidies on the federal exchange and sent the healthcare sector trading upward. The major indices held their gains for most of the day but did not form a noticeable rally. By late afternoon the bulls threw in the towel, allowing the indices to fall to break even and lower. Daily low was hit near 2:30 at which time a bounce occurred which carried the market sideways and into the close.

Economic Calendar

The Economy

Personal Income and Spending both rose more than expected. Income rose by 0.5% on top of a +0.1% revision to last month while spending rose by 0.9%, also on top of positive revision. PCE prices rose only 0.1% at the core level, in line with expectations. These income and spending numbers are consistent with current labor market trends and expectations 2nd quarter GDP isn't as bad as first predicted.

Initial claims rose by 3,000 from an upward revision of 1,000 to 271,000, just below expectation. The four week moving average of claims fell by -3250 to 273,750. On a not adjusted basis claims rose by 1.7% versus an expected gain of only 0.6%. Not adjusted claims are now -14% lower than this time last year. Initial claims remain in long term down trend and at levels consistent with labor market health. Pennsylvania and Florida reported the largest increases in claims, +6007 and +1063, while California and Tennessee reported the largest declines, -2592 and -1889.


Continuing claims rose as well, gaining 22,000 to hit 2.247 million. This is on top of a +3,000 revision and is a relatively flat move from last week's headline. The four week moving average also rose, adding just over 5,000. Continuing claims is just off of the long term low, has been fairly stable for the last month and is consistent with ongoing labor market health.

Total claims fell this week, dropping -40,915 to hit 2.101 million. This drop may indicate the spike in initial and continuing claims seen in May has not resulted in an increase in long term unemployment. Total claims are just off the long term low and remain consistent with recent labor trends and ongoing health in the market. The next round of ADP, NFP and unemployment figures are due out next week. Projections are in the range of 200,000-250,000 for NFP, unemployment is expected to remain steady.


The Oil Index

Oil prices remain trapped in a range around $60 for WTI as high supply and tepid demand are off set by Greek fear and fast approaching Iranian nuclear deal deadline. WTI fell more than -1% to trade near $59.60 with Brent hovering around $63. The deal with Iran is still highly questionable in terms of its fruition but could add as much as 600,000 barrels per day to world markets. In the mean time ISIS has ramped up fighting in Syria and the Yemen conflict wears on. Peace talks between rival parties broke up after only a day or two and did not produce positive results.

The Oil Index fell in today's session, losing about -0.79%. The index remains within the June trading range with resistance near 1,350 and support above the long term trend line near 1,300. The indicators remain consistent with a trend following entry although geopolitics may keep the index, and oil prices, range bound. Based on the latest stance taken by Iran it is not looking like a deal will be reached by next week which could have a positive affect on oil prices as supply outlook would be diminished.


The Gold Index

Gold prices held steady near the bottom of the three month range, just above $1173. Prices are down on dollar strength and uncertainty over Greece but have yet to break support. Support could be tested, with a possible move to the long term low near $1145, but long term inflation outlook remains positive so any downside is likely to be muted and result in buying opportunities. Looking to the global picture in India easing import restrictions have helped boost demand while analysts say falling stock prices in China could spark renewed demand for gold there.

The gold miners traded to the downside and continue to test support. The miners ETF GDX lost about -1.0% in today's session, creating a small bodied candle just at the intersection of my support line and rising trend line, near $18.20. This intersection could become a crucial juncture as there are growing signs of support despite golds persistence in trading near the bottom of its range. The indicators are the most telling, divergence in MACD and a recent bullish crossover of %D on stochastic has the sector set up for a snap-back rally at least, and a trend following entry at best. While gold prices are the ultimate driver of this sector earnings may play a part in the coming weeks.

I see a chance for the miners to show earnings growth with a chance for positive surprise. They have, as a group, been reporting increases in production for several quarters that up until this past quarter have been offset by falling gold prices.


In The News, Story Stocks and Earnings

Lots of news today but perhaps the biggest story, ex-Greece, is the Supreme Court decision to uphold Obamacare subsidies. The 6-3 ruling says the subsidies are necessary for the exchange system to function. Healthcare stocks across the board were lifted, led by service providers. The news also sparked renewed speculation of consolidation within the healthcare sector. Humana's stock was actually halted briefly after experiencing high volume and volatility following a report Aetna was close to acquiring the company. The Healthcare Service Provider Spyder gained over 2% and closed near the all-time high.


Micron Technology reported after the bell and missed on the top and bottom lines. The company missed earnings and revenues by narrow margins citing headwinds in the PC sector. For some reason the stock traded higher immediately after the report was released but the positive vibe did not last and the stock quickly fell more than -7% to set a new 12 month low. Forward outlook is weak and below consensus estimates.


Nike also reported after the closing bell. The sports wear giant beat on the top and bottom lines, and on future orders, sending its shares higher to stay. EPS of $0.98 is $0.15 ahead of consensus, new orders are up 13%, 2% better than expected. The one negative was a significant impact to sales/earnings attributable to strong dollar. Shares climbed 1.5% in after hours trading.


Barnes & Noble reported quarterly losses narrowed from the year ago period but still fell short of estimates. Revenue in the quarter fell 10% with declines seen in all segments. Aggressive cost savings are the only reason why the report was not worse. Shares of BKS lost more than -1.5% to trade in wide range and create a long legged doji above the short term moving average.


The Indices

Trading was relatively quiet today. There was some churn to trading that left the indices near their lows for the day but losses were light in the face of the annual rebalancing of the Russell indices tomorrow. Today's action was led by the Dow Jones Transportation Average's loss of -0.84%. The transports continue to lag the broader market and may gearing up for a deeper correction despite my optimistic views of the future. The index set a new 8 month low today and closed below my support target at 8,250. This move is a not definitive break of support but does put the index in position for such a move should support not materialize. The indicators confirm a test of support at least, MACD is in process of making a bearish crossover with stochastic rolling over in line with a bearish crossover of its own.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell -0.41% and looks to be retreating to a stronger support level. Today's action created a small bodied black candle for the blue chips but confirmed yesterday's break of the short term moving average. The indicators are also rolling over, consistent with a near term peak. The long term trend remains up so this dip will be another potential buying opportunity. Downside target is near 17,750 with resistance at 18,000. In the short term the index is still winding up within its recent trading range with bullish long term outlook.


The NASDAQ Composite made the smallest decline in today's session, -0.20%, yet remains above the short term moving average. The tech heavy index continues its retreat to support, target the moving average, with indicators consistent with a near term peak. Bullish MACD is in retreat but not yet crossing the zero line; stochastic %K is moving lower while %D is moving higher. The index appears to be trending higher with no sign of major reversal.


The S&P 500 fell -0.4%, dropping below the short term moving average but halting its fall just above 2100. Both MACD and stochastic are consistent with a near term peak and could lead to further testing of support. The index remains inside a 3-4 month trading range and impacted on a day to day basis by news. The long term trend remains up as does economic and earnings outlook so this dip is most likely to result in another buying opportunity for the bulls.


Tomorrow could be a volatile day, not only is it the last feasible day for Greece to reach a deal before defaulting it is the annual rebalancing of Russell indices and the second to last day of trading for the first half of 2015. Economic data is light, only Michigan Sentiment is on the list. Market action remains tight and winding up within recent trading ranges. The long term trends remain up, save for the transports, so I remain bullish.

Earnings season will likely be the turning point for any major moves, in either direction, with plenty of near term events to drive day to day trading. Greece is going to be number 1 on my list for the next few days with Iran and the nuclear deal coming in a close second. After that we have a big round of data due out next week including ADP, NFP and unemployment that could easily add volatility, especially if it leads traders to fear a rate hike surprise.

Until then, remember the trend!

Thomas Hughes


New Plays

Poised To Run

by James Brown

Click here to email James Brown

Editor's Note:

Additional Trading Ideas:

In addition to tonight's new candidate(s), consider these stocks as possible trading ideas and watch list candidates. Some of these may need to see a break past key support or resistance:

Bullish ideas: DPLO, SIMO, TWOU, DNKN, USCR, MBLY,

Bearish ideas: MUR, JOY




NEW BULLISH Plays

Chimerix, Inc. - CMRX - close: 45.86 change: +0.90

Stop Loss: 42.95
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: Unopened
Entry on June -- at $---.--
Listed on June 25, 2015
Time Frame: exit PRIOR to earnings in August
Average Daily Volume = 428 thousand
New Positions: Yes, see below

Company Description

Trade Description:
Biotech stocks have been outperforming the broader market for the last couple of years. That outperformance continues in 2015. The IBB biotech ETF is up +23% in 2015 versus a +8% gain in the NASDAQ and a +2% gain in the S&P 500. CMRX has been lagging its peers with a +13.9% gain this year but that could be about to change as the stock looks poised to run.

According to the company, "Chimerix is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering, developing and commercializing novel, oral antivirals in areas of high unmet medical need. Chimerix's proprietary technology has produced brincidofovir (CMX001), a clinical-stage nucleotide analog lipid-conjugate, which has potent in vitro antiviral activity against many clinically relevant dsDNA viruses and a favorable safety profile in clinical studies conducted to date. Chimerix has completed enrollment of SUPPRESS, a Phase 3 study of brincidofovir for the prevention of cytomegalovirus (CMV) in adult hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients. In addition, Chimerix is enrolling the Phase 3 AdVise trial of brincidofovir for treatment of adenovirus (AdV) infection. Chimerix is working with BARDA to develop brincidofovir as a potential medical countermeasure to treat smallpox due to a threat of bioterror or accidental release."

In April this year CMRX was award an exclusive contract from the U.S. government to build a new smallpox vaccine. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) wants another treatment available just in case enemies of the U.S. try to use smallpox as a weapon or if there is some sort of accidental breakout from a lab. The 60-month contract is valued at $100 million but if all the options are awarded it could be worth up to $435 million in revenue to CMRX. The company's revenues for the trailing twelve months are only $4.5 million.

Earlier this month (June) CMRX announced they were going to raise $150 million in capital by selling 3,775,000 shares of stock. That was later bumped up to 4.3 million shares. These priced at $39.75. You can see how CMRX stock briefly dipped toward $39.00 on June 10th and investors immediately bought the dip. It's impressive to see CMRX increase its shares outstanding by 10% and the impact only lasted a few days as buyers gobble up the stock.

Technically CMRX appears to be in breakout mode. The stock consolidated sideways in the $35.00-43.50 range for five and a half months before finally breaking out a few days ago. The stock encountered some profit taking yesterday but traders bought the dip today. The point & figure chart is bullish and forecasting at $61.00 target.

Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to launch bullish positions at $46.15. Plan on exiting prior to CMRX's earnings report in August.

Trigger @ $46.15

- Suggested Positions -

Buy CMRX stock @ $46.15

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Buy the AUG $50 CALL (CMRX150821C50) current ask $1.90
option price is a current quote and not a suggested entry price.

Entry disclaimer: To avoid an unfavorable entry point, we will not launch a new play if the stock gaps open more than $1.00 past our suggested entry point.

Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

Daily Chart:

Weekly Chart:



In Play Updates and Reviews

Greece Quandary Undermines The Market

by James Brown

Click here to email James Brown

Editor's Note:
Lack of progress on the Greece negotiations continue to undermine market strength. Investors are growing nervous again as Greece nears the June 30th deadline without a deal.


Current Portfolio:


BULLISH Play Updates

Natus Medical Inc. - BABY - close: 43.76 change: +0.50

Stop Loss: 40.75
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +1.5%
Entry on June 18 at $43.10
Listed on June 16, 2015
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 249 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/25/15: BABY displayed relative strength today. Shares surged to $44.37 intraday but pared its gains to close with a +1.15% advance.

It might be time to start raising our stop loss. No new positions at the moment.

Trade Description: June 16, 2015:
Healthcare stocks are getting a lot of press because of the merger speculation among the big healthcare insurers. One area of healthcare that's doing well without the press is medical equipment makers. The S&P 500 index is up +1.8% year to date. The XHE healthcare equipment ETF is up +8.9%. BABY is in this industry and their stock is up +18% in 2015.

Here is a brief company description, "Founded in 1989, Natus Medical Incorporated is a leading manufacturer of medical devices and software and a service provider for the Newborn Care, Neurology, Sleep, Hearing and Balance markets. Natus products are used in hospitals, clinics and laboratories worldwide. Our mission is to improve outcomes and patient care in target markets through innovative screening, diagnostic and treatment solutions."

BABY has been steadily growing earnings. They have beaten Wall Street's bottom line earning estimate the last four quarters in a row. They raised guidance the last three quarters in a row. Their most recent earnings report was April 22nd.

BABY reported that their Q1 earnings were up +19% from a year ago to $0.31 per share. Revenues were up +3.7% to $94.0 million. Management raised their 2015 guidance above analysts' estimates.

Jim Hawkins, President and Chief Executive Officer of BABY, commented on his company's results, "I am very pleased with our first quarter results as we achieved record revenues and earnings. Revenue came in at the high end of our guidance while earnings exceeded our guidance. I am most satisfied that we were able to achieve these results in the face of approximately $2 million of negative currency effects on revenue during the quarter."

Earlier this month (June 5th) BABY announced they were increasing their stock buyback program. A year ago they launched a $10 million share repurchase program. They just added another $20 million to their program.

Technically BABY has been showing relative strength the last three weeks. The point & figure chart is very bullish and forecasting a long-term target of $73.00. At the moment BABY is hovering just below resistance in the $42.75-43.00 area. Tonight I am suggesting a trigger to launch bullish positions at $43.10. FYI: I am urging caution on the options. The spreads are pretty wide for all of BABY's October calls.

- Suggested Positions -

Long BABY stock @ $43.10

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long OCT $45 CALL (BABY151016C45) entry $2.85

06/18/15 triggered @ $43.10
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Hanesbrands Inc. - HBI - close: 34.25 change: +0.14

Stop Loss: 31.85
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +5.9%
Entry on May 21 at $32.35
Listed on May 20, 2015
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 2.74 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/25/15: HBI is still consolidating sideways in the $34.00-34.50 area. I don't see any changes from my recent comments. The $34.75 area is overhead resistance. More conservative investors may want to raise their stop closer to $33.00.

No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: May 20, 2015:
HBI was founded back in 1901. Today you will find Hanes products in more than 80 percent of U.S. homes.

HBI is in the consumer goods sector. According to the company, "HanesBrands, an S&P 500 company, is a socially responsible leading marketer of everyday basic apparel in the Americas, Europe and Asia under some of the world's strongest apparel brands, including Hanes, Champion, Playtex, DIM, Bali, Maidenform, Flexees, JMS/Just My Size, Wonderbra, Nur Die/Nur Der, Lovable and Gear for Sports.

We sell bras, panties, shapewear, sheer hosiery, men's underwear, children's underwear, socks, T-shirts and other activewear in the United States, Canada, Mexico and other leading markets in the Americas, Asia and Europe. In the United States, we sell more units of intimate apparel, male underwear, socks, shapewear, hosiery and T-shirts than any other company."

What makes HBI different than most of its competitors is that HBI owns and operates its own manufacturing facilities. About 90% of their apparel comes from company-run plants. That helps them control costs throughout the production process.

This year the company has been very shareholder friendly. Back in January they raised their dividend 33% and announced a 4-for-1 split. The stock split took place in March this year.

HBI's most recent earnings report was April 23rd. HBI reported their Q1 earnings were up +16% from a year ago to $0.22 a share. That missed estimates of $0.23. Revenues were up +14% to $1.21 billion. This was just below expectations of $1.22 billion.

In the company press release HBI Chairman and CEO Richard Noll commented on their results, saying, "We are off to a great start in 2015, once again delivering a double-digit increase in EPS, while tracking to our full-year growth plans. Our acquisition strategy continues to create value with DBApparel, Maidenform and Gear for Sports all contributing substantially to our double-digit growth. In addition, we are raising our 2015 performance outlook to reflect the recent acquisition of Knights Apparel."

Management raised their earnings guidance for 2015 from $1.58-1.63 to $1.61-1.66 per share. Wall Street estimates were at $1.64. HBI also raised their 2015 revenue guidance from $5.78-5.83 billion to $5.90-5.95 billion. Consensus estimates were already at $5.95 billion.

The stock was hammered on the earning miss as investors ignored the improved earnings and revenue guidance. The stock corrected from about $34.60 to under $31.00 in four days (-10 correction).

Analysts' reaction to HBI's results have been positive. Some have noted that Q1 is normally a slower season for HBI. They see the pullback in HBI's stock as a buying opportunity. Multiple firms have raised their price target since the earnings report (new targets are $37, $38, and $40 per share).

Technically HBI has been consolidating sideways in the $30.50-32.00 zone the last several days and have just recently started to breakout from this trading range. We want to hop on board if this bounce continues. Tonight we're suggesting a trigger to open bullish positions at $32.35.

Long HBI stock @ $32.35

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long JUL $32.50 CALL (HBI150717C32.50) entry $1.05

06/20/15 new stop @ 31.85
05/30/15 new stop @ 31.45
05/21/15 triggered @ 32.35
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


IMAX Corp. - IMAX - close: 42.87 change: -0.04

Stop Loss: 40.90
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +0.3%
Entry on June 15 at $42.75
Listed on June 13, 2015
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 732 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/25/15: Shares of IMAX have closed virtually unchanged the last two days in a row. If shares don't post gains tomorrow then IMAX might post a loss for the week, which would snap a streak of six up weeks in a row.

IMAX will be added to the Russell 3000 index tomorrow after the closing bell as part of the annual rebalancing.

Readers may want to consider a higher stop loss near its 20-dma (currently $41.90). I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Trade Description: June 13, 2015:
It's shaping up to be a blockbuster summer for IMAX. First there was the second Avenger movie in May. Now Jurassic World is stomping its way to box office success while IMAX gets to ride its coattails.

The "Avengers: Age of Ultron" delivered the second biggest opening day with $84.4 million in U.S. sales. That's just below the last Harry Potter movie, which brought in $91 million on its first day. The new Jurassic World movie, the fourth Jurassic Park dinosaur flick, notched the third biggest opening day with $82.8 million. The new dinosaur-themed juggernaut is poised to do $200 million over the weekend.

As of early May, this Avengers 2 movie has already raked in $425 million overseas and is poised to do more than $200 million this weekend. Estimates suggest it could hit $600 million in the U.S. It had already crossed the $1 billion mark for worldwide sales by the middle of May. This movie is produced by Marvel Studios, a division of Disney (DIS), but it also means big business for IMAX. The Ultron movie delivered the biggest opening night sales for any IMAX film ever.

IMAX is part of the services sector. They're considered part of the entertainment industry. According to the company, "IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you've never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX's network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe. IMAX is headquartered in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles, with offices in London, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing. As of March 31, 2015, there were 943 IMAX theatres (820 commercial multiplexes, 18 commercial destinations and 105 institutions) in 63 countries."

Today there is a battle for consumer's viewing habits. People consume their content on all sorts of devices from their smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and their big screen TVs at home. Netflix and other streaming services have changed viewer habits and expectations. When consumers choose to go to the movies they want something different. According to IMAX's CEO that's why IMAX tickets are doing so well. It's an experience that can't be replicated at home.

The company had a lot of momentum going into 2015 thanks to huge hits like "American Sniper". IMAX has managed to beat Wall Street's earnings and revenue estimates for the last four quarters in a row. Their most recent earnings report was April 30th. Income surged +50% from a year ago. Analysts were expecting $0.05 a share. IMAX delivered $0.07. Revenues rose +29% to $62.2 million, significantly above estimates for $55.4 million.

IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond commented on their results, "This is a very exciting time for IMAX. Our continued progress in expanding our theatre network globally, along with our strong film performance during the first quarter, resulted in robust financial results with almost 30% revenue growth and over 50% adjusted earnings growth compared to the same period last year. With record results from Furious 7 in April and a great start to the Avenger's sequel internationally, the momentum has continued into the second quarter."

2015 is expected to be a huge year. The "Fast & Furious 7" film kept the momentum going. IMAX will also benefit from high-profile movies like "Avengers: Age of Ultron", Jurassic World, Terminator Genisys, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, the new James Bond movie, another Mission Impossible film (#5), and the next episode of Star War (#7) this December.

IMAX is rolling out new laser systems and they've signed long-term film deals with Disney and Warner Brothers. IMAX is currently growing at about 120 theaters a year. They're doing well in China. The Chinese movie box office is expected to eclipse the U.S. market by 2020.

Shares of IMAX popped to new all-time highs on May 28th after announcing its majority owned subsidiary, IMAX China Holding Inc., had filed for an IPO in Hong Kong. According to Reuters, IMAX is "looking to benefit from booming entertainment demand in the world's second largest economy." IMAX owns 80% of IMAX China. Shares of IMAX have spent the last couple of weeks churning sideways in the $40-42 zone but with a bullish trend of higher lows.

Friday's breakout past resistance near $42.00 could spark some short covering. The most recent data listed short interest at 18.4% of the 53.7 million share float. We are suggesting a trigger to launch bullish positions at $42.75

- Suggested Positions -

Long IMAX stock @ $42.75

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long SEP $45 CALL (IMAX150918C45) entry $1.60

06/20/15 new stop @ 40.90
06/15/15 triggered @ $42.75
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


PacWest Bancorp - PACW - close: 48.35 change: +0.21

Stop Loss: 46.40
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: -0.4%
Entry on June 25 at $48.55
Listed on June 23, 2015
Time Frame: Exit prior to earnings in late July
Average Daily Volume = 771 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/25/15: PACW displayed some relative strength with a rally to new highs and a +0.4% gain on the day. Shares managed to hit our suggested entry point at $48.55 midday. I'd prefer to see another rally past $48.50 before launching new positions.

Trade Description: June 23, 2015:
There has been a lot of expectations for the financial stocks to outperform once the Federal Reserve starts raising rates. While the actual date of the Fed's first rate hike since 2006 is still not clear yet it's widely believed that higher rates are coming. If not this year then early next year.

Robert Albertson, at Sandler O'Neill, was recently quoted by CNBC. Albertson said, "if the Fed funds rate goes to 0.6 percent by the end of this year, and 1.7 percent by the end of next year, which is pretty much what the Fed is projecting, you could get a 20 to 30 percent increase in the bottom line of many banks."

The XLF financial ETF is trading at multi-year highs but it's only up +1.7% this year. Meanwhile the smaller regional bank ETF, the KRE, is outperforming with a +11.4% gain year to date. PACW is a regional bank and so far it's only up +6.2% but there is a good chance it could play catch up with its peers.

According to the company, "PacWest Bancorp (PacWest) is a bank holding company with over $16 billion in assets with one wholly-owned banking subsidiary, Pacific Western Bank (Pacific Western). Through 80 full-service branches located throughout the state of California, Pacific Western provides commercial banking services, including real estate, construction, and commercial loans, to small and medium-sized businesses. Pacific Western and its CapitalSource Division deliver the full spectrum of financing solutions nationwide across numerous industries and property types."

PACW is actively growing through acquisitions. In the last fifteen years they have made 27 acquisitions and are currently digesting another one (Square 1 Bank, SQBK).

Net interest margin (NIM) is a key component to a bank's profitability. The five largest U.S. banks (U.S. Bancorp, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Bank of America, and JPMorgan) have been struggling to build their NIM. According to Forbes, the weighted average for the five banks for fiscal year 2014 was 2.5% while Q4 2014 was 2.55%. That's down from a 2.8% average in 2012. ( source). PACW's most recent quarterly results reported their NIM above 5.0%.

Technically shares of PACW have been showing relative strength the last few weeks and just broke out past major resistance at $48.00 today. The point & figure chart is very bullish and forecasting a long-term target at $64.00. Today's breakout could signal the next leg higher. We are suggesting a trigger to open bullish positions at $48.55.

- Suggested Positions -

Long PACW stock @ $48.55

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long SEP $50 CALL (PACW150918C50) entry $1.20

06/25/15 triggered @ $48.55
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Starbucks Corp. - SBUX - close: 54.07 change: +0.36

Stop Loss: 49.95
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +5.9%
Entry on May 18 at $51.05
Listed on May 15, 2015
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 5.8 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/25/15: Bullish analyst comments before the opening bell helped launch SBUX toward its highs. Shares had their price target upgraded from $55 to $63. SBUX rallied sharply this morning but it failed near its recent highs in the $54.40 area. The stock did manage to outperform the major indices with a +0.6% gain.

More conservative traders may want to consider a new stop in the $51.50-52.00 area.

No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: May 16, 2015:
The world seems to have an insatiable appetite for coffee. Starbucks is more than happy to help fill that need. The first Starbucks opened in Seattle back in 1971. Today they are a global brand with locations in 66 countries. SBUX operates more than 21,000 retail stores with more than 300,000 workers.

A few years ago Business Insider published some facts on SBUX. The average SBUX customer stops by six times a month. The really loyal, top 20% of customers, come in 16 times a month. There are nearly 90,000 potential drink combinations at your local Starbucks. The company spends more money on healthcare for its employees than it does on coffee beans.

The company's earnings results were only mediocre most of 2014 year. You can see the results in SBUX's long-term chart below. After incredible gains in 2013 SBUX has essentially consolidated sideways in 2014. SBUX broke out of that sideways funk after it reported earnings in January 2015.

Five-Year Plan

In late 2014 SBUX announced their five-year plan to increase profitability. Here's an excerpt from a company press release:

"The seismic shift in consumer behavior underway presents tremendous opportunity for businesses the world over that are prepared and positioned to seize it," Schultz said (Howard Schultz is the Founder, Chairman, President, and CEO of Starbucks). "Over the next five years, Starbucks will continue to lean into this new era by innovating in transformational ways across coffee, tea and retail, elevating our customer and partner experiences, continuing to extend our leadership position in digital and mobile technologies, and unlocking new markets, channels and formats around the world. Investing in our coffee, our people and the communities we serve will remain at our core as we continue to redefine the role and responsibility of a public company in today's disruptive global consumer, economic and retail environments."

"Starbucks business, operations and growth trajectory around the world have never been stronger, and we are more confident than ever in our ability to continue to drive significant growth and meet our long term financial targets," said Troy Alstead, Starbucks chief operating officer. "We have more customers visiting more stores more frequently, both in the U.S. and around the world, than at any time in our history. And we expect both the number of customers visiting our stores and the amount they spend with us to accelerate in the years ahead. With a robust pipeline of mobile commerce innovations that will drive transactions and unprecedented speed of service, Starbucks is ushering in a new era of customer convenience. We believe the runway of opportunity for Starbucks inside and outside of our stores is both vast and unmatched by any other retailer on the planet."

The company believes they can grow revenues from $16 billion in FY2014 to almost $30 billion by FY2019. To do that they will expand deeper into regions like China, Japan, India, and Brazil. SBUX expects to nearly double its stores in China to over 3,000 locations in the next five years

They're also working hard on their mobile ordering technology to speed up the experience so customers don't have to wait in line so long at their busiest locations. This will also include a delivery service.

Part of the five-year plan is a new marketing campaign called Starbucks Evening experience. The company wants to be the "third place" between home and work. After 4:00 p.m. they will start offering alcohol, mainly wine and beer, in addition to new tapas-like smaller plates.

The company recently launched its first ever Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle, near their iconic first retail store. The new roastery is supposed to be the ultimate coffee lovers experience. CEO Schultz said they will eventually open up about 100 of these Starbucks Reserve locations.

SBUX is having a pretty good 2015 so far with the stock up +23%, outperforming the broader market. A lot of this gain was thanks to a post-earnings pops. SBUX reported its Q1 2015 results on January 22nd. Adjusted earnings, backing out one-time charges, were $0.80 a share. That's in-line with estimates. Revenues were up +13.3% to $4.8 billion, also in-line with estimates.

It was a very strong holiday period for SBUX thanks in part to astonishing gift card sales. The amount of money loaded onto SBUX gift cards during the holidays surged +17% to a record $1.6 billion. One out of every seven Americans received a SBUX gift card. The company also saw significant growth overseas with its China and Asia-Pacific business soaring +85% to sales of $495 million. Their mobile transactions have reached seven million transactions a week. Investors applauded the news in spite of the in-line results and sent SBUX soaring to new all-time highs the next day.

This earnings scenario, where SBUX delivers results in-line with estimates and rallies anyway, just happened again in late April. Of course it's worth noting that even in-line results still represent exceptional growth.

SBUX reported its Q2 (2015) on April 23rd. Earnings of $0.33 a share were in-line with estimates. Revenues were up +17.8% to $4.56 billion, slightly above expectations. It was their strongest growth in four years. Customers are responding well to new drink options and an updated food menu. They're also developing new delivery options, mobile pay options, and alcoholic drinks available at select locations.

Worldwide same-store sales grew +7%. This was significantly above estimates. It also marked the 21st consecutive quarter where SBUX's comparable store sales were +5% or more.

The company issued mixed guidance. The stronger dollar is having an impact. They see fiscal 2015 results in the $1.55-1.57 range. That compares to Wall Street estimates for $1.57 per share. However, the company's revenue estimates are more optimistic. They're forecasting +16-18% sales growth into the $19.1-19.4 billion zone compares to analysts' estimates of $19.1 billion.

SBUX popped to new highs following its results and then spent the next week consolidating lower. Investors started buying the dips again at its bullish trend of higher lows. It looks like the consolidation is over and SBUX is pushing higher. We want to hop on board. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to open bullish positions at $51.05.

- Suggested Positions -

Long SBUX stock @ $51.05

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long JUL $50 CALL (SBUX150717C50) entry $2.07

06/16/15 SBUX expands it mobile service app coverage to more than 4,000 locations
06/04/15 new stop @ 49.95
05/18/15 triggered @ $51.05
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Seattle Geneitcs, Inc. - SGEN - close: 47.69 change: -0.33

Stop Loss: 46.75
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +1.1%
Entry on June 08 at $47.15
Listed on June 06, 2015
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 1.1 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/25/15: SGEN encountered some more profit taking today and closed below its simple 10-dma with a -0.6% loss on the session. SGEN has come close to seeing a $3.00 correction from Tuesday's highs. Prior resistance near $47.00 provided support today. If the market cooperates we should see SGEN bounce from here. If not we will try and reduce our risk by raising the stop loss to $46.75.

I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Trade Description: June 6, 2015:
It has been a very bumpy ride for biotech investors this year. Yet the biotech space continues to outperform the broader market. The IBB biotech ETF is up +20% in 2015 versus the NASDAQ composite's +6.6% gain. SGEN is faring even better with a +45.8% gain this year.

SGEN has been working on its antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology for years but it still sounds like science fiction. They can create ADCs that target a specific type of tumor cell in the body. It links up with a cancer cell and then delivers a cytotoxin, which is a cell-killing agent.

According to the company, "Seattle Genetics is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative antibody-based therapies for the treatment of cancer. Seattle Genetics is leading the field in developing antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), a technology designed to harness the targeting ability of antibodies to deliver cell-killing agents directly to cancer cells.

The company's lead product, ADCETRIS® (brentuximab vedotin), is a CD30-targeted ADC that, in collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, is commercially available for two indications in more than 55 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Japan and members of the European Union.

Additionally, ADCETRIS is being evaluated broadly in more than 30 ongoing clinical trials in CD30-expressing malignancies. Seattle Genetics is also advancing a robust pipeline of clinical-stage programs, including SGN-CD19A, SGN-CD33A, SGN-LIV1A, SGN-CD70A, ASG-22ME, ASG-15ME and SEA-CD40. Seattle Genetics has collaborations for its ADC technology with a number of leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, including AbbVie, Agensys (an affiliate of Astellas), Bayer, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer."

SGEN has a pretty robust pipeline with multiple therapies in phase 1 to phase 3 trials. That probably makes them a buyout target in this merger happy market. Yet that is just speculation on my part. Here's a list of SGEN's current pipeline (SGEN's pipeline).

I hesitate to mention earnings because most smaller biotech firms don't have any. The earnings they do have tend to be lumpy due to milestone payments from partners. SGEN actually has revenue from sales of its FDA approved therapy (listed above). Yet they continue to run losses every quarter. That's because running so many clinical trials is expensive.

Looking at the last couple of quarters SGEN has reported results that were above Wall Street estimates on both the top and bottom line. Revenues in the fourth quarter were up +10% from a year ago while revenues in the first quarter were up +20% from a year ago.

Recently SGEN has seen some bullish headlines regarding insider buying. The company's largest shareholder, Baker Brothers Advisors, bought more than one million shares of the company. This raised their stake in SGEN from 23.4% to 24.25%. Traditionally insider buying is seen as a big bullish vote of confidence on the company's future.

The stock has been soaring the last few weeks with a run from an intraday low of $33.68 on April 30th to a new 52-week high near $47.00 this Friday. You could definitely argue that SGEN is overbought. I'm sure a big portion of that move could have been short interest. It could be short covering that drives the next move higher. The most recent data listed short interest at 29% of the 92.9 million share float. That's enough for a potential short squeeze. Bears may be panicked with SGEN above resistance near $45.00.

SGEN looks pretty bullish right here. I'd be tempted to buy the stock now. However, tonight we are suggesting bullish positions on SGEN if shares trade at $47.15. Just keep in mind that trading biotech stocks is a higher-risk proposition. Not only do biotech stocks tend to be more volatile but you never know when the right or wrong headline (usually regarding some clinical trial) could send shares of your trade crashing or soaring overnight. Right now the IBB biotech ETF is poised to break through major resistance. That could spark short covering across the biotech space.

- Suggested Positions -

Long SGEN stock @ $47.15

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long SEP $55 CALL (SGEN150918C55) entry $2.45

06/25/15 new stop @ 46.75
06/16/15 new stop @ 45.75
06/08/15 triggered @ $47.15
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Spirit AeroSystems - SPR - close: 55.85 change: +0.13

Stop Loss: 53.75
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: -1.0%
Entry on June 22 at $56.44
Listed on June 18, 2015
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks, exit prior to earnings in very late July
Average Daily Volume = 1.2 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/25/15: It was a quiet session for SPR. Shares did not see any follow through on yesterday's decline. Nimble traders may want to consider waiting for SPR to dip toward technical support at its 20-dma and then buy a bounce. Otherwise I would wait for a new rise past $56.20 before initiating new positions.

Trade Description: June 18, 2015:
Airline stocks have gotten crushed lately as investors worry about the airliner industry overbuilding capacity. It's a different story for the airplane makers. Shares of SPR just closed near all-time highs. The Dow Industrial Average is up +1.6% year to date. The S&P 500 is up +3.0%. SPR is outpacing them both with a +30% gain this year.

SPR is in the industrial goods sector. According to the company, "Spirit AeroSystems, with headquarters in Wichita, Kan., USA, is one of the world's largest non-OEM designers and manufacturers of aerostructures for commercial aircraft. In addition to its Wichita and Chanute facilities in Kansas, Spirit has locations in Tulsa and McAlester, Okla.; Kinston, N.C.; Prestwick, Scotland; Preston, England; Subang, Malaysia; and Saint-Nazaire, France.

In the U.S., Spirit's core products include fuselages, pylons, nacelles and wing components. Additionally, Spirit provides aftermarket customer support services, including spare parts, maintenance/repair/overhaul, and fleet support services in North America, Europe and Asia. Spirit Europe produces wing components for a host of customers, including Airbus."

On their website SPR notes that they "have long-term agreements in place with our largest customers, Boeing and Airbus. Other major customers include Bombardier, Rolls-Royce, Mitsubishi, Sikorsky and Bell Helicopter." SPR does so much business with Boeing (BA) that buying SPR is almost a stealth trade on BA's backlog. Looking at BA's most recent earnings report their backlog hit a record high of $495 billion. That's about 5,700 new planes. BA plans to significantly increase production in 2017 and again in 2018, which should mean an increase in revenues for SPR.

Earnings from SPR have been somewhat mixed. On February 3rd they reported their 2014 Q4 results with earnings at $0.87 per share. That was 10 cents better than expected. Yet revenues were only up +5% to $1.57 billion, which missed expectations.

Results improved in the first quarter. On April 29th SPR said earnings were up +18% from a year ago. Their $1.00 per share beat expectations. Revenues were almost flat at $1.74 billion but that still came in better than analysts were expecting. SPR management issued somewhat bullish guidance on 2015 earnings but their revenue estimate was soft.

The stock initially sold off on its Q1 report but traders bought the dip the very next day. SPR continues to build on its bullish pattern of higher lows. Today the stock is poised to breakout past short-term resistance at $56.20. We are suggesting a trigger to launch bullish positions at $56.35. Plan on exiting prior to SPR's Q2 earnings report in very late July or early August.

- Suggested Positions -

Long SPR stock @ $56.35

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long OCT $60 CALL (SPR151016C60) entry $1.60

06/22/15 triggered on gap open at $56.44
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Sarepta Therapeutics - SRPT - close: 32.66 change: +0.61

Stop Loss: 29.25
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +18.1%
Entry on June 10 at $27.65
Listed on June 09, 2015
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 1.2 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/25/15: SRPT bounced with a +1.9% gain. It was almost enough to erase yesterday's loss. The relative strength in SRPT is encouraging but I would not chase it here.

Readers may want to consider a higher stop loss.

No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: June 9, 2015:
Often biotech stocks can turn into a binary trade. You win big or lose big based on the company's clinical trials and success or failure with the FDA. SRPT is one such stock. Shares have seen some tremendous, gut-wrenching moves, both up and down, over the last couple of years.

If you're not familiar with SRPT they are a biotech stock (part of the healthcare sector). According to the company, "Sarepta Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of unique RNA-targeted therapeutics for the treatment of rare, infectious and other diseases. The Company is primarily focused on rapidly advancing the development of its potentially disease-modifying DMD drug candidates, including its lead DMD product candidate, eteplirsen, designed to skip exon 51. Sarepta is also developing therapeutics for the treatment of drug-resistant bacteria and infectious, rare and other human diseases."

SRPT does not have any products on the market, which is another reason they might be viewed as a binary trade. If they don't succeed with their Eteplirsen treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) then its stock could collapse. DMD is a very rare disease. Only about 20,000 people a year are diagnosed with it in the U.S. It can be fatal by age 30.

SRPT made headlines on May 20th and the stock surged almost $10 with a +60% move to new eight-month highs. The reason behind the pop in the stock was the company's plan to submit a rolling New Drug Application (NDA) with the FDA for its Eteplirsen. This is a big deal. SRPT tried to get FDA approval to file an NDA back in 2013 but the regulators rejected their application saying they needed more data.

Now that SRPT can start the NDA process they should be able to meet with an advisory committee in the fourth quarter of this year, which could really generate a lot of volatility based on the committee's decision.

It's important to note that SRPT is facing competition from larger biotech firm BioMarin Pharmaceuticals (BMRN) who is working on a treatment for the same disease. If BMRN's treatment gets approved first it could send SRPT shares crashing.

Canaccord Genuity's analyst, Adam Walsh, issued an opinion on this SRPT news and multiple news outlets quoted him. According to Walsh,

"Looking forward, we see two potential catalysts to drive shares higher: 1) FDA acceptance of the NDA filing (60 days post-filing — est. late third quarter 2015); and 2) FDA announcement of Adcom to review the eteplirsen NDA. On the first, we fully expect FDA to accept the filing for review, given its blessing to submit the NDA. On the second, we believe an Adcom would allow for powerful testimony from DMD patients, parents, and advocacy groups in support of eteplirsen, which could sway committee members toward recommending approval. Thus, while we acknowledge that significant approval risks still remain, we would expect Sarepta shares to trend higher into an expected fourth quarter of 2015 Adcom."
The advisory panel is a major event for SRPT. One analyst suggested that if SRPT won approval their stock could shoot into the $40s. A different analysts said approval could launch SRPT's stock toward $100. Both said that another FDA rejection could send SRPT shares toward $10.

Part of the reason behind SRPT's big move in May was short covering. The most recent data listed short interest at 33% of the relatively small 35.8 million share float. Currently shares of SRPT are consolidating in a bullish pattern with resistance near $27.00-27.50. A breakout here could spark another wave of short covering.

There has been some speculation that SRPT is a buyout target although I did not see a lot of discussion about any potential suitors.

We are suggesting a trigger to launch small bullish positions at $27.65. We want to limit our position size because SRPT can be very volatile. I would consider this a higher-risk, more aggressive trade.

*small positions to limit risk* - Suggested Positions -

Long SRPT stock @ $27.65

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long AUG $30 CALL (SRPT150821C30) entry $3.00

06/23/15 new stop @ 29.25
06/20/15 new stop @ 26.75
06/10/15 triggered @ $27.65
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


TASER Intl. Inc. - TASR - close: 33.82 change: +0.04

Stop Loss: 32.95
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: -3.9%
Entry on June 16 at $35.20
Listed on June 15, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to earnings in late July
Average Daily Volume = 2.3 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/25/15: TASR's attempt at a bounce failed at its 10-dma today. This is not encouraging. Shares have developed a very short-term bearish trend of lower highs. More conservative traders may want to abandon ship.

No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: June 15, 2015:
50,000 volts. That's what a TASER electro-muscular disruption (EMD) device shoots through your body to override the central nervous system. Your body freezes as all of your skeletal muscles contract at once.

Their website describes the company as "TASER International makes communities safer with innovative public safety technologies. Founded in 1993, TASER first transformed law enforcement with its electrical weapons. TASER continues to define smarter policing with its growing suite of technology solutions, including AXON body-worn video cameras and EVIDENCE.com, a secure digital evidence management platform."

They may have started with electrical weapons but now the company is expanding to mobile video cameras worn on a law enforcement officer's gear. The company was in the news earlier this year thanks to President Obama. Back in January Obama announced he wanted to spend $75 million over the next three years to outfit the nation's police force with body-worn cameras.

The White House believes that body-worn cameras on police will help reduce violence and avoid another event like the one in Ferguson, MO. As of January 2015 estimates suggest there are only 70,000 police wearing cameras now. Obama's plan would almost double that. Industry analysts are forecasting significant growth if the federal government approves Obama's plan. There are nearly 800,000 policemen in the U.S. There's plenty of room to grow. Plus TASR is expanding internationally.

The bears will argue that TASR's stock is priced for perfection and very expensive with a P/E near 77. There is no denying that. However, the body-camera business could soar. Currently it's less than 8% of their annual sales. The real winner could be TASR's Evidence.com ecosystem. This is a subscription service for law enforcement to back up and manage all the data from TASER electric weapons, body-worn cameras, and more.

In the last few months we've seen more and more police departments announcing they are spending millions on body camera systems. It's not just the U.S. The London police force just announced they were buying 20,000 body cameras for their policemen although they didn't say what brand they were choosing. We do know they were testing TASR's products.

Technically shares of TASR have been showing relative strength. The stock is up three weeks in a row and tagged new all-time highs last week. Traders bought the dip today at short-term technical support on the 10-dma. TASR bounced with a +2.69% gain that outperformed the major indices.

If this rally continues it could spark a potential short squeeze. The most recent data listed short interest at 25% of the 52.1 million share float. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to launch bullish positions at $35.20. Please keep in mind that TASR can be a volatile stock. Traders may want to use small positions to limit their risk.

*consider using small positions to limit risk*

- Suggested Positions -

Long TASR stock @ $35.20

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long SEP $37 CALL (TASR150918C37) entry $2.65

06/24/15 Warning! TASR reversed again
06/22/15 new stop @ 32.95
06/16/15 triggered @ $35.20
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Tempur Sealy Intl. - TPX - close: 66.11 change: +0.70

Stop Loss: 61.90
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +4.7%
Entry on June 10 at $63.15
Listed on June 08, 2015
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 890 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/25/15: Good news! The bullish trend of higher lows remains intact after traders bought the dip in TPX. Shares outperformed the market with a +1.0% gain.

No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: June 8, 2015:
Activist investors seek to influence management to incorporate major changes in a company with the expectation of unlocking shareholder value. Sometimes the mere mention of an activist investor buying a stock can get shares to move. In TPX's case the activists have won a major battle with management.

TPX is in the consumer goods sector. According to the company, "Tempur Sealy International, Inc. (NYSE: TPX) is the world's largest bedding provider. Tempur Sealy International develops, manufactures and markets mattresses, foundations, pillows and other products. The Company's brand portfolio includes many of the most highly recognized brands in the industry, including Tempur, Tempur-Pedic, Sealy, Sealy Posturepedic, OptimumTM and Stearns & Foster. World headquarters for Tempur Sealy International is in Lexington, KY."

TPX's most recent earnings report was April 28th. They announced their 2015 Q1 results with earnings of $0.55 per share. That was seven cents above estimates. Revenues were up +5.4% to $739.5 million. This was also above expectations. Management raised their 2015 forecast for both earnings and sales. The stock popped to new multi-year highs on this news. Yet the real story is probably the activist investors involved.

Hedge fund H Partners has been urging change with TPX management for months. TPX executives choose to fight. It came down to a proxy fight and shareholders voted to oust the CEO. Two more directors, who were under fire by H Partners have also left the board. H Partners built a website to inform shareholders their opinion on the company (www.fixtempursealy.com). There they posted their 90 page slideshow on why TPX needed a management change. You can see their presentation at this webpage.

The stock has been oscillating sideways in the $58-63 zone the last few weeks. It's starting to look like the consolidation may be over. TPX displayed relative strength last week and it held up today as well while the rest of the market was sinking. If TPX can trade over $63.00 it will generate a new quadruple top breakout buy signal on the P&F chart. We are suggesting a trigger to launch bullish positions at $63.15.

- Suggested Positions -

Long TPX stock @ $63.15

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long SEP $65 CALL (TPX150918C65) entry $3.50

06/22/15 new stop @ 61.90
06/10/15 triggered @ $63.15
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


The WhiteWave Foods Co. - WWAV - close: 49.67 change: +0.24

Stop Loss: 47.75
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: -1.2%
Entry on June 23 at $50.25
Listed on June 22, 2015
Time Frame: Exit prior to earnings in August
Average Daily Volume = 1.9 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/25/15: Thankfully WWAV did not see any follow through on yesterday's pullback. The stock did outperform the market today with a +0.48% gain but readers might want to wait for a new rally past $50.00 before initiating new positions.

Trade Description: June 22, 2015:
Consumer tastes and buying habits are changing and more people are opting for more natural and organic foods.

WWAV is in the consumer goods sector. You might not recognize the name but they are behind brands like Silk, Horizon Organic, Land-O-Lakes, International Delight, Alpro, and Earthbound Farm Organic.

WWAV considers themselves "a leading consumer packaged food and beverage company that manufactures, markets, distributes, and sells branded plant-based foods and beverages, coffee creamers and beverages, premium dairy products and organic produce throughout North America and Europe. The Company is focused on providing consumers with innovative, great-tasting food and beverage choices that meet their increasing desires for nutritious, flavorful, convenient, and responsibly-produced products. The Company's widely-recognized, leading brands distributed in North America include Silk plant-based foods and beverages, International Delight and LAND O LAKES* coffee creamers and beverages, Horizon Organic premium dairy products and Earthbound Farm' certified organic salads, fruits and vegetables. Its popular European brands of plant-based foods and beverages include Alpro and Provamel" (The Land-O-Lakes brand is licensed from the owners).

If you're looking for a company that is growing then keep an eye on WWAV. They have beaten Wall Street's estimates on both the top and bottom line relatively consistently for the last six quarters. In February they did miss the bottom line EPS number by three cents but beat the revenue estimate (with +34% growth). Then in May this year they beat on the bottom line but their revenue number was murky.

Looking at WWAV's most recent report (May 8th) the company delivered earnings of $0.24 per shares versus estimates for $0.22. Revenues were up +9.8% to $911 million. Depending who you ask this revenue number is either a small miss or it was in-line with estimates. One thing worth noting is that sales in Europe were hurt by currency headwinds.

WWAV management offered a bullish outlook on their fiscal Q2 earnings. They raised their 2015 sales estimate as well.

This month WWAV announced a big acquisition with a $550 million deal to buy plant-based nutrition maker Vega. Initially there was some concern that WWAV paid too much for Vega but the smaller company has seen its sales grow +50% in 2016. WWAV expects the Vega deal to close in the third quarter and it will add six cents per share to WWAV's 2016 earnings.

The stock has been a big winner this year. The S&P 500 is up +3.1% year to date. The NASDAQ is up +8.8%. Shares of WWAV are up +43% and show no signs of slowing down. The company has been mentioned as a potential acquisition target by multiple people this year.

Currently WWAV is hovering just below round-number resistance at $50.00. We are suggesting a trigger to launch bullish positions at $50.25.

- Suggested Positions -

Long WWAV stock @ $50.25

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long OCT $55 CALL (WWAV151016C55) entry $1.69

06/23/15 triggered @ $50.25
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike




BEARISH Play Updates

Continental Resources, Inc. - CLR - close: 43.99 change: -0.14

Stop Loss: 48.35
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: -0.5%
Entry on June 22 at $43.75
Listed on June 20, 2015
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks, exit prior to earnings in August
Average Daily Volume = 8.8 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/25/15: CLR is still hovering around prior support at $44.00 but shares look like they're ready to breakdown. I would be tempted to launch new positions on a drop below $43.75 again.

Tonight we will move the stop loss down to $48.35.

Trade Description: June 20, 2015:
There are a lot of currents moving the oil industry these days. Currency moves, OPEC production, access to capital, falling rig counts, and potential bankruptcies. The stock performance for U.S. shale oil drillers have been suffering. CLR is one such stock.

CLR is in the basic materials sector. According to the company, "Continental Resources (CLR) is a Top 10 independent oil producer in the United States and a leader in America's energy renaissance. Based in Oklahoma City, Continental is the largest leaseholder and one of the largest producers in the nation's premier oil field, the Bakken play of North Dakota and Montana. The Company also has significant positions in Oklahoma, including its SCOOP Woodford and SCOOP Springer discoveries and the Northwest Cana play."

Earnings have taken a hit. CLR reported their Q1 results on May 6th. They reported a net loss of $186 million or 36 cents a share. That's a big drop from a 61-cent profit a year ago. After adjusting for writedowns and one-time items CLR said their quarterly earnings were a loss of ($0.09) per share. That was actually four cents better than analysts' estimates for a ($0.13) loss. Revenues plunged -41% to $592.89 million even though CLR's production surged +36% from a year ago.

Bullish investors could argue that crude oil put in a bottom earlier this year and the commodity should rally toward year end. Bulls can also point to falling production costs as a tailwind for the industry. CLR said their completion costs for wells dropped -15% from the end of 2014. Obviously this makes the company more profitable (or at least cuts their losses). Optimistically CLR expects their cost reductions to hit 20% by mid-year. There are some on Wall Street who think the industry has seen a bottom. Shares of CLR were upgraded by Goldman Sachs to a "buy" in May.

Bulls also note that the plunge in active rigs should be bullish for oil and thus oil companies. Weekly rig count, compiled by Baker Hughes, showed that the number of active oil and gas rigs fell again last week. This is the 28th week in a row that the number of rigs has declined. We're now down to 857 active oil and gas rigs, which hasn't been this low since early 2003.

Naturally you might think that a plunge to 12-year lows for active rigs means that U.S. oil production would shrink as well. That hasn't happened yet. While costs are going down oil producers are actually more efficient at pumping per well so production is going up. The low rig count is a leading indictor that production will eventually decline but it could be months from now. The U.S. EIA doesn't expect U.S. production to fall until early next year.

A bigger problem for the oil industry is competition. The recent OPEC meeting showed that the Saudis are willing to pump as much oil as they can to maintain their market share regardless of the price of oil. These are state-run oil companies and don't have to report to shareholders like American drillers. Plus the average cost per barrel of oil is a lot lower in Saudi than the U.S.

Another challenge for many drillers is capital. Drilling shale oil wells and fracking costs a lot of money. The drop in crude oil prices has made lenders less likely to loan money to drillers. To compensate for the lack of capital the oil drillers might be forced to sell more stock to raise capital and this would dilute current shareholders and drive stock prices lower. This past week the Cowen research company said, ""We expect ... E&Ps to issue additional equity in 2H2015 to fund 2016 capex as borrowing bases will be declining and debt metrics deteriorating."

The issue of debt and access to capital could be a fatal one. There are growing predictions that we will see up to a dozen publicly traded oil and gas companies file for bankruptcy between July 2015 and June 2016. Now CLR is not on the list but if we see smaller rivals start to go bankrupt it is going to put pressure on all the oil-industry stocks.

Oil stocks are also going to react to currency moves. The Federal Reserve wants to raise rates and that will lift the dollar. Even if the Fed doesn't raise rates the QE programs in Japan and Europe could drive the yen and euro lower, which boosts the dollar. A rising dollar pressures commodity prices lower.

A lot of investors are already betting on CLR to decline. The most recent data listed short interest at 17.9% of the 84.8 million share float. We think the bears are right. CLR has been underperforming the broader market. The point & figure chart is bearish and forecasting at $35.00 target. I suspect the 2015 lows near $42.00 could be support. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to open bearish positions at $43.75.

- Suggested Positions -

Short CLR stock @ $43.75

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long SEP $40 PUT (CLR150918P40) entry $2.00

06/25/15 new stop @ 48.35
06/22/15 triggered @ $43.75
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


On Deck Capital - ONDK - close: 12.39 change: -0.14

Stop Loss: 13.25
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +13.7%
Entry on June 02 at $14.35
Listed on June 01, 2015
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 431 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
06/25/15: ONDK slipped another -1.1% and is nearing last week's lows. A breakdown under short-term support near $12.10 could signal the next leg lower.

No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: June 1, 2015:
You know something is wrong when a stock is down -50% from its post-IPO peak in less than six months.

ONDK is part of the financial sector. Here's how the company describes itself:

"OnDeck (ONDK), a leading platform for small business loans, is committed to increasing Main Street's access to capital. OnDeck uses advanced lending technology and analytics to assess creditworthiness based on actual operating performance and not solely on personal credit. The OnDeck Score, the company's proprietary small business credit scoring system, evaluates thousands of data points to deliver a credit decision rapidly and accurately. Small businesses can apply for a line of credit or term loan online in minutes, get a decision immediately and receive funds in as fast as the same day. OnDeck also partners with small business service providers, enabling them to connect their customers to OnDeck financing. OnDeck's diversified loan funding strategy enables the company to fund small business loans from various credit facilities, securitization and the OnDeck Marketplace, a platform that enables institutional investors to purchase small business loans originated by OnDeck.

Since 2007, OnDeck has deployed more than $2 billion to more than 700 different industries in all 50 U.S. states, and also makes small business loans in Canada. The company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and operates the website BusinessLoans.com which provides credit education and information about small business financing. On December 17, 2014, OnDeck started trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker ONDK."

The company charges outrageous interest rates on its short-term loans. According to the SEC filings these can range from 20% to 99% APRs. They get away with this by only loaning to businesses and not individual consumers. Rising defaults are an issue. The company expects about 7% of their loans to go into default but some of the latest numbers suggest reality is closer to 20%. There is a concern that companies like ONDK will face future regulations that will limit how much interest they can charge. Another bear argument is valuations.

The company was valued around $1.4 billion at its IPO. Even with the decline it's still valued near $1 billion today. That's for a company without any profits. They lost ($0.01) per share in the fourth quarter and that jumped to a loss of ($0.05) per share in the first quarter.

Another potential landmine for shareholders is ONDK's six-month lockup expiration. Currently there are about 13.2 million shares outstanding. On June 15th, 2015 another 56 million shares are unlocked.

The stock broke down on its earnings report in early May. Now it's breaking down below its 2015 lows in the $14.50-15.00 zone. The point & figure chart is bearish and forecasting at $7.00 target.

The stock has seen some volatile moves. I would consider this a more aggressive, higher-risk trade. Tonight I am suggesting a trigger to launch bearish positions at $14.35. Traders may want to use put options to limit their risk.

- Suggested Positions -

Short ONDK stock @ $14.35

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long AUG $14 PUT (ONDK150821P14) entry $1.80

06/20/15 Caution! ONDK may have formed a bullish double bottom
06/16/15 new stop @ 13.25
06/15/15 new stop @ 14.25
06/10/15 new stop @ 15.15
06/02/15 triggered @ $14.35
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike