The extreme negativity at the close on Friday was erased with a 225 point intraday short squeeze. This was the third consecutive week that we have seen a triple digit short squeeze early in the week. The last two failed miserably and we saw lower lows by the end of the week.
The squeeze was powered in part by a 4% gain in Apple and a 3% gain in the biotech sector. The top 8 gainers in the Dow were responsible for 110 Dow points and the rest of the components went along for the ride. DIS, NKE, TRV, AXP were the only losers.
I suspect this short squeeze will end up like the last two with a sell off over the next couple days. We are in the May sell cycle and the outlook is fading. Bank of America lowered their price target on the S&P at year end to 2,000 and said we were at risk for a major drop during the summer.
Hedge Fund Farallon also believes there is a big drop ahead. They sold 3.3 million SPY calls and raised their put position from 11.6 million to 12.9 million contracts. That is some serious belief in your convictions.
Despite the big market move, none of our positions moves more than 31 cents. The small cap sector was very quiet despite a 13-point gain on the Russell 2000.
The Dow closed 50 points off its high and failed right at resistance at 17,750. The S&P failed at Thursday's resistance high at 2,071 and closed at 2,066 with a 20 point gain. Support at 2,040 seems a long way off but our high close last week was 2,084 and we still retreated to the low 2,040s by Friday.
This is option expiration week and volatility is to be expected.
Current Position Changes
GPRO - GoPro
The short position remains unopened until a trade at $8.75
AMAG - AMAG Pharma
The short position was opened at $18.33.
DB - Deutsche Bank
The short position was opened at $16.37.
Check the graphic above for any profit stops in green.
We need to always be prepared for a profit exit at resistance.
Stop Loss Updates
Check the graphic above for any new stop losses in bright yellow.
We need to always be prepared for an unexpected decline.
BULLISH Play Updates
BLMN - Bloomin Brands - Company Profile
No specific news. Minor gain when it should have been more. Big dip at the open was recovered and volume was higher than normal. Maybe we are getting ready for a move.
Original Trade Description: May 9th.
Bloomin Brands owns and operates casual, upscale casual and fine dining restaurants primarily in the USA. Their brands include Outback Steakhouse, Carrabbas Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. They operate over 1,500 locations in 48 states and 22 countries.
They reported operating earnings of 47 cents that missed estimates for 50 cents. Revenue of $1.16 billion missed estimates for $1.17 billion. Same store sales in the U.S. declined -1.5%.
Shares surged 9% despite the miss.
Despite the weak quarter the company reaffirmed full year estimates for earnings growth of at least 10%. The company blamed restructuring costs on the weak quarter and said that would not be a problem in future quarters. They had previously projected a strong second half of 2016. They also pointed to sales in the Brazilian Outback Steakhouse that rose 8.8%. During the quarter they also bought back $75 million in stock. Strong dollar currency translation issues also reduced earnings. The company also declared a dividend of 7 cents payable on May 19th to holders on May 6th. They entered into a sale leaseback transaction where they sold 41 restaurants for $141.4 million and used $87 million to pay down debt.
Shares spiked 9% after the earnings and continued moving higher over the last two weeks. They closed today at a 7-month high.
Long BLMN shares @ $19.71, initial stop loss $18.25.
No option recommendation due to wide spreads.
WIN - Windstream Holdings - Company Profile
No specific news. Shares dipped back to support after the shareholders meeting was held on Friday. There was nothing material in the minutes and votes taken in the meeting.
Original Trade Description: March 11th
Windstream provided network communications and technology solutions for consumers, businesses and enterprise organizations. They provide high-speed internet access, hosted web services and cable TV to a combined total of 1.6 million residential and business customers. They have more than 125,000 miles of high-speed fiber optic cable with speeds up to 500 gbps along their main corridors. They have 11 major data centers providing web hosting, cloud services, etc.
In the Q4 earnings, WIN reported adjusted earnings of $1.41 that crushed estimates for a loss of 48 cents. Revenue of $1.427 billion missed estimates slightly for $1.433 billion. The major earnings beat came from a spinoff of some of its telecom assets into a REIT. The cash received from the spinoff will allow some major network improvements in the months ahead.
The company declared a 15-cent quarterly dividend payable April 15th to holders on March 31st. That equates to a 7.3% annual yield.
WIN shares have been moving higher since they reported earnings on February 25th. Shares are at resistance at $8.25 and could breakout this week. The next resistance would be $11.85.
While we are not playing the stock for a takeover there is always the chance that somebody like Verizon or even Google could decide the $750 million market cap was chump change for 125,000 miles of high-speed fiber, cable TV and data center business.
I am going way out on the option to August because it is cheap and it will make a good lottery play even if we close the stock position early.
Update 5/5/16: Windstream reported a much smaller loss than expected. The company reported an adjusted loss of 23 cents compared to estimates for 54 cents. Revenues declined slightly to $1,373.4 million and missed estimates for $1,378.8 million. However, product revenues rose 11% to $32.4 million. WIN bought back $75 million in shares in Q1. The company ended the quarter with 1,430,700 household subscribers.
Long August $9.00 call @ .38 cents.(Adjusted) NO STOP LOSS
Previously closed 3/29/16: Long WIN shares @ $8.22, exit $7.10, -1.12 loss.
BEARISH Play Updates
AMAG - AMAG Pharmaceuticals - Company Profile
No specific news. Shares were up only slightly with the 3% spike in the biotech sector.
Original Trade Description: May 14th.
AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company, provides products and services with a focus on maternal health, anemia management, and cancer supportive care in the United States. They also own Cord Blood Registry. This company collects, processes and stores umbilical cord blood and cord tissue for use in fighting chronic diseases in later childhood.
In their recent earnings they reported 94 cents that beat estimates for 89 cents. However, revenue of $109.3 million missed estimates for $123 million. Service revenues at Cord Blood were $19.5 million. However, R&D expenses rose +103.6% to $14.2 million and SG&A expenses rose 96.7% to $63.2 million.
With revenue well under estimates and expenses rising dramatically, the outlook for earnings weakened. While the company reiterated guidance for full year revenue in the $520-$570 million range that would require a significant rise in drug sales from the $109 million in Q1. Shares were downgraded to hold by Raymond James.
Earnings August 2nd.
Shares are at a 52-week low and they did not rally on Friday when the entire biotech sector was up more than 1%. They also failed to rally on the 9th when the biotech sector was up +3%. Apparently investors are not convinced they are going to be able to meet their revenue targets and earnings are going to suffer.
Short AMAG shares @ $18.33, initial stop loss $20.25.
Long August $17 put @ $1.08, initial stop loss $20.25.
DB - Deutsche Bank - Company Profile
DB was cut to sell by Berenberg. The analyst, James Chappel, said the bank faces "insurmountable headwinds" and put a $10 price target on the stock. He said the bank cannot survive without raising capital and with sentiment so depressed, it would be nearly impossible to do with a secondary offering. With their credit outlook so depressed it will be nearly impossible to raise money in the debt market at anything resembling a reasonable cost. You can't fix a debt problem with more debt.
Original Trade Description: May 14th.
Deutsche Bank AG provides investment, financial, and related products and services worldwide. The company operates through Global Markets; Corporate & Investment Banking; Private, Wealth and Commercial Clients; Postbank, Deutsche Asset Management; and Non-Core Operations Unit segments. It offers a range of financial markets products, including bonds, equities and equity-linked products, exchange-traded and over-the-counter derivatives, foreign exchange, money market instruments, and securitized products, as well as mergers and acquisitions, and debt and equity advisory and origination services; and commercial banking, advisory banking, and financial services. The company also provides investment and insurance, mortgages, business products, consumer finance, payments, cards and accounts, deposits, and mid-cap related products, as well as life and non-life insurance products, and corporate pension schemes; payments, financing for international trade, lending, trust, agency, depositary, custody, and related services; invests in a range of asset classes, including equities, fixed income, real estate, infrastructure, private equity, and hedge funds. As of December 31, 2015, it operated 2,790 branches in 70 countries. Deutsche Bank AG was founded in 1870.
Unfortunately, DB may be in serious trouble. There are numerous rumors of financial problems of all types. The bank reported a record loss for 2015 and is being buried by a mountain of litigation related to subprime loans, manipulation of foreign exchange rates and gold and silver prices. They are under attack for rigging the Libor and Euribor interest rates used to set the prices for mortgage loans and derivatives. DB has paid more than $3 billion in fines already but that is a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to what is coming. There are numerous class action suits for multiple offenses, many of which DB has already admitted it committed.
DB debt yields are soaring as investors race to get out of positions before the bank crashes. Last week DB offered customers a 5% yield if they would deposit 10,000 to 50,000 euros and leave the money in the bank for 90 days. With the ECB willing to lend an unlimited number of euros to any European bank on almost any collateral, why is the bank offering customers 5% interest for 90 day money? It appears there is a massive liquidity squeeze underway and money is rapidly flowing out of DB accounts.
In the fine print on the offer DB says, "In case of bankruptcy or risk of bankruptcy of financial institution, the saver is at risk of losing their savings or may be subject to a reduction / conversion into shares (bail-in) of the amount of the claim that he has the financial setting on top of the amount covered by the double German guarantee scheme for deposits".
I doubt savers are rushing to deposit money that can be confiscated by a bail-in for the bank like we saw in Greece.
Short DB shares @ $16.37, initial stop loss, $17.75.
Long July $16 put @ $1.10, initial stop loss $17.75.
ENDP - Endo Intl Plc - Company Description
No specific news. Biotech sector was up more than 3% in today's short squeeze.
There was an article put out by TheStreet.com questioning whether Endo would be a penny stock by year-end.
Original Trade Description: May 11th.
Endo develops, manufactures and distributes pharmaceutical products and devices worldwide. The market well known brands including Percocet, Lidoderm, Voltaren and a wide range of pain medications and testosterone replacement therapies.
Shares have declined from $26 last week to $14 today. The company slashed full year guidance by -11% on revenue and -23% on earnings. The acceleration of the decline over the last several weeks has been in reaction to some generic competitors expected to receive approvals from the FDA soon.
The company also disclosed they were being investigated by the U.S. Attorney's Office for its relationship with pharmacy benefit managers or PBMs. In light of the improper relationship between Valeant and Philidor the USAO is investigating to see if the same problems exist at Endo. In November, Novartis had to pay a $390 million fine to settle charges it paid specialty pharmacies for illegal kickbacks in exchange for inducing patients to refill certain medications.
Endo is also under pressure as a result of the Valeant Pharmaceutical disaster and the overall decline in the biotech sector.
Earnings are August 4th.
Even though shares are down significantly from the May 6th news, I believe they will continue falling and could go into single digits. The similarities to Valeant's pharmacy problems and the impact to Valeant's stock are too close and should weigh on Endo.
Short ENDP shares @ $13.81, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Long June $12.50 put @ $1.05, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
GPRO - GoPro - Company Profile
GoPro only gained a nickel and the stock is extremely oversold. There was no short covering in these shares. One analyst today was projecting a $6 price target.
SHORT GPRO SHARES with a trade at $8.75, a new low. Stop loss $9.45
Original Trade Description: May 5th.
GoPro develops hardware and software associated with capturing, managing, sharing and enjoying engaging content. They offer cameras and all the accessories associated with affixing those cameras to any object in order to capture action videos.
GoPro soared onto the scene in late 2014 and shares ramped up to nearly $100 until the execution problems began to appear. After owning the action camera sector for several years they are now facing a growing onslaught of competitors with far deeper pockets and bigger teams of software engineers. GoPro cameras remain some of the higher priced in the sector because of their history but that is quickly changing.
They reported earnings on Thursday after the bell. They posted a loss of 63 cents missing estimates for a loss of 60 cents. However, revenue of $183.54 million beat estimates for $171 million BUT it was a -49.5% decline over the year ago quarter of $363 million and a profit. They shipped 701,000 cameras but that was a -47.8% decline from last year. They affirmed guidance for revenue of $1.35 to $1.50 billion for the full year BUT they are delaying one of their biggest revenue drivers for the year.
The Karma drone was supposed to be released in the first half of 2016 and was expected to provide a revenue boost for the company. In the earnings conference call, they said the release of the drone would be pushed out into the holiday season. How they are going to meet their prior revenue estimates after losing six month of drone sales is a mystery. When asked about it on the conference call the CEO basically said, "trust us." This is especially troubling when SZ DJI Technology is rapidly monopolizing the drone market. DJI has been called the Apple of the drone industry. They sold and estimated 70% of the consumer drones sold in 2015. Now they will have another six months to flood the market with multiple drone models before the GoPro Karma even gets off the ground.
Shares fell slightly in afterhours but I expect them to make a new low in the weeks ahead. They closed the afterhours session at $10.16 and the historic low is $9.01. The afterhours low was $9.57.
Short GPRO with a trade at $8.75
Previously Closed 5/13/16: Short GPRO shares @ $9.65. Exit $9.35, +.30 gain.
SQ - Square - Company Profile
No short covering here until the close. Shares were down -50 cents intraday and rebounded 30 cents at the close.
Tuesday is lockup expiration and we will be closing the put side of this position in the next several days depending on stock movement. I put a stop loss on the put just in case it bounces on Tuesday.
Original Trade Description: May 7th.
Square develops and provides payment processing, point-of-sale, financial and marketing services worldwide. It provides Square Register, a point-of-sale software application for iOS and Android, which enables sellers to process credit cards for multiple items through their smart device.
The company was knocked for a 22% loss after reporting a Q1 loss of 14 cents compared to estimates for 9 cents. Revenue rose +51% to $379.2 million and beat estimates for $343.6 million. However, operating expenses rose +72% to $207 million. G&A costs rose from $28 million to $96 million because of a $50 million charge for a lawsuit against Robert Morley, who claims to be the creator of the Square card reader.
Square also has a share lockup expiration on Square on May 17th. About 64 million shares will be unlocked and the float will increase nearly three times. A lot of early investors including Visa, Starbucks, Sequoia Capital (5%) and Khosla Ventures (17%) will be able to sell their shares. Given the reduced guidance and rapid decline there may be a race to the exits.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a whopping 69.48% of the shares (14.6 million) are short as of March 15th. Currently the public float is only 21.01 million shares. Source
I was going to recommend shorting the stock into the lockup expiration but the short interest is too high. The cost to borrow the shares would be prohibitive and with that much short interest it could be explosive. Also, I have seen many lockup expirations that have turned into the bottom for the stock. Expectations are so bearish that the stock declines to a ridiculous price before the actual expiration and then there is no selling. Anyone with shares in the lockup could have already shorted the stock to protect those declining shares. When the lockup expires they use their unlocked shares to cover their shorts.
I am proposing we use a combination strategy. I am recommending we buy a May $10 put, which expires three days after the lockup expiration. At the same time I am recommending we buy a June $11 call in expectation for a sharp post lockup rebound. Remember, revenue increased 51% in Q1 and they raised guidance.
If the stock declines, we sell our put for a profit before expiration and that reduces the cost in the call.
Long May $10 put @ 60 cents. See portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Long Jun $11 call @ 55 cents. See portfolio graphic for stop loss.
XLF - Financial ETF - ETF Profile
No material movement. The May option will expire on the 20th.
Original Trade Description: April 11th.
The XLF is commonly referred to as the banking ETF. However, it is actually a Financial Sector ETF. Banks account for 33% of the holdings with WFC, JPM, BAC, C, USB and GS six of the top ten holdings. Insurance, brokers, diversified financial services and REITs make up the rest of the ETF.
We are playing it to capitalize on the movements in those six top banks as they report earnings. The ETF normally moves slowly and I would not recommend it as a stock holding ahead of those earnings simply because we do not know which way it will move.
I am recommending a short-term option strategy called a strangle using very inexpensive options. We only care about catching the post earnings move in what could be a rocky quarter. Since estimates are already very low there is the potential for an upside surprise and that could cause some short squeezes with the banks.
I looked at playing the weekly puts but the premiums were in some cases higher than the May premiums so we will buy the time even though we will not use it.
Closed 4/29/16: Long May $23 call @ 19 cents, exit .58, +.39 gain.
Long May $22 put @ 47 cents, no stop loss.
Net debit 66 cents.
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