These weekly short squeezes are getting to be a nuisance. Just as our short positions are on the verge of a real breakdown we get another short squeeze that resets everyone's expectations. Today was a combination of the end of Brexit worries, new home sales and bad news from the Richmond Survey's that suggest the Fed will not raise rates. Short were squeezed from every angle.
We only lost one position than that was AMAG Pharma. However, because of the end of Brexit worries I am recommending we close the Deutsche Bank position. With support collapsing for those wanting to leave the Eurozone it should be positive for European banks for the next several weeks.
The Dow shot up to resistance at 17,750 and then sold off into the close. Art Cashin said there was $400 million in sell on close orders on the NYSE. I do not know if this short squeeze will fail like the others but we are at solid resistance.
Current Position Changes
RCII - Rent-A-Center
The short position was entered at the open at $12.58.
AMAG - Amag Pharma
The short position was stopped out at $19.25.
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
OMED - OncoMed Pharmaceuticals - Company Profile
No specific news. Shares close at a four-month high.
Original Trade Description: May 21st.
OncoMed Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage company focused on discovering and developing novel anti-cancer stem cell and immuno-oncology therapeutics. OncoMed has seven anti-cancer therapeutic candidates in clinical development, where each target key cancer stem cell signaling pathways including Notch, Wnt and R-spondin LGR. OncoMed is advancing its wholly owned GITRL-Fc candidate and an undisclosed immuno-oncology candidate (IO#2) toward clinical trials in the 2016-2017 timeframe. OncoMed has formed strategic alliances with Celgene Corporation, Bayer Pharma AG and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
OncoMed is making six presentations at ASCO related to six oncology drug candidates, including robust preclinical anti-tumor activity data for its wholly owned GITRL-Fc candidate and from clinical trials of vantictumab, ipafricept, demcizumab and tarextumab.
All of that is Greek to me but this is a cancer conference and OncoMed is an up and coming cancer drug company. They should be right at home and the notes I have read suggest several of their drugs are very promising. They have milestone payments coming from GSK, Bayer and Celgene coming in 2016-2017 of more than $270 million.
Shares have risen steadily since the earnings miss on May 5th. As a preclinical company they do not have retail revenues and depend on funding from their partners. They will have operating losses until their drugs are in the marketplace.
Shares spiked on the 28th after AbbVie said they were buying cancer drug company Stemcentrx for $10.2 billion. That company is in the same stem cell research sector as OMED.
Earnings August 4th.
With the ASCO meeting still 10 days away we could benefit from some of the building excitement and hopefully the company's presentations at the meeting will increase the interest in the stock.
Long OMED shares @ $12.80, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
No options recommended because of wide spreads.
SQ - Square - Company Profile
Shares rallied again after BTIG upgraded the stock from neutral to buy with a price target of $12.
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 Jun $11 call @ 55 cents. See portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Previously closed 5/17/16: Long May $10 put @ 60 cents. Exit $1.00, +.40 gain.
BEARISH Play Updates
AMAG - AMAG Pharmaceuticals - Company Profile
No specific news. Short squeeze in biotechs stopped us out.
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.
Closed 5/24/16: Short AMAG shares @ $18.33, exit 19.25, -.92 loss.
Closed 5/24/16: Long August $17 put @ $1.08, exit 1.15, +.07 gain.
DB - Deutsche Bank - Company Profile
Despite increasingly bad news for DB, the end of Brexit is going to be a temporary positive for all European banks. I am recommending we close the position.
CLOSE THE POSITION
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, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Long July $16 put @ $1.10, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
ENDP - Endo Intl Plc - Company Description
No specific news.
Resistance is 15.85 to 16.15 and I recommend we stay with it until we see if that resistance will hold. The current stop loss of $16.45.
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.
FDC - First Data - Company Profile
No specific news. The market short squeeze added another 42 cents to FDC.
While we were stopped out on the short on 5/23 there was no stop loss on the option and that position remains open. At the current 10-cent price that is a lottery ticket that the headlines will fade and the original direction will return.
Original Trade Description: May 16th.
First Data provides electronic ecommerce solutions for merchants, financial institutions and card issuers worldwide. The operate in three segments including global business solutions, global financial solutions and network & security solutions. This includes retail point of sale solutions, mobile ecommerce solutions and webstore solutions.
In their Q1 earnings, they grew revenue 3% and operating income rose from $185 to $220 million. Earnings of 24 cents were slightly above expectations for 21 cents. Revenue of $1.69 billion was below estimates for $1.71 billion. Unfortunately, FDC has $19 billion in debt compared to its $3 billion market cap. Interest expense in the first quarter was $263 million or more than $1 billion a year.
Global business solutions revenue declined in the quarter while financial solutions and security solutions showed only marginal growth.
Earnings July 21st.
While the company tried to put a positive face on the future by projecting revenue growth, it appears investors were not impressed. Shares have fallen from $13.50 to $10.50 over the last three weeks since earnings. FDC does not provide guidance and that is troubling to some investors.
I am anticipating a retest of the post IPO low at $8.50 or even worse, depending on the market.
Short FDC shares @ $10.69, exit $11.55, -.86 loss.
Long July $10 put @ $.60, no stop loss.
LOCO - El Pollo Loco - Company Profile
No specific news. Shares spiked at the open with the market but faded into the close.
Original Trade Description: May 18th.
El Pollo Loco develops, franchises, licenses and operates quick service restaurants in the USA. The company offers individual and family sized chicken meals, Mexican inspired entrees and sides. They currently have 430 company owned and franchised restaurants. They are planning opening 16-20 additional stores in 2016.
The big spike on the IPO came on name recognition, a successful roadshow and a small number of shares initially offered. They later waived the lockup period and allowed insiders to sell their shares on November 19th, 2014, two months earlier than stated in the IPO documents. Shares crashed from $33 on the news and have never recovered that level.
The reported earnings on May 5th of 17 cents that missed estimates for 18 cents. Revenue of $94.4 million also missed estimates for $96.9 million. They guided for full year earnings of 70-74 cents, which was almost zero growth from the Q1 numbers. That suggests the competition is fierce and they are having trouble gaining market share. Earnings in 2015 were 71 cents.
Net income declined -19.8% in Q1. Same store sales declined -0.6% for company operated restaurants. That is not a good track record to use when selling new franchises.
Next earnings August 4th.
I think the crazy chicken is dying. Their moment in the sun is fading along with their stock price. Shares are rapidly approaching their post IPO low of $9.58 and once you break under that $10 level it is very hard to recover.
Short LOCO shares @ $10.61, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
No options recommended.
RCII - Rent-A-Center - Company Profile
Good timing on the entry. Coverage was initiated with a buy rating by Topeka Capital markets. Shares spiked at the open to give us a better entry point.
Original Trade Description: May 23rd.
Rent-A-Center leases household durable goods to customers on a rent to own basis. They offer products including consumer electronics, appliances, computers, tablets, smartphones and furniture. They also offer the products on an installment sale basis.
Their recent earnings of 48 cents fell -7.7% but they did beat estimates of 40 cents. Unfortunately, revenue declined -4.8% to $835.7 million and missed estimates for $851.1 million. Same store sales declined -2.5% overall and U.S. stores fell -3.8%.
The CEO said improving cost controls helped them beat on the top line. Unfortunately, when sales are falling you cannot continue to cut costs indefinitely. Sales have to rise in order to succeed.
The Acceptance Now division saw a zero increase in sales after rising sharply in the prior quarter. That division takes credit application at more than 1,400 kiosks in the U.S. and once approved the customer can shop at a large number of dealers that partner with RCII. The drop in revenue growth is due to higher numbers of credit declines.
Management also said rentals of computers, tablets and smartphones were also declining.
With same store sales declining and credit approvals harder to get, the company could continue to decline until those problems are reversed. I am targeting $10 on this position.
Earnings July 27th.
Short RCII shares @ $12.58, initial stop loss $12.95.
No options recommended because of wide spreads.
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