Several biotech stocks that rallied ahead of the ASCO conference took a dive on Friday as traders took profits rather than risk a negative headline over the weekend. Unfortunately, two of those stocks were in our portfolio. Each declined -6% on no news. Those were CLVS and OMED.
The Dow sold off -149 points at the open but rebounded to nearly turn positive just before the close. This was the fourth day of opening declines and the third consecutive day of afternoon rebounds. The Dow closed just barely over 17,800 and right in the middle of the range for the week. The Dow remains the weaker index overall but it is still within striking distance of a new high if the bulls found enough conviction to press the case.
The S&P has dipped to 2085-2088 for four consecutive days and then rebounded to close at 2,099 on three of those days. The fourth day it closed at 2,105 and looked like it was ready to retest the highs at 2,132 but the weak payroll numbers killed that idea at least for Friday.
Current Position Changes
HPE - Hewlett Packard Enterprise
The long recommendation was opened with a trade at $18.40.
SWIR - Sierra Wireless
The long position remains unopened until a trade at $20.30.
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
CLVS - Clovis Oncology - Company Profile
No specific news. A -6% decline. This could be the first example of biotech stocks fading on a sell the ASCO conference headline. There was a big gain ahead of the conference and some traders are probably going to take profits rather than wait for a potentially negative headline from the conference.
Original Trade Description: May 29th.
Clovis Oncology is a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on acquiring, developing and commercializing anti cancer agents worldwide. It is developing three product candidates, which include Rociletinib, an oral epidermal growth factor receptor and mutant-selective covalent inhibitor that is under review with the U.S. and E.U. regulatory authorities for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer; Rucaparib, an oral inhibitor of poly polymerase, which is in advanced clinical development for the treatment of ovarian cancer; and Lucitanib, an oral inhibitor of the tyrosine kinase that is in Phase II development for the treatment of breast cancers.
Clovis announced it would make three presentations at ASCO and one discusses the potential for using Rucaparib for treatment of a different cancer other than the drugs original intent. That presentation is on pancreatic cancer and the other two are on ovarian cancer.
These are promising drugs and any positive data that Clovis releases could give the stock a significant boost.
In their recent earnings, they reported a loss of $1.98 compared to estimates for -$2.15. Because it is an experimental drug company, the earnings are not that material. Shares did decline about $1.50 after the report but have risen $4.50 in the last two weeks.
Earnings August 4th.
Resistance is $20.30 and shares closed at $16.70 on Friday. I would gladly take a $2 gain out of the middle over the next week and they tighten the stop loss as the multi-day conference begins next Friday.
Long CLVS shares @ $16.80, initial stop loss $15.35
No options recommendation because of wide spreads.
HPE - Hewlett Packard Enterprise - Company Profile
No specific news. HPE held the recent gains and is holding right at a historic high.
Original Trade Description: June 2nd.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise was spun off from Hewlett Packard (HPQ) to be the high growth segment of the company. The remaining HPQ was the slower growing PC and printer company.
HPE reported adjusted Q1 earnings of 42 cents and in line with estimates. Revenue of $12.711 billion would have been up +4% on a constant currency basis. Analysts were expecting $12.419 billion.
For the current quarter, HPE guided to earnings of $1.10 to $1.14. For the full year, they expect $1.85-$1.95 and that was more than analysts expected at $1.89. They increased free cash flow +101% to $1.1 billion for the quarter.
The good news came from their plans for the cash flow. HPE expects to generate $2.0-$2.2 billion in free cash flow in 2016. They are receiving $2 billion from the Tsinghua transaction which closed in early May and the money will be used for share repurchases. In 2016, HPE is increasing its commitment to return 100% of the free cash flow to investors in dividends and buybacks.
This means over the next couple of months we should see significant share activity as funds position themselves to be the beneficiaries of all this buyback/dividend activity that could exceed $4 billion in 2016. $2.5 billion of that is in an "accelerated" buyback program. The board authorized another $3 billion in buybacks to bring the current authorization to $4.8 billion.
They also announced a tax-free spinoff of their services division to Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), which is expected to close in March 2017. This will produce another $8.5 billion in value to HPE shareholders in the form of $4.5 billion in equity in the combined company and $1.5 billion in a cash dividend and the removal of $2.5 billion in debt from HPE.
Earnings Aug 23rd.
HPE shares have shaken off their May weakness and closed today at a historic high. I am recommending we buy this stock in anticipation of additional fund investors moving in ahead of future dividends, buybacks and the spinoff.
Long HPE shares @ $18.40, initial stop loss $16.85.
Long August $20 call @ 40 cents. No stop loss.
OMED - OncoMed Pharmaceuticals - Company Profile
No specific news. Fell 6% as the ASCO conference began. I believe this is another case of buy the rumor, sell the news.
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.
P - Pandora Media - Company Profile
No specific news. Board membr, Timothy Lelweke, bought 10,000 shares on Wednesday at about $11.63 each. He now owns 43,768 shares so that was almost a 30% increase in his holdings. Something is definitely going on behind the scenes to generate all this insider buying.
Pandora's chief product officer will present at the Stifel Technology Conference on June 7th.
Original Trade Description: June 1st.
Pandora provides internet music streaming services in North America. Listeners can create personalized stations to access free music and comedy catalogs as well as personalized play lists. They offer Pandora One, a paid subscription based service for listeners. They sell audio, video and display advertising for delivery on connected platforms. They also offer a ticketing platform for promoters and advertising to promote their events.
In Q1 active listeners rose to 79.4 million and hours streamed rose 4% to 5.52 billion. They reported a loss of 20 cents but that was 19 cents better than the 39 cent estimate.
Pandora's chairman Jim Hill bought 250,000 shares at $10.97 per share and then another 250,000 shares at $11.33 each. That is close to $6 million in purchases. CFO Mike Herring bought 225,000 shares a couple weeks earlier. Last week somebody bought 12,000 contracts of the September $12 call options. Today somebody bought 1,000 contracts of the July $13 calls and there was another trade for 2,500 of the September $10 calls.
So what is powering this sudden interest in Pandora? In May the hedge fund Corvex Management announced it had acquired a 9.9% stake and demanded the company be sold to the highest bidder. Keith Meister runs the fund and he believes there should be an auction and Facebook should buy the company. Since Pandora has only a $3 billion market cap that should be attractive to Facebook because it would get those 79 million listeners to further spread its advertising reach across the internet.
Apple, Google and Amazon already have some type of streaming app and that leaves Facebook as the likely candidate. Barron's suggested Verizon or Liberty Media could buy them. Sirius XM was also mentioned as a possible buyer.
With plenty of potential acquirers and insiders buying huge amounts of stock there may be some discussions in progress.
Shares have been on a steady upward path for the last month and it is accelerating.
Long Pandora shares @ $12.08. Initial stop loss $10.25.
No option recommended but the July $13 is only 62 cents.
SWIR - Sierra Wireless - Company Profile
No specific news, minor gain. Shares are still holding at resistance at $20. Eventually there will be a high volume breakout or break down.
The position remains unopened until a trade at $20.30. High today was $19.92.
Original Trade Description: May 26th.
Sierra Wireless engages in building the Internet of Things with intelligent wireless solutions. They operate in three segments, Original Equipment Manafacturer, Enterprise Solutions, and Cloud Connectivity Services. They offer cellular embedded modules, software and tools to integrate wireless connectivity into various products and solutions.
In their recent earnings they reported an adjusted profit of 8 cents. Revenue declined -5.1% because of previously reported softness in orders from several existing automotive customers. For Q2 they expect earnings in the range of 9-17 cents on revenue of $150-$160 million. For the full year they guided to earnings of 60-90 cents on revenue of $630-$670 million. They bought back 549,583 shares in the quarter.
The revenue in the OEM solutions segment declined -9.1% due to softness in auto production in Q1. Enterprise solutions revenue rose 9% and cloud and connectivity systems revenue rose 92%. They began upgrading their global LTE core network to provide additional connectivity for wholesale operators.
In their guidance, they said business should improve significantly because of more than 40 new customer programs moving into production on new IoT products. They manufacture to customer specifications when the customer adds a new product.
Earnings Aug 4th.
To go from an 8 cent profit in Q1 to 60-90 cents for the full year is a major gain in profitability. Shares have been rising since the earnings report and showing no weakness when the market was down.
With a SWIR trade at $20.30
Buy SWIR shares, currently $19.90, initial stop loss $18.45.
No options recommended due to wide spreads.
BEARISH Play Updates
ENDP - Endo Intl Plc - Company Description
No specific news. Minor gain. No ASCO drop here where we need it. We still have a long put option open. At 5 cents, it was not worth a stop loss. We have two weeks before that expires and anything is possible after ASCO.
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.
Long June $12.50 put @ $1.05, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Previously closed 6/1/16: Short ENDP shares @ $13.81, exit $16.45, -2.64 loss.
Left Over Lottery Tickets
These positions were left over from prior plays where we had an optional option with no stop after the stock position was closed. Rather than close these for a few cents they are left open as a "Lottery Ticket" play. With months before expiration, anything is possible.
These positions are only updated on the weekend.
FDC - First Data - Company Profile
No specific news. The rebound has stalled and we could see a decline begin at any time.
We were stopped out on the stock short on 5/23 there was no stop loss on the option and that position remains open. At the current 5-cent price that is a lottery ticket that the headlines will fade and the original direction will return. This is a July option so plenty of time for a disaster to appear.
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.
Long July $10 put @ $.60, no stop loss.
Previously closed 5/23/16: Short FDC shares @ $10.69, exit $11.55, -.86 loss.
SQ - Square - Company Profile
No specific news. The June call option has two weeks left and at 2 cents we have almost no risk to continue holding the position. Lightning can strike at any time and for $10 today, this is a June lottery ticket.
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.
TRN - Trinity Industries - Company Profile
Trinity announced they won a $940 million wind tower order. They will be delivered over a three year period starting in 2017. This will push out the order backlog on wind towers through 2019. The current backlog was $263.4 million so this order is a big deal. Unfortunately, the stock barely moved since the news came in a negative market the prior week.
We have a July call option that is worth 19 cents today. I would bet $19 that it will recover by July.
Original Trade Description: March 18th
Trinity Industries manufacturers rail cars, highway guard rails and steel beams for infrastructure projects, structural towers for wind turbines and electrical distribution grids, oil and chemical storage tanks, barges to transport grain, coal, aggregates, tank barges to transport oil, chemicals and petroleum products. The company was founded in 1933.
Shares crashed in mid February after they reported earnings that beat the street but guidance that disappointed. Earnings of $1.30 easily beat estimates for $1.07 but revenue of $1.55 billion missed estimates for $1.61 billion. They had full year earnings of $5.08 per share.
They guided for 2016 to earnings of $2.00 to $2.40 per share. The challenge is the slowdown in orders for railroad tank cars and barges to transport oil. With oil prices crashing the producers and refiners are cutting back on capex spending until prices recover. Trinity said revenue in 2016 could decline -32%. Shares declined -35% over two days on the news.
The key here is that Trinity is now trading at a PE of 3. Yes 3.74 to be exact. With earnings in the middle of their range at $2.20 and a PE of 10 that would equate to a $22 stock price.
Here is the good news. The company has $2.12 billion in cash and undrawn credit. They are not in financial trouble. They authorized a $250 million share buyback starting January 1st. They have an order backlog of $5.4 billion in orders for 48,885 railcars. They received orders for 2,455 cars in Q4 and their backlog stretches out to 2020. The barge division received orders for $190.1 million in Q4 and had a backlog of $416 million as of December 31st. The structural tower segment has $371.3 million in order backlogs.
They recognize that tankcar and barge orders are going to remain slow until oil prices recover, which should happen later this year.
This stock was extremely oversold but began recovering in early March. Trinity produces a lot of railcars for carrying all types of products other than oil. That demand is not going to disappear and they already have order backlogs stretching into 2020.
At their current valuation they could also be an acquisition candidate. This is a great business that has been overly punished by the oil crash.
Earnings April 21st.
Long July $20 call @ $1.50, no stop loss.
Previously Closed 4/5/16: Long TRN shares @ $19.15, exit $17.50, -1.65 loss.
WIN - Windstream Holdings - Company Profile
WIN is moving up again after they announced new fiber connectivity in Nashville and Richmond. The new fiber networks will connect ultra high speed fiber backbones between data centers in those cities to the national backbone.
We have an August $9 call and it could end up in the money because that is well into the future. With the option worth only 31 cents today, there is no value in closing it. This is a lottery play that WIN will be above $9 by August.
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.
If you like the trade setups you have been receiving and you are on a free trial then now is the time to subscribe. Do not wait until you miss a newsletter to decide you want to take the plunge.