Option Investor
Newsletter

Daily Newsletter, Monday, 10/16/2017

Table of Contents

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

Market Wrap

Black Monday, Reboot

by Thomas Hughes

Click here to email Thomas Hughes

Introduction

Markets held steady and even set new highs on the 30th anniversary of Black Monday. While interesting to look back on Black Monday it has little relevance on today's markets. Today's trading is supported by positive economic trends and earnings, along with another jump in oil prices. Action was on the light side with decliners and advancers roughly equal but bullish with far more issues making new highs than new lows.

Asian indices were mostly higher with gains in the range of 0.5%. The Shang Hai index lagged with a loss of -0.35% as Chinese inflation data came in a bit hotter than expected. The CPI came in as expected at 1.6% YOY but PPI beat expectations at 6.9%. European indices were more mixed, closing flat on the day as issues in Catalonia continue to simmer. European balance of trade also has some impact on trading, falling nearly 1.4 billion Euros since last year.

Market Statistics

Futures trading was positive all morning and indicative of marginal gains at the open. The trade held fairly steady throughout the early session with little impact from economic data or early morning earnings releases. The open was a bit hectic as weekend traders sought to enter the market; the SPX opened with a gain of roughly 2 points and then extended that to nearly 6 points in the first 4 minutes of trading. This peak turned out to be intraday high for the broad market, leaving most indices trending sideways to flat for the rest of the day. The point of note is that the Dow Jones Industrials, the NASDAQ Composite and S&P 500 all set new all time intraday and/or closing highs in today's action.

Economic Calendar

The Economy

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey made a surprise jump in indication of robust expansion, their words, within the greater New York Federal Reserve region. The headline gained nearly 6 points to hit 30.2 and a 3 year high. Gains were made on new orders, shipments and employment. New orders rose to 18, shipments gained 11 to hit 27.5 and labor came in strong at 15.6. Other signs of strength were in prices paid, down from last month but still showing inflationary pressure, delivery times and inventories. Forward outlook is also good rising 6 points to 44.8 and just below 3 year highs.


Moody's Survey of Business Confidence fell -1.4% to 30.7% in the last week. The drop shows some instability in week to week confidence but is generally steady at historically strong levels. Mr. Zandi says global business is able to look past political uncertainties and geopolitical tensions, that future outlook is positive and expecting further improvements in global economies. Inventories and hiring remain healthy.


With a little more than 6% of the S&P 500 reporting for the 3rd quarter the numbers are already looking a bit mixed. Last week's reports from the financial sector having the largest impact, particularly those of Wells Fargo and those among the insurance group. That said 81% of those reporting are beating on the bottom line and a slightly smaller 78% are beating on the top, both figures are above their 4 year averages. The blended rate of earnings growth is now 2.1% and well below expectations at the start of the quarter.


Looking forward earnings outlook remains strong and relatively stable with some improvement to the long term. Full year 2017 estimate has fallen by a tenth to 9.1% on this week's fall in the Q3 blended rate, 4th quarter 2017 estimate held steady at 11.10%. Looking to 2018 full year estimates have improved on rising oil prices and improvements in forward guidance to hit 11.6%, its highest level in nearly 4 months. First quarter 2018 estimate was upped by 0.2% to 10.6% while the second held steady at 10.3%.


The Dollar Index

The Dollar Index gained about 0.20% today as traders await this week's data. On the domestic side of things the big mover of the week will be the Fed's Beige Book on Wednesday. Indications of strength within the economy and in particular inflationary pressures will be dollar strong. Countering this, and in light of last week's weaker than expected CPI and PPI, is a raft of data out of the EU, Germany and the UK that could easily tip the balance of power away from the dollar. The index created a small green bodied candle today, halted by resistance near $93 and the short term down trend line. A break above this line may be bullish, a fall from it will confirm the ongoing down trend.


The Gold Index

Gold prices edged lower on today's rise in the dollar, falling a half percent to trade just below $1,300. The drop below $1,300 could precede a deeper pullback but with the dollar trending lower I'd wait until a little later in the week before committing to that trade. While US economics are improving and driving hawkish forward FOMC expectations so too are data points in Europe, and there is far more important data coming out of Europe this week than here at home. This means that any dollar strength could driven by the Beige Book could be undermined by euro and pound strength, keeping gold prices at or near current levels. A firm break of $1,300 would be bearish, a snap-back and bounce would be bullish, with short to long term direction range bound.

The Gold Miners ETF GDX fell nearly -2%, confirming resistance at $24, and breaking below the short term moving average. Today's move looks bearish but remains within current trading ranges, both near and long term. The indicators are both consistent with range bound trading; MACD momentum is trending weak and near 0 at this time while stochastic confirms resistance with a reversal and bearish crossover just below the upper signal line. The ETF may continue to move lower with first target for support at the long term moving average near $23.15. A break below that would be more bearish but still face potentially strong support levels at $22.50 and $22. A bounce could be bullish within the range but faces resistance at $24 and then $25.


The Oil Index

Oil prices jumped today on Iraq's decision to annex oil fields in the Kurdish held region around Kirkuk. The move has raised fears of supply disruptions, adding to fears sprouted last week when Trump refused to certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal. WTI jumped more than 0.80% to trade near $52 and at a two week high. Price is bouncing up from the $50 level and looks like it could go higher into the near term. First target for resistance is near $52.50, a break above that level could take oil up to $55.

The Oil Index gained more than 0.35% to set a new short term high but was not able to hold it into the close. The index did close with small gains but created a small red candle within but at the top end of its near term consolidation range. This range has been forming for nearly a month and has taken on a decidedly bullish cast. The indicators are still mixed but rolling into a bullish trend following signal already confirmed by a weak crossover in the stochastic. Resistance is in the range of 1,225, a break above which will be bullish. Based on the magnitude of the current rally upside targets exceed the 1,300 level and 2 year highs.


In The News, Story Stocks and Earnings

Tesla is reported to have fired more than 400 engineers, managers and factory workers last week. The move is speculated to be part of a plan to help improve production of the Model 3 which has been plagued by issues. The issues stem from plans to ramp up production and could be alleviated by what Kelley Blue Book managing editor Michael Harley called a major change in staff. Shares fell from the short term moving average to shed more than -1.25%. Price action has been choppy over the past few months but is forming what looks like a flat topped and bullish triangle.


Netflix reported after the bell and beat across the board. The company reported a marginal beat on revenue with a more substantial beat on both EPS and net new subscribers. EPS of $.37 beat by a nickel, net new subscribers of 5.3 million beat by about a million and forward guidance is strong for the 4th quarter and full year. The stock was up more than 1.5% in the open session, setting a new all time high, and extended that by another 1.5% in the after hours session.


The VIX gained about 3% today but the move was more sideways than not. The index remains low at 9.90 and below the 10.15 resistance line. The indicators are mildly bullish and consistent with the most recent bounce from support but are not indicative of strength at this time. Resistance is just above today's close at 10.15, support is at the long term low near 8.80. At current levels the index is consistent with low levels of implied volatility and bull market conditions.


The Indices

Today's move was tepid to say the least but in most respects still bullish. The stand out is the Dow Jones Transportation Average which fell about -0.80%. The transports are moving lower in a near term move following a breach to new all time highs last week. The indicators are bearish and point to lower prices with an eye on testing support at the short term moving average near 9750. A break below this level would be more bearish with target near 9,400 and the long term moving average.


The S&P 500 made the smallest gains today, only 0.13%. The broad market created a small spinning top doji drifting up to set a new high after a week of such moves. The index is trending higher in the near, short and long term with bullish indicators. The indicators are both bullish but also showing some weakness in the near term that needs to be watched. A fall from current levels would not break trend but would be bearish in the near term with first target at the short term moving average. Until that happens upward momentum is likely to persist, and stochastic is about to fire a weak crossover suggesting the possibility of further upside. Upside target is still 2,580.


The NASDAQ Composite closed with a gain near 0.30%. The tech heavy index created a small doji candle hanging at a new all time high and in danger of being abandoned. The indicators are both bullish but showing near term weakness suggesting consolidation or correction is still possible. A fall from this level may find support near the short term moving average at 6,500. That being said the current rally is fairly strong and could easily continue to drift higher into the near term, upside target is still 6,800.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted the largest gain, 0.37%, and created a small bodied green candle moving up to set a new all time, closing at the highs of the day. The indicators are a bit mixed but show an asset trending strongly higher with the possibility of extending the move. MACD momentum has subsided from its most recent peak but flattened out above 0 while stochastic begins firing a bullish crossover, both consistent with continuation within an up trend. Near term target is 23,000, a break above that could go to 23,500.


Today's action was hopeful, hopeful that earnings season will play out as expected. This means a rise in the blended rate of S&P 500 earnings growth and continued positive forward outlook for both the economy and earnings. So far the blended rate has failed to deliver but that is likely to change this week, the other two are in the bag, at least for now. I remain bullish in the long term but remain cautious for the near, keeping those stops close and on the look out for new opportunities.

Until then, remember the trend!

Thomas Hughes


New Plays

Follow the Money

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown
Editor's Note

A major shareholder in Conn's just bought another $1 million in stock. She already owns more than 10%.



NEW BULLISH Plays

CONN - Conn's Inc - Company Profile

Conn's, Inc. operates as a specialty retailer of durable consumer goods and related services in the United States. It operates through two segments, Retail and Credit. The company's stores provide furniture and mattress, including furniture and related accessories for the living room, dining room, and bedroom, as well as traditional and specialty mattresses; home appliances comprising refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, dishwashers, and ranges; and home office products consisting of computers, printers, and accessories. Its stores also offer consumer electronics, such as LED, OLED, Ultra HD, and Internet-ready televisions; and Blu-ray players, and home theater and portable audio equipment. The company also provides short- and medium-term financing to its retail customers, as well as offers product support services, such as product repair services, repair service agreements, and various credit insurance products. As of January 31, 2017, it operated 113 retail locations in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Conn's, Inc. was founded in 1890 and is based in The Woodlands, Texas. Company description from FinViz.com.

Conn's reported earnings of 26 cents and analysts were expecting a loss of 2 cents. Revenue of $366.6 million missed estimates for $371.9 million. They are located outside of Houston and were forced to close 23 stores, distribution and service centers in Beaumont and Houston. They lost 100 selling days as a result of the storm.

The company said collections from customer financings would be impacted and sales were slow after the stores reopened. However, once utilities and transportation systems were restored, the business saw a large uptick in activity. People who were flooded out have to replace all of their furniture and electronics. Because the company is located in and has a heavy presence in Houston, they will benefit from the surge in replacing household items for months into the future. Shares are rebounding on this outlook.

Earnings Dec 7th.

I profiled this as a long position on Sept 28th but the stock gapped higher on the 29th on an analyst upgraded and that cancelled the entry. Oppenheimer raised their rating to an outperform with a $56 price target. He said investors were under appreciating the resurgence of the Conn's business model and credit portfolio. The crisis of confidence from September 2016 has long passed.

Late Monday an SEC Form 4 was filed showing Harriet Stevens, a 10% owner, purchased another 42,000 shares for $1,066,800 on Oct 13th. This is a strong vote of confidence in the stock. She already owns 5.984 million shares worth $152 million. She did not need to buy more unless she really felt the stock was going higher.

Buy CONN shares, currently $25.85, initial stop loss $23.50.
Alternate position: Buy Nov $28 call, currently 85 cents. Short fuse. No stop loss.



NEW BEARISH Plays

No New Bearish Plays


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



In Play Updates and Reviews

Close but Not Quite

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown

Editors Note:

The Russell traded slightly under support at 1,500 intraday but recovered at the close. Individual small caps were mostly negative on Monday but the Russell was able to cling to that support and not trigger any cascade selling. The index is right on the borderline and while the rest of the indexes were making strong gains it was fighting for survival. The 162 point gain since August is tempting sellers but there is still a lot of indecision.

The Dow exploded higher thanks to Goldman, Apple, Travelers and JP Morgan. That is what we needed to drag the big cap indexes over their respective resistance levels. The S&P posted only a 4 point gain but pulled slightly farther away from the 2550-2555 resistance.





Current Portfolio


Stop Loss Updates

Check the graphic below for any new stop losses in bright yellow. We need to always be prepared for an unexpected decline.


Profit Targets

Check the graphic below for any profit stops in green. We need to always be prepared for a profit exit at resistance.





Current Position Changes


BBBY - Bed, Bath & Beyond
The short position was entered at the open.

KTOS - Kratos
The long stock position was closed at the open.



If you are looking for a different type of trading strategy, try these newsletters:

Short term Calls and Puts on equities = Option Investor Newsletter

Credit spreads and naked puts = OptionWriter

Long term option investments = LEAPS Investor

3-6 month Option Trades = Ultimate Investor

Iron Condors = Couch Potato Trader



BULLISH Play Updates

AMD - Advanced Micro Devices - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Baird Equity Research called AMD its top medium-term idea on Monday.

Original Trade Description: Sept 23rd

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. operates as a semiconductor company worldwide. Its primarily offers x86 microprocessors as an accelerated processing unit (APU), chipsets, discrete graphics processing units (GPUs), and professional graphics; and server and embedded processors, and semi-custom System-on-Chip (SoC) products and technology for game consoles. The company provides x86 microprocessors for desktop PCs under the AMD A-Series, AMD E-Series, AMD FX CPU, AMD Athlon CPU and APU, AMD Sempron APU and CPU, and AMD Pro A-Series APU brands; and microprocessors for notebook and 2-in-1s under the AMD A-Series, AMD E-Series, AMD C-Series, AMD Z-Series, AMD FX APU, AMD Phenom, AMD Athlon CPU and APU, AMD Turion, and AMD Sempron APU and CPU brand names. It also offers chipsets with and without integrated graphics features for desktop, notebook PCs, and servers, as well as controller hub-based chipsets for its APUs under the AMD brand; and AMD PRO mobile and desktop PC solutions. In addition, the company provides discrete GPUs for desktop and notebook PCs under the AMD Radeon brand; professional graphics products under the AMD FirePro brand name; and customer-specific solutions based on AMD's CPU, GPU, and multi-media technologies. Further, it offers microprocessors for server platforms under the AMD Opteron; embedded processor solutions for interactive digital signage, casino gaming, and medical imaging under the AMD Opteron, AMD Athlon, AMD Sempron, AMD Geode, AMD R-Series, and G-Series brand names; and semi-custom SoC products that power the Sony Playstation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, and Xbox One S game consoles. Company description from FinViz.com.

Expected earnings Oct 24th.

Nvidia (NVDA) shares were rocked last week after news broke that Tesla was looking at moving to AMD and away from Nvidia for the chips to power the autonomous driving functions. The initial headline saw AMD spike and Nvidia decline. The actual story is that AMD and Nvidia are partnering on creating a chip solution for Tesla. It is no surprise that AMD is in the mix because Tesla hired Jim Keller to lead development of Autopilot. Keller previously worked at AMD and led the development of the Zen architecture and the new Ryzen processors.

It appears that Nvidia and AMD have a team of about 50 engineers working to develop a comprehensive solution for Tesla. Here is where it gets interesting. I would not be surprised to see Tesla make an acquisition bid for AMD. The company only has a $13 billion market cap compared to $110 billion for Nvidia. AMD has a lot of products that are different from the Nvidia product line even though they both make GPUs. AMD has only existed for years as a foil for Intel. The bigger company could not be considered a monopoly as long as AMD existed. Now with Qualcomm getting into the processor market and AMD and Nvidia in a high tech partnership, it would make sense for Nvidia to acquire AMD. Since GPUs are a small part of AMD's product line, there may not be that much regulatory concern. Is it a long shot? Absolutely, but definitely in the realm of possibilities.

Even if there is never an acquisition bid, just the combination of AMD and Nvidia in a partnership validates the technical capabilities of AMD and lifts them into the big league. Where AMD has always been a low cost alternative to Intel and always 1-2 generations behind in technical expertise, they have dramatically improved their game in the last 12-18 months. Instead of being road kill on the Intel superhighway to state of the art processors, they have surged to be a real competitor. Partnering with Nvidia is a real step up for the company.

The chart is ugly with no apparent trend but there is decent support at $12. They could easily catch fire as investors begin to understand the ramifications of the partnership and we could see another leg higher like the one that started the prior May. There are no guarantees but I do not believe anyone sees AMD's future as anything but positive given recent events.

Update 9/25/17: AMD and Nvidia declined after Intel announced the next generation in the Core CPU line for desktops. This 8th generation Core-i7-8700K is the bet gaming processor ever with an internal clock frequency of 4.7 Ghz and Intel's fastest ever. They will also support 4K video. This is a challenge for AMD but the company is still ahead of Intel in the GPU race.

Update 10/3/17: AMD announced a new embedded GPU requiring less power and capable of driving five simultaneous 4K displays. The GPU requires less than 40 watts TDP and comes in a smaller, thinner package. The chip has a 1.25 TFLOPS speed and comes in three form factors including MCM, MXM and PCI Express. The 4K and 3D support works for games, medical imaging, advertising signage and industrial uses. The GPU has 4 GB of GDDR5 memory. Shares gained more than 5% on the news.

Update 11/10/17: AMD shares rallied after a processor conference and upgrade to Nvidia. Yesterday there was an article with a picture of a new Intel processor with "Vega Inside" but it has disappeared today. Intel has previously denied any licensing with AMD but the picture showed a mobile processor with Intel Outside, Vega Inside, which would mean AMD's Vega graphics on an Intel chip. This was for a mobile processor for a notebook or tablet. Apparently, Intel was not ready for the world to see that internal graphic and the article was removed from circulation. If/when Intel does announce a deal with AMD the stock is going to soar.

Update: I was able to go back and find the link I had saved even though it is no longer on the website. Vega Inside

Position 9/25/17:

Long AMD shares @ $13.25, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Alternate position: Long Jan $14 call @ $1.25, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.



BOTZ - Global X Robotics AI - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Long term position.

Original Trade Description: October 4th.

The investment seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the Indxx Global Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Thematic Index. The fund invests at least 80% of its total assets in the securities of the underlying index. The underlying index is designed to provide exposure to exchange-listed companies in developed markets that are involved in the development of robotics and/or artificial intelligence as defined by Indxx, the provider of the underlying index. The fund is non-diversified. Company description from FinViz.com.

Robots of every description are taking over the manufacturing sector, service sector, etc. Drones are automated. Autos are becoming autonomous.

Even more important to this ETF is the sudden arrival of Artificial Intelligence or AI. That is the buzzword for everything. Everybody is trying to get into the AI business.

This ETF took off last January and while there have been several mild hiccups along the way, the chart is nearly vertical as investors become aware of it.

I am going to lag back on the stop loss because this could be a long-term position.

Position 10/5/17:

Long BOTZ shares @ $22.10, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Alternate position: Long Mar $23 call @ 80 cents, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.



HPE - Hewlett Packard Enterprise - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Still holding at the highs. I know if I drop it for non-performance the next day it will spike $1.

Original Trade Description: Oct 2nd

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company provides technology solutions to business and public sector enterprises. It operates through Enterprise Group, Software, Enterprise Services, and Hewlett Packard Financial Services segments. The Enterprise Group segment offers servers, management software, converged infrastructure solutions and technology services; hybrid cloud solutions, including private cloud platform; business critical systems; storage products, as well as 3PAR StoreServ, a Storage platform; and networking products comprising switches, points, controllers, routers, and wireless local area network and network management products. This segment also provides software-defined networking and communications capabilities; network access solutions for mobile enterprises; and consulting services. The Software segment offers software to capture, store, explore, analyze, protect, and share information and insights within and outside organizations; enterprise security, application delivery management, and IT operations management software products. This segment provides HP Vertica, an analytics database technology for machine, structured, and semi-structured data; and HP IDOL, an analytics tool for human information, as well as solutions for archiving, data protection, eDiscovery, information governance, and enterprise content management. The Enterprise Services segment offers consulting, outsourcing, and support services across infrastructure, applications, and business process domains; and application and business services that help clients to develop, revitalize, and manage their applications and information assets. The Hewlett Packard Financial Services segment provides leasing, financing, IT consumption and utility programs, and asset management services. Company description from FinViz.com.

Expected earnings Dec 5th.

HPE has been undergoing an intense reorganization for several years. That included splitting off from HPQ in an effort to separate the corporate business from the consumer business. Meg Whitman has done a superb job in trimming excess departments and selling off non-core assets.

Recently, she announced another 10% reduction in the workforce that would result in 5,000 job cuts. She said the reductions would result in fewer lines of business and a more streamlined decision process. The current 3-year plan calls for savings of $1.5 billion and shift the focus towards research and development.

When Whitman took over in 2011 Hewlett Packard had 350,000 workers before the spinoff. Now HPE has 52,000.

The company now specializes in cybersecurity, enterprise WiFi, cloud services, servers and other corporate technology. Whitman recently said the company is seeing rapidly growing demand across key areas of the business.

Shares closed at a new high on Monday after trading in a $2 range for almost a year. I believe the latest announcement on reductions and streamlined operations has finally struck a chord with investors.

Update 10/3/17: Shares down slightly on news they allowed Russia to examine the source code of security software used to guard Pentagon secrets. The review was required by Russia and other countries prior to those countries considering HPE as a cybersecurity vendor for their secrets. However, by letting Russian software engineers view the source code, supposedly to make sure there was no hidden back door access for US spies, they learned how the code worked, what the software was guarding against and gave them insights as to how they could defeat it. The top White House cyber security official said this was becoming a bigger problem because everyone (other countries) was demanding to see the source code and that has now become a security risk.

Position 10/3/17:

Long HPE shares @ $14.97, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Alternate position: Long Jan $16 call @ 50 cents, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.



KTOS - Kratos Defense - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. KTOS continued to decline. We closed the stock position at the open. I said we would retain the call as a lottery play but given the continued decline, I am recommending we close it as well.

Original Trade Description: August 14th.

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. provides mission critical products, solutions, and services in the United States. The company operates through three segments: Kratos Government Solutions, Unmanned Systems, and Public Safety & Security. The Kratos Government Solutions segment offers microwave electronic products; satellite communications; technical and training solutions; modular systems; and defense and rocket support services. The Unmanned Systems segment provides unmanned aerial, ground, and seaborne, as well as command, control, and communications systems. The Public Safety & Security segment designs, engineers, deploys, operates, integrates, maintains, and operates security and surveillance solutions for homeland security, public safety, critical infrastructure, government, and commercial customers. The company serves national security related agencies, the department of defense, intelligence agencies, and classified agencies, as well as international government agencies and domestic and international commercial customers; and critical infrastructure, power generation, power transport, nuclear energy, financial, IT, healthcare, education, transportation, and petro-chemical industries, as well as government and military customers. Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in San Diego, California. Company description from FinViz.com.

Kratos builds drones for target practice for the U.S. military. They are also building drones for combat for air to air and air to land. They also provide communication systems for missiles, satellites and various other platforms.

China and Russia are rapidly militarizing space and Kratos is working with the U.S. military to improve satellite communication to defend against attacks. The DoD is currently spending a lot of money to prepare for war in space. Kratos owns and operates a global satellite demonitoring business with revenues rising 61% in Q1.

Kratos has so many new programs in operation it would be impossible to list them here and several of them are secret programs for unnamed clients.

Kratos guided for a return to profitability in Q2 and sharply rising revenue for the full year. Shares spiked 30% in the four weeks after Q1 earnings. Their next report is August 3rd. I am recommending we buy an option and hold over the report. If the earnings are as positive as they teased in the Q1 report we could see another sharp reaction. This company is in all the right places for the increase in defense department spending.

Kratos unveiled its newest high performance class of military unmanned aerial system technology at the Paris Air Show. The XQ-222 Valkyrie and UTAP-22 Mako drones provide fighter like performance and are designed to function as wingmen to manned aircraft in contested airspace. The Valkyrie can carry various weapons and intelligence systems and has a range of 3,000 miles. The Mako is designed to carry sensors and stealthily infiltrate hostile airspace to gather intelligence. Both are designed to operate with or without manned flights. The Air Force recently pitched the functions of the Valkyrie saying a F-35 with a group of fighter/bomber drones could maximize control of airspace and ground attack operations. The F-35 can select targets and pass information to specific drones while maintaining situational awareness from a stealthy and relatively safe position.

Just over the last couple weeks Kratos announced a $2.9 million order for an airborne communications system, a $10 million order for a ballistic missile defense system, $23 million for a military radar system and $8 million for a GPS Satellite protection system. Analysts are expecting a record $800 million in revenue for 2018. They expect to do $150 million in unmanned revenues in 2018.

Kratos posted earnings of 1 cent and a $10.4% increase in revenue to $186 million. They guided to be free cash flow positive by $25 million in 2017.

Expected earnings Oct 26th.

With the daily new contract awards shares have risen $1.50 in the last week and closed at a 5-week high on Monday. They are very close to breaking out to a new high.

Update 9/5/17: New high in a weak market. Unfortunately, after the close they announced a secondary offering of 12.5 million shares that will increase the float by 14%. If I recommended we sell at the open on Wednesday, we are going to get hit with the normal "sell the news" decline. If we retain the position, stocks normally rise after a secondary is completed. We can either take a loss on Wednesday or hang on for a bigger gain later. I am recommending we hold the position. I am removing the stop loss to avoid being knocked out of the position for a loss. Shares declined to $12.80 in afterhours, a drop of $1. If that is all the decline we get, I would be very happy.

Update 9/6/17: KTOS announced a $46 million contract with the Saudi Royal Navy to assist in increasing military communications and preparedness. They also announced the QWK Integrated Solutions LLC, a partnership of multiple defense firms had won a $3.038 billion five year contract. The partnership will provide for rapid development and integration of space, missile defense, cyber, directed energy and related technologies to support SMDC/ARSTRAT and the warfighter.

Update 9/11/17: The company announced it had successfully completed a required number of missions with their jet powered unmanned drone system. The missions are part of the performance demonstrations prior to delivery of ten drones over the next six months. The customer was not announced for security reasons. However, a program they announced with the Navy several months ago called for delivery of 10 drones in 2017 with the potential for multiple follow on orders in 2018. This could be part of that project.

Update 9/18/17: Kratos deployed the first fully autonomous vehicle in Colorado with the Colorado Dept of Transportation. The robot vehicle replaces the trailing vehicle in a work construction crew. It follows the crew throughout the day and acts as a mobile crash barrier. Previously, a CDOT employee had to drive a specially built truck mounted with impact absorbing rear bumpers. Basically, this protects the work crew on the road by giving erratic drivers something to hit other than the work crew. There is still the problem of the driver in this truck when a car, truck or semi plows into the truck at 70 mph. In Colorado these bumper trucks were hit an average of 7 times per year, sometimes with injury to the CDOT drivers. The Kratos robotic crash guard truck has no driver so nobody is injured with an errant civilian vehicle crashes into it. The robot vehicle monitors the work crew and maintains a safe distance behind them with enough lane coverage to keep them from getting hit.

Update 9/21/17: KTOS successfully completed the third test of AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Radar (AMDR) against a live ballistic missile target. The new radar is slated to begin service on the Navy's next generation Arleigh Burke Class Guided Missile Destroyer currently under development. This is a big step for Kratos.

Position 8/15/17:

Closed 10/16: Long KTOS shares @ $12.78, exit $13.10, +.32 gain.
Alternate position: Long Nov $15 call @ 65 cents, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

With shares just crossing the $12.50 strike price, we had to reach out to $15 and a distant month.



MRVL - Marvel Technology - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. The stock continues to have a problem with breakout out over resistance at $18.60. Missed our stop loss today by a penny.

Original Trade Description: August 30th.

Marvell Technology Group Ltd. designs, develops, and markets analog, mixed-signal, digital signal processing, and embedded and standalone integrated circuits. It offers a range of storage products, such as hard disk drive (HDD) and solid-state drive controllers, as well as HDD components, such as HDD preamps components; and develops software enabled silicon solutions consisting of serial advanced technology attachment port multipliers, bridges, serial attached SCSI, and non-volatile memory express redundant array of independent disks controllers and converged storage processors for enterprise, data centers, and cloud computing businesses. The company also provides networking products comprising Ethernet solutions comprising Ethernet switches, Ethernet physical-layer transceivers, and single-chip network interface devices; and embedded communication processors. In addition, it offers a portfolio of connectivity solutions, including Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth integrated system-on-a-chip products, which are integrated into a variety of end devices, such as enterprise access points, home gateways, multimedia devices, gaming products, printers, automotive infotainment and telematics units, and smart industrial devices. Further, the company provides printer-specific standard products, as well as full-custom application-specific integrated circuits; and communications and applications processors. Company description from FinViz.com.

Marvel reported earnings of 30 cents that beat estimates for 28 cents. Revenue of $605 million beat estimates for $601 million. Free cash flow more than doubled from $38 million to $89 million. Core revenues rose 6%, storage controller revenues rose 13%. SSD chips rose from 20% to 25% or revenue. The new SSD products are rapidly gaining market share and remain a high profit item. Gross margin was 60.4%. They guided for Q3 for revenue of $595-$625 million with earnings of 30-34 cents per share.

Expected earnings Nov 23rd.

The company is in the midst of a restructuring process while they are changing their product mix for the better. Apparently it is working.

Shares spiked from $15.75 to $17.25 after earnings then pulled back slightly on post earnings depression. They rebounded today to a new 2-month high and very close to a new high.

Position 8/31:

Long MRVL shares @ $17.79, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Alternate position:
Closed 10/9: Long Oct $18 call @ 64 cents, exit 64 cents, breakeven.



ON - ON Semiconductor - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Baird Equity raised their price target to $25.

Original Trade Description: Oct 9th.

ON Semiconductor Corporation manufactures and sells semiconductor components for various electronic devices worldwide. It operates through three segments: Power Solutions Group, Analog Solutions Group, and Image Sensor Group. The Power Solutions Group segment offers discrete, module, and integrated semiconductor products for various applications, such as power switching, power conversion, signal conditioning, circuit protection, signal amplification, and voltage reference. The Analog Solutions Group segment designs and develops analog, mixed-signal, and logic application specific integrated circuits and standard products, as well as power solutions for a range of end-users in the automotive, consumer, computing, industrial, communications, medical, and aerospace/defense markets. This segment also provides trusted foundry, trusted design, and manufacturing services, as well as integrated passive devices technology. The Image Sensor Group segment offers complementary metal oxide semiconductors and charge-coupled device image sensors, as well as proximity sensors, image signal processors, and actuator drivers for autofocus and image stabilization for a range of customers in automotive, industrial, consumer, wireless, medical, and aerospace/defense markets. The company serves original equipment manufacturers, distributors, and electronic manufacturing service providers. Company description from FinViz.com.

Earnings Nov 6th, unconfirmed.

ON continues to power higher on a surge of new products as the IoT boom continues. The company completed the acquisition of Fairchild Semiconductor in September.

A major factor in the boom is the Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems. This market is expected to reach $42 billion by 2021 according to MarketsandMarkets. This is giving ON a tremendous boost in earnings and forecasts.

However, they missed earnings for Q2. They reported 26 cents and estimates were 33 cents. Revenue of $1.34 billion beat estimates for $1.31 billion. The company guided for the current quarter for $1.34-$1.39 billion.

Somebody believes they are going to beat those estimates by a mile. On Monday, somebody bought 11,000 of the November $20 calls at 65 cents. That is a $715,000 bet. I suggest we follow them.

Because of the steep gains over the last month, I am not recommending a stock position. We will do this with options only.

Update 10/11/17: ON and Fujitsu announced an agreement where ON will purchase 40% of Fujitsu's 8-inch wafer fabrication plant in Aizu-Wakamatsu. The purchase will be completed by April 1st. ON already had a 10% share and will acquire another 30%. ON said it planned to increase ownership to 80% in the second half of 2018 and 100% in the first half of 2020. By scaling into the ownership it will allow ON to add capacity as demand increases.

Update 10/12/17: ON announced to new System on a Chip (SOC) 1.0 Megapixel CMOS image sensing products for the automotive imaging sector. The company said annual shipments of cameras for use in cars will easily surpass 80 million units by 2020.

Position 10/10/17:

Long Nov $20 call @ 80 cents, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.




BEARISH Play Updates

BBBY - Bed, Bath and Beyond - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Shares closed at a new 8-yr low.

Original Trade Description: October 14th.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates a chain of retail stores. It sells a range of domestics merchandise, including bed linens and related items, bath items, and kitchen textiles; and home furnishings, such as kitchen and tabletop items, fine tabletop, basic housewares, general home furnishings, consumables, and juvenile products. It also provides various textile products, amenities, and other goods to institutional customers in the hospitality, cruise line, healthcare, and other industries. As of February 25, 2017, the company had a total of 1,546 stores, includes 1,023 Bed Bath & Beyond stores in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada; 276 stores under the names of World Market, Cost Plus World Market, or Cost Plus; 113 buybuy BABY stores in 35 states and Canada; 80 stores under the CTS name; and 54 stores under the Harmon name. It also offers products through various Websites and applications, such as bedbathandbeyond.com, bedbathandbeyond.ca, harmondiscount.com, christmastreeshops.com, buybuybaby.com, buybuybaby.ca, harborlinen.com, t-ygroup.com, and worldmarket.com. In addition, the Company operates Of a Kind, an e-commerce Website that features specially commissioned limited edition items from emerging fashion and home designers; One Kings Lane, an online authority in home decor and design that offers a collection of selected home goods, and designer and vintage items; PersonalizationMall.com, an online retailer of personalized products; Chef Central, an online retailer of kitchenware, cookware, and homeware items catering to cooking and baking enthusiasts; and Decorist, an online interior design platform that provides personalized home design services. Company description from FinViz.com.

It is a tough world when nearly every one of your products is listed on Amazon along with a dozen competitive products with free 2-day delivery. Bed, Bath and Beyond is stuck in that rut and it is painful.

In their recent earnings they reported 67 cents, down from $1.11 in the year ago quarter and missed estimates for 93 cents. Revenue of $2.9 billion also missed estimates for $3 billion. Same store sales declined -1.7%. The retailer said it was undertaking a number of "transformational initiatives." One of those initiatives was the termination of 880 manager positions. Shares fell 18% on the earnings.

With Toys-R-Us filing bankruptcy, there are now concerns about other stores possibly following suit. BBBY is in trouble even though they are buying back shares and paying a dividend. With sales and earnings declining those shareholder friendly efforts may have to be curtailed. They have 65,000 employees and 1,550 stores.

This is simply a case of a large brick and mortar retailer trying to compete with an all powerful Amazon and we know who is going to win this battle in the long run.

Expected earnings Dec 19th.

I am reaching out to January on the option because we can buy an extra 40 days of time for 21 cents. We can buy time but we do not have to use it.

Position 10/16/17:

Short BBBY shares @ $21.20, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Alternate position: Long Jan $20 put @ $1.10, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.



JKS - Jinko Solar - Company Profile

Comments:

The company said it supplied 12.7 Mw of panels to Hitachi for a solar plant in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Shares were flat for the day despite the news.

Original Trade Description: October 11th.

JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, development, production, and marketing of photovoltaic products in the People's Republic of China and internationally. It offers solar modules, solar cells, silicon ingots, silicon wafers, and recovered silicon materials. The company sells its products to distributors, project developers, and system integrators under the JinkoSolar brand, as well as on an original equipment manufacturer basis. JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. was founded in 2006 and is based in Shangrao, the People's Republic of China. Company description from FinViz.com.

Expected earnings Dec 6th, unconfirmed.

Declining demand for certain types of solar panels, new requirements in China, new rules in China and an excess of supply in the market is depressing Jinko shares.

Of the last five analyst actions, 2 have been a cut back to hold and 3 have been a cut to sell. Axiom cut them to sell with a $10 price target.

To make matters worse, on Sept 27th, the company announced an "at the market" offering of $100 million in stock. That represents about 5 million shares in addition to their 27 million shares outstanding. At the market means the selling broker will simply sell the shares into the market at a time and pace of their own choosing. Average daily volume is about 800,000 so assuming they sold 100,000 shares per day it would take 50 trading days of continuous selling pressure.

Over the last month the consensus earnings estimates for the full year have declined from $1.99 to 77 cents. Estimates for the quarter have declined from 41 cents to 17 cents. Axiom said estimates should turn negative for Q4 and remain negative all the way through 2019.

Unfortunately, the outlook is so negative the put options are very high. This will be a stock only position.

Update 10/12/17: Jinko announced its annual meeting will be held November 15th. The announcement was before the open while there was nothing unusual in the press release, the stock gapped up sharply. Shares gapped up 5% to $23.72 before fading slightly to end with a 92-cent gain for the day. Fortunately, the gap higher at the open gave us a short entry at a higher than expected level and we missed half of the gain. Now we need the decline to continue.

Position 10/12:

Short JKS shares @ $23.03, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.



VIPS - Vipshop Holdings - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Sombody covered their shorts after the 4-yr low close. VIPS rallied 6% on Monday.

Original Trade Description: October 7th.

Vipshop Holdings Limited, through its subsidiaries, operates as an online discount retailer for various brands in the People's Republic of China. It offers a range of branded products, including women's apparel, such as casual wear, jeans, dresses, outerwear, swimsuits, lingerie, pajamas, and maternity clothes; men's apparel comprising casual and smart-casual T-shirts, polo shirts, jackets, pants, and underwear; women and men shoes for casual and formal occasions; and accessories consisting of belts, fashionable jewelry, watches, and glasses for women and men. The company also provides handbags, such as purses, satchels, duffel bags, and wallets; apparel, gear and accessories, furnishings and decor, toys, and games for boys, girls, infants, and toddlers of all age groups; sports apparel, and sports gear, and footwear for tennis, badminton, soccer, and swimming; and skin care and cosmetic products, including cleansers, lotions, face and body creams, face masks, sunscreen, foundations, lipsticks, eye shadows, and nail polish. In addition, it offers home furnishing products comprising bedding and bath products, home decors, and dining and tabletop items; small household appliances; designer apparel, footwear and accessories; and snacks, health supplements, and occasion-based gifts, such as chocolates, moon-cakes, and tea. Further, the company provides consumer financing, supply chain financing, and wealth management services. The company provides its branded products through its vipshop.com, vip.com, and lefeng.com Websites, as well as through its cellular phone application. Company description from FinViz.com.

Vipshop is in the flash sale business. That means other retailers bring them products they cannot sell and Vipshop marks down the price and runs a special flash deal special to clear out the inventory. Vipshop has been around for nearly 10 years and did very well in the early years. Unfortunately, profits are fading because manufacturers and other retailers can now unload their products on Amazon and Alibaba without the valuation haircut that occurs with Vipshop.

Earnings for the recent quarter were 17 cents and estimates were 19 cents. Revenue rose 30% to $2.58 billion. They filled 84.8 million orders.

Expected earnings Nov 15th.

The problem was rising costs. Margins declined in what Vipshop called a highly promotional market with higher advertising costs in hopes of gaining market share. If you translate that sentence it means they had to cut prices to generate the sales and they had to pay more for advertising to lure customers into the sale process.

With Alibaba's growth surging well beyond the optimistic estimates by analysts, they are taking over the online sales channel in China. This does not bode well for Vipshop in the future. Add in the Amazon monopoly in the US and Vipshop has nowhere to go to escape the rapidly growing retail cloud. The flash sales business has died in the US after a flood of competitors surged into business and then quickly disappeared.

Shares closed at a four-year low on Friday at $8.35 with the next support level around $2.50.

Position 10/9/17:

Short VIPS shares @ $8.36, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Alternate position: Long Nov $8 put @ 40 cents, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.



VXX - Volatility Index Futures - ETF Description

Comments:

Since this is a long-term ETF position, there will not be daily commentary.

Original Trade Description: September 18th.

The VXX is a short-term volatility ETF based on the VIX futures. As a futures product it has the rollover curse. Every time they roll to a new futures contract, they have to pay a premium and that lowers the price of the ETF. It is a flawed product with a perpetual decline built in from the monthly roll over in the futures contracts.

As evidence of this flaw, they have now done four 1:4 reverse stock splits. The last five reverse splits occurred at $13.11 (11/2010), $8.77 (10/2012), $12.84 (11/2013), $9.52 (8/8/16), $12.77 (8/22/17). The prospectus says it can reverse split anytime it trades under $25 for a prolonged period and the splits will always be 1:4.

We know from experience that the VXX always declines. The last two times we shorted this ETF we had a $7.23 and $5.98 gain.

Unfortunately, put options are expensive with a volatility instrument at this price level. The only recommendation is to short the ETF and forget it. If we do get a prolonged rally into year-end we could see a sharp decline in the VXX over the next 2-3 months. This will be a long-term position. This is not a 2-3 week play. I can guarantee you, if history holds, we can play this until it splits 1:4 again at $10. Once we are in the position and profitable I will put a trailing stop loss on it. We will take profits and then look for a bounce to get back in.

The VXX is hard to short. Shortsqueeze.com says there are 19.9 million shares short out of 26.7 million shares outstanding. The shares are out there and being traded because the volume on Monday was 29.6 million. You have to tell your broker you really want to short it and make them find the shares. Sometimes it takes days or even a week before your broker will find you the shares. Trust me, be persistent and it will be worth the effort.

I had held off after the 1:4 reverse split because the options were expensive and I was expecting volatility in September from the budget battle and debt ceiling hurdle. With those issues pushed out into December, the volatility is dropping like the proverbial rock. Several readers have already emailed me asking when I was going to put this position back in the portfolio.

Position 9/19/17:

Short VXX shares @ $40.95, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.





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