We've got a couple of plays about to close as earnings approach.


BULLISH Play Updates

Cisco Systems Inc. - CSCO - close: 24.85 change: +0.45 stop: 23.95

Good news! There was no follow through on CSCO's bearish reversal pattern from Friday. Unfortunately we're not out of the woods yet. Today's session (+1.8%) is an inside day. Tomorrow's performance could portend CSCO's direction. I'd wait for a new move over $25.10 before launching new positions.

Our first target to take profits is at $27.40. The goal is a little optimistic since we plan to exit ahead of the early February earnings report. We want to keep our positions small to reduce risk.

Entry on   January 14 at $25.05 
Change since picked:     - 0.20 (small positions)   
Earnings Date          02/03/10 (confirmed)         
Average Daily Volume:        34 million      
Listed on   January 09, 2009    


CVR Energy - CVI - close: 8.41 change: +0.37 stop: 7.50

The rally in CVI continues. Shares out performed many of its peers with a 4.6% gain. The stock also hit our trigger to open bullish positions at $8.20. Now that the trade is open our target long-term target is $12.50. CVI has to push past resistance at the 200-dma (near $8.74) and the $10.00 level first.

chart:

Entry on   January 19 at $ 8.20 
Change since picked:     + 0.21 
Earnings Date          03/10/10 (confirmed)         
Average Daily Volume:       411 thousand     
Listed on   January 17, 2009    


Diana Shipping Inc. - DSX - close: 15.59 change: -0.50 stop: 14.95

I have been suggesting readers wait for a dip or a bounce near $15.50 and we got the dip today. Shares hit $15.41 late this afternoon. I couldn't find any news to account for DSX's relative weakness today so readers may want to wait for a bounce first before initiating new positions. This sector and this stock can be volatile. I do consider this an aggressive, higher-risk trade. We want to keep positions small. Our first target is $17.90.

Entry on   January 09 at $16.44 /gap higher entry
Change since picked:     - 0.85 (small positions)
Earnings Date          02/18/10 (unconfirmed)    
Average Daily Volume:       1.5 million       
Listed on   January 09, 2009    


Fifth Third Bancorp - FITB - close: 11.39 change: +0.03 stop: 10.49

The banking sector posted gains but under performed the wider market. FITB's gains were miniscule as shares spent most of the session churning sideways. While I would consider new positions here near the rising 10-dma a dip near $11.00 would be a better entry point. More conservative traders may want to tighten their stops toward $11.00.

Our plan was to use small positions on FITB. This is going to be a very short-term trade. We'll plan to exit ahead of the January 21st earnings report just to be safe. Our first target is $13.00.

Entry on   January 13 at $11.43 (small positions)/gap down entry
Change since picked:     - 0.04   			
Earnings Date          01/21/10 (confirmed)    
Average Daily Volume:      12.7 million 
Listed on   January 09, 2009    


Home Depot - HD - close: 28.88 change: +0.31 stop: 27.80

We're back to breakeven after nearly three weeks of watching HD consolidate sideways. Shares rallied past some moving averages and is now testing its short-term trend of lower highs. A breakout from here would be very positive.

Our first target is $30.60. Our second target is $32.45. We'll plan to exit ahead of the February earnings report. FYI: The P&F chart is very bullish with a $44 target.

Entry on  December 14 at $28.82 *gap higher entry 
Change since picked:     + 0.06   			 
Earnings Date          02/23/10 (unconfirmed)     
Average Daily Volume:      15.7 million      
Listed on  December 12, 2009    


Hologic Inc. - HOLX - close: 15.94 change: +0.56 stop: 14.75 *new*

HOLX displayed some relative strength with a 3.6% gain and a breakout past its 100-dma. I am suggesting we sell at least half of our position at $16.45. We'll set a second target at $17.25. Please note our new stop loss at $14.75.

Entry on   January 13 at $15.15   (small positions)
Change since picked:     + 0.78   			  
Earnings Date          02/01/10 (unconfirmed)      
Average Daily Volume:       2.7 million      
Listed on   January 04, 2009    


North American Palladium - PAL - close: 4.78 change: +0.31 stop: 3.85

Commodities continued to rally in spite of a bounce in the U.S. dollar. Shares of PAL gapped open at $4.50 but managed a 6.9% gain by the close. This is a very aggressive trade because the stock is so overbought. Our stop loss is at $3.85 but more conservative traders may want to use a tighter stop. Consider keeping your position size small to limit your risk.

Our first target is $7.00.

Entry on   January 19 at $4.50 
Change since picked:    + 0.28   			
Earnings Date         02/22/10 (unconfirmed)   
Average Daily Volume:      1.4 million 
Listed on   January 17, 2009    


Potlatch Corp. - PCH - close: 32.94 change: +0.84 stop: 31.49

PCH delivered a nice gain today but is still struggling with resistance near $33.00. I don't see any changes from my prior comments. Our first target to take profits is at $33.60. Our second target is $35.75.

Entry on  November 16 at $30.30 
Change since picked:     + 2.64 
Earnings Date          02/11/10 (unconfirmed) 
Average Daily Volume:       503 thousand     
Listed on  November 11, 2009    


Renolds American - RAI - close: 54.60 change: +0.79 stop: 52.85 *new*

Good news! RAI has finally broken out above resistance at the $54.00 level. The high today was $55.15. Our final target is $55.90. However, this actually looks like a new bullish entry point. I am suggesting new positions (keep them small). Our target for this new position is $59.50. Please note that our stop loss for both positions is now $52.85.

chart:

1st Trade
Entry on  November 14 at $50.32  
Change since picked:     + 4.28  
                       /sell half @ 53.15 (+5.6%) 
2nd Trade
Entry on   January 19 at $54.60 (small positions)
Change since picked:     + 0.00  
 
Earnings Date          02/11/10 (unconfirmed)     
Average Daily Volume:       1.6 million      
Listed on  November 14, 2009    


Starbucks Corp. - SBUX - close: 23.58 change: +0.31 stop: 22.49 *new*

This is it. Tomorrow is our last day. The plan is to exit on Wednesday at the close to avoid holding over SBUX's earnings report. I'm inching our stop loss up to $22.49. Our target to exit is $24.90.

Entry on  December 10 at $22.25   
Change since picked:     + 1.33   
Earnings Date          01/20/10 (confirmed) 
Average Daily Volume:      10.9 million    
Listed on  November 30, 2009    


Sigma Designs - SIGM - close: 11.71 change: +0.36 stop: 10.95

So far so good. SIGM is bouncing right where we expected it would. Shares hit $11.20 this morning and soared off its lows to end with a 3.1% gain. If you were waiting for a bounce you got it! The plan was to use small positions to keep our risk down. Our first target to take profits is at $12.95.

Entry on   January 15 at $11.30 
Change since picked:     + 0.41   			  
Earnings Date          03/04/10 (unconfirmed)      
Average Daily Volume:       392 thousand  
Listed on   January 09, 2009    


Seagate Technology - STX - close: 18.16 change: +0.39 stop: 17.45

In spite of today's gains shares of STX are still consolidating sideways. The range is narrowing and the stock should see a breakout one way or the other soon. The larger trend is up so odds are stronger for a bullish breakout higher. Unfortunately we're almost out of time. Tomorrow is our last day. We plan to exit at the close on Wednesday to avoid holding over earnings. Our target to exit is $19.75. The plan was to keep positions small to limit our risk.

Entry on  December 19 at $17.83 /gap open higher (small positions)
Change since picked:     + 0.33  			     
Earnings Date          01/20/10 (confirmed)        
Average Daily Volume:       8.2 million     
Listed on  December 19, 2009    


Vishay Intertechnology - VSH - close: 8.82 change: +0.05 stop: 8.20

Gains in VSH were pretty minor on Tuesday. Traders did buy the dip twice near $8.60. I see the intraday bounce as a new entry point. More conservative traders may want to up their stops toward $8.50ish. Our target is $9.95. The plan was to keep positions small to limit our risk.

Entry on   January 08 at $ 8.85 (small positions)
Change since picked:     - 0.03   			
Earnings Date          02/09/10 (unconfirmed)    
Average Daily Volume:       1.1 million 
Listed on   January 05, 2009    


Wright Express Corp. - WXS - close: 33.51 change: +0.69 stop: 30.95

Good news! WXS displayed relative strength with a 2.1% gain and a new 52-week high. This looks like a new momentum entry point to buy the stock.

Our first target is $35.90. I'm setting a longer-term target at $39.50 but we want to sell the majority of our position at $35.90. We will plan to exit ahead of the February earnings report.

Entry on  December 21 at $32.30   
Change since picked:     + 1.21   
Earnings Date          02/10/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume:       209 thousand   
Listed on  December 19, 2009    


BEARISH Play Updates

Best Buy - BBY - close: 39.10 change: +0.17 stop: 41.26

BBY managed to eke out a 17-cent bounce but the trend remains bearish. There is no change from my prior comments. I've been warning readers to expect a bounce at the 200-dma. Just wait for the bounce to roll over in the $40-41 zone and then we can reconsider new bearish positions. Alternatively you can wait for a breakdown under the 200-dma near $38.45 as our next entry point. Our first target is $35.25.

Entry on   January 12 at $38.95 (small positions)
Change since picked:     + 0.15   			
Earnings Date          03/25/10 (unconfirmed)    
Average Daily Volume:       8.0 million      
Listed on   January 02, 2009    


CLOSED BULLISH PLAYS

CSX Corp. - CSX - close: 50.51 change: +0.47 stop: 49.45

Traders bought the dip at $49.90 and CSX almost erased Friday's decline. The 0.9% gain out paced the 0.2% gain in the railroad index. Today's move looks like a new entry point. Unfortunately we are out of time. CSX reports earnings after the bell tonight. Our plan was to exit at the close on Tuesday. Keep CSX on your watch list. We might jump back in later this week.

Annotated chart:

Entry on   January 12 at $50.71 
Change since picked:     - 0.20 <-- exit early (-0.03%)
Earnings Date          01/19/10 (confirmed)    
Average Daily Volume:       2.6 million 
Listed on   January 12, 2009