Editor's Note:

Good evening traders. Sellers continue to show up and the indices are still below the highs from last week. It feels like the buyers are doing everything they can to keep the market propped up. Often times when markets whipsaw back and forth it is a warning signal that a trend change may be happening. Whether the recent volatility is in fact warning us, or it is simply because of the earnings and news driven markets, has yet to be determined. Until we find out stay nimble with your position management and be sure to protect profits.

Current Portfolio:


BULLISH Play Updates

Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd. – EXM – close 6.68 change -0.06 stop 5.90

EXM was under pressure early today but buyers stepped in and the stock closed well off of its lows, but is now back below its 200-day SMA currently at $6.73. I am not too concerned about this single MA. EXM has good support intraday support in the $6.50 to $6.55 area. The stock traded as high as $6.83 today and there will be resistance around $6.89 which was the stock's high on April 15. I believe EXM will ultimately break through this level and retest its highs from January, which is near our target of $7.45. Readers who have not entered positions can do so if there is any weakness in the stock. $6.55 is a good support level recently. Our stop is below the 50-day SMA at $5.90 but we plan to raise it if the stock breaks above $6.89. Our time frame is several weeks.

Current Position: Long EXM stock @ $6.55

Entry on April 20 at $6.55
Earnings Date 05/19/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.2 million
Listed on April 19th, 2010

Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. – MRX – close: $25.57 change -0.18 stop: $23.95

MRX spent most of the day trending sideways until late in the day when the stock sold off, however, the stock closed off of its lows but still down -0.70%. Today's close was above the 20-day SMA which is currently at $25.49. Hopefully today's decline is the retracement I talked about last night before the stock moves higher. My other comments remain mostly the same. The stock has rallied +$1.16 since Monday's low of $24.40. This is almost a +5% rally in basically 3 trading days. Officially our position is now up +2.28%. The stock has experienced resistance right at $25.80 recently and if it breaks through this level we should have a good chance at hitting our target. Conservative traders may want to tighten stops to protect profits. Our stop remains at $23.95, which is below the 50-day SMA. Our first target is $26.50 and our second target is $27.75, which is just below its 52-week high. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Current Position: MRX stock @ $25.00

Entry on April 14 at $25.00
Earnings Date 5/06/2010 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.0 million
Listed on April 13th, 2010


Patterson Companies - PDCO - close: 31.96 change: -0.27 stop: 30.49

PDCO gave back some of gains from yesterday closing down -0.84%. The stock double bottomed with yesterday's lows at $31.89 which held as support, at least for now. I am suggesting readers be defensive here and consider tightening stops or selling positions to lock in gains, even if they are small. There is good support at the $31.00 level but please don't let a winning trade turn into a losing one. Tighter stops could be placed at $31.75 (below today's low) and $31.40 (below the April 15 low). The overall market direction should give us clues on how to exit the position. It appears PDCO wants to test its highs from 2008 near $33.25 but if the indices can not break to new highs, PDCO may not be able to get the legs to follow through. The stock is also forming a bearish wedge pattern and if it breaks too far below $31.00 I don't want to be involved. Officially our stop is $30.49. I would like to lower our target to $32.50 and will gladly take profits should PDCO trade to this level. Conservative traders should consider taking profits now or use the tighter stops listed above. Our time frame is about a week.

Current Position: PDCO stock at $31.50

Entry on April 14th at $31.50
Earnings Date 05/17/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 975 thousand
Listed on April 6th, 2010


BEARISH Play Updates

Powershares QQQQ Trust - QQQQ - close: 49.75 change: +0.25 stop: 50.95

Strength in APPL today was a major contributor to the QQQQ gains of +0.28%. QQQQ is still holding below last weeks highs and I am willing to still give this some time. Sellers are showing up and the buyers are doing everything they can to keep the market up. I sill expect the NASDAQ to be volatile in the coming days as the markets are being driven by earnings and news. QQQQ has not touched its 20-day SMA (currently at $48.81) since February and it is way overdue for a meaningful pullback. Should the stock trade down to this level I suggest readers tighten stops or just take a small profit. A more aggressive target is $47.00 but we will need to market get moving lower soon with some conviction to reach it. Our stop is $50.95.

Current Position: Short QQQQ at $49.05

Option Traders:
Suggested Position: Buy PUT May $49.00, Ask at entry, $1.00

Entry on April 12th, 2010
Earnings Date Not Applicable
Average Daily Volume: 49.4 million
Listed on April 10, 2010


CLOSED BULLISH PLAYS

Powershares UltraShort Real Estate - SRS - close: 28.03 change: -0.94 stop: 27.60

It appears the real estate stocks saw some short covering today which stopped us out of our SRS position at $27.60 for a +5.14% gain. I will gladly take the profits and step aside. Readers who may still have positions could place a stop below today's low and trail their stops up if SRS resumes back to the upside. Our 1st target of $28.90 was hit on Friday so congratulations to readers who took profits at those levels.

I want to remind readers that I consider this is a very aggressive trade so please use smaller position size to limit risk. *NOTE: Although this is listed as a long position in our portfolio, this is a bearish position on real estate stocks.*

Closed Position: SRS @ $27.90, entry was at $26.25

Annotated chart:

Entry on April 14th, 2010
Earnings Date Not Applicable
Average Daily Volume: 11.0 million
Listed on April 8, 2010