Editor's Note:
I'm filling in for Scott tonight. My favorite trade from our current candidates is probably the VXX. -James

Current Portfolio:


BULLISH Play Updates

Clean Energy Fuels - CLNE - close 14.18 change -0.03 stop 13.90

Target(s): 16.15, 16.80
Key Support/Resistance Areas: 17.00, 16.20, 14.80
Current Gain/Loss: -6.40%
Time Frame: 1 to 3 weeks
New positions: Yes, with tight stops

Comments:
10/02 (James): CLNE does not look healthy. While the rest of the market has been consolidating sideways this stock has been slipping closer and closer to support at $14.00. This is an important support level and a breakdown could herald a another big move lower. Personally, I would hesitate to launch new positions here. The relative weakness is a warning signal. If CLNE can close back above $14.50 I would take some time to re-evaluate a possible trade here. Otherwise nimble traders may want to consider switching directions and going short on a breakdown. However, CLNE has not actually broken this support (at least not for the last few months).

9/30: CLNE has simply not lived up to my expectations since opening the position last week. The stock has not followed through and if the broader market corrects we will likely be stopped out. There is a lot of support in the $14.00 area but the stock did down to $13.48 in May. That's where CLNE could be headed if things do not turn around soon. I have seen the stock buck the trend and we are still alive but readers should exercise caution.

Current Position: Long CLNE stock, entry was at $15.15

Options Traders: Long November $16.00 CALL

Annotated chart:

Entry on September 23, 2010
Earnings 11/9/2010 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 973,000
Listed on September 13, 2010


Noble Corp - NE - close 33.50 change -0.29 stop 32.85

Target(s): 35.90, 36.80, 38.30
Key Support/Resistance Areas: 36.95, 38.50, 33.50
Current Gain/Loss: -3.17%
Time Frame: 1 to 3 weeks
New Positions: No

Comments:
10/02 (James): Ouch! NE was downgraded again. That's the second time in two days. The early morning bounce failed at its 10-dma overhead but so far traders are still buying the dip at its rising 50-dma. Short-term indicators are suggesting the stock is rolling over. I'm worried that NE is headed for $32, which would means we would get stopped out at $32.85. Since we're already looking for a market pull back I'm not suggesting new bullish positions in NE at this time.

9/30: There is good news and bad news about NE today. The bad news is the stock lost the majority of yesterday's +4% rip higher after Capital One Southcoast downgraded the stock to Neutral from Add. The good news is the stock closed nearly +2% off of its lows and remains above its rising 50-day SMA. The stock has support in the $33.00 area and our stop is $32.85. A broader market correction will likely take us out. Readers should use caution.

Current Position: Long NE stock, entry was at $34.60

Options Traders: Long October $36.00 CALL

Annotated chart:

Entry on September 15, 2010
Earnings 10/20/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 3.7 million
Listed on September 11, 2010


iPath S&P 500 VIX ST Futures - VXX - close 17.04 change -0.25 stop 16.23

Target(s): 17.55, 18.45, 19.25
Key Support/Resistance Areas: 17.50, 19.75, 20.60
Current Gain/Loss: -3.73%
Time Frame: 1 to 2 weeks
New positions: Yes

Comments:
NOTE: I view this as an aggressive trade so small position size is recommended. Long VXX is a bearish play on equities, however, it is listed as long play because we are long the underlying instrument.

10/02 (James): The stock market posted +10% gains in September but upward momentum has stalled. Odds of a market pull back on the back of some disappointing Q3 earnings are pretty high and thus the VXX has a lot of potential to move higher. I don't see any changes from our previous comments, although I would be tempted to aim higher and set my first target at $18.75 and my second target at $19.90.

9/30: As the market spiked higher this morning volatility never really budged which was a signal the spike could fail, and it did. The question now is whether or not there will be follow through lower in the coming days. I believe there will be but I also think trading could be choppy which may fake traders out of positions. If we are patient our targets should be reached as the market is need of healthy correction. I suggest readers use further spikes in VXX as opportunities to take profits or tighten stops to protect them. My primary targets are $18.45 and $19.25. Our stop is in place.

Current Position: Long VXX stock, entry was at 17.70

Options Traders: Long October $19.00 CALL

Annotated chart:

Entry on September 14, 2010
Earnings N/A (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 21 million
Listed on September 13, 2010


BEARISH Play Updates

Stifel Financial Corp - SF - close 46.59 change +0.30 stop 48.60

Target(s): 46.05 (hit), 45.05, 44.05
Key Support/Resistance Areas: 50.00, 48.00, 45.75, 45.00, 43.50
Current Gain/Loss: +1.96%
Time Frame: 1 to 2 weeks
New positions: Neutral

Comments:
10/02 (James): The oversold bounce from the first half of September continues to fade. At the moment SF is clinging to short-term support near $46.00. When earnings start to come out this stock is likely to decline. Trading volumes for the third quarter were terrible and that doesn't bode well for a brokerage stock like SF.

9/30: SF tried to make run higher today but fell flat on its face. If the broader market corrects our more aggressive targets should be easily be reached. Our stop is above the 9/27 high so if we are wrong our loss will be small.

9/29: SF collapsed -3.5% today and our first target was reached. Let's move the stop down to $48.60. If the broader market corrects SF should head back to test its lows.

Suggested Position: Short SF stock if it trades to $48.45 or $47.52

Options Traders: Buy November $45.00 PUT, current ask $1.50

Annotated chart:

Entry on September 23, 2010
Earnings: 11/09/2010 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 250,000
Listed on September 22, 2010


Financial Sector SPDR - XLF - close 14.50 change +0.16 stop 14.75

Target(s): 13.85, 13.55
Key Support/Resistance Areas: 15.00, 14.60, 14.20, 13.70, 13.30
Current Gain/Loss: -0.28%

Time Frame: 1 to 2 weeks
New Positions: Yes

Comments:
10/02 (James): I don't see a lot of changes from our previous comments. The financial stocks have been a drag on the market but in the last few days stocks have been chopping sideways, including the XLF. The technical picture is a little muddy so I'm less include to launch new positions at current levels. Do I think financials will trade lower on a market pull back? Yes. Do I think the XLF will retest its lows near $13.35, of that I'm not very confident.

9/30: XLF spiked higher at the open but tanked the remainder the day, closing at its lows. We are short the ETF at $14.46. Any broader market correction should send XLF below $14.00 fairly quick and we have a tight stop if we are wrong. I've adjusted the targets up 10 cents each. My comments below have not changed.

9/29: The financial services sector continues to trade terrible across all industries, from banks, to lenders, to broker dealers. While the broader market has surged higher in recent weeks, XLF has struggled. Either XLF catches up with the broader market or the broader market corrects sending XLF lower. I think the latter happens which should send XLF to test its recent lows. I suggest readers initiate short positions at current levels and play for a -4% to -6% pullback. We will keep a tight stop on the trade and be out for a small loss if we are wrong.

Current Position: Short XLF stock, entry was at $14.46

Options Traders: Long November $14.00 PUT

Annotated chart:

Entry on September 30, 2010
Earnings: N/A (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 74 million
Listed on September 29, 2010


CLOSED BEARISH PLAYS

Alleghany Technologies - ATI - close 46.45 change +0.10 stop 47.45 *NEW*

Target(s): 45.20, 44.65, 43.75, 43.05
Key Support/Resistance Areas: 46.25, 43.80, 42.00
Current Gain/Loss: -4.03%
Time Frame: 1 to 2 weeks
New Positions: No

Comments:
10/02 (James): Dollar weakness continues to fuel gains for anything related to metals. Shares of ATI managed to spike to $47.65 on Friday and that was enough to hit our new stop loss at $47.45 closing this trade. Closed position: Short ATI stock, entry was @ $44.65, exit @ 47.45 (-6.27%)

Annotated chart:

Entry on September 22, 2010
Earnings: 10/20/2010 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.7 million
Listed on September 20, 2010