Editor's Note:
Investors seem to be losing confidence as debt worries in Europe continue and the debt ceiling talks in the U.S. have stalled. We had AXP, DPS, KLAC all get stopped out. We had a planned exit for UNH, which reports earnings tomorrow. Our new bullish trade on VNR is not yet open.

-James

Current Portfolio:


BULLISH Play Updates

Cheesecake Factory Inc. - CAKE - close: 32.70 change: +0.01

Stop Loss: 31.90
Target(s): 33.60, 37.00
Current Gain/Loss: + 3.7%
Time Frame: 8 to 10 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18 update: CAKE has gone nowhere two days in a row. We are almost out of time. The plan is to exit positions on July 20th at the closing bell to avoid holding over earnings. More conservative traders may want to exit early. I am not suggesting new positions.

Current Position: Long CAKE stock @ $31.53

07/16 plan on exiting July 20th at the close
07/09 new stop loss @ 31.90
07/07 Target hit @ 33.60. CAKE +6.5%, option @ $0.80 (+6.6%)
07/05 adjusted 1st target to $33.60
07/02 new stop loss @ 30.75
06/30 consider the opportunity cost of staying in CAKE. maybe you should exit early
06/28 New stop loss @ 29.65
06/09 CAKE is bouncing from the 200-dma as expected.
06/04 More conservative traders may want to exit early. We are expecting a drop to the 200-dma.

Entry on May 20 at $31.53
Earnings Date 07/20/11 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.0 million
Listed on May 19th, 2011


Ecolab Inc. - ECL - close: 55.01 change: -0.71

Stop Loss: 53.90
Target(s): --.--, 59.90
Current Gain/Loss: + 3.1%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18 update: As expected ECL dipped toward the $55.00 level. The question is will it hold this level or fall toward its 50-dma near $54.25? I am not suggesting new positions at this time. We do not want to hold bullish positions over the late July earnings report.

Current Position: Long ECL stock @ 53.35

07/09 new stop loss @ 53.90
07/08 planned exit. July $55 call @ $1.45 (+141.6%)
07/07 Plan on exiting our July calls tomorrow at the close
07/02 Sell half. ECL @ 56.76 (+6.3%), Option @ $1.75 (+191.6%)
06/30 new stop loss @ 53.45
06/18 new stop loss @ 52.45
06/04 new stop loss @ 51.90

Entry on May 26 at $53.35
Earnings Date 07/26/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.5 million
Listed on May 18th, 2011


Globe Specialty Metals, Inc. - GSM - close: 24.18 change: -0.08

Stop Loss: 23.40
Target(s): 27.25, 29.50
Current Gain/Loss: - 3.9%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18 update: Profit taking in GSM was pretty mild with a -0.3% decline. The stock is still holding above short-term support at the 10-dma, which is pretty impressive. I remain cautious here. The action late last week could still be a top. Readers may want to wait for a rally past $24.60 before initiating new positions. The plan was to keep our positions small to limit our risk.

Earlier Comments:
We should consider this an aggressive, higher-risk trade so let's keep our position size small to limit risk. We can always add to positions down the road. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for GSM is bullish with a $28.50 target.

- SMALL positions -

Current Position: Long GMS stock @ $25.18

- or -

Long AUG $25 call (GSM1120H25) Entry @ $1.60

Entry on July 14 at $25.18
Earnings Date 09/15/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 874 thousand
Listed on July 13, 2011


Kaiser Aluminum - KALU - close: 53.80 change: -0.44

Stop Loss: 51.90
Target(s): 59.75
Current Gain/Loss: + 0.4%
Time Frame: 3 to 5 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18 update: Be careful here. KALU's early morning rally past $55.00 quickly failed. Shares closed down -0.8% and are testing short-term support at its rising 20-dma again. I remain longer-term bullish on KALU but readers may want to wait for some strength in the U.S. indices before initiating new positions here. Keep in mind that we do not want to hold over the July 27th earnings report.

Earlier Comments:
Our target is the $59.75 mark since the $60 level looks like resistance. Investors could certainly aim higher. KALU has a high amount of short interest and the stock could experience a short squeeze. FYI: Investors should note that the most recent data listed short interest at 9.9% of the very small 18.5 million share float.

- Small Positions -

Current Position: Long KALU @ $53.56

- or -

Long AUG $55 call (KALU1120H55) Entry @ $1.30

Entry on July 11 at $53.56
Earnings Date 08/01/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 183 thousand
Listed on July 9, 2011


Macy's Inc. - M - close: 29.69 change: -0.29

Stop Loss: 28.90
Target(s): 29.90, 32.25
Current Gain/Loss: + 4.9%
2nd Position Gain/Loss: - 0.5% Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18 update: Macy's gave up nearly one percent today. I don't see a lot of changes from my weekend comments. Shares should still have some short-term support near $29.00 or the 50-dma. At this point a dip to the 50-dma would stop us out. I am not suggesting new positions at this time. Our final target is $32.25 but we might consider adjusting this target higher.

Earlier Comments:
Our plan was to keep positions small to limit our risk.

- small positions -

Current Position: Long M stock @ $28.30

- or -

Long Aug. $30 call (M1120H30) Entry @ $0.85

- 2nd Position, entry 7/11/11 -

suggested position: Long M stock @ $29.86

Long Aug. $32 call (M1120H32) Entry @ $0.63

07/16 new stop loss @ 28.90
07/09 new stop loss @ 28.49
07/09 Add 2nd position, buy stock/calls now
07/08 Planned exit. July $29 call @ $1.50 (+167.8%)
07/07 plan on exiting July calls tomorrow at the close
07/02 new stop loss @ 27.90
07/01 1st Target Hit @ 29.90 (+5.6%), options @ +107.1% (July) & +52.9% (Aug)

Entry on June 28 at $28.30
Earnings Date 08/10/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 8.6 million
Listed on June 27, 2011


Vanguard Natural Resources - VNR - cls: 30.69 chg: +1.22

Stop Loss: 28.99
Target(s): 33.25
Current Gain/Loss: + 0.0%
Time Frame: 3 to 4 weeks
New Positions: Yes, see below

Comments:
07/18 update: Our new play on VNR is unopened. The stock opened higher at $30.84 but the S&P 500 opened lower. We only wanted to launch positions if both were higher. Personally I see the intraday dip to $30.00 and afternoon bounce as a new entry point. Readers could launch positions now. However, I want to use the qualifying statement again. Both VNR and the S&P 500 need to open in positive territory as our green light to buy the stock or calls. Cautious traders might want to consider an alternative stop in the $29.30-29.40 area instead. Our target is $33.25.

Suggested Position: buy VNR stock @ current levels

- or -

buy the AUG $30 call (VNR1120H30)

07/18 The requirements to launch positions was not met. Try again. Both VNR and the S&P 500 need to open higher tomorrow.

Entry on July 18 at $ xx.xx
Earnings Date 08/04/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 193 thousand
Listed on July 16, 2011


Western Refining Inc. - WNR - close: 20.78 change: -0.35

Stop Loss: 18.45
Target(s): 24.00, 27.50
Current Gain/Loss: + 6.5%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18 update: WNR suffered some profit taking on Monday with a -1.6% decline. There is no change from my prior comments. I would not chase it here. Traders could look for a dip near $20.00 or the 10-dma as a potential entry point but keep your position size small.

FYI: The Point & Figure chart for WNR is bullish with a $28.50 target. Plus, the most recent data listed short interest at 38% of the 54.2 million-share float. That's plenty of fuel for a short squeeze.

Current Position: Long WNR stock @ 19.50

- or -

Long AUG. $22 call (WNR1120H22) Entry @ $0.65

Entry on July 11 at $19.50
Earnings Date 08/04/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 4.0 million
Listed on July 9, 2011


BEARISH Play Updates

OptionsXpress Holdings - OXPS - close: 15.13 change: -0.08

Stop Loss: 16.05
Target(s): 14.05, 13.65
Current Gain/Loss: + 0.7%
Time Frame: about 2 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18 update: OXPS opened at $15.24 and sank to $14.65 intraday. The big intraday bounce has me worried. Readers may want to wait for a failed rally near $15.50 or even $16.00 before initiating new positions now.

Earlier Comments:
Our first target is $14.05 as the $14.00 level is likely support.

Current Position: short OXPS stock @ $15.24

- or -

Long AUG $15 PUT (OXPS1120T15) Entry @ $0.45

Entry on July 18 at $15.24
Earnings Date 07/27/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 696 thousand
Listed on July 16, 2011


VanceInfo Technologies - VIT - close: 17.25 change: -0.83

Stop Loss: 20.15
Target(s): 15.15, 12.75
Current Gain/Loss: + 4.4%
Time Frame: 4 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18 update: Our new trade on VIT is off to a good start. Shares opened at $18.06 and closed at new 52-week lows with a -4.5% decline. I want to remind readers that this is a higher-risk trade. VIT remains very oversold and due for a bounce. Cautious traders could wait for the next lower high before initiating positions. The most recent data listed short interest at more than 30% of the very small 23.6 million-share float. There is definitely reason to worry over a potential short squeeze, which explains the sharp oversold bounces. Thus readers may want to buy the puts to limit your risk instead of shorting the stock. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for VIT is bearish with a $6.00 target.

Current Position: short VIT stock @ $18.06

- or -

Long AUG $17.50 PUT (VIT1120T17.5) Entry @ $2.15

Entry on July 18 at $18.06
Earnings Date 08/15/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.0 million
Listed on July 16, 2011


CLOSED BULLISH PLAYS

American Express Co. - AXP - close: 51.33 change: -0.48

Stop Loss: 50.95
Target(s): 54.95
Current Gain/Loss: - 1.0%
Time Frame: exit on July 20th at the close
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18 update: Financials continued to lead the market lower as investors worried about U.S. banks exposure to Europe. That helped AXP gap open lower at $51.50 and then dip to $50.54 before bouncing. Unfortunately, we had a stop loss at $50.95. It does look like AXP is ready to bounce from current levels but we're out of time. AXP reports earnings on July 20th.

- open SMALL positions now -

Closed Position: Long AXP stock @ $51.50, exit $50.95 (-1.0%)

- or -

Aug. $52.50 call (AXP1120H52.5) Entry @ $1.11, exit 0.95 (-14.4%)

07/18 Entered and stopped on the same move lower. Stopped out @ 50.95
07/16 new entry point strategy. buy AXP now. small positions
07/16 new stop loss @ 50.95
07/13 AXP is underperforming. New trigger @ 51.00, stop @ 49.85
07/12 new trigger @ 51.75
07/11 new stop loss @ 50.90

chart:

Entry on July 18 at $51.50
Earnings Date 07/20/11 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 7.0 million
Listed on July 2, 2011


Dr. Pepper Snapple - DPS - close: 39.77 change: -1.06

Stop Loss: 39.90
Target(s): 46.00
Current Gain/Loss: - 4.3%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18 update: Ouch! What happened to DPS? I couldn't find any specific news on the company today. KO lost -0.6%. PEP lost -0.7%. Yet DPS plunged -2.59%. Our stop loss was hit at $39.90.

closed Position: Long DPS stock @ $41.71, exit 39.90 (-4.3%)

- or -

Aug. $45 call (DPS1120H45) Entry @ $0.30, exit 0.05 (-83.3%)

07/18 stopped out @ 39.90
07/16 DPS is underperforming. Cautious traders may want to exit

chart:

Entry on July 11 at $41.71
Earnings Date 07/28/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 1.8 million
Listed on June 30, 2011


KLA-Tencor - KLAC - close: 40.53 change: -0.42

Stop Loss: 39.95
Target(s): 45.75
Current Gain/Loss: - 5.9%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18 update: The SOX semiconductor index sank to another new low for the year. KLAC gapped open lower at $40.64 and then dipped to $39.92 before paring its losses. Our stop was hit at $39.95.

closed Position: Long KLAC @ $42.49, exit 39.95 (-5.9%)

- or -

AUG $45 call (KLAC1120H45) Entry @ $1.20, exit 0.30 (-75%)

07/18 stopped out @ 39.95
07/14 Traders may want to exit early here.

chart:

Entry on July 11 at $42.49
Earnings Date 07/27/11 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.4 million
Listed on July 9, 2011


UnitedHealth Group Inc. - UNH - close: 51.95 change: -0.02

Stop Loss: 49.85
Target(s): 54.75
Current Gain/Loss: + 1.3%
Time Frame: 3 to 4 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18 update: We have run out of time with our UNH trade. The company reports earnings tomorrow morning. It was our plan to exit on Monday at the closing bell. Shares did see an intraday dip to $51.00 and managed to bounce back to almost unchanged.

- small positions -

Closed Position: Long UNH stock @ $51.25, exit 51.95 (+1.3%)

07/18 planned exit
07/16 Prepare to exit on July 18th at the close.
07/15 exit July $50 call (bid $1.90 -8.2%)
07/16 new stop loss @ 50.40
07/02 new stop loss @ 49.85

chart:

Entry on June 24 at $51.25
Earnings Date 07/19/11 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 7.9 million
Listed on June 23, 2011