Editor's Note:
The banking stocks were some of the market's best performers on Thursday after traders bought the midday dip. Our XLF trade was opened this morning.

If your portfolio is mostly long the market (bullish on stocks) then you may want to consider buying some sort of hedge tomorrow (maybe puts on the SPY) just in case the news out of Europe this weekend is bearish and the market plunges on Monday.

-James

Current Portfolio:


BULLISH Play Updates

Adobe Systems - ADBE - close: 26.02 change: -0.74

Stop Loss: 25.45
Target(s): 29.50
Current Gain/Loss: -3.8%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/20 update: Tech stocks were showing relative weakness this morning. ADBE dipped to $25.50 before paring its gains and actually edging into positive territory. If the market opens positive tomorrow I would be tempted to open new bullish positions on the bounce. We will inch up our stop loss to $25.45.

Current Position: Long ADBE @ 27.13

- or -

Long NOV $27 call (ADBE1119K27) Entry $1.27

10/20 new stop loss @ 25.45
10/18 new stop loss @ 25.35, today's bounce looks like an entry
10/14 ADBE gapped higher at $27.13

Entry on October 14 at $27.13
Earnings Date 12/15/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 7.1 million
Listed on October 11, 2011


Autodesk, Inc. - ADSK - close: 31.27 change: +0.31

Stop Loss: 29.75
Target(s): 34.00
Current Gain/Loss: +3.0%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/20 update: I have been suggesting that readers look for a dip near $30.00 as our next entry point. The tech weakness this morning provided that dip. Shares of ADSK fell to $30.05 before rebounding off round-number support and closing up +1% on the session. If the stock market opens positive tomorrow I would still be tempted to open new positions at current levels. Investors need to be aware that this weekend holds significant event risk for the market.

The plan was to keep our position size small since ADSK is short-term overbought here.

*Small Positions*

current Position: Long ADSK stock @ 30.35

- or -

Long NOV $32 call (ADSK1119K32) Entry $1.60

10/20 ADSK provided another entry point on the dip to $30.00
10/15 new stop loss @ 29.75, adjusted target to $34.00

Entry on October 12 at $30.35
Earnings Date 11/17/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 4.5 million
Listed on October 11, 2011


Bristol-Myers Squibb - BMY - close: 32.44 change: +0.09

Stop Loss: 31.75
Target(s): 33.50
Current Gain/Loss: +3.8%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/20 update: BMY continues to churn sideways inside the $32-33 range. I would expect tomorrow to be more of the same as investors wait for October options to expire (and the EU summit this weekend). I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Earlier Comments:
Our final target is $33.50.

current Position: Long BMY stock @ $31.15

- or -

Long 2012 Jan. $30 call (BMY1221A30) Entry $2.26

10/17 2012 Jan. $30 call open (bid) @ 2.90 (+28.3%)
10/15 new stop loss @ 31.75
10/15 Plan to take profits on the call, sell half on Monday
10/10 new stop loss @ 30.95
10/04 new stop loss @ 30.75
09/27 new stop loss @ 29.90
09/26 trade opened

Entry on September 26 at $31.15
Earnings Date 10/26/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 13.6 million
Listed on September 22, 2011


Lowe's Companies - LOW - close: 21.52 change: +0.48

Stop Loss: 19.75
Target(s): 22.85
Current Gain/Loss: + 3.7%
Time Frame: 4 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/20 update: LOW displayed some relative strength with a bounce from the $21.00 level. Shares closed up +2.2% on Thursday and poised to make a run at resistance near $22.00.

More conservative traders may want to raise their stop loss to breakeven at $20.75. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Earlier Comments:
The $22.00 level might be resistance but I'm listing our exit target at $22.85. I would keep our position size small.

current Position: Long LOW stock @ 20.75

- or -

Long NOV $21 call (LOW1119K21) Entry $0.85

Entry on October 10 at $20.75
Earnings Date 11/14/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 16.7 million
Listed on October 08, 2011


EnPro Industries - NPO - close: 31.46 change: -0.43

Stop Loss: 29.80
Target(s): 34.00
Current Gain/Loss: + 1.4%
Time Frame: 2 to 4 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/20 update: NPO dipped to a new low for the week before paring its losses in the last few hours. Volume was average on today's move although I couldn't find any news or events to account for the surge in volume. I am not suggesting new positions on NPO at this time.

Earlier Comments:
We want to keep our position small to limit risk.

(Small Positions)

current Position: Long NPO stock @ $30.87

10/19 exit Oct. $30 calls, bid @ $1.25 (-28.5%)
10/18 plan to exit Oct. calls tomorrow at the close
10/17 October options are running out of time. Consider an early exit
10/15 adjusted target for stock to $34.00
10/15 adjusted target for option to $33.00
10/10 new stop loss at $29.80

Entry on October 07 at $30.87
Earnings Date 11/03/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 282 thousand
Listed on October 06, 2011


VeriFone Systems - PAY - close: 38.40 change: -0.31

Stop Loss: 37.95
Target(s): 44.85
Current Gain/Loss: unopened
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: Yes, see below

Comments:
10/20 update: There is no change from my prior comments. PAY is still bouncing around the $37.50-40.00 zone. Whether or not PAY breakout past resistance and begins a new leg higher or breaks down and retests the October lows may depend on the market reaction to the EU summit this weekend. This is not a market fueled by individual company fundamentals.

Our plan is to open bullish positions at $40.50.

Earlier Comments:
We will aim for $44.85 as our exit target. More conservative traders may want to exit near the 200-dma. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for PAY is bullish with a $59 target.

Trigger @ 40.50

Suggested Position: buy PAY stock @ $40.50

- or -

buy the NOV $42 call (PAY1119K42)

Entry on October xx at $ xx.xx
Earnings Date 12/01/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.3 million
Listed on October 13, 2011


Rackspace Hosting - RAX - close: 38.46 change: +0.37

Stop Loss: 37.25
Target(s): 43.25
Current Gain/Loss: unopened
Time Frame: 4 to 6 weeks
New Positions: Yes, see below

Comments:
10/20 update: Hmm... RAX did not escape the tech sector weakness this morning. Yet shares did bounce back into positive territory by the close. I remain optimistic on RAX but I'm not quite ready to pull the trigger. More aggressive traders may want to buy RAX (or calls) on a rally past $38.50. The newsletter will continue to wait and watch with no entry point for one more day and we'll make a decision this weekend.

Entry Point Removed. Re-evaluate Tomorrow Night.

10/20/11 Not ready to pull the trigger. Wait for one more day
10/19/11 Temporarily remove entry point plans, no trade
10/19/11 trade not opened.

Entry on October xx at $ xx.xx
Earnings Date 11/07/11 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.6 million
Listed on October 18, 2011


Financial Sector ETF - XLF - close: 12.80 change: +0.19

Stop Loss: 11.95
Target(s): 14.45
Current Gain/Loss: +0.7%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/20 update: I do not know why the quote services I check list the XLF opening at $12.61 today. Looking at an intraday chart this ETF appears to have opened at $12.71. Combine that with a positive open for the S&P 500 and we have a new bullish entry point in the XLF. Traders bought the dip near $12.45 midday and the XLF displayed relative strength with a +1.5% gain at the close.

I would still consider new positions tomorrow if the S&P 500 opens positive. Or more conservative traders can wait for a breakout past resistance at $13.00 instead.

Investors need to be aware that the XLF could see a HUGE move next week as the market reacts to news from the EU summit this weekend on Greece and protecting the major EU banks. That huge move could be up or down. If you are the hedging type then consider buying a put to protect yourself here.

Currently we have a stop loss at $11.95 and our target is $14.45.

current Position: Long XLF @ $12.71

- or -

Long NOV $13 call (XLF1119K13) $0.42

11/20 trade opened. XLF at $12.71
11/19 try again. New stop loss @ 11.95

chart:

Entry on October 20 at $12.71
Earnings Date --/--/--
Average Daily Volume = 125 million
Listed on October 18, 2011


BEARISH Play Updates

None. We do not have any active bearish trades.