Editor's Note:
We've got three trading days left for 2011. Today's sideways performance in the market would suggest that investors are either indecisive or indifferent. Or maybe they're just weary of all the choppiness this year and have given up to leave the last few days to the trading robots.

Our OXM trade has hit our exit target. BRCM has been stopped out. We're closing the EA trade early.

-James

Current Portfolio:


BULLISH Play Updates

GlaxoSmithKline - GSK - close: 45.74 change: +0.09

Stop Loss: 44.40
Target(s): 49.25
Current Gain/Loss: - 0.0%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/27 update: GSK saw a brief dip to $45.30 this morning and spent the rest of the day in a very narrow range drifting sideways. There is no change from my prior comments. I would still consider new positions now.

Our multi-week target is $49.25 (GSK doesn't move very fast).
FYI: The Point & Figure chart for GSK is bullish with a $56 target.

current Position: long GSK stock @ 45.75

- or -

Long Feb $46 call (GSK1218B46) entry $1.05

Entry on December 23 at $45.75
Earnings Date --/--/?? (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.5 million
Listed on December 22, 2011


Lam Research - LRCX - close: 37.11 change: +0.18

Stop Loss: 34.75
Target(s): 39.75
Current Gain/Loss: + 0.2%
Time Frame: 3 to 4 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/27 update: That's not a typo. LRCX posted 18 cents gains two days in a row. While the stock outperformed the major indices today with a +0.48% gain I am concerned with today's performance. It looks like a failed rally under the $38.00 level. You could almost argue that LRCX is forming a bear-flag pattern.

I am not suggesting new positions at this time and more conservative traders may want to raise their stop loss.

(small positions)

current Position: Long LRCX stock @ $37.02

- or -

Long 2012Jan $38 call (LRCX1221A38) entry $0.60

12/23/11 trade opened.
12/22/11 trade not open yet. try again.

Entry on December 23 at $37.02
Earnings Date 01/25/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 4.0 million
Listed on December 21, 2011


Ross Stores Inc. - ROST - close: 48.97 change: +0.73

Stop Loss: 45.75
Target(s): 51.75
Current Gain/Loss: + 1.9%
Time Frame: 4 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/27 update: ROST displayed relative strength today with a +1.5% gain and another new high. This could be window dressing as fund managers dress up their portfolios with winning stocks for the quarter.

Our exit target is $51.75. Yet more conservative traders may want to exit early near $50.00, which could be round-number, psychological resistance. Plus the $50 level is currently near the top of ROST's rising channel. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

current Position: long ROST stock @ 48.05

- or -

Long 2012Jan $50 call (ROST1221A50) entry $0.45

12/24/11 adjusted target to $51.75

Entry on December 21 at $48.05
Earnings Date 03/19/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.1 million
Listed on December 20, 2011


Trinity Industries - TRN - close: 30.44 change: -0.18

Stop Loss: 28.75
Target(s): 34.75
Current Gain/Loss: unopened
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: Yes, see below

Comments:
12/27 update: Our TRN trade is not open yet. The stock opened lower this morning. Yet shares held support near $30 and its 200-dma. I am suggesting we try again. The plan is to open bullish positions tomorrow morning but only if both TRN and the S&P 500 open positive. If the S&P 500 opens flat then we'll base our decision on TRN's open. We will use a stop loss at $28.75. Our target is $34.75.

FYI: The Point & Figure chart for TRN is currently bearish but a breakout past $31.00 would produce a new triple-top breakout buy signal.

*See Entry Details Above*

Suggested Position: buy TRN stock @ the open

- or -

buy the Jan $30 call (TRN1221A30)

Entry on December xx at $ xx.xx
Earnings Date 02/15/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 633 thousand
Listed on December 24, 2011


BEARISH Play Updates

PACCAR Inc. - PCAR - close: 37.97 change: -0.01

Stop Loss: 38.25
Target(s): 32.50
Current Gain/Loss: + 2.9%
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/27 update: PCAR is hovering near resistance at the $38.00 level but it's worth noting that PCAR hit an intraday high of $38.17. If the stock market is positive tomorrow we could see PCAR hit our stop loss at $38.25. More conservative traders might want to go ahead and exit early. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

NOTE: Our 2012Jan $36 puts are now $35.30 puts thanks to the recent dividend.

Earlier Comments:
More aggressive traders could place their stop above $41.30 instead. There is possible support near $36.75, near its November low, but we're aiming for $32.50.

(Small Positions)

current Position: short PCAR stock @ $39.11

- or -

Long 2012Jan $35.30 PUT (PCAR1221M35.3) Entry $0.80

12/22/11 readers may want to exit early now
12/19/11 new stop loss @ 38.25
12/17/11 new stop loss @ 39.05
12/15/11 thanks to a 70-cent dividend our 2012Jan $36 puts are now 35.30 puts.

Entry on December 09 at $39.11
Earnings Date 02/01/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.7 million
Listed on December 08, 2011


Vera Bradley, Inc. - VRA - close: 32.09 change: -0.20

Stop Loss: 32.55
Target(s): 27.50
Current Gain/Loss: + 2.8%
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/27 update: Fortunately there was no follow through on VRA's recent bounce. The stock drifted sideways on either side of the $32.00 level and closed down -0.6%. The high today was $32.24. I am not suggesting new positions at this time. More conservative traders may want to exit now.

Earlier Comments:
Traders need to keep in mind this is an aggressive, higher-risk trade. We want to keep our position size very small to limit risk. The most recent data listed short interest at almost 80% of VRA's very small 19.7 million share float. If there is some sort of unexpected rally in this stock it could spark a short squeeze and stops may not work very well in a fast market environment. I would suggest using put options in a situation like this to limit your risk but the spreads on the January puts are too wide. Our target is $27.50 although readers may want to take profits near $30.00 since it could prove to be round-number support. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for VRA is bearish with a $26 target.

(very small positions only!)

current Position: short VRA stock @ $33.17

12/24/11 new stop loss @ 32.55
12/21/11 new stop loss @ 34.05, readers may want to exit early now to lock in a gain.
12/19/11 new stop loss @ 35.25
12/15/11 this is an aggressive, higher-risk trade.

Entry on December 16 at $33.17
Earnings Date 12/07/11
Average Daily Volume = 796 thousand
Listed on December 15, 2011


CLOSED BULLISH PLAYS

Oxford Industries Inc. - OXM - close: 45.71 change: +0.89

Stop Loss: 41.90
Target(s): 44.90
Current Gain/Loss: + 6.1%
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/27 update: Target achieved. OXM displayed impressive relative strength today. Shares rallied to $46.66 intraday and settled with a +1.9% gain. Our exit target was hit pretty early today at $44.90.

OXM is short-term overbought here. I would keep it on your watch list and look to buy a correction.

(small positions)

closed Position: long OXM stock @ $42.32 exit $44.90 (+ 6.1%)

- or -

Jan $45 call (OXM1221A45) entry $0.85 exit $1.45 (+70.5%)

12/27/11 target hit at $44.90
12/24/11 new stop loss @ 41.90
12/22/11 new stop loss @ 40.90

chart:

Entry on December 19 at $42.32
Earnings Date 03/29/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 220 thousand
Listed on December 17, 2011


CLOSED BEARISH PLAYS

Broadcom Corp. - BRCM - close: 29.77 change: -0.01

Stop Loss: 30.25
Target(s): 26.00
Current Gain/Loss: + 0.9%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/27 update: BRCM produced a brief rally above resistance at $30.00 before reversing lower. Unfortunately our stop loss was hit at $30.25 closing our trade.

closed Position: short BRCM stock @ $30.53 exit $30.25 (+0.9%)

- or -

2012Jan $28 PUT (BRCM1221M28) Entry $0.88 exit $0.36 (-59.0%)

12/27/11 stopped out at $30.25
12/22/11 readers may want to exit early now
12/14/11 new stop loss @ 30.25
12/13/11 new stop loss @ 30.55
12/12/11 new stop loss @ 31.20
12/05/11 BRCM gapped open higher at $30.53.

chart:

Entry on December 05 at $ 30.53
Earnings Date --/--/-- (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 8.2 million
Listed on December 03, 2011


Electronic Arts - EA - close: 21.01 change: +0.30
(symbol changed from ERTS)

Stop Loss: 21.55
Target(s): 18.05
Current Gain/Loss: - 1.7%
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/27 update: I am throwing in the towel on our EA short. The stock outperformed the market today with a +1.4% gain. Shares are still trading under resistance but it's not worth the risk given the market's up trend. We're suggesting an early exit now.

Earlier Comments:
Let's keep our position size small.

(small positions)

closed Position: short ERTS stock @ 20.65, exit 21.01 (-1.7%)

- or -

2012Jan $20 PUT (ERTS1221M20) entry $1.05 exit 0.48 (-54.2%)

12/27/11 exit early
12/24/11 New stop loss on EA at $21.55
12/19/11 ERTS will start trading as EA starting on the 20th

chart:

Entry on December 14 at $20.65
Earnings Date 02/01/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 5.7 million
Listed on December 13, 2011