Editor's Note:
The U.S. markets slid sideways into New Year's weekend. Investors had little conviction either direction.

I am suggesting an early exit on ROST. Our VRA play has been stopped out. KSS has been triggered.

-James

Current Portfolio:


BULLISH Play Updates

GlaxoSmithKline - GSK - close: 45.63 change: +0.39

Stop Loss: 44.40
Target(s): 49.25
Current Gain/Loss: - 0.2%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/31 update: GSK walked quietly toward year-end with another sideways session on Friday. The stock has been hovering in the $45-46 range for a few days now. Readers may want to wait for a breakout past $46.00 before considering new positions.

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

chart:

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: 37.02 change: -0.03

Stop Loss: 34.75
Target(s): 39.75
Current Gain/Loss: + 0.0%
Time Frame: 3 to 4 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/31 update: Semiconductor stock LRCX spent most of Friday in a 50-cent range to close almost unchanged on the session. I remain very cautious here. I'm concerned the bounce off its December lows is losing steam. You could argue last Tuesday's move is a failed rally pattern. I am not suggesting new positions at this time. More conservative traders may want to raise their stop losses.

(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.

chart:

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


PetMed Express Inc. - PETS - close: 10.38 change: +0.10

Stop Loss: 9.90
Target(s): 11.90
Current Gain/Loss: unopened
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: Yes, see below

Comments:
12/31 update: PETS displayed relative strength on Friday. The stock posted a +0.9% gain and closed above technical resistance at its 150-dma. The high for the day was $10.44. Technically our trade is not open yet since our trigger is $10.45. Readers may want to go ahead and launch positions now. We will leave our trigger unchanged at $10.45.

A breakout could spark a short squeeze. The stock could see a short squeeze due to the high amount of short interest. The most recent data listed short interest is almost 29% of the very small 19.8 million-share float.

Earlier Comments:
PETS has potential technical resistance at the simple 150-dma at $10.35. I would keep our position size small to limit our risk. The simple and exponential 200-dma could be significant overhead resistance and PETS struggled with resistance near $11.50 in the past.

NOTE: I would prefer to trade the stock over the options but we're listing the options as an alternative.

Trigger @ 10.45 (small positions)

Suggested Position: buy PETS stock @ $10.45

- or -

buy the Feb $10 call (PETS1218B10)

chart:

Entry on December xx at $ xx.xx
Earnings Date 01/24/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 231 thousand
Listed on December 27, 2011


Starbucks Corp. - SBUX - close: 46.01 change: -0.44

Stop Loss: 43.75
Target(s): 49.75
Current Gain/Loss: - 0.1%
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/31 update: The short-term upward momentum in SBUX is stalling. It might be time for a dip back towards the $45.00 area. Wait for this pull back or a bounce near $45.00 as a new entry point.

Earlier Comments:
Broken resistance near $45.00 should be new support. The same can be said for the $44 level. Our multi-week target is $49.75. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for SBUX is bullish with a long-term $75 target.

current Position: long SBUX stock @ $46.08

- or -

Long FEB $47 call (SBUX1218B47) entry $1.56

chart:

Entry on December 29 at $46.08
Earnings Date 01/25/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 5.1 million
Listed on December 28, 2011


Trinity Industries - TRN - close: 30.06 change: -0.26

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

Comments:
12/31 update: Shares of TRN are still hovering near prior resistance at $30.00 and its simple 200-dma. I don't see any changes from my prior comments. We want to open bullish positions at $30.85 with a stop loss at $28.75. More conservative traders may want to wait for a move past $31.00 to open positions.

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.

Trigger @ 30.85

Suggested Position: buy TRN stock @ $30.85

- or -

buy the Jan $30 call (TRN1221A30)

12/28/11 adjusted entry point strategy to use a trigger at $30.85

chart:

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

EZchip Semiconductor - EZCH - close: 28.33 change: -0.53

Stop Loss: 30.10
Target(s): 25.50
Current Gain/Loss: + 0.1%
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/31 update: So far so good. Just as expected the bounce in EZCH failed near $29.00. Friday's move can be used as a new bearish entry point.

Earlier Comments:
We want to keep our position size small to limit our risk. The $26.60 level has been support in the past but we're aiming for $25.50. More aggressive trades may want to aim for $23 over the next several weeks. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for EZCH is bearish with a $24 target.

Suggested Position: short EZCH @ 28.38

- or -

Long Jan $28 PUT (EZCH1221M28) entry $0.95

chart:

Entry on December 29 at $28.38
Earnings Date 02/08/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 280 thousand
Listed on December 28, 2011


Kohl's Corp. - KSS - close: 49.35 change: -0.49

Stop Loss: 50.60
Target(s): 45.50
Current Gain/Loss: + 0.5%
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: Yes, see below

Comments:
12/31 update: We did not have to wait very long for KSS to hit our trigger. The plan was to open bearish positions at $49.60 and KSS complied with a move down early Friday morning. I would still consider new positions now.

FYI: The Point & Figure chart for KSS is bearish with a $41.00 target.

current Position: short KSS stock @ 49.60

- or -

Long 2012Jan $50 PUT (KSS1221M50) entry $1.60

chart:

Entry on December 30 at $49.60
Earnings Date 02/23/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 4.4 million
Listed on December 29, 2011


PACCAR Inc. - PCAR - close: 37.47 change: +0.01

Stop Loss: 38.25
Target(s): 32.50
Current Gain/Loss: + 4.1%
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/31 update: PCAR bounced up to $37.84 on Friday before paring its gains to close virtually unchanged on the session. I have been suggesting that readers look for a failed rally near $38.00 as a new bearish entry point. Friday's move is close enough to a reversal to work for us as an entry point.

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

(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.

chart:

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


CLOSED BULLISH PLAYS

Ross Stores Inc. - ROST - close: 47.53 change: -1.03

Stop Loss: 45.75
Target(s): 51.75
Current Gain/Loss: - 1.0%
Time Frame: 4 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/31 update: It looks like it's time to hit the emergency eject button on our ROST play. The stock stalled on Thursday and underperformed on Friday with a -2.1% decline. Shares are still inside a rising bullish channel but I'd rather exit now and look to buy a dip or a bounce near $46.00 (bottom of the channel) then endure the pull back.

closed Position: long ROST stock @ 48.05, exit 47.53 (-1.0%)

- or -

2012Jan $50 call (ROST1221A50) entry $0.45 exit 0.40 (-11.1%)

12/31/11 exit early!
12/24/11 adjusted target to $51.75

chart:

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


CLOSED BEARISH PLAYS

Vera Bradley, Inc. - VRA - close: 32.25 change: +0.09

Stop Loss: 32.55
Target(s): 27.50
Current Gain/Loss: + 1.8%
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/31 update: We have been very cautious on VRA the last few days with the stock's sideways consolidation near $32.00. On Thursday I suggested we exit early if the stock didn't show relative weakness on Friday. Unfortunately, VRA took the decision out of our hands when shares spiked to $32.70 intraday. That was enough to hit stop loss at $32.55.

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.

(very small positions only!)

closed Position: short VRA stock @ $33.17, exit 32.55 (+1.8%)

12/30/11 stopped out at $32.55
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.

chart:

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