Editor's Note:
The semiconductor stock LRCX continues to show relative strength and hit our exit target today.

Overall it was a relatively quiet session.

-James

Current Portfolio:


BULLISH Play Updates

Ball Corp. - BLL - close: 36.91 change: +0.05

Stop Loss: 39.00
Target(s): 35.75
Current Gain/Loss: + 0.9%
Time Frame: up to the earnings report (01/26)
New Positions: see below

Comments:
01/11 update: BLL bounced off its early morning lows but gains were mild. The $36.50 and $36.00 levels should be support. I am raising our stop loss to $35.75. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Don't forget that we plan to exit ahead of the late January earnings report.

Earlier Comments:
Our target is $39.00. More conservative traders may want to take profits early near $38.00 instead. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for BLL is currently bearish but a rally past $37.00 would produce a brand new buy signal.

current Position: Long BLL stock @ 36.55

- or -

Long Feb $35 call (BLL1221A35) entry 2.30

01/11/12 new stop loss @ 35.75
01/06/12 trade triggered at $36.55
01/05/12 adjusted stop loss to $35.35, plan to exit prior to earnings

Entry on January 06 at $36.55
Earnings Date 01/26/12 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 985 thousand
Listed on January 03, 2011


Harley-Davidson - HOG - close: 39.89 change: -0.44

Stop Loss: 38.75
Target(s): 44.50
Current Gain/Loss: - 1.1%
Time Frame: up to the earnings report (late January)
New Positions: see below

Comments:
01/11 update: Uh-oh! HOG's lack of follow through on yesterday's bullish breakout past $40.00 is negative. Nimble traders might want to consider buying a dip or a bounce near the simple 10-dma at $39.40. I am suggesting readers wait for a new relative high ($40.37) before considering new positions.

Our target is $44.50 but we may have to exit early given our time frame. HOG is tentatively scheduled to report earnings in late January and we do not want to hold over the announcement.

current Position: long HOG stock @ 40.35

- or -

Long Feb $40 call (HOG1221B40) entry $2.06

Entry on January 10 at $40.35
Earnings Date 01/24/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.5 million
Listed on January 05, 2011


PetMed Express Inc. - PETS - close: 10.55 change: +0.04

Stop Loss: 10.20
Target(s): 11.90
Current Gain/Loss: - 0.3%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
01/11 update: It was a quiet day for PETS with shares consolidating sideways. The stock closed up four cents for the second day in a row. Please note I am raising our stop loss to $10.20. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Earlier Comments:
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.

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.

(small positions)

current Position: Long PETS stock @ $10.59

- or -

Long Feb $10 call (PETS1218B10) entry $0.74

01/11/12 new stop loss @ 10.20
01/10/12 new stop loss @ 10.10
01/04/12 readers may want to exit early. PETS is not cooperating and the action looks bearish.
01/03/12 PETS gapped higher at $10.59, which is above our trigger at $10.45.

Entry on January 03 at $10.59
Earnings Date 01/24/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 231 thousand
Listed on December 27, 2011


Starbucks Corp. - SBUX - close: 47.12 change: +0.30

Stop Loss: 44.60
Target(s): 49.75
Current Gain/Loss: + 2.2%
Time Frame: up to the January earnings report.
New Positions: see below

Comments:
01/11 update: Traders bought the dip late this morning and SBUX rebounded to set a new all-time closing high. I am raising our stop loss to $44.60. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

NOTE: SBUX is tentatively scheduled to report earnings in late January. Normally we prefer to exit prior to any earnings announcement.

Earlier Comments:
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

01/11/12 new stop loss @ 44.60
01/07/12 new stop loss @ 43.95

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


Vertex Pharmaceuticals - VRTX - close: 37.32 change: +1.00

Stop Loss: 33.75
Target(s): 39.50
Current Gain/Loss: unopened
Time Frame: up to the February earnings
New Positions: Yes, see below

Comments:
01/11 update: VRTX continues to outperform. The stock added another +2.7% on Wednesday. I would not chase it with VRTX up five days in a row. We are suggesting a buy-the-dip trigger at $35.25 but if VRTX doesn't cooperate soon we'll drop it to make room for another trading idea. If triggered our target is $39.50 but we do not want to hold over the early February earnings report (unconfirmed at this time).

Trigger @ 35.25

Suggested Position: buy VRTX stock @ 35.25

- or -

buy the Feb $35 call (VRTX1218B35)

Entry on January xx at $ xx.xx
Earnings Date 02/02/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 3.0 million
Listed on January 10, 2011


BEARISH Play Updates

Ctrip.com Intl. - CTRP - close: 22.64 change: +0.07

Stop Loss: 24.05
Target(s): 20.25
Current Gain/Loss: + 1.0%
Time Frame: up to earnings in mid February.
New Positions: see below

Comments:
01/11 update: CTRP spent Wednesday's session churning sideways in a 60-cent range. I remain bearish and would still consider new positions at current levels.

Earlier Comments:
I do want to warn you that short interest on CTRP is nearing 10% of the float, which raises the risk of a short squeeze. I am suggesting we keep our position size small to limit our risk. More conservative traders can wait for a new relative low under $22.00 as their entry point instead. Our exit target is $20.25. I'm starting this play with a wide stop loss (a.k.a. riskier stop loss) at $24.05. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for CTRP is bearish with a $9.00 target.

Small Positions

current Position: short CTRP stock @ $22.87

- or -

Long Feb $22 PUT (CTRP1218N22) entry $1.20

Entry on January 10 at $22.87
Earnings Date 02/13/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.8 million
Listed on January 09, 2011


Electronic Arts - EA - close: 19.38 change: -0.08

Stop Loss: 21.05
Target(s): 18.00
Current Gain/Loss: + 2.9%
Time Frame: up to the earnings report
New Positions: see below

Comments:
01/11 update: EA slowly drifted lower on Wednesday. Any intraday rally attempts stalled at the $19.50 mark. I am almost tempted to lower our stop toward the $20.50 area. Readers may want to look for a new failed rally near $20.00 before considering new positions.

Our plan was to keep our position size small to limit risk.

Our exit target is $18.00 but we may adjust it as the play progresses. Please note that we want to exit prior to the early February earnings report (still unconfirmed).

(Small Positions)

current Position: short EA stock @ 19.97

- or -

Long 2012Jan $20 PUT (EA1221M20) entry $0.70

Entry on January 09 at $19.97
Earnings Date 02/01/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 4.9 million
Listed on January 07, 2011


Jos. A Bank Clothiers - JOSB - close: 46.96 change: -0.05

Stop Loss: 48.55
Target(s): 41.00
Current Gain/Loss: - 0.4%
Time Frame: 4 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
01/11 update: JOSB has spent two days in a row drifting sideways. I don't see any changes from my prior comments. Readers can look for a new failed rally near $48.00 as a new entry point.

Earlier Comments:
I suspect the path of least resistance is down and I'm not the only one. The most recent data listed short interest at 19% of the small 27.5 million-share float. This high amount of short interest does raise the risk of a short squeeze should the stock suddenly reverse unexpectedly.

Our target is $41.00 but don't be surprised to see a temporary bounce near $44.00. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for JOSB is bearish with a $39.00 target.

(Small Positions)

Suggested Position: short JOSB stock @ 46.75

- or -

Long Feb. $45 PUT (JOSB1218N45) entry $1.55

Entry on January 09 at $46.75
Earnings Date 03/29/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 236 thousand
Listed on January 07, 2011


Target Corp. - TGT - close: 49.03 change: +0.24

Stop Loss: 50.50
Target(s): 46.05
Current Gain/Loss: - 2.1%
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
01/11 update: TGT bounced at the $48.50 level early this morning and continued to slowly drift higher the rest of the session. There seems to be a growing chance that TGT is going to make a run at the $50.00 level. I'd wait for a failed rally near $50 before considering new positions.

(small positions)

current Position: short TGT stock @ 48.00

- or -

Long Feb $50 PUT (TGT1218B50) entry $2.65

01/05/12 new stop loss @ 50.50
01/05/12 Our trade was opened on the gap down at $48.00 instead of our trigger at $49.45 thanks to TGT's missed same-store sales numbers and an earnings warning.

Entry on January 05 at $48.00
Earnings Date 02/22/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 4.6 million
Listed on January 04, 2011


CLOSED BULLISH PLAYS

Lam Research - LRCX - close: 39.89 change: +0.89

Stop Loss: 36.90
Target(s): 39.50
Current Gain/Loss: + 6.7%
Time Frame: 3 to 4 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
01/11 update: Target hit.

LRCX continues to show relative strength. The stock opened lower at $38.87 and then rallied toward resistance near $40 and its 50-dma to settle up with a +2.2% gain. Our exit target was hit at $39.50. Except we already had plans to exit our $38 calls at the open this morning. Fortunately the January $38 calls opened with a bid at $1.55.

(small positions)

closed Position: Long LRCX stock @ $37.02, exit 39.50 (+6.7%)

- or -

2012Jan $38 call (LRCX1221A38) entry $0.60 exit $1.55 (+158.3%)

01/11/12 LRCX hit our exit target at $39.50
01/11/12 exited Jan $38 calls at the open
01/10/12 prepare to exit calls tomorrow at the open
LRCX hit $39.49 intraday. exit target is 39.50
New stop loss @ 36.90
01/09/12 new stop loss @ 36.40, adjust target to $39.50
01/03/12 new stop loss @ 35.75
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