Editor's Note:
Energy stocks were the exception to the market's widespread gains on Thursday. Almost of all of our active trades inched higher, some outperforming the major indices. This has not been a healthy environment for bearish trades. Readers may want to pare back or exit early any bearish positions.

-James

Current Portfolio:


BULLISH Play Updates

Ball Corp. - BLL - close: 37.82 change: +0.91

Stop Loss: 39.00
Target(s): 36.25
Current Gain/Loss: + 3.4%
Time Frame: up to the earnings report (01/26)
New Positions: see below

Comments:
01/12 update: BLL outperformed the market with a +2.4% gain thanks to news that J.P.Morgan had upgraded the stock to an "overweight" this morning. BLL rallied toward resistance near $38.00. More conservative traders may want to exit early now to lock in gains. We will raise our stop los up to $36.25. 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

01/12/12 new stop loss @ 36.25
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: 40.75 change: +0.86

Stop Loss: 38.75
Target(s): 44.50
Current Gain/Loss: + 0.9%
Time Frame: up to the earnings report (late January)
New Positions: see below

Comments:
01/12 update: HOG was also showing some relative strength today. Traders bought the dip this morning at $39.45 and HOG rebounded to a +2.1% gain and a new multi-week high.

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: 10.59 change: +0.04

Stop Loss: 10.20
Target(s): 11.90
Current Gain/Loss: + 0.0%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
01/12 update: If you were hoping to exit at breakeven then this is it. The gap open higher back on January 3rd screwed up our entry point and the stock has finally bounced back to these levels. Shares actually posted their third gain in a row of exactly four cents today. 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 26% 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 01/23/12 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 231 thousand
Listed on December 27, 2011


Starbucks Corp. - SBUX - close: 47.60 change: +0.48

Stop Loss: 44.90
Target(s): 49.75
Current Gain/Loss: + 3.3%
Time Frame: up to the January earnings report.
New Positions: see below

Comments:
01/12 update: Another day, another record high for SBUX. Shares are just slowly marching higher. I am raising our stop loss to $44.90. You may want to raise your stop even higher. 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

01/12/12 new stop loss @ 44.90
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


Textainer Group Holdings - TGH - close: 29.94 change: -0.16

Stop Loss: 28.95
Target(s): 34.00
Current Gain/Loss: unopened
Time Frame: 3 to 4 weeks
New Positions: Yes, see below

Comments:
01/12 update: TGH spiked to $30.48 this morning before reversing to a -0.5% decline. it's not too surprising to see a little profit taking after yesterday's big bounce. The volume was very low on today's pull back. I don't see any changes from my prior comments.

Earlier Comments:
The stock has been consolidating sideways in the $29.00-30.40 zone for over three weeks. A breakout could spark some short covering. The most recent data listed short interest at 11% of the very small 12.8 million share float. That raises the risk of a short squeeze. Plus, TGH should appeal to the high-yield crowd since shares sport a 4.7% yield.

I am suggesting a trigger to open bullish positions at $30.60 with a stop loss at $28.95. More conservative traders may want to use a stop closer to $29.50 instead.

NOTE: TGH does have options but the spreads are a little wide.

Trigger @ 30.60

Suggested Position: buy TGH stock @ 30.60

Entry on January xx at $ xx.xx
Earnings Date 02/09/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 172 thousand
Listed on January 11, 2011


Vertex Pharmaceuticals - VRTX - close: 37.07 change: -0.25

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:
01/12 update: VRTX saw a little bit of profit taking today but not enough. Traders bought the dip near $36.00 and shares were able to pare their losses.

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: 23.81 change: +1.17

Stop Loss: 24.05
Target(s): 20.25
Current Gain/Loss: - 4.1%
Time Frame: up to earnings in mid February.
New Positions: see below

Comments:
01/12 update: If you're a bear the market is not cooperating at least not in CTRP. Shares outperformed the market today with a +5.1% gain. The stock closed just under resistance at $24.00. Today's move was fueled by strong volume, which is a troubling sign if you're bearish.

More conservative traders may want to exit immediately. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

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

01/12/12 CTRP is bouncing higher. Readers may want to exit immediately

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: 19.51 change: +0.13

Stop Loss: 21.05
Target(s): 18.00
Current Gain/Loss: + 2.3%
Time Frame: up to the earnings report
New Positions: see below

Comments:
01/12 update: EA produced a bit of an oversold bounce. Today's +0.6% gain was better than the S&P 500's +0.2% advance. EA should find resistance near the $20.00 level. 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: 47.27 change: +0.31

Stop Loss: 48.05
Target(s): 41.00
Current Gain/Loss: - 1.1%
Time Frame: 4 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
01/12 update: I am growing concerned with the lack of downward momentum in shares of JOSB. It almost looks like shares are building a short-term bottom near $46.00. If JOSB rallies past $47.50 then it sets up for a run towards the $48.50-50.00 zone. I am lowering our stop loss down to $48.05. More conservative traders may want to just exit early now.

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

01/12/12 new stop loss @ 48.05

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: - 3.7%
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
01/12 update: I cautioned readers to expect a potential oversold bounce back toward the $50.00 area. Fortunately the $50.00 level should be new resistance. A failed rally here can be used as a new bearish entry point.

(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