Editor's Note:
Technology stocks were some of the market's best performers today. We saw a number of short squeezes at the open.

RVBD and TRW have been stopped out.

Current Portfolio:


BULLISH Play Updates

ACI Worldwide, Inc. - ACIW - close: 44.75 change: -0.22

Stop Loss: 43.75
Target(s): 49.00
Current Gain/Loss: + 1.6%
Time Frame: exit prior to the late July earnings report.
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/12 update: I cautioned readers that we might see ACIW dip back toward support near $44.00. Sure enough the stock fell to $44.08 but managed a decent bounce off those lows. I am not suggesting new positions. Don't forget that we want to exit prior to the late July earnings report (the last week of July).

current Position: Long ACIW stock @ $44.05

07/03/12 new stop loss @ 43.75
06/29/12 triggered @ 44.05

Entry on June 29 at $44.05
Earnings Date 07/26/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 318 thousand
Listed on June 27, 2011


Extra Space Storage - EXR - close: 32.13 change: -0.09

Stop Loss: 29.99
Target(s): 33.50
Current Gain/Loss: + 3.1%
Time Frame: exit prior to the late July earnings report
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/12 update: Wednesday was a quiet day for EXR with shares churning sideways in a narrow range. Cautious traders might want to consider a stop loss closer to the $31 level.

Our target is $33.50 but we'll plan to exit prior to the late July earnings report.

Suggested Position: Long EXR stock @ $31.15

07/09/12 triggered @ 31.15

Entry on July 09 at $31.15
Earnings Date 07/26/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.5 million
Listed on July 07, 2011


IdaCorp. - IDA - close: 43.37 change: +0.19

Stop Loss: 41.90
Target(s): 45.00
Current Gain/Loss: + 0.5%
Time Frame: exit prior to the early August earnings report
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/12 update: IDA erased yesterday's loss but shares are essentially drifting sideways above support near $43.00. The lack of progress higher with the market on the rise is a bit troubling. Our multi-week target is $45.00.

current Position: Long IDA stock @ $43.15

07/13/12 triggered @ 43.15

Entry on July 13 at $43.15
Earnings Date 08/02/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 217 thousand
Listed on July 11, 2011


Lennar Corp. - LEN - close: 30.38 change: -0.77

Stop Loss: 29.49
Target(s): 34.50
Current Gain/Loss: - 3.3%
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/12 update: LEN displayed some relative weakness and is nearing the bottom of its $30-32 trading range. Nimble traders could use a bounce near $30 as a new entry point.

Earlier Comments:
The most recent data listed short interest at almost 22% of the 161 million share float. LEN could see a short squeeze if it shows any strength. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for LEN is bullish with a long-term $46 target.

current Position: Long LEN @ $31.40

- or -

Long Aug $32 call (LEN1218H32) Entry $1.57

07/13/12 triggered @ 31.40

Entry on July 13 at $31.40
Earnings Date 09/12/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 7.2 million
Listed on July 12, 2011


Prudential Financial - PRU - close: 48.65 change: +0.00

Stop Loss: 47.49
Target(s): 53.00
Current Gain/Loss: unopened
Time Frame: exit prior to the Aug. 1st earnings report.
New Positions: Yes, see below

Comments:
07/18/12 update: PRU closed unchanged on the session with the stock hovering under resistance near $49.00.

I am suggesting a trigger to launch positions at $49.50. Please note that the $50.00 level could still be round-number resistance so more conservative traders may want to use a trigger above the $50.00 mark. Our target is $53.00 but we'll plan to exit ahead of the August 1st earnings report.

Trigger @ 49.50

Suggested Position: buy PRU stock @ (trigger)

- or -

buy the Aug $50 call (PRU1218H50)

Entry on July xx at $ xx.xx
Earnings Date 08/01/12 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 3.0 million
Listed on July 14, 2011


Papa John's Intl. Inc. - PZZA - close: 52.51 change: +1.67

Stop Loss: 48.49
Target(s): 54.75
Current Gain/Loss: + 3.6%
Time Frame: exit prior to the July 31st earnings report (unconfirmed)
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/12 update: Our new PZZA trade is off to a strong start. Shares opened at $50.70 and surged to a +3.2% gain on the day. I wouldn't chase it here. Wait for a pullback. Our target is $54.75. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for PZZA is bullish with a $63 target.

current Position: Long PZZA stock @ $50.70

- or -

Long Aug $55 call (PZZA1218H50) Entry $0.55

Entry on July 18 at $50.70
Earnings Date 07/31/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 115 thousand
Listed on July 17, 2011


Verisk Analytics - VRSK - close: 50.74 change: -0.20

Stop Loss: 49.75
Target(s): 54.50
Current Gain/Loss: + 0.0%
Time Frame: exit prior to the July 31st earnings report (unconfirmed)
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/12 update: Our new trade on VRSK is off to a slower start. Shares opened lower at $50.72 and pretty much closed right where it opened this morning. Readers can choose if they want to wait and buy a dip near $50.00 or wait for a new relative high over $51.00 as their entry point.

Our target is $54.50 but we'll plan to exit prior to the late July/early August earnings report.

Current Position: Long VRSK stock @ $50.72

Entry on July 18 at $50.72
Earnings Date 07/31/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 874 thousand
Listed on July 17, 2011


BEARISH Play Updates

Focus Media Holdings - FMCN - close: 18.75 change: +0.74

Stop Loss: 20.10
Target(s): 15.25
Current Gain/Loss: - 1.9%
Time Frame: 4 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/12 update: After the big drop in Chinese stocks yesterday most of them bounced back today. FMCN erased yesterday's -74 cent drop with a +74 cent gain. Technically the rebound struggled with resistance near $19.00. I would probably wait for a new drop under $18.50 or under $18.25 as our next bearish entry point.

Readers will want to consider limiting the size of their positions since FMCN can be such a volatile stock (or just use the options to limit how much capital you have exposed).

current Position: short FMCN stock @ $18.40

- or -

Long Aug $18 PUT (FMCN1218T18) Entry $1.50

Entry on July 17 at $18.40
Earnings Date 05/29/12
Average Daily Volume = 2.2 million
Listed on July 16, 2011


Groupon, Inc. - GRPN - close: 7.07 change: -0.14

Stop Loss: 9.05
Target(s): 6.25
Current Gain/Loss: +15.8%
Time Frame: exit prior to the early August earnings report
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/12 update: Another day, another decline for GRPN. My concern right now is that one of these days we're going to see another analyst come out with a "GRPN is too cheap at these levels" sort of call and the stock might see some short covering on the headline. Thus, readers may want to start taking some money off the table.

I'm not suggesting new positions.

*Small Positions*

current Position: short GRPN stock @ $8.40

- or -

Long Aug $8.00 PUT (GRPN1218T8) Entry $0.80

07/18/12 readers may want to start taking some money off the table
our GRPN trade is up +15.8%
07/12/12 new stop loss @ 9.05

Entry on July 09 at $8.40
Earnings Date 08/08/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 8.1 million
Listed on July 07, 2011


Home Inns & Hotels Management - HMIN - close: 17.20 change: -1.08

Stop Loss: 20.25
Target(s): 18.00 & 15.50
Current Gain/Loss: +12.2%
Time Frame: exit prior to the Aug. 9th earnings report
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/12 update: Yesterday's bearish reversal under resistance is seeing some nice follow through today. HMIN plunged -5.9% and closed at new lows. Readers may want to inch their stop loss down toward yesterday's high. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

HMIN hit our first target at $18.00 on July 12th. Our second target is $15.50.

Earlier Comments:
Readers may want to keep their position size small or use the options to limit their risk. The most recent data listed short interest at 17% of the 24.2 million share float.

Suggested Position: short HMIN stock @ $19.60

- or -

Long Aug $20 PUT (HMIN1218T20) Entry $1.70

07/12/12 new stop loss @ 20.25
07/12/12 1st target hit @ 18.00 (+8.2%)
1st target hit @ 18.00, option bid @ $2.50 (+47.0%)*
(option exit price is an estimate since the option did not trade at the time our first target was hit)
07/10/12 triggered @ 19.60

Entry on July 10 at $19.60
Earnings Date 08/09/12 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 284 thousand
Listed on July 09, 2011


Harley-Davidson - HOG - close: 44.02 change: +0.18

Stop Loss: 45.25
Target(s): 40.25
Current Gain/Loss: - 0.4%
Time Frame: exit prior to the Aug. 1st earnings
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/12 update: The fact that HOG is not rising with the market is a good sign for the bears. Yet at the same time the stock isn't declining either. Shares are currently stuck in this $43.00-44.50 trading range. Readers may want to wait for confirmation of the down trend and look for a new drop under $42.90 before launching positions.

We do not want to hold over the Aug. 1st earnings report. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for HOG is bearish with a $35.00 target.

current Position: short HOG stock @ $43.86

- or -

Long Aug $42 PUT (HOG1218T42) Entry $1.62

Entry on July 16 at $43.86
Earnings Date 08/01/12 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.2 million
Listed on July 14, 2011


CLOSED BEARISH PLAYS

Riverbed Tech. - RVBD - close: 15.38 change: +1.53

Stop Loss: 15.10
Target(s): 12.50
Current Gain/Loss: - 4.1%
Time Frame: exit prior to the July 24th earnings report
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/12 update: Ouch! The rally in tech stocks this morning sparked some short covering and RVBD soared +11% on the day. Our stop loss was hit at $15.10. Our trade went from +4.5% to -4.1% really quick.

closed Position: short RVBD stock @ $14.50 exit $15.10 (-4.1%)

- or -

Long Aug $14 PUT (RVBD1218T14) Entry $1.16 exit $0.82 (-29.3%)

07/12/12 new stop loss @ 15.10

chart:

Entry on July xx at $ xx.xx
Earnings Date 07/24/12 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 3.4 million
Listed on July 09, 2011


TRW Automotive - TRW - close: 36.53 change: +1.19

Stop Loss: 36.35
Target(s): 30.50
Current Gain/Loss: - 2.7%
Time Frame: exit prior to the July 31st earnings report
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/12 update: Positive analyst comments this morning helped fuel the rally in TRW today. The stock rallied past resistance near $36.00 and hit our stop loss at $36.35.

closed Position: short TRW stock @ $35.38 exit $36.35 (-2.7%)

- or -

Aug $35 PUT (TRW1218T35) Entry $1.90 exit $1.10 (-42.1%)

07/18/12 stopped out at $36.35
07/12/12 new stop loss @ 36.35

chart:

Entry on July 11 at $35.38
Earnings Date 07/31/12 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 949 thousand
Listed on July 10, 2011