Editor's Note:
The U.S. market's major indices closed on their lows of the day. That does not bode well for tomorrow morning if you're bullish.

COLM hit our stop. NCR hit our bearish entry point.


Current Portfolio:


BULLISH Play Updates

Barracuda Networks - CUDA - close: 35.83 change: -0.82

Stop Loss: 34.85
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: + 0.5%
Entry on November 18 at $35.65
Listed on November 12, 2014
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 247 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/16/14: CUDA displayed relative weakness on Tuesday with a -2.2% decline. More conservative investors may want to raise their stop loss again. I am not suggesting new positions.

Earlier Comments: November 15, 2014:
CUDA is part of the technology sector. This is a small cap company in the cloud computing space. According to the website, "Barracuda provides cloud-connected security and storage solutions that simplify IT. These powerful, easy-to-use and affordable solutions are trusted by more than 150,000 organizations worldwide and are delivered in appliance, virtual appliance, cloud and hybrid deployments. Barracuda's customer-centric business model focuses on delivering high-value, subscription-based IT solutions that provide end-to-end network and data security."

CUDA has only been a public company for little more than a year. Lately they have been on a roll with their earnings reports. CUDA has beaten Wall Street's estimates on both the top and bottom line four quarters in a row. The last two reports also included bullish guidance.

CUDA's most recent report was October 9th when they reported their Q2 results. Analysts were expecting a profit of $0.04 a share on revenues of $66.7 million. CUDA delivered a big beat with a profit of $0.8 on revenue growth of +18.9% to $68.7 million.

Management said their active subscribers grew +18% and their renewal rate was 96.5%. Their Next Generation Firewall solutions saw sales up +50% in the quarter. CUDA said sales were up across all geographically regions. Plus their gross margins were strong with an improvement to 81.7%. That's above the prior quarter's 80.4% and the year ago period 79.8%.

CUDA's guidance was bullish. Their Q3 estimates are for revenues in the $69-70 million range versus Wall Street's $69 million estimate. They expect a profit in the $0.04-0.05 zone compared to estimates of only $0.03. They raised their 2015 revenue guidance above their prior estimates but this was slightly below Wall Street's estimate. They also raised their 2015 earnings growth into the $0.22-0.24 range compared to analysts' consensus estimates of only $0.17.

Technically the stock has been soaring from its double bottom in the $24.00 area. The point & figure chart is bullish and forecasting a long-term target of $56.00. Right now CUDA is testing resistance in the $35.00 area. A breakout here could spark some short covering. The most recent data listed short interest at 9.7% of the very, very small 9.9 million share float.

We are suggesting a trigger to open bullish positions at $35.65.

- Suggested Positions -

Long CUDA stock @ $35.65

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long 2015 Jan $35 call (CUDA150117c35) entry $3.15

12/11/14 new stop @ 34.85
12/06/14 new stop @ 33.85
11/22/14 new stop @ 33.65
11/18/14 triggered @ $35.65
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Cynosure, Inc. - CYNO - close: 29.00 change: +0.28

Stop Loss: 26.75
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: +10.5%
Entry on November 12 at $26.25
Listed on November 11, 2014
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 201 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/16/14: Trading volume was a little light today but CYNO bucked the market's down trend and posted a gain. I don't see any changes from my recent comments.

More conservative traders may want to move their stop closer to $28.00. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Earlier Comments: November 11, 2014:
CYNO is in the healthcare sector. The company is part of the medical equipment industry. According to a company press release, "Cynosure designs, manufactures and markets medical devices for aesthetic procedures and precision surgical applications worldwide that enable plastic surgeons, dermatologists and other medical practitioners to perform non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures to remove hair, treat vascular and benign pigmented lesions, remove multi-colored tattoos, revitalize the skin, liquefy and remove unwanted fat through laser lipolysis, reduce cellulite, clear nails infected by toe fungus and ablate sweat glands."

Their flagship product is the PicoSure laser workstation, designed to remove tattoos. This laser technology produces ultra-short bursts of energy to the skin in trillionths of a second. The company recently gained FDA approval to use their PicoSure system to treat acne scars and wrinkles.

CYNO's earnings results have been mixed. Their Q1 report back in May missed estimates by four cents even though revenues were up +52% from a year ago. The stock sold off on this report. They followed that with a Q2 report in July that beat estimates as revenues soared +45% from a year ago. Growth slowed a bit in their latest report in October.

Analysts were expecting 25 cents a share on revenues of $70 million. CYNO met expectations on the bottom line while the top line grew +18% to $71.5 million.

CYNO's Chairman and CEO Michael Davin commented on the quarter saying, "Cynosure delivered record third-quarter revenue of $71.5 million, up 18 percent year-over-year as revenue in each of our direct sales channels improved from the same period in 2013. North American laser revenue increased 17 percent, revenue from our Asia Pacific subsidiaries rose 46 percent, while our European direct sales channel was up 7 percent. Product and technology innovation, expanded indications and new international marketing clearances continue to drive favorable results for the Company."

Discussing his company's outlook Davin said, "We are on schedule to launch our next flagship platform in 2015 for non-invasive fat removal, and we believe this large addressable market represents a significant growth opportunity for the Company."

Technically shares have broken out from a six-month consolidation in the $19-24 range. The rally following its October earnings report lifted CYNO above key resistance at $24.00 and its 200-dma. Shares have already retested this level as support and now the stock is breaking out to multi-month highs. The point & figure chart is bullish with a $31.50 target.

Tonight I am suggesting small bullish positions if CYNO can trade at $26.25. We want to keep our position size small to limit our risk.

*small positions* - Suggested Positions -

Long CYNO stock @ $26.25

12/13/14 new stop @ 26.75
11/19/14 new stop @ 25.90
11/18/14 caution: potential bearish reversal today
11/15/14 new stop @ $25.35
11/12/14 triggered @ 26.25


Sealed Air Corp. - SEE - close: 41.23 change: +0.49

Stop Loss: 39.95
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: +0.4%
Entry on December 09 at $41.05
Listed on December 08, 2014
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 2.1 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/16/14: SEE was also showing some relative strength today. The stock rebounded off its morning lows and closed up +1.2%. The relative strength is encouraging but I would still hesitate to launch new positions given the broader market weakness.

Earlier Comments: December 8, 2014:
SEE is part of the consumer goods sector. They're in the packaging and containers industry. The company describes itself as "Sealed Air is a global leader in food safety and security, facility hygiene and product protection. With widely recognized and inventive brands such as Bubble Wrap brand cushioning, Cryovac brand food packaging solutions and Diversey brand cleaning and hygiene solutions, Sealed Air offers efficient and sustainable solutions that create business value for customers, enhance the quality of life for consumers and provide a cleaner and healthier environment for future generations. On a pro forma basis, Sealed Air generated revenue of $8.1 billion in 2011 and has approximately 26,300 employees who serve customers in 175 countries."

The U.S. economy is improving and that should mean a strong tailwind for SEE. The company has seen earnings growth improve. The last two quarters in a row SEE has beaten Wall Street's estimates on both the top and bottom. If that wasn't good enough they also raised their guidance two quarters in a row.

SEE's most recent earnings report was October 29th. Analysts were expecting a profit of $0.45 a share on revenues of $1.94 billion. SEE said earnings were up +24% from a year ago to $0.52 a share. Revenues rose +3.3% to $1.98 billion.

Jerome A. Peribere, President and Chief Executive Officer of SEE commented on their quarterly performance. He said, "Our financial and operational performance in the third quarter exceeded our expectations across all key metrics. Net sales increased 3.6% on a constant dollar basis, Adjusted EBITDA margin surpassed 15%, and Adjusted EPS increased 24%. Adjusted gross profit margin increased 120 basis points as a result of our continued disciplines and value-added selling approach across all regions and divisions. Despite macro-economic uncertainties, currency headwinds and volume declines in the North American protein market, we are increasing our 2014 outlook for Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EPS and expect to generate approximately $540 million in free cash flow."

SEE's new 2014 guidance is $1.70-1.75 a share versus Wall Street's $1.65-1.70 estimate. The stock has been strong following this report. Instead of correcting lower in mid November SEE merely consolidated sideways. Now it's rested and ready to run. Shares are up five days in a row and ignored the market-wide weakness today.

Today's intraday high was $40.87. I am suggesting a trigger at $41.05 to open bullish positions. We're not setting a target tonight but I will note the point & figure chart is forecasting a long-term target of $61.00.

- Suggested Positions -

Long SEE stock @ $41.05

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long Jan $40 CALL (SEE150117C40) entry $1.90

12/11/14 new stop @ 39.95
12/09/14 triggered @ 41.05
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike




BEARISH Play Updates

Cabot Corp. - CBT - close: $40.59 change: +0.65

Stop Loss: 42.05
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: -2.1%
Entry on December 12 at $39.75
Listed on December 11, 2014
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 414 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/16/14: Uh-oh! CBT is moving the wrong way. Shares have ignored the market's weakness two days in a row. This could be a warning signal for bears. More conservative traders will want to seriously consider lowering their stop loss closer to the 10-dma near $41.35.

I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Earlier Comments: December 11, 2014:
CBT got its start over 130 years ago. Today they are a chemical company with a wide range of products and sales of more than $3.6 billion annually. Company literature describes Cabot as "a global specialty chemicals and performance materials company, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. The company is a leading provider of rubber and specialty carbons, activated carbon, inkjet colorants and cesium formate drilling fluids and has market-leading positions in fumed silica, aerogel, and elastomer composites."

It is worth noting that CBT does have exposure to the oil and gas drilling industry. CBT makes a number of products involved in the process of drilling and treating oil and gas. Given the weakness in the oil and gas industry it could be accelerating CBT's decline.

Their earnings results have not been very inspiring. Their most recent report was October 28th. CBT managed to beat the bottom line but revenues came in below estimates. Management warned the company is facing "uncertain global macroeconomic conditions." CBT pointed to slowing growth in China, Europe, and South America as potential hazards.

Technically the stock looks like a bearish momentum candidate with a steady stream of lower lows and lower highs. The last half of October and the first half of November formed a pennant consolidation pattern. CBT's breakdown from the consolidation also broke through what should have been significant support in the $41.50-42.00 zone. Now shares of CBT are poised to breakthrough round-number support at the $40.00 level. The stock has also broken down below some very long-term trend lines dating back to 2009 (not shown on the chart below).

Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to launch bearish positions at $39.75. The option spreads are too wide to trade so we'll have to trade the stock.

- Suggested Positions -

Short CBT @ $39.75

12/12/14 triggered @ $39.75


NCR Corp. - NCR - close: 26.75 change: -0.43

Stop Loss: 28.55
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: +0.7%
Entry on December 16 at $26.95
Listed on December 15, 2014
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 2.25 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/16/14: The sell-off in NCR continues and shares hit our suggested entry point at $26.95. The stock underperformed the major market indices with a -1.58% decline. I would still consider new positions at current levels.

Earlier Comments: December 15, 2014:
NCR is part of the technology sector. Company marketing material describes NCR as "the global leader in consumer transaction technologies, turning everyday interactions with businesses into exceptional experiences. With its software, hardware, and portfolio of services, NCR enables more than 485 million transactions daily across retail, financial, travel, hospitality, telecom and technology, and small business. NCR solutions run the everyday transactions that make your life easier. NCR is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia with approximately 29,000 employees and does business in 180 countries."

It has not been a good year for shares of NCR. The stock is down -19% in 2014. NCR's stock was already in a bearish trend of lower highs and lower lows before the company issued an earnings warning on October 20th. You can see the big gap down and plunge toward $23 on that session. Since the stock has seen a technical rebound that was boosted by the market's widespread surge off the October lows. Unfortunately for NCR the rally reversed at resistance near $30.00 while the broader market broke out to new highs.

Management lowered their Q3 and 2014 guidance on the 20th and essentially warned that Q4 would be disappointing as well. Chairman and CEO Bill Nuti commented on their results saying, "Our Retail Solutions business was challenged by customers spending more cautiously than anticipated and further delaying solution rollouts. These trends, along with difficult global macroeconomic conditions and foreign currency headwinds, had significant impacts on our performance in the third quarter, and we expect they will continue to impact our Retail Solutions business in the fourth quarter."

Traders have been selling every bounce with new resistance at the descending 10-dma. The point & figure chart is very bearish with a $20.00 target. The stock closed at new six-week lows today. Tonight I'm suggesting a trigger to open bearish positions at $26.95.

- Suggested Positions -

Short NCR stock @ $26.95

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long Jan $27 PUT (NCR150117P27) entry $1.35

12/16/14 triggered @ 26.95
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


TimkenSteel Corp. - TMST - close: 31.17 change: -0.02

Stop Loss: 33.35
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: - 0.1%
Entry on December 15 at $31.15
Listed on December 13, 2014
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 449 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/16/14: Traders may want to wait on initiating new positions in TMST. The stock bounced twice near $30.50 today. I would not be surprised to see TMST retest resistance at $32.00 and that's where we can look for a new bearish entry point.

Earlier Comments: December 13, 2014:
TMST is in the basic materials sector. They were spun off into their own company back in July 2014 and after a +25% rally the stock peaked near round-number resistance at $50 a share in September. Then two things happened. The stock market corrected lower (mid September through mid October) and crude oil prices started dropping in earnest. While the market recovered from its correction the steel industry stocks did not.

According to company marketing materials, "TimkenSteel creates tailored steel products and services for demanding applications, helping customers push the bounds of what's possible within their industries. The company reaches around the world in its customers' products and leads North America in large alloy steel bars (6"+) and seamless mechanical tubing made of its special bar quality steel, as well as supply chain and steel services. Operating from six countries, TimkenSteel posted sales of $1.4 billion in 2013."

U.S. steel companies have been facing pricing pressures from cheaper imported steel. This has been a factor for the industry for a while. This year steel stocks are getting melted by the bear market in crude oil. Why is oil dragging steel stocks lower? That's because for companies like U.S. Steel (X) and Timkensteel (TMST) they do big business making steel products for the energy industry.

The energy exploration, drilling, and production accounts for 10% of the steel used inside the U.S. each year. There's a lot of metal on all of these oil and gas rigs. They put a lot of metal into the ground for drilling, especially fracking rigs with their horizontal drilling. The energy boom in the U.S. has been a boon for steel companies because the steel products they make for the energy sector have been a higher-margin business.

This year the price of oil has been cut in half with Saudi Arabia launching a not so secret war against all rivals in the oil industry including Iran, Russia, and the surging U.S. shale oil industry. If oil prices get too low the Saudis know that that U.S. oil production will fall when it becomes unprofitable. That's bad news for steel companies.

Shale oil and shale gas wells have a high depletion rate. That means drilling companies are constantly drilling new wells to keep up production. Yet if they stop or slow production because oil prices are too low that's going to cut demand for steel products, which is going to hurt companies like TMST in some of their highest margin business.

Shares of TMST just spent the last two weeks consolidating sideways in the $32-33 zone. Friday's move is a bearish breakdown under support at $32.00. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to launch bearish positions at $31.15.

- Suggested Positions -

Short TMST stock @ $31.15

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long FEB $30 PUT (TMST150220P30) entry $2.55

12/15/14 triggered at $31.15
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Voxeljet AG - VJET - close: 7.70 change: -0.57

Stop Loss: 8.65
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +24.0%
Entry on December 04 at $ 9.90
Listed on December 01, 2014
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 372 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/16/14: VJET spent most of Tuesday's session trading sideways. Shares still posted a loss thanks to the gap down at the open. I don't see any changes from my earlier comments.

More conservative investors may want to either take some money off the table and/or lower their stop loss again.

I am not suggesting new positions at the moment.

Earlier Comments: December 2, 2014:
VJET is in the technology sector. The company is part of the 3D printer industry. A company press release describes VJET as "a leading provider of high-speed, large-format 3D printers and on-demand parts services to industrial and commercial customers. The Company's 3D printers employ a powder binding, additive manufacturing technology to produce parts using various material sets, which consist of particulate materials and proprietary chemical binding agents. The Company provides its 3D printers and on-demand parts services to industrial and commercial customers serving the automotive, aerospace, film and entertainment, art and architecture, engineering and consumer product end markets."

Unfortunately this industry has been struggling. Q3 earnings results were disappointing almost across the board with 3D printing companies either posting earnings misses, lowering guidance, or both. VJET happens to fall in the both category.

VJET reported its Q3 results on November 13th. Analysts were expecting a loss of €0.03 for the quarter. The actual results were significantly worse with VJET reporting a loss of €0.41. That compares to a profit of €0.11 in Q3 2013. Management lowered their guidance following the Q3 earnings report.

The industry is facing a new competition in printer giant Hewlett-Packard (HPQ). Everyone knew that HPQ would eventually jump into the 3D printer market and HPQ has finally announced they will next year. HPQ recently gave a presentation saying their 3D printer technology will use "multi-jet fusion" which will generate speeds 10 times faster than current 3D printers.

Shares of VJET have been underperforming the market with a bearish trend of lower highs and lower lows. The point & figure chart is bearish and forecasting at $6.00 target.

Today VJET is setting at all-time lows and poised to break what should be round-number, psychological support at the $10.00 mark. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to open bearish positions at $9.90.

Please note I do consider this a more aggressive, higher-risk trade. There is already a lot of short interest in this name. The most recent data listed short interest at 22% of the very small 12.4 million share float. That poses the risk of a short squeeze should VJET ever bounce. You may want to use put options to limit your risk to the cost of the option.

*higher-risk, more aggressive trade* - Suggested Positions -

Short VJET stock @ $9.90

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long 2015 Jan $10 PUT (VJET150117P10) entry $1.05

12/11/14 new stop @ 8.65
12/08/14 new stop @ 9.65
12/04/14 triggered @ $9.90
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Zulily, Inc. - ZU - close: 23.20 change: -0.80

Stop Loss: 27.30
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: +10.4%
Entry on December 08 at $25.90
Listed on December 06, 2014
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 1.3 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/16/14: ZU's slide continues with the stock down four days in a row. Today's drop underperformed the market with a -3.3% decline.

Traders may want to start lowering their stop loss. I am not suggesting new positions at current levels.

Earlier Comments: December 6, 2014:
ZU is in the services sector. They're considered part of the discount variety store industry. Yet the company doesn't have any retail locations. Instead they operate online. ZU focuses on the "flash sales" model with 72 hour sales (and occasionally 24 hour sales).

The website describes the company as follows, "zulily (http://www.zulily.com) is a retailer obsessed with bringing moms special finds every day—all at incredible prices. We feature an always-fresh curated collection for the whole family, including clothing, home decor, toys, gifts and more. Unique products from up-and-coming brands are featured alongside favorites from top brands, giving customers something new to discover each morning. zulily was launched in 2010 and is headquartered in Seattle with offices in Reno, Columbus and London."

If you do any research on ZU you'll hear a lot about the business model. It makes sense. The company doesn't suffering from all the hassles and expenses of normal retail locations. The constantly rotating nature of their flash sales model generates a sense of urgency for the buyer. It seems like a great idea. The last couple of earnings reports have been better than Wall Street expected. Yet the stock is getting crushed.

ZU's most recent report was their Q3 results on November 4th. Wall Street was expecting ZU to lose between 3 to 4 cents per share on revenues of $285.4 million. ZU reported a profit of $0.02, which is up from $0.00 a year ago. Revenues soared +71.5% to $285.8 million.

Management said it was a good quarter for ZU. Darrell Cavens, CEO of zulily, said, "This was a strong quarter where we hit several key milestones— the business reached a billion dollars in revenue on a trailing 12 month basis and the majority of our North American orders now come from mobile." They also saw their active customers surge +72% from a year ago to 4.5 million. Their average purchase was up +4%. In spite of all the good news the stock plunged -20% the next day.

The reason appears to be guidance and valuations. ZU issued Q4 guidance, the critical holiday shopping season, that was below analysts' estimates. Another major issue is valuation. At current prices ZU is still valued at $2 billion for a company with a net income of only $11.5 million. Their current P/E is about 202. They do seem to be growing rapidly but evidently not enough to justify current valuations.

Eventually shares will get cheap enough that the selling stops. Where that bottom is no one knows yet. The point & figure chart is bearish and forecasting at $14.00 target. There are a lot of investors betting on new lows. The latest data listed short interest at 31% of the 41.7 million share float.

We think ZU heads lower but I consider this a more aggressive, higher-risk trade. The big short interest could make ZU volatile. Tonight we're suggesting small bearish positions if ZU can trade at $25.90. You may want to use the put options to limit your risk.

NOTE: ZU's IPO priced at $22.00. It's possible that $22 could be potential support.

*small positions to limit risk* - Suggested Positions -

Short ZU stock @ $25.90

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long Jan $25 PUT (ZU150117P25) entry $1.15

12/10/14 Caution! The recent action in shares of ZU could spell trouble.
12/08/14 triggered @ 25.90
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike



CLOSED BULLISH PLAYS

Columbia Sportswear Co. - COLM - close: 43.86 change: -0.19

Stop Loss: 43.45
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: + 8.0%
Entry on Novo:tember 06 at $40.25
Listed on November 04, 2014
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 138 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
12/16/14: The profit taking in COLM continued today and shares dipped to a new three-week low. Shares hit our stop loss at $43.45.

- Suggested Positions -

Long COLM stock @ $40.25 exit $43.45 (+8.0%)

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

2015 Jan $40 call (COLM150117C40) entry $1.75 exit $3.05 (+74.3%)

12/16/14 stopped out
12/11/14 new stop @ 43.45
11/29/14 new stop @ 42.85
11/25/14 new stop @ 42.25
11/24/14 new stop @ 41.85
11/19/14 new stop @ 41.45, readers may want to take some money off the table right here.
11/12/14 new stop @ 39.25
11/06/14 triggered @ $40.25
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart: