Editor's Note:
Our bullish Tempur Sealy (TPX) trade is closed. After a five-week rally shares hit our new stop loss, locking in potential gains. The rest of the Premier Investor play list had a pretty good week.


Current Portfolio:


BULLISH Play Updates

Benefitfocus, Inc. - BNFT - close: 45.05 change: -0.57

Stop Loss: 42.85
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +3.2%
Entry on July 14 at $43.65
Listed on July 13, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to earnings in August
Average Daily Volume = 173 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/15: BNFT saw some profit taking on Friday but still ended the week with a gain. The MACD indicator on its daily chart has recently produced a new buy signal.

If the market dips on Monday I wouldn't be surprised to see BNFT slip towards the $43.50-44.00 area.

Trade Description: July 13, 2015:
BNFT was founded 15 years ago with a dream to simplify understanding your healthcare benefits. They went public in 2013. Now they're the #1 cloud-based benefits management platform.

The company is considered part of the technology sector, specifically the application software industry. According to the company, "Benefitfocus, Inc. (BNFT) is a leading provider of cloud-based benefits software solutions for consumers, employers, insurance carriers and brokers. Benefitfocus has served more than 25 million consumers on its platform that consists of an integrated portfolio of products and services enabling clients to more efficiently shop, enroll, manage and exchange benefits information. With a user-friendly interface and consumer-centric design, the Benefitfocus Platform provides one place for consumers to access all their benefits. Benefitfocus solutions support the administration of all types of benefits including core medical, dental and other voluntary benefits plans as well as wellness programs."

Revenue growth has been pretty strong. BNFT reported its Q4 results back on February 24th. Earnings were a loss of ($0.39) per share. That was 23 cents better than expected. Revenues were up +32.7% to $40.2 million, which was above estimates. Management raised their Q1 guidance.

On May 6th the company announced its Q1 results, which were a loss of ($0.48) per share. That beat estimates by four cents. Revenues were up +39% from a year ago to $42.7 million, again this was above expectations. This time guidance was a little soft for Q2 and in-line with estimates for 2015.

Shares started to rally in June. That rally accelerated mid June thanks to an analyst upgrade. Now after a -18% correction from its June highs shares of BNFT look poised to run again. A rally from here could spark some short covering. The most recent data listed short interest at 32% of the very small 18.37 million share float. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to open bullish positions at $43.65. More conservative traders may want to use a trigger at $44.05 instead. Our short-term target is the $50.00 area but we will plan on exiting prior to BNFT's earnings report in mid August (no firm date yet).

- Suggested Positions -

Long BNFT stock @ $43.65

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

Long AUG $45 CALL (BNFT150821C45) entry $2.85

07/16/15 new stop @ 42.85
07/14/15 triggered @ $43.65
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


Burlington Stores, Inc. - BURL - close: 55.81 change: -0.54

Stop Loss: 53.65
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: -0.4%
Entry on July 16 at $56.05
Listed on July 15, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to earnings in September
Average Daily Volume = 1.6 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/15: BURL delivered a disappointing performance on Friday. The early gains faded and shares settled with a -0.9% decline. Furthermore, Friday's move has created a bearish engulfing candlestick reversal pattern but this needs to see confirmation as a reversal first.

I am not suggesting new positions at the moment.

Trade Description: July 15, 2015:
Investors seem to be in a forgiving mood with BURL. The company's most recent earnings report was a disappointment but the stock has recovered. Now it looks like the longer-term bullish trend is poised to resume.

BURL is in the services sector. According to the company, "The Company, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, operates a national chain of off-price retail stores offering ladies’, men’s and children’s apparel and accessories, home goods, baby products and coats, principally under the name Burlington Stores."

BURL's Q4 results were pretty good. The company announced these on March 17th. Earnings of $1.43 per share beat estimates and revenues were up +12% to $1.5 billion, also above estimates. Q4 comparable store sales surged +6.7% while gross margins improved 50 basis points. Management did warn that Q1 results would not be so hot but the stock didn't react to the negative guidance.

Shares did react when their chief merchandising officer resigned. This news hit on March 24th and shares of BURL peaked the next day. Shares fell more than 15% with a drop toward round-number support near $50 over the next few weeks. Then BURL reported its Q1 earnings on June 9th. Their bottom line results of $0.41 per share met estimates. Revenues were up +4.9% to $1.18 billion but that missed expectations.

The biggest miss was comps. BURL said their comparable store sales were only +0.8% versus the company's previous guidance of +2-3% and below analysts' estimates of +4%. Management issued mixed guidance for the second quarter and soft guidance for fiscal year 2016. They tried to soften the blow of bad news by announcing a $200 million stock buyback program to be completed over the next 24 months.

Wall Street was not happy over the terrible comps. Analysts are also concerned how a wage hike might impact margins. Wal-Mart, Target, the Gap, and TJX have all raised their minimum wage and other retailers are feeling pressure to raise theirs to retain employees. BURL announced they were raising their minimum wage to at least $9.00 an hour.

BURL's CEO Tom Kingsbury commented on their results, "We are pleased with our 64% increase in adjusted EPS which was driven by a robust gross margin expansion. While our comp sales were positive for the ninth consecutive quarter, we were negatively impacted by the timing of IRS tax refunds, lower markdown sales due to significantly less markdown inventory, increased store closures due to weather, and receipt flow issues in three key Easter businesses."

Naturally the market's reaction to bad news was to sell the stock. BURL plunged more than -8% posting its worst one-day loss since going public in 2013.

Fortunately for investors the sell-off was short-lived. BURL found support near $48.00 and its rising 200-dma. Now six weeks later the stock is above its pre-earnings highs and poised to breakout past potential resistance near $56.00. The long-term up trend looks poised to resume. Tonight we're suggesting a trigger to launch bullish positions at $56.05.

- Suggested Positions -

Long BURL stock @ $56.05

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

Long SEP $60 CALL (BURL150918C60) entry $1.30
option price is a current quote and not a suggested entry price.

Entry disclaimer: To avoid an unfavorable entry point, we will not launch a new play if the stock gaps open more than $1.00 past our suggested entry point.

07/16/15 triggered @ $56.05
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


Chimerix, Inc. - CMRX - close: 53.20 change: +3.69

Stop Loss: 51.85
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +15.3%
Entry on June 26 at $46.15
Listed on June 25, 2015
Time Frame: exit PRIOR to earnings in August
Average Daily Volume = 428 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/15: CMRX had been steadily marching higher last week. Then on Friday it surged +7.45% to new all-time highs. I don't see any specific news behind the rally but biotech stocks were showing some relative strength.

I would seriously consider taking some money off the table right here. However, CMRX closed near its highs for the day and we suspect the rally isn't over yet. We are raising the stop loss to $51.85. More conservative traders might want to just exit now.

No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: June 25, 2015:
Biotech stocks have been outperforming the broader market for the last couple of years. That outperformance continues in 2015. The IBB biotech ETF is up +23% in 2015 versus a +8% gain in the NASDAQ and a +2% gain in the S&P 500. CMRX has been lagging its peers with a +13.9% gain this year but that could be about to change as the stock looks poised to run.

According to the company, "Chimerix is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering, developing and commercializing novel, oral antivirals in areas of high unmet medical need. Chimerix's proprietary technology has produced brincidofovir (CMX001), a clinical-stage nucleotide analog lipid-conjugate, which has potent in vitro antiviral activity against many clinically relevant dsDNA viruses and a favorable safety profile in clinical studies conducted to date. Chimerix has completed enrollment of SUPPRESS, a Phase 3 study of brincidofovir for the prevention of cytomegalovirus (CMV) in adult hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients. In addition, Chimerix is enrolling the Phase 3 AdVise trial of brincidofovir for treatment of adenovirus (AdV) infection. Chimerix is working with BARDA to develop brincidofovir as a potential medical countermeasure to treat smallpox due to a threat of bioterror or accidental release."

In April this year CMRX was award an exclusive contract from the U.S. government to build a new smallpox vaccine. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) wants another treatment available just in case enemies of the U.S. try to use smallpox as a weapon or if there is some sort of accidental breakout from a lab. The 60-month contract is valued at $100 million but if all the options are awarded it could be worth up to $435 million in revenue to CMRX. The company's revenues for the trailing twelve months are only $4.5 million.

Earlier this month (June) CMRX announced they were going to raise $150 million in capital by selling 3,775,000 shares of stock. That was later bumped up to 4.3 million shares. These priced at $39.75. You can see how CMRX stock briefly dipped toward $39.00 on June 10th and investors immediately bought the dip. It's impressive to see CMRX increase its shares outstanding by 10% and the impact only lasted a few days as buyers gobble up the stock.

Technically CMRX appears to be in breakout mode. The stock consolidated sideways in the $35.00-43.50 range for five and a half months before finally breaking out a few days ago. The stock encountered some profit taking yesterday but traders bought the dip today. The point & figure chart is bullish and forecasting at $61.00 target.

Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to launch bullish positions at $46.15. Plan on exiting prior to CMRX's earnings report in August.

- Suggested Positions -

Long CMRX stock @ $46.15

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

Long AUG $50 CALL (CMRX150821C50) entry $2.10

07/18/15 new stop @ 51.85
07/16/15 new stop @ 47.65
07/14/15 new stop @ 45.25
07/11/15 new stop @ 43.75
06/26/15 triggered @ $46.15
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


Luxoft Holding, Inc. - LXFT - close: 62.68 change: +0.68

Stop Loss: 59.75
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +0.6%
Entry on July 17 at $62.31
Listed on July 16, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to earnings on August 12th
Average Daily Volume = 215 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/15: Our new trade on LXFT is open. The stock continued to bounce on Friday and displayed relative strength with a +1.0% gain. Our trigger to launch positions would have been hit at $62.15 but shares actually gapped higher a couple of minutes after the opening bell. Our trade opened at $62.31.

I would still consider new positions now or more conservative traders may want to wait for a rally past last week's high at $63.00 before initiating positions.

Trade Description: July 16, 2015:
Software stocks, based on the big software ETFs, are outperforming the major indices. One stock in that group is LXFT. The NASDAQ is up +8.3% year to date while LXFT is up +60%.

LXFT is part of the application software industry. According to the company, "Luxoft Holding, Inc. is a leading provider of software development services and innovative IT solutions to a global client base consisting primarily of large multinational corporations. Luxoft's software development services consist of core and mission critical custom software development and support, product engineering and testing, and technology consulting. Luxoft's solutions are based on its proprietary products and platforms that directly impact its clients' business outcomes and efficiently deliver continuous innovation. The Company develops its solutions and delivers its services from 24 dedicated delivery centers worldwide. It has over 9,500 employees across 27 offices in 15 countries in North America, Mexico, Western and Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific, and South Africa."

Please note that LXFT is a subsidiary of IBS Group Holding Limited. IBS is a Russian information technology company. Thus far the sanctions from the U.S. and Europe do not seem to be impacting LXFT. However, should the situation get worse between Russia and its neighbors there is no guarantee that LXFT will continue to ignore it.

Earnings and sales growth have been impressive at LXFT. Looking at the last four quarterly reports, LXFT has beaten earnings estimates three out of the last four quarters. They did beat Wall Street revenues estimate four quarters in a row. Revenue growth has been consistently in the +30% range this past year.

LXFT's most recent report was May 13th. The company delivered their 2015 Q4 results with earnings up +27.7% from a year ago to $0.46 per share. This was the first earnings miss in a long time. Analysts were expecting $0.49. Revenues were up +29.2% to $137.3 million, above estimates. Management reported full year sales of $520.5 million in their fiscal 2015. They're forecasting 2016 sales to be $625 million. That's a +20% improvement (actually +26% on a constant currency basis).

The stock's recent breakout past $60.00 is bullish. Traders just bought the dip at $60.00 today and the bounce looks like an entry point. We want to see a little follow through higher before we hop on board. Tonight we're suggesting a trigger to buy the stock at $62.15.

NOTE: LXFT does not trade a lot of volume. Investors may want to limit their position size to reduce risk. Low volume stocks can be more volatile.

*small positions to limit risk* - Suggested Positions -

Long LXFT stock @ $62.31

07/17/15 triggered on an intraday gap higher at $62.31.
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


Mobileye N.V. - MBLY - close: 61.07 change: +0.69

Stop Loss: 57.75
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +8.1%
Entry on July 09 at $56.50
Listed on July 07, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to earnings in early August
Average Daily Volume = 3.8 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/15: It's not very often we see a stock rally seven days in a row but MBLY just managed it with Friday's +1.1% gain. The stock has also broken past potential resistance at $60.00 and past its 2014 highs. While this is a bullish move I do not think $60 will act as support yet.

MBLY is short-term overbought here and due for a dip. We can look for potential support at the 10-dma (currently near $57.85.).

More conservative traders may want to take profits now. MBLY is up six weeks in a row.

No new positions.

Trade Description: July 7, 2015:
The future of hands free driving is a lot closer than you might think. MBLY is leading the charge. Their technology is already in more than three million cars made by companies like BMW, General Motors, and Tesla.

What exactly does this technology do? DAS stands for driver assistance systems. Sometimes you might see it called ADAS for advanced driver assistance systems. This new technology helps drivers avoid collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and more while also alerting the driver to road signs and traffic lights.

The company website describes Mobileye as "a technological leader in the area of software algorithms, system-on-chips and customer applications that are based on processing visual information for the market of driver assistance systems (DAS). Mobileye's technology keeps passengers safer on the roads, reduces the risks of traffic accidents, saves lives and has the potential to revolutionize the driving experience by enabling autonomous driving."

MBLY said their technology will be available in 160 car models from 18 car manufacturers (OEMs). Further, Mobileye's technology has been selected for implementation in serial production of 237 car models from 20 OEMs by 2016.

The company is already developing a system for autonomous driving or hands free driving. They currently plan to launch an autonomous system in 2016 that will work at highway speeds and in congested traffic situations.

MBLY stock came to market in August 2014. Demand was strong enough that they upped the number of shares available from around 27 million to 35.6 million shares. They raised the IPO price from the $22 range to $25. This valued MBLY at $5.3 billion. The first day of trading saw MBLY opened at $36.00. Two months later MBLY traded at $60.00.

It's easy to see why investors are optimistic on MBLY. Annual revenues have soared from $19.2 million in 2011 to $143.6 million in 2014. Their revenues last year rose +77% from 2013. Currently a poll of analysts by Thomson Reuters is forecasting sales to rise +50% in 2015 to $218.3 million. Earnings are forecasted to surge +95%.

MBLY's most recent earnings report was May 11th. They reported their Q1 results of $0.08 per share, which was a penny above estimates. Revenues were up +28% to $45.6 million, also above estimates.

Last year the New York Post ran an article discussing how the White House might generate a bullish tailwind for MBLY. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a research report that estimated ADAS type of technology could eliminate almost 600,000 left-turn and intersection crashes a year. They report also suggested that adding FCAM and lane departure technology on big vehicles like over the road trucks could reduce accidents with these huge vehicles by up to 25%. Following this report the White House said they would draft new rules that required this sort of tech in new vehicles.

Most of Wall Street analysts seem bullish. Industry experts forecast the camera-based ADAS market to grow +37% CAGR from 2014 to 2020. Goldman Sachs Recently upgraded the stock to a buy. They believe MBLY will see a 34% CAGR in sales through 2020 and will have 65% of the market by then. MBLY also garnered positive comments from a Morgan Stanley analyst who raised their price target to $68. They believe the street's 2015 estimates for MBLY are too low after the company delivered super strong growth in the last couple of quarters. A couple of weeks ago another analyst firm raised their price target on MBLY to $67.00.

The stock has displayed significant strength with a big bounce from its March 2015 lows near $32. The rally accelerated in mid June with a breakout past resistance in the $48.00 area. Traders quickly bought the dip last week on the market's big selloff (June 29th). Bulls bought the dip again today and MBLY looks poised to hit new multi-month highs tomorrow. Tonight we're suggesting a trigger to launch bullish positions at $56.40.

- Suggested Positions -

Long MBLY stock @ $56.40

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

Long AUG $60 CALL (MBLY150821C60) entry $2.00

07/16/15 new stop @ 57.75, readers may want to take some money off the table right here.
07/14/15 new stop @ 55.85
07/11/15 new stop @ 53.85
07/09/15 triggered on gap open at $56.50
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. - NBIX - close: 53.51 change: +0.19

Stop Loss: 50.85
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +10.9%
Entry on July 01 at $48.27
Listed on June 30, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to earnings in August
Average Daily Volume = 1.0 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/15: NBIX has spent the last three days consolidating sideways in the $52-54 range. The stock looks poised to breakout higher. I'm not suggesting new positions here but more aggressive traders could use a rally past $54.00 as a new entry point.

Trade Description: June 30, 2015:
Biotech stocks remain one of the best performing groups in the market this year. Year to date the IBB is up +21% versus a +0.2% gain in the S&P 500 and a +5.3% gain in the NASDAQ composite. NBIX is outpacing its peers with a +113% gain in the first half of 2015.

NBIX is in the healthcare sector. According to the company, "Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. discovers and develops innovative and life-changing pharmaceuticals, in diseases with high unmet medical needs, through its novel R&D platform, focused on neurological and endocrine based diseases and disorders. The Company's two lead late-stage clinical programs are elagolix, a gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist for women's health that is partnered with AbbVie Inc., and NBI-98854, a vesicular monoamine transporter 2 inhibitor for the treatment of movement disorders. Neurocrine intends to maintain certain commercial rights to its VMAT2 inhibitor for evolution into a fully-integrated pharmaceutical company."

I like to remind readers that biotech stocks can be tough to trade. Normally they are volatile with lots of headline risk. The right headline about a successful test or clinical trial or FDA approval can send shares soaring. The wrong headline could see a biotech stock crash or even gap down several points. Due to the nature of biotech work and how many smaller companies get paid with milestone payments as they develop treatments tends to make their earnings are very lumpy.

While we normally don't focus on earnings for the smaller biotech companies, I will point out that NBIX's most recent earnings report was much better than expected. Their 2014 Q1 results were a loss of ($0.17) per share. Analysts were expecting 2015 Q1 results to be a loss of ($0.30). NBIX reported a loss of ($0.01) per share. Revenues were $19.76 million for the first quarter. Management held a successful secondary offering last quarter and raised $270 million. This increased the company's cash and cash equivalents to $518 million. Hopefully investors won't have to worry about NBIX needing to raise capital any time soon.

After NBIX's Q1 results the stock was upgraded by two analysts. One raised their price target to $64. The other raised their price target to $69. Currently the point & figure chart is forecasting at $66 target.

Technically NBIX looks bullish following its breakout past resistance near $45.00. The recent pullback among the biotech stocks saw NBIX dip back toward this area, which is now support. Today's bounce looks like a potential entry point. Tonight we're suggesting a trigger to open bullish positions at $48.15.

- Suggested Positions -

Long NBIX stock @ $48.15

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

Long AUG $50 CALL (NBIX150821C50) entry $3.60

07/16/15 new stop @ 50.85
07/14/15 new stop @ 47.40
07/01/15 triggered on gap open at $48.27
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


Spirit AeroSystems - SPR - close: 55.78 change: -0.16

Stop Loss: 54.75
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: -1.2%
Entry on June 22 at $56.44
Listed on June 18, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to earnings on July 29th
Average Daily Volume = 1.2 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/15: The bounce in SPR seems to have stalled under the $56.00 level. We don't have much time left for this trade with SPR's earnings coming up on July 29th. More conservative traders may want to just abandon ship. SPR has not performed very well the last few weeks.

No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: June 18, 2015:
Airline stocks have gotten crushed lately as investors worry about the airliner industry overbuilding capacity. It's a different story for the airplane makers. Shares of SPR just closed near all-time highs. The Dow Industrial Average is up +1.6% year to date. The S&P 500 is up +3.0%. SPR is outpacing them both with a +30% gain this year.

SPR is in the industrial goods sector. According to the company, "Spirit AeroSystems, with headquarters in Wichita, Kan., USA, is one of the world's largest non-OEM designers and manufacturers of aerostructures for commercial aircraft. In addition to its Wichita and Chanute facilities in Kansas, Spirit has locations in Tulsa and McAlester, Okla.; Kinston, N.C.; Prestwick, Scotland; Preston, England; Subang, Malaysia; and Saint-Nazaire, France.

In the U.S., Spirit's core products include fuselages, pylons, nacelles and wing components. Additionally, Spirit provides aftermarket customer support services, including spare parts, maintenance/repair/overhaul, and fleet support services in North America, Europe and Asia. Spirit Europe produces wing components for a host of customers, including Airbus."

On their website SPR notes that they "have long-term agreements in place with our largest customers, Boeing and Airbus. Other major customers include Bombardier, Rolls-Royce, Mitsubishi, Sikorsky and Bell Helicopter." SPR does so much business with Boeing (BA) that buying SPR is almost a stealth trade on BA's backlog. Looking at BA's most recent earnings report their backlog hit a record high of $495 billion. That's about 5,700 new planes. BA plans to significantly increase production in 2017 and again in 2018, which should mean an increase in revenues for SPR.

Earnings from SPR have been somewhat mixed. On February 3rd they reported their 2014 Q4 results with earnings at $0.87 per share. That was 10 cents better than expected. Yet revenues were only up +5% to $1.57 billion, which missed expectations.

Results improved in the first quarter. On April 29th SPR said earnings were up +18% from a year ago. Their $1.00 per share beat expectations. Revenues were almost flat at $1.74 billion but that still came in better than analysts were expecting. SPR management issued somewhat bullish guidance on 2015 earnings but their revenue estimate was soft.

The stock initially sold off on its Q1 report but traders bought the dip the very next day. SPR continues to build on its bullish pattern of higher lows. Today the stock is poised to breakout past short-term resistance at $56.20. We are suggesting a trigger to launch bullish positions at $56.35. Plan on exiting prior to SPR's Q2 earnings report in very late July or early August.

- Suggested Positions -

Long SPR stock @ $56.35

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

Long OCT $60 CALL (SPR151016C60) entry $1.60

07/16/15 new stop @ 54.75
06/22/15 triggered on gap open at $56.44
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:




BEARISH Play Updates

Continental Resources, Inc. - CLR - close: 36.83 change: -0.10

Stop Loss: 39.25
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +15.8%
Entry on June 22 at $43.75
Listed on June 20, 2015
Time Frame: Exit prior to earnings on August 5th
Average Daily Volume = 8.8 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/15: Friday was a quiet session for shares of CLR. The stock closed almost unchanged. The recent sideways consolidation has a bearish bias with a trend of lower highs following technical resistance at its 10-dma. This pattern should produce a bearish breakdown under short-term support in the $36.00-36.50 area soon.

No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: June 20, 2015:
There are a lot of currents moving the oil industry these days. Currency moves, OPEC production, access to capital, falling rig counts, and potential bankruptcies. The stock performance for U.S. shale oil drillers have been suffering. CLR is one such stock.

CLR is in the basic materials sector. According to the company, "Continental Resources (CLR) is a Top 10 independent oil producer in the United States and a leader in America's energy renaissance. Based in Oklahoma City, Continental is the largest leaseholder and one of the largest producers in the nation's premier oil field, the Bakken play of North Dakota and Montana. The Company also has significant positions in Oklahoma, including its SCOOP Woodford and SCOOP Springer discoveries and the Northwest Cana play."

Earnings have taken a hit. CLR reported their Q1 results on May 6th. They reported a net loss of $186 million or 36 cents a share. That's a big drop from a 61-cent profit a year ago. After adjusting for writedowns and one-time items CLR said their quarterly earnings were a loss of ($0.09) per share. That was actually four cents better than analysts' estimates for a ($0.13) loss. Revenues plunged -41% to $592.89 million even though CLR's production surged +36% from a year ago.

Bullish investors could argue that crude oil put in a bottom earlier this year and the commodity should rally toward year end. Bulls can also point to falling production costs as a tailwind for the industry. CLR said their completion costs for wells dropped -15% from the end of 2014. Obviously this makes the company more profitable (or at least cuts their losses). Optimistically CLR expects their cost reductions to hit 20% by mid-year. There are some on Wall Street who think the industry has seen a bottom. Shares of CLR were upgraded by Goldman Sachs to a "buy" in May.

Bulls also note that the plunge in active rigs should be bullish for oil and thus oil companies. Weekly rig count, compiled by Baker Hughes, showed that the number of active oil and gas rigs fell again last week. This is the 28th week in a row that the number of rigs has declined. We're now down to 857 active oil and gas rigs, which hasn't been this low since early 2003.

Naturally you might think that a plunge to 12-year lows for active rigs means that U.S. oil production would shrink as well. That hasn't happened yet. While costs are going down oil producers are actually more efficient at pumping per well so production is going up. The low rig count is a leading indictor that production will eventually decline but it could be months from now. The U.S. EIA doesn't expect U.S. production to fall until early next year.

A bigger problem for the oil industry is competition. The recent OPEC meeting showed that the Saudis are willing to pump as much oil as they can to maintain their market share regardless of the price of oil. These are state-run oil companies and don't have to report to shareholders like American drillers. Plus the average cost per barrel of oil is a lot lower in Saudi than the U.S.

Another challenge for many drillers is capital. Drilling shale oil wells and fracking costs a lot of money. The drop in crude oil prices has made lenders less likely to loan money to drillers. To compensate for the lack of capital the oil drillers might be forced to sell more stock to raise capital and this would dilute current shareholders and drive stock prices lower. This past week the Cowen research company said, ""We expect ... E&Ps to issue additional equity in 2H2015 to fund 2016 capex as borrowing bases will be declining and debt metrics deteriorating."

The issue of debt and access to capital could be a fatal one. There are growing predictions that we will see up to a dozen publicly traded oil and gas companies file for bankruptcy between July 2015 and June 2016. Now CLR is not on the list but if we see smaller rivals start to go bankrupt it is going to put pressure on all the oil-industry stocks.

Oil stocks are also going to react to currency moves. The Federal Reserve wants to raise rates and that will lift the dollar. Even if the Fed doesn't raise rates the QE programs in Japan and Europe could drive the yen and euro lower, which boosts the dollar. A rising dollar pressures commodity prices lower.

A lot of investors are already betting on CLR to decline. The most recent data listed short interest at 17.9% of the 84.8 million share float. We think the bears are right. CLR has been underperforming the broader market. The point & figure chart is bearish and forecasting at $35.00 target. I suspect the 2015 lows near $42.00 could be support. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to open bearish positions at $43.75.

- Suggested Positions -

Short CLR stock @ $43.75

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

Long SEP $40 PUT (CLR150918P40) entry $2.00

07/16/15 new stop @ 39.25
07/06/15 new stop @ 40.65
07/04/15 new stop @ 43.55
06/27/15 new stop @ 44.85
06/25/15 new stop @ 48.35
06/22/15 triggered @ $43.75
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


Murphy Oil - MUR - close: 37.49 change: -1.24

Stop Loss: 40.85
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +8.9%
Entry on July 01 at $41.15
Listed on June 29, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to MUR earnings on July 29th
Average Daily Volume = 1.9 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/15: Crude oil was weak again on Friday. This drug the energy stocks lower and MUR's decline accelerated.

I would not chase it at current levels. No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: June 29, 2015:
The crash in crude oil prices in the second half of 2014 was pivotal turning point for the U.S. energy industry. Suddenly the booming oil and gas sector had its future being question with the price of oil now unprofitable for many drillers. Oil has managed a bounce from its 2015 lows while many of the oil and gas producers are still seeing their stocks decline.

MUR is in the basic materials sector. According to the company, "Murphy Oil Corporation is an independent exploration and production company with a strong, oil-weighted portfolio of global offshore and onshore assets. Exploration activities are focused in four main regions: Deepwater Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Margin, Southeast Asia and Australia."

The company reduced its 2015 capex outlook by -33% when they reported their 2014 Q4 results back in January. MUR's Q1 results came out in May. Profits evaporated with MUR delivering a loss of ($1.11) per shares versus a profit of $0.96 a year ago.

Management is trying to prop up their floundering stock price. On May 20th the company announced an accelerated stock buyback program of $250 million. This is part of a previously announced $500 million repurchase program from August 2014. The buyback doesn't seem to be working.

Goldman Sachs downgraded MUR to a "sell" in late May. Nearly a month later UBS has also downgraded MUR to a "sell". The UBS analyst expressed concern that MUR's production would likely decline in 2015 and 2016 since the company has cut back on investment.

The stock's attempt at an oversold bounce failed near $44 a couple of weeks ago and now shares are breaking down to new multi-year lows. The point & figure chart is bearish and forecasting at $34.00 target. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to open bearish positions at $41.15.

- Suggested Positions -

Short MUR stock @ $41.15

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

Long AUG $40 PUT (MUR150821P40) entry $1.30

07/16/15 new stop @ 40.85
07/14/15 new stop @ 41.55
07/06/15 new stop @ 42.35
07/01/15 triggered @ $41.15
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


Noble Energy, Inc. - NBL - close: 38.34 change: -0.04

Stop Loss: 40.15
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +0.7%
Entry on July 13 at $38.60
Listed on July 11, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to earnings on August 3rd
Average Daily Volume = 4.2 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/15: NBL bounced off its Friday morning lows but the rebound failed twice in the $38.85 area. New decline under $38.00 could be used as a bearish entry point.

Trade Description: July 11, 2015:
Crude oil prices are down sharply the last two weeks and its putting pressure on the oil stocks. NBL is an oil company who has seen its stock plunge to new multi-year lows.

According to the company, "Noble Energy is a leading independent energy company engaged in worldwide oil and gas exploration and production. The Company has core operations onshore in the U.S., primarily in the DJ Basin and Marcellus Shale, in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Eastern Mediterranean, and offshore West Africa."

There are several issues impacting the price of oil, which is pressuring oil stocks lower. Back in April we saw crude oil inventories in the U.S. hit 80-year highs. They stayed elevated for awhile before eventually fading. Summer time is driving season. A lot of people are on the road for vacation. The weather is more favorable. This time of year demand for oil rises as oil refiners boost their production of gasoline and other fuels.

Given the seasonality of U.S. oil demand normally rising in summer it was a surprise to see oil inventories rising instead of falling. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has reported an inventory build the last two weeks in a row. Their most recent report was for the week ending July 3rd. Analysts were expecting oil inventories to drop 1 million barrels. Yet the EIA said inventories rose almost 300,000 barrels.

This EIA news was followed on Friday with a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) who downgraded their global oil demand growth forecast from +1.4 million barrels per day in 2015 to +1.2 million barrels in 2016. That is still growth but the world is currently facing oversupply issues. If demand falls it's going to put pressure on oil prices.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest member of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) made it clear that they are willing to sacrifice price to maintain their market share. At the June 4th meeting OPEC left their output quota unchanged at 30 million barrels a day.

Crude oil is off its 2015 lows but the weakness this year has wreaked havoc in the oil sector. NBL reports its Q4 results in February. They beat the bottom line by three cents but revenues were down -19.4% from a year ago to $1.07 billion. That missed estimates by $233 million.

The sales decline accelerated in the first quarter. NBL reported its Q1 results on May 5th. They beat the bottom line by a penny but revenues crashed -45% to $759 million. That was $140 million below estimates.

If the oversupply issue wasn't bad enough the industry now faces a potential deal with Iran and the P5+1 nations. These countries are currently negotiating over Iran's nuclear program. If they do get a deal done it will unlock sanctions on Iran, which would allow the country to bring millions of barrels of oil to a market that is already struggling. Of course the opposite could occur. If the quarrelsome talks breakdown, and they could since they're already on their umpteenth postponed deadline, then crude oil prices could rally. That's probably our biggest risk on a bearish play in the oil sector. If the Iran talks breakdown it could fuel a big spike in the price of oil.

Technically NBL looks very weak. On the weekly chart below you can see the bear-flag consolidation pattern and the breakdown. On the daily chart there is what appears to be a bearish head-and-shoulders pattern. Plus, the simple fact that NBL continues to underperform, continues to sink, with the path of least resistance being lower. The point & figure chart is bearish and forecasting at $34.00 target.

The $38.70-38.80 area appears to be short-term support. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to launch bearish positions at $38.60.

- Suggested Positions -

Short NBL stock @ $38.60

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

Long AUG $37.50 PUT (NBL150821P37.5) entry $1.40

07/16/15 new stop @ 40.15
07/13/15 triggered @ $38.60
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


Tessera Technologies - TSRA - close: 35.49 change: -0.03

Stop Loss: 37.65
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: -0.3%
Entry on July 16 at $35.40
Listed on July 09, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to earnings in early August
Average Daily Volume = 518 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/15: I am suggesting caution on our TSRA trade. The downward momentum seems to be slowing the last couple of days with shares bouncing off their intraday lows. Let's give TSRA another day or two before considering new bearish positions.

Trade Description: July 9th, 2015:
TSRA claims that their technology is in 100% of today's smartphones. The stock was a pretty big winner last year with a rally from $18 to almost $36 in 2014. Shares appear to have peaked in March this year.

TSRA is in the technology sector. They're considered part of the semiconductor industry. According to the company, "Tessera Technologies, Inc., including its Invensas and FotoNation subsidiaries, generates revenue from licensing our technologies and intellectual property to customers and others who implement it for use in areas such as mobile computing and communications, memory and data storage, and 3DIC technologies, among others. Our technologies include semiconductor packaging and interconnect solutions, and products and solutions for mobile and computational imaging, including our FaceTools, FacePower, FotoSavvy, DigitalAperture, LifeFocus, face beautification, red-eye removal, High Dynamic Range, autofocus, panorama, and image stabilization intellectual property."

TSRA is not a widely followed stock on Wall Street. Their most recent earnings report managed to beat the estimates for the few analysts that follow the stock. Revenues were above expectations at $79.85 million but sales fell -9.6% from a year ago. Management did guide higher for the second quarter but the market reaction to this news was muted.

Shares of TSRA had been stuck under resistance near $40 for weeks. Unfortunately for shareholders TSRA began to breakdown in the last few days, possibly due to weakness in the semiconductor stocks. The point & figure chart has turned bearish and is forecasting at $29.00 target.

Today TSRA is hovering above key support near $35.00 and its simple 200-dma. A breakdown here could signal a drop toward round-number support at $30.00. Tonight we're suggesting small bearish positions at $35.40. We want to limit our positions size because TSRA has seen some sharp one-day spikes in the past.

*small positions to limit risk* - Suggested Positions -

Short TSRA stock @ $35.40

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

Long Aug $35 PUT (TSRA150821P35) entry $1.20

07/16/15 triggered @ $35.40
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:



CLOSED BULLISH PLAYS

Tempur Sealy Intl. - TPX - close: 69.97 change: -1.20

Stop Loss: 69.40
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +9.9%
Entry on June 10 at $63.15
Listed on June 08, 2015
Time Frame: exit PRIOR to earnings on July 23rd
Average Daily Volume = 890 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
07/18/15: We knew TPX would see some profit taking eventually. That's why we kept raising the stop loss. Shares dipped to short-term technical support at its 10-dma before paring its losses. Our stop was hit at $69.40.

- Suggested Positions -

Long TPX stock @ $63.15 exit $69.40 (+9.9%)

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

SEP $65 CALL (TPX150918C65) entry $3.50 exit $6.30 (+80.0%)

07/17/15 stopped out
07/16/15 new stop @ 69.40
07/14/15 new stop @ 67.85
07/11/15 new stop @ 66.40, readers may want to take profits now!
07/08/15 new stop @ 65.65
06/27/15 new stop @ 64.40
06/22/15 new stop @ 61.90
06/10/15 triggered @ $63.15
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart: