Editor's Note:
The September jobs number was a huge miss but stocks didn't care. There was some initial weakness but the rally resumed. The S&P 500 posted its fourth gain in a row.

Warning! If you're bearish or have bearish trades the market's performance on Friday has generated a potential reversal. The early morning drop on the September jobs number and then rebound higher has produced several bullish-reversal looking candlesticks on the daily charts of our plays. Some of our bearish trades have been stopped out. The question now is if this bounce (reversal) sees any follow through higher or does it fail?

HOS, HP, MUR, QCOM, and SOHU were stopped out.


Current Portfolio:


BULLISH Play Updates

Ingram Micro Inc. - IM - close: 27.37 change: +0.47

Stop Loss: 25.75
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: -1.7%
Entry on September 09 at $27.85
Listed on September 8, 2015
Time Frame: Exit prior to earnings in late October
Average Daily Volume = 1.0 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/03/15: IM rallied off its rising 50-dma on Friday and closed up +1.74%. I'd like to see some follow through higher before considering new positions. The $27.85-28.00 area is still overhead resistance.

No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: September 8, 2015:
IM looks like it is about to break out from a huge consolidation pattern.

The company operates in the services sector. According to the company, "Ingram Micro helps businesses fully realize the promise of technology® - helping them maximize the value of the technology that they make, sell or use. With its vast global infrastructure and focus on cloud, mobility, supply chain and technology solutions, Ingram Micro enables business partners to operate more efficiently and successfully in the markets they serve.

No other company delivers as broad and deep a spectrum of technology and supply chain services to businesses around the world. Founded in 1979, Ingram Micro's role as a leader and innovator in technology and supply chain services has fueled its rise to the 69th ranked corporation in the FORTUNE 500.

Ingram Micro amplifies the value of its position at the intersection of thousands of vendor, reseller and retailer partners by customizing and delivering highly targeted applications for industry verticals, business to business customers and commercial needs. From provisioning solutions for system integrators working at the heart of the network to offerings through the full lifecycle of mobile devices, SMB to global enterprise software and computing, point of sale to cloud services, professional AV to physical security-Ingram Micro is trusted by customers to have the expertise and resources to help them define and push the boundaries of what's possible.

The company supports global operations by way of an extensive sales and distribution network throughout North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific."

The company's most recent earnings report was July 30th. Wall Street was expecting a profit of $0.54 per share on revenues of $10.9 billion. IM delivered $0.55 cents. Revenues were down -3.3% to $10.55 billion. However, if you back out the impact of currency headwinds then IM's results look a lot better. Negative currency translations shaved off -8% from their revenues.

IM management's guidance was a little soft but they announced the initiation of a $0.10 per share dividend and that they were boosting their stock buyback program by $300 million. The stock soared on this news. Shares rallied from $24.50 to $27.25 the next day.

IM was not immune to the market's late-August crash but investors bought the dip at support near its July lows. Shares have since erased the sell-off. Now IM is poised to breakout past resistance and what looks like a consolidation that started in early 2014.

A rally past $28.00 would generate a new buy signal on the point & figure chart. We want to jump in a little earlier. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to open bullish positions at $27.85.

NOTE: I want to caution readers about the options. The spreads on most of IM's options are a little bit wide. Actually some of them are probably too wide. Be careful with the options.

- Suggested Positions -

Long IM stock @ $27.85

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

Long DEC $30 CALL (IM151218C30) entry $1.15

09/15/15 Caution - IM did not participate in the market's rally today
09/09/15 triggered @ $27.85
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


JetBlue Airways - JBLU - close: 26.22 change: -0.01

Stop Loss: 22.45
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: Unopened
Entry on September -- at $---.--
Listed on September 28, 2015
Time Frame: Exit prior to earnings in late October
Average Daily Volume = 8.8 million
New Positions: Yes, see below

Comments:
10/03/15: JBLU didn't get very far on Friday. Traders bought the dip on Friday morning but the rally stalled near its 10-dma. The stock closed virtually unchanged on the session. We want to see a dip to support but the relative weakness on Friday is somewhat surprising.

I am suggesting patience. Stocks bounced last week but the first two weeks of October tend to be weak. Let's stick to the plan and wait for a dip. Our suggested entry point is $24.05.

Trade Description: September 28, 2015:
Crude oil prices have been depressed for months but airline tickets didn't really start falling until a couple of months ago. The average ticket is now down -6% from a year ago. That sounds like bad news for the airline companies. However, the drop in oil has slashed their fuel costs. Most airlines are spending 40% less on fuel than they were a year ago. That's a massive boost to their bottom line.

JBLU is part of the services sector. According to the company, "JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline®, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 32 million customers a year to 90 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 900 daily flights."

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently issued a press release stating that customer demand for air travel remains strong. Global passenger traffic for July was up +8.2% from a year ago and an improvement above the +5.5% jump in June.

JBLU jus reported their August numbers, which saw traffic increase +6.7% as capacity rose +8.3%. The company did state that their passenger revenues per available seat mile (PRASM), a key metric for the airlines, did fall -3% in August but that was negatively impacted by a late Labor Day holiday this year. JBLU expects their Q3 PRASM to be relatively flat from a year ago (but still at a healthy pace).

Wall Street remains optimistic on JBLU. Analysts have been raising their earnings estimates on the company, which is usually a good sign. Plus JBLU has garnered some new price targets, one at $28 and another at $32. The point & figure chart is forecasting at $47.50 target.

JBLU hit multi-year highs several days ago and has been relatively resistant to the market's weakness. That changed today when investors were selling everything during the market's widespread decline. We want to take advantage of any temporary weakness in JBLU if this decline continues. Prior resistance near $24.00 should be new support. Tonight I am suggesting a trigger to launch bullish positions if JBLU trades at $24.05.

Buy-the-dip Trigger @ $24.05

- Suggested Positions -

Buy JBLU stock @ $24.05

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

Buy the NOV $25 CALL (JBLU151120C25)

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.

Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:




BEARISH Play Updates

Belden Inc. - BDC - close: 46.98 change: +1.41

Stop Loss: 48.51
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: -4.7%
Entry on October 02 at $44.85
Listed on October 01, 2015
Time Frame: Exit prior to earnings (late October or early November)
Average Daily Volume = 394 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/03/15: Friday was a frustrating session if you are bearish on BDC. The stock broke down below support at $45.00 and hit new multi-year lows. Shares tagged our trigger to launch positions at $44.85 and soon rebounded. BDC produced a +5.3% bounce off its morning low. Furthermore Friday's move has generated a bullish engulfing candlestick reversal pattern. These patterns need to see confirmation but I'm worried that any confirmation may lift BDC to our stop loss at $48.51.

No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: October 1, 2015:
Industrial stocks are not have a good year. Industrial sector ETFs like the XLI and IYJ are both down about -10% to -12% year to date. BDC is in the industrial sector and shares have been crushed. The stock is down -42% for the year and down about -52% from its 2015 highs.

BDC is considered part of the electrical equipment industry. According to the company, "Belden Inc. delivers a comprehensive product portfolio designed to meet the mission-critical network infrastructure needs of industrial, enterprise and broadcast markets. With innovative solutions targeted at reliable and secure transmission of rapidly growing amounts of data, audio and video needed for today's applications, Belden is at the center of the global transformation to a connected world. Founded in 1902, the company is headquartered in St. Louis and has manufacturing capabilities in North and South America, Europe and Asia."

The company has a history of beating earnings estimates but revenues have been suffering. BDC reported their Q4 results in February this year. Q4 revenues were down -19%. BDC management lowered their revenue guidance.

They reported their Q1 results in late April. They beat the bottom line estimate but revenues missed with revenues falling -12%. Again the company lowered their guidance.

Q2 results were announced on July 29th and earnings beat estimates but revenues were down -3.2% and significantly below expectations. Once again BDC management lowered their guidance. This time they lowered both Q3 and 2015 guidance.

The market was relatively forgiving until the Q1 report on April 30th. Investors had finally had enough and sold BDC on its disappointing results. Shares flat lined for almost two months before breaking down. The stock collapsed on its earnings report in July.

The path of least resistance is down and the next major support level could be the $40.00 area. The point & figure chart is forecasting at $39.00 target. If BDC happens to break $40 then there is no telling where the bottom is. The stock displayed relative weakness today (-2.39%) and looks ready to begin the next leg lower.

- Suggested Positions -

Short BDC stock @ $44.85

10/02/15 triggered @ $44.85
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


Bristow Group, Inc. - BRS - close: 28.27 change: +2.98

Stop Loss: 28.75
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: -2.1%
Entry on September 25 at $27.70
Listed on September 24, 2015
Time Frame: Exit prior to earnings in early November
Average Daily Volume = 553 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/03/15: Ouch! Beaten down oil-service stocks saw some of the biggest bounces on Friday. Shorts panicked and BRS surged from $25.00 support past its 10-dma. BRS is up +13% off its Friday morning low! If there is any follow through higher we could see BRS hit our stop loss at $28.75. (Note -- the 20-dma has been resistance in the past but it's up near $30.00. More aggressive traders may want to put their stop above $30.)

No new positions.

Trade Description: September 24, 2015:
The collapse in crude oil hasn't not just hurt the energy producers but also the oil services company that support the energy sector. This has driven BRS to five-year lows.

BRS is part of the basic materials sector. According to the company, "Bristow Group Inc. is a leading provider of helicopter services to the worldwide offshore energy industry based on the number of aircraft operated and one of two helicopter service providers to the offshore energy industry with global operations. The Company has major transportation operations in the North Sea, Nigeria and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, and in most of the other major offshore oil and gas producing regions of the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Russia and Trinidad."

The prolonged drop in oil prices has forced most energy companies to cut their capex budgets and expenses. That means less demand for oil services like BRS. The company has missed Wall Street's earnings estimates and lowered guidance the last three quarters in a row.

On February 5, 2015, BRS lowered their 2015 guidance from $4.70-5.20 down to $4.05-4.45 compared to estimates of $4.92 per share. On August 6th BRS lowered their 2016 guidance to $3.10-3.75 versus Wall Street estimates of $4.01 per share.

Unfortunately there appears to be no end in sight for the downturn in energy and crude oil. BRS could have much farther to fall. The last couple of days have seen shares of BRS breakdown below their prior September low. Today's intraday low was $27.83. I am suggesting a trigger to launch small bearish positions at $27.70. We want to start with small positions since BRS is already oversold (there is nothing stopping it from getting a lot more oversold).

*small positions to limit risk* - Suggested Positions -

Short BRS stock @ $27.70

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

Long DEC $25 PUT (BRS151218P25) entry $2.10

10/02/15 huge reversal higher!
09/28/15 new stop @ $28.75
09/25/15 triggered @ $27.70
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


GNC Holdings - GNC - close: 40.76 change: +0.48

Stop Loss: 42.25
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: -2.5%
Entry on September 30 at $39.75
Listed on September 29, 2015
Time Frame: Exit prior to earnings at the end of October
Average Daily Volume = 1.2 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/03/15: GNC is another stock that produced a big bounce and a bullish engulfing candlestick reversal pattern on Friday. Currently our stop loss is at $42.25 but more conservative traders may want to lower their stop closer to the 10-dma (near $41.40).

No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: September 29, 2015:
Tougher competition, increased government scrutiny, and changing consumer habits have not been a good recipe for shares of GNC. The stock is down -14.6% in 2015 and poised to hit new lows.

GNC is in the services sector. According to the company, "GNC Holdings, Inc. - headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA - is a leading global specialty health, wellness and performance retailer. The Company's foundation is built on 80 years of superior product quality and innovation. GNC connects customers to their best by offering a premium assortment of vitamins, minerals, herbal supplements, diet, sports nutrition and protein products. This assortment features proprietary GNC - including Mega Men®, Ultra Mega®, Total Lean®, Pro Performance®, Pro Performance® AMP, Beyond Raw®, GNC Puredge®, GNC GenetixHD®, Herbal Plus® - and nationally recognized third party brands.

GNC's diversified, multi-channel business model generates revenue from product sales through company-owned retail stores, domestic and international franchise activities, third party contract manufacturing, e-commerce and corporate partnerships. As of June 30, 2015, GNC had more than 9,000 locations, of which more than 6,700 retail locations are in the United States (including 1,067 franchise and 2,304 Rite Aid franchise store-within-a-store locations) and franchise operations in more than 50 countries."

GNC faces multiple issues. This year there have been negative headlines for the supplement industry. Testing showed that multiple supplements at various retailers were filled with bogus ingredients. Companies like Wal-mart, Target, Walgreens, and GNC have all come under fire for selling the fraudulent products. This will likely increase government scrutiny for supplements in general.

GNC also faces an issue with changing consumer habits. While most of Americans are overweight and out of shape there is a growing trend of healthier eating. Consumers want to know what they are putting in their bodies. That means less pills and more raw fruits and veggies, especially organic ones.

The biggest challenge could be tough competition. Online rivals can provide supplements at cheaper prices than GNC's retail stores. Best Buy (BBY), the consumer electronics store, has faced this issue for years with consumers coming into a Best Buy store, shopping around, and then going home and buying the product online from Amazon.com for less money and getting it delivered. GNC faces the same issue.

GNC's earnings have struggled. Their Q1 report, announced April 30th, missed estimates. GNC missed on both the bottom line profit estimates and the revenue estimate. Revenues were down -0.6% and same-store sales plunged -4.1%. Management lowered their 2015 guidance following this report.

GNC's Q2 results were not much better. They missed on both the top and bottom line again. Earnings only grew +2.6% from a year ago. Revenues were virtually flat with a +0.5% gain. Same-store sales fell -2.8%.

The stock rallied anyway because management said they would focus on more franchised stores. This news seemed to have sparked some short covering. Shares of GNC soared from $42 to $50 in just a few days but the rally reversed. Now the stock is trading at new 2015 lows. The company's announcement on August 4th to boost their stock buyback program by an additional $500 million did not help the stock very much.

GNC is in a bear market and poised to break major support at the $40.00 level. The point & figure chart is bearish and forecasting at $33.00 target. Tonight I am suggesting a trigger to launch bearish positions at $39.75.

- Suggested Positions -

Short GNC stock @ $39.75

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

Long NOV $37.50 PUT (GNC151120P37.5) entry $1.60

09/30/15 triggered @ $39.75
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


Intl. Paper Company - IP - close: 38.92 change: +0.57

Stop Loss: 39.65
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: + 2.3%
Entry on September 22 at $39.85
Listed on September 19, 2015
Time Frame: Exit prior to earnings in late October
Average Daily Volume = 2.9 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/03/15: The oversold bounce in IP continues with shares up three days in a row. The market's big rally on Friday helped lift IP to a +1.48% gain and a close above short-term resistance at its 10-dma.

No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: September 19, 2015:
Over supply issues and currency headwinds are hurting IP's results.

IP is in the consumer goods business. According to the company, "International Paper (IP) is a global leader in packaging and paper with manufacturing operations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Asia and North Africa. Its businesses include industrial and consumer packaging along with uncoated papers and pulp. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., the company employs approximately 58,000 people and is strategically located in more than 24 countries serving customers worldwide. International Paper net sales for 2014 were $24 billion."

The last few earnings reports have seen IP beat Wall Street's bottom line estimate but that was mainly due to cost cutting. Revenues have been slowing down. Their 2014 Q4 revenues were only up +1.6%. Q1 revenues fell -3.6%. Their most recent report saw Q2 revenues fall -3.6%. The last two quarters saw revenues come in below analysts' expectations.

IP's management did manage to slash selling and administrative costs by almost -8% last quarter. Unfortunately their international packaging, consumer packaging, and printing papers businesses all saw sharp sales declines.

Dividend investors might be drawn to this stock. IP currently has a yield near 4%. Is it worth buying a big yield when the stock has fallen -30% from its 2015 highs and shows no signs of stopping? A Bank of America analysts said their previously bullish thesis for IP doesn't work anymore. Over supply issues in the containerboard industry remain a trouble spot.

The stock is bearish with a clear trend of lower highs and lower lows. Today shares are poised to breakdown under round-number support at $40.00. We are suggesting a trigger to launch bearish positions at $39.85.

- Suggested Positions -

Short IP stock @ $39.85

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

Long 2016 Jan $40 PUT (IP160115P40) entry $3.00

09/28/15 new stop @ 39.65
09/24/15 Caution - the big intraday bounce is a potential warning for bears
09/22/15 triggered @ $39.85
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


Synchronoss Technologies - SNCR - close: 32.59 change: -0.11

Stop Loss: 35.75
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: -0.6%
Entry on October 01 at $32.40
Listed on September 30, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to earnings in late October
Average Daily Volume = 603 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/03/15: SNCR continued to show relative weakness on Friday. The stock ignored the market's widespread rally and lost another -0.3%. I would be tempted to launch new positions here but there is a good chance the market's bounce is not over yet. Readers may want to wait and see how SNCR performs on Monday before initiating new trades.

Trade Description: September 30, 2015:
SNCR is a technology company with strong revenue growth and yet investors have been selling the stock anyway.

SNCR is considered part of the application software industry. According to the company, "Synchronoss Technologies, Inc., is the mobile innovation leader that provides cloud solutions and software-based activation for connected devices across the globe. The company's proven and scalable technology solutions allow customers to connect, synchronize and activate connected devices and services that empower enterprises and consumers to live in a connected world."

SNCR has been consistently beating Wall Street's earnings expectations. The last three quarters in a row SNCR has delivered bottom line and top line growth above expectations. 2014's Q4 revenues were up +34.7%. 2015 Q1 sales rose +34.9% and Q2 sales rose +33.2%. Yet with strong results like these the stock is down -21.6% year to date and down -36% from its 2015 high.

Technically SNCR had been churning sideways in a wide consolidation pattern for months. It broke down from this consolidation in August when the broader market corrected lower. When the market produced a big bounce off its August lows SNCR did not participate.

Several days ago shares of SNCR collapsed on worries that they might lose their cloud-storage contract with Verizon (VZ). Several analysts defended SNCR and said the drop was a buying opportunity. Both SNCR and VZ said their contract has not changed and was good until 2018. Yet the oversold bounce from this story only lasted one day. Traders have been selling SNCR on every rally.

There is a risk that SNCR is a takeover target. Back in June and July there were rumors that SNCR was exploring a sale of the company. There were also stories that private equity might be interested in taking SNCR private. Yet this acquisition risk has not generated any new buying interest in the stock. Investors are bearish and the most recent data listed short interest at 17.7% of the 38.0 million share float. That's enough to raise the risk of a short squeeze.

Tonight I am suggesting small bearish positions if SNCR trades at $32.40 or lower. We want to use small positions to limit our risk. Investors might want to stick to put options to really limit risk.

- Suggested Positions - small positions to limit risk.

Short SNCR stock @ $32.40

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

Long NOV $30 PUT (SNCR151120P30) entry $1.90

10/01/15 triggered @ $32.40
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


Scripps Networks Interative - SNI - close: 49.80 change: +1.38

Stop Loss: 50.55
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: -2.3%
Entry on September 28 at $48.70
Listed on September 26, 2015
Time Frame: Exit prior to earnings in early November
Average Daily Volume = 1.3 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/03/15: SNI did participate in the market's big rally on Friday. Shares dipped toward their lows and reversed higher with a +2.85% gain on the session. SNI is now testing round-number resistance at $50.00. Any further follow through higher might hit our stop loss at $50.55. No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: September 26, 2015:
The television media space is extremely competitive. Investors have really started to worry about the future of broadcast television. There are very significant trends with younger consumers watching less and less TV. Plus there is a growing trend of consumers "cutting the cord" with their cable company and choosing to watch most of their content online, on their tablet, or on their smartphone. These concerns have depressed some stocks in the media industry. Less TV watching means weaker advertising dollars for TV content.

SNI is in the services sector. According to the company, "Scripps Networks Interactive (SNI) is one of the leading developers of engaging lifestyle content in the home, food and travel categories for television, the Internet and emerging platforms. The company's lifestyle media portfolio comprises popular television and Internet brands HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and Great American Country, which collectively engage more than 190 million U.S. consumers each month. International operations include TVN, Poland's premier multi-platform media company; UKTV, an independent commercial joint venture with BBC Worldwide; Asian Food Channel, the first pan-regional TV food network in Asia; and lifestyle channel Fine Living. The company's global networks and websites reach millions of consumers across North and South America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Scripps Networks Interactive is headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn. For more information, please visit http://www.scrippsnetworksinteractive.com."

SNI's earnings performance has generally been okay. Looking at the last three quarters SNI has beaten analysts' bottom line estimates. Management did warn and lowered their 2015 guidance back in February. However, SNI raised their guidance with their most recent quarterly report in early August.

The bullish view on SNI is the stock's valuation. It is cheaper than its peers in the television industry. Plus, management sees stronger revenues for 2015. However, this is not translating into strength for the stock. When SNI reported its better than expected earnings and raised guidance in early August traders sold the news and shares broke down to new lows.

Bears can argue that SNI's expansion into Europe will mean more currency risk as the dollar rises. Plus, fundamental traders might be concerned about the company's debt more than doubling from $1.5 billion to $3.44 billion in the last year. Moody's Investor Service recently downgraded SNI's credit rating to Baa3 due to SNI's surge in debt. Shorts seem to be winning the day with SNI in a bear market.

Technically SNI peaked with a huge bearish double top in the $86 region in the late 2013-to mid 2014 time frame. Since then shares have plunged with a bearish pattern of lower highs and lower lows. Short interest is currently at 18.5% of the 73.4 million share float. This past week saw SNI breakdown under short-term support near $51.00. Now the stock is flirting with a breakdown below round-number support at $50.00.

The intraday low on Thursday was 48.80. I am suggesting a trigger to launch bearish positions at $48.70.

- Suggested Positions -

Short SNI stock @ $48.70

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

Long NOV $45 PUT (SNI151120P45) entry $0.95

09/28/15 new stop @ $50.55
09/28/15 triggered @ $48.70
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


iPath S&P500 VIX Futures ETN - VXX - close: 24.03 change: -1.31

Stop Loss: None, no stop at this time.
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: -10.1%
2nd position Gain/Loss: +17.2%
Entry on August 25 at $21.82
2nd position: September 2nd at $29.01
Listed on August 24, 2015
Time Frame: Exit prior to October option expiration
Average Daily Volume = 50 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/03/15: Another rally in the market continues to weaken the volatility gauges. The VIX fell -7.1% and the VXX dropped -5.1%.

We have less than two weeks left on our October options.

No new positions at this time.

Trade Description: August 24, 2015
The U.S. stock market's sell-off in the last three days has been extreme. Most of the major indices have collapsed into correction territory (-10% from their highs). The volatile moves in the market have investors panicking for protection. This drives up demand for put options and this fuels a rally in the CBOE volatility index (the VIX).

You can see on this long-term weekly chart that the VIX spiked up to levels not seen since the 2008 bear market during the financial crisis. Moves like this do not happen very often. The VIX rarely stays this high very long.

(see VIX chart from the August 24th play description)

How do we trade the VIX? One way is the VXX, which is an ETN but trades like a stock.

Here is an explanation from the product website:

The iPath® S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures® ETNs (the "ETNs") are designed to provide exposure to the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term FuturesTM Index Total Return (the "Index"). The ETNs are riskier than ordinary unsecured debt securities and have no principal protection. The ETNs are unsecured debt obligations of the issuer, Barclays Bank PLC, and are not, either directly or indirectly, an obligation of or guaranteed by any third party. Any payment to be made on the ETNs, including any payment at maturity or upon redemption, depends on the ability of Barclays Bank PLC to satisfy its obligations as they come due. An investment in the ETNs involves significant risks, including possible loss of principal and may not be suitable for all investors.

The Index is designed to provide access to equity market volatility through CBOE Volatility Index® (the "VIX Index") futures. The Index offers exposure to a daily rolling long position in the first and second month VIX futures contracts and reflects market participants' views of the future direction of the VIX index at the time of expiration of the VIX futures contracts comprising the Index. Owning the ETNs is not the same as owning interests in the index components included in the Index or a security directly linked to the performance of the Index.

I encourage readers to check out a long-term chart of the VXX. This thing has been a consistent loser. One market pundit said the VXX is where money goes to die - if you're buying it. We do not want to buy it. We want to short it. Shorting rallies seems to be a winning strategy on the VXX with a constant trend of lower highs.

Today the VXX spiked up to four-month highs near $28.00 before fading. We are suggesting bearish positions at the opening bell tomorrow. The market volatility is probably not done yet so we are not listing a stop loss yet. Our time frame is two or three weeks (or less).

- Suggested Positions -

Short the VXX @ $21.82

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

Long OCT $20 PUT (VXX151016P20) entry $2.93

Sept. 2nd - 2nd position (Double Down On The September 1st Spike)

Short the VXX @ $29.01

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

Long OCT $20 PUT (VXX151016P20) entry $0.78

09/02/15 2nd position begins. VXX gapped down at $29.01
09/01/15 Double down on this trade with the VXX's spike to 6-month highs
08/25/15 trade begins. VXX gaps down at $21.82
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


CLOSED BEARISH PLAYS

Hornbeck Offshore Services - HOS - close: 14.85 change: +1.51

Stop Loss: 14.75
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +3.1%
Entry on September 22 at $15.22
Listed on September 21, 2015
Time Frame: Exit prior to earnings in late October
Average Daily Volume = 925 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/03/15: Depressed oil and energy stocks saw some of the biggest gains on Friday. HOS tagged a new multi-year low on Friday morning and then exploded higher with a +12.5% gain off its session lows. Our stop loss was hit at $14.75 on Friday afternoon.

I had warned readers that HOS had high short interested and we wanted to limit our risk with small positions.

*small positions to limit risk* - Suggested Positions -

Short HOS stock @ $15.22 exit $14.75 (+3.1%)

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

DEC $15 PUT (HOS151218P15) entry $2.15 exit $1.90 (-11.6%)

10/02/15 stopped out
09/28/15 new stop @ 14.75
09/22/15 triggered on gap down at $15.22, suggested entry was $15.30
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


Helmerich & Payne, Inc. - HP - close: 49.28 change: +2.42

Stop Loss: $49.35
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +0.7%
Entry on September 10 at $49.70
Listed on September 9, 2015
Time Frame: Exit prior to earnings in November
(option traders exit prior to October expiration)
Average Daily Volume = 2.1 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/03/15: HP is another energy-related stock that delivered big gains on Friday. Shares produced a bullish engulfing candlestick reversal pattern. They also hit our stop loss at $49.35.

- Suggested Positions -

Short HP Stock @ $49.70 exit $49.35 (+0.7%)

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

OCT $45 PUT (HP151016P45) entry $1.75 exit $0.50 (-71.4%)

10/02/15 stopped out
09/28/15 new stop @ 49.35
09/19/15 new stop @ 54.35
09/10/15 triggered @ $49.70
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


Murphy Oil Corp. - MUR - close: 25.91 change: +2.26

Stop Loss: 25.35
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +1.2%
Entry on September 23 at $25.65
Listed on September 22, 2015
Time Frame: Exit prior to earnings in late October
Average Daily Volume = 2.4 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/03/15: MUR is another energy stock that surged on Friday. Shares fell to $23.27 on Friday morning and then reversed. The stock rallied +11.3% off its session low to challenge resistance near $26.00. Our stop was hit at $25.35.

- Suggested Positions -

Short MUR stock @ $25.65 exit $25.35 (+1.2%)

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

2016 JAN $25 PUT (MUR150115P25) entry $2.40 exit $2.50 (+4.2%)

10/02/15 stopped out
09/29/15 Caution - today might be a short-term bottom
09/28/15 new stop @ 25.35
09/23/15 triggered @ $25.65
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


QUALCOMM Inc. - QCOM - close: 55.07 change: +1.89

Stop Loss: 54.25
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: +0.4%
Entry on September 04 at $54.45
Listed on September 1, 2015
Time Frame: Exit prior to earnings in early November
Average Daily Volume = 12.5 million
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/03/15: QCOM bears were hit with a one-two punch on Friday. The combination of better than expected earnings from rival Micron (MU) and the market's widespread surge higher was enough to boost QCOM to a +3.5% gain. The stock rallied past resistance at $54.00 and hit our stop loss.

- Suggested Positions -

Short QCOM stock @ $54.45 exit $54.25 (+0.4%)

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

OCT $50 PUT (QCOM151016P50) entry $0.96 exit $0.17 (-82.3%)

10/02/15 stopped out
09/28/15 new stop @ 54.25
09/23/15 QCOM's breakdown below support at $54.00 is bearish
09/12/15 new stop @ 56.65
09/04/15 triggered @ $54.45
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart:


Sohu.com Inc. - SOHU - close: 44.50 change: +2.54

Stop Loss: 42.75
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Gain/Loss: -4.2%
Entry on September 24 at $41.03
Listed on September 23, 2015
Time Frame: Exit prior to earnings in early November
Average Daily Volume = 607 thousand
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/03/15: Short covering boosted gains in SOHU on Friday and the stock surged +6.0%. The stock hit our stop loss at $42.75. Shares are nearing their next level of resistance in the $45.00 region.

- Suggested Positions -

Short SOHU stock @ $41.03 exit $42.75 (-4.2%)

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

DEC $35 PUT (SOHU151218P35) entry $2.00 exit $1.25 (-37.5%)

10/02/15 stopped out
09/28/15 new stop @ $42.75
09/24/15 triggered on gap down at $41.03, trigger was $41.35
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart: