Editors Note:

Not every big market dip is followed by a monster rebound but when it happens, we should rejoice. The rebound today was a very powerful short squeeze and we have not seen one like that in 2016.

The monster decline of -566 Dow points was nearly reversed but some late day sellers arrived to offset a high volume of buy on close orders. Hopefully that was the bears last gasp. Large short squeezes like we saw today are normally followed by another day of gains from those traders that did not get the memo that the bottom was in. This does not always happen but the setup today was nearly perfect. With 30:1 decliners to advancers at the lows of the day that is serious capitulation statistics. Let's hope it sticks.


Current Portfolio


We are changing the format slightly this week. The entry date, earnings date, current price, change for the day and stop loss are all in the portfolio graphic. They will no longer be listed in the individual play descriptions. Everything you need is now available in a single location.




Current Position Changes


Stop Loss Updates

Check the graphic above for any new stop losses in bright yellow. We need to always be prepared for an unexpected decline.


CHUY - Chuys Holdings

The only play that was stopped out was the new position in CHUY. The stock dropped -6% in the market downdraft.


KRE - Banking ETF

The KRE play was triggered on the market decline. Let's hope from a continued rebound.


BULLISH Play Updates

CHUY - Chuy's Holdings

Comments:

Chuy's dropped -6% in the market decline and knocked us out of the new position. There was no news on the stock, just an ugly market.

Original Trade Description: January 14, 2016:

Small cap stocks underperformed last year with the small cap Russell 2000 index falling -5.9% in 2015. CHUY is one small cap that bucked the trend with shares surging +59% in 2015. That relative strength continues in 2016. The Russell 2000 index is already down -9.7% this year. Meanwhile CHUY is up +14% year to date and looks poised to hit new highs.

CHUY is in the services sector. According to the company, "Founded in Austin, Texas in 1982, Chuy's owns and operates 69 full-service restaurants across fourteen states serving a distinct menu of authentic, made from scratch Tex Mex inspired dishes. Chuy's highly flavorful and freshly prepared fare is served in a fun, eclectic and irreverent atmosphere, while each location offers a unique, 'unchained' look and feel, as expressed by the concept's motto 'If you've seen one Chuy's, you've seen one Chuy's!'."

CHUY's earnings and revenues have been hotter than a jalapeno. The company has beaten Wall Street's earnings estimates the last four quarters in a row. They have beaten analysts' revenue estimates in three of the last four quarters. Management has raised guidance three quarters in a row.

Check out their revenue growth: Q4 2014 revenues +21.7%, Q1 2015 +19%, Q2 2015 +19%, and Q3 2015 saw revenues +15%. That's on top of a tough comparison to Q3 2014 where revenues rose +20%.

Technically shares appear to be in breakout mode. The surge on January 12th lifted CHUY out of a five-month consolidation and on big volume. Traders bought the dip today exactly where they should have near $34.00, which as prior resistance is now new support. If this rally continues CHUY could see a short squeeze. The most recent data listed short interest at 21% of its small 16.0 million share float. The point & figure chart is bullish and forecasting at $44.00 target.

Today's intraday rebound lifted CHUY back to the $36.00 level. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to launch bullish positions at $36.65.

Position 1/19/16:

Closed CHUY shares, entry $36.15, exit $33.40, -2.75 loss
Optional:
Closed April $37.50 call, entry $2.86, exit $1.60, -1.26 loss



KRE - SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF

Comments:

KRE shares dipped to $34.78 intraday and triggered our long position at $35.50 on the way down. The ETF bounced from the support at $35.20 to end the day with a minimal 50-cent loss.

The initial stop loss on the stock position is $34.25. However, I took the stop loss off the option position. Our entry was 63 cents and any stop would give us nothing back. That means we can hold the option side until expiration without any additional risk.

Original Trade Description: January 13, 2016:

Many people thought banks would be winners after the Federal Reserve hiked rates in December. While the Fed did raise rates (barely) the financial stocks didn't see much progress.

The Fed is still talking about raising rates multiple times in 2016. There is a growing camp of market watchers who believe the Fed will be forced to back track. Deteriorating economic conditions both in the U.S. and abroad may force the Fed to pause their rate hike plans or even cut rates again.

Even if the Fed does try to raise rates the yield curve, where many banks make their money, could struggle. If the stock market remains sour throughout 2016 it will drive money into the perceived safety of U.S. bonds and that will keep yields on the 10-year low. So now that I have painted a rather unappetizing picture for the banks I'm adding a new bullish play.

All of the issues above are long-term troubles that could plague financials throughout 2016. On a short-term basis the banks are oversold and due for a bounce. Tonight's trade is a short-term technical one. The KRE is nearing major support and should rebound.

If you are not familiar with the KRE it is an ETF that tracks the S&P regional banks select industry index. The top ten holdings in this ETF are: PNC, BBT, KEY, STI, HBAN, CIWV, RF, FITB, MTB, ZION,

You can see on the daily chart below the KRE is plunging. On the weekly chart I have highlighted long-term support at the $35.00 level. Odds are good that if the KRE is going to bounce that is the spot to watch. Tonight I am listing a buy-the-dip trigger at $35.50. We will start this trade, if triggered, with a stop loss at $34.40. Remember, this is a short-term trade. We want to get in, catch a bounce, and get out.

Position 1/20/16:

Long KRE shares @ $35.50, initial stop loss $34.25

Optional:

Long March $38 call @ 63 cents, no stop loss.



BEARISH Play Updates

CF - CF Industries

Comments:

CF rebounded $3 in the afternoon as shorts covered. I lowered the stop loss to $30.95 to avoid giving back profit.

More conservative investors may want to take some money off the table early, especially if you're trading the option.

Original Trade Description: January 5, 2016:

CF underperformed the broader market and its sector in 2015. The S&P 500 lost -0.7% for the year while the IYM basic materials ETF lost -14.4%. Shares of CF returned a -25% loss last year. Momentum remains to the downside.

According to the company, "CF Industries Holdings, Inc., headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, through its subsidiaries is a global leader in the manufacturing and distribution of nitrogen products, serving both agricultural and industrial customers. CF Industries operates world-class nitrogen manufacturing complexes in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, and distributes plant nutrients through a system of terminals, warehouses, and associated transportation equipment located primarily in the Midwestern United States. The company also owns a 50 percent interest in an ammonia facility in The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago."

It is important to note that CF is currently in the process of merging with OCI. Here's a brief description, "OCI N.V. is a global producer and distributor of natural gas-based fertilizers and industrial chemicals based in the Netherlands. The company produces nitrogen fertilizers, methanol and other natural gas based products, serving agricultural and industrial customers from the Americas to Asia. The company ranks among the world's largest nitrogen fertilizer producers, and can produce more than 8.4 million metric tons of nitrogen fertilizers and industrial chemicals at production facilities in the Netherlands, the United States, Egypt and Algeria."

Once the merger is completed they plan to move the new company's headquarters to the Netherlands to reduce their tax burden. Last year some U.S. government officials voiced their displeasure at these tax-inversion mergers to avoid paying U.S. taxes. There is a chance (albeit a small one) that the U.S. tries to stop this merger before it's completed.

Meanwhile the company continues to struggle with weak prices for nitrogen fertilizer. Looking at CF's last four quarterly earnings reports they have missed Wall Street's earnings estimates three of the last four quarters (and two quarters in a row). Revenues were down -8.3%, -15.8%, -10.9%, and -0.7% in the most recently reported quarter.

CF faces tough competition from fertilizer producers in China and in Russia and the Ukraine. It is worth noting that Bank of America just recently came out with a bullish call on CF. The BoA analyst suggested that fertilizer prices are too low and will bounce and CF's stock price should bounce with it. CF claims demand remains strong but that doesn't help if prices keep falling (obviously demand isn't strong enough or prices would rise).

Technically the path of least resistance is down and CF just broke support near $40.00. These are new two-year lows. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to launch bearish positions at $38.85. Plan on exiting prior to CF's earnings report in mid February.

Position 1/6/16:

Short CF shares @ $38.65, initial stop loss $38.75

Optional:

Long Feb $35 put @ $1.20, initial stop loss $38.75

Trade History:
01/20/16 new stop @ 30.95
01/16/16 new stop @ 33.25
01/13/16 new stop @ 33.60
01/11/16 new stop @ 34.15
01/09/16 new stop @ 35.75
01/07/16 new stop @ 37.05
01/06/16 new stop loss @ 38.75
01/06/16 triggered on gap down at $38.65, suggested entry was $38.85



ETN - Eaton Corp

Comments:

ETN rebounded sharply after dipping to a 52-week low. I lowered the stop loss to $48.35 just in case sellers have run out of stock.

More conservative investors may want to take some money off the table early, especially if you're trading the option.

Original Trade Description: January 9, 2016:

Industrial stocks did not have a good 2015. The XLI industrials ETF and the Dow Jones Industrial Average both fell more than -6% last year. ETN significantly underperformed its peers with a -23% decline for 2015. Part of the problem is weak demand overseas compounded by a stronger dollar. Plus, the manufacturing sector in the U.S. is in recession.

ETN is in the industrial goods sector. According to the company, "Eaton is a power management company with 2014 sales of $22.6 billion. Eaton provides energy-efficient solutions that help our customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more efficiently, safely and sustainably. Eaton has approximately 99,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 175 countries."

Earnings and revenue growth for ETN was challenging last year. The company lowered guidance four times in 2015. Their most recent earnings report (Q3 results) from October 30th showed revenues were down -9.2% from a year ago. Earnings were down -25%.

ETN management is trying to be proactive. They plan to expand their restructuring efforts into 2016. Hopefully they will be able to cut costs by another $190 million if all goes as planned. The one positive side of ETN's slide has been the surge in its dividend. The stock just closed at three-year lows, which as boosted the dividend yield to 4.2%. Although I don't know why you'd buy ETN for the dividend if you are in jeopardy of losing more than 4% in the stock. The point & figure chart is forecasting a $42.00 target.

The ISM index measures manufacturing activity in the United States. December's ISM reading was negative for the second month in a row and marked the sixth monthly decline in a row. Numbers under 50.0 on the ISM index represent contraction. November's was 48.6. December's slipped to 48.2. Odds are it will be under the 50.0 again this month.

With the industrial sector in recession, revenues and earnings falling, the bearish momentum in ETN should continue. Last week's market decline has pushed ETN below round-number, psychological support at the $50.00 level. Now shares are poised to accelerate lower. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to launch bearish positions at $48.85. My only caution is our time frame. ETN has earnings coming up in early February (no confirmed date yet). This could be a short-term three-four week play.

Position 1/11/16:

Short ETN shares @ $48.85, stop loss $49.25

Optional:

Long Feb $47.50 put @ $1.55, stop loss $49.25

Trade History
01/20/16 new stop @ $48.35
01/13/16 new stop @ $50.75
01/11/16 triggered @ $48.85



HOG - Harley Davidson

Comments:

HOG is clinging to that $40 level after a dip to $39 this morning. Chart still looks weak.

More conservative investors may want to take some money off the table early, especially if you're trading the option.

Original Trade Description: December 9, 2015:

HOG was a big winner during the market's rally off the 2009 bear-market low. Shares surged from about $8 in early 2009 to over $74.00 in 2014. Unfortunately that bullish momentum is long gone.

HOG is in the consumer goods sector. According to the company, "Harley-Davidson, Inc. is the parent company of Harley-Davidson Motor Company and Harley-Davidson Financial Services. Since 1903, Harley-Davidson Motor Company has fulfilled dreams of personal freedom with custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles, riding experiences and events and a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, general merchandise, riding gear and apparel. Harley-Davidson Financial Services provides wholesale and retail financing, insurance, extended service and other protection plans and credit card programs to Harley-Davidson dealers and riders in the U.S., Canada and other select international markets."

The company has seen sales slow down. Their most recent earnings report was October 20th. Q3 earnings growth was flat (+0%) from a year ago at $0.69 a share. That missed estimates by 8 cents. Revenues only rose +0.9% to $1.14 billion, which also missed estimates. The company said their dealer new motorcycle sales were down -1.4% worldwide from a year ago. Their U.S. sales fell -2.5%. Shipments came in below guidance.

Matt Levatich, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We expect a heightened competitive environment to continue for the foreseeable future." The company lowered their shipment guidance for 2015. They also lowered their margin guidance. The stock reacted with a big drop on the earnings miss and lowered guidance. Multiple analyst firms downgraded the stock in response to the news.

Technically HOG is in a bear market. Shares have a bearish trend of lower highs and lower lows. HOG spent most of November struggling with resistance at $50.00. The recent weakness has pushed shares to new two-year lows. The next drop could push HOG toward $40 or lower. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to launch bearish positions at $45.75.

My biggest concern is some analyst deciding that HOG looks "cheap" on valuation. At this point HOG could be a value trap. Cheap stocks can always get cheaper.

Position 12/11/15:

Short HOG shares @ $45.75, stop loss $41.25

Optional:

Long Feb $45 put @ $2.59, stop loss $41.25

Trade History:
01/16/16 new stop @ 41.25
01/11/16 new stop @ 44.15
01/06/16 new stop @ 44.55
12/16/15 new stop @ 47.35
12/11/15 triggered @ $45.75



VXX - VIX Futures ETF

Comments:

The VXX only gained 70 cents despite the extreme volatility. These highs never last long and only a few weeks at most. Be patient. The volatility will eventually die.

Original Trade Description: August 24, 2015

The U.S. stock market's sell-off 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 a 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.

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.

Position 8/25/15:

Short VXX @ $21.82, no stop loss.

Second Position 9/2/15:

Short VXX @ $29.01, no stop loss.

Trade History
11/07/15 adjust exit target to $16.65
11/02/15 adjust exit target to $16.50
10/19/15 add an exit target at $16.25
10/15/15 planned exit for the October puts
10/14/15 if you own the options, prepare to exit tomorrow at the close
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



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