Friday marks the beginning of the summer doldrums and volume should be very light. This will continue on Tuesday as everyone returns from the holiday and tries to decide how they are going to invest or not invest for the summer months. Some will probably decide that the market is within 2% of its recent highs and they may try to go long. Depending on Friday's market action and Yellen's comments, they may decide to remain flat until after the Fed meeting. Whatever they decide, Tuesday's volume will be very light.
The fact the S&P has held at 2,090 at the close is somewhat bullish. However, the highs on both of the last two days was 2,095 and that is strong resistance. The bullish part of that scenario is that the index did not recoil significantly from that level. This means it is still in play.
The Dow failed at the same 17,890 level the last two days and closed about 60 point lower. The real resistance is 17,925 so the early failure suggests traders are trying to jump in early with new shorts.
That could be the fact that pushes us higher. If shorts are loading up at 17,890 and 2,095 and the low volume allows institutional traders to push the market around we could get another short squeeze that takes us higher.
Current Position Changes
SCTY - Solarcity
The long position remains unopened until a trade at $24.75.
Check the graphic above for any profit stops in green.
We need to always be prepared for a profit exit at resistance.
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.
BULLISH Play Updates
OMED - OncoMed Pharmaceuticals - Company Profile
No specific news. Minor decline in a weak market after shares closed at a new four-month high on Wednesday.
Original Trade Description: May 21st.
OncoMed Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage company focused on discovering and developing novel anti-cancer stem cell and immuno-oncology therapeutics. OncoMed has seven anti-cancer therapeutic candidates in clinical development, where each target key cancer stem cell signaling pathways including Notch, Wnt and R-spondin LGR. OncoMed is advancing its wholly owned GITRL-Fc candidate and an undisclosed immuno-oncology candidate (IO#2) toward clinical trials in the 2016-2017 timeframe. OncoMed has formed strategic alliances with Celgene Corporation, Bayer Pharma AG and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
OncoMed is making six presentations at ASCO related to six oncology drug candidates, including robust preclinical anti-tumor activity data for its wholly owned GITRL-Fc candidate and from clinical trials of vantictumab, ipafricept, demcizumab and tarextumab.
All of that is Greek to me but this is a cancer conference and OncoMed is an up and coming cancer drug company. They should be right at home and the notes I have read suggest several of their drugs are very promising. They have milestone payments coming from GSK, Bayer and Celgene coming in 2016-2017 of more than $270 million.
Shares have risen steadily since the earnings miss on May 5th. As a preclinical company they do not have retail revenues and depend on funding from their partners. They will have operating losses until their drugs are in the marketplace.
Shares spiked on the 28th after AbbVie said they were buying cancer drug company Stemcentrx for $10.2 billion. That company is in the same stem cell research sector as OMED.
Earnings August 4th.
With the ASCO meeting still 10 days away we could benefit from some of the building excitement and hopefully the company's presentations at the meeting will increase the interest in the stock.
Long OMED shares @ $12.80, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
No options recommended because of wide spreads.
SCTY - Solarcity - Company Profile
No specific news. Shares were mildly negative in a flat market.
This position remains unopened until a trade at $24.75.
Original Trade Description: May 25th.
SolarCity Corporation designs, manufactures, installs, monitors, maintains, leases, and sells solar energy systems to government, residential, and commercial customers in the United States. The company provides solar energy systems; solar lease and solar power purchase agreements; MyPower loan agreements; grid control/energy storage systems; zep solar mounting systems and proprietary software. It also sells electricity generated by solar energy systems to customers.
Q1 was a bad quarter for the solar stocks. Multiple companies have missed earnings and lowered guidance. Solar City was no exception. The company lost -$2.52 compared to estimates for -$2.32. However, revenue of $122.6 million easily beat estimates for $110 million. They guided for the current quarter for a loss of $2.70-$2.80 and analysts were expecting $2.13. The company cut estimates for full year installations to 1,000 to 1,100 megawatts compared to analyst estimates for 1,250 megawatts. Shares dropped -21% on the news to support at $16.50. Shares are down -65% in 2016.
The company said they were expanding into new states in the second half and that would increase sales. Also, sales are normally up in the summer months because roofs are not covered with snow.
They blamed the weak first quarter on regulatory challenges and increased prices that slowed sales. Nevada regulators said they were increasing fees to connect your solar installation to the grid and they were reducing the price the utility companies were going to pay for your power when it reaches the grid. That slowed installations in Nevada. I would think utility companies would like the extra power because they do not have to pay to generate it.
There was also some uncertainty about the extension of the investment tax credits for solar installations. The government did not extend the credits until last December.
Solar City actually installed much more wattage than expected. The company had forecasted it would install 180 megawatts in the quarter. They actually installed 214 megawatts, up 40% from year ago levels. The problem came from the bookings. They only booked 160 megawatts to add to the order backlogs. That meant their backlogs shrank for the quarter. However, the CEO said bookings were up +25% in March/April.
This play recommendation is a bet on Elon Musk as much as it is a bet that Solar City will continue to improve its sales and reduce expenses. There have been rumors that Musk was thinking about taking Solar City private for multiple reasons. Whether that happens or not is of course unknown. However, I do not expect Musk to let Solar City fail or continue to post negative results. He will direct the company and if the current CEO cannot post solid improvements, I am sure Musk can find somebody that will.
Earnings Aug 8th.
With a SCTY trade at $24.75
Buy SCTY shares, initial stop loss $22.25.
Buy July $28 call, currently $1.07, initial stop loss $22.25.
SQ - Square - Company Profile
No specific news, no gain.
Original Trade Description: May 7th.
Square develops and provides payment processing, point-of-sale, financial and marketing services worldwide. It provides Square Register, a point-of-sale software application for iOS and Android, which enables sellers to process credit cards for multiple items through their smart device.
The company was knocked for a 22% loss after reporting a Q1 loss of 14 cents compared to estimates for 9 cents. Revenue rose +51% to $379.2 million and beat estimates for $343.6 million. However, operating expenses rose +72% to $207 million. G&A costs rose from $28 million to $96 million because of a $50 million charge for a lawsuit against Robert Morley, who claims to be the creator of the Square card reader.
Square also has a share lockup expiration on Square on May 17th. About 64 million shares will be unlocked and the float will increase nearly three times. A lot of early investors including Visa, Starbucks, Sequoia Capital (5%) and Khosla Ventures (17%) will be able to sell their shares. Given the reduced guidance and rapid decline there may be a race to the exits.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a whopping 69.48% of the shares (14.6 million) are short as of March 15th. Currently the public float is only 21.01 million shares. Source
I was going to recommend shorting the stock into the lockup expiration but the short interest is too high. The cost to borrow the shares would be prohibitive and with that much short interest it could be explosive. Also, I have seen many lockup expirations that have turned into the bottom for the stock. Expectations are so bearish that the stock declines to a ridiculous price before the actual expiration and then there is no selling. Anyone with shares in the lockup could have already shorted the stock to protect those declining shares. When the lockup expires they use their unlocked shares to cover their shorts.
I am proposing we use a combination strategy. I am recommending we buy a May $10 put, which expires three days after the lockup expiration. At the same time I am recommending we buy a June $11 call in expectation for a sharp post lockup rebound. Remember, revenue increased 51% in Q1 and they raised guidance.
If the stock declines, we sell our put for a profit before expiration and that reduces the cost in the call.
Long Jun $11 call @ 55 cents. See portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Previously closed 5/17/16: Long May $10 put @ 60 cents. Exit $1.00, +.40 gain.
BEARISH Play Updates
ENDP - Endo Intl Plc - Company Description
No specific news. Dead flat for a week. Waiting on ASCO to start next week.
Resistance is 15.85 to 16.15 and I recommend we stay with it until we see if that resistance will hold. The current stop loss of $16.45.
Original Trade Description: May 11th.
Endo develops, manufactures and distributes pharmaceutical products and devices worldwide. The market well known brands including Percocet, Lidoderm, Voltaren and a wide range of pain medications and testosterone replacement therapies.
Shares have declined from $26 last week to $14 today. The company slashed full year guidance by -11% on revenue and -23% on earnings. The acceleration of the decline over the last several weeks has been in reaction to some generic competitors expected to receive approvals from the FDA soon.
The company also disclosed they were being investigated by the U.S. Attorney's Office for its relationship with pharmacy benefit managers or PBMs. In light of the improper relationship between Valeant and Philidor the USAO is investigating to see if the same problems exist at Endo. In November, Novartis had to pay a $390 million fine to settle charges it paid specialty pharmacies for illegal kickbacks in exchange for inducing patients to refill certain medications.
Endo is also under pressure as a result of the Valeant Pharmaceutical disaster and the overall decline in the biotech sector.
Earnings are August 4th.
Even though shares are down significantly from the May 6th news, I believe they will continue falling and could go into single digits. The similarities to Valeant's pharmacy problems and the impact to Valeant's stock are too close and should weigh on Endo.
Short ENDP shares @ $13.81, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Long June $12.50 put @ $1.05, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
FDC - First Data - Company Profile
No specific news.
While we were stopped out on the short on 5/23 there was no stop loss on the option and that position remains open. At the current 10-cent price that is a lottery ticket that the headlines will fade and the original direction will return.
Original Trade Description: May 16th.
First Data provides electronic ecommerce solutions for merchants, financial institutions and card issuers worldwide. The operate in three segments including global business solutions, global financial solutions and network & security solutions. This includes retail point of sale solutions, mobile ecommerce solutions and webstore solutions.
In their Q1 earnings, they grew revenue 3% and operating income rose from $185 to $220 million. Earnings of 24 cents were slightly above expectations for 21 cents. Revenue of $1.69 billion was below estimates for $1.71 billion. Unfortunately, FDC has $19 billion in debt compared to its $3 billion market cap. Interest expense in the first quarter was $263 million or more than $1 billion a year.
Global business solutions revenue declined in the quarter while financial solutions and security solutions showed only marginal growth.
Earnings July 21st.
While the company tried to put a positive face on the future by projecting revenue growth, it appears investors were not impressed. Shares have fallen from $13.50 to $10.50 over the last three weeks since earnings. FDC does not provide guidance and that is troubling to some investors.
I am anticipating a retest of the post IPO low at $8.50 or even worse, depending on the market.
Long July $10 put @ $.60, no stop loss.
Previously closed 5/23/16: Short FDC shares @ $10.69, exit $11.55, -.86 loss.
LOCO - El Pollo Loco - Company Profile
No specific news. Moving very slowly on no news.
Original Trade Description: May 18th.
El Pollo Loco develops, franchises, licenses and operates quick service restaurants in the USA. The company offers individual and family sized chicken meals, Mexican inspired entrees and sides. They currently have 430 company owned and franchised restaurants. They are planning opening 16-20 additional stores in 2016.
The big spike on the IPO came on name recognition, a successful roadshow and a small number of shares initially offered. They later waived the lockup period and allowed insiders to sell their shares on November 19th, 2014, two months earlier than stated in the IPO documents. Shares crashed from $33 on the news and have never recovered that level.
The reported earnings on May 5th of 17 cents that missed estimates for 18 cents. Revenue of $94.4 million also missed estimates for $96.9 million. They guided for full year earnings of 70-74 cents, which was almost zero growth from the Q1 numbers. That suggests the competition is fierce and they are having trouble gaining market share. Earnings in 2015 were 71 cents.
Net income declined -19.8% in Q1. Same store sales declined -0.6% for company operated restaurants. That is not a good track record to use when selling new franchises.
Next earnings August 4th.
I think the crazy chicken is dying. Their moment in the sun is fading along with their stock price. Shares are rapidly approaching their post IPO low of $9.58 and once you break under that $10 level it is very hard to recover.
Short LOCO shares @ $10.61, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
No options recommended.
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