After a +285 point gain to close at 17,694 the Dow is only 306 points below critical resistance at 18,000. The markets are trying to make up the last ground with the S&P tacking on 35 points to close at 2,070 and only 30 points below the 2,100 level.
I continue to believe this is funds putting their near record cash levels to work before the end of the quarter on Thursday. The problem will come on Tuesday after the quarter closes and the new retirement contributions are put to work. We could extend this rally right to resistance and then see the calendar turn negative as we head into earnings.
Pension funds had to buy about $18 billion in equities this week to rebalance their bond/equity ratios. That also ends this week.
The second phase of the Fed stress tests on the banks should provide a lift to the markets at the open on Friday.
Current Position Changes
INSY - Insys Therapeutics
The short position in INSY shares was stopped at $12.65.
JBLU - Jet Blue
The long put position in JBLU was closed at the open.
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
EXAS - Exact Sciences - Company Profile
No specific news. Minor gain but still a gain and it is nearing a new high.
Original Trade Description: June 25th.
Exact Sciences Corporation, a molecular diagnostics company, focuses on developing products for the early detection and prevention of various cancers. The company develops the Cologuard, a non-invasive stool-based DNA screening test for the early detection of colorectal cancer and pre-cancer. Its Cologuard test includes a protein marker to detect blood in the stool, utilizing an antibody-based fecal immunochemical test. The company has a collaboration, license, and purchase agreement with Genzyme Corporation, as well as with MAYO Foundation for Medical Education and Research for developing tests to detect lung, pancreatic, and esophageal cancers.
Shares of EXAS fell from $18.50 to $7 in October after the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, an independent panel of health care experts, issued preliminary screening test recommendations that did not include Cologuard as a recommended product. The draft listed Cologuard as an "alternative" screening test. Exact Sciences protested strongly about the classification.
On June 14th, the same task force issued its final cancer screening recommendations and clarified the inclusion of Cologuard. The information was accidentally leaked and the panel had to release the report earlier than the planned June 21st date. With the final recommendation for Cologuard the company has begun advertising strongly and sales should increase. Cologuard is now an A-rated preventative service under the Affordable Care Act.
Earnings July 26th.
Shares have broken out of their 9-month consolidation base and could close the gap back to $18 in the coming weeks.
Long EXAS shares @ $11.50, stop loss $9.45.
No options recommended.
HPE - Hewlett Packard Enterprise - Company Profile
No specific news. Minor gain but still a gain.
Original Trade Description: June 2nd.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise was spun off from Hewlett Packard (HPQ) to be the high growth segment of the company. The remaining HPQ was the slower growing PC and printer company.
HPE reported adjusted Q1 earnings of 42 cents and in line with estimates. Revenue of $12.711 billion would have been up +4% on a constant currency basis. Analysts were expecting $12.419 billion.
For the current quarter, HPE guided to earnings of $1.10 to $1.14. For the full year, they expect $1.85-$1.95 and that was more than analysts expected at $1.89. They increased free cash flow +101% to $1.1 billion for the quarter.
The good news came from their plans for the cash flow. HPE expects to generate $2.0-$2.2 billion in free cash flow in 2016. They are receiving $2 billion from the Tsinghua transaction which closed in early May and the money will be used for share repurchases. In 2016, HPE is increasing its commitment to return 100% of the free cash flow to investors in dividends and buybacks.
This means over the next couple of months we should see significant share activity as funds position themselves to be the beneficiaries of all this buyback/dividend activity that could exceed $4 billion in 2016. $2.5 billion of that is in an "accelerated" buyback program. The board authorized another $3 billion in buybacks to bring the current authorization to $4.8 billion.
They also announced a tax-free spinoff of their services division to Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), which is expected to close in March 2017. This will produce another $8.5 billion in value to HPE shareholders in the form of $4.5 billion in equity in the combined company and $1.5 billion in a cash dividend and the removal of $2.5 billion in debt from HPE.
Earnings Aug 23rd.
HPE shares have shaken off their May weakness and closed today at a historic high. I am recommending we buy this stock in anticipation of additional fund investors moving in ahead of future dividends, buybacks and the spinoff.
Position 6/28/16: Long HPE shares @ $17.50, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Position 6/3/16: Long August $20 call @ 40 cents. No stop loss.
Previously closed 6/24/16: Long HPE shares @ $18.40, exit $18.61, +.21 gain
SCTY - Solar City - Company Profile
SCTY added another 50 cents. Analysts are still beating them up but the tide is starting to turn positive.
Original Trade Description: June 27th.
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, including SolarBid sales management platform, SolarWorks customer management software, PowerGuide proactive monitoring solutions, and Energy Designer, a proprietary software application used by field engineering auditors to collect site-specific design details on a tablet computer. It also sells electricity generated by solar energy systems to customers.
SolarCity has had a troubled past with the rise and fall of solar based on the whims of governments and the on again-off again investment credits and tax rebates. SolarCity is still humming right along and building up their base of installed systems into one giant annuity that will pay for decades to come. The problem is that it takes cash to build and install those systems that they sell to customers. Cash up front for a long and profitable payout.
SolarCity was co-founded by Elon Musk. He also started Paypal, SpaceX and Tesla. Last week he (Tesla) offered to buy SolarCity, where he is the largest stockholder and Chairman of the board, for $26-$28. Tesla shares cratered. SolarCity shares spiked for one day then fell back again. Numerous analysts were against the plan. Now shares are rising again.
Elon Musk believes he can marry his battery business with the solar business and have a winning combination. He already makes battery backups for your home but they run off regular utility company power. With SolarCity he can power those battery systems with solar and it makes a lot more sense for customers.
Shares have established a base at $21 and with the $26-$28 offer under consideration along with "other strategic alternatives" it would appear there is limited downside.
Earnings August 8th.
Long SCTY shares @ $23.40, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
BEARISH Play Updates
INSY - Insys Therapeutics - Company Profile
No specific news. Gapped open to stop us out at $12.65.
Original Trade Description: June 18th.
Insys Therapeutics, Inc is a specialty pharmaceutical company that develops and commercializes supportive care products. The company markets Subsys, a sublingual fentanyl spray for breakthrough cancer pain in opioid-tolerant cancer patients in the United States. Its lead product candidate is Syndros, an orally administered liquid formulation of dronabinol. The company is also developing Cannabidiol Oral Solution, a synthetic cannabidiol for childhood catastrophic epilepsy syndromes; and other product candidates, including other dronabinol line extensions and sublingual spray product candidates.
Two former employees were arrested on June 9th for allegedly participating in kickback schemes involving doctors who prescribed the company's main drug, Subsys, a pain medication containing fentanyl. This is the drug that killed Prince, Joan Rivers and Michael Jackson. The two employees paid doctors thousands of dollars to participate in sham educational programs in order to induce the doctors to prescribe millions of dollars worth of the Subsys product. In 2014 alone the employees paid one doctor $147,000 and another $112,000 in speaker fees to give a talk at one of their "educational" programs. Those doctors were two of the largest prescribers of the drug in the USA. The scheme was discovered in November 2015. Subsys revenue in 2015 was $330 million. In 2014 a record 28,000 people died from subscription opioid addiction.
Earnings August 4th.
Clearly, this will have a long-term impact on Insys since there will be liabilities associated with the revenue generated from the scheme. The company is under attack by Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for New York. He has brought down dozens of other companies over the last several years for various types of misdealing.
Closed 6/29/16: Short INSY shares @ $13.06, exit $12.65, +.41 gain.
JBLU - JetBlue - Company Profile
No specific news. Shares spiked at the open to close the put position.
Original Trade Description: June 15th.
JetBlue Airways Corporation, a passenger carrier company, provides air transportation services. As of December 31, 2014, the company operated a fleet of 25 Airbus A321 aircrafts, 130 Airbus A320 aircrafts, and 60 Embraer E190 aircrafts. It also served 93 destinations in 28 states in the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 19 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Business was good until all the airlines began adding capacity at the same time. The discount airlines were particularly aggressive. In order to fill that extra capacity they increased the number of discount seats and overall pricing went down. Now they have plenty of passengers but their revenue per mile has declined. They are still making money but with rising fuel prices they are going to have to raise ticket prices and that will dampen demand.
Last week JetBlue said May traffic measured in revenue passenger miles of (RPMs) rose +10.7% from 3.47 billion to 3.84 billion. Over the prior 12 months available seat miles (ASMs) rose 12.1% to 4.54 billion. The load factor or the percentage of seats filled by passengers declined from 85.7% to 84.6% because the rapid expansion of capacity outweighed the traffic growth generated by the discount tickets. That means the revenue per available seat mile (RASM) declined -7%.
The airline lowered guidance for RASM to decline 7.5% to 8.5% for Q2 compared to prior guidance for a 7% decline. They also lowered ASM growth from 8.5%-10.5% to 8.0% to 9.5%. They do not need to add additional capacity if they cannot fill the seats they already have.
Factor in the strong dollar, rising fuel prices and the increased terrorist activity and the outlook for profits is declining. Since the Belgium airport attack airline traffic has slowed. People do not want to be blown up while waiting in a security line. Add in the Zika virus that has disrupted traffic to Latin America and the Caribbean and that is another reason seats are empty. On the positive side JetBlue was accepted by the DOT to operate scheduled flights to Cuba. However, compared to their total capacity those few weekly flights will not move the needle.
Earnings July 26th.
JBLU shares have already declined significantly. They fell sharply in early May when they reported April traffic numbers. When the numbers did not improve in May they declined again starting on June 10th. JBLU was a rocket ship when it rallied from $5 to $24 in 2015 but we are headed for a round trip with shares back at $16.66 today. It has been a series of disappointing events one after another. I think we will see single digits again soon because of all the events impacting traffic and earnings I discussed above.
Position 6/16/16 with a JBLU trade at $16.50
Closed 6/28/16: Short JBLU shares @ $16.49, exit $15.45, +$1.04 gain.
Closed 6/29/16: Long Sept $16 put @ $1.15, exit $1.20, +0.05 gain.
QURE - UniQure - Company Profile
No specific news. Shares nearly erased the gain from Tuesday and appear headed lower.
Original Trade Description: June 20th.
UniQure is a biopharmaceutical company, engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of gene therapies in the Netherlands. The company offers Glybera, a gene therapy product for the treatment of patients with lipoprotein lipase deficiency. They have multiple drugs in development for a variety of illnesses.
In their recent earnings they reported a loss of 92 cents that missed estimates for a loss of 82 cents. Revenue of $4.3 million did beat estimates for $2.9 million. This is a very small company and since the ASCO conference their shares have been in crash mode.
Losses appear to be accelerating and they lost $22.69 million in Q1. Their market cap is only $204 million.
There was no gap open today despite the major gap higher in the market. They closed at a historic low at $8.20. They have only been public for 2 years and from the chart today it looks like they are going significantly lower. Normally when a stock hits the prior historic low there is a rebound or at least a pause. Neither occurred and that suggests it will go lower.
Position 6/21/16 with a QURE trade at $8.00
Short QURE shares @ $8, initial stop loss $9.25.
No options recommended.
VXX - Ipath VIX Short Term Futues ETN - ETN Profile
The market rally continues to push volatility lower. We may not see a spike back over that $17 level but I will leave the other entry point recommendations open. We are probably going to be in this position for a long time as it declines to new lows under $13 this summer.
Original Trade Description: June 22nd.
The VXX is a ETF type product that is based on the Volatility Index futures. It is a flawed product with a perpetual decline built in from the monthly roll over in the futures contracts.
We have played the VXX before with big gains. The object is to short it on a bounce and then hold the position until the volatility fades again.
On the big declines last week the VXX spiked to $17. Back in January and February is spiked to $30 on the market corrections. While I do not expect that to happen from this lower level, I do expect some volatility to appear regardless of the vote outcome.
I am recommending we enter a short position with a return to $17. If it continues higher I would add to that short at $20 and again at $25 and then we wait for the post event decline in the volatility and the return to $13 or lower.
Because this is a flawed product it will always go lower. It has already had several 1:4 reverse splits to keep it from being delisted back in November 2010, October 2012 and November 2013. If it falls under $10, they will do another reverse split and start the decline all over again.
6/24/15: With a VXX trade at $17, now short VXX @ $17, no stop loss.
With a VXX trade at $20, short the VXX again, no stop loss.
With a VXX trade at $25, short the VXX again, no stop loss.
If we are successful in entering all three positions our average entry price will be $20.66 assuming you shorted an equal amount in each transaction. I would have no problem with increasing the quantity on the second and third position because it will always go down with the exception of short-term spikes on market corrections.
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