NEW DIRECTIONAL CALL PLAYS

Advance Auto Parts - AAP - close: 152.40 change: +2.60

Stop Loss: 147.75
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: Unopened
Average Daily Volume = 891 thousand
Entry on April -- at $---.--
Listed on April 20, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to earnings on May 21st
New Positions: Yes, see below

Company Description

Why We Like It:
According to Sterne Agee analysts Ali Faghri and Michael Ward the combination of cheap gasoline and mother nature have created a bullish environment for auto part retailers.

Gasoline is off its early 2015 lows but it's still trading near four year lows. Today a gallon of gas is more than $1.00 less than the prior three years. Cheaper gas means more miles driven. The number of miles driven by Americans has risen 11 months in a row. The most recent data has hit levels not seen since 2007. Higher miles driven means more demand for replacement parts, maintenance, and repair work. That means more business for companies like AAP.

Meanwhile the weather has been a boon for auto parts makers. The harsh winter tends to reduce traffic but it's harder on vehicles and roads. The snow, gravel, and in some areas of the country road salt, increase wear and tear on your car. The freezing temperatures and precipitation generate more pot holes and road hazards, which also increase wear on your car. Now that we're into spring and the weather is improving we should see miles driven rise even further.

One company that should benefit is AAP. They're in the services sector with a chain of auto parts stores. According to the company, "Headquartered in Roanoke, Va., Advance Auto Parts, Inc., the largest automotive aftermarket parts provider in North America, serves both the professional installer and do-it-yourself customers. As of January 3, 2015 Advance operated 5,261 stores and 111 Worldpac branches and served approximately 1,325 independently-owned Carquest branded stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada. Advance employs approximately 73,000 Team Members."

It is worth pointing out that AAP's most recent earnings report was a disappointment. They reported Q4 earnings on February 12th. Earnings were up +104% to $1.37 per share. Revenues soared +48% to $2.09 billion. Yet in spite of these huge improvements AAP still missed analysts' expectations. It was the first earnings miss in more than two years. If that wasn't bad enough management then lowered their earnings and revenue guidance for 2015. Not surprisingly the stock was crushed the next day.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Scot Ciccarelli is still bullish on the stock. He noted that AAP's big acquisition of General Parts International last year has delivered cost synergies above expectations. Scot believes AAP offers "the best appreciation potential in the automotive aftermarket retail space."

Not everyone agrees. Daryl Boehringer, with Cleveland Research, believes that AAP is having trouble with its General Parts merger. According to Boehringer, he is, "more cautious on the near-term performance of the company as disruptions associated with the integration of GPI (entering the 'heavy-lifting' stage) appear to be having a fairly meaningful negative impact on the business... the large size and scope of the GPI integration will likely cause disruptions to AAP's business that make an upside earnings scenario less achievable."

If price is truth then the long-term trend favors the bulls. Shares of AAP did see a correction from $163 down to $143 but bounced off technical support at its rising 200-dma (and long-term trend line). Today shares are breaking through resistance at the 50-dma and look poised to keep climbing.

We believe this rebound will continue. However, we want to see a rally past the simple 100-dma, currently at $153.80. Tonight we're suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $154.00.

Trigger @ $154.00

- Suggested Positions -

Buy the JUN $160 CALL (AAP150619C160) current ask $3.30
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.

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

Daily Chart:

Weekly Chart: