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Call Updates

Dominion - D - close: 77.47 change: -0.25 stop: 74.99

The rally in shares of D paused on Monday with the stock erasing about half of Friday's gain. We do not see any big changes from our previous update. We would probably wait and watch for a pull back toward the $77.00-76.50 region before considering new call option plays. Our target is the $81.00-82.00 range although more conservative types may want to exit near $80.00. Please note that we do not want to hold over D's early August earnings report, which gives us about eight trading days.

Picked on July 17 at $ 76.05
Change since picked: + 1.42
Earnings Date 08/03/06 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.5 million
 

Put Updates

Air Products Chem. - APD - cls: 61.63 chg: +0.22 stop: 64.01

APD tried to bounce today but the rally stalled at APD's 200-dma near $62.00. We do not want to hold over the company's earnings report so we're planning to exit on Tuesday afternoon at the close. Our target is the $59.00-58.00 range although right now we'd probably be happy exiting near $60.

Picked on July 09 at $ 62.95
Change since picked: - 1.32
Earnings Date 07/26/06 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.2 million

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Apollo Group - APOL - close: 47.74 chg: +0.83 stop: 50.05

APOL participated in the market's rebound today with the stock adding 1.7%. Shares remain under its bearish trend of lower highs but we're not suggesting new plays at this time. Our target is the $45.50-45.00 range.

Picked on July 09 at $ 49.92
Change since picked: - 2.18
Earnings Date 09/19/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.4 million

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Chicago Merc. - CME - close: 465.00 change: +13.00 stop: n/a

Our high-risk, speculation play in CME just got riskier with today's 2.8% bounce in the stock price! The company is due to report earnings tomorrow morning before the opening bell. Wall Street's estimates are for CME to report profits of $3.09 a share. Today, Monday, was our only day to consider opening speculative put positions to capture any post-earnings sell-off. Please see Sunday's play description for more details. FYI: The P&F chart points to a $408 target.

Picked on July 23 at $452.00
Change since picked: +13.00
Earnings Date 07/25/06 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 680 thousand

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IDEXX Labs - IDXX - close: 74.31 chg: +0.07 stop: 76.05

There is no change from our weekend update on IDXX. We are not suggesting new plays. Our conservative target at $75.25 has already been hit and we're currently aiming for $72.50. We do not want to hold over the earnings report on Friday, July 28th.

Picked on June 12 at $ 77.95
Change since picked: - 3.64
Earnings Date 07/28/06 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 144 thousand

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Manpower Inc. - MAN - close: 60.26 chg: +1.88 stop: 62.25

The rebound in MAN was a little stronger than expected. We warned readers to watch for a bounce toward $60 as a new entry point but the stock continued to rally and closed above round-number resistance and broken support at the $60 mark. We are not suggesting new plays at this time. We'd wait for a decline back under $59.50 before considering new puts. Our target is the $55.50-55.00 range. The Point & Figure chart currently points to a $52 target.

Picked on July 20 at $ 59.42
Change since picked: + 0.84
Earnings Date 07/19/06 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.0 million

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Oil Serv. Holders - OIH - cls: 134.10 chg: +4.10 stop: 134.26

There is no change from our new play description from this past weekend on the OIH. The oil service HOLDRs bounced from the $130 level as crude oil rallied and the oil stocks joined the market rebound. The OIX oil index added 2.8% and the OSX oil service index rose 3% today. We don't know if this bounce has any legs or not so we're keeping OIH on the play list as a bearish candidate with a trigger to buy puts at $129.00. If triggered our short-term target is the $120.00 level. The Point & Figure chart points to a $106 target and the H&S pattern projects a $90 target so more aggressive traders may want to aim lower.

Picked on July xx at $ xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 00/00/00 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 11.6 million

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Union Pacific - UNP - close: 85.42 chg: +2.38 stop: 87.01

Be careful! The bounce in UNP today was a lot stronger than we expected. Our weekend update said watch for a bounce towards $84-85 to buy puts. Well, UNP added 2.8% and broke out higher back above technical resistance at its 200-dma and the $85.00 level. We are not suggesting new plays at this time. We would wait for a new decline back under the $84.00 level before considering new put positions. Tomorrow morning could see some volatility as investors react to earnings news from BNI, another railroad stock. More conservative traders may want to tighten their stops toward $86.00 or just exit early given the bullish move today!

Picked on July 21 at $ 83.75
Change since picked: + 1.67
Earnings Date 07/20/06 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.7 million
 

Strangle Updates

(What is a strangle? It's when a trader buys an out-of-the-money (OTM) call and an OTM put on the same stock. The strategy is neutral. You do not care what direction the stock moves as long as the move is big enough to make your investment profitable.)

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Bausch Lomb - BOL - close: 47.47 change: +0.07 stop: n/a

There is no change from our new play description on BOL this past weekend. The stock is still consolidating sideways as investors wait for the company's earnings report on July 27th. We are suggesting that readers open strangle plays in the $47.00-48.00 range, the closer to $47.50 the better. The goal is to open positions before the report on Thursday. At current prices our estimated cost is $2.15. Our goal will be to sell if either option rises to $3.25 or more. More aggressive traders may want to aim higher. The options in our suggested strangle are the August $50 call (BOL-HJ) and the August $45 put (BOL-TI).

Picked on July 23 at $ 47.40
Change since picked: + 0.07
Earnings Date 07/25/06 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.2 million

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L-3 Comm. - LLL - close: 76.24 chg: +0.98 stop: n/a

LLL bounced around today but eventually closed higher with a 1.3% gain and a breakout over its simple 50-dma. The stock is currently outside our suggested entry range to open strangle positions ($74.00-76.00), with our suggestion to try and open positions as close to $75 as possible. Our estimated cost was $1.35. We will plan to sell if either option rises to $2.25 or more. The options in our LLL strangle are the August $80 call (LLL-HP) and the August $70 put (LLL-TN).

Picked on July 23 at $ 75.26
Change since picked: + 0.98
Earnings Date 07/27/06 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.2 million

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3M Co. - MMM - close: 71.69 change: +0.97 stop: n/a

MMM is trying to bounce after Friday's test of support near the $70 level. The stock did trade inside our suggested entry range in the $69.00-71.50 range. Currently MMM is outside that window so we're not suggesting new plays. Of course the window of opportunity has probably passed since MMM is due to report earnings tomorrow morning. Wall Street is looking for earnings of $1.07 a share. Our estimated cost was $0.75. We are planning to exit if either options rises to $1.50 or more.

Picked on July 23 at $ 70.72
Change since picked: + 0.97
Earnings Date 07/25/06 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 3.7 million

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Phelps Dodge - PD - close: 76.68 change: -0.52 stop: n/a

Shares of PD dipped to $75.00 and its simple 200-dma this morning before bouncing. The company is due to report earnings on Wednesday morning so tomorrow is our last day to try and open positions before the report. We're suggesting an entry range in the $76-78 window. Our estimated cost is at $2.15. We're planning to sell if either option rises to $3.15 or more. The options in our strangle are the August $85 call (DPB-HQ) and the August $70 put (PT-TN).

Picked on July 23 at $ 77.20
Change since picked: - 0.52
Earnings Date 07/26/06 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 7.8 million
 

Dropped Calls

Alcon Inc. - ACL - close: 93.93 chg: +0.68 stop: 96.51

Time has run out. It was our plan to exit on Monday at the closing bell to avoid holding over the company's earnings report. We cannot find any specific news to account for the spike down intraday but shares almost hit our target at $90.50. The low for the session was $90.85. Today's rebound has produced what looks like a short-term bullish reversal candlestick. If you're interested Wall Street's estimates for ACL's earnings were $1.15 a share. FYI: It looks like ACL was trading near $95 in after hours tonight.

Picked on July 13 at $ 95.61
Change since picked: - 1.68
Earnings Date 07/24/06 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 805 thousand
 

Dropped Puts

Jacobs Engineering - JEC - cls: 71.70 chg: +1.80 stop: 74.01

Ouch! Today's rebound was pretty sharp and shares of JEC added 2.5%, which almost erased Friday's sell-off. It was our plan to exit Monday at the closing bell to avoid holding over the company's earnings report tomorrow morning. Analysts estimates are for JEC to report earnings of 75 cents a share.

Picked on July 16 at $ 73.75
Change since picked: - 2.05
Earnings Date 07/25/06 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 583 thousand

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Panera Bread - PNRA - close: 59.52 chg: +1.83 stop: 60.35

We have been stopped out of PNRA at $60.35. Before the opening bell Merrill Lynch upgraded the stock from a "sell" to a "neutral". This prompted some buying and/or short covering. Shares of PNRA gapped open at $59.71 and then spiked to $61.35 before reversing course. This move looks like an over-reaction to the news since PNRA was already looking oversold and due for a bounce.

Picked on July 18 at $ 59.49
Change since picked: + 0.03
Earnings Date 07/25/06 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 494 thousand
 

Dropped Strangles

None
 

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