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Call Updates

Air Methods - AIRM - close: 48.90 chg: -0.20 stop: 51.50

Company Description:
Air Methods Corporation is a leader in emergency aeromedical transportation and medical services. (source: company press release or website)

Why We Like It:
The December bounce in AIRM is struggling. The stock has failed near $51.50 for over a week. We would consider buying puts right now but with the jobs report tomorrow we're going to suggest a trigger instead. Our suggested entry point to buy puts is at $47.95. If triggered our target is the $44.10-44.00 range since the $44 level should be support. More aggressive traders may want to aim for the 200-dma near $41-42. The P&F chart is bearish with a $39 target. Something to be aware of is AIRM's high degree of short interest. The most recent data put short interest at almost 16% of the stock's very small 10.6 million-share float. We normally don't play stocks that have an average daily volume under 250,000 shares. AIRM's volume is under that amount. The combination of low volume and high short interest probably makes this a higher-risk, more aggressive play.

Suggested Options:
We are suggesting the February puts. Our suggested trigger to open positions is $47.95.

BUY PUT FEB 50.00 UDU-NJ open interest= 3 current ask $3.60
BUY PUT FEB 45.00 UDU-NI open interest=28 current ask $1.45

Annotated Chart:

Picked on January xx at $ xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 03/06/08 (unconfirmed)Encana - ECA - close: 71.23 change: +1.62 stop: 67.75

We did not have to wait very long for ECA to hit our trigger. Shares continued to rally and broke through resistance at the $70.00 level. Our suggested trigger to buy calls was at $70.10. Now that the play is open our short-term target is the $74.85-75.00 range. Odds are pretty good that ECA will dip back toward the $70 region again so be patient if you missed today's entry point. We can probably buy a dip tomorrow. FYI: The P&F chart is bullish with a $92 target.

Picked on January 03 at $ 70.10 *triggered
Change since picked: + 0.13
Earnings Date 02/14/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.7 million

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Energen - EGN - close: 65.24 change: +0.26 stop: 63.45

Traders continued to buy the bounce from EGN's 50-dma but the rally ran into trouble near $66.25. The trend is still bullish but readers need to monitor their stops. If you really wanted to tighten your stop you could put it just under $64.00. Our target is the $69.50-70.00 range. The P&F chart is bullish with a $74 target.

Picked on December 18 at $ 65.32
Change since picked: - 0.08
Earnings Date 01/24/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 700 thousand

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Express Scripts - ESRX - cls: 74.53 chg: +1.38 stop: 69.89 *new*

ESRX remains a relative strength leader. The stock rallied more than 1.8% and hit a new all-time high today. Volume came in pretty good, which is a positive sign for the bulls. We are adjusting our stop loss to $69.89. Our target is the $77.50-80.00 range. The P&F chart is very bullish with a $97 target.

Picked on December 23 at $ 71.09
Change since picked: + 3.44
Earnings Date 02/07/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.5 million

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Hologic - HOLX - close: 70.33 chg: +2.82 stop: 65.99

Shares of HOLX rebounded sharply on Thursday. The stock added 4.2% and pushed back above potential resistance at the 10-dma and the $70.00 level. More conservative traders might want to raise their stops toward yesterday's low around $66.87. HOLX has already hit our initial target in the $69.50-70.00 range. Our more aggressive target is the $74.00-75.00 range. FYI: The P&F chart is bullish and points to an $87 target. FYI: HOLX is due to present at an investor conference in San Francisco on January 9th.

Picked on December 18 at $ 66.22
Change since picked: + 4.11
Earnings Date 01/30/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.8 million

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Noble Energy - NBL - close: 80.32 chg: +0.51 stop: 77.45

NBL continues to trade sideways. The lack of upward momentum is a concern. The trend is bullish but some of the technical indicators are starting to look exhausted. The MACD is showing a bearish divergence and nearing a new sell signal. We hesitate to open new positions at this time. More conservative traders may want to tighten their stops. However, keep in mind that broken resistance at $78.00 should be new support. Our target is the $84.50-85.00 range. The P&F chart is bullish with an $86 target.

Picked on December 19 at $ 78.25
Change since picked: + 2.07
Earnings Date 02/26/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.5 million

Average Daily Volume = 149 thousand

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ICU Medical - ICU - close: 35.39 change: -1.05 stop: 37.05

Company Description:
ICU Medical was founded in 1984 by Dr. George Lopez, a practicing internist who imagined that there must be a better way of securing I.V. lines after tragically losing a patient due to an accidental disconnect. Dr. Lopez conceived a product, later known as the Click Lock, which provided a locking mechanism for these I.V. systems. (source: company press release or website)

Why We Like It:
ICUI is another low-volume stock we would normally avoid. However, the pattern looks pretty tempting. Shares have been consolidating sideways for months and the trend has developed a bearish pattern of lower highs. Now the stock is breaking down through support in the $36-35 region. We would be tempted to buy puts now but with the jobs report tomorrow we are listing a trigger to buy puts at $34.90. If triggered our target is the $32.50-32.00 range. The P&F chart is bearish with a $31 target. Please note we are labeling this an aggressive, higher-risk play because of the stock's very low volume and its short interest. The most recent data put short interest at more than 21% of the very small 12.3 million-share float. That raises the risk of a short squeeze should the stock suddenly shoot higher.

Suggested Options:
Our suggested entry point to buy puts is at $34.90. We're suggesting the February puts. Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of choices. We'd like to see some $37.50 of $32.50 strikes but they're not listed.

BUY PUT FEB 35.00 QPD-NG open interest= 66 current ask $1.60

Picked on January xx at $ xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 01/29/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 80 thousand
 

Put Updates

Allegheny Tech. - ATI - cls: 86.06 change: +1.81 stop: 90.05

ATI produced a pretty good bounce today. Not only did shares add 2.5% but volume came in above average on the move. That's a danger sign for the bears and those holding puts. Intraday charts suggest ATI should run into resistance near $87.50. Wait for another failed rally before considering new positions. Our target is the $80.50-80.00 zone.

Picked on December 31 at $ 86.75
Change since picked: - 0.69
Earnings Date 01/24/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.0 million

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Boeing - BA - close: 86.98 change: +0.36 stop: 90.15

No one should be surprised to see a bounce here. Odds are good the bounce isn't over yet. We're not suggesting new positions at this time. This is still a good spot to consider taking some profits off the table. We have two targets. Our first target is the $85.55-85.00 range. Our second target is the $81.50-80.00 zone. The P&F chart is bearish with a $75 target.

Picked on December 04 at $ 91.43 *triggered/gap down
Change since picked: - 4.45
Earnings Date 01/31/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 7.0 million

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Essex Property - ESS - close: 92.00 chg: -3.81 stop: 100.55

REIT-related stocks were weak again today. Shares of ESS lost almost 4% and broke down to new 52-week lows. More conservative traders might be tempted to lower their stop loss toward $98.00. We have two targets. Our first target is the $90.25-90.00 range. Our second target is the $85.50-85.00 zone. We do not want to hold over the early February earnings report. FYI: Our biggest risk is a short squeeze. The most recent data puts short interest at close to 16% of the 22.9 million-share float. That is a relatively high amount of short interest and a small float. This does raise the risk for this play.

Picked on December 30 at $ 95.34
Change since picked: - 3.34
Earnings Date 02/04/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 315 thousand

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Ralph Lauren Polo - RL - cls: 60.18 change: -1.46 stop: 65.05

Retail stocks really under performed the market today. RL produced another failed rally and then slipped under round-number support near $60.00 late this afternoon. While the stock looks poised to move lower we would actually expect a bounce tomorrow. More conservative traders might want to tighten their stop closer to $64.00. We are expecting a bounce the first time RL hits $60 and readers could wait until after this bounce rolls over before considering new positions. The Point & Figure chart produced a quadruple bottom breakdown sell signal and points to a $55 target. Our target is the $58.00-57.00 range although odds are good the stock will see an oversold bounce near $60.00.

Picked on December 19 at $ 63.11
Change since picked: - 2.93
Earnings Date 02/07/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.5 million

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Sears Holding - SHLD - cls: 106.22 chg: +3.22 stop: 107.75

If you have not already exited near $100 or at least taken some profits off the table then you're in trouble. SHLD has now built a base along the $100 level and today's move is a short-term bullish breakout over resistance at $105. If the market rallies on the jobs report tomorrow then we fully expect to see SHLD hit our stop loss at $107.75. SHLD has already hit our initial target in the $100.50-100.00 zone multiple times. We are not suggesting new bearish positions at this time. The P&F chart is bearish with a $78 target. Our aggressive target is the $92.50-90.00 zone.

Picked on December 11 at $110.28
Change since picked: - 4.06
Earnings Date 10/27/07 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 3.3 million

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Shire Plc - SHPGY - close: 66.58 change: +0.20 stop: 70.05

SHPGY had some news today. The FDA gave the company approval on three different dosage levels for its ADHD treatment. The stock saw a midday spike on the news but it eventually faded. Conservative traders could place their stop above last week's high near 69.56. Our initial target is the $65.25-65.00 range and we have decided to add a second, more aggressive target in the $62.00-60.00 zone. The Point & Figure chart is bearish with a $54 target. FYI: Any time we play a biotech or even a drug stock we're dealing with a higher-risk situation. We are at risk that some FDA decision or some clinical trial news could send the stock gapping one direction or the other.

Picked on December 13 at $ 68.07 *triggered/gap down entry
Change since picked: - 1.49
Earnings Date 02/00/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 956 thousand

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Vornado Realty Trust - VNO - cls: 84.57 chg: -3.11 stop: 90.05

VNO, like many REITs today, turned south. The stock lost more than 3.5% and did so on decent volume. Contributing to the move were negative analyst comments. A Lehman analyst lowered their estimates for VNO's 2007 and 2008 full year results. Our initial target is the $80.50-80.00 range. We are considering a second, more aggressive target near $75. Currently the P&F chart is bearish with a $73 target. We would not want to hold over the late February earnings report.

Picked on December 30 at $ 86.30
Change since picked: - 1.73
Earnings Date 02/27/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.3 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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Encana - ECA - close: 71.23 chg: +1.62 stop: n/a

It looks like ECA has finally picked a direction. The stock broke out over resistance near $70.00 today. We have just over two weeks left before January options expire and we need to see ECA move quickly or the time premium will decay to nothing. Please note we're adjusting our exit price to $1.25. We're not suggesting new strangle positions at this time. The options we listed for the strangle were the January $75 calls (ECA-AO) and the January $60 puts (ECA-ML). Our estimated cost is $0.65. We want to sell if either option hits $1.25 or higher. FYI: The P&F chart is bullish with a $92 target.

Picked on December 20 at $ 67.52
Change since picked: + 3.71
Earnings Date 02/14/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.7 million
 

Dropped Calls

Holly Corp. - HOC - close: 48.33 change: -2.38 stop: 49.45

Ouch! Oil refining-related stocks plunged on Thursday. The Energy department's EIA report raised concerns about profit margins for the industry. Shares of HOC lost more than 4.6% and broke down under support near $50.00. We would have been stopped out at $49.45. This looks very bearish and the technical indicators have also turned bearish.

Picked on December 03 at $ 50.58 *bad tick/gap open
Change since picked: - 2.25
Earnings Date 02/12/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 859 thousand

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Syntel Inc. - SYNT - close: 36.06 chg: -1.20 stop: 35.99

Tech stocks continued to be under performers today. Shares of SYNT lost another 3.2% following yesterday's decline. The stock broke down under support near $36.00 and its 200-dma hitting our stop loss at $35.99. The move today was fueled by big volume and suggests that SYNT will fall back toward support near $34.00.

Picked on December 24 at $ 38.75 *triggered
Change since picked: - 2.69
Earnings Date 01/31/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 232 thousand
 

Dropped Puts

Genentech - DNA - close: 67.11 chg: -0.29 stop: 68.65

We are throwing in the towel with DNA and calling it quits. The BTK biotech index is breaking down to new relative lows. Yet shares of DNA continue to trade sideways. Yes, it's true that DNA has a bearish trend of lower highs and the stock may soon break lower. However, we're not willing to hold on. If you don't want to give up yet then consider a tighter stop closer to $68.00. We were aiming for the $62.50-60.00 range. FYI: We will keep an eye on it for a drop below $66.50.

Picked on December 16 at $ 68.43
Change since picked: - 1.32
Earnings Date 01/14/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 4.3 million
 

Dropped Strangles

None
 

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