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Call Updates

Apple Inc. - AAPL - close: 140.25 chg: -4.81 stop: 124.85

It was a gloomy day for tech stocks. The worse than expected Oracle news (ORCL) and the disappointing reports on Google's (GOOG) pay-per-click business sent the NASDAQ into a tailspin. Shares of AAPL plunged 3.3% in spite of one analyst firm raising their price target on the stock from $140 to $160 this morning. Yesterday's big up day followed by today's big down day is an ominous sign and suggests a potential short-term bearish reversal. We are not suggesting new call positions at this time. Our target is the $148.00-150.00 zone. More aggressive traders could aim higher, maybe $160ish. The Point & Figure chart is bullish with a $166 target.

Picked on March 23 at $133.27
Change since picked: + 6.98
Earnings Date 04/23/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 48.5 million

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DIAMONDS - DIA - close: 123.15 change: -0.77 stop: 120.75

Financials continue to lead the market lower and the DIA fell more than 0.6%. The recent bullish breakout over the DJIA's trendline of lower highs is in serious jeopardy. More conservative traders might be tempted to raise their stops toward the $122 region. We are not suggesting new bullish positions at this time. We remain skeptical of whether or not the market can continue to rally past the end of the quarter. Our target is the $128.00-130.00 zone.

Picked on March 23 at $123.11
Change since picked: + 0.04
Earnings Date 00/00/00
Average Daily Volume = 19.1 million

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Essex Prop. Trust - ESS - cls: 112.90 chg: +1.85 stop: 109.90

Traders did buy the dip in ESS near its rising 10-dma but the rebound ran out of steam near the $115 zone as the broader market slipped lower. This is a negative for ESS and shares look set to retest the $111-110 zone again. Wait for signs of a bounce again before considering new bullish positions. Our target is the $124.50-125.00 range. Traders should expect some resistance near $120 but it will probably be temporary. The Point & Figure chart is bullish with a triple-top breakout buy signal and a $132 target. FYI: Aggressive traders could also try buying calls on another dip near $111-110.

Picked on March 24 at $115.50 *triggered
Change since picked: - 2.60
Earnings Date 05/05/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 408 thousand

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FPL Group - FPL - close: 63.27 chg: +0.58 stop: 59.49

There was no doubt today. FPL traded above our suggested entry point to buy calls at $63.55 multiple times. Thursday's session was actually a little rocky with multiple dips and rallies before finally settling with a 0.9% gain - enough to out perform the market. The company reaffirmed its prior earnings guidance for the year. Today's move has FPL flirting with a bullish breakout over technical resistance at its 50-dma and 200-dma. Unfortunately the dip lower at the closing bell makes us cautious. The play is open but we'd rather see another bounce before jumping in to new positions. If you prefer to buy on the dip then look for FPL to correct toward $62.50 as your entry point, which would be near the 10-dma. This is not the most attractive risk/reward set up with a wide stop loss under Friday's low but if FPL can close above our entry point we'll tighten the stop.

Picked on March 27 at $ 63.55 *triggered
Change since picked: - 0.28
Earnings Date 04/30/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.6 million

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Fluor - FLR - close: 138.39 chg: -3.93 stop: 134.45

Trading took a turn for the worse in FLR today. The stock has painted a bearish engulfing candlestick pattern under resistance. This is short-term negative and nimble traders may actually want to consider buying puts right now with a stop above today's high. You could target a potential drop toward $130ish. We're actually more bullish on FLR but it needs to confirm a breakout over resistance. We're suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $146.50. The biggest challenge is controlling our risk. The stock can see huge intraday swings, which makes this a more aggressive trade. We're going to try and play it with a stop at $134.45. That might be too tight. We're setting two targets. Our first target is the $159.00-160.00 zone. Our second target is the $168.00-170.00 zone. We do not want to hold over earnings in early May.

Picked on March xx at $ xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 05/07/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.3 million

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Reynolds American - RAI - close: 61.05 chg: +0.20 stop: 59.65

In spite of its defensive nature shares of RAI did not see much strength today. The stock rallied to $62 and then reversed to give back most of its intraday gains. This is a short-term negative and plays into the bearish pattern of lower highs. Look for another dip or a bounce near $60.00 as a potential entry point to buy calls. There is a lot of congestion in the $64 region but our target is the $65.50-66.00 zone. We do not want to hold over the late April earnings. FYI: The P&F chart is bearish and points lower.

Picked on March 25 at $ 61.32
Change since picked: - 0.27
Earnings Date 04/24/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.6 million

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Intuitive Surgical - ISRG - cls: 321.86 chg: - 2.11 stop: 278.00

ISRG's ability to ignore most of the market weakness today is impressive. However we wouldn't expect ISRG to hold up forever. If the market continues lower we expect the stock to eventually follow. We remain bullish here but we're not suggesting new positions. You might want to consider taking some profits off the table now. We are not suggesting new positions at this time. Our target is the $339.00-340.00 zone. More aggressive traders may want to aim higher. The bullish target on the P&F chart just jumped from $360 to $456 on Monday.

Picked on March 23 at $300.69
Change since picked: +21.17
Earnings Date 04/17/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.1 million
 

Put Updates

Ambac Fincl. - ABK - cls: 6.05 change: -0.33 stop: n/a

ABK followed the financials lower today. The stock lost another 5% and did so on above average volume. The company was supposed to present at an analyst conference today and it looks like there wasn't any earth-shaking news unveiled at the conference. We are not suggesting new bearish positions in ABK. This remains a very speculative play. We will definitely hold over the April earnings if we get the chance. Previously we had been suggesting the May out-of-the money puts ($5.00 and $2.50 strikes).

The bounce from $5.00 is struggling.
Picked on January 27 at $ 11.54
Change since picked: - 5.49
Earnings Date 04/24/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 10.9 million

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Cytec Ind. - CYT - close: 54.15 chg: +0.13 stop: 56.15

We don't see any changes from our previous comments on CYT. The stock is consolidating under resistance near $55 and its 50-dma. More conservative traders may want to tighten their stops. We are not suggesting new bearish positions at this time. The $50.00 level looks like nearest support so we are targeting a drop into the $50.25-50.00 zone. More aggressive traders might want to consider aiming lower.

Picked on March 09 at $ 54.72
Change since picked: - 0.57
Earnings Date 04/17/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 601 million

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MBIA Inc. - MBI - close: 12.50 change: -0.74 stop: n/a

MBI also suffered during today's financial sector weakness. The stock lost 5.5% although it's worth noting that volume was very low on the session. The stock is trading back under the 50-dma for what it's worth. We're not suggesting new bearish positions at this time. We had been suggesting the out-of-the-money May puts (7.50, 5.00 and 2.50 strikes). We will definitely hold over the April earnings if we get the chance.

Picked on January 27 at $ 14.20
Change since picked: - 1.70
Earnings Date 04/24/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 15.2 million
 

Strangle Updates

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Dropped Calls

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Dropped Puts

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Dropped Strangles

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