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Call Updates

Adobe Systems - ADBE - close: 45.62 chg: -0.27 stop: 41.50

The rally is starting to struggle a tiny bit in ADBE. However, overall the stock held up very well and maintained its previous gains. If ADBE does see a dip watch the $44 level as potential short-term support followed by the $42.00 zone. We are not suggesting new bullish positions at this time and more conservative traders may want to take some money off the table. Our target is the $47.50-50.00 zone. The Point & Figure chart is positive with a $71 target.

Picked on August 05 at $ 43.34
Change since picked: + 2.28
Earnings Date 09/16/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 6.5 million

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Illumina - ILMN - cls: 90.37 chg: +1.53 stop: 86.45

ILMN displayed some relative strength today with a 1.5% gain and a close above the $90.00 level. Yet the stock is still struggling with its 10-dma directly overhead. The intraday high was $90.88. We're still waiting for ILMN to hit our suggested trigger to buy calls at $91.55. If triggered we have two targets. Our first target is $95.25. Our second target is $99.50. FYI: ILMN has a 2-for-1 stock split scheduled for September 23rd. Traders might also want to note that ILMN's short interest is about 19% of the 50 million-share float. That's high enough to spark some short squeezes.

Picked on August xx at $ xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 07/27/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.2 million

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Research In Motion - RIMM - cls: 128.29 chg: -3.13 stop: 122.50

RIMM experienced another day of profit taking. Shares lost about 2.3%, which is somewhat surprising. Given the news headlines today that Apple (AAPL) might be having some connection issues with some of its new 3G iPhones one could think that should be good news for RIMM who sells the rival Blackberry phone. Look for a dip or a bounce near $125 or its 50-dma as a new entry point to buy calls in RIMM. RIMM has already exceeded our early target at $129. Our secondary target is $137.00.

Picked on July 31 at $120.50 /1st target exceeded
Change since picked: + 7.79
Earnings Date 09/25/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 18.6 million

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CBOE Volatility Index - VIX - close: 21.17 chg: +1.05 stop: n/a

Market weakness today fueled a 5% bounce in the VIX but the four-week trend is still lower. Remember, this is a very speculative bet that the market will see another sharp sell-off before October option expiration. We do not see any changes from our weekend comments. At this point I would look for two things. Wait to buy calls on the VIX until we see the S&P 500 back under the 1260 level. Or wait for a very clear, can't be denied, sort of failed rally/bearish reversal pattern in the major indices. We had suggested the October calls. Our exit target is 29.75 on the VIX.

Picked on August 03 at $ 22.57
Change since picked: - 1.40
Earnings Date 00/00/00
Average Daily Volume = x million
 

Put Updates

Bank of Amer. - BAC - cls: 31.13 change: -2.25 stop: 34.15

Another round of worries swept across the financial sector and the BKX and BIX banking indices fell 6.4% and 5.8% respectively. Shares of BAC lost more than 6% and closed back under its 10-dma. This looks like a new entry point for bearish positions although more conservative traders may want to wait for a new relative low under $30.50 before initiating positions. Technical traders will note that the daily chart's MACD is on the verge of a new sell signal. We have two targets. Our first target is $28.00. Our second target is $25.50.

Picked on August 07 at $ 31.52
Change since picked: - 0.39
Earnings Date 10/16/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 90.4 million

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Focus Media - FMCN - cls: 23.91 chg: +0.45 stop: 28.75

FMCN delivered an oversold bounce today. If the bounce continues look for a failed rally under $26.00 as a new entry point for puts. More conservative traders will want to consider tightening their stop losses. We should expect to see some support around $22.65-22.50 but our target is the $20.50-20.00 zone. This is going to be a short-term play. We do not want to hold over the August 17th earnings report. We'll plan to exit by Friday, August 15th at the closing bell if FMCN hasn't hit our target yet.

Picked on August 10 at $ 25.00
Change since picked: - 1.09
Earnings Date 08/17/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 3.9 million

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Freddie Mac - FRE - close: 5.37 change: -0.23 stop: n/a

FRE lost another 4% and closed under $5.50 for the first time in weeks. We don't see any changes from our prior comments. We are not suggesting new put positions at this time but if you think FRE is going to fall toward $2.50 or lower then you may want to consider a speculative position. We still consider this a very high-risk play. The stock has been extremely volatile and we're not using a stop loss. More conservative traders may want to take some money off the table now. We consider this a lottery-ticket style of play. The put option is our ticket. If we win, we should win big. If we lose, we lose it all. Our short-term target would be a move back to $5.00. More aggressive traders may want to aim lower.

Picked on July 20 at $ 9.18
Change since picked: - 3.81
Earnings Date 08/06/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 45.5 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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Apple Inc. - AAPL - close: 176.73 chg: +3.17 stop: n/a

Positive comments about iPhone demand from Lehman Brothers helped lift shares of AAPL to $179.29 intraday. The stock is now up five out of the last six sessions with a $23 bounce since its August 4th low. The August $180 calls spiked to $2.75 intraday. We're not suggesting new strangle positions on AAPL and if the stock doesn't get above $180 soon our chance to recoup some capital is going to vanish. Due to our dwindling time frame (3 days) we have adjusted our exit target to $4.00 in an attempt to recoup some of our capital. The options we suggested were the August $180 calls (APV-HP) and the August $150 puts (APV-TJ). Our estimated cost is $8.90.

Picked on July 20 at $165.15
Change since picked: +11.58
Earnings Date 07/21/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 31.7 million

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Popular Inc. - BPOP - close: 7.65 change: -0.40 stop: n/a

Sector-wide weakness in the financials undercut the recent strength in BPOP. The stock lost more than 4% after spiking to $8.20 intraday. We only have three days left before August options expire. We are adjusting our suggested exit to $0.50 in an attempt to recoup some of our capital. The August $7.50 calls are currently trading around $0.35. More conservative traders may want to exit now. We are not suggesting new strangle plays on BPOP. The options we listed were the August $7.50 calls (BQW-HU) and the August $5.00 puts (BQW-TA). Our estimated cost was $0.65.

Picked on July 16 at $ 5.82
Change since picked: + 1.83
Earnings Date 07/18/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 3.4 million

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DIAMONDS - DIA - close: 116.57 chg: -1.23 stop: n/a

We do not see any changes from our previous comments on the DIA. The August $115 calls are currently trading around $2.00. We will probably close this play tomorrow at the closing bell no matter what direction the DIA goes. We recently lowered our exit target to $4.00-4.35 in an attempt to recoup our capital. We're not suggesting new strangle positions at this time. The options we suggested were the August $115 calls (DIA-HK) and the August $109 puts (DIA-TE). Our estimated cost is $4.35.

Picked on July 07 at $112.21
Change since picked: + 4.36
Earnings Date 00/00/00
Average Daily Volume = 15.5 million

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Corning Inc. - GLW - close: 21.44 chg: -0.14 stop: n/a

The recent bounce in GLW is struggling as the stock tags the 40-dma. We don't see any changes from our previous comments. Our new target to exit is $0.40 in an attempt to recoup some capital. We are not suggesting new strangle positions. The options we suggested were the August $22.50 calls (GLW-HX) and the August $17.50 puts (GLW-TW). Our estimated cost is $0.75.

Picked on July 10 at $ 20.16
Change since picked: + 1.42
Earnings Date 07/30/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 15.9 million

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Google Inc. - GOOG - close: 502.61 chg: + 1.77 stop: n/a

GOOG isn't moving much and that's bad news for our strangle play. We don't see any changes from our weekend comments. We are lowering our exit target to $10 in an attempt to recoup some of our capital. We're not suggesting new strangle positions in GOOG at this time. The options we listed were the August $590 calls (GOO-HR) and the August $480 puts (GOP-TI). Our estimated cost was $19.10.

Picked on July 16 at $535.60
Change since picked: -32.99
Earnings Date 07/17/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 4.5 million

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Internet Holders - HHH - cls: 52.66 change: -0.70 stop: n/a

After yesterday's big pop in the HHH the ETF endured some profit taking today. We don't see any changes from our weekend comments. We are not suggesting new positions at this time. The options we suggested were the August $55 calls (HHH-HK) and the August $45 puts (HHH-TI). Our estimated cost is $1.65. Note: We have adjusted our exit target to $0.75-0.80.

Picked on July 03 at $ 50.50
Change since picked: + 2.16
Earnings Date 00/00/00
Average Daily Volume = 132 thousand

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Lehman Brothers - LEH - close: 16.21 chg: -2.23 stop: n/a

Shares of LEH got crushed today as another wave of fears washed over the financial sector. The stock lost more than 12% and broke its short-term trend of higher lows. We don't see any changes from our weekend comments. We have six weeks left before September options expire and need to see LEH significantly above $24.00 or under $10.00. We're not suggesting new positions at this time. The options we suggested were the September $24.00 calls (LYH-IR) and the September $10.00 puts (LYH-UB). Our estimated cost is $2.15. We want to sell if either option hits $3.50 or higher.

Picked on July 27 at $ 17.05
Change since picked: - 0.84
Earnings Date 09/18/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 63 million

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Legg Mason - LM - close: 41.03 chg: -3.75 stop: n/a

Ouch! LM got clocked for an 8.3% drop on Tuesday. We're almost out of time as August options expire in three days. We don't see any changes from our weekend comments. We recently adjusted our exit price to $2.00 in an attempt to recoup some capital. We are not suggesting new strangles at this time. The options we listed were the August $45 calls (LM-HW) and the August $35 puts (LM-TG). Our estimated cost was $3.15.

Picked on July 23 at $ 40.20
Change since picked: + 0.83
Earnings Date 07/25/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 3.1 million

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MarketVectors Agribusiness- MOO - close: 50.00 chg: +0.85 stop: n/a

Many of the fertilizer stocks in the agribusiness industry bounced today. The MOO only managed a 1.7% gain. We recently adjusted our exit target to $2.00. We're not suggesting new positions at this time. The options we suggested were the August $62 calls (MYV-HJ) and the August $50 puts (MOO-TX). Our estimated cost is $2.10.

Picked on July 03 at $ 57.25
Change since picked: - 7.25
Earnings Date 00/00/00
Average Daily Volume = 745 thousand

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Netflix - NFLX - close: 30.81 change: -1.39 stop: n/a

Yesterday's big gain in NFLX gave us hope that this play might actually turn profitable. Today's bearish reversal and 4% decline crushed those hopes. We have three days left before August options expire. Over the weekend we adjusted our exit target to $1.00. Today we are moving that exit target to $0.60. We're not suggesting new strangles at this time. The options we suggested were the August $32.50 calls (QNQ-HT) and the August $22.50 puts (QNQ-TX). Our estimated cost is $1.20.

Picked on July 23 at $ 27.98
Change since picked: + 2.83
Earnings Date 07/25/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.3 million

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PowerShares QQQ - QQQQ - cls: 47.80 chg: +0.05 stop: n/a

The Qs failed to make any progress today. We don't see any changes from our previous comments. We recently adjusted our exit price to $1.50-1.80. More conservative traders may want to exit early right now. We are not suggesting new strangles. The options we suggested were the August $47 calls (QQQ-HU) and the August $43 puts (QQQ-TQ). Our estimated cost is $1.80.

Picked on July 07 at $ 44.90
Change since picked: + 2.90
Earnings Date 00/00/00
Average Daily Volume = 148 million

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UBS Ag - UBS - close: 20.30 change: -1.39 stop: n/a

Today's sharp reversal in UBS may be the final nail in the coffin for this strangle play. The stock has pulled back to the $20 zone and it wouldn't surprise me to see UBS hover around the $20.00 strike price until after option expiration. We have adjusted our exit targets in an attempt to recoup our cost.

UBS Strangle #1) This uses the August $22.50 calls (UBS-HX) and $17.50 puts (UBS-TW). Our estimated cost was $1.90. Our new exit target is $0.95.

UBS Strangle #2) This uses the August $25.00 calls (UBS-HE) and $15.00 puts (UBS-TC). Our estimated cost was $0.90. Our new exit target is $0.40.

Picked on July 13 at $19.49
Change since picked: + 0.81
Earnings Date 08/12/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume: 7.3 million

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Valero Energy - VLO - close: 33.78 chg: -1.08 stop: n/a

Oil refiner VLO can't keep any upward momentum even though crude oil keeps slipping lower. With only three days left our strangle appears doomed. We have adjusted our suggested exit price to $0.80. We are not suggesting new strangle positions. The options we suggested were the August $37.50 calls (VLO-HU) and the August $27.50 puts (VLO-TS). Our estimated cost is $1.38.

Picked on July 27 at $ 31.88
Change since picked: + 1.90
Earnings Date 07/29/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 12.7 million

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Washington Mutual - WM - close: 4.30 chg: -0.44 stop: n/a

Banking stocks dove lower as investors reacted to new fears regarding write downs and the ongoing credit crisis. Shares of WM lost another 9%. The August $4.00 puts are trading around 10 cents. We need to see WM crack the $4.00 level very soon! August options expire soon so we've adjusted our suggested exit price to $0.40 in an attempt to recoup some capital. We are not suggesting new positions at this time. The options we suggested were the August $8.00 calls (WM-HV) and the August $4.00 puts (WM-TH). Our estimated cost is $0.72.

Picked on July 20 at $ 5.92
Change since picked: - 1.62
Earnings Date 07/22/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 57 million
 

Dropped Calls

Intl. Bus. Mach. - IBM - cls: 125.22 chg: -1.38 stop: 127.45

IBM is under performing and shares dipped intraday under what should have been support near $125 and its 50-dma. We were suggesting readers buy calls on a new relative high at $131.05. That hasn't happened yet and may not happen for a while. We're dropping IBM as a bullish candidate.

Picked on August xx at $ xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 10/16/08 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 8.2 million
 

Dropped Puts

None
 

Dropped Strangles

FosterWheeler - FWLT - close: 46.30 chg: -3.58 stop: n/a

FWLT continues to plummet! The stock lost another 7% today on strong volume. The stock closed at new four-month lows. Yesterday we lowered our exit target to breakeven at $2.60. Today's drop in FWLT pushed the August $50 puts to an intraday high of $4.70. If you were able to exit above $4.00 congratulations! The play is closed for us. The options we suggested were the August $70 calls (UFB-HN) and the August $50 puts (UFB-TJ). Our estimated cost was $2.60.

Picked on July 15 at $ 61.24 /exited strangle at breakeven
Change since picked: -14.94
Earnings Date 08/06/08 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.5 million
 

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