The stock market is starting to crumble on dollar strength, Greek's downgrade, weak manufacturing data in Germany, and an uptick in Dubai debt fears.


CALL Play Updates

Adobe Systems - ADBE - close: 36.08 change: -0.29 stop: 35.79

ADBE dipped to its rising 40-dma this morning but spent most of the day churning sideways along the $36.00 level. There is no change from my prior comments. I am suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $37.25. If triggered our first target is $39.95. Our second target is $42.25 but this might be a little optimistic. We won't have much time. ADBE is due to report earnings on December 15th and we don't want to hold over the announcement.

Entry  on  December xx at $ xx.xx <-- TRIGGER @ 37.25
Change since picked:       + 0.00
Earnings Date            12/15/09 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        4.8 million  
Listed on  December 05, 2009         


Bucyrus Intl. - BUCY - has been moved to the puts section.


Capella Education - CPLA - close: 71.88 change: -0.01 stop: 69.65

CPLA is holding up pretty well in spite of the market's weakness. Shares bounced from their 50-dma again and settled virtually unchanged on the session. If the market starts to accelerate lower I would expect CPLA to breakdown. I am not suggesting new bullish positions at this time. Our target is $79.50.

I do consider this an aggressive, higher-risk trade. Currently the Point & Figure chart is bullish with an $85 target.

Picked on  November 24 at $ 72.55
Change since picked:       - 0.67
Earnings Date            02/11/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        126 thousand 
Listed on  November 24, 2009         


Fedex Corp. - FDX - close: 89.88 change: +2.36 stop: 83.90

Target achieved. As expected FDX rallied this morning on last night's better than expected earnings guidance. The stock hit $90.62 and our first target to take profits was at $89.95. FDX does look a little overbought here so I am not suggesting new bullish positions at this time. Our second and final target is $94.90.

Chart:

Picked on  December 01 at $ 85.75 
Change since picked:       + 1.77
Earnings Date            12/17/09 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        2.6 million  
Listed on  November 30, 2009         


Infosys Tech. - INFY - close: 51.76 change: +0.11 stop: 49.90

INFY rebounded from its 21-dma this morning but spent most of the session oscillating on either side of $51.75. I'm somewhat concerned by the market's recent weakness. Readers may want to wait for a convincing bounce near $50.00 or a new relative high before launching new bullish positions. Our first target to take profits is at $55.75. Our second and final target is $59.50. We will plan to exit ahead of the January 12th earnings report.

Entry  on  December 05 at $ 51.88 /gap down entry point
                           /originally listed at $52.46
Change since picked:       - 0.12
Earnings Date            01/12/10 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        1.4 million  
Listed on  December 05, 2009         


Ishares Financial - IYF - close: 50.99 change: -0.39 stop: 49.99

Banking stocks were some of the worst performers in Europe as investors worried about their exposure to Dubai after Nakheel, a Dubai real estate developer, reported billions in losses today. Here in the U.S. the financials were weak but the spent most of the session in a narrow trading range.

I'm not suggesting new positions at this time. We need to see a clearly defined bounce from the 100-dma or a new move over $52.50 (more cautious traders can wait for a move over $53.00) before I'd consider new positions. Our multi-week target is $59.00. I would use small positions.

Entry  on  December 03 at $ 52.60
Change since picked:       - 1.61
Earnings Date            --/--/--
Average Daily Volume =        3.1 million  
Listed on  December 02, 2009         


MSC Industrial Direct - MSM - close: 46.37 change: -0.33 stop: 44.90

MSM bounced from technical support at its rising 40-dma again. Volume was pretty light today at 171,000 shares. The trend of higher lows is still intact but I'm not suggesting new bullish positions. Our first target is $49.75. Our second target is $52.50.

Picked on  November 17 at $ 46.62
Change since picked:       - 0.25
Earnings Date            01/07/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        513 thousand 
Listed on  November 17, 2009         


Norfolk Southern - NSC - close: 51.30 change: -1.03 stop: 49.75

It was not a good day for the railroads. The DJUSRR index lost 1.7% with a decline toward the bottom of its five-week trading range. This should be support but after a five weeks a breakdown under this level would look very bearish. NSC dipped to $51.00 and should find decent support at the $50.00 mark.

Traders can buy calls on a bounce near $50.00 or a breakout over $53.00. Our first target to take profits is at $54.90. Our second target is $58.50. Our time frame is several weeks. FYI: The Point & Figure chart is bullish with a $65 target.

Picked on  November 21 at $ 51.84 (small positions)/gap higher entry
Change since picked:       - 0.54 
Earnings Date            01/27/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        5.4 million  
Listed on  November 21, 2009         


Precision Castparts - PCP - close: 109.67 change: -1.63 stop: 104.95

PCP suffered some profit taking after hitting new highs yesterday. Broken resistance near $107 should be new support.

Our first target to take profits is at $112.45. Our second target is $118.75. The Point & Figure chart is bullish with a $131 target.

Picked on  December 01 at $107.35
Change since picked:       + 2.32
Earnings Date            01/20/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        817 thousand 
Listed on  November 28, 2009         


Valmont Industries - VMI - close: 78.56 change: +0.81 stop: 77.65

VMI dipped to the $76.00 level and bounced. We're still waiting for a breakout over resistance. I am suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $81.00. If triggered our first target to take profits is at $84.90. Our second target is $88.75. FYI: The most recent data list short interest at 9% of the very small 20.1 million-share float.

Entry  on  December xx at $ xx.xx <-- TRIGGER @ 81.00
Change since picked:       + 0.00
Earnings Date            02/10/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        238 thousand 
Listed on  December 05, 2009         


Vertex Pharma - VRTX - close: 39.82 change: +0.63 stop: 38.35

VRTX slipped to $38.66 this morning and then produced a pretty strong bounce to close with a 1.6% gain. This relative strength is encouraging. If you look close today's session has produced a bullish engulfing candlestick pattern. Aggressive traders might want to consider buying calls on this bounce. I'd rather see a new high over $40.44 first. Our target to exit is at $44.25. My time frame is several weeks.

Entry  on  December 03 at $ 40.25
Change since picked:       - 0.43
Earnings Date            02/09/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        3.2 million  
Listed on  November 23, 2009         


PUT Play Updates

Bucyrus Intl. - BUCY - close: 49.76 change: -1.59 stop: 51.90

Commodity-related stocks continued to suffer thanks to the dollar's rebound. Shares of BUCY appear to have broken down under support and the bottom of its trading range near $50.00. More aggressive traders may want to open bearish put positions right here. We have a trigger to buy puts at $48.95. If triggered I'm suggesting the January puts. My preference is the $50 or $45 strike. Our first target is $45.50 (just above the 50-dma). Our second target is $40.50.

Picked on  December 01 at $ xx.xx <-- TRIGGER @ 48.95, small positions
Change since picked:       + 0.00
Earnings Date            02/18/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        2.8 million  
Listed on  December 01, 2009         


FISERV Inc. - FISV - close: 46.74 change: -0.27 stop: 48.05 *new*

The trend of lower highs is bearish but FISV isn't moving very fast. That's troublesome since our options expire. I am not suggesting new positions at this time and we're lowering the stop loss to $48.05. Currently our bearish target o FISV is $42.25.

Picked on  November 28 at $ 46.29
Change since picked:       + 0.72
Earnings Date            02/02/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        1.4 million  
Listed on  November 28, 2009         


Green Mountain Coffee Roasters - GMCR - cls: 62.82 chg: +2.43 stop: 66.15

It looks like the bidding war over Diedrich Coffee (DDRX) is over and GMCR won. DDRX announced they would accept GMCR's $290 million bid and pay a $8.5 million termination fee to Peet's Coffee for breaking their initial agreement. Shares of GMCR rallied on the news with a 4% gain.

More conservative traders may want to exit their bearish positions since GMCR seems to have found some support near $60.00. I am not suggesting new positions at this time. Our second and final target is $56.00. This is a higher-risk trade considering the risk of a short squeeze.

Picked on  November 19 at $ 64.75
Change since picked:       - 1.93
                                /1st target hit @ 60.25 (-6.9%)
Earnings Date            01/28/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        1.5 million  
Listed on  November 18, 2009         


Goldman Sachs - GS - close: 161.84 change: -2.01 stop: 171.05 *new*

GS sank to new relative lows on Tuesday. I would not be surprised to see an oversold bounce from the $160 level. Our target is $155.50. More aggressive traders could aim for the $150 area or the simple 200-dma.

Please note our new stop loss at $171.05.

Picked on  November 25 at $168.75
Change since picked:       - 6.91
Earnings Date            12/15/09 (unconfirmed, could be in January)
Average Daily Volume =        9.5 million  
Listed on  November 21, 2009         


Strangle & Spread Play 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.)

Apple Inc. - AAPL - close: 189.87 change: +0.92 stop: n/a

The bounce attempt in AAPL didn't get very far. Shares rolled over at $192.35. I am not suggesting new strangle positions at this time.

We have an aggressive December strangle and a less aggressive January strangle. The options in the December strangle were the December $210 calls (AJL-LV) and the December $190 puts (APV-XR). Our estimated cost is $3.83. We want to sell if either option hits $8.00 or more.

The options in the January strangle were January $220 calls (AJL-LV) and the January $180 puts (APV-XR). Our estimated cost is $5.60. We want to sell if either option hits $10.00 or more.

Picked on  November 30 at $199.91
Change since picked:       -10.04
Earnings Date            01/21/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =       15.1 million  
Listed on  November 30, 2009         


Goldman Sachs - GS - close: 161.84 change: -2.01 stop: n/a

GS sank to new relative lows with the intraday bounce rolling over. I am no longer suggesting new strangle positions on the stock.

The options suggested were the December $180 calls (GPY-LP) and the December $160 puts (GPY-XL). Our estimated cost is about $4.61. We want to sell if either option hits $9.00 or higher.

Picked on  November 21 at $171.67 /gap open entry
Change since picked:       - 9.83
Earnings Date            12/15/09 (unconfirmed, could be January)
Average Daily Volume =        9.5 million  
Listed on  November 21, 2009         


Ultra(Long)-S&P500 - SSO - close: 36.68 change: -0.78 stop: n/a

The SSO has fallen into the bottom half of its recent trading range. Odds are against us with less than two weeks to go. I'm not suggesting new strangle positions at this time.

The options suggested for this strangle were the December $40 calls (SUC-LN) and the December $34 puts (SOJ-XH). Our estimated cost was $1.70. We want to sell if either option hits $3.00 or higher.

Picked on  November 11 at $ 37.08
Change since picked:       - 0.40
Earnings Date            --/--/--
Average Daily Volume =         32 million  
Listed on  November 11, 2009         


United Parcel Service - UPS - close: 57.74 change: -0.13 stop: n/a

The action in UPS today is very disappointing. Rival FDX issued a surprise earnings guidance to the upside last night and the best UPS can do is spike to $58.66 this morning. Shares of UPS immediately turned lower and settled back in its trading range. I'm not suggesting new strangle positions at this time.

The options suggested for this trade were the December $60 calls (UPS-LL) and the December $55 puts (UPS-XK). Our estimated cost is $1.05. We want to sell if either option hits $3.00 or more.

Picked on  November 21 at $ 57.99 /gap open entry
Change since picked:       - 0.25 
Earnings Date            02/02/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        4.7 million  
Listed on  November 21, 2009         


CLOSED BULLISH PLAYS

Caterpillar - CAT - close: 56.38 change: -1.18 stop: 58.49

Shares have CAT have broken down under support near $57.00 and its 50-dma. More nimble traders might want to consider bearish trades here. We had been waiting for a breakout at $61.51 to buy calls. I'm removing CAT as a bullish candidate.

Chart:

Picked on  December 01 at $ xx.xx <-- TRIGGER @ 61.51
Change since picked:       + 0.00            *never opened*
Earnings Date            01/26/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        7.8 million  
Listed on  December 01, 2009         


CLOSED BEARISH PLAYS

Research In Motion - RIMM - close: 61.16 change: +0.88 stop: 62.05

Last night we adjusted our stop loss down to $62.05. What was the high today? You guessed it. It was $62.05. The stock's relative strength on a down day is troublesome so it's probably a good sign that we're out.

Chart:

Picked on  November 16 at $ 61.8061
Change since picked:       - 0.25 *stopped out @ 62.05 (+0.4%)
Earnings Date            12/17/09 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =       18.9 million  
Listed on  November 12, 2009