Right now would be a great time for the Christmas rally to show up. Otherwise we're going to die of boredom before the year ends.


CALL Play Updates

Adobe Systems - ADBE - close: 35.80 change: -0.05 stop: 35.79

Sadly ADBE is still under performing. The stock is just drifting sideways. The larger trend is still up so I'm willing to be patient for a little longer. 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 - close: 50.30 change: -0.42 stop: 48.99

The dollar bounced midday but closed virtually unchanged on the session. Commodities were generally lower and that pushed BUCY lower. We knew last night that buying calls on BUCY was going to be a little aggressive. The plan was to use small positions and a tight stop loss. We'll plan to take profits at $54.90. I'm keeping the trigger to buy puts at $48.95 active in case BUCY rolls over.

Entry  on  December 09 at $ 50.72 
Change since picked:       - 0.42
Earnings Date            02/18/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        2.8 million  
Listed on  December 01, 2009         


Capella Education - CPLA - close: 71.88 change: -1.17 stop: 69.65

CPLA, which looked bullish yesterday, has revered again. Traders bought the dip near $70.00 like they have been but the stock is stuck in a $70.00-73.50 trading range. After today's session I'm not suggesting new 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         


EQUINIX Inc. - EQIX - close: 101.68 change: -1.34 stop: 97.45

EQIX also ran into some profit taking. Technically the stock has produced small bearish engulfing candlestick (reversal) pattern. Broken resistance near $100.00 should be the first line of support. If that breaks then the $98.00-97.50 zone should be support. Look for a dip or a bounce near $100 as our next entry point. Our target is $109.50. The plan was to use small position sizes.

Entry  on  December 09 at $103.02
Change since picked:       - 1.34
Earnings Date            02/10/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        501 thousand 
Listed on  December 09, 2009         


Fedex Corp. - FDX - close: 88.04 change: -0.85 stop: 83.90

The transportation index managed a gain thanks to strength in airlines and railroads but FDX under performed with another day of profit taking. Look for support in the $86-85 zone. More conservative traders may want to raise their stops closer to $85.00. The stock has already hit our first target near $90.00. We're currently aiming for $94.90.

Picked on  December 01 at $ 85.75 
Change since picked:       + 2.29
Earnings Date            12/17/09 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        2.6 million  
Listed on  November 30, 2009         


F5 Networks - FFIV - close: 52.56 change: +0.48 stop: 47.99

FFIV hit another new 52-week high with a 0.9% gain on Thursday. If you are looking for an alternative entry point you could wait for a dip near $50.00. Our stop loss is a little wide so keep your position size small. Our first target to take profits is at $54.90. Our second target is $57.45.

Entry  on  December 09 at $ 52.08
Change since picked:       + 0.48
Earnings Date            01/20/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        1.2 million  
Listed on  December 09, 2009         


Infosys Tech. - INFY - close: 52.61 change: +0.12 stop: 49.90

INFY spiked lower this morning but traders bought the dip at $51.83 near its rising 21-dma. INFY spent most of the session drifting sideways but it looks poised to breakout higher thanks to the coiling (narrowing) consolidation under $53.00. I'd consider new positions now but readers might want to wait for a move over $53.00 before launching 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:       + 0.73
Earnings Date            01/12/10 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        1.4 million  
Listed on  December 05, 2009         


Ishares Financial - IYF - close: 51.07 change: -0.05 stop: 49.99

Banking stocks were some of the best performers in Europe on Thursday but that strength didn't translate into the U.S. banking sector. Financials were a drag on the U.S. market although losses in the IYF were pretty mild. I remain very cautious here.

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:       - 1.53
Earnings Date            --/--/--
Average Daily Volume =        3.1 million  
Listed on  December 02, 2009         


MSC Industrial Direct - MSM - close: 46.42 change: +0.14 stop: 44.90

We are running out of time with December options set to expire in just over a week. If MSM doesn't move soon we're out of luck. Traders may want to shift their exit strategy to jump out if we can recoup half or more of our initial option price. 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:       - 0.20
Earnings Date            01/07/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        513 thousand 
Listed on  November 17, 2009         


Norfolk Southern - NSC - close: 52.24 change: +0.97 stop: 49.75

Railroads were some of the best performers today. The DJUSRR index was up 1.4%. Shares of NSC gained 1.89% but remains under resistance near $53.00. More conservative traders can wait for a breakout over $53.00 to initiate positions. 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:       + 0.40
Earnings Date            01/27/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        5.4 million  
Listed on  November 21, 2009         


Precision Castparts - PCP - close: 109.70 change: +0.01 stop: 104.95

Wow! That's two sessions in a row that PCP has closed with a move of less than three cents. The stock continues to hover around the $110 level. Traders can choose to buy a breakout to new highs or look for another bounce near $108-107.

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:       + 2.35
Earnings Date            01/20/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        817 thousand 
Listed on  November 28, 2009         


Valmont Industries - VMI - close: 80.17 change: -0.27 stop: 77.65

Uh-oh! VMI spike higher and hit $81.98 but the stock failed to hold these gains and closed back near $80.00. This move looks like a bearish reversal pattern. What makes this even worse is that VMI hit our trigger to buy calls at $81.00 and then reversed. Our trade is open but I'm not suggesting new bullish positions at this time. Look for a new move over $81.00. 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.

Chart:

Entry  on  December 10 at $ 81.00
Change since picked:       - 0.93
Earnings Date            02/10/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        238 thousand 
Listed on  December 05, 2009         


Vertex Pharma - VRTX - close: 40.29 change: +0.11 stop: 38.35

VRTX is bouncing back toward the top of its recent trading range. I'm still bullish with the stock over $40.00 but readers might want to wait for a little more strength and open call positions on a move over today's high (40.62). Our target to exit is at $44.25. My time frame is several weeks.

Entry  on  December 03 at $ 40.25
Change since picked:       + 0.04
Earnings Date            02/09/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        3.2 million  
Listed on  November 23, 2009         


PUT Play Updates

Bucyrus Intl. - BUCY - close: 50.30 change: -0.42 stop: 51.90

The bounce in BUCY didn't make it very far. If the dollar rallies higher we could get triggered soon. The plan is to buy puts if BUCY hits $48.95. Use small positions. 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: 46.69 change: +0.02 stop: 48.05

We're still not getting anywhere with FISV. Trading sideways is not good news if you're holding options. I'm tempted to close FISV early if we don't see some momentum soon. I am not suggesting new positions at this time. Currently our bearish target o FISV is $42.25.

Picked on  November 28 at $ 46.29
Change since picked:       + 0.67
Earnings Date            02/02/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        1.4 million  
Listed on  November 28, 2009         


Green Mountain Coffee Roasters - GMCR - cls: 63.47 chg: +1.75 stop: 64.51 *new*

GMCR out performed the market with a 2.8% gain thanks to some positive analyst comments this morning. The rebound stalled at short-term resistance near $64.00 again. I am lowering our stop loss down to $64.51. 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:       - 1.28
                                /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: 166.73 change: +0.29 stop: 171.05

GS made headlines this morning when the company announced it would pay year-end bonuses not in cash but in stock employees couldn't sell for five years. There wasn't much reaction to the news in shares of GS. The oversold bounce may not be over yet. I'm not suggesting new positions at this time but a new failed rally at $170 would work as a new entry point. Our target is $155.50. More aggressive traders could aim for the $150 area or the simple 200-dma.

Picked on  November 25 at $168.75
Change since picked:       - 2.02
Earnings Date            12/15/09 (unconfirmed, could be in January)
Average Daily Volume =        9.5 million  
Listed on  November 21, 2009         


Sears Holding - SHLD - close: 73.35 change: +2.03 stop: 73.26

Retailers were some of the best performers on Thursday with the RLX retail index up 1.5%. The relative strength in SHLD could be short covering but chart readers will note that SHLD has not broken a short-term bearish trend of lower highs. If the stock can close over $75.00 or $76.00 we may want to switch to buying calls instead of puts. We'll keep SHLD on the put list for now. I am suggesting traders buy puts if SHLD hits $69.50. Use small positions at least 1/2 your normal trade size. If triggered our first target is $65.25. Our second target is $60.50.

Entry  on  December xx at $ xx.xx <-- TRIGGER @ 69.50 (small pos)
Change since picked:       + 0.00
Earnings Date            02/25/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        1.6 million  
Listed on  December 08, 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: 196.43 change: -1.37 stop: n/a

Hmm...It was an interesting day for AAPL. The oversold bounce stalled at the $200 mark and shares closed in negative territory. This almost looks like an entry point to buy puts. Nimble traders could have launch new strangles on the move back into the $199-201 zone.

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:       - 3.48
Earnings Date            01/21/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =       15.1 million  
Listed on  November 30, 2009         


Goldman Sachs - GS - close: 166.73 change: +0.29 stop: n/a

It was a quiet day for GS with no follow through on yesterday's bounce. 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:       - 4.94
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: 37.33 change: +0.42 stop: n/a

Our strangle on the SSO is not in good shape. Instead of looking for a profit we may want to start planning an early exit on any sort of bounce in the option price just to recoup some capital. 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:       + 0.25
Earnings Date            --/--/--
Average Daily Volume =         32 million  
Listed on  November 11, 2009         


United Parcel Service - UPS - close: 57.63 change: -0.13 stop: n/a

There are no surprises here. UPS is still stuck in its trading range.

December Strangle
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 $1.95 or more.

January Strangle
The options suggested for the January strangle were the January $60.00 calls (UPS-AL) and the January $55.00 puts (UPS-MK). Our estimated cost was $1.35. I would plan to sell if either option hit $3.50 or more.

Picked on  November 21 at $ 57.99 /gap open entry
Change since picked:       - 0.36 
Earnings Date            02/02/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        4.7 million  
Listed on  November 21, 2009