The stock market hit new highs for 2009 and we're updating several stop losses.


CALL Play Updates

Bucyrus Intl. - BUCY - close: 52.81 change: +1.83 stop: 48.99

A widespread market rally and a decline in the dollar helped BUCY gain 3.5%. The stock is now above short-term resistance near $52.00. We'll plan to take profits at $54.90. loss.

Entry  on  December 09 at $ 50.72 
Change since picked:       + 2.09
Earnings Date            02/18/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        2.8 million  
Listed on  December 01, 2009         


Capella Education - CPLA - close: 74.94 change: +2.49 stop: 72.40 *new*

It was a good day for CPLA. Shares posted a 3.4% gain and are now testing resistance at the $75.00 level. We only have four days left before December options expire. I'm raising our stop loss to $72.40. More conservative traders may want to exit early. I am adjusting our exit target down to $78.50.

Picked on  November 24 at $ 72.55
Change since picked:       + 2.39
Earnings Date            02/11/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        126 thousand 
Listed on  November 24, 2009         


EQUINIX Inc. - EQIX - close: 105.66 change: +4.03 stop: 99.75 *new*

A positive market allowed EQIX to rally to new 2009 highs. The stock closed up almost 4% on the session. I am raising our stop loss to $99.75. Our target is $109.50. The plan was to use small position sizes.

Entry  on  December 09 at $103.02
Change since picked:       + 2.64
Earnings Date            02/10/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        501 thousand 
Listed on  December 09, 2009         


Fedex Corp. - FDX - close: 90.56 change: +2.62 stop: 84.90 *new*

FDX hit a new 2009 high and set a new closing high for the year with today's 2.9% rally. I am raising our stop loss to $84.90 More conservative traders might want to use an even tighter stop. 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:       + 4.81
Earnings Date            12/17/09 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        2.6 million  
Listed on  November 30, 2009         


F5 Networks - FFIV - close: 51.51 change: +1.46 stop: 47.99

Traders are buying the dip near $50.00. This bounce in FFIV looks like a bullish entry point. 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:       - 0.57
Earnings Date            01/20/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        1.2 million  
Listed on  December 09, 2009         


Infosys Tech. - INFY - close: 53.40 change: +0.92 stop: 49.90

INFY gained 1.75% and broke out to new 2009 highs. If you were waiting for a move over resistance at $53.00 you got it today. 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:       + 1.52
Earnings Date            01/12/10 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        1.4 million  
Listed on  December 05, 2009         


Ishares Financial - IYF - close: 51.86 change: +0.42 stop: 49.99

The Dubai bailout news and the Citigroup news to repay the TARP is generally bullish for the financials. I'm surprised the IYF didn't perform better. This ETF gained 0.8%. I remain cautious and hesitate to open new positions at this time. More conservative traders may want to wait for a new rise over $53.00 before launching positions. Our multi-week target is $59.00. I would use small positions.

Entry  on  December 03 at $ 52.60
Change since picked:       - 0.74
Earnings Date            --/--/--
Average Daily Volume =        3.1 million  
Listed on  December 02, 2009         


MSC Industrial Direct - MSM - close: 47.39 change: +0.44 stop: 44.90

MSM rallied to new six-week highs with today's 0.9% gain. We only have a few days left before December options expire. I would use a move over $47.50 as a new entry point but buy January or March calls.

Picked on  November 17 at $ 46.62
Change since picked:       + 0.77
Earnings Date            01/07/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        513 thousand 
Listed on  November 17, 2009         


Norfolk Southern - NSC - close: 53.08 change: +0.86 stop: 49.75

NSC has finally broken through resistance near $53.00 and set new 2009 highs. This looks like a new entry point to open bullish positions. Our first target is now $56.50. Our second and final target is $59.50. 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:       + 1.24
Earnings Date            01/27/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        5.4 million  
Listed on  November 21, 2009         


Precision Castparts - PCP - close: 113.55 change: +1.58 stop: 107.25 *new*

PCP gapped open higher this morning at $112.92 and closed with a 1.4% gain. I am raising our stop loss to $107.25. Our first target to take profits was hit 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:       + 6.20
                            /1st target hit $112.45 (+4.7%)
Earnings Date            01/20/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        817 thousand 
Listed on  November 28, 2009         


UnitedHealth Group - UNH - close: 30.95 change: +0.47 stop: 26.99

UNH managed a 1.5% gain but the stock spent almost the entire session hovering sideways near the $31.00 level as if this was new overhead resistance. I'm still bullish given the breakout over $30.00 and I'd still consider new (aggressive, small in size) call positions here or on a dip back toward $30.00.

Our first target is $34.00. Our longer-term target is $36.00. Our time frame is several weeks. If you buy March calls you might want to think about holding over the late January earnings report.

Entry  on  December 10 at $ 30.31 
Change since picked:       + 0.64
Earnings Date            01/21/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        819 thousand 
Listed on  December 10, 2009         


United Tech. - UTX - close: 69.91 change: +0.51 stop: 67.45

UTX rallied higher but was unable to break resistance at $70.00 today. If the market continues to post gains UTX should eventually breakout. It could happen tomorrow. The Point & Figure chart is bullish with a $95.00 target. I'm suggesting traders use a trigger to buy calls at $70.25. If triggered our first target is $74.75.

Entry  on  December xx at $ xx.xx <-- TRIGGER @ 70.25
Change since picked:       + 0.00
Earnings Date            01/21/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        4.0 million  
Listed on  December 12, 2009         


Valmont Industries - VMI - close: 81.54 change: +0.71 stop: 78.45 *new*

Traders bought the dip in VMI at $79.50. I am suggesting readers use this intraday bounce as a new bullish entry point. I'm raising the stop loss to $78.45. 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 10 at $ 81.00
Change since picked:       + 0.54
Earnings Date            02/10/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        238 thousand 
Listed on  December 05, 2009         


Vertex Pharma - VRTX - close: 40.60 change: +0.70 stop: 38.35

VRTX is back above the $40.00 level. I am suggesting readers use this rebound as a new bullish entry point to buy calls. Our target to exit is at $44.25. My time frame is several weeks.

Entry  on  December 03 at $ 40.25
Change since picked:       + 0.35
Earnings Date            02/09/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        3.2 million  
Listed on  November 23, 2009         


PUT Play Updates

Bucyrus Intl. - BUCY - close: 52.81 change: +1.83 stop: 51.90

It looks like the stock market is finally poised to breakout from its trading range. If BUCY sees any follow through higher tomorrow I'll drop this trigger to buy puts at $48.95.

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         


Freeport McMoran - FCX - close: 78.84 change: +2.03 stop: 80.55

Hmm... It's probably time to step on the brakes here. Stocks were a lot stronger than expected. A drop in the dollar powered some strong gains for the commodity sector. FCX rose 2.6% toward the top of its recent trading range. At this time I would wait and watch for a failed rally under $80.00 before initiating new positions. Remember, we should consider this an aggressive, higher-risk trade because the dollar, commodities, and shares of FCX can be somewhat volatile. The plan was to use very small positions to limit risk. Our first target is $72.50.

Entry  on  December 12 at $ 76.81 
Change since picked:       + 2.03
Earnings Date            01/26/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =       12.6 million  
Listed on  December 12, 2009         


Goldman Sachs - GS - close: 166.10 change: +0.10 stop: 170.25 *new*

Goldman Sachs continues to under perform the market. However, if the S&P 500 finally breaks out higher from its trading range we probably don't want to be long puts on GS. I am lowering our stop loss down to $170.25. More conservative traders may want to just exit early right now or lower their stop toward $168.00. I'm not suggesting new positions at this time. 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:       - 2.75
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: 196.98 change: +2.31 stop: n/a

A widespread market rally helped AAPL recover from its morning lows near $192.50. December options expire in four days. 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:       - 2.93
Earnings Date            01/21/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =       15.1 million  
Listed on  November 30, 2009         


Goldman Sachs - GS - close: 166.10 change: +0.10 stop: n/a

We're running out of time. December options expire in four days. 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:       - 5.57
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: 38.17 change: +0.49 stop: n/a

December options expire in four days. 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:       + 1.09
Earnings Date            --/--/--
Average Daily Volume =         32 million  
Listed on  November 11, 2009         


United Parcel Service - UPS - close: 58.99 change: +0.98 stop: n/a

Finally! After several weeks shares of UPS are breaking out from their trading range. Sadly December options expire in four days.

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:       + 1.00 
Earnings Date            02/02/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        4.7 million  
Listed on  November 21, 2009         


CLOSED BEARISH PLAYS

Sears Holding - SHLD - close: 75.99 change: +1.67 stop: 73.26

SHLD has continued to bounce and the stock has now cleared short-term resistance at $75.00. I am removing it as a bearish candidate. The stock has not hit our trigger at $69.50. More nimble traders may want to use bullish positions to capture a run at resistance near $80.00. Over $80.00 we might look at SHLD as a new bullish candidate.

Chart:

Entry  on  December xx at $ xx.xx <-- TRIGGER @ 69.50 (small pos)
Change since picked:       + 0.00           *NEVER OPENED*
Earnings Date            02/25/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        1.6 million  
Listed on  December 08, 2009