We had one bullish play hit our trigger to buy calls. We're also trimming a couple of stocks from the list.


CALL Play Updates

Bucyrus Intl. - BUCY - close: 53.84 change: +1.03 stop: 49.85 *new*

BUCY continues to bounce. The stock hit $54.54 at its high today. Traders may want to start taking profits early right here. I am raising our stop loss to $49.85. We'll plan to take profits at $54.90.

FYI: Tomorrow could see some volatility. Rival JOYG reports earnings tomorrow morning and their results could easily influence trading in BUCY. loss.

Entry  on  December 09 at $ 50.72 
Change since picked:       + 3.12
Earnings Date            02/18/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        2.8 million  
Listed on  December 01, 2009         


Capella Education - CPLA - close: 76.79 change: +1.85 stop: 72.40

It was a very good day for CPLA. The stock rallied through resistance at the $75.00 level and closed at new 2009 highs. Both our November 24th entry and November 30th entry suggested the December $75 calls, which closed at near $2.30 today. I strongly suggest readers start taking profits now! Officially our target to exit is $78.50. We only have three days left for December options and a close under $75.00 means our options expire worthless. (The option value on Nov. 30th was $0.75)

Picked on  November 24 at $ 72.55
Change since picked:       + 4.24
Earnings Date            02/11/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        126 thousand 
Listed on  November 24, 2009         


EQUINIX Inc. - EQIX - close: 106.01 change: +0.35 stop: 99.75

EQIX hit new highs at $107.15 but eventually closed nearly unchanged on the session thanks to the market's afternoon slide. Our target is $109.50. The plan was to use small position sizes.

Entry  on  December 09 at $103.02
Change since picked:       + 2.99
Earnings Date            02/10/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        501 thousand 
Listed on  December 09, 2009         


Fedex Corp. - FDX - close: 91.36 change: +0.80 stop: 86.75 *new*

FDX closed at new highs again. 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. However, we will probably exit tomorrow or Thursday. Our original trade suggested December $85 calls, which expire after Friday. I am raising our stop loss to $86.75.

Picked on  December 01 at $ 85.75 
Change since picked:       + 5.61
Earnings Date            12/17/09 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        2.6 million  
Listed on  November 30, 2009         


F5 Networks - FFIV - close: 51.02 change: -0.49 stop: 47.99

There was no follow through on FFIV's bounce from Monday. It looks like we might get another chance to buy calls on a dip near $50.00 soon. 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:       - 1.06
Earnings Date            01/20/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        1.2 million  
Listed on  December 09, 2009         


Infosys Tech. - INFY - close: 53.31 change: -0.09 stop: 49.90

INFY hit new highs near $53.98 this morning but eventually closed in the red as the market reversed. Look for short-term support near $52.00. 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:       + 1.43
Earnings Date            01/12/10 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        1.4 million  
Listed on  December 05, 2009         


General Dynamics - GD - close: 69.67 change: -0.99 stop: 67.45

It's no surprise to see a little bit of profit taking. I suggested yesterday that a dip or a bounce near $69.00 could be an entry point to add to our positions.

Our first target to take profits in GD is $74.95. FYI: The Point & Figure chart is bullish with a $105 target.

Entry  on  December 14 at $ 70.66 (half position)
Change since picked:       - 0.99
Earnings Date            01/27/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        1.6 million  
Listed on  December 14, 2009         


MSC Industrial Direct - MSM - close: 47.25 change: -0.14 stop: 44.90

The trend is still up but we're running out of time. 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:       + 0.63
Earnings Date            01/07/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        513 thousand 
Listed on  November 17, 2009         


Norfolk Southern - NSC - close: 52.78 change: -0.30 stop: 49.75

The failure to hold the $53.00 level is a little disappointing. Readers may want to wait for a new relative high (over 53.33) before launching new 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:       + 0.94
Earnings Date            01/27/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        5.4 million  
Listed on  November 21, 2009         


Precision Castparts - PCP - close: 112.44 change: -1.11 stop: 107.25

PCP suffered a little profit taking. Shares look like they should find short-term support near $109-108. PCP has already hit our first target 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:       + 5.09
                            /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: 31.32 change: +0.37 stop: 26.99

UNH is creeping higher and posted a 1.1% gain, out performing the rest of the market. This is an aggressive, lottery-ticket style of trade. Volume is rising on the rally.

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:       + 1.01
Earnings Date            01/21/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        819 thousand 
Listed on  December 10, 2009         


United Tech. - UTX - close: 70.25 change: +0.34 stop: 67.45

UTX is still showing relative strength and the stock broke out over resistance at the $70.00 level. Shares also hit our trigger to buy calls at $70.25. Our first target is $74.75. The Point & Figure chart is bullish with a $95.00 target.

Chart:

Entry  on  December 15 at $ 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: 81.56 change: +0.02 stop: 78.45

VMI is still fighting with short-term resistance at the $82.00 level. 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:       + 0.56
Earnings Date            02/10/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        238 thousand 
Listed on  December 05, 2009         


Vertex Pharma - VRTX - close: 41.56 change: +0.96 stop: 38.35

VRTX set a new closing high for the year and is about to hit its November 11th high at $41.75. I would not be surprised to see a little profit taking near $41.75 but as long as the market doesn't tank we're looking for a breakout. Our target to exit is at $44.25. My time frame is several weeks.

Entry  on  December 03 at $ 40.25
Change since picked:       + 1.31
Earnings Date            02/09/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        3.2 million  
Listed on  November 23, 2009         


Weyerhaeuser - WY - close: 43.11 change: +0.60 stop: 40.75

Wow! What amazing timing. Last night we added WY to the play list as a candidate to buy calls. This morning the Board of Directors announces plans to convert the company's equity status to a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), claiming it will make the company more profitable. It also means that WY will have to play a special dividend to shareholders to distribute profits. They plan to convert some time in 2010 and will try to pay most of the dividend in stock. Obviously we didn't know the company's plans or how the stock would react.

Shares of WY gapped open higher at $46.42 and hit $46.80 intraday (although if I look at the intraday chart it looks like WY almost hit $48.00). The gap higher killed our entry point. I hope readers did not buy calls with the stock up $4.00 at the open. The January $43 calls I listed doubled at the open only to fall back toward yesterday's values on the sell-off. Credit Suisse downgraded the stock to under perform on the news.

At this time I am suggesting we take a step back to see what happens next. We'll re-evaluate an entry point after we see how WY trades tomorrow. No new positions at this time.

Entry  on  December 14 at $ xx.xx 
Change since picked:       + 0.00
Earnings Date            02/05/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        1.6 million  
Listed on  December 14, 2009         


PUT Play Updates

Freeport McMoran - FCX - close: 78.09 change: -0.75 stop: 80.55

The action in FCX today looks like a new bearish entry point. The stock produced a failed rally near $80.00 and its 50-dma, which is perfect! I'm suggesting the January $75 puts.

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:       + 1.28
Earnings Date            01/26/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =       12.6 million  
Listed on  December 12, 2009         


Goldman Sachs - GS - close: 162.74 change: -3.36 stop: 170.25

GS sinks again. This time shares lost 2% and closed near their lows for the session. We don't have much time left before December options expire (3 days). I am adjusting our targets. We want to take profits at $160.20. We'll set our second and final target at $156.00.

Picked on  November 25 at $168.75
Change since picked:       - 6.01
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: 194.17 change: -2.81 stop: n/a

There is no change from my prior comments. December options expire in three 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:       - 5.74
Earnings Date            01/21/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =       15.1 million  
Listed on  November 30, 2009         


Goldman Sachs - GS - close: 162.74 change: -3.36 stop: n/a

There is no change from my prior comments. December options expire in three 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 may want to sell if either option hits $3.50 or higher just to recoup some capital.

Picked on  November 21 at $171.67 /gap open entry
Change since picked:       - 8.93
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: 37.81 change: -0.36 stop: n/a

It looks like this trade is doomed. The S&P 500 can't breakout from its trading range. We only have a few days left. 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:       + 0.73
Earnings Date            --/--/--
Average Daily Volume =         32 million  
Listed on  November 11, 2009         


United Parcel Service - UPS - close: 59.25 change: +0.26 stop: n/a

UPS has broken out from its trading range but it's too little too late for the December options.

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:       + 1.26 
Earnings Date            02/02/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        4.7 million  
Listed on  November 21, 2009         


CLOSED BULLISH PLAYS

Ishares Financial - IYF - close: 51.11 change: -0.75 stop: 49.99

I am giving up on the financials. This sector has been under performing for weeks and today the banks led the market lower. We want to exit early right here. The plan was to limit our risk with smaller positions.

Chart:

Entry  on  December 03 at $ 52.60
Change since picked:       - 1.49 <-- early exit (-2.8%)
Earnings Date            --/--/--
Average Daily Volume =        3.1 million  
Listed on  December 02, 2009         


CLOSED BEARISH PLAYS

Bucyrus Intl. - BUCY - close: 53.84 change: +1.03 stop: 51.90

Nimble traders might consider short-term puts if it looks like BUCY is going to roll over under resistance near $55.00. It does not look like BUCY is going to hit our trigger to buy puts at $48.95 any time soon so I'm dropping it as a candidate.

Chart:

Picked on  December 01 at $ xx.xx <-- TRIGGER @ 48.95, small positions
Change since picked:       + 0.00         *never opened*
Earnings Date            02/18/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        2.8 million  
Listed on  December 01, 2009