CALL Play Updates

EQUINIX Inc. - EQIX - close: 107.76 change: +0.70 stop: 99.75

EQIX rallied off its intraday lows but struggled with the $108 level. I am not suggesting new positions at this time. Our first target is $109.50. Our second target is $113.50. The plan was to use small position sizes to limit risk.

Entry  on  December 09 at $103.02
Change since picked:       + 4.74 
Earnings Date            02/10/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        501 thousand 
Listed on  December 09, 2009         


Infosys Tech. - INFY - close: 55.61 change: +1.16 stop: 51.95 *new*

Target achieved. INFY managed to hit $55.76 this afternoon. Our target to take profits was $55.75. The close over round-number resistance at $55.00 is bullish. I am raising our stop loss to $51.95. Our second and final target is $59.50. We will plan to exit ahead of the January 12th earnings report.

Chart:

Entry  on  December 05 at $ 51.88 /gap down entry point
                           /originally listed at $52.46
Change since picked:       + 3.73
                            /1st target hit @ 55.75 (+7.4%)
Earnings Date            01/12/10 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        1.4 million  
Listed on  December 05, 2009         


General Dynamics - GD - close: 68.20 change: +0.00 stop: 67.45

I'm this close to dropping GD as a bullish candidate. If you're feeling cautious here I would seriously consider an early exit. The only reason I'm keeping GD as a bullish candidate is that shares have not yet broken the longer-term trendline of higher lows. It's close though and could breakdown any moment. The recent relative weakness and short-term pattern of lower highs suggest the next move will be down. I repeat that readers will want to consider an early exit! I'm not suggesting new positions at this time.

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:       - 2.46
Earnings Date            01/27/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        1.6 million  
Listed on  December 14, 2009         


Mettler Toledo - MTD - close: 105.69 change: -0.33 stop: 99.45

MTD hit $106.84 intraday and pared its gains. This almost looks like a short-term top. MTD is arguably short-term overbought so a pull back would be healthy. Look for support in the $102.50-100.00 zone. Our first target is $109.00.

Entry  on  December 19 at $102.66 (small positions) /gap down entry
Change since picked:       + 3.03
Earnings Date            02/04/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        106 thousand
Listed on  December 19, 2009         


Norfolk Southern - NSC - close: 53.82 change: +0.81 stop: 50.95 *new*

Good news! The DJUSRR railroad index has broken out through the top of its six-week trading range. This should signal a new leg higher. Shares of NSC also broke to new 2009 highs with a 1.5% gain. I would consider new bullish positions here but readers will want to consider a tighter stop loss. I am raising our stop loss to $50.95. You may want to raise your stop even further. 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:       + 1.98
Earnings Date            01/27/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        5.4 million  
Listed on  November 21, 2009         


NUCOR Corp. - NUE - close: 46.10 change: +0.76 stop: 41.75

Our new call play continued to rally. Unfortunately the stock gapped open higher at $45.85 this morning, which affected our entry point. The plan remains unchanged. Open small positions now with the expectation that we'll see a pull back toward $44.00, where we can choose to double down and increase our position size. More conservative traders may want to bump their stops closer to $44.00. Our multi-week target is $49.50. We will plan to exit ahead of the late January earnings report.

Entry  on  December 22 at $ 45.85 (1/2 position or less) /gap higher entry
Change since picked:       + 0.25
Earnings Date            01/28/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        4.5 million  
Listed on  December 22, 2009         


Precision Castparts - PCP - close: 113.17 change: -1.66 stop: 107.25

PCP ran into some profit taking with a 1.4% decline. The relative weakness is a bit surprising. We can look for short-term support in the $111.00-110.00 zone. 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:       + 5.82
                            /1st target hit $112.45 (+4.7%)
Earnings Date            01/20/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        817 thousand 
Listed on  November 28, 2009         


Stifel Financial - SF - close: 58.34 change: +0.14 stop: 54.95

SF spiked to a new 2009 high this morning before paring its gains. I would still consider new bullish positions at this time. Our first target is $64.50. Our time frame is January expiration. The P&F chart is bullish and points to a $70 target.

Entry  on  December 22 at $ 58.05
Change since picked:       + 0.29
Earnings Date            02/11/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        207 thousand 
Listed on  December 16, 2009         


UnitedHealth Group - UNH - close: 31.62 change: -0.70 stop: 27.99

After two weeks of steady gains it looks like the healthcare stocks are starting to see some profit taking. UNH gave up 2.1% and really under performed its peers. That's okay. Shares were looking a little overbought. Broken resistance near $30.00 should be new support. I'd consider buying new call positions on a dip or bounce near $30.50-30.00. 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:       + 1.31
Earnings Date            01/21/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        819 thousand 
Listed on  December 10, 2009         


United Tech. - UTX - close: 69.51 change: +0.16 stop: 67.45

It looks like shares of UTX are hibernating. The stock hasn't moved from its $69-70 trading range in days. You could argue that this is relative weakness with the S&P 500 flirting with new highs. More conservative traders may want to exit early or raise their stops!

I'm suggesting readers wait for a new rise over $70.25 to launch positions. More conservative traders may want to use a tighter stop loss. Our first target is $74.75. The Point & Figure chart is bullish with a $95.00 target.

Entry  on  December 15 at $ 70.25
Change since picked:       - 0.74
Earnings Date            01/21/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        4.0 million  
Listed on  December 12, 2009         


Valmont Industries - VMI - close: 81.39 change: -0.33 stop: 78.45

VMI is also drifting sideways as we approach Christmas. Look for support near $80.00. I hesitate to launch new positions. 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:       + 0.39
Earnings Date            02/10/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        238 thousand 
Listed on  December 05, 2009         


Vertex Pharma - VRTX - close: 42.65 change: -0.25 stop: 39.75

The rally in VRTX paused as well. Shares spent the session drifting sideways. Our target to exit is at $44.25. My time frame is several weeks.

Entry  on  December 03 at $ 40.25
Change since picked:       + 2.40
Earnings Date            02/09/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        3.2 million  
Listed on  November 23, 2009         


Whirlpool - WHR - close: 82.88 change: -0.77 stop: 75.95 *new*

It should be no surprise to see some profit taking after the recent rally in shares of WHR. A dip or bounce in the $81-80 zone could be used as a new entry point. I am adjusting our stop loss to $75.95. More cautious traders may want to bump theirs higher. WHR has already hit our first target at $84.75. Our second target is $89.00. FYI: The Point & Figure chart is bullish with a $103 target.

Entry  on  December 19 at $ 80.76 /gap higher entry
Change since picked:       + 2.12
                             /1st target hit $84.75 (+4.9%)
Earnings Date            02/08/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        1.6 million  
Listed on  December 19, 2009         


PUT Play Updates

*Currently we do not have any put play updates*


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: 202.10 change: +1.74 stop: n/a

AAPL continued to bounce, which helped the NASDAQ hit a new high for the year. Shares of AAPL gained 0.8%. There is no change from my prior comments. I am not suggesting new strangle positions at this time.

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:       + 2.19
Earnings Date            01/21/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =       15.1 million  
Listed on  November 30, 2009         


United Parcel Service - UPS - close: 58.00 change: -0.58 stop: n/a

In spite of the strength in the transports shares of UPS refuse to move from their trading range. This is very bad news for our strangle trade. I'm not suggesting new strangle positions.

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:       + 0.01 
Earnings Date            02/02/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        4.7 million  
Listed on  November 21, 2009         


CLOSED BULLISH PLAYS

Blue Nile Inc. - NILE - close: 64.06 change: +1.66 stop: 57.40

Target achieved! NILE has been very strong the last few days and shares rallied toward resistance near $65.00 but trimmed its gains by the closing bell. The intraday high was $64.92. Our target to exit was $64.90.

Chart:

Entry  on  December 21 at $ 60.39
Change since picked:       + 4.51 <-- target hit @ 64.90 (+7.4%)
Earnings Date            02/18/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =        144 thousand 
Listed on  December 21, 2009         


CLOSED BEARISH PLAYS

Freeport McMoran - FCX - close: 80.93 change: +2.48 stop: 80.55

U.S. dollar weakness on Wednesday fueled gains for the commodities. Shares of FCX reacted with a 3.1% rally and a breakout past resistance near $80.00 and its 50-dma. The stock hit our stop loss at $80.55. We knew this was an aggressive trade, which is why we wanted to use small positions.

Chart:

Entry  on  December 12 at $ 76.81 
Change since picked:       + 3.74 <-- stopped @ 80.55 (+4.8%)
Earnings Date            01/26/10 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =       12.6 million  
Listed on  December 12, 2009