Editor's Note:

The market's nearly non-stop rebound from its October lows continued on Thursday.

Our COST trade was triggered. MON hit our stop loss.


Current Portfolio:


CALL Play Updates

Acuity Brands, Inc. - AYI - close: 138.32 change: +0.36

Stop Loss: 131.25
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: - 7.8%
Average Daily Volume = 485 thousand
Entry on October 28 at $136.25
Listed on October 27, 2014
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/30/14: AYI was underperforming earlier today but traders bought the dip again and the stock made it back into positive territory by the closing bell.

Investors may want to wait for a new rally past $140.50 before considering new positions.

Earlier Comments: October 27, 2014:
AYI is part of the technology sector. The company considers itself the North American market leader and one of the world's biggest providers of lighting solutions. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, AYI does business in North America, Europe, and Asia. Their fiscal 2014 sales hit $2.4 billion.

It has been a rocky year for AYI's stock price but the August low definitely looks like a bottom. Shares have rebounded sharply and investors have been buying the dips. As of today's close AYI is up +23% in 2014.

The last few weeks have been volatile. The early October rally was a reaction to AYI's earnings results. The company reported on October 1st with a profit of $1.26 per share on revenues of $668.7 million. That beat Wall Street's estimates on both the top and bottom line. Sales were up +15% from a year ago and profits were up +22%. The company said they are seeing strong adoption of their LED lighting solutions, which saw sales almost double from a year ago.

AYI said their Q4 and full year 2014 results were both records. AYI's Chairman, President, and CEO, Vernon Nagel, was very optimistic in his outlook. Mr. Nagel said,

"We remain very bullish about our prospects for future profitable growth. Third-party forecasts as well as key leading indicators suggest that the growth rate for the North American lighting market, which includes renovation and retrofit activity, will be in the mid-to-upper single digit range for fiscal 2015 with expectations that overall demand in our end markets will continue to experience solid growth over the next several years.

We believe the lighting and lighting-related industry will experience solid growth over the next decade, particularly as energy and environmental concerns come to the forefront along with emerging opportunities for digital lighting to play a key role in the Internet of Things. We believe we are well positioned to fully participate in this exciting industry."

Since the report Goldman Sachs has added AYI to their conviction buy list and Oppenheimer has raised their price target on AYI to $160. The point & figure chart is bullish and forecasting at $162 target. Zacks is bullish on the account they are seeing analysts revising their earnings estimates for AYI higher.

Currently shares of AYI have been hovering near resistance in the $135.00 area. Today's move is starting to look like a bullish breakout. We are suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $136.25.

- Suggested Positions -

Long DEC $140 call (AYI141220c140) entry $3.80

10/28/14 triggered @ $136.25
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Costco Wholesale - COST - close: 133.00 change: +1.07

Stop Loss: 128.90
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: +13.6%
Average Daily Volume = 1.9 million
Entry on October 30 at $132.25
Listed on October 29, 2014
Time Frame: Exit prior to earnings in December
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/30/14: Our new bullish play on COST is off to a strong start. Shares broke out past the $132 level and hit our suggested entry point at $132.25. This is a new all-time high for COST.

Earlier Comments: October 29, 2014
COST is part of the services sector. The company runs a discount, membership sales warehouse. The company's latest earnings report said Costco currently operates 664 warehouses, including 469 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 88 in Canada, 33 in Mexico, 26 in the United Kingdom, 20 in Japan, 11 in Korea, 10 in Taiwan, six in Australia and one in Spain.

The company has struggled to hit Wall Street's bottom line estimates for over a year but steady improvement in their same-store sales have helped drive the stock higher. A strong back to school shopping season and higher membership fees fueled a better than expected quarterly report.

COST reported their Q4 numbers on October 8th. After missing estimates for five quarters in a row the company finally beat estimates. Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.52 a share on revenues of $35.3 billion. COST delivered $1.58 a share with revenues up +9.3% to $35.52 billion. The net profit number was up +13% and gross margins improved 15 basis points.

COST also reported that their e-commerce sales continue to grow at a brisk pace and their online sales rose +18% in their fourth quarter. Same-store (comparable store) sales remain a key metric to watch. COST's Q4 same-store sales were up +4% yet if you back out falling gasoline prices and currency effects their comparable store sales were up +6% for the quarter versus +4.5% a year ago. Membership renewal rates remain very strong at 91% in the U.S. and 87% globally. COST plans to open up to eight more locations before the end of the 2014 calendar year.

The company also recently announced their first foray into China. COST has entered the Chinese market with an online store through Alibaba Group's (BABA) Tmall Global platform.

The holiday shopping season is almost upon us with less than 60 days before Christmas. COST is poised to do well since the company caters to the higher-end more affluent customer.

Shares are hovering just below the $132.00 level. Tonight we are suggesting at trigger to buy calls at $132.25. We will plan on exiting positions prior to their December earnings report.

- Suggested Positions -

Long DEC $135 call (COST141220c135) entry $1.54

10/30/14 triggered @ 132.25
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


FedEx Corp. - FDX - close: 165.29 change: -0.48

Stop Loss: 162.65
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: + 73.5%
Average Daily Volume = 1.5 million
Entry on October 17 at $155.50
Listed on October 15, 2014
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/30/14: Most of the market managed to recover from yesterday's pullback. The transports were one of the exceptions and continued to sink today. FDX briefly traded below $164 but managed to trim its losses.

I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Earlier Comments: October 15, 2014:
Last year a last minute surge of online shoppers overwhelmed the system and thousands of Christmas presents were delivered late. Part of the problem was terrible weather. The other challenge was the growth in online shopping. Amazon.com (AMZN) blamed UPS for the mass of delayed deliveries last year. You can bet that UPS' rival FDX has taken notice and plans to be ready this year.

Market research firm EMarketer is estimating that retail online shopping will surge +17% in 2014 to $72.4 billion. That might be under estimating the growth, especially this year as many consumers might opt to shop online instead of face the crowds and risk being a target for terrorism or catching Ebola. Granted neither a terrorist event inside the U.S. and a widespread outbreak of Ebola in the states has happened yet but people are already afraid with the daily headlines about the virus.

UPS and FDX hope to be ready. UPS is hiring up to 95,000 seasonal workers and FDX is hiring 50,000 holiday workers this year. That's 10K more than last year for FDX.

In addition to the surge in online shopping FDX should also benefit from the multi-year lows in oil prices. Low oil prices means lower fuel costs, one of FDX's biggest expenses.

It would appear that FDX has fine tuned its earnings machine as well. Their latest earnings report was September 17th. Wall Street was expecting a profit of $1.95 a share on revenues of $11.46 billion. FDX delivered a profit of $2.10 a share with revenues up to $11.7 billion. That's a +24% increase in earnings from a year ago and the second quarter in a row that FDX beat EPS estimates.

FDX chairman, president, and CEO Frederick Smith said, "FedEx Corp. is off to an outstanding start in fiscal 2015, thanks to very strong performance at FedEx Ground, solid volume and revenue increases at FedEx Freight and healthy growth in U.S. domestic volume at FedEx Express." Business has been strong enough that a few weeks ago FDX started raising prices on some services.

Since that September earnings report Wall Street analysts have been raising price targets. Some of the new price targets for FDX stock are $175, $180 and $183 a share.

The recent sell-off in the market and FDX could be an opportunity. FDX has already seen a -10% correction from its intraday high near $165 to today's low near $149. Right now FDX sits just below resistance near $155.

We're suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $155.50.

- Suggested Positions -

Long 2015 Jan $160 call (FDX150117c160) entry $5.30*

10/28/14 new stop @ 162.65, traders may want to take profits now!
10/25/14 new stop @ 157.85
10/23/14 new stop @ 155.90
FDX is nearing resistance at $164.00. Traders may want to take profits now.
10/21/14 new stop @ 153.45
10/17/14 triggered @ 155.50
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. - GMCR - close: 149.98 change: +2.11

Stop Loss: 143.25
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: +30.4%
Average Daily Volume = 1.68 million
Entry on October 28 at $145.75
Listed on October 25, 2014
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to earnings on November 19th
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/30/14: GMCR announced another licensing deal. This time the deal is with Supervalu and GMCR will make Supervalu's Java Delight brand coffee in K-cup servings for GMCR's brewing machines.

Investors applauded the news and GMCR displayed relative strength with a +1.4% gain. The stock is now testing round-number, psychological resistance at the $150.00 level.

We will raise the stop loss to $143.25. More conservative traders may want to raise their stop higher.

Earlier Comments: October 25, 2014:
GMCR is labeled as part of the consumer goods business. GMCR describes their company as "a leader in specialty coffee, coffee makers, teas and other beverages, Keurig Green Mountain (Keurig), is recognized for its award-winning beverages, innovative brewing technology, and socially responsible business practices. The Company has inspired consumer passion for its products by revolutionizing beverage preparation at home and in the workplace." GMCR makes almost 300 varieties of coffee, hot cocoa, teas, and other beverages in K-cup and Vue portion packs.

The company's latest earnings report back in August were better than expected but revenues were a disappointment and management guided lower. Yet the stock did see much follow through on the initial post-earnings drop. Then a couple of weeks later shares of GMCR soared to new highs on news it had finally signed a licensing deal with Kraft Foods, the second largest food and beverage company in the world. GMCR already had licensing deals with all the major coffee brands but Kraft was the lone holdout.

Several weeks later shares of GMCR soared again after Goldman Sachs slapped a buy rating on the stock and gave it a 12-month $166 price target. The Goldman analyst believes GMCR will see sales rise at a compounded annual growth rate of almost 30% and profits will soared at 23% per year through 2017.

On a short-term basis the middle of last week was starting to look like a top, especially with Thursday's bearish engulfing candlestick reversal pattern. Yet there was no confirmation on Friday.

Friday's intraday high was $145.54. We are suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $145.75. We'll try and limit our risk with a stop loss at $141.90. We are not setting an exit target yet but I will note the point & figure chart is suggesting a $182.00 target.

Earnings are coming up on November 19th. We will plan on exiting prior to the announcement. More aggressive traders may want to take a longer-term approach and hold over the announcement (and use longer-dated calls).

- Suggested Positions -

Long NOV $150 call (GMCR141122C160) entry $6.17

10/30/14 new stop @ 143.25
10/28/14 triggered @ $145.75
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


iShares Transportation ETF - IYT - close: 154.50 change: -1.67

Stop Loss: 151.85
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: +226.4% (not including new spread position)
Average Daily Volume = 320 thousand
Entry on October 13 at $138.75
Listed on October 11, 2014
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/30/14: Crude oil saw new price declines today yet the weakness failed to lift the transportation stocks. The IYT continued to sink after yesterday's pullback. This shouldn't be too surprising given the huge bounce from the IYT's October lows. The group was due for a little profit taking.

I'm not suggesting new positions at this time.

Earlier Comments: October 11, 2014:
The IYT is an exchange traded fund (ETF) that tries to mimic the performance of the Dow Jones Transportation Average index.

Stocks have been sinking as investors worry about a global slowdown, especially in Europe. Yet the U.S. economy is still growing. Plunging oil prices should be great news for both business and consumers. Lower fuel costs means more money to spend elsewhere. Lower fuel prices also mean better margins for transportation companies.

The IYT has hit correction territory with a -10% pullback from its September highs about four weeks ago. When the market finally bounces the transports should lead the market higher thanks to the U.S. economy and low oil prices.

It looks like IYT's current drop could be near a bottom. Volume was almost three times the norm on Friday and shares settled near technical support at its simple 200-dma. We suspect the market will see another push lower before bouncing. That could see the IYT pierce the $140 level.

Tonight we're suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $138.75 with a stop loss at $134.45. This should be considered a higher-risk, more aggressive trade. You've heard the term "catching a falling knife" and that's what we're trying to do. You may want to wait for the IYT to pierce $140.00 and then buy the rebound back above this level as an alternative strategy.

*Higher-risk, more aggressive trade* - Suggested Positions -

Long NOV $143 call (IYT141122c143) entry $3.40

- plus -

Short NOV $159 call (IYT141122c159) entry $1.80

10/29/14 IYT gapped open higher at $157.44 (+56 cents)
10/28/14 Strategy Update: new stop @ 151.85, Plus, we want to sell the November $159.00 call (current bid is $1.75).
10/25/14 new stop @ 148.65, traders may want to take some money off the table now
10/23/14 new stop @ 147.25
10/21/14 new stop @ 144.65
10/18/14 new stop @ 141.75
10/13/14 triggered @ 138.75
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


NetEase, Inc. - NTES - close: 94.01 change: +2.00

Stop Loss: 89.40
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: + 2.0%
Average Daily Volume = 430 thousand
Entry on October 21 at $91.59
Listed on Exit PRIOR to earnings on November 12th
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/30/14: Shares of NTES were downgraded today but the stock didn't care. NTES rallied toward resistance near $95.00 before paring its gains. Shares still outperformed the major indices with a +2.1% gain.

Earlier Comments: October 20, 2014:
NTES is in the technology sector. They are part of the Chinese Internet space. The company operates online video games, an Internet portal and email services in China. Technically the stock has been outperforming most of its peers in the Chinese Internet industry (compare to the performance of the KWEB ETF of which NTES is a component).

Their most recent earnings report was healthy. NTES' quarterly profit was in-line but revenues were up +21% to $475.8 million, beating Wall Street's estimates. NTES' Chief Executive Officer Mr. Ding said, "This quarter we have achieved in three business areas MoM and YoY increase revenue total revenue growth of 17.2%, an increase of 22.3 percent compared with the same period last year, gaming revenues grew 13.1%, advertising services revenue grew 42.9%, mailboxes, electricity suppliers and other business income increased 201.5 percent."

After an initial rally on these results NTES share price stalled out at resistance near $90-91. Here we are more than two months later and NTES is testing resistance near $90-91 again. This time the point & figure chart is suggesting at $102 price target.

We are suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $91.15.

- Suggested Positions -

Long NOV $95 call (NTES141122C95) entry $2.45

10/23/14 new stop @ 89.40
10/21/14 triggered on gap higher at $91.59, trigger was $91.15
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Semiconductor ETF - SMH - close: 49.45 change: -0.81

Stop Loss: 47.85
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: +36.3%
Average Daily Volume = 2.4 million
Entry on October 17 at $47.15
Listed on October 16, 2014
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/30/14: After bouncing back toward resistance near $50 and its 50-dma the SMH finally saw a little profit taking. Shares dipped toward short-term support at the rising 10-dma before trimming its losses.

More conservative investors may want to raise their stop again or take some money off the table.

I'm not suggesting new positions at the moment.

Earlier Comments: October 16, 2014:
It looks like the correction in the semiconductor stocks might be done.

The SMH is the Market Vectors Semiconductor Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) that tries to mimic the performance of the Market Vectors Semiconductor 25 index. Semiconductors as a group had been strong performers with the SMH up +73% from its late 2012 lows.

A few weeks ago the industry started to see some profit taking. MCHP issued an earnings warning last week that that sparked the massive plunge in the SMH. The SMH has witnessed a -15% correction from its 2014 closing high to the closing low on Monday this week. Now it has started to bounce. It's possible all the panic selling is over.

Intel (INTC), a much bigger company than MCHP, just reported earnings on October 14th and the results were better than Wall Street expected. More importantly INTC offered slightly bullish guidance.

Bloomberg noted that INTC said its PC-processor business rose +8.9% last quarter. Sales for INTC's chips for notebook computers soared +21%. Even chips for desktop PCs rose +6% in the third quarter.

The strong results from INTC have helped buoy the SMH, which is starting to rebound after testing (and piercing) long-term support on its weekly chart (shown below).

We suspect the worst might be over. However, this could be a volatile trade. There are a lot of semiconductor companies who have yet to report their results.

The SMH saw its rally stall under $47 and near its 200-dma. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $47.15.

- Suggested Positions -

Long 2015 Jan $50 call (SMH150117c50) entry $1.10

10/25/14 new stop @ 47.85
10/21/14 new stop @ 46.35
10/17/14 triggered @ 47.15
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


ULTA Salon - ULTA - close: 120.56 change: -1.00

Stop Loss: 116.90
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: -14.5%
Average Daily Volume = 925 thousand
Entry on October 29 at $121.75
Listed on October 28, 2014
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to earnings on December 4th
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/30/14: ULTA found support near the $120 level around lunchtime. The early afternoon bounce stalled about $121.60. I am suggesting readers look for a new rally above $121.60 before initiating new positions.

Earlier Comments: October 28, 2014:
ULTA is in the services sector. They're considered a specialty retailer. Founded in 1990 the company is headquartered in Chicago. According to the company website, "ULTA Beauty is the largest beauty retailer that provides one-stop shopping for prestige, mass and salon products and salon services in the United States. Ulta Beauty provides affordable indulgence to its customers by combining unmatched product breadth, value and convenience with the distinctive environment and experience of a specialty retailer. ULTA Beauty, through its stores and ulta.com, offers a unique combination of over 20,000 prestige and mass beauty products across the categories of cosmetics, fragrance, haircare, skincare, bath and body products and salon styling tools, as well as salon haircare products. ULTA Beauty also offers a full-service salon in all of its stores."

The stock had a rough time late last year when ULTA missed earnings estimates and guided lower back in December 2013. Shares collapsed from the $120 area toward the $90-95 zone. They missed and warned again in March. Yet it would appear that ULTA has worked out the kinks as the company's last two earnings reports have been strong. In June and in September ULTA reported quarterly results that were above Wall Street's estimates on both the top and bottom line. More importantly management guided higher for the next quarter both times.

Investors were really impressed with the latest quarterly report in September. You can see the huge gap higher in the stock price. Analysts were expecting a profit of $0.83 a share on revenues of $713.3 million. ULTA delivered $0.94 a share with revenues up +22.2% to $734.2 million. They also reported a very strong +9.6% same-store sales growth versus a tough +8.4% sale growth against the year ago period. Margins also saw improvement in the quarter.

ULTA management also laid out their long-term, five-year estimates. The company is forecasting annual comparable store sales growth in the 5% to 7% range. They expect EPS growth to be in the low 20% area. Their expansion plans include opening 100 stores a year. Jim Cramer lists ULTA as one of his best picks in this industry.

Mary Dillon, ULTA's Chief Executive Office, said, "A significant improvement in traffic, successful new product and brand launches, and rapid e-commerce growth drove better than expected top line performance. As a result, the Ulta team delivered healthy operating margin expansion in the second quarter. We are raising our outlook for the year and now expect to achieve sales and earnings per share growth in the 20% range, reflecting our confidence in continued strong market share gains."

The company is definitely seeing growth in its online sales. Their second quarter saw e-commerce sales soar almost 55%. They plan to grow their e-commerce sales to 10% of total revenues.

Technically shares of ULTA dipped toward support during the market's September-October pullback. Now shares have rebounded back toward resistance in the $120 area. Today saw ULTA showing relative strength and a new 2014 closing high. We want to hop on board if ULTA can breakout past the $120-121 area. We are suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $121.75.

- Suggested Positions -

Long DEC $125 call (ULTA141220C125) entry $6.20

10/29/14 triggered @ 121.75
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike




PUT Play Updates


Currently we do not have any active put trades.



CLOSED BEARISH PLAYS

Monsanto Co. - MON - close: 112.18 change: -1.30

Stop Loss: 115.15
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: -36.6%
Average Daily Volume = 4.1 million
Entry on October 29 at $111.90
Listed on October 22, 2014
Time Frame: 8 to 12 weeks
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/30/14: It has been tough to make bearish plays worth with the stock market in a nearly non-stop rally from its October lows. This morning, before the bell, rival company Mosaic (MOS) reported earnings and missed estimates on both the top and bottom line. Yet shares of MOS rallied and this may have influenced MON.

Shares of MON were climbing all day long and looked like they might fail under the $114.40 level and technical resistance at its simple 200-dma. Then an intraday spike pushed shares toward $115.50 and just as quickly faded. Not surprisingly our put option did not trade during this erratic activity.

(If you're curious, MON traded from $114.19 to $115.47 and back to $114.27 from 01:35 p.m. to 01:36 p.m. today. Actually, there appeared to be a couple of trades as high as $116.74 in this time frame but these must have been backed out as bad ticks.)

- Suggested Positions -

2015 Jan $110 PUT (MON150117P110) entry $3.00 exit $1.90 (-36.6%)

10/30/14 stopped out
10/29/14 triggered @ 111.90
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

chart: