Editor's Note:

Bulls remain in control as stocks rally following the FOMC minutes. The Dow Industrials closed above the 17,000 mark while the S&P 500 closed above the 2,000 level. Another gain for crude oil, which tagged $50 a barrel, helped energy stocks stay strong.

Keep in mind that the S&P 500 still has short-term resistance at the 2,020 level and the small cap Russell 2000 index closed just below resistance at its simple 50-dma.

HD and COO both hit our entry triggers today.


Current Portfolio:


CALL Play Updates

Alkermes Plc - ALKS - close: 59.90 change: -0.08

Stop Loss: 54.25
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: -52.9%
Average Daily Volume = 1.0 million
Entry on October 05 at $61.17
Listed on October 03, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to earnings in late October
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/08/15: Biotech stocks can't pick a direction and the group drifted sideways today. ALKS did not see any follow through on yesterday's rally and closed virtually unchanged on Thursday's session.

I am suggesting investors wait for ALKS to trade above $61.25 before considering new bullish positions.

Trade Description: October 3, 2015:
The U.S. market delivered an impressive bounce the last few days. If this rebound continues the beaten-down biotech stocks could easily outperform. ALKS looks like a good candidate to capture the bounce.

ALKS is in the healthcare sector. According to the company, "Alkermes plc is a fully integrated, global biopharmaceutical company developing innovative medicines for the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) diseases. The company has a diversified commercial product portfolio and a substantial clinical pipeline of product candidates for chronic diseases that include schizophrenia, depression, addiction and multiple sclerosis. Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, Alkermes plc has an R&D center in Waltham, Massachusetts; a research and manufacturing facility in Athlone, Ireland; and a manufacturing facility in Wilmington, Ohio."

The earnings picture for ALKS seems to be improving. Looking at the last few earnings reports ALKS has beaten Wall Street expectations on both the top and bottom line the last three quarters in a row. Their most recent report, on July 30th, was follow up with management raising their 2015 guidance above analysts estimates.

While the earnings picture is supportive for a bullish bias, today's trade is more of a technical one. The biotechs have been crushed lately (Thanks, Hillary Clinton!) and shares of ALKS plunged from resistance near $73.00 to support near $54.00. Now it's starting to rebound. This is not the first time ALKS has bounced from this area.

Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $60.75. Our target is $71.50. Plan on exiting prior to ALKS' earnings report in late October. Please note that I consider this a more aggressive trade because the option spreads on ALKS' November options are a little bit wide (and because ALKS is a biotech stock and biotech stocks tend to be more volatile anyway but regular readers already know that).

- Suggested Positions -

Long NOV $65 CALL (ALKS151120C65) entry $3.50

10/06/15 a very volatile day with ALKS down -11% from its intraday highs. Shares close down -2%.
10/05/15 triggered on gap open at $61.17, suggested entry was $60.75
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Costco Wholesale Corp. - COST - close: 151.66 change: +3.70

Stop Loss: 141.85
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: +112.5%
Average Daily Volume = 1.9 million
Entry on October 05 at $146.25
Listed on October 03, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to November option expiration
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/08/15: COST was a big winner today as the market reacted to better than expected September same-store sales. The stock surged +2.5% and closed above potential round-number resistance at $150.00.

Analysts were expecting a -1.0% drop in September sales. COST reported their total company comp sales were +0.0%. The U.S. region saw +3% same-store sales growth. Canada was down -10% while international stores fell -6% However, if you back out the drop in gas prices and foreign exchange headwinds then total comparable store sales were up +8%.

Investors may want to start raising their stop loss on our COST trade.

Trade Description: October 3, 2015:
Thus far 2015 has been a frustrating year for COST bulls. After years of steady stock price appreciation (2009-2014) the rally peaked in the first quarter of 2015. Shares spent months correcting lower but it looks like the worst may be behind it for COST.

If you're not familiar with COST they are in the services sector. The company runs a membership warehouse business that competes with the likes of Sam's Club (a division of Wal-Mart). According to the company, "Costco currently operates 686 warehouses, including 480 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 89 in Canada, 36 in Mexico, 27 in the United Kingdom, 23 in Japan, 12 in Korea, 11 in Taiwan, seven in Australia and one in Spain. The Company plans to open up to an additional 16 new warehouses (including one relocation to a larger and better-located facility) prior to the end of its fiscal year on August 30, 2015. Costco also operates electronic commerce web sites in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Mexico."

Revenue growth has been lackluster this year. COST has managed to beat Wall Street estimates on the bottom line but the revenue number has been soft. Their most recent quarterly report was announced on September 29th. Earnings were up +10% from a year ago to $1.73 a share. That beat estimates. Yet COST said their Q4 revenues were virtually flat (+0.7%) to $35.78 billion. That missed expectations. Comparable store sales were up +2% in the U.S. but down -10% in Canada.

A lot of COST's revenue troubles have come from lower oil, which has pushed gas prices lower. The big drop in gas prices cuts their revenue growth. Plus the stronger dollar hurts their foreign sales. The company continues to expand its presence in the U.S. and overseas. Management plans to launch 12 new warehouses this quarter. Overall COST plans to build 32 new stores in the next 12 months, including its first store in France.

The stock looks poised to breakout past its July, August, and September highs and make a run at its 2015 highs. We suspect COST is going to grab more investor attention as we approach the holiday shopping season. The stock tends to see a rally from September into Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving).

Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $146.25. More conservative traders may want to wait for a rally past the September peak ($146.90) or even past short-term resistance $147.00. We want to jump in a little early as COST could surge wants it clears $147.00.

- Suggested Positions -

Long NOV $150 CALL (COST151120C150) entry $2.00

10/08/15 COST rises on better than expected September same-store sales
10/07/15 COST could see a short-term dip here.
10/05/15 triggered @ $146.25
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


Salesforce.com, Inc. - CRM - close: 75.09 change: +0.09

Stop Loss: 72.95
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: Unopened
Average Daily Volume = 3.6 million
Entry on October -- at $---.--
Listed on October 07, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to earnings in November
New Positions: Yes, see below

Comments:
10/08/15: CRM's late day rally failed at resistance near $76.00. I don't see any changes from last night's new play description. Our suggested entry point to buy calls is $76.25.

Trade Description: October 7, 2015:
Cloud computing and software giant CRM has been churning sideways for almost seven months. In spite of this lack of upward movement CRM is still outperforming the broader market. The NASDAQ composite is up +1.2% year to date. CRM is up +26%. The good news is that CRM looks poised to breakout past major resistance and begin its next leg higher.

CRM is part of the technology sector. According to the company, "Salesforce is the world's #1 CRM company. Our industry-leading Customer Success Platform has become the world's leading enterprise cloud ecosystem. Industries and companies of all sizes can connect to their customers in a whole new way using the latest innovations in cloud, social, mobile and data science technologies with the Customer Success Platform."

CRM's revenues have been consistently growing in the mid +20% range the last few quarters. Their Q4 revenues were up +26%. Q1 revenues were +23%. The company's most recent quarter was announced August 20th. Analysts were expecting Q2 results of $0.17 a share on revenues of $1.6 billion. CRM beat both estimates with a profit of $0.19 as revenues grew +23.5% to $1.63 billion. Management raised their Q3 and full year 2016 revenue guidance.

Technically the stock is in a long-term up trend and the point & figure chart is forecasting an $85.00 target. The $75.00-76.00 area is major resistance with CRM failing in this region multiple times. The recent rally has boosted CRM back to this level and the stock looks poised to breakout soon.

(Sidenote - CRM did hit an intraday high of $78.46 on April 29th thanks to M&A rumors. The company is still considered a potential acquisition target by larger rivals.)

We like CRM's relative strength and consistently strong earnings and revenue growth. A breakout here could spark a run that lasts until the company's earnings report in November. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to buy calls if CRM trades at $76.25 (or higher).

Trigger @ $76.25

- Suggested Positions -

Buy the DEC $80 CALL (CRM151218C80)

Entry disclaimer: To avoid an unfavorable entry point, we will not launch a new play if the stock gaps open more than $1.00 past our suggested entry point.

Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike


The Home Depot, Inc. - HD - close: 121.06 change: +1.41

Stop Loss: 114.65
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: +4.2%
Average Daily Volume = 5.3 million
Entry on October 08 at $120.25
Listed on October 05, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to earnings on November 17th
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/08/15: Our HD trade is open. Shares rallied past resistance at $120.00 and hit our entry trigger at $120.25. The stock outperformed the major indices with a +1.1% Gain on Thursday.

If you missed our entry point I would suggest looking for a dip near the $120.50 area as an alternative entry point.

Trade Description: October 5, 2015:
Home Depot's stock has outperformed the broader market in spite of the fact shares have been stuck in a trading range for the last seven months. That could be about to change.

The big surge in the U.S. housing market this year has been a bullish tailwind for HD's business. The home remodeling and repair industry and consumer spending in this category is expected to hit levels not seen since before the "Great Recession" in 2008-2009. HD is poised to reap the benefits.

HD is in the services sector. According to the company, "The Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer, with 2,270 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico. In fiscal 2014, The Home Depot had sales of $83.2 billion and earnings of $6.3 billion. The Company employs more than 370,000 associates. The Home Depot's stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (HD) and is included in the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index."

HD has been showing steady earnings and revenue growth. The company has beaten Wall Street estimates on both the top and bottom line the last three quarters in a row. Management has also raised their guidance the last three quarters in a row.

Their most recent report was August 18th. HD announced its Q2 earnings were up +14% from a year ago to $1.71 per share. Revenues were up +4.3% to $24.83 billion. Comparable store sales came in better than expected with a +4.2% improvement.

Wall Street analysts seem bullish with firms like Deutsche Bank and UBS recently raising their price targets on HD. Currently the point & figure chart is bearish but a rally past $120.00 would generate a brand new buy signal.

Earlier I mentioned that HD has been stuck in a long trading range or consolidation for most of 2015. With the exception of a few days, shares of HD have been churning sideways in the $110-120 range. Today HD looks poised to breakout from this channel. The $120.00 level is round-number resistance. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $120.25. Plan on exiting prior to HD's earnings report in mid November.

- Suggested Positions -

Long NOV $125 CALL (HD151120C125) entry $1.43

10/08/15 triggered @ $120.25
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike




PUT Play Updates

The Cooper Companies Inc. - COO - close: 141.99 change: -0.69

Stop Loss: 150.25
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: +4.9
Average Daily Volume = 469 thousand
Entry on October 08 at $141.75
Listed on October 06, 2015
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to November options expiration
New Positions: see below

Comments:
10/08/15: Our COO trade is open. Shares fell to new multi-year lows and hit our entry trigger at $141.75.

COO spent most of Thursday churning sideways in the $141.25-142.25 range. If you're looking for a new entry point consider waiting for COO to trade below $141.25 as your next entry point.

Trade Description: October 6, 2015:
Healthcare stocks have been strong market performers for years. The group seems to be struggling with healthcare down -11% in the third quarter. Shares of COO are also underperforming the broader market. COO is down -10.7% year to date but it's down -23.4% from its 2015 highs. That means shares are in a bear market.

If you're not familiar with the company, here's a brief description: "The Cooper Companies, Inc. is a global medical device company publicly traded on the NYSE Euronext (COO). Cooper is dedicated to being A Quality of Life Company(TM) with a focus on delivering shareholder value. Cooper operates through two business units, CooperVision and CooperSurgical. CooperVision brings a refreshing perspective on vision care with a commitment to developing a wide range of high-quality products for contact lens wearers and providing focused practitioner support. CooperSurgical focuses on supplying women's health clinicians with market leading products and treatment options to improve the delivery of healthcare to women. Headquartered in Pleasanton, CA, Cooper has close to 10,000 employees with products sold in over 100 countries."

Earnings results have been mixed but there has been one constant over the last three quarters. COO has missed Wall Street's revenue estimate the last three quarters in a row. Plus, COO management has lowered their revenue guidance three quarters in a row.

The company's most recent earnings report was its Q3 results, announced on September 3rd. Earnings were $1.97 per share. That beat estimates by two cents but represents a -2% drop from a year ago. Revenues were down -6.8% to $461.7 million.

Shares of COO plunged on its revenue miss and lowered revenue guidance. The oversold bounce in September has failed. Now shares are poised to breakdown down to new 2015 lows and could begin its next major leg lower. The stock found support near $142.00 last month. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to buy puts at $141.75. Plan on exiting prior to November options expiration. Investors may want to limit their position size to reduce risk because COO's option spreads are a little bit wide.

- Suggested Positions -

Long NOV $140 PUT (COO151120P140) entry $4.10

10/08/15 triggered @ $141.75
Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike