Editors Note:

The major indexes all closed positive but some only fractionally higher. The Dow gapped lower at the open but recovered to move slightly above prior short term resistance at 22,360. The index is still short of a new high. The Nasdaq Composite gained only 0.19 of a point and failed to retest resistance at 6,460.

The S&P gained 3 points to edge just slightly over short-term resistance at 2,508. The Russell 2000 added 4 points to the whopping 28 point gain from Wednesday. It was a good day in the market but there were plenty of cross currents.

Yesterday we were stopped out of AbbVie. Today the stock gained 5% on the delay in a generic Humira clone that was a key point in the recommendation. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.



Current Portfolio


Stop Loss Updates

Check the graphic below for any new stop losses in bright yellow. We need to always be prepared for an unexpected decline.


Profit Targets

Check the graphic below for any profit stops in green. We need to always be prepared for a profit exit at resistance.





Current Position Changes


ADBE - Adobe Systems
The long call position was entered at the open.

MNK - Mallinckrodt
The long put position was stopped at $36.25.



If you are looking for a different type of option strategy, try these newsletters:

Credit spreads and naked puts = OptionWriter

Long term option investments = LEAPS Investor

3-6 month Option Trades = Ultimate Investor

Iron Condors = Couch Potato Trader

Long and short equity trades = Premier Investor



BULLISH Play Updates

AAPL - Apple Inc - Company Profile

Comments:

Apple shares faded slightly as the stories about production delays continued to make headlines.

Original Trade Description: Sept 23rd.

Apple Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players to consumers, small and mid-sized businesses, and education, enterprise, and government customers worldwide. The company also sells related software, services, accessories, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications. It offers iPhone, a line of smartphones; iPad, a line of multi-purpose tablets; and Mac, a line of desktop and portable personal computers. The company also provides iLife, a consumer-oriented digital lifestyle software application suite; iWork, an integrated productivity suite that helps users create, present, and publish documents, presentations, and spreadsheets; and other application software, such as Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro X, and FileMaker Pro. In addition, it offers Apple TV that connects to consumers' TV and enables them to access digital content directly for streaming high definition video, playing music and games, and viewing photos; Apple Watch, a personal electronic device; and iPod, a line of portable digital music and media players. Further, the company sells Apple-branded and third-party Mac-compatible, and iOS-compatible accessories, such as headphones, displays, storage devices, Beats products, and other connectivity and computing products and supplies. Additionally, it offers iCloud, a cloud service; AppleCare that offers support options for its customers; and Apple Pay, a mobile payment service. The company sells and delivers digital content and applications through the iTunes Store, App Store, Mac App Store, TV App Store, iBooks Store, and Apple Music. Company description from FinViz.com.

Earnings October 31st.

Apple shares have fallen $13 since the September 1st high and $12 since the product announcement on September 12th. The shares have fallen into a cluster of converging support levels and the post announcement decline should be "about" over. Nobody will know for sure until the rebound begins.

After the product announcement Apple reaffirmed its guidance saying we planned for the recent event surrounding the production and release of the new products when giving the prior guidance. Apple rarely misses guidance. Knowing they were having production problems and staggered release they probably low-balled the number.

They are expected to sell 85 million phones in Q4. More than 66% of iPhone users have phones older than 2 years. They will have five active models for sale in Q4. They have the 7, 7+, 8, 8+ and the X plus they still have some of the older, cheaper models they are selling overseas in places like India. The new Watch could be the model that actually turns the Watch into its own revenue category instead of being lumped into the "other" category.

I have been negative on Apple for the last three weeks and the decline is going as expected. I believe the stock has reached a level where buyers will appear. There could still be several dollars of decline but the rebound could be just as quick once it appears to have bottomed.

I am recommending a November spread to reduce our risk and depending on the stock price before earnings, we might hold over the event. That is where they will give sales numbers and Q4 guidance and they could be strong.

Update 9/26/17: Raymond James raised their price target to $180 and increased expectations for gross margins and average selling price. The analyst does not expect this to boost earnings until Q2-2018. The analyst said the decline was a buying opportunity.

Position 9/25/17:

Long Nov $155 call @ $3.65, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Short Nov $165 call @ $1.27, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Net debit $2.38.


ADBE - Adobe Systems - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Shares posted a minor gain to open the position.

Original Trade Description: Sept 27th.

Adobe Systems Incorporated operates as a diversified software company worldwide. Its Digital Media segment provides tools and solutions that enable individuals, small and medium businesses, and enterprises to create, publish, promote, and monetize their digital content. This segment's flagship product is Creative Cloud, a subscription service that allows customers to download and install the latest versions of its creative products. This segment serves traditional content creators, Web application developers, and digital media professionals, as well as their management in marketing departments and agencies, companies, and publishers. The company's Digital Marketing segment offers solutions for how digital advertising and marketing are created, managed, executed, measured, and optimized. This segment provides analytics, social marketing, targeting, advertising and media optimization, digital experience management, cross-channel campaign management, and audience management solutions, as well as video delivery and monetization to digital marketers, advertisers, publishers, merchandisers, Web analysts, chief marketing officers, chief information officers, and chief revenue officers. Its Print and Publishing segment offers products and services, such as eLearning solutions, technical document publishing, Web application development, and high-end printing, as well as publishing needs of technical and business, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) printing businesses. The company markets and licenses its products and services directly to enterprise customers through its sales force, as well as to end-users through app stores and through its Website at adobe.com. It also distributes products and services through a network of distributors, value-added resellers, systems integrators, independent software vendors, retailers, and OEMs. Company description from FinViz.com.

Adobe reported earnings of $1.10, up 47%, on record revenue growth of $1.84 billion, up 26%. Analysts were expecting $1.01 and $1.82 billion. The company said they added a record number of new subscribers for Creative Cloud during the quarter. Deferred revenue rose to a record $2.2 billion.

The stock was up 52% for the year prior to earnings. Shares were crushed because they had the audacity to guide for the current quarter for revenue of $1.95 billion which matched analyst estimates.

Keybanc reiterated their buy rating and $174 price target. Canaccord Genuity reiterated a buy rating and raised the price target to $170.

Expected earnings Dec 19th.

Shares have begun to rebound from the $144 post earnings low. They were $156 before earnings. The risk here should be minimal.

Position 9/28/17:

Long Nov $150 call @ $2.89, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


CAT - Caterpillar - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. New closing high.

Original Trade Description: Aug 29th.

Caterpillar Inc. manufactures and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives for heavy and general construction, rental, quarry, aggregate, mining, waste, material handling, oil and gas, power generation, marine, rail, and industrial markets. Its Construction Industries segment offers backhoe, compact, track-type, small and medium wheel, knuckleboom, and skid steer loaders; small and medium track-type, and site prep tractors; mini, wheel, forestry, small, medium, and large track excavators; and motorgraders, pipelayers, telehandlers, cold planers, asphalt pavers, compactors, road reclaimers, and wheel and track skidders and feller bunchers. The company's Resource Industries segment provides electric rope and hydraulic shovel, landfill and soil compactor, dragline, large wheel loader, machinery component, track and rotary drill, electronics and control system, work tool, hard rock vehicle and continuous mining system, scoop and hauler, wheel tractor scraper, large track-type tractor, and wheel dozer products; longwall, highwall, and continuous miners; and mining, off-highway, and articulated trucks. Its Energy & Transportation segment offers reciprocating engine powered generator set and engine, integrated system, turbine, centrifugal gas compressor, diesel-electric locomotive and component, and other rail-related products and services. The company's Financial Products segment offers finance for Caterpillar equipment, machinery, and engines, as well as dealers; property, casualty, life, accident, and health insurance; and insurance brokerage services, as well as purchases short-term trade receivables. Its All Other operating segments provides parts distribution and digital investments services. Company description from FinViz.com.

CAT has been alternately ignored or talked down for the last couple years but the shares keep rising. Part of the recent gains came from the guidance. The company has been bitten by the global slowdown in construction since the financial crisis. Then it was hit by the slowdown in the energy sector. Every expected rebound falied to appear and CAT continued to give cautious guidance. That changed over the last several months.

The global economy is rebounding. There are massive construction projects now underway in China and Asia. The Eurozone is also seeing a resurgence in consrtuction. Commodity metals are booming and mines are reopening shuttered capacity and opening new mines. Everything is suddenly positive for CAT.

In December they guided for full year 2017 revenues of $38 billion "as a reasonable midpoint expectation." Analyst estimates for earnings of $3.25 were "too optimistic" according to CAT.

In January they guided for $36-$39 billion in revenue and $2.90 in earnings.

In April they guided for $38-$41 billion in revenue and $3.75 in earnings.

In July they guided for $42-$44 billion in revenue and $5 in earnings.

In April they guided for revenue from construction at flat to 5%. In July they guided for 10% to 15% growth.

In April they guided for revenue from mining at 10% to 15%. In July they guided for 20% to 25% growth.

In April they guided for energy revenue at flat to 5%. In July they raised it to 5% to 10%.

After the devastation in Houston, there were new estimates from analysts today for 17% or higher revenue growth in construction equipment.

Shares spiked at the open to a new high before fading slightly with the market. I believe revenue estimates will continue to rise because they are running out of year and their conservative guidance will have to become more accurate.

Earnings October 24th.

CAT is reactive to Dow movement but shares have ignored the recent Dow weakness. Today's close at $116.01 is a record high.

Update 9/13/17: In Tuesday's investor day meeting the new CEO said they were targeting $55 billion in revenue in 2018 with margins of 14%-17% compared to 12% in 2017. That would take them back to 2014 levels before the bear market in commodity/energy began. That is 28% above 2017 levels. He was careful not to call it a target but said that level was achievable if the current rebound in mining, energy and construction continued.

Update 9/18/17: UBS upgraded CAT from neutral to buy and raised the price target from $116 to $140. The analyst said the growing cash position, rising earnings and revenue projections were all bullish. CAT is expected to produce $10 billion in free cash flow over the next two years and return most of that to investors. UBS said a survey of 50 mining companies found that 60% expected to hike new equipment budgets in 2018 and 50% expect to rebuild their entire fleet.

Update 9/21/17: CAT reported a global increase in machine sales of 11% for August, down 1% from July. Total sales in Asia and the Pacific surged 44%, down 1% from July. Despite the minor declines, the business is very strong.

Position 8/30/17:

Long Nov $120 call @ $2.75, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


FB - Facebook - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news but shares gained another buck as it approaches resistance at $170.

Original Trade Description: Sept 26th.

Facebook, Inc. provides various products to connect and share through mobile devices, personal computers, and other surfaces worldwide. Its solutions include Facebook Website and mobile application that enables people to connect, share, discover, and communicate each other on mobile devices and personal computers; Instagram, a mobile application that enables people to take photos or videos, customize them with filter effects, and share them with friends and followers in a photo feed or send them directly to friends; Messenger, a messaging application to communicate with people and businesses across platforms and devices; and WhatsApp Messenger, a mobile messaging application. The company also offers Oculus virtual reality technology and content platform, which allow people to enter an immersive and interactive environment to play games, consume content, and connect with others. Company description from FinViz.com.

Facebook fell hard on Monday with a nearly $8 drop. That knocked the stock back to $161.56 or a -6.88% decline from its highs. On Tuesday Facebook announced they had signed a long-term deal with the NFL to broadcast 10 min recaps of all 256 MFL games this season. The broadcast will be on Facebook's Watch channel and will be a major draw to that site. A lot of people follow multiple teams but they probably only get highlights on their local team on local TV. In this format they can get a comprehensive recap of every game every week.

Earnings are expected Nov 1st.

Facebook has been posting strong earnings beats and growing demographics. I expect that again in the Q3 report.

I am recommending the December options because in a spread format they are actually cheaper. The close to the money November options are expensive but options slightly out of the money are very cheap. The OTM December options have significant value that makes the spread work.

A $170 Nov call is $4.50. The Dec $170-$185 spread is $4.16 and we have an extra month of time if we decide to use it. The longer dated options will rise faster and retain their value better than the short term November strikes.

Because of the market weakness I am recommending an entry trigger at $165.50.

Update 9/27/17: Facebook gapped open to $165.90 and above our entry trigger at $165.50. Citigroup said Q3 ad revenue will rise 47%. Citi said one agency that manages $1 billion in spending on social platforms said combined spending on Facebook and Instagram rose 88% in July and 73% in August. Another agency said Facebook spending continued to rise because of higher prices and more dynamic ad units. In addition the percentage of video ads continues to increase.

Position 9/27/17:
Long Dec $170 call @ $6.17, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Short Dec $185 call @ $1.79, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Net debit $4.38.


TER - Teradyne - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Shares rallied to a new closing high and saw a solid close over $36.

Original Trade Description: Aug 30th.

Teradyne is a leading supplier of automation equipment for test and industrial applications. Teradyne Automatic Test Equipment (ATE) is used to test semiconductors, wireless products, data storage and complex electronic systems which serve consumer, communications, industrial and government customers. Our Industrial Automation products include collaborative robots used by global manufacturing and light industrial customers to improve quality and increase manufacturing efficiency. In 2016, Teradyne had revenue of $1.75 billion and currently employs approximately 4,400 people worldwide. Company description from Teradyne.

For Q2 they reported earnings of 90 cents compared to estimates for 86 cents. Revenue of $696.9 million beat estimates for $684.2 million. They raised revenue guidance to $455-$485 million and analysts were expecting $445 million.

In just the last 30 days analyst estimates for Q3 have risen from 38 cents to 43 cents. Full year estimates have risen from $1.88 t $1.97 per share. Zacks rates the Electronics Testing Equipment sector as #6 out of 250 industry sectors. Every new electronic device manufactured needs a new set of testing equipment.

Earnings October 26th.

Shares have been stuck under resistance at $35 for six weeks and broke out today. Analysts believe they will continue higher and make new highs. The $36 level is the next resistance.

Position 8/31/17:

Long Oct $37 call @ .90, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


VIX - Volatility Index - Index Profile

Comments:

Another interesting day with the Dow gapping lower but moving higher while the Nasdaq was flat. There is definitely some rotation in progress.

If we do not get any volatility by Oct 6th, I am going to close the position. This week and the next two weeks are typically the most volatile of the year.

We still have plenty of time. North Korea, Iran and Venezuela are still a factor and could erupt at any time.

This is the fourth longest period in history of the markets without a 5% decline. While it does not look likely today, it could happen at any time.

Original Trade Description: July 12th.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX Index) is a key measure of market expectations of near-term volatility conveyed by S&P 500 stock index option prices. Since its introduction in 1993, the VIX Index has been considered by many to be the world's premier barometer of investor sentiment and market volatility. Several investors expressed interest in trading instruments related to the market's expectation of future volatility, and so VX futures were introduced in 2004, and VIX options were introduced in 2006.

The VIX closed at a 24-year low on July 14th at 9.51. The index has been spending a lot of time under 10 over the last three months and this is highly abnormal. The VIX typically trades up to 20 or more three times a year or more. That has not happen since the days before the election. This period of abnormal volatility WILL eventually end.

With the Trump administration getting more desperate to achieve some legislative goals there is always the risk they will go to extremes to get them accomplished. Add in the unknown but rapidly expanding Russian probes and anything is possible. We saw the Dow fall triple digits intraday on just the release of 5 emails from Trump Jr. If the probe actually uncovered something material, it could cause a major market meltdown.

The debt ceiling and the budget expire on Sept 31st. If Congress cannot get a budget passed and raise the debt ceiling, the government would shut down on October 1st. We have seen this before. The last time it happened the U.S. lost its AAA credit rating and the market declined sharply for more than a week.

What about North Korea? Military force could be used at any time but North Korea seems dead set on testing another nuke and expanding its ICBM tests. If fighting breaks out between the U.S. and North Korea it would cause a significant market decline because of the geopolitical concerns and the potential loss of life in Seoul, South Korea.

Even if none of those events occurred, there is always the risk of a 10% market decline just because we have not had one in a very long time. With August and September the worst months of the year for the market, the potential for a correction this year could be higher than normal. The Nasdaq is already up 18% and the Dow 9% for the year. The FAANG stocks are at record highs, which many say are unsupported by fundamentals.

There are so many potential opportunities for a market disaster. It only makes sense to take out some protection while the volatility is at record lows. I am recommending a November call to get us past the Aug/Sep period and the potential for a debt ceiling event in early October.

Position 7/20/17:

Long Nov $15 call @ $1.85, no stop loss, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


XRAY - Dentsply Sirona Inc - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Shares hit a new 6-week intraday high but faded at the close.

Original Trade Description: Sept 9th.

DENTSPLY SIRONA Inc. designs, develops, manufactures, and markets various dental and oral health products, and other consumable healthcare products primarily for the professional dental market worldwide. It operates through two segments, Dental and Healthcare Consumables; and Technologies. The company provides dental consumable products, including endodontic instruments and materials, dental anesthetics, prophylaxis pastes, dental sealants, impression materials, restorative materials, tooth whiteners, and topical fluoride products; and small equipment products comprising dental hand pieces, intraoral curing light systems, dental diagnostic systems, and ultrasonic scalers and polishers. It also offers dental laboratory products, such as dental prosthetics that include artificial teeth, precious metal dental alloys, dental ceramics, and crown and bridge materials. In addition, the company provides dental equipment, such as treatment centers, imaging equipment, and computer aided design and machining systems for dental practitioners and laboratories; and dental implants and related scanning equipment, treatment software, and orthodontic appliances for dental practitioners and specialists, and dental laboratories. Further, it offers healthcare consumable products, such as urology catheters, various surgical products, medical drills, and other non-medical products. DENTSPLY SIRONA Inc. markets and sells its dental products through distributors, dealers, and importers to dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental laboratories, and dental schools; and urology products directly to patients, as well as through distributors to urologists, urology nurses, and general practitioners. Company description from FinViz.com.

Dentsply reported Q2 earnings of 65 cents that missed estimates by a penny. Revenue of $992.7 million missed the estimate for 1,004 million. Sales in the U.S. fell 9.7% but sales in Europe rose 2.5%. They guided for the full year for earnings of $2.65-$2.75.

The stock was crushed on the miss with a $9 drop over the following week.

However, there was a reason for the miss. Effective September 1st, they moved from a single distributor to multiple distributors. The existing distributor slowed purchases in the quarter in order to reduce inventory before the change in the distribution model.

The CEO said "In September, we should begin to benefit from the expanded distribution of our equipment in North America which should drive growth in the back half of this year and beyond. As we work through the distribution transition and integration initiatives, we are strengthening our foundation for the future. We believe that this should translate into more consistent growth and strong double digit earnings growth in the back half of the year creating momentum exiting the year going into 2018."

Shares have begun to rebound and should return to their highs on the "double digit earnings growth" guidance.

Earnings Nov 8th.

There are no Nov/Dec options. I am using the January but just because we buy time does not mean we have to use it.

Position 9/11/17:

Long Jan $60 call @ $2.70, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.



BEARISH Play Updates (Alpha by Symbol)

MNK - Mallinckrodt - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Shares spiked at the open to stop us out.

Original Trade Description: August 19th.

Mallinckrodt public limited company develops, manufactures, markets, and distributes branded and generic specialty pharmaceutical products and therapies in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and internationally. The company's Specialty Brands segment markets branded pharmaceutical products for autoimmune and rare diseases, including the specialty areas of neurology, rheumatology, nephrology, ophthalmology, and pulmonology; and immunotherapy and neonatal respiratory critical care therapies, as well as analgesics and hemostasis products, and central nervous system drugs. This segment offers Acthar, an injectable drug for various indications, such as neurology, rheumatology, nephrology, and pulmonology; Ofirmev, an intravenous formulation of acetaminophen for pain management; Inomax for inhalation; Therakos, an immunotherapy treatment platform; and Exalgo, a form of hydromorphone. It is also developing StrataGraft, a full-thickness product for severe burns and other complex skin defects. Its Specialty Generics segment provides specialty generic pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) consisting of hydrocodone and hydrocodone-containing tablets; oxycodone and oxycodone-containing tablets; methylphenidate HCl extended-release tablets; and other controlled substances, including acetaminophen products. The company markets its branded products to physicians, pharmacists, pharmacy buyers, hospital procurement departments, ambulatory surgical centers, and specialty pharmacies. It distributes its branded and generic products through independent channels, including wholesale drug distributors, specialty pharmaceutical distributors, retail pharmacy chains, hospital networks, ambulatory surgical centers, and governmental agencies; and APIs directly or through distributors to other pharmaceutical companies. Company description from FinViz.com.

MNK is in trouble from multiple angles. Early this month a District Court invalidated 11 patents for the drug Inomax as competing companies prepare to launch generic copies. MNK said they planned to appeal but the patents expire anyway next October so it is only about 12 months before the onslaught of generic copies. Inomax represents 15% of revenue for MNK. The next generic challenge for MNK is the drug Acthar, which accounts for more than 50% of their revenue.

MNK is also under investigation on its marketing of opioid medications. States are becoming stricter about how companies sell these drugs off label. For instance, if a drug is approved for post surgical pain and the company also markets it for back pain or arthritis that is called off label. It is an effort to convert an entirely new class of patients into addicts.

Nobody knows if MNK is guilty of anything but the Missouri Atty General is expanding their probe.

Earnings Nov 7th.

Shares have been declining for months but they accelerated after the court ruling on Sept 1st. They closed at a historic low on Monday.

The November options just appeared today and the premiums are high and wide. I am going to reach out to the January puts. Just because we are buying time does not mean we have to use it.

Position 9/19/17:

Closed 9/28: Long Jan $30 put @ $2.30, exit $1.23, -1.07 loss.




If you like the trade setups you have been receiving and you are on a free trial then now is the time to subscribe. Don't wait until you miss a newsletter to decide you want to take the plunge.

subscribe now