Portfolio managers staged the end of quarter window dressing perfectly to provide the perfect snapshot to misrepresent their actual holdings.

Managers were able to pin the Nasdaq indexes, the market leaders over the last month, right at new highs so their tech portfolios were pretty as a picture in the quarter end statements. They also siphoned off cash from big cap positions to puff up their small cap holdings to make it appear they had a rounded portfolio with stocks of all types and sectors. The small cap indexes posted six consecutive days of gains right into the Friday close at strong resistance.

Once those Friday snapshots were taken the sell orders came out and the portfolios were undressed faster than they were dressed up. The S&P-600 lost -1.9% on Monday and the Russell 2000 -1.2%. The only other index even close to those losses was the Biotech Index with a -1.3% decline. Yes, those biotech stocks were bought to impress, just like the small caps and managers fled just as quickly on Monday.

The big cap indexes crashed at the open with the Dow down -146 and the S&P down -18 at the lows. The money flowing out of the small caps and biotechs bought the dip on the large caps and those two indexes almost made it back to positive territory. The small cap indexes saw no rebound and closed near the lows for the day.


The S&P dipped to 2,344 after closing at 2,362 on Friday. The rebound lifted it almost back to resistance at 2,360 and the S&P futures were down -5 points earlier this evening. The selling may not be over. The S&P has solid resistance at four different levels so returning dip buyers better bring help if they expect to lift the index back to new highs before the second half of the month.


The Dow remains the weakest index with a dead stop at 20,750 resistance over the last two weeks. The intraday low on Monday was 20,517 and well below the current resistance levels. The rebound was strong and erased 133 points of the decline.

Several Dow components are still overbought and could easily decline significantly. The 20,500 level is now the line in the sand on the downside and a failure there could easily hit 20,000.


Managers were able to pin the Nasdaq Composite exactly to overhead resistance and managed to close the index at a new high on Thursday. This was a perfect example of window dressing. Support is still 5,800 and the big cap techs held their gains well on Monday so the Nasdaq rally may not be over.


The potholes on the calendar are the payroll reports. If they come in super hot as they did for the prior two months, we could see some Fed heartburn and expectations for three more hikes instead of just two.

The Gorsuch vote is probably going to be on Friday and that has the potential to be a showstopper if it goes badly. A failure to be confirmed will put the Trump agenda in serious trouble.


The first two weeks of April are typically choppy but the last two weeks could be ugly. The days immediately after April 15th are normally sold as traders raise money for tax payments. The last week of the month will be filled with budget fights and a potential debt ceiling disaster with government funding set to expire on April 28th. Without some kind of last minute agreement another government shutdown could appear.

I believe any dips will be bought but we have gone a long time without any material selling. Eventually we will get a dip that last more than one day and there will be a lot of weeping and hand wringing because investors have forgotten what a correction looks like. If I were to forecast a potential trouble spot, it would be the last week of April.

Jim Brown

Send Jim an email



NEW DIRECTIONAL CALL PLAY

SBUX - Starbucks - Company Profile

Starbucks Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a roaster, marketer, and retailer of specialty coffee worldwide. The company operates in four segments: Americas; China/Asia Pacific; Europe, Middle East, and Africa; and Channel Development. Its stores offer coffee and tea beverages, packaged roasted whole bean and ground coffees, single-serve and ready-to-drink coffee and tea products, juices, and bottled water; an assortment of fresh food and snack offerings; and various food products, such as pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and lunch items, as well as beverage-making equipment and accessories. The company also licenses its trademarks through licensed stores, and grocery and national foodservice accounts. It offers its products under the Starbucks, Teavana, Tazo, Seattle's Best Coffee, Evolution Fresh, La Boulange, Ethos, Frappuccino, Starbucks Doubleshot, Starbucks Refreshers, and Starbucks VIA brand names. As of November 3, 2016, the company operated 25,085 stores. Company description from FinViz.com

I have had trouble playing Starbucks over the last couple of years. The company always seems to have everything going for it but the stock heads in the opposite direction. There have been three major sell offs since December. Maybe this time it is different.

In mid March the company disclosed a series of changes that suggest the company has finally found the key to financial success. At the company shareholder meeting the board disclosed plans to hire 240,000 additional employees by 2021. Since they only have 330,000 workers today that is a major increase. In order to do that they would have to be planning for a significant jump in revenue and profits. Of those new jobs 68,000 would be in the USA.

They also announced plans to open 12,000 new stores of which 3,400 would be in the USA. They currently have nearly 26,000 stores globally. They are also planning on implementing a new menus with sandwiches and salads along with new varieties of premium craft teas. Manu of their stores will be adding alcohol to attract the evening crowds.

They have so many current customers it is hurting business. Ordering and paying through the mobile app has become so easy and so popular, it is jamming the stores with customers and causing long wait times for drinks. Starbucks is working on a method to streamline the process and using employees to surge mobile orders into specific stores to see if the new methods are working before implementing them system wide. They are also testing walk up windows for mobile orders so the customers do not have to come into the store.

They even implemented voice ordering through Amazon's Alexa app. A survey last year found that collectively, have more money in their Starbucks accounts than they do in some banks.

Starbucks guided for $30 billion in revenue by fiscal 2019 and that target appears easily reached with all the new initiatives.

Crowded stores are a problem for consumers but when that many people are standing in line to give the retailer money, it is a good problem to have.

Earnings April 27th.

This is going to be a short fused position since earnings are less than four weeks away. However, the May option is only 79 cents and I am planning on holding over the earnings report unless we are already strongly profitable ahead of earnings. We will make that decision the week of earnings. After several quarters of disappointments, this could be a quarter with a positive surprise.

Shares are close to a new 52-week high but that also means old high resistance at $59. A break over that level could trigger some serious short covering.

Buy May $60 call, currently 79 cents, no stop loss.


If there is a trade you would like me to consider or you have comments on this newsletter please click the email link below.

Jim Brown

Send Jim an email



Current Portfolio


Open Positions

Check the graphic below for any new stop losses in bright yellow. We need to always be prepared for an unexpected decline. Any items shaded in blue were previously closed.




Current Position Changes


SPY - S&P-500 ETF
The long put position remains unopened until a trade at $232.75.


Original Play Recommendations (Alpha by Symbol)


ATVI - Activision Blizzard - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. TH Data Capital said NetEase gaming revenue weakened in Jan/Feb but they continued ot recommend a buy on the gaming stocks. Activision earnings are not until May 11th.

Shares are still trying to break out to a new high but resistance is tough.

Original Trade Description: March 6th.

Activision Blizzard, Inc. develops and publishes online, personal computer (PC), video game console, handheld, mobile, and tablet games. The company operates through two segments, Activision Publishing, Inc. and Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. The company develops, publishes, and sells interactive software products and content through retail channels or digital downloads; and downloadable content to a range of gamers. It also publishes subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing games; and strategy and role-playing games. In addition, the company maintains a proprietary online gaming service, Battle.net that facilitates the creation of user generated content, digital distribution, and online social connectivity in its games. Further, it engages in creating original film and television content; and provides warehousing, logistical, and sales distribution services to third-party publishers of interactive entertainment software, as well as manufacturers of interactive entertainment hardware products. The company serves retailers and distributors, including mass-market retailers, consumer electronics stores, discount warehouses, game specialty stores, and consumers through third-party distribution, licensing arrangements, and direct digital purchases in the United States, Canada, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, Australia, South Korea, China, and internationally. Company description from FinViz.com

Activision reported Q4 earnings of 92 cents that beat estimates for 73 cents. Revenue of $2.45 billion beat estimates for $2.35 billion.

The new Overwatch game was the fastest Blizzard title to hit 25 million registered players. Monthly active users (MAU) rose 5 million at Activision to reach 51 million. Bllizzard's MAU fell 1 million to 41 million but set a record for Q4. Kind Digital users fell from 394 million to 355 million. Since King Digital is phone games the numbers tend to be volatile. Users spent 43 billion hours playing ATVI's suite of games in Q4 compared to the 45 billion hours peopls spent watching Netflix.

Shares spiked despite weak guidance. They guided for Q1 for $1.05 billion and earnings of 18 cents. The street was looking for $1.2 billion and 31 cents. For the ful lyear they guided for $6.3 billion and $1.85 in earnings. That missed street estimates for $6.68 billion and $2.03. Fortunately, ATVI normally guides low and then crushes the estimates when they report.

Earnings May 11th.

Shares spiked from $39 to $47 on the earnings. Post earnings depression appeared for four weeks and shares sank back to $45. Over the last several days the uptrend has resumed and Monday was a new high close at $47.81.

Position 3/6/17:

Long May $50 call @ $1.29, see portfolio graphic for stop loss. .



CAH - Cardinal Health - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Cardinal went ex-dividend on Thursday and that could be causing some weakness. I lowered the stop loss from $80.25 to $79.85 because the stock is holding right on support at $80.85. Sometimes there is a short piercing of support that is followed by an immediate rebound as buy stops are triggered. Giving it that extra 40 cents could keep us from being stopped. If we are stopped then there was a real breakdown.

Original Trade Description: February 20th

Cardinal Health, Inc. operates as a healthcare services and products company worldwide. The company's Pharmaceutical segment distributes branded and generic pharmaceutical, over-the-counter healthcare, specialty pharmaceutical, and consumer products to retailers, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. It offers distribution, inventory management, data reporting, new product launch support, and contract pricing and chargeback administration services to pharmaceutical manufacturers; pharmacy and medication therapy management, and patient outcomes services to hospitals, other healthcare providers, and payers; consulting, patient support, and other services to pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare providers. This segment also operates nuclear pharmacies and cyclotron facilities that manufacture, prepare, and deliver radiopharmaceuticals, as well as operates direct-to-patient specialty pharmacies; offers logistics, marketing, and other services; and repackages generic pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter healthcare products. The company's Medical segment distributes a range of medical, surgical, and laboratory products and services to hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, clinical laboratories, and other healthcare providers, as well as to patients in the home. This segment also develops, manufactures, and sources medical and surgical products comprising surgical drapes, and gowns and apparel; exam and surgical gloves; fluid suction and collection systems; cardiovascular and endovascular products; and wound care and orthopedic products, as well as assembles and offers sterile and non-sterile procedure kits. In addition, it offers supply chain services, including spend, distribution, and inventory management services to healthcare providers; and post-acute care management, and transition services and software to hospitals, other healthcare providers, and payers. Company description from FinViz.com

Cardinal reported earnings of $1.34 compared to estimates for $1.24. Revenue of $33.1 billion just missed estimates for $33.4 billion. Pharmaceutical revenues rose 5% to $29.7 billion. Medical segment revenues rose 8% to $3.4 billion. Pharmaceutical segment profits fell 14% to $537 million because of the loss of a major customer. They expect this to be made up in future quarters by the solid performance of Red Oak Sourcing. Medical segment profits rose 50% to $159 million thanks to a higher contribution from Cardinal Health Branded products.

They guided for full year earnings of $5.35-$5.50 and growth of about 4%.

Earnings May 9th.

Analysts believe Cardinal guided conservatively and will beat guidance because of the growth in their own branded products. Shares spiked on the earnings, faded for three days and are now surging. We are going to target resistance at $85 for an exit.

Position 2/21/17:

Long Jun $82.50 calls @ $2.85, see portfolio graphic for stop loss, target $85 to exit.



HAIN - Hain Celestial - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Shares are holding at the $37 level while we wait for the next headline.

Original Trade Description: March 20th

The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. manufactures, markets, distributes, and sells organic and natural products in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Europe. Its grocery products include infant formula; infant, toddler, and kids foods; diapers and wipes; rice and grain-based products; flour and baking mixes; breads, hot and cold cereals, pasta, condiments, cooking and culinary oils, granolas, granola bars, and cereal bars; canned, chilled fresh, aseptic, and instant soups; Greek-style yogurt; chilies and packaged grains; and chocolates and nut butters, as well as plant-based beverages and frozen desserts, such as soy, rice, almond, and coconut. The company's grocery products also comprise juices, hot-eating, chilled and frozen desserts, cookies, crackers, gluten-free frozen entrees and bars, frozen pastas and ethnic meals, frozen fruits and vegetables, cut fresh fruits, refrigerated and frozen soy protein meat-alternative products, tofu, seitan and tempeh products, jams, fruit spreads and jelly, honey, marmalade, and other food products. In addition, it provides snack products, such as potato, root vegetable, and other vegetable chips, as well as straws, tortilla chips, whole grain chips, pita chips, puffs, and popcorn; specialty teas, including herbal, green, black, wellness, rooibos, and chai tea lattes; ready-to-drink beverages comprising organic kombucha and chai tea lattes; personal care products consisting of skin, hair and oral care, deodorants, baby care items, acne treatment, body washes, and sunscreens; and poultry and protein products, such as turkey and chicken products. The company sells its products through specialty and natural food distributors, supermarkets, natural food stores, mass-market and e-commerce retailers, food service channels and club, and drug and convenience stores in approximately 70 countries worldwide. Company description from FinViz.com

We played Hain before back in the fall. Basically, they have not filed their quarterly reports since last May because of a review of accounting procedures. They have suffered over the last year and have reportedly spent $20 million in the complete accounting review for years past and a review of their procedures. They are facing class action suits and SEC probes but none of these things will have a lasting impact.

They are facing a new deadline of May for their reports or they will be in default with their lenders. While they will not say when they will file the back reports, they continue to assure investors there was no wrongdoing and these types of corporate autopsies for prior years take time.

They are so undervalued compared to their peers and their historical norms, it is silly not to have a long position. Once they file the reports this will all be behind them.

I am recommending we buy the August $40 call and forget about it. At $2 it is not a lot of money and they could quickly return to the $50s once they file the reports.

Position 3/21/17:

Long Aug $40 call @ $1.97, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.



JACK - Jack in the Box - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Shares finally punched through resistance at $100. They were also up today in a down market.

Original Trade Description: March 13th.

Jack in the Box Inc. operates and franchises Jack in the Box quick-service restaurants and Qdoba Mexican Eats fast-casual restaurants primarily in the United States. As of October 02, 2016, it operated and franchised approximately 2,255 Jack in the Box restaurants in 21 states and Guam; and approximately 699 Qdoba Mexican Eats restaurants in 47 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. The company was founded in 1951. Company description from FinViz.com

Shares of JACK were crushed in late February when they reported earnings of $1.18 compared to estimates for $1.24. Revenue of $487.9 million also missed estimates for $498.5 million. They guided for the full year to earnings of $4.25 to $4.50. Analysts were expecting $4.71.

They blamed the closig of several stores, employee severance pay and lower margins at the Qdoba chain.

If you have stopped at a Qdoba recently you know they have raised prices significantly on products that are not the mainline menu items. All the prices have gone up but some as much as 30%. That means Q1 revenues and earnings should be significantly better assuming the higher prices did not run off the consumers. However, a change in a main menu food item from $3.49 to $3.79 is not a disaster. Where they raised prices the most was in the sides where prices rose from 79 cents to $1.49 on some items. That is a major increase but it would only affect a portion of their sales.

Earnings May 29th.

After earnings the stock fell from $107 to $93 and stayed there for just over a week. Over the last two weeks shares have slowly ticked higher to $98. The post earnings depression appears to have faded and investors are coming back into the previously high flyer. Finding stocks that are not overbought in this market is a tough task and a quality stock like JACK that was severely beaten up suddenly looks like a value stock.

I am not recommending the $100 strike because the options are too expensive. I am going to stretch out to the $105 strike but that means we need the rebound to continue unabated in order to be profitable.

Position 3/15/17:

Long June $105 calls @ $2.80, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.



NTCT - Net Scout - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Shares are holding over support while we wait for the market to move higher.

Original Trade Description: February 27th

NetScout Systems, Inc. provides real-time operational intelligence and performance analytics for service assurance, and cyber security solutions in the United States, Europe, Asia, and internationally. The company offers nGeniusONE management software that enables customers to predict, preempt, and resolve network and service delivery problems, as well as facilitate the optimization and capacity planning of their network infrastructures; and specialized platforms and analytic modules that enable its customers to analyze and troubleshoot traffic in radio access and Wi-Fi networks, as well as gain timely insight into services, applications, and systems. It also provides Intelligent Data Sources under the Infinistream brand name that provide real-time collection and analysis of data from the network; network monitoring fabric switching solutions that deliver targeted network traffic access to an increasing number of monitoring systems; and a suite of test access points that enable non-disruptive access to network traffic with multiple link type and speed options. In addition, the company offers portable network analysis and troubleshooting tools, which help customers identify key issues that impact network and application performance. Further, it provides security solutions that enable service providers and enterprises to protect their networks against DDoS attacks; and threat detection solutions that enable enterprises to identify and investigate advanced threat campaigns that present tangible risks to the integrity of their networks. Company description from FinViz.com

Jeff Ubben at ValueAct added NetScout as a new position with 1,645,000 shares. Ken Fisher of Fisher Asset Management owned 3.6% at the end of Q4.

The company specializes in network assurance and network performance management.

They reported earnings of 60 cents compared to estimates for 55 cents. Revenue of $311.4 million also beat the street's estimate for $310 million. They guided for full year earnings in the range of $1.87-$1.90 on revenue of $1.2 billion.

Earnings May 2nd.

Shares exploded out of the earnings report and moved to a new 52-week high at $38. They paused there for the last week but closed at a new high by a few cents on Monday. I believe a breakout is about to appear.

Position 2/28/17:

Long June $40 call @ $2.45, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.



SPY - S&P-500 SPDR ETF - ETF Profile

Comments:

I came very close to raising the entry point but decided we really need to see confirmation of a decline before we enter the long put position.

This position remains unopened until a trade at $232.75.

Original Trade Description: March 27th.

The SPDR S&P 500 trust is an exchange-traded fund which trades on the NYSE Arca under the symbol. SPDR is an acronym for the Standard & Poor's Depositary Receipts, the former name of the ETF. It is designed to track the S&P 500 stock market index.

The S&P-500 is in danger of a material drop, possibly to 2,250 or the equivalent 225 level on the SPY ETF. The chart is unsupported and we are entering into a typically volatile period of the year over the next five weeks. I am recommending we buy a put on the SPY only IF the SPY trades at 232.75. Before Monday's dip that would have been a new five-week low. Regardless of what happens on Tuesday we will be ready for the next leg down.

I believe if the market goes lower this week it could be the beginning of a major decline.

With a SPY trade at $232.75

Buy June $230 put, currently $3.97, initial stop loss $239.25



TRIP - Trip Advisor - Company Profile

Comments:

The Priceline acquisition rumors have not resulted in any announcements. Another merger Monday has passed without a deal. Shares are not declining so there is still investor interest.

Original Trade Description: March 6th.

TripAdvisor, Inc. operates as an online travel company. The company operates through two segments, Hotel and Non-Hotel. Its travel platform aggregates reviews and opinions of members about destinations, accommodations, activities and attractions, and restaurants, which enables users to research and plan their travel experiences, as well as book hotels, flights, cruises, vacation rentals, activities and attractions, and restaurant reservations. The company operates TripAdvisor-branded Websites, including tripadvisor.com in the United States; and localized versions of the Website in 48 markets and 28 languages. It also manages and operates 23 other media brands that provide travel planning resources across the travel sector, such as airfarewatchdog.com, bookingbuddy.com, citymaps.com, cruisecritic.com, familyvacationcritic.com, flipkey.com, gateguru.com, holidaylettings.co.uk, holidaywatchdog.com, housetrip.com, independenttraveler.com, jetsetter.com, thefork.com, niumba.com, onetime.com, oyster.com, seatguru.com, smartertravel.com, tingo.com, travelpod.com, tripbod.com, vacationhomerentals.com, and viator.com. The company's Websites feature 465 million reviews and opinions on 7 million places comprising 1,060,000 hotels and accommodations; 835,000 vacation rentals; 4.3 million restaurants; and 760,000 activities and attractions worldwide. Company description from FinViz.com

TRIP re;orted Q4 earnings of 16 cents that missed estimates for 30 cents. Revenue of $316 million missed estimates for $325 million. Shares fell from $52 to $40 over the three weeks since the earnings report.

TRIP missed earnings for two main reasons. They have been investing "significant" amounts of money into new processes and marketing that will pay off in the future. Secondly, they just implemented an "Instant Booking" platform that was different enough that customers became confused and they lost a lot of revenue in Q4.

However, sales on the platform improved in December and spiked higher in January as the company refined its processes and made it easier to understand. They spent money marketing the benefits of the platform and apparently business is improving significantly in Q1.

TRIP has had earnings challenged for the last three quarters as they invest heavily in developing for the future.

Earnings May 17th.

Shares appear to have bottomed at $41 having spent the last five days at that level. While we cannot be certain this is the bottom, the option is cheap enough to induce me to take the risk. Once the stock begins to bounce, it should attract some more buyers looking for a bargain. With the market starting to turn choppy, any actual decline will make stocks like this look appetizing since they have already been crushed.

Update 3/13/17: Shares spiked on Wednesday to $44 after Cowen said the chairman's comments the prior week suggested there were some takeover conversations in progress. The chairman said the "company's appeal to a potential buyer acts as a floor on the stock." He named Facebook, Amazon and Alibaba as potential buyers. That is very unusual for a board member to suggest there may be interest by other parties and then name them. Another analyst said the comments were actually negative since the board member was using the takeover appeal to "prop up the stock." Personally, I hope the chairman stimulated some interest by those companies.

Position 3/7/17:

Long June $45 call @ $2.10, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.



UBNT - Ubiquiti Networks - Company Profile

Comments:

The company announced a new wall mounted WiFi access point to provide entire room coverage and includes two gigabit ethernet ports in addition to the WiFi. The device uses the 5 Ghz spectrum and allows unlimited scalability for hospitals, hotels, schools and other businesses from one room to thousands.

Original Trade Description: March 20th.

Ubiquiti Networks, Inc. develops networking technology for service providers and enterprises worldwide. The company's service provider product platforms offer carrier-class network infrastructure for fixed wireless broadband, wireless backhaul systems, and routing; and enterprise product platforms provide wireless LAN infrastructure, video surveillance products, switching and routing solutions, and machine-to-machine communication components. Its products and solutions include radios, antennas, software, communications protocols, and management tools designed to deliver carrier and enterprise class wireless broadband access and other services in the unlicensed RF spectrum. The company also provides technology platforms, such as airMAX platform, which includes proprietary protocols that contain technologies for minimizing signal noise; EdgeMAX, a disruptive software and system routing platform; AirFiber, a point-to-point radio system; and sunMAX, an end-to-end plug and play solar solution. In addition, it offers UniFi Enterprise Wi-Fi System that includes Wi-Fi certified hardware with a software based management controller; UniFi Video IP cameras for data transmission and power-over-Ethernet; UniFi Switches that deliver performance, switching, and PoE+ support for enterprise networks; and UniFi Security Gateway that extends the UniFi enterprise solutions to provide routing and network security. Further, the company provides mFi that consists of hardware sensors, power devices, and management software, which allow devices to be monitored and controlled remotely through Wi-Fi; and develops AmpliFi platform, a Wi-Fi system solution designed to serve connected home. It also offers embedded radio products; and mounting brackets, cables, and power Ethernet adapters. Company description from FinViz.com

UBNT shares were crushed in February from $64 to $46 when they reported earnings of 71 cents that missed estimates for 75 cents. However, revenue of $213.5 million blew past estimates for $205 million. They ended the quarter with $612.7 million in cash and long-term debt of $184.2 million.

Earnings rose 24.1% and revenues by 31.9% but that was not good enough for investors. Revenue in the enterprise technology segment roas 87.4% to $98 million thanks to the new UniFi product family. North American revenues rose 64.8% and European/Middle East/Africa rose 26.9% and Asia Pacific 11.5%. South America was the weak spot with a 17.9% decline.

Earnings May 11th.

The stock was crushed because UBNT has a habit of beating on earnings and the unexpected decline was a shock. However, business is great and they are launching new products that are significantly faster.

I believe the massive $18 drop was overdone and shares are rising again. Analyst expectations are still bullish and only one downgraded the stock after earnings.

Position 3/21/17:

Long June $55 call @ $2.90, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.



Prices Quoted in Newsletter

At Option Investor, we have a long-standing policy prohibiting the editors and staff from actually trading the individual recommendations in order to conform to SEC rules concerning trades.

The prices quoted in the newsletter are the end of day prices in most cases.

When discussing fills or stops the prices quoted are the bid/ask at the time the entry trigger or exit stop is hit. This is NOT a price that someone on staff actually got using a live order.

For entry/exit points at the market open the prices quoted will be the opening print. The majority of the time readers are able to get a better fill than the opening print because of market maker bias at the open.

For trades with an opening qualification the prices quoted will be the bid/ask at the time the qualification was met.

All of these rules normally produce worse prices than an active trader would normally get. Because they are standardized there may be some cases where a price quoted was better than an actual fill. If you received a price that was dramatically different than what was quoted please let us know.