Option Investor

Daily Newsletter, Wednesday, 2/8/2012

Table of Contents

  1. Market Wrap
  2. New Option Plays
  3. In Play Updates and Reviews

Market Wrap

Dip-Buying Pattern Continues

by Keene Little

Click here to email Keene Little
Market Stats

The rally from November, and especially from December, has many (if not most) proclaiming we're in a new bull market. They base this of course on the stock market and its rally. There are many indicators showing price is not matched by strength indicators, which is at least a caution flag at the moment. Earnings do not support a stock market rally. Slowing economies, including China and Europe, do not support a stock market rally. So why is it rallying so strong? This is what has many, bulls and bears alike, wondering what's going on.

Because most of the rally since December has occurred in the overnight futures it may have been more short covering than actual buying and that would leave a big air pocket beneath us. There's been a lot of speculation as to why the market has rallied in the face of weakening momentum and such low volume. Many credit the liquidity push by the central banks, with much of the European money making it into the stock market and much of that going into the relative safety of U.S. stocks and bonds. With an election year in the U.S. it has many believing the Fed will continue to pump money into the economy (and stock market) until the November election and then worry about draining liquidity after the election. The theory is that Bernanke and his cohorts, not to mention a slew of politicians, would like to keep their jobs and creating more money is the way to do it, inflation be damned.

While I do not doubt the validity of newly created money making its way into the stock market I think the rally in the last couple of months could be more a result of large institutions covering their hedge short positions, which would explain the overnight rallies in the futures, creating the morning gaps. Other than those gaps there hasn't been much for the bulls to crow about. And that's what makes the market vulnerable to a disconnect to the downside.

To understand what might be happening, we need to understand that the major industrialized nations continue to go through a deleveraging process, which follows a huge increase in a credit-based economy that peaked in the mid 2000's. If the central banks could stop this deleveraging process (and it is a process that will take many more years) we would not have had the credit freeze and market crash like we did in 2008. It will likely happen again and I think it will be within the first half of this year. It will be part of the process of showing the Fed's impotence (which is part of a bear market cycle where the trusted institutions, such as governments and central banks, lose the faith of their supporters).

Part of what caused the credit freeze is that the banks themselves did not have enough cash. This is of course what the Fed and other central banks are trying to rectify right now with all their money printing. But the banks are so highly leveraged (30:1 and more) with very weak asset prices (which they're carrying on their books at make-t0-believe values) and any demands for cash combined with a further drop in the value of their assets will create a situation where the banks are going to again have to sell a lot of those assets at deflated values, which will include more of their stock (at lower prices). When leveraged 30:1 it only requires about a 3% drop in the value of their assets to wipe them out. This is basically what happened in 2008 and the Fed doesn't have the power to stop it from happening. They simply can't produce enough money to overwhelm the credit destruction. History is quite clear here -- never before, not once, has a country inflated it's way out of over indebtedness.

One way the banks control their risk is to hedge their assets with short positions, usually in the futures market. So what happens when customers (retail, business or other banks) need to withdraw large sums of money? To come up with the cash the bank has to sell assets and if they no longer have an asset then they no longer need a hedge on it. Covering the short futures position creates buying demand and that could be a lot of what we're seeing in the overnight equities futures -- a gap up in the morning but no follow-through buying, hence the stair-step move higher that we're seeing.

In theory a run on the banks could result in a stock market rally, but only if the banks were the only ones selling and covering their short positions. I think the larger picture says asset sales would be joined by other people and institutions and could result in a self-reinforcing cycle. But the point is the current stock market rally could be more a result of what the banks are doing and not necessarily from the helping hand of the Fed under the market. It's certainly a different time and it makes it that much more difficult to figure out what's happening.

Clearly the market has become very overbought and bullish sentiment, by various measures, is extreme. We're seeing long-term bears throwing in the towel and big money saying they're jumping in long with an expectation for higher prices. Todd Harrison at Minyanville wrote an interesting piece this morning about many "smart" investors declaring now is the time to get fully invested in the stock market. Even "Dr. Doom" Roubini himself announced it's time to give up being a bear and get bullish (I can't help but wonder what he might really be up to).

But as Harrison correctly noted, many of the big names in money management were declaring it was time to bail in December. Looking at a chart of the stock market since the December 19th low one could say "smart" money made a bad call then and it's therefore questionable how smart their call now is to get 100% invested, which is what Blackrock's CEO Larry Fink is now recommending. The moniker "smart money" might not be accurate to use anymore. Or are they in fact pretty smart with these calls?

Bullish sentiment is through the roof and by most measurements, such as bullish percentages and numbers of stocks above their 50-dma (at levels of previous major market highs), we have a market that is much closer to an important top than a bottom. So the timing of the calls by "smart" money seems questionable. It would be purely guesswork on my part but some of these large money managers might have an agenda to get people to help them at market turns. If smart money can get the retail crowd to sell at the bottom, with big money buying it from them at low prices, it works to panic out the retail traders ("sell everything NOW!"). Then at the top when most are feeling bullish, smart money declares it's the best time to buy for a further rally. The retail crowd then buys the inventory from the smart money managers at top prices. Hmm, smart money indeed.

Now I know I'm just being cynical (wink) because I know we have smart money managers who are only looking out for the best interests of the public when they announce their predictions on CNBC so I'm sure my guessing is completely wrong. There's a reason why I tell traders to stop listening to CNBC. You will be wrong at the turns by listening to them and based on this theory, the calls to buy here is your signal to do exactly the opposite.

By the way, one smart market analyst, John Hussman, predicts a 25% market decline this year as the economy slips into a recession. That would drop the S&P 500 from 1350 down to about 1010, which was the June 2010 low. In an article in moneynews.com, author Forrest Jones did a good job summarizing Hussman's opinion about the market, why analysts miss the turns (like the retail crowd) and how a decline in spending (the American public is not in the mood for more government spending) will "help" the economy into a recession. As for his prediction for a 25% decline, I'll show a similar projection with the kind of pattern that I think is playing out.

Moving to the charts, my best guess on the wave pattern for the major indexes is a big A-B-C pullback pattern from the July highs (which will be part of a larger corrective pattern for a decline over the next 18 months or so). The current rally has pushed above the July highs but in what's called an expanded flat correction this is what is typically seen. It's one reason why people get so bullish during the b-wave correction that makes a new high but then get scared out of their positions in the next leg down, the c-wave, which is typically very strong and nearly straight down. The c-wave typically projects to 162% of the a-wave and I'll show those projections on the weekly charts reviewed tonight.

Starting with the DOW's weekly chart, an a-b-c decline from May to August (for wave A), has been followed by a double zigzag bounce (two a-b-c's separated by an x-wave, and labeled w-x-y) to the current high in wave B. Two equal legs up for the two a-b-c moves (waves w and y) that make up wave-B is at 12912, which crosses the broken uptrend line from July 2009 through the August 2011 low this week. It makes for a very good setup to complete the rally and start back down. A 162% projection for the c-wave down is to about 9200, although I'm showing a decline to the 50% retracement of the 2009-2011 rally at 9673, which would also be a test of the June 2010 low.

Dow Industrials, INDU, Weekly chart

The DOW's daily chart below shows how it has reacted to the broken uptrend line when tested on January 26th and again last Friday and this week. The May 2011 high at 12876 is of course resistance as well and the 12912 projection is only 9 points above Tuesday's high. As noted on the chart, the new highs are showing bearish divergence on MACD while RSI has reached a level not seen since the May 2011 high. That's not a good combination for those being enticed to buy into this rally here.

Dow Industrials, INDU, Daily chart

Key Levels for SPX:
- bullish above 12,912
- bearish below 12,500

On the SPX daily chart below I'm showing a tight parallel up-channel for the rally from late December that's inside a rising wedge pattern, the top of which is the trend line from the December 5th high. Since last Friday SPX has been pressed up to the top of its parallel up-channel and its rising wedge. If the bulls can at least keep the bears at buy (with a continuation of the dip buying), there is obviously upside potential to the May high near 1370. It takes a break below 1300 to confirm the high is likely in place.

S&P 500, SPX, Daily chart

Key Levels for DOW:
- bullish above 1353
- bearish below 1300

Looking closer at the leg up from the end of January, I've outlined in bold a smaller rising wedge pattern within the larger one shown on the daily chart above. Based on the wave relationships in the move up from January 30th there are two price projections, at 1350.61 and 1351.60, which I've been watching for a possible high. Today's high at 1351 is "there." A drop from here tomorrow that breaks this morning's low near 1342 would indicate the high is probably in. If it pushes a little higher Thursday morning watch for a test of the top of the rising wedge near 1353. If it can push higher than 1353 it could head for the next price projection near 1360.

S&P 500, SPX, 30-min chart

There's another reason why SPX 1353 could be an important level to watch. The October low was near 1075 and two circles around on the Sof9 chart (720 degrees) is 1353 and it therefore "vibrates" off 1075, which is interesting since it could encompass the entire correction to last year's decline.

Gann Square of Nine chart (lower section)

A look at the weekly charts for the two tech indexes shows us an interesting setup here this week. It's a setup for a reversal but the bears are going to have to jump on it. Starting with the Nasdaq, there is an uptrend line from March 2009 through its July 2010 low that is potentially important here. That uptrend line was broken last August and tested at the October 27th high. It reacted from that touch as if it tested an electric fence. Now it's back for another test and obviously higher up. So far it hasn't had the same bearish reaction but with the market being so overbought and with the bearish divergence on RSI I'm thinking the bears could have a golden opportunity here. The 162% projection for the c-wave in the A-B-C pullback pattern from July points to a strong decline to the June 2010 low, near 2060.

Nasdaq, COMPQ, Weekly chart

The weekly chart of the NDX shows two price projections that are of interest. The first is a projection to 2528.31 for two equal legs up from its August low (wave-w equal to wave-y). That level was achieved last Friday. The 2nd projection is a 127% extension of the July-August decline, at 2547.32, and is a common reversal Fib level when it's the b-wave of an expanded flat correction. When the b-wave (the move up from August) extends beyond the start of the a-wave (the July-August leg down) it tends to get most feeling very bullish because of the new high. But then the c-wave (the next wave down) creates a bull trap and the frantic selling from the disappointment creates the strong c-wave down. A 162% of the a-wave gives us a downside projection near 1900 assuming it will start down from near here. That downside projection lands on top of the 38% retracement of the 2009-2011 rally (and would likely be a test of the 200-week MA). The only thing the bears need is for the market to start back down.

Nasdaq-100, NDX, Weekly chart

Key Levels for NDX:
- bullish above 2550
- bearish below 2500

The RUT has pushed up to its broken uptrend line from 2009-2010 and is just shy of a price projection at 833.91 where it has two equal legs up from October (last Friday's high was 833.02 and it has not been able to exceed that, showing weakness relative to the others and possibly our canary in the coal mine). Of all the indices this one could still easily be considered as having a 1st wave down last year and a 2nd wave correction for the October-February rally. But whether it's a c-wave or a 3rd wave move down from here, both point to strong selling that should easily break below the October low. Caveat emptor.

Russell-2000, RUT, Weekly chart

Key Levels for RUT:
- bullish above 834
- bearish below 800

The banks have been the beneficiaries of the hype and hope that Greece will get its next bailout and avoid bankruptcy (at least for now). With that being priced in, and with BKX pushed up against resistance, I can't help but wonder if the next word we hear is a failure to reach an agreement with Greece. Technical setups for a reversal in the market are usually just waiting for a catalyst to set off the reaction. BKX has nuzzled up to its broken neckline along the lows from November-December 2009 and August-September 2010, which was broken in August 2011. This is the first time it's been back up for a test of the line and has been stalled at it since Friday. Today it hit the projection at 45.27 (with a high of 45.28) where the 5th wave of the move up from November is 62% of the 1st wave. It's a very good setup for a reversal back down from here. Now waiting for the catalyst.

KBW Bank index, BKX, Daily chart

Like the RUT, the TRAN is starting to show some relative weakness and that could be a heads up. Today it closed slightly below its uptrend line from October but found support at its 20-dma at 5277. A break of that level on a closing basis would be the first intermediate sell signal. This follows a near hit on its price projection for two equal legs up from August (wave-w = wave-y)

Transportation Index, TRAN, Daily chart

The dollar's decline from January 13th has been supportive of the stock market rally but it might be close to finishing its pullback if the larger pattern is still bullish. After breaking its down-channel form January 13th, it has pulled back for a back test of its downtrend line. With today's low at 78.51 it also came within 6 cents of hitting a 50% retracement of its October-January rally. That could be setting up the next rally leg, which should be a strong one if the larger bullish pattern is correct.

U.S. Dollar contract, DX, Daily chart

As the dollar prepares to rally (maybe) it's looking like gold could be ready to start its next leg down. Last week it had bounced up to its broken uptrend line from October 2008 and this week it looks like it's trying for another test but so far it's a lower high following Friday's and Monday's decline. A break below 1712 would indicate the probable start of the next leg down, which should quickly break below the December low near 1524 (1400 downside target for now). Notice the heads up for gold bears with the break of the uptrend line on RSI. A break above 1770 and holding above its broken uptrend line would be bullish.

Gold continuous contract, GC, Daily chart

Silver has been struggling with its broken uptrend line from October. A rally above the 50% retracement of its August-December decline, at 35.21, and its 200-dma, at 35.36, would be bullish. Otherwise it too is looking like a setup to start its next leg down, and should decline well below its December low.

Silver continuous contract, SI, Daily chart

Oil's pattern remains a mess and I could argue for either direction from here. Flip a coin. While I show a decline from here, after back testing its broken uptrend line from December, which is based on a dollar rally setting up (potentially), I can see a strong possibility for another leg up to at least 105 before topping out (based on the choppy pullback pattern from January 5th. A drop below its 200-dma at 94.77 would be a bearish heads up and below its December low at 92.50 would confirm the top is already in place. A drop below the October low near 75 would then be the likely move. Keep in mind that oil tends to trade the same direction as the stock market, regardless of underlying funnymentals.

Oil continuous contract, CL, Daily chart

It's been a quiet week for economic reports and that continues for the rest of the week.

Economic reports, summary and Key Trading Levels

A review of major stocks and indexes shows prices pushed up into significant resistance. At a time when the market is overbought, overloved and with waning momentum (and low volume) and bullish indicators at extremes not seen since May 2011 and October 2007, I think it's a time for extreme caution by the bulls. Let the rest of the retail crowd take the inventory off the hands of "smart" money. From here I'd rather miss additional upside opportunity and be safely in cash. We might not be far from getting some sell signals and getting short could pay off nicely. Just expect spikes back up to knock the bears back and make it difficult to play the short side. Big money wants the market to themselves and wants retail traders out of the way. Even the government players are going to want to frustrate the bears and keep them away from the market.

I'll finish with one last chart of the VIX to show it's could be very close (one day) from breaking out of its descending wedge pattern. One down day could do it and a buy signal on this would of course be a sell signal for the stock market.

Volatility index, VIX, Daily chart

The market could certainly continue to levitate higher, even if it's only 10 points on the DOW each day (for the headlines -- "DOW" to new multi-year high!"). But the longer this remains propped up on a lack of fundamentals, especially if it's a result of more short covering than anything else (as discussed at the beginning of this report), the more at risk the market is for a sudden disconnect to the downside. A quick drop back down to the December low would mean more than 1100 points off the DOW before the bulls know what hit them, all the while holding on because they just know the market will come back.

Good luck and I'll be back with you next Wednesday.

Keene H. Little, CMT

In the end everything works out and if it doesn't work out, it is not the end. Old Indian Saying

New Option Plays

Strength in Software

by James Brown

Click here to email James Brown

Editor's Note:

In addition to tonight's new candidate, consider these stocks as possible trading ideas and watch list candidates:

(bullish candidates): APC, NKE, UTX, ULTA, AYI


CommVault Systems - CVLT - close: 53.00 change: +1.08

Stop Loss: 49.90
Target(s): 58.50
Current Option Gain/Loss: Unopened
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: Yes, see below

Company Description

Why We Like It:
CVLT reported earnings on February 1st. The company delivered better than expected earnings and revenues. Shares actually spiked down at first before reversing and surging on this news and broke through resistance near $50.00. The stock has since spent the last few days consolidating gains. Today's relative strength pushed CVLT to new record highs.

I am suggesting bullish positions tomorrow morning but only if both CVLT and the S&P 500 open positive. We'll use a stop loss at $49.90. Our target is $58.50. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for CVLT is bullish with a long-term $86 target.

NOTE: We want to keep our position size small because the option spreads on CVLT are a bit wide.

Do not enter position unless CVLT and the S&P 500 are both positive at the open

- Suggested Positions - (small positions!)

buy Mar $55 call (CVLT1217C55) current ask $2.15

Annotated Chart:

Entry on February xx at $ xx.xx
Earnings Date 05/10/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 531 thousand
Listed on February 08, 2012

In Play Updates and Reviews

Drifting Higher

by James Brown

Click here to email James Brown

Editor's Note:

It was a relatively quiet day on Wall Street. Stocks rebounded off their late morning lows. The major indices continue to drift higher.

Current Portfolio:

CALL Play Updates

Chicago Bridge & Iron - CBI - close: 43.49 change: -0.24

Stop Loss: 43.25
Target(s): 49.25
Current Option Gain/Loss: Unopened
Time Frame: up to the Feb. 23rd earnings report
New Positions: Yes, see below

02/08 update: CBI is now down three days in a row. This relative weakness is starting to worry me. Fortunately, we are still on the sidelines waiting for a breakout past resistance.

I am suggesting a trigger to open bullish positions at $45.25. If triggered we'll use a stop at $43.25. Our exit target is $49.25. We do not want to hold over the Feb 23rd earnings report. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for CBI is bullish with a long-term $70 target.

(Buy Calls) Trigger @ $45.25

- Suggested Positions -

buy the MAR $45 call (CBI1217C45)

Entry on February xx at $ xx.xx
Earnings Date 02/23/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 852 thousand
Listed on February 04, 2012

Citrix Systems - CTXS - close: 71.31 change: +0.62

Stop Loss: 67.45
Target(s): Feb calls: $74.75, Mar calls: $76.50
Current Option Gain/Loss: Feb70c: +16.2% & Mar70c: + 9.0%
Time Frame: 2 to 4 weeks
New Positions: Yes, see below

02/08 update: Traders bought the di in CTXS this morning near $70. Shares bounced back to a _0.8% gain, outpacing the major indices.

The plan was to keep our position size small. Our target is $74.75 for the February calls and $76.50 for the March calls. There are less than two weeks left for February calls.

(small positions!) - Suggested Positions -

Long Feb $70 calls (CTXS1218B70) Entry $1.85

- or -

Long Mar $70 calls (CTXS1217C70) Entry $3.30

Entry on February 07 at $70.50
Earnings Date 04/26/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.4 million
Listed on February 06, 2012

Dollar Tree - DLTR - close: 85.28 change: -0.75

Stop Loss: 84.75
Target(s): 89.75 & 92.50
Current Option Gain/Loss: Unopened
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: Yes, see below

02/08 update: DLTR has been struggling to build on its bullish trend. Shares are testing short-term support near $85.00. We are still waiting for a breakout higher. I am suggesting we open small positions if DLTR hits our trigger at $86.75.

Earlier Comments:
I am setting individual targets for our options below. Keep a wary eye on the $90.00 level since it might be round-number resistance. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for DLTR is bullish with a long-term $113 target.

(Buy Calls) Trigger @ 86.75 (small positions)

- Suggested Positions -

buy the Feb $87.50 call (DLTR1218B87.5)
exit target: 89.75

- or -

buy the Mar $87.50 call (DLTR1217C87.5)
exit target: 92.50

02/04/12 Only open small (half-sized) positions if DLTR hits our entry point at $86.75

Entry on February xx at $ xx.xx
Earnings Date 02/22/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 1.1 million
Listed on February 02, 2012

Flowserve Corp. - FLS - close: 114.00 change: -0.61

Stop Loss: 109.45
Target(s): 114.50 for Feb call & 118.00 for April call
Current Option Gain/Loss: (Feb $110c: +48.2%) & Apr$115c: +35.0%.
Time Frame: 3 to 4 weeks
New Positions: , see below

02/08 update: The last couple of days has seen upward momentum in FLS stall. Is this just a pause before shares continue higher? Or is it a top before shares dip back toward the $110 area (or lower)? Readers may want to exit early now or raise their stop loss. I am not suggesting new positions at this time. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for FLS is bullish with a $139 target.

- Suggested Positions -

Long APR $115 call (FLS1221D115) Entry $4.00
exit target: $118.00

02/04/12 new stop loss @ 109.45
02/03/12 exit target hit at $114.50 for Feb. $110 calls. exit $5.00 (+48.2%)
02/02/12 new stop loss @ 107.95
02/01/12 new stop loss @ 106.95
02/01/12 adjusted exit targets: $114.50 for Feb call, $118.00 for Apr call
01/30/12 new stop loss at $105.75
01/26/12 trade opened on FLS' gap open higher at $109.21.
01/25/12 adjusted entry point strategy to buy calls when FLS hits $109.05, and use a stop loss at $105.45

Entry on January 26 at $109.21
Earnings Date 02/23/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 400 thousand
Listed on January 21, 2012

iShares Transportation - IYT - close: 94.56 change: -0.41

Stop Loss: 93.40
Target(s): 98.50
Current Option Gain/Loss:(Jan$95c: -100%) Feb$95c: -41.3%
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

02/08 update: The upward momentum in the transports has also stalled. The IYT is down three days in a row. It's not a serious correction yet but shares are testing short-term support near $94.00. More conservative traders may want to raise their stops closer to the $94.00 level. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

- Suggested Positions -

Long Feb $95 call (IYT1218B95) entry $1.45
target 98.50

02/04/12 new stop loss @ 93.40
01/31/12 new stop loss @ 92.45
01/28/12 new stop loss @ 91.75
01/21/12 new stop loss @ 91.40
01/21/12 January $95 calls have expired.
01/12/12 new stop loss @ 89.45
01/07/12 new stop loss @ 88.75
01/03/12 IYT gapped open higher at $91.20, above our trigger at $90.75

Entry on January 03 at $91.20
Earnings Date --/--/--
Average Daily Volume = 582 thousand
Listed on December 22, 2011

Laboratory Corp. - LH - close: 91.99 change: +0.04

Stop Loss: 90.75
Target(s): 94.00
Current Option Gain/Loss: + 73.3%
Time Frame: up to the Feb. 10th earnings report.
New Positions: see below

02/08 update: The early morning rally attempt in LH faded. Shares barely closed in positive territory. Investors might be cautious about earnings. Tomorrow is our last day. We plan to exit tomorrow (Thursday) at the closing bell to avoid holding over the earnings announcement on Friday morning.

- Suggested Positions -

Long Feb $90 call (LH1218B90) Entry $1.50

02/08/12 prepare to exit tomorrow at the close
02/04/12 new stop loss @ 90.75, adjust target to $94.00
02/01/12 new stop loss @ 89.65
01/31/12 If you haven't done so yet readers may want to take profits now (+80%)
01/28/12 new stop loss @ 88.40
01/26/12 sold half @ the open, bid @ $2.65 (+76.6%)
01/25/12 sell half at the open tomorrow. Bid on the Feb. $90 call is at $3.10 (+106%).
01/25/12 new stop loss @ 87.90
01/24/12 rival DGX delivers a strong earnings report
01/23/12 trade triggered at $89.00
01/21/12 new stop loss at $86.90. Still waiting for LH to hit our entry point at $89.00.

Entry on January 23 at $89.00
Earnings Date 02/10/12 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 564 thousand
Listed on January 10, 2012

3M Co. - MMM - close: 87.97 change: +0.08

Stop Loss: 86.45
Target(s): 94.00
Current Option Gain/Loss: Unopened
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: Yes, see below

02/08 update: Hmm... if we look at an intraday chart of MMM it certainly looks like shares traded above $88.50 but I checked two different quote services and both said the intraday high was only $88.29. Thus our trade is not open yet.

The plan is to buy calls when MMM trades at $88.50 or higher. The $90 level could be round-number resistance but we're setting our exit target at $94.00. We'll use a lower target for our February calls.

FYI: The Point & Figure chart for MMM is bullish with a $109 target.

Breakout Trigger (buy calls) @ $88.50

- Suggested Positions -

buy the Feb $87.50 call (MMM1218B87.5)
(Feb. options expire after Feb. 17th)

- or -

buy the MAR $90 call (MMM1217C90)

Entry on February xx at $ xx.xx
Earnings Date 04/26/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 3.4 million
Listed on February 07, 2012

Pall Corp. - PLL - close: 62.96 change: +0.43

Stop Loss: 59.45
Target(s): 64.75
Current Option Gain/Loss: Feb$60c: +37.1% & Mar$60c: +34.4%
Time Frame: 3 to 6 weeks
New Positions: see below

02/08 update: Traders bought the dip in PLL prior to lunchtime and shares advanced to new relative highs. Our target is $64.75.

NOTE: The option spreads widened on us today and not in our favor with the Feb. $60 calls.

FYI: The Point & Figure chart for PLL is bullish with an $83 target.

- Suggested Positions -

Long FEB $60 call (PLL1218B60) Entry $1.75

- or -

Long MAR $60 call (PLL1217C60) Entry $2.90

02/04/12 new stop loss @ 59.45

Entry on February 02 at $61.00
Earnings Date 03/12/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 769 thousand
Listed on January 31, 2012

SPX Corp. - SPW - close: 72.33 change: -0.61

Stop Loss: 69.90
Target(s): 74.75
Current Option Gain/Loss: +37.7%
Time Frame: up to the Feb. 16 earnings report
New Positions: see below

02/08 update: SPW has been slowly consolidating lower for three days now. I would expect a bounce off its 10-dma or in the $71-70 zone. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Earlier Comments:
Our target is the $74.75 mark but more aggressive traders could aim higher. We do not want to hold over the Feb. 16th earnings report. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for SPW is bullish with an $82 target.

- Suggested Positions -

Long Feb $70 call (SPW1218B70) Entry $2.25

02/04/12 new stop loss @ 69.90, readers may want to exit now to lock in gains.

Entry on January 31 at $70.50
Earnings Date 02/16/12 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 711 thousand
Listed on January 26, 2012

S&P Oil ETF - XES - close: 38.21 change: +0.05

Stop Loss: 36.45
Target(s): 43.00
Current Option Gain/Loss: Feb37c: -18.5% & Mar36c: - 2.0%
Time Frame: 4 to 8 weeks
New Positions: see below

02/08 update: The XES managed to eke out a small gain on below average volume. Readers may want to wait for a dip or a bounce in the $37.50-37.00 zone before initiating new positions.

Earlier Comments:
The option spreads on the XES a bit wide, which makes this a higher-risk trade. I am suggesting we keep our position size small to limit our risk. Our multi-week exit target is $43.00. I prefer the March calls but short-term traders can use February options but these expire in two weeks.

(small positions) - Suggested Positions -

Long Feb $37 call (XES1218B37) Entry $1.35

- or -

Long Mar $36 call (XES1217C36) Entry $2.45

Entry on February 06 at $37.75
Earnings Date --/--/--
Average Daily Volume = 177 thousand
Listed on February 04, 2012

PUT Play Updates

Currently we do not have any active put trades.