Option Investor

Daily Newsletter, Wednesday, 6/15/2016

Table of Contents

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

Market Wrap

No Surprise, No Change From the Fed

by Keene Little

Click here to email Keene Little
The stock market got a little extra bounce this morning following yesterday afternoon's late-day bounce, and then went flat into the FOMC announcement. The reaction was barely noticeable to the announcement until the final 30 minutes of the day when the market sold off. Now the question is whether the next day will be a reversal of that move, which is typical.

Today's Market Stats

The day was mostly positive until the last few minutes of the day after the market sold off in the final 30 minutes. But the pop up in the morning followed by a rally added to the bounce off Tuesday's low and then the market flattened out while waiting for the FOMC announcement and Janet Yellen's conference. There was virtually no reaction to either but then some traders got nervous into the close and decided to sell.

The selling into today's close might have been a head-fake move, not that we've ever seen that happen before. This is opex and we haven't had a good opex rally yet so pulling the market back into today's close might have been a setup to spark some short covering tomorrow. The days following the FOMC announcements often see reversals of the post-FOMC moves so that's another reason to be suspicious of today's late-day selling. But obviously we'll have to let price lead the way and then determine what it means for the bigger price pattern.

Other than the usual Brexit/Bristay polling there's not much for the market to pay attention to and today's FOMC announcement leaves the market guessing what the Fed will do, what Britain will do and what the ECB will do in response to what Britain does. Add in a little opex and we're getting the expected volatility this week. That may or may not calm down before the Brexit vote next week so it's important to be careful with your trading through next week.

The Fed acknowledged the slowing job growth and worries over the Brexit vote. While they would like two more rate hikes this year they hinted that they might only be able to do one. My guess remains none and that they'll drop rates again before they raise them. Six of the ten members now believes there will only be one more hike this year, which is a significant change from just one member in April. They also ratcheted down their expectations for 2017 so they're recognizing that the slowing economy is likely to last into next year.

The Fed made note of an improving housing market but as I'll show later, the home builders are not supporting that view. Interestingly, banks are starting to ramp up their subprime mortgage loans and lowering down payment requirements to just 3%. Borrowers have to be below certain income thresholds in order to qualify. So if you make too much, making you a better risk, you can't get the special financing deals. But if you're credit score is not so good and you don't make enough money to qualify for a regular mortgage you'll be able to get one of these special mortgages. The banks then sell these loans to Fannie Mae and guess who owns Fannie Mae? We the taxpayer through our government. Does this remind you of another time silly things like this were done and the banks and Fannie Mae were bailed out? It's all part of the Fed forcing banks to get rid of their cash and lend it out. What could possibly go wrong with this scenario?

The stock market is getting a little nervous and the selloff following last Wednesday's high is reflecting it. Some would say it's mostly fear of the Brexit vote (the market hates uncertainty) but there's also more evidence of the economy slowing, which the Fed acknowledged today. As I'll show on the charts, the price pattern still supports the idea that the current pullback, even if it becomes a little larger, could lead to a brand new rally. I think that's becoming less and less likely but we'll have to let price lead the way. For now we have to keep things short-term oriented while waiting for the larger pattern to better identify itself. I'll start tonight's review with the Dow Industrials.

Dow Industrials, INDU, Weekly chart

It's been a choppy price pattern for the Dow since its April high and that makes it look like it could be consolidating before pressing higher. It could press higher from here or it could drop lower to give us a larger a-b-c pullback from April. But neither of those options are an assured thing and that's what's making it difficult to figure out what the larger price pattern is likely to be. There's a large consolidation pattern off the May 2015 high that suggests we'll see one more drop down to the bottom of the shallow up-channel off the August 2015 low, currently near 15550 (the February low was near 15500). If you're a longer-term bear, confirmation of bear market won't come until the Dow drops below its August 2015 low near price-level support at 15340. For bulls, proof we're still in the longer-term rally would be a climb above 18400, which would negate a potential bearish correction pattern and it would exceed the May 2015 high at 18351. We've been in a chop zone and that could continue, which is a reason for short-term trading.

Dow Industrials, INDU, Daily chart

The Dow broke important support near 17750 yesterday when it dropped below its 50-dma, near 17785, its 20-dma, near 17755, and its uptrend line from February-May, near 17760. It looks like an impulsive decline from last week and that would make the bounce off yesterday's low just a correction to the decline. The broken uptrend line from February crosses its 50-dma near 17790, while the uptrend line will be near 17830 on Thursday. A 50%-62% retracement of the decline is at 17806-17855 so we have a target zone for the bounce correction, if that's all it's going to be, at roughly 17790-17855 so watch that area, if reached, for a setup to get short. Above 17860 could be bullish and in any case I'd be careful about more whipsaws until we can get through this week and the Brexit vote.

Key Levels for DOW:
- bullish above 18,120
- bearish below 17,400

S&P 500, SPX, Daily chart

SPX broke support yesterday near 2085 and then 2075, which was followed by a bounce back up to 2075 for the close. This morning it bounced a little higher and back-tested 2085 S/R, which is price-level S/R and its broken uptrend line from February-May. Its broken 20-dma is only slightly higher, near 2087. There's certainly higher bounce potential, including to a new high, but at the moment the pattern supports lower prices before thinking about the potential for another rally leg. If we've started an impulsive (5-wave) move down from last week and the decline so far is only the 1st wave then we could see a 5-wave move down to the 1982-1992 area by the end of the month. The big question of course is whether or not the Fed/government will do something to prevent any kind of selloff.

Key Levels for SPX:
- bullish above 2121
- bearish below 2064

S&P 500, SPX, 60-min chart

Today's rally attempt was stopped twice by the broken uptrend line from February-May, this morning and then this afternoon. The spike down at the end of the day has it looking like a bearish kiss goodbye following the back-test and a drop below Tuesday's low near 2064 would be more bearish. But be careful about a head-fake pullback here, including the possibility for a minor new low, that's followed by another rally leg into Friday to save some of opex week. Last week closed near 2096 and it's possible we'll see this week close near the same level. If we do get another leg up to create a larger a-b-c bounce off Tuesday's low, two equal legs up points to 2091 and a 50% retracement of the decline into Tuesday's low is near 2092, both of which would have SPX doing another back-test of its broken uptrend line from February. That would make a good setup to review carefully for a shorting opportunity.

Nasdaq Composite index, COMPQ, Daily chart

The Nasdaq found support yesterday at its 200-dma after finding resistance at its 50-dma. Today, before the FOMC announcement, it bounced a little higher than its 50-dma, near 4856 (with a high at 4865), and then went sideways. Its broken 20-dma, near 4890, is now slightly above its downtrend line from December 2015 - April 2016, now near 4882. I show an expected bounce up to price-level S/R at 4920 but it might not make it that high or it could make it higher to close last Friday's gap down, at 4958.62, before reversing back down. This of course assumes we'll get another leg down but we'll have to see how the rest of this week plays out. The stronger the Brexit vote becomes the more worried our market will be. One note on MACD though -- it's starting curl (histogram lines getting less negative) and doing so at the zero line. A cross back up by MACD would be bullish so keep an eye on it (my (8,12,5) settings are faster than default settings on most charting programs).

Key Levels for COMPQ:
- bullish above 4980
- bearish below 4811

Russell-2000, RUT, Daily chart

The RUT remains relatively stronger than the other indexes as it holds above its 20-dma, now near 1150. It was broken intraday yesterday but closed on it and today it closed above it. But it has price-level resistance just overhead near 1160 and if it can get above that level it would then have a little room to run up to its broken uptrend line from February through the May 6th low, currently near 1176. Its pattern is the same as the others -- bullish above its June 8th high at 1190 but bearish below it. We could see a higher bounce before heading lower but at a minimum I think we'll see at least two legs down for a larger a-b-c pullback from last week. If a more significant high is in place then a drop below price-level support near 1193 is likely.

Key Levels for RUT:
- bullish above 1190
- bearish below 1125

10-year Yield, TNX, Daily chart

Last week TNX broke down from its sideways triangle that followed the February low and March high. This week it has dropped below price-level support at 1.65%. This price level comes from lows in May 2013 and January-February 2015. Other than a 1-day decline below this level in February 2016 is has managed to hold above support but now this week's break is significant. I see the potential for a bounce back up to the underside of the sideways triangle, near 1.73% by the end of the month, but that would likely set it up for a stronger decline to follow (bond rally in July). TNX stays bearish below 1.64 and then neutral up to 1.73.

KBW Bank index, BKX, Weekly chart

This week's decline for BKX had it dropping out of its up-channel off its February low. This follows the rally up to its downtrend line from July 2015, where it topped out at the end of May. The rejection at the downtrend line and now dropping out of its parallel up-channel clearly looks more bearish than bullish, especially if the weekly close is below price-level S/R near 66.50 (today's close was 66.03). The bearish pattern suggests we should look at bounces as shorting opportunities.

DJ U.S. Home Construction index, DJUSHB, Weekly chart

It's been a while since I've shown the home builders index so I wanted to point out its topping pattern. The bounce off the February low has now created a double top between April and last week's high, with bearish divergence in June. It looks like it will again be rejected by its broken uptrend line from October 2011 - October 2014 and another weekly close below price-level S/R at 553 (today's close is 556) would likely point to a larger decline from here. This index is at the same level that it was at the May 2013 high near 553 -- 3 years and it's gone nowhere. As with the broader averages, I think there's a good chance the home builders will drop below the November 2008 low at 130.

U.S. Dollar contract, DX, Weekly chart

There's not much of a change in the US$'s weekly chart even though it's been a little volatile in the past two weeks. Its June 1st high was at the top of its down-channel from December 2015 and that was followed by a steep drop back down into last week's low. The rally from June 8th has now brought the dollar back up near the top of the down-channel, near 95.32 (today's high was 95.15) and we'll soon find out if the dollar can break out, which would be confirmed with a high above its June 1st high at 95.90.

Gold continuous contract, GC, Weekly chart

Gold has made it back up near its May 2nd high at 1306 (with today's high at 1300) and I see the potential for it to reach its 200-wma near 1313. But rather than a bullish breakout I'm expecting the rally off the May 31st low to be just a test of its previous high (or slightly higher) but with bearish divergence. I think we'll see at least another leg down (probably a sharp decline) to create a larger correction off the May 31st high before potentially setting up the next large rally. That's the bullish pattern but there's also still a good chance gold will return to its December low (1045).

Oil continuous contract, CL, Daily chart

As expected, oil dropped out of its rising wedge last Friday and if the wedge is the correct interpretation of the pattern we should see a relatively quick retracement of it (so back to the April 5th low at 35.24, perhaps in a month's time). It now looks like a completed A-B-C bounce off the January low and while the larger pattern is a little unclear, there is the potential for oil to drop below the January low near 26. Assuming it will continue to drop from here we'll be able to see if the decline becomes impulsive (bearish) or gets choppy (potentially bullish).

Economic reports

Tomorrow morning we'll get the CPI numbers, which are not expected to change much, and the Philly Fed for June, which is expected to show improvement to +1.0 following May's -1.8. We'll also get the unemployment numbers. More than likely our market will be reacting more to what's happening overseas.


The market was a little nervous heading into today's FOMC announcement but in reality the market pretty much has the Fed figured out and knows it's trapped between a rock and a hard place. Still, you never know what the Ph.D. numbskulls will dream up next. The real worry is the Brexit vote next week and that means another week of pins and needles while watching the polls, which at the moment has the Brexit vote outnumbering the Bristay vote. It's the uncertainty that's keeping traders awake at night. BTW, if you're one of those who can't sleep because you're worried about your positions then may I suggest trimming your positions. Your health is far more important than trading, especially since you could make a million and then die before you get to play with it. Play now and live longer.

One thing to think about into next week, especially if the market heads a little lower but looks like just a 3-wave pullback, is that we could see a sell-the-rumor, buy-the-news following the Brexit vote, no matter which way the vote goes. And if the market remains depressed but the Brexit vote results in a Bristay I can only imagine the rally that would follow that vote. We'll have next Wednesday to see if a decent trading opportunity is setting up on the long side but for now I'd stay cautious since I think we're looking for at least a larger pullback, if not something a lot more bearish, before thinking of buying the dip. If we get a bounce back up tomorrow, look it over carefully for a shorting opportunity and remember to keep your trades short-term (days at the most) since volatility could quickly make a big move against (or with) you. Stay safe.

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

Basketball is Over

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown

Editors Note:

Basketball is one of the premier sports that directly relates to shoe sales. Thirty percent of the buyers of basketball shoes tend to actually use their shoes for playing that sport.


No New Bullish Plays


FL - Foot Locker - Company Description

Foot Locker, Inc. operates as an athletic shoes and apparel retailer. The company operates in two segments, Athletic Stores and Direct-to-Customers. The Athletic Stores segment retails athletic footwear, apparel, accessories, and equipment under various formats, including Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Footaction, and SIX:02, as well as Runners Point, and Sidestep. As of January 30, 2016, it operated 3,383 primarily mall-based stores in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Unfortunately, mall traffic is slowing as we have seen repeatedly in retailer earnings comments. Sports Authority just closed all 450 of its stores because of declining sales. The NPD Group Consumer Tracking Service said the "performance" shoe business has never been worse but the total sneaker business remains solid. That means all the high dollar shoes with a sports star name attached to them are not selling, with the exception of Stephen Curry.

Only about 24% of people who buy a specific type of shoe actually wear it for that purpose. That means 75% of the shoes are just bought to wear as a daily living shoe rather than the specific sport. Running shoes are the strongest with 50% of buyers actually running. Basketball logs in at about 33% and outdoor shoes are low at 10%. Asics has been a top selling brand for sports with 66% saying they use them for that particular sport. Skechers was the lowest brand at 10%.

The luxury brands with names like Michael Jordan, Le Bron James, etc are not selling near as well as they did in the past. Foot Locker had a 50% off sales on the high dollar shoes in April in order to reduce inventory.

With shoe makers paying more and more money for super star endorsements they have to charge more for their shoes. In the current economy that is not working out well. A $200 pair of shoes is not a hot item when money is being spent on smartphones and video games instead.

Foot Locker reported earnings back on May 20th and shares dropped $5 on the news. It was not pretty. Foot Locker has been declining since the highs back in October. After the post earnings drop they rebounded about $2 to $56 but could not gain any momentum. Now that basketball is over and the summer doldrums are approaching shares have declined back to $54 and could easily break to a new 52-week low.

Earnings are August 19th.

Given the lack of excitement in shoes and the slowdown in retail, I am recommending we place a bet that Foot Locker does break down before earnings. There is support at $52 but the decline since October is accelerating.

Buy August $52.50 put, currently $2.25, stop loss $56.25.

In Play Updates and Reviews

Post Fed Collapse

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown

Editors Note:

The indexes spiked up to the highs of the day after the Fed announcement but rolled over after the press conference to close at the lows for the day. The S&P touched resistance at 2,085 immediately after the announcement and then returned to a marginal gain until just before the close. Heavy selling in the last 30 minutes after the press conference ended, knocked -10 points off the S&P to close if at 2,072 and a three-week low close.

The Dow spiked 12 points over resistance at 17,750 after the announcement and then collapsed nearly 100 points in the 30 minutes. There was a large volume of market on close sell orders. S&P futures are down -4 in afterhours.

This is complicating the outlook for Thursday. This is a monster quadruple witching expiration with more than $1 billion in S&P options alone that will expire. The odds are very good we will see some higher volatility and probably the highest volume of the year on Friday.

Current Portfolio

Current Position Changes

QRVO - Qorvo

The long call position was opened with a trade at $54.72.

XBI - Biotech ETF

The long put position was stopped with a trade at $55.25.

Profit Targets

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

Stop Loss Updates

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

BULLISH Play Updates

COST - Costco -
Company Description


No specific news. Minor decline on profit taking after two weeks of gains.

Original Trade Description: June 11th.

Costco Wholesale Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates membership warehouses. The company offers branded and private-label products in a range of merchandise categories. It provides dry and institutionally packaged foods; snack foods, candy, tobacco, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, and cleaning and institutional supplies; appliances, electronics, health and beauty aids, hardware, and garden and patio; meat, bakery, deli, and produce; and apparel and small appliances. The company also operates gas stations, pharmacies, food courts, optical dispensing centers, photo-processing centers, and hearing-aid centers; and engages in the travel business. They operate 690 warehouse stores plus online shopping.

A Costco membership costs $55. It is almost worth the cost if all you bought was gasoline. The store charges 7-15 cents less than the prevailing rates at other local stations. There are normally lines at the Costco pumps because it is a bargain. If you purchased 15 gallons of gas per week and saved an average of 10 cents you would save $78 a year and more than enough to cover the cost of the membership. Multicar families would save even more.

However, Costco to many people means bulk purchases of items too big to store in your normal pantry. The mental image of Costco is someone pushing a cart with cases of toilet paper, paper towels, laundry soap and canned goods. While that may be true for a lot of shoppers there are still bargains on everything else. My son stopped there on Saturday to buy 15 gallons of ice cream, 10 watermelons, scores of picnic plates and plastic utensils for a party he was throwing. I know people who only shop at Costco and do not go to stores like Safeway, Kroger, etc. Once you get the Costco shopping virus it is hard to not go there. You can even by caskets at Costco. Members bought 465,000 cars through Costco in 2015. The warehouse chain is the number 1 seller of organic food at $4 billion in 2015 compared to Whole Foods at $3.6 billion. Costco has 84 million paying members and you can cancel at any time and get a full refund.

This has helped Costco maintain an average annual growth rate of 13% while other stores are lucky to manage 2-4% a year. Walmart only grew at 0.44% last year and Target 5.4%. In the latest quarter adjusted for fuel and currency fluctuations Costco managed only 3% same store sales growth compared to estimates for 4.6%. They blamed the colder than normal April weather and the weak retail consumer. We already know from other retailers that sales were down sharply all across the sector.

They reported adjusted earnings of $1.24 compared to estimates for $1.22. Revenue rose +2.6% to $26.77 billion and missed estimates for $27.07 billion for the reasons I stated above. Analysts expect earnings to grow 12% annually over the next two years.

Earnings are Sept 29th.

Shares spiked up to $154 after earnings on May 26th and then went sideways for a week while those gains were consolidated. Now they are trending higher again and even closed up on Friday in a weak market.

Position 6/13/16:

Long Oct $160 call @ $4.40, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

You could lower your cost and improve your profitability by selling the Oct $140 put short for $2.50 making your net debit $1.85 and it does not look like Costco will see $140 again.

NVDA - Nvidia Corp - Company Description


Shares closed only 2 cents under the historic high. Wedbush raised the price target to $52. The analyst said Tesla and Nvidia were going to produce a self-driving car well in advance of Google and Apple and possible in the next 12 months. The "Autopilot" mode is considered Level 2 automation that allows hands off and feet off driving. Level 4 vehicles can drive without human assistance. Google is working on Level 4 automation. Apple is somewhere in the middle.

On Monday, Nomura upgraded citing opportunities in data center and automotive markets. Rumors are growing that Nvidia will release the new "Titan" video card soon and the price tag will be over $1,000 and targeted for the super gamers. All prior Titan cards have always sold very well at high prices for their top of the line card.

Original Trade Description: May 11th.

NVIDIA Corporation operates as a visual computing company worldwide. It operates in two segments, GPU and Tegra Processor. The GPU segment offers processors, which include GeForce for PC gaming; Quadro for design professionals working in computer-aided design, video editing, special effects, and other creative applications; Tesla for deep learning, accelerated computing, and general purpose computing; and GRID for cloud-based streaming on gaming devices. The Tegra Processor segment provides processors that integrate a computer onto a single chip under the Tegra brand name; DRIVE automotive computers, which offer supercomputing capabilities; and tablet and portable devices for mobile gaming under the SHIELD name. The companyÂ’s products are used in gaming, professional visualization, datacenter, and automotive markets. It sells its products primarily to original equipment manufacturers, original design manufacturers, system builders, motherboard manufacturers, add-in board manufacturers, and retailers/distributors.

Q1 earnings rose 46% to 33 cents and beat earnings by a penny. They hiked full year revenue guidance as well as the current quarter. Tor Q2 they raised the forecast to $1.35 billion that was above analyst estimates at $1.28 billion. Gaming revenue was up 17% to $687 million but all areas of effort saw significant gains. They recently released a new graphics card that is twice as fast and 40% cheaper than the card it is replacing.

Nvidia's Graphics Processing Units or GPUs have become more than just video chips. They have become supercomputing processors and can be packaged in large groups to parallel process monster datasets and computations that would have taken weeks with conventional chips. They are truly revolutionizing the processor industry.

The focus on Artificial Intelligence or AI, a lot of companies like Google and Amazon are turning to GPUs to handle the monster amounts of data they collect every day. Facebook already uses Nvidia M40 GPU accelerators to power its Big Sur machine learning computers. Those NVIDIA GPUs were specifically designes to train deep neural networks for enterprise data centers, and the company says they are 10-20 times faster than other network computers. Nvidia said their GPD powered machine learning computers can help train networks new things in just a few hours that would take days or weeks with less powerful systems.

The new P100 GPU is 12 times faster than the prior version and can provide more performance than "several hundred computer nodes" and up to eight P100s can be interconnected to provide previously unheard of computing power. The chips in the GPUs contain more than 15.3 billion transistors each and the largest chip ever built at 16 nanometer technology. That is twice as many as on Intel's biggest chips. The P100 delivers more than 10 teraflops of performance. One teraflop can process one trillion floating-point instructions per second and the P100 can do 10 teraflops or 10 trillion calculations per second.

The COSMOS weather forecasting application runs faster on the P100 than the 27 servers, running twin multicore processors each that were previously tasked with the project. Intel makes commodity processors for the millions of PCs and servers in the world. Nvidia is light years ahead of Intel in technology. Nvidia's data center revenue increased 63% in Q1.

More than 50 automakers are testing the new Drive PX chip for self-driving cars. The chip combines inputs from cameras, lasers, maps and sensors to allow cars to drive themselves and learn from each experience.

Earnings August 11th.

I have been waiting for a dip to enter a position on Nvidia but it never came. I thought the $1 drop this week was a prelude and we could get a better entry point when the market pulled back. The market does not look like it will decline until after the Fed meeting and Nvidia is back at a new high. I am going to bite the bullet and make the entry before it is over $50 and I am kicking myself even harder.

Position 6/10/16:

Long August $49 call @ $2.22, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

PRGO - Perrigo Company - Company Description


Perrigo shares gave back all their gains from Tuesday and the buyout rumor from StreetInsider.com. Multiple analysts trashed the idea that a UK company would be interested because there are only about 3 that could do the transaction. AstraZenaca (AZN) is focused on branded prescription drugs rather than over the counter. They actually sold a drug to Perrigo last year for $380 million. GlaxoSmithKline has a consumer business but they also sold some consumer drugs to Perrigo last year. Analysts complain that GZK has a weak pipeline and needs to buy new drugs not consumer drugs. Mylan tried to buy Perrigo in 2015 and failed. Since then they bought Meda for $10 billion. Since Perrigo is selling a lot cheaper ($10 billion) than they were when Mylan tried to buy them there is nothing to keep them from taking another run at the company but a 33% premium would not be likely.

This is still a good company but the $10 spike and $10 collapse may have confused investors and the stock could be dormant for a few days.

Original Trade Description: June 8th.

Perrigo develops, manufactures, markets, and distributes over-the-counter (OTC) consumer goods and pharmaceutical products worldwide. The company operates through Consumer Healthcare (CHC), Branded Consumer Healthcare (BCH), Prescription Pharmaceuticals (Rx), Specialty Sciences, and Other segments. The CHC segment offers OTC products in various categories, including analgesics, cough/cold/allergy/sinus, gastrointestinal, infant nutritional, smoking cessation, animal health, feminine hygiene, diabetes and dermatological care, diagnostic, scar management, and other healthcare products, as well as vitamins, minerals, and dietary supplements (VMS); and contract manufacturing services. It serves retail drug, supermarket, mass merchandise chains, and wholesalers through sales force and industry brokers. The BCH segment provides branded OTC products in the natural health and VMS; cough, cold, flu, and allergy; personal care and derma-therapeutics; lifestyle; pain relief, nasal decongestants, and cold sore management; and anti-parasite areas, as well as offers generic pharmaceutical products. It serves pharmacies, drug, and grocery stores through pharmacy sales force, as well as a network of pharmacists. The Rx segment offers generic and specialty pharmaceutical prescription drugs in various dosage forms, such as creams, ointments, lotions, gels, shampoos, foams, suppositories, sprays, liquids, suspensions, solutions, powders, controlled substances, injectables, hormones, women's health products, oral solid dosage forms, and oral liquid formulations; and ORx products. It serves wholesalers; retail drug, supermarket, and mass merchandise chains; hospitals; and pharmacies. The company was founded in 1887.

In the first quarter Perrigo was doing ok in a weak market for pharma stocks until CEO Joe Papa resigned unexpectedly to take over as CEO of Valeant. Shares fell from $128 to $85 over about three weeks. The company suffered multiple analyst downgrades and investors fled the stock.

They reported earnings on May 12th of $1.75 that missed estimates for $1.83. However, revenue of $1.38 billion did beat estimates for $1.35 billion. You would have thought that would push shares even lower but the company reiterated guidance for full year earnings of $8.20 to $8.60 per share, an 8-13% increase. Adjusted gross margin was a record at 47.9% with operating margins of 25.1%.

Earnings August 4th.

Shares immediately begin to rise after the guidance. Today's close at $100 is above the close on the CEO exit drop. This should be the start of a major recovery back to the $120 level by year end. The strong earnings guidance offset the kitchen sink quarter that normally occurs when a new CEO takes charge. They want to get all the skeletons out of the closet so future quarters under their reign will be positive.

On June 1st, Morningstar named Perrigo as one of their top ten buys for 2016.

Unfortunately, Perrigo options are expensive. We cannot use July strikes because the next strike is $5 out of the money, June expires next Friday and the premiums will collapse. The next strike is August but at least that will leave some earnings expectations premium when we exit before earnings. If you want to defray your net debit you can sell a higher priced call or offset by selling a naked put.

I will profile both sets of options. My recommendation would be to sell the put since PRGO is in a strong uptrend. That way you are not limiting your upside as you would by selling the higher strike call.

Position 6/9/16

Long August $105 call @ $4.55, initial stop loss $94.45.


Preferred: Short August $90 put @ $2.20, initial stop loss $94.45.
Net debit $2.35. No limit to upside potential.

Less margin: Short August $115 call @ $1.77, initial stop loss $94.45
Net debit $2.78. Upside limited to $7.22.

QRVO - Qorvo Inc - Company Description


No specific news. Minor gain in a weak market.

Original Trade Description: June 14th.

Qorvo, Inc. provides technologies and radio frequency (RF) solutions for mobile, infrastructure, and defense and aerospace applications worldwide. It operates through Mobile Products (MP) and Infrastructure and Defense Products (IDP) segments. The MP segment supplies its RF solutions into mobile devices, including smartphones, notebook computers, wearables, tablets, and cellular-based applications for the Internet of things. The IDP segment provides low noise amplifiers, switches, radio frequency filter solutions, CMOS system-on-a-chip solutions. This segment supplies its RF solutions to wireless network infrastructure, defense, and aerospace markets; and connectivity applications for commercial, consumer, industrial, and automotive markets.

Qorvo is a major supplier to Apple and other smartphone manufacturers. The slowdown in Apple iPhone sales hurt earnings last quarter but sales increases to Samsung and Chinese handset maker Huawei have helped to offset sluggish demand. The Samsung Galaxy S7 is selling very well and taking over the smartphone market. Strong base station demand rose +25% sequentially and a 9% increase in defense spending is helping offset the perceived slowdown in iPhones.

However, sales of the new iPhone 5E were only expected to be 10-15 million but sales have ramped up and are now expected to be in the 40-45 million range. Citigroup upgraded Qorvo and downgraded Slyworks saying the high performance Qorvo chips were much better than the Skyworks product and the company had a commanding lead in that segment. Qorvo is much better positioned for the carrier aggregation market and the low-band market fed by Skyworks was seeing a lot more competition.

Qorvo should benefit significantly from the ramp of 3G and 4G handsets into India and lower dollar emerging markets. The 5G specifications are starting to emerge and Qorvo is expected to be a leader in that transition, which will involve hundreds of millions of chips.

Earnings August 3rd.

Shares of QRVO gained 74 cents today in a very weak market. I have to stretch some on the strike because shares are just under $55 and that strike is too expensive. I am going out to $60 to get some premium relief.

Position 6/15/16:

Long Aug $60 call @ $2.10, no initial stop loss.

BEARISH Play Updates (Alpha by Symbol)

PYPL - PayPal - Company Description


No specific news.

Original Trade Description: June 13th.

Paypal bills itself as a technology company that enabled digital and mobile payments on behalf of consumers and merchants worldwide. The software allows users to pay and be paid from any computer or mobile device. They have outlasted several competitors but their time in the number one position is running out.

Apple announced Apple Pay for the web. With more than 1 billion Apple devices in use worldwide and 300 million of those are iPhones. When counting Macs and iPads there are more than 500 million Apple users. That is an instant market for Apple Pay on the web and it is going to be a major blow to Paypal.

Paypal has 14 million active merchant accounts and 170 million active consumer accounts. The one feature that works in PayPal's favor is that Apple Pay will initially only be available in the Safari browser and not on Chrome, which has more than 1 billion users.

Regardless the perceived hit to Paypal is likely to be detrimental to the stock price, which is already in decline.

Earnings July 27th.

Position 6/14/16:

Long Aug $35 put, @ $1.35, no initial stop loss.

SPY - S&P 500 ETF - ETF Description


The market rolled over after the Fed announcement to close on the lows with a -4 point loss on the S&P. The S&P would have to drop 70 points on Thursday to rescue this position. There is almost no chance of this. This position will expire on Friday. I am removing the position from the portfolio today.

Original Trade Description: March 16th.

All good things must come to an end. The market appears poised to rally and produce a new leg higher. However, there is serious resistance starting at 2,075 on the S&P and continuing through 2,100. The odds are very slim that a rally will make it through that resistance ahead of the earnings cycle and assuming earnings for Q1 are as bad as the guidance we have been getting then it is even more likely the market rolls over into the "Sell in May" cycle.

Nobody can accurately pick turning points in the market on a routine basis. There are far too many things that can push and pull the indexes but at critical resistance levels we can normally anticipate at least a little reaction to those levels.

The S&P has strong resistance beginning at 2,078, which equates to $208 on the SPY. That resistance runs from 2,078 to 2,105 or roughly $211 on the SPY. I am proposing we buy puts on the SPY starting at $207 with a stop loss at $213.

The S&P may never hit those levels or it could hit them next week. The close after the Fed decision was 2,027, which means it would still have to rally 50 points to hit our initial entry point. Once it reaches that level it will have rebounded for +268 points and would be extremely overbought when it reached that 2,078 level. That makes it even more likely it will fail when it gets there.

I am going to recommend the June $200 puts. They should cost about $4 when the SPY reaches the $207 level. I want to use June because we may not reach that resistance for a couple weeks, if at all, and once we do hit that level I want to be able to profit from any sell in May decline.

This position could go for several weeks without being triggered and there is a good chance we will not get to play it with numerous analysts calling for a failure at 2,040 and 2,050 along the way. There are analysts calling for a retest of the 1,900 level this summer with some projecting significantly lower levels. If you look hard enough you can probably find someone projecting targets a couple hundred points higher or lower than the ones discussed.

Morgan Stanley's Adam Parker slashed his price target for the S&P from 2,175 to 2,050 yesterday. Most of the major banks are in the 2,050 to 2,100 range so the expectations for a major rally from here are pretty slim.

Position 3/23/16 with SPY trade at $204.11

3/23/16: Long June $200 put @ $4.77 with SPY trade at $204.11
4/01/16: Long June $200 put @ $3.26 when SPY traded at $207.
4/19/16: Long June $200 put @ $1.95 when SPY traded at $210.

Our average cost was $3.34, expired, -$3.34 loss.

XBI - S&P Biotech ETF - ETF Description


There was a minor rebound in the biotech sector but this may signal the bottom. We exited at the lowered stop loss at $55.25 with a decent profit.

Original Trade Description: June 4th.

The S&P Biotech ETF follows the S&P Biotechnology Select Industry Index. The fund holds 85 biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. The XBI tracks the NYSE ARCA Biotechnology Index ($BTK) almost perfectly.

The $BTK has gained 16% over the last three weeks since May 12th. The reason for the rebound was the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference that started on Friday. More than 35,000 professionals in the field of Oncology attend this annual event. Any company with a new idea, treatment or drug will be there. A few will rocket higher after the event. Most will fall back into their original trend if they did not present anything new and notable.

The conference started on Friday and quite a few biotech stocks that rallied ahead of the event fell back 3% to 5% on profit taking. Investors wanted to take profits and not risk getting blindsided with some negative headline from the conference. If somebody announces a new drug that may work better than somebody else, then the loser gets crushed and the new guy gets praised.

I am proposing we buy a put on the XBI in anticipation of a return to the prior trend. Remember, both political candidates have been trashing the drug companies and promising to do something about the high cost of drugs. There is a new term being tossed around in the sector and that is "financial toxicity." That means the drug may work great but the cost will prevent it from being prescribed or covered by the insurance companies. This means, even without the political bashing drug prices are going lower.

Position 6/6/16:

Closed 6/15/16: Long July $57 put @ $2.20, exit $3.30, +1.10 gain.

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