Option Investor

Daily Newsletter, Tuesday, 7/12/2016

Table of Contents

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

Market Wrap

Panic Attack

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown

The major indexes continued to surge higher as shorts and portfolio managers begin to panic the rally could actually have legs.

Market Statistics

The Dow finally closed over the prior high close of 18,312 and it only closed about 25 points off its intraday high. Bullish sentiment appears to be rising sharply and worries over a potential decline are nonexistent. The S&P surged another 15 points to close over 2,152 and that level was the yearend target for several major brokers. Traders are so used to resistance holding they do not know how to act with no resistance in sight.

Positive market gains overseas helped to produce another gap open for the U.S. markets.

Economic reports were neutral but that is better prior reports that have been showing weakness. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for June rose slightly from 93.8 to 94.5. That is the highest level since December's 95.2 reading. The internal components were barely changed. The highlight would be the increase in capital expenditure plans from 23 to 26 and current job openings rising from 27 to 29. All the other components were relatively flat.

A net of 9% of respondents expect the economy to worsen. Employment plans fell from 12 to 11 and the percentage of firms planning on adding inventories fell from -1% to -3%.

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey showed job openings rose at a 3.7% rate, down slightly from the prior report at +3.9%. Job openings declined from 5.845 million to 5.5 million and the lowest rate since December. Hiring declined from 5.085 million to 5.036 million. However, separations also fell from 5.015 million to 4.952 million. Layoffs fell from 1.71 million to 1.67 million. This report was for May and was ignored.

May wholesale inventories rose +0.1%, down from the +0.6% gain in April. Consensus expectations were for a gain of +0.2%. Seven out of 10 durable goods categories posted gains despite overall growth of only +0.1%. For nondurables, 6 of 9 categories saw inventories increase with a total gain of +0.2%. Sales rose +0.5% after two prior months of strong gains of 0.8% and 0.6%.

The Fed Beige Book out on Wednesday should not be a market mover unless it shows conditions have improved. The report has been neutral in prior versions suggesting growth was still moderate in some regions while a few were weak but not materially weak. If the report were to show growth was improving in all regions it would be market positive.

Friday is a big report day but they are not likely to move the market. The Friday obstacle is the beginning of the Republican Convention on Monday. Uncertainty over that event could cause investors to take profits from the big market gains.

After the bell, the API inventories for crude oil reported a 2.2 million barrel rise with gasoline adding 1.5 million barrels and distillates adding 2.6 million barrels. Analysts were expecting a 3.0 million barrel decline in crude inventories according to a Reuter's poll. Crude prices fell back to $46.45 in afterhours trading after a $2 gain in the regular session to $46.76. If the EIA inventories on Wednesday show a similar build, we could see prices back below $45 very quickly.

The gain in the regular session came after OPEC suggested supply and demand would return to balance later this year. A separate EIA report showed higher estimates for U.S. demand growth in 2017.

Amazon (AMZN) hit a new high intraday at $757 as Prime Day selling kicked off. There had been some traders last week recommending a short at the open today on a sell the news trade. That would have worked this year with the open at $757 and the low in the afternoon at $740. However, you would have to have been fast on the trigger because shares rebounded into the close.

Amazon has an estimates 63 million Prime members spending the $99 a year for free two-day shipping. Prime members tend to spend about $1,200 per year compared to $500 for regular shoppers. MKM Partners estimated Amazon sold $375-$400 million on the first Prime Day last year. For 2016, they expect that number to double. This compares to $10.21 billion spent in stores on Black Friday and $2.72 billion spent online. Piper Jaffray expects a 37% increase in unit volume this year. I browsed some of the Prime Day sales and there was some decent stuff compared to a lot of junk last year. If they shoppers actually showed up this year after being disappointed last year then the total dollar volume could be a lot higher.

To try and combat Prime Day, Walmart (WMT) is offering free shipping all week.

After the bell today, Juno (JUNO) announced they would resume the trial of a potential leukemia treatment that had been placed on clinical hold last week because of two patient deaths. The FDA removed the hold after Juno delivered some updated documents to the FDA. The drug JCAR015 is used for adult patients with B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Shares spiked from the close at $28 to $34.50.

Starbucks (SBUX) shares rallied 2% after they said prices at company-operated stores in the U.S. would rise 10-20 cents per cup of coffee on selected drinks and 10-30 cents on espresso drinks and tea lattes effective immediately. The company also said it was raising wages 5% to 15% for U.S. workers effective in October.

Fastenal (FAST) reported earnings of 45 cents that missed estimates for 48 cents. Revenue of $1.01 billion also missed estimates for $1.02 billion. The company said, "While our customers value the capabilities we bring to the table, in the last eight quarters this group of customers has seen a contraction in its production and therefore its need for fasteners. The fastener product line saw growth of 10% in the last six months of 2014 to 6% in Q4-2015 and falling to about -2% in the first half of 2016." This is not a good sign for future quarters.

Seagate Technology (STX) raised guidance after the bell on Monday and shares spiked 22% on Tuesday. The company now expects revenue of $2.65 billion up from prior guidance of $2.3 billion and analyst estimates for $2.5 billion. That is still a 9.5% decline from the year ago quarter but significantly better than expected. They also announced they were cutting 6,500 employees or 14% of their workforce by the end of 2017.

Western Digital raised guidance last week and saw a surge in its stock price as well.

Teva (TEVA) raised guidance after the bell with revenue now expected to be $4.9-$5.0 billion, up from the prior forecast of $4.8-$4.9 billion. Earnings are expected at $1.19-$1.22 and up from $1.16-$1.20. The company is expected to give long-term guidance on a call on Wednesday morning that includes their acquisition of the Actavis generic business from Allergan (AGN). They are still waiting on FTC approval and have already sold off various assets to secure that approval. Shares rose only about 50 cents in afterhours.

United Airlines (UAL) shares rallied 9% despite a drop in passenger unit revenue of -6.5% in Q2. Analysts were expecting a 7% decline. I do not see the excitement in a 0.5% better number since both were declines. The company said it "beat" the estimates because of higher July 4th traffic and higher international fares.

American Airlines (AAL) said it sees a $1.55 billion boost in revenue from bank and credit card deals. In 2014 Delta generated about $2 billion in revenue annually or about 5% of their total from credit card deals. The cobranded cards provide an alternate source of revenue when holders buy other items on those cards. American has deals with Citigroup and Barclays.

If you are at the mall be careful you are not run over by Pokemon players. The new version of the augmented reality game has taken the world by storm in just the last several days. Shares of Nintendo (NTDOY) are up 50% and the game has only been out a week. The game uses the camera on your smart phone as a screen to your reality and players must walk into the picture to capture treasure and creatures superimposed on the camera picture. Go to the mall and just watch. Hundreds of kids and young adults are wandering aimlessly as the game directs their path in whatever location they are located.

Has the Great Rotation begun? Today's treasury auction was the worst in 7 years as the government tried to sell $20 billion in ten-year notes. The bid-to-cover ratio was 2.33 and the lowest demand since March 2009. The yield at 1.516% was the second lowest yield ever. Apparently, the market demand for 1.5% yields has evaporated with all the money going to the equity markets this week. The 3-year auction on Monday was equally as bad. Thirty-year long bonds will be auctioned tomorrow. The yield on the ten-year is up from the 1.336% low from last Wednesday.

The dollar has stopped moving higher with the dollar index holding at the $96.50 level for the last several days. The reason is that the pound has stopped falling. The pound hit a low of 125.81 and has rebounded to almost touch $130 today. The fast replacement of the UK prime minister is credited with halting the slide in the currency.

Gold prices collapsed on the new PM designate and the idea that maybe the UK disaster will not be a disaster after all. Gold is down from the $1,376 high on Monday to $1,330 tonight.


The breakout finally happened and it occurred on high volume. That is a double whammy for anyone that doubts the event. Volume was 7.6 billion shares and advancers were almost 3:1 over decliners. Yes, there were decliners. Quite a few charts had red candles late in the afternoon as traders were taking profits and moving on to something else.

With treasury yields so low at 1.5% there is no alternative (TINA) to stocks if you want to increase your gains. The lack of an alternative along with the breakout has energized investors to move back into stocks and portfolio managers with performance anxiety are rushing to chase prices higher.

In theory, this is the perfect storm for the bears. The bulls are buying everything, except for defensive stocks. Those defensive stocks that were in favor including Clorox (CLX), Verizon (VZ), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) etc were all down today as investors dumped the safe plays for those stocks that were surging. This week oil prices had no impact on equities. Oil was down on Monday and equities rose. It was up today and equities rose. The breakout is the big news and after 17 weeks of equity fund outflows this week will probably break that string.

The S&P closed at 2,152 and over the 2,150 level several analysts had predicted would be the yearend target for the index. We are a long way from the end of December but you can bet those analysts are staring at charts this week.

The next unofficial resistance levels are 2,161 and 2,171 but when indexes breakout into blue sky territory the next target is always hard to predict. Support is so far back it is not even worth mentioning.

I would be very concerned as a trader if I was holding a lot of longs as we approach the weekend. Friday could see a lot of profit taking ahead of the weekend as we approach the Republican convention on Monday.

Despite the new highs on the Dow there were 7 Dow stocks in negative territory. Goldman Sachs was responsible for nearly 40 Dow points and Caterpillar another 15 points. Those two stocks were half of the Dow's gains.

The Dow stopped right at its prior intraday high of 18,350 but that does not mean it is done. It would be the perfect spot for some profit taking to appear so traders should be careful. Support is well back at 17,820 unless one of those prior resistance levels becomes support on the way back down.

The Nasdaq managed to close over 5,000 by 23 points and that would make the 5100-5160 range the next resistance level. The big cap tech stocks in the $NDX only gained 22 points to the Nasdaq Composite's 34 point gain. The big caps are under pressure as investors take profits and move into small and mid cap stocks.

Support is well back at 4,850 so any decline could be ugly if the buyers suddenly question the logic of owning tech stocks at 7-month highs ahead of a potential disaster in Apple earnings.

The small cap Russell 2000 closed right at strong resistance at 1,205 after a monster gain from the 1,085 post Brexit low or roughly 10% in two weeks. I like to see the small caps in rally mode because that means sentiment is improving and fund managers are not afraid to buy less liquid stocks. If the Russell can continue its gains, it could support the rest of the market. However, the historic high is 1,295 so it has a long way to go before a breakout.

The market could continue higher but it could also roll over at any time for some profit taking ahead of the weekend. The internals, volume and small cap charts suggest this rally could have legs. That makes us dip buyers rather than buying new highs at this point. After a 1,300 point rebound on the Dow and 161 point gain on the S&P in two weeks, the market is overbought even if it refuses to rest. If you are like me, once I capitulate and start buying the new high, that will be the signal a correction is coming. I would rather buy dips this week than roll the dice on continued new highs every day.

Enter passively, exit aggressively!

Jim Brown

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New Option Plays

Waiting on a Dip

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown

Editors Note:

The major indexes broke out to new highs after a vertical ramp over the last two weeks. While I am a fan of buying some breakouts on individual stocks I am not a fan of buying a market breakout after two weeks of continuous gains. The market is overbought and there are serious headline events starting this weekend. Any new long play we could add would likely be filled at the high for the week. There are almost zero short plays because everything is caught up in this market euphoria. We have a lot of successful longs and can afford to wait for a new buying opportunity to appear.


No New Bullish Plays


No New Bearish Plays

In Play Updates and Reviews

New Target?

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown

Editors Note:

The S&P is up +161 points since the post Brexit low at 1,991. All the prior targets have been hit. Were are we going from here? It is unusual for the markets to just blow through old highs and keep surging higher, especially after a monster gain to get to those breakout levels. Anything is always possible but not probable.

If you look at the breakout to new highs in 2013 there were repeated sell cycles where the market took profits on the way up. It is possible since we have consolidated at the 2000-2100 level for so long that there is enough purchasing power to keep moving higher but we should be cautious in becoming overly long.

I raised the stop losses on almost everything. When the market eventually rolls over I want to exit the current plays close to the top.

Current Portfolio

Current Position Changes

SYNA - Synaptics

The long put position was opened at $49.01.

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

CNC - Centene Corp -
Company Description


Still no specific news. Continued gains to another 10-month high.

Original Trade Description: June 21st.

Centene Corporation operates as a diversified and multi-national healthcare enterprise that provides programs and services to under-insured and uninsured individuals in the United States. It operates through two segments, Managed Care and Specialty Services. The Managed Care segment offers Medicaid and Medicaid-related health plan coverage to individuals through government subsidized programs, including Medicaid, the State childrens health insurance program, long-term care, foster care, and dual-eligible individual, as well as aged, blind, or disabled programs. Its health plans include primary and specialty physician care, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, emergency and urgent care, prenatal care, laboratory and x-ray services, home health and durable medical equipment, behavioral health and substance abuse, 24-hour nurse advice line, transportation assistance, vision care, dental care, immunizations, prescriptions and limited over-the-counter drugs, specialty pharmacy, therapies, social work services, and care coordination. The Specialty Services segment provides pharmacy benefits management services; health, triage, wellness, and disease management services; vision services; dental services; correctional healthcare services; in-home health services; and integrated long-term care services, as well as care management software that automate the clinical, administrative, and technical components of care management programs.

On Monday Centene was upgraded by Barclays to overweight (buy) with an $82 price target. They based the upgrade on the growth and valuation potential after the completion of the $6.8 billion Health Net (HNT) merger at the end of March. Health Net had 5.9 million individuals in plans in all 50 states. They also offered employee assistance plans to approximately 7.3 million individuals. The combined companies now insure more than 10 million individuals. Barclays said the combined management team had improved with the merger.

Barclays said, "We believe shares of CNC have simply corrected too far and too long, and now represent a very attractive investment."

Earnings are July 26th.

Shares spiked $2 on the upgrade and failed to pull back on Tuesday. That spike pushed CNC over resistance and any further move higher would be a breakout.

Position 6/22/16

Long August $72.50 call @ $1.97, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

COST - Costco - Company Description


No specific news. Shares saw minor profit taking after several days of big 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.

GRUB - GrubHub - Company Description


No specific news. 3% rebound and holding over support.

Original Trade Description: June 27th.

I recommended GRUB as a LEAP position in the LEAPS Newsletter on Sunday. With the minor drop back to support today I am recommending it here on a short term option.

GrubHub Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides an online and mobile platform for restaurant pick-up and delivery orders in the United States. The company connects approximately 44,000 local restaurants with diners in approximately 1,000 cities. It operates GrubHub and Seamless Websites through grubhub.com and seamless.com. The company also offers GrubHub and Seamless mobile applications and mobile Websites for iPhone, iPad, Android, iWatch, and Apple TV devices; and Seamless Corporate program that helps businesses address inefficiencies in food ordering and associated billing. In addition, it provides Allmenus.com and MenuPages, which provide an aggregated database of approximately 380,000 menus from restaurants in 50 states.

GrubHub is a concept that is catching fire and the bigger they get the more restaurants want to sign on to the service. They now serve 44,000 restaurants. They do not markup prices. Whatever the restaurant charges is what you pay. Diners can customize any order to their own taste specifications and dietary needs.

Restaurants benefit because the service drives more orders. Many people cannot take 2 hours out of their day to go to the restaurant to eat. GrubHub brings the restaurant to them. Restaurants typically see about 30% more takeout orders during their first year when they sign up for the Grubhub service. Delivery fees range from free to $3.99.

GrubHub currently has more than 6.9 million diners. Ordering through the GrubHub online menu is 50% faster than ordering from the restaurant on the phone.

The company recently announced participation with national chain restaurants including Boston Market, Johnny Rocket's, California Pizza Kitchen, Veggie Grill, On the Border and Panda Express. This is a natural for fast food chains. They prepare the food fast and it gets to the diner fast.

An analyst at Moness Crespi Hardt just upgraded them to buy from neutral saying the fundamentals are rapidly improving with the addition of the chain restaurants. Secondly they completely overhauled their tech platform in 2015 and the benefits are rising quickly. They are also integrating POS features including Apple Pay. He also believes they are a potential acquisition target by companies like Amazon, Uber and Postmates. His biggest point is the addition of the chain restaurants. Adding companies with hundreds or even thousands of restaurants will catapult them to the next level.

Earnings August 2nd.

Shares have been rising and they closed at an 8-month high on Thursday. In Friday's market crash they gave back only 1.4%, which was nothing compared to the rest of the market. In Monday's market they dropped back to retest Friday's low but that support held. This is very good relative strength.

Position 6/28/16:

Long Aug $30.00 call @ $2.30, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

JPM - JP Morgan - Company Description


No specific news. Earnings on Thursday. This was a Brexit play in expectation of a "remain" vote. The vote went the other way and our option nearly went to zero. After today's gains and the overextended market, I am recommending we close the position at the open on Wednesday. The option has rebounded to 85 cents and our cost is $1.31. If you want to keep it and hold over the earnings before the open on Thursday morning you could be rewarded. However, the Dow has rebounded 1,300 points since the post Brexit low at 17,063 and the S&P +161 points. Eventually there will be a decent bout of profit taking that could hit JPM hard. There is also the potential for disappointing guidance with earnings because of Brexit and the abnormally low interest rates and sharp drop in the pound. JPM has 16,500 employees in London.


Original Trade Description: May 11th.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. operates as a financial services company worldwide. It operates through Consumer & Community Banking, Corporate & Investment Bank, Commercial Banking, and Asset Management segments. The Consumer & Community Banking segment offers deposit and investment products and services to consumers; lending, deposit, and cash management and payment solutions to small businesses; residential mortgages and home equity loans; and credit cards, payment services, payment processing services, auto loans and leases, and student loans. The Corporate & Investment Bank segment provides investment banking products and services, including advising on corporate strategy and structure, capital-raising in equity and debt markets, as well as loan origination and syndication; treasury services, such as cash management and liquidity solutions; and cash securities and derivative instruments, risk management solutions, prime brokerage, and research services. It also offers securities services, including custody, fund accounting and administration, and securities lending products for asset managers, insurance companies, and public and private investment funds.

JP Morgan has 15% revenue exposure to Brexit. That will be the major market mover the rest of the week. They are also expected to increase their capital return percentages for buybacks and dividends. Those will be announced next Wednesday.

I am playing the call side because the potential for a short squeeze on a remain vote or a major buy the dip program on an exit vote. The put options are more than double the call options so it appears everyone is expecting the worst. Shares have declined to the bottom of their uptrend channel.

I am using the August options to capture all the events over the next couple weeks. Earnings are July 14th and we will exit before earnings.

This is probably a 100% loser or a 200% gainer. There is no in between because of the binary nature of the event. We cannot use stop losses on this position because of the potential for opening gaps.

Position 6/23/16:

Long August $65 call @ $1.31, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

LL - Lumber Liquidators - Company Description


No specific news. New 6-month high.

Original Trade Description: July 7th.

Lumber Liquidators operates as a multi-channel specialty retailer of hardwood flooring, and hardwood flooring enhancements and accessories. It primarily offers hardwood species, engineered hardwood, laminates, and resilient vinyl flooring; renewable flooring, and bamboo and cork products; and a selection of flooring enhancements and accessories, including moldings, noise-reducing underlay, adhesives, and flooring tools. The company also provides in-home delivery and installation services. The company offers its products primarily under the Bellawood brand and Lumber Liquidators name. It primarily serves homeowners, or to contractors on behalf of homeowners. As of December 31, 2015, it operated 366 stores in the United States and 8 stores in Canada.

LL was trashed in March 2015 after a 60 Minutes report that the laminate flooring sourced from China had excessive levels of formaldehyde. Shares dropped from the prior close just under $70 to $10 earlier this year. Sales plummeted and earnings took a dive.

On Friday the company announced that the Consumer Products Safety Committee (CPSC) had closed their investigation and the only concession LL had to make was to not sell laminate flooring made in China. Since they already stopped that practice 13 months ago, it was basically a get out of jail free card. Shares spiked 19% on Friday to $15.78.

The company also reported that they had tested 15,000 homes with that flooring installed and NONE of those homes had chemical levels over the recommended norms. Of those 70,000 homes some 1,300 underwent special testing by a certified laboratory and NONE of those homes tested above safe levels either.

The CPSC also warned about ripping out the existing flooring and replacing it. They said the process of ripping it out would expose homeowners to excess levels of the chemical so that removes the possibility of a massive recall problem by LL.

LL has a class action suit brought by homeowners but with the CPCS saying there is no problem with the installed floor the suit just lost its main reason for existing. I am sure it will continue and they will try to get some damages but proving you have been damaged when there is no problem is going to be a challenge.

LL escaped a massive recall. They will probably settle for peanuts on the class action suit and there were no fines or penalties. They are probably celebrating all weekend at the corporate headquarters.

Now all they have to do is win back the customers. Same store sales have been down 10-13% because of the looming problems. Now that they can claim there never was any problem they can launch a massive advertising campaign and sales should recover. It may be slow at first but they still have a good selection of products at the right prices.

While their troubles may not be completely over they are light years closer to business as usual than they were a week ago. Funds and investors have ignored their stock but with the all clear from the CPSC they should come flooding back in hopes of getting a bargain entry.

Earnings August 3rd.

LL shares spiked to $16 on the news back in mid June. They moved sideways until the Brexit crash and lost altitude back to $14. Today's close was a six-month high over that headline spike in June. I believe the stock is poised to go higher now that it is trying to pull out of its yearlong consolidation.

I am going to recommend a longer term option and suggest we hold over the August 3rd earnings. They would be hard pressed to say anything more negative than what the market already expects. The potential for good news and positive guidance is very good.

Position 7/8/16:

Long Nov $18 call @ $2.15. No stop loss because of the cheap option and the longer term.

NVDA - Nvidia - Company Description


No specific news. Another new high for Nvidia. I am raising the stop really tight because this rocket is about to run out of fuel.

Original Trade Description: June 28th.

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 company’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.

Shares closed at a new high at $48.50 on Thursday. On Friday they dropped to $45.30 to stop us out. That was a $3 drop. Today the stock rebounded off the opening low and only gave back 49 cents. I believe with any market that is not crashing Nvidia will be back at new highs very quickly.

Position 6/28/16:

Long August $47 call @ $2.55, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

PVH - PVH Corp - Company Description


No specific news. Excellent gain. I am tightening the stop loss again.

Original Trade Description: June 27th.

PVH Corp. operates as an apparel company in the United States and internationally. The company operates through six segments: Calvin Klein North America, Calvin Klein International, Tommy Hilfiger North America, Tommy Hilfiger International, Heritage Brands Wholesale, and Heritage Brands Retail. It designs, markets, and retails mens and womens apparel and accessories, branded dress shirts, neckwear, sportswear, jeans wear, intimate apparel, swim products, handbags, footwear, golf apparel, fragrances, cosmetics, eyewear, hosiery, socks, jewelry, watches, outerwear, small leather goods, and home furnishings, as well as other related products. The company offers its products under its own brands, such as Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen, IZOD, ARROW, Warners, Olga, and Eagle; and licensed brands comprising Speedo, Geoffrey Beene, Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole Reaction, Sean John, MICHAEL Michael Kors, Michael Kors Collection, and Chaps, as well as various other licensed and private label brands.

PVH has been absolutely crushed in the sell off because they were thought to have as large presence in the UK. Shares closed at a new 9-month high of $102.70 on Thursday. Today they touched $84 intraday for a whopping $18 or roughly 18% decline in two days from a new high.

PVH thought it was important enough that they filed a disclosure with the SEC saying they only derived 3% of their revenues from the UK. Even with the massive drop in the pound the company did not think any UK weakness would be material to their results.

The company has been on a growth spurt by acquiring brands and doing license deals with other brands to improve the variety of its offerings. On June 15th the CEO spoke at a Piper Jaffray Consumer Conference and said business was improving in Q2. He said the problems with other retailers represented an opportunity for the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands. He said the Tommy Hilfiger women's business generates 30% of their revenue and was a growth opportunity since they recently added it to the line. They teamed up with super model Gigi Hadid to make the brand more relative to younger, fashion oriented women.

With their Q1 earnings they raised guidance from $6.30-$6.50 to $6.45-$6.55 a share for the full year. The CEO said the guidance was conservative because this "does not seem like the environment ro tray and be a hero."

Earnings August 24th.

Position 6/28/16:

Long August $90 call @ $4.23, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

SWHC - Smith & Wesson - Company Description


Shares fell more than $2 at the open to stop us out at $27.85 for a decent gain. Absolutely no news.

Original Trade Description: June 25th.

Smith & Wesson was founded in 1852 and manufacturers firearms in the U.S. and internationally under many different brands but primarily Smith & Wesson.

Gun sales are booming again. With every terrorist attack or mass shooting more consumers rush out to buy guns for self defense. With the potential for additional attacks in the U.S. this trend is not going to slow. However, sales are cyclical. They surge after attacks like San Bernardino or Orlando or after speeches by politicians about gun control. President Obama has been the best gun salesman we have ever had. Every push by the administration to get more laws passed results in millions of new gun sales. The constant gun headlines over the last two weeks have lifted S&W to 3-month highs.

In their Q4 earnings where there was a surge in gun sales after San Bernardino. In their recent Q1 earnings there was no mention of the Orlando shootings because the shooting was only 4 days before their earnings. The Q1 results did not have any sales bump from that event.

In their Q1 report, they posted earnings of 63 cents compared to estimates for 54 cents. Revenue of $221 million also beat estimates for $214 million. They guided for the full year for revenue between $740-$760 million and analysts were expecting $723 million. They guided for full year earnings of $1.83-$1.93 and analysts were only expecting $1.66. Q1 sales rose +22% and the CEO said demand was strong. They forecast current quarter revenue at $190-$200 million and analysts were only expecting $162 million. That is a massive improvement.

Since the Orlando shooting there has been nonstop headlines about gun control. Gun stores are reporting four times the volume in traffic and many stores are having trouble keeping guns in stock. This is going to be a banner quarter for S&W.

Earnings August 25th.

Update 7/5/16: The FBI released the background check numbers for June. They processed 2,131,485 checks for a 39% increase in purchases over 2015. The 2015 number was a 10.5% increase over 2014. For the first six months of 2016 they have processed 13,829,491 background checks which is 60% of all 2015. Assuming nothing changes in the economy we are well on our way to a new record for the year.

Shares have been in constant rebound since the earnings on June 16th erased fears about slowing sales.

Position 6/27/16:

Closed 7/12/16: Long Sept $27 call @ $1.70, exit $2.85, +1.15 gain.

WDC - Western Digital - Company Description


Shares rallied $2.32 after Geode Capital Management reported they increased their position by 11% to $115 million. Riverhead Capital increased their stake by 30% to $10.7 million.

Original Trade Description: July 9th.

Western Digital Corporation, engages in the development, manufacture, sale, and provision of data storage solutions that enable consumers, businesses, governments, and other organizations to create, manage, experience, and preserve digital content worldwide. The company's product portfolio includes hard disk drives (HDDs), solid-state drives (SSDs), direct attached storage solutions, personal cloud network attached storage solutions, and public and private cloud data center storage solutions. It provides HDDs and solid-state drives for performance enterprise and capacity enterprise markets desktop, and notebook personal computers (PCs). The company also offers HDDs embedded into WD, HGST, and G-Technology branded external storage appliances with capacities ranging from 500 GB to 24 TB, as well as using various interfaces, such as USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FireWire, Thunderbolt, and Ethernet network connections.

WDC just completed the acquisition of flash memory maker SanDisk on May 12th and the combination will put it significantly ahead of Storage Technology (STX). WDC can include flash memory into its disk drive products to make them significantly faster as well as expand its offerings in the SSD market. By acquiring the SanDisk product line it provides a large amount of marketing breadth and created the premium data storage company.

Last Wednesday WDC raised adjusted earnings guidance to 72 cents, up from 65-70 cents. Analysts were expecting 68 cents. They raised revenue guidance from $3.35-$3.45 billion to $3.46 billion. Analysts were expecting $3.41 billion. This is the second guidance raise for this quarter. Back on May 26th they raised revenue guidance from $2.6-$2.7 billion to $3.35-$3.45 billion.

Earnings July 28th.

WDC has solid resistance at $51 but a breakout over that resistance could quickly sprint to $60. I am using the October options to avoid the rapid decline in August premium after July expiration next Friday. We will exit before earnings on the 28th. This is a short-term play to capture any continued market breakout.

Position 7/11/16:

Long Oct $52.50 call @ $3.23, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

Z - Zillow Group - Company Description


No specific news. Another minor gain to a new high.

Original Trade Description: June 29th.

Zillow Group, Inc. operates real estate and home-related information marketplaces on mobile and the Web in the United States. It offers a portfolio of brands and products to help people find vital information about homes, and connect with local professionals. The company's brands focus on various stages of the home lifecycle, such as renting, buying, selling, financing, and home improvement. Its portfolio of consumer brands includes real estate and rental marketplaces comprising Zillow, Trulia, StreetEasy, and HotPads. The company also provides advertising services to real estate agents and rental and mortgage professionals; and owns and operates various brands that offer technology solutions to real estate, rental and mortgage professionals, including DotLoop, Mortech, Diverse Solutions, and Retsly.

Back in August 2015 Zillow Group split its stock 2:1 but the new stock had no voting rights. The Class C stock trades under the symbol Z while the Class A stock with rights traded under the symbol ZG. The company did this so the voting rights would not be diluted. Multiple companies have done this including the biggest to date with Google and Facebook. The split has no impact on the company operation except that employees now receive Z shares and any acquisitions will be made with Z shares.

The company acquired Trulia.com for $2.6 billion in 2015 and contrary to analyst concerns the integration has been relatively smooth. There were some hiccups but everything is functioning normally today.

They reported Q1 earnings of 13 cents that beat estimates for a loss of 9 cents. Revenue rose from $127.3 million to $186 million and beat estimates for $177 million. They also raised full year guidance from $805-$815 million to $825-$835 million. Analysts were expecting $794 million. They ended the quarter with $514 million in cash. Marketplace revenue rose 23%, real estate revenue rose 34% and mortgage revenue rose 65%.

Earnings August 2nd.

In early June, the company made a windfall settlement with Move.com for $130 million after two years of litigation. Analysts were expecting $1.8-$2.0 billion. This pending litigation had been a cloud over the stock for the last 8 months. After the settlement shares spiked to $32 and traded sideways for two weeks before moving up to new highs at $35.50. The Brexit crash knocked the shares back to $32.75 but after the last two days of gains it is threatening to breakout once again.

Shares closed at $35 so the August $40 strike is a little far out for a short period of time. I am going to stretch to the November $40 strike, which will have significant expectation premium when we exit before earnings.

Position 6/30/16:

Long Nov $40 call @ $2.30, initial stop loss $32.50.

BEARISH Play Updates (Alpha by Symbol)

HSY - Hershey Company - Company Description


Finally a decent decline as investors got tired of waiting for a new offer.

Original Trade Description: July 2nd.

The Hershey Company manufactures, imports, markets, distributes, and sells confectionery products. It offers chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery products; gum and mint refreshment products comprising chewing gums and bubble gums; pantry items, such as baking ingredients, toppings, beverages, and sundae syrups; and snack items, including spreads, meat snacks, bars and snack bites, and mixes. The company provides its products primarily under the Hersheys, Reeses, Kisses, Jolly Rancher, Almond Joy, Brookside, Cadbury, Good & Plenty, Heath, Kit Kat, Lancaster, Payday, Rolo, Twizzlers, Whoppers, York, Scharffen Berger, Dagoba, Ice Breakers, Breathsavers, and Bubble Yum brands, as well as under the Golden Monkey, Pelon Pelo Rico, IO-IO, Nutrine, Maha Lacto, Jumpin, and Sofit brands.

Snack maker Mondelez bid roughly $23 billion for Hershey last week and the offer was quickly refused. Hershey has turned down several acquisition offers since 2002. In 2002 the Wrigley company tried to buy it and failed. In 2007 Cadbury also failed. In 2010 the trust prevented Hershey from bidding to buy Cadbury. The problem with acquiring Hershey is that the Hershey Trust Co. owns 81% of the voting stock and 8.4% of the common stock. Nothing will happen unless the trust approves.

The trust was setup in 1909 to benefit the Milton Hershey School for underprivileged children and the community of Hershey Pennsylvania. The trust has built up a $12 billion endowment for the school and is well liked for the good works done around the community.

The board has also said multiple times they do not want to sell the company.

Another factor is the Pennsylvania Attorney General. Any sale would require the approval of the AG under a 2002 state law. He has the power to overrule the trust if he feels any sale would not benefit the citizens of Pennsylvania.

Here is where the challenge comes in. If Mondelez buys the Hershey Company then the trust gets a lump sum of money but that is all they will ever get. Once they spend it the benefit is over. If Hershey stays independent the trust will remain the benefactor of Hershey PA for another century. The profits from Hershey will continue to flow through the trust to the school and other entities to support the community. Hershey pays out about $500 million a year in dividends. The AG is not likely to allow the golden goose to be sold.

I believe this acquisition bid will fail. Mondelez may raise the offer but I doubt the board, trust or AG will accept it. The spike in the stock to $115 will fail and shares will return to the $95-$100 level where they were trading lat week.

This is a speculative position so do not play with money you cannot afford to lose. I am making this a spread because the put options are expensive for obvious reasons.

Earnings July 28th.

Position 7/5/16:

Long August $110 put @ $5.15, no initial stop loss.
Short August $100 put @ $1.52, no initial stop loss.
Net debit $3.63

IWM - Russell 2000 ETF - ETF Description


The Russell ETF reached significant resistance at 120 and stalled. That was the same trade from yeaterday when it hit resistance at $118 and stalled. If the market is going to roll over it should happen soon because of the big gains and the Dow and S&P set new highs. Many times when new highs are hit the next move is lower because the target has been reached and nobody has picked a new target. Traders capture profits and then wait for the market to confirm a direction.

Original Trade Description: July 2nd.

The Russell 2000 ETF attempts to track the investment results of the Russell 2000 Index composed of small-capitalization U.S. equities.

The Russell 2000 is facing strong resistance from 1150-1165. The index actually touched 1,190 in early June but I seriously doubt we will see that level again. The S&P closed right at 2,100 and has strong resistance from 2100-2115. The Dow closed only 72 points under the post Brexit close at 18,011.

We recovered from the post Brexit crash on a combination of equity fund window dressing for the end of the quarter and pension funds rebalancing the ratio of bond to equities. Reportedly they had to buy up to $18 billion in equities.

Now we are at resistance and all those uplifting events are over. The uncertainty over the UK exit still exists and the dollar/pound imbalance will cause a significant number of earnings warnings for Q3.

All the fundamentals point to a weak July and the artificial lift from the end of the quarter buying is over.

Note the volume in SPY and IWM puts for August on Thursday. The far right column is the open interest and the second from the right is the volume traded on Thursday. This is about 3 times the number of calls for the same period. The vast majority of traders are expecting a market decline.

I am recommending we buy puts on the IWM because the premiums are cheaper. I am recommending an entry trigger because we could still move higher ahead of the long weekend. S&P future are down -4 but that could be temporary.

Position 7/5/16 with an IWM trade at $113.95

Long August $112 puts @ $2.62. No initial stop loss.

MEOH - Methanex Corp - Company Description


No specific news. Big gain on no news. Probably up with oil prices and the bullish market.

Original Trade Description: July 9th.

Methanex Corporation produces and supplies methanol in the Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, and South America. It also purchases methanol produced by others under methanol offtake contracts and on the spot market.

This is a very niche market and methanol prices have been declining. Like oil there is an abundance of methanol.

Earnings estimates are declining sharply. Full year estimates have fallen from a profit of 42 cents to a loss of 3 cents. That is a major drop. For the current quarter estimates have fallen from a loss of 19 cents to a loss of 27 cents.

Earnings July 27th.

Despite the rapidly falling estimates and stock price Raymond James upgraded it to strong buy on May 17th. Shares rallied on the upgrade from $29 to $35 and almost immediately rolled over again. Shares sank to a four-month low last week. On Friday when the market was exploding higher the stock only gained 38 cents. Shorts were not covering in MEOH.

I am picking the August $25 put because it is cheap and I am planning on holding over earnings unless we are really profitable ahead of the event. I believe the earnings will disappoint and we could see a sharp post earnings drop, but I would be wrong. The option is only $1 so the risk is minimal.

Position 7/11/16:

Long August $25 put @ $1.00, no initial stop loss.

SYNA - Synaptics Inc - Company Description


We did not get a good entry on Synaptics. Shares gapped higher but the put premium was the high of the day. There was no news.

Original Trade Description: July 11th.

Synaptics Incorporated develops, markets, and sells intuitive human interface solutions for electronic devices and products worldwide. The company offers its human interface products solutions for mobile product applications, including smartphones, tablets, and touchscreen applications, as well as mobile, handheld, wireless, and entertainment devices; notebook applications; and other personal computer (PC) product applications, such as peripherals comprising keyboards, mice, and monitors, as well as remote control devices for desktops, PCs, and digital home applications.

Back in mid April Synaptics said it was in active discussions with a state-backed Chinese investment group on a deal that valued the company at $110 per share. The company said it was anticipating a formal announcement at month end when it reported earnings. Shares spikes 7% to $87.

On April 28th the company reported adjusted earnings of $1.21 per share compared to estimates for $1.51. Revenue of $402.5 million also missed estimates for $450.5 million. Shares collapsed $15 on the news to $68.

In early June, the company said it was no longer in active talks with the Chinese group about an acquisition. On June 16th, the company said it was laying off 160 employees and closing some offices. That is about 9% of the workforce. The company will have an $11 million charge for severance and take another $4 million charge for lease cancellation fees on the office rent. Synaptics said the move was to align the company's cost structure close to its revenue. The company said they had experienced a "sizeable revenue shortfall" in Q1 that would carry over into the current quarter. "We saw a precipitous drop in order levels within the smartphone market." They are a supplier to Apple.

Recent reports suggest Apple is still cutting component orders for the next iPhone due out in September so Synaptics revenue should still be in decline.

Shares closed at a 2-year low last week and earnings are July 28th.

I am recommending a September $45 put in order to avoid the sharp drop in front month premiums when July expires on Friday. I do not plan on holding over that earnings report. We are buying time but we are not going to use it.

Position 7/12/16:

Long Sept $45 put @ $3, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

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