Option Investor
Newsletter

Daily Newsletter, Thursday, 1/11/2018

Table of Contents

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

Market Wrap

Earnings And Outlook Drive Market Higher

by Thomas Hughes

Click here to email Thomas Hughes

Introduction

The major indices surged to new all time highs on better than expected earnings, tax reform and expanding growth in 2018. Today's news was good to say the least; earnings are coming in above expectations, more signs of tax-reform-induced economic have emerged and forward outlook continues to improve.

Asian indices held steady in overnight trading as market watchers had their eyes on today's earnings announcements and fall-out from yesterday's bond-purchase news. Chinese officials came out to say news China would suspend purchase of US treasuries was incorrect, came from unofficial sources and classified as "fake". Chinese indices led with gains near 0.11% while Korea lagged with losses near -0.5%.

European indices were also mixed despite positive data, reassurance from the ECB and rally in the US. Today's EU data included industrial production figures which rose more than expected in the month of December and for all of 2017. The headline YOY figure of 3.2% was 0.2% better than expected and underpinned key points of the ECB minutes, also released today. The minutes show the bank is well aware of economic improvement within the bloc and will be ready to readdress their policy message in the near future. The FTSE led with gains of 0.2% while the DAX lagged with losses near -0.60%.

Market Statistics

Futures trading was flattish but positive all morning, gaining a little strength going into the open. The SPX was indicated to open with gains near 0.2% and did so. The index then began working its way higher until hitting a peak just after 10AM and then dipping down to test for support. Support was found at the opening level resulting in a bounce that carried the index back up to test the early high and move on to set new ones. Another peak was hit around 1:30PM resulting in sideways trading at new all time highs that carried into the late afternoon.

Economic Calendar

The Economy

The Producer Price Index shrank unexpectedly by 0.1%, analysts had been expecting expansion to slow to 0.2% from the previous month's 0.4%. Despite the drop producer level inflation remains moderate at 2.6% and above the Fed's 2% target. On a core basis, ex-food & energy, PPI rose by 0.1% but was still weaker than expected. YOY core PPI is running at 2.3% and also above the Fed's target rate. The news both supports the FOMC's current time line, it does not suggest surprise hiking at next week's meeting.


Initial claims for unemployment rose by 11,000 to hit 261,000, last week's figure was not revised. The 4 week moving average of claims gained 9,000 to hit 250,750. On a not adjusted basis claims rose by 14.7% versus an expected 10.0% but are lower than last year. On a year over year basis claims are down -2.8% and consistent with ongoing labor market health.


Continuing claims fell by -35,000 to hit 1.867 and the lowest level for this figure since 12/29/73 (after revisions). The last week's figure was revised lower by -12,000. The four week moving average of claims fell by -5,500 and continues to trend near the long term historic lows, consistent with ongoing labor market health.

The total number of Americans receiving unemployment assistance jumped 82,330 to hit 2.101 million and the highest it has been since early last year. This spike is seasonally expected and lower than last year at this time, consistent with ongoing labor market improvement. Looking forward this figure should top out within the next 2 weeks and then begin falling as we approach the spring hiring season.


The Dollar Index

The dollar fell hard on the combination of ECB minutes/Industrial Production and our own weaker than expected PPI data. The dollar index created a long red candle moving back down to support at the $91.50 level. The index is indicated lower and may move down to the bottom of the short term trading range near $91.00 if tomorrow's CPI data is not as expected. Current estimates are for consumer level inflation to rise by 0.2% and expanding from the November read of 0.1%. Regardless the data the index is likely to remain within its range until next week's FOMC meeting if not longer.


The Gold Index

Spot gold got a boost from today's weakness in the dollar but the move was capped near $1,325 and the recent highs. The metal could continue higher, especially if tomorrow's CPI is weak, with a possible upside target of $1,350. Longer term I expect the metal to remain range bound as the global recovery continues.

The Gold Miners ETF GDX moved up along with gold but the move was small and not supported by the indicators. Today's candle is small and green and very near the mid-point of the long term trading range, not really a surprise with the FOMC meeting just next week. The indicators are a little mixed but generally consistent with range bound trading and test of support/move lower within that range. Support is currently at the pair of moving averages which, coincidentally, are on the verge of forming a crossover. A bounce from support would be bullish within the range, a break through would be bearish. Upper targets for resistance are $24 and $25, lower targets for support are $22.50, $22 and $21.


The Oil Index

Oil prices surged another 1% in today's trading and hit another new multiyear high. The move was driven by signs of increasing demand and supported by OPEC's production cut but the gains were not held. Prices jumped above $64 only to hit resistance and fall back to create a pin bar doji that indicates a pause or correction within the rally. Looking forward I am still expecting oil prices to correct back to bear market territory by the end of the year. Global production and capacity (don't forget OPEC could pump more if they wanted to) is expected to keep markets well supplied throughout the year.

The Oil Index surged on today's oil price gains, gains that are fueling the fire of forward earnings expectations, and set a new multiyear high. The index is on its way up to test the 3 year highs near 1,450 and could easily hit them in the next few weeks. The indicators are bullish and ticking higher in support of the move although longer outlook is cloudy. If/when oil prices begin to fall back gains in the sector could be capped.


In The News, Story Stocks and Earnings

Lots of news today and all of it good that I am aware of. On the one hand there were numerous reports of tax-reform driven pay increases and bonuses, on the other earnings are beating expectations. Today's biggest story in earnings was Delta Airlines. The company beat on the top and bottom lines and delivered positive results in all of its operating segments for the first time in years. Revenue grew by 8.4% YOY and beat by $90 million, driving earnings of $0.96 which beat by $0.06. Along with this is an increase to full year 2018 guidance that sent shared up by more than 2% in the post market session. The company is expecting 4-6% revenue growth this year.


Wal Mart announced a number of market moving new bites this morning starting with wage increases. The company says that because of tax reform it will raise its minimum starting wage to $11 and give all employees a bonus based on years in service. The largest bonus is $1,000 and given to those employees with 20 or more years employment with the company. Wal Mart also says it will be closing 10% of its Sam's Club stores and converting about 10 of them into ecommerce facilities. Shares of WMT fell on the news but found support at the short term moving average.


KB Homes reported after the bell and saw big gains today. The company says it expects solid demand in 2018 will drive revenue and earnings through the end of the year. The company has reported solid increases in traffic, sales, pricing and back logs that will keep it busy for at least the next few quarters. Shares of the stock gapped up by 5% at the open and then extended those gains to 12% by the close. Today's move is a strong move up to highs not seen since the Housing Bubble burst and is supported by the indicators.


The Indices

The indices moved higher in today's session. The move was driven on evidence tax reform will help more than just corporate shareholders, and that earnings growth is indeed expanding. Today's leader is the Dow Jones Transportation Average with a gain of 2.3%. The transports created a long green candle moving up from the 11,000 level and extending a rally that has now added more than 23% to the index in under 2 months. The move is supported by the indicators which are both bullish and pointing higher. Upside targets are as high as 13,000 in the near to short term.


The Dow Jones Industrial comes in second with a gain of 0.81%. The blue chip index created a medium sized green candle moving up from a very small consolidation move to set a new all time high. The move is supported by both indicators which are bullish and pointing higher, consistent with higher prices. Upside target is 2,600 in the near term.


The NASDAQ Composite tied for 2nd with a gain of 0.81%. The tech heavy index created a medium sized green candle moving up from a very near term consolidation to set a new all time high. The move is supported by the indicators which are both bullish and pointing higher in support of higher prices. Upside target is 7,500 in the near term.


The broad market S&P 500 brings up the rear with a gain of 19 points or 0.70%. The index created a medium sized green candle moving up from Tuesday's low to close at the high of the day and set a new all time high. The move is in line with the prevailing trend, supported by the indicators and likely to continue higher. Both MACD and stochastic are bullish and pointing higher in support of higher prices. The near term target is 2,800 but could easily be exceeded if conditions persist as they are.


The markets are still moving higher, are still setting new all times and still supported by forward outlook. Now they are also being driven by expanding outlook and signs tax reform will spur the economy as Trump and his cronies have said it would. The risk now is that earnings season will not continue as it started but I don't think that will happen. Tomorrow's big reports will be JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup. I think there is a good chance for a big positive surprise. I am bullish.

Until then, remember the trend!

Thomas Hughes


New Option Plays

Virus Free

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown

Editors Note:

A very large number of enterprise servers are virus free by design. While servers running Linux may not be 100% virus free they contract only a small fraction of the infections suffered by Windows servers.



NEW DIRECTIONAL CALL PLAYS

RHT - Red Hat - Company Profile

Red Hat, Inc. provides open source software solutions to develop and offer operating system, virtualization, management, middleware, cloud, mobile, and storage technologies to various enterprises worldwide. It offers infrastructure-related solutions, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, an operating system platform that runs on hardware for use in hybrid cloud environments; Red Hat Satellite, a system management offering that helps to deploy, scale, and manage in hybrid cloud environments; and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, a software solution that allows customers to utilize and manage a common hardware infrastructure to run multiple operating systems and applications. The company offers application development-related and other technology solutions, such as Red Hat JBoss Middleware, a solution for developing, deploying, and managing applications; integrating applications, data, and devices; and automating business processes in hybrid cloud environments; Red Hat cloud offerings, a software solution that enables customers to build and manage various cloud computing environments; Red Hat Mobile, a software development platform that enables customers to develop, integrate, deploy, and manage mobile applications for enterprises; and Red Hat Storage, a software solution that enables customers to manage large, unstructured, or semi-structured data in hybrid cloud environments. It also provides consulting, support, and training services; and real-time operating system, distributed computing, directory services, and user authentication. Red Hat, Inc. has a collaboration with Wipro Limited to set up a cloud application factory that offers developers and IT teams a methodology for application modernization across public, private, and hybrid clouds. The company was formerly known as Red Hat Software, Inc. and changed its name to Red Hat, Inc. in June 1999. Red Hat, Inc. was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. Company description from FinViz.com.

Linux has always been immune to most of the attacks on the internet but Red Hat has taken that to a new level. There are multiple versions of free Linux versions but free means little support and questionable fixes. Red Hat has taken their Linux product and built it into multiple enterprise versions for individual applications and cloud use on virtual machines with an entire suite of applications.

In the Q3 earnings the company reported 73 cents that beat estimates for 70 cents. Revenue of $748 million beat estimates for $734.4 million. They guided for Q4 for revenue of $758-$763 million and that beat estimates for $754.7 million. They guided for $2.88 for full year earnings and revenue of $2.91 billion. Deferred revenues rose 23% to $2.11 billion and subscription revenue from infrastructure offerings rose 15% to $495 million.

The good news on all fronts was not enough and shares dropped $9 intraday after the report. $120 appeared as support and shares have been rising steadily.

Deutsche Bank reiterated a buy with a $150 target saying the new Amazon Linux product was no threat and they were only targeting a fraction of the market for test systems before eventually going live on the Amazon cloud. The analyst said the Amazon Linux competes with Ubuntu/CentOS and not Red Hat. Finally an analyst that actually understands what he is analyzing.

Expected earnings March 20th.

I am picking a March option even though it expires a week before earnings. Those after earnings are far too expensive. I am expecting some serious profit taking in the market after the majority of Q4 earnings are over, probably around the February expiration. That should take us out of this position before well before RHT earnings.

Options are still expensive so I am turning this into an optional spread to reduce the net debit.

Buy Mar $130 call, currently $3.90, initial stop loss $122.50.
Optional: Sell short Mar $140 call, currently 90 cents, initial stop loss $122.50.
Net debit $3.00, maximum gain $7.00.


NEW DIRECTIONAL PUT PLAYS

No New Bearish Plays



In Play Updates and Reviews

No Weakness Here

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown

Editors Note:

Yesterday's minor losses were completely erased by another major market move. Worries over China's comments about buying treasuries were chalked up to "fake news" by officials and news of a potential deal on DACA and immigration, powered the markets higher with the Dow closing over 25,500 and the Nasdaq over 7,200. There were no sellers in sight.



Current Portfolio


Stop Loss Updates

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


Profit Targets

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





Current Position Changes


AKAM - Akamai Technology
The long call position was stopped at $85.00.

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



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

Credit spreads and naked puts = OptionWriter

Long term option investments = LEAPS Investor

3-6 month Option Trades = Ultimate Investor

Iron Condors = Couch Potato Trader

Long and short equity trades = Premier Investor



BULLISH Play Updates

AKAM - Akamai Technologies - Company Profile

Comments:

Keybanc said despite the involvement of activist Elliott Management and the hiring of Morgan Stanley to review strategic alternatives, they did not think the company would be acquired. They downgraded from neutral to sell with a price target of $51. Shares dipped below support and stopped us out at $65.

Original Trade Description: January 3rd.

Akamai Technologies, Inc. provides cloud services for delivering, optimizing, and securing content and business applications over the Internet in the United States and internationally. The company offers Web and mobile performance solutions, such as Ion, a situational performance solution that consists of an integrated suite of Web delivery, acceleration, and optimization technologies; Dynamic Site Accelerator that helps in consistent Website performance; IP Application Accelerator to enable enterprises to deliver Internet Protocol-based applications; Global Traffic Management, a fault-tolerant solution; Image Manager that automatically optimizes online images; and Cloudlets, which provides self-serviceable controls and capabilities. It also provides cloud security solutions, including Kona Site Defender, Bot Manager, Fast Domain Name System, Prolexic Routed, and Client Reputation; enterprise solutions comprising Enterprise Application Access and Akamai Cloud Connect. In addition, the company offers media delivery solutions, such as adaptive delivery solutions, download delivery solutions, media delivery acceleration solutions, media services, media analytics, and NetStorage, a cloud storage solution. Further, it provides network operator solutions, including Aura Licensed CDN suite of solutions, Aura Managed CDN solutions, and Intelligent DNS Solutions; and professional services and solutions. Company description from FinViz.com

Expected earnings Feb 6th.

Akamai reported Q3 earnings of 62 cents that beat estimates for 59 cents. Revenue of $621.4 million beat estimates for $610 million. Web division revenue rose 14% to $328 million. Media division revenue fell -1% to $273 million. Enterprise and carrier division revenue rose 2% to $20 million. Performance and security solutions revenue rose 11% to $381 million. Cloud security solutions revenue rose 27% to $121 million. Services and support revenue rose 12% to $57 million. International revenue rose 18% to $213 million. Cash on hand was $1.4 billion. They repurchased $129 million shares of stock in the quarter.

Shares spiked $4 on the report but faded over the next week. Deutsche Bank reiterated a buy rating and raised their price target to $75. The analyst pointed to what would be monster traffic volumes from the Winter Olympics in Q1 and the World Cup Soccer in Q2.

In October, Akamai announced the acquisition of Nominum, a market leader in DNS and enterprise security solutions for carriers. Akamai also announced the launch of Bot Manager Premier, designed to help organizations manage the impact of bots across their entire digital environment, including websites, mobile applications and wed APIs.

The company guided for Q4 revenue of $638-$656 million with gross margins of 65% to 77%. Earnings are expected to be in the 60-65 cent range after a 4-cent impact from the acquisition of Nominum. They are forecasting 5% to 8% growth for the year with a 64% gross margin. There is nothing wrong with their business.

Akamai said the rapid advancement of video on demand was a strong factor in future earnings since they are the largest provider of content. Also seeing a rapid ramp was the cloud storage business. Akamai has a security hook in that growth and the redundancy of that storage.

Akamai collaborated with Google, Cloudfire, Flashpoint, RiskIQ and the RBI to squash a botnet named WireX that had infected 120,000 Android phones in early August. The bot was generating 20,000 page requests a second against a set of targeted servers in a DoS attack.

Akamai announced it had set a new record for throughput delivered on September 12th with more than 60 terabytes per second (Tbps). That beat the old record of 47 Tbps set on August 29th. Akamai delivers more content on a daily basis than any other content provider. In January 2017, they set a single event record of 8.7 Tbps streaming the Presidential Inauguration. The company has more than 200,000 servers spread across 130 countries to accomplish this record content delivery.

Akamai announced the Content Delivery Network (CDN) capabilities for enterprises are now available on the IBM cloud. The new offering is part of the IBM Cloud Content Delivery Network. Akamai currently provides CDN services on 1,700 networks in 131 countries. That now included IBM's footprint of 60 cloud centers across 19 countries. Akamai has more than 200,000 servers across 130 countries.

In mid December Elliott Management disclosed at 6.5% stake in Akamai saying the shares were significantly undervalued. Elliott said it would attempt to talk with the board, other shareholders and potential acquirers about strategic alternatives. Shares spiked to $67 on the news and have faded only slightly with support appearing at $65.

I have to use the May calls because the February calls have a $1.25 bid/ask spread on a $3 option. Just because we buy May does not mean this is a long term position. We will exit before the Feb 6th earnings. I am just using May because the bid/ask spread of only 35 cents. They should also hold their premium better than the February strikes.

Update 1/9: Bloomberg reported Akamai was working with Morgan Stanley to explore strategic alternatives including a sale. Shares posted a nice gain on the news.

Position 1/4/18P:
Closed 1/11: Long May $70 call @ $3.20, exit $2.82, -.38 loss.


ARNC - Arconic Inc - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news.

Original Trade Description: December 27th.

Arconic creates breakthrough products that shape industries. Working in close partnership with our customers, we solve complex engineering challenges to transform the way we fly, drive, build and power. Through the ingenuity of our people and cutting-edge advanced manufacturing techniques, we deliver these products at a quality and efficiency that ensure customer success and shareholder value. Company information from Arconic.

Earnings January 22nd.

Arconic was the original Alcoa. They spun off the aluminum business then changed their name to Arconic. This company makes precision aluminum parts for aircraft and transportation equipment. Eliott management has been agitating for change and managed to get the long term CEO Klaus Kleinfeld kicked out and oversaw the five-month process to get 24-year GE veteran Charles Blankenship installed as the new CEO.

Elliott has seen their investment lag for the last year as the spinoff and CEO hunt took the wind out of Arconic's sales. Now they could be reaching the end of their struggle with a potential buyout on the horizon.

One analyst got the fire started a couple weeks ago when he suggested Honeywell was on the prowl and would eventually buy Arconic. Honeywell lost out on Rockwell Collins (COL) when United Technologies bought them for $30 billion or 14 times EBITDA.

Honeywell was under pressure by Dan Loeb to spin off its aerospace unit. Instead, they agreed to spin off the homes and global distributions unit and the transportation business leaving (by the end of 2018) the aerospace unit intact and the surviving business. Now Honeywell needs to bulk up its aerospace business of they will be the nex company acquired.

With Dan Loeb on one side urging Honeywell to build aerospace and Elliott Management on the other side urging Arconic to sell itself, this is a match made in heaven and could happen in early 2018 according to the analyst.

Shares have sprinted higher since the news story broke a couple weeks ago. They are very close to a 52-week high over $28 and a move over that level could trigger additional buying and short covering.

I am using a July option to get well past the January and April earnings. We will not hold it that long but the uncertainty surrounding those events should keep the premium up if we have a market drop in January.

Update 1/8/17: Arconic said it was freezing the pension plans at current levels for 7,900 employees and would make contributions to 401K plans instead. This will save them $140 million.

Position 12/28/17:

Long July $30 call @ $1.50, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


CGNX - Cognex - Company Profile

Comments:

The company announced a new earnings date of Feb 15th.

Original Trade Description: December 9th.

Cognex Corporation provides machine vision products that capture and analyze visual information in order to automate tasks primarily in manufacturing processes worldwide. The company offers machine vision products, which are used to automate the manufacturing and tracking of discrete items, such as mobile phones, aspirin bottles, and automobile tires by locating, identifying, inspecting, and measuring them during the manufacturing or distribution process. Its products include VisionPro, a software suite that provides various vision tools for programming; displacement sensors with vision software for use in 3D application; In-Sight vision systems that perform various vision tasks, including part location, identification, measurement, assembly verification, and robotic guidance; In-Sight vision sensors; ID products, which are used for reading codes that are applied on discrete items during the manufacturing process, as well as have applications in logistics automation for package sorting and distribution; DataMan barcode readers; barcode verifiers; vision-enabled mobile terminals for industrial barcode reading applications; and barcode scanning software development kits. The company sells its products through direct sales force, as well as through a network of distributors and integrators. Cognex Corporation was founded in 1981 and is headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts. Company description from FinViz.com.

Cognex is a tech stock where growth is booming. Every manufacturer is looking to automate as many tasks as possible and Cognex provides them the opportunity with robotic vision equipment that can inspect and track items much faster than humans.

For Q3 they reported earnings of $1.14 that beat earnings for $1.05. Revenue of $259.7 million beat estimates for $256.8 million. They guided for the current quarter for revenue of $170-$180 million and analysts were expecting $155 million. That was a major guidance beat.

Expected earnings Feb 15th.

They announced a 2:1 split that was effective on December 4th. Shares immediately sank $7 on post split depression and Nasdaq rotation but have rebounded the past two days. The 50% decrease in the stock price also reduced the option premiums by 50% and made them cheap enough to buy.

Position 12/11/17:

Long Feb $67.50 call @ $3.20, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


FLIR - FLIR Systems - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Shares closed at a new high.

Original Trade Description: January 10th.

FLIR Systems, Inc. develops, designs, manufactures, and markets thermal imaging systems, visible-light imaging systems, locater systems, measurement and diagnostic systems, and threat-detection solutions worldwide. The company operates in six segments: Surveillance, Instruments, Security, OEM and Emerging Markets, Maritime, and Detection. The Surveillance segment provides enhanced imaging and recognition solutions for various military, law enforcement, public safety, and other government customers for the protection of borders, troops, and public welfare. This segment also develops hand-held and weapon-mounted thermal imaging systems for use by consumers. The Instruments segment offer devices that image, measure, and assess thermal energy, gases, electricity, and other environmental elements for industrial, commercial, and scientific applications. The Security segment develops and manufactures cameras and video recording systems for use in commercial, critical infrastructure, and home monitoring applications. The OEM and Emerging Markets segment provides thermal and visible-spectrum imaging camera cores and components that are utilized by third parties to create thermal, industrial, and other types of imaging systems. The segment also develops and manufactures intelligent traffic systems; imaging solutions for the smartphone and mobile devices market; and thermal imaging solutions for commercial-use unmanned aerial systems. The Maritime segment develops and manufactures electronics and imaging instruments for the recreational and commercial maritime market under the FLIR and Raymarine brands. The Detection segment offers sensors, instruments, and integrated platform solutions for the detection, identification, and suppression of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives threats for military force protection, homeland security, first responders, and commercial applications. The company was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Wilsonville, Oregon. Company description from FinViz.com.

The short description is that FLIR makes night vision equipment for the military. They are the primary provider of these high tech night vision systems and they are very expensive. With the military budget being greatly expanded in 2018 and probably 2019, FLIR is going to be getting a lot more contracts for new equipment and for replacement equipment and parts.

For Q3, FLIR reported earnings of 52 cents that beat estimates for 48 cents. Revenue of $464.7 million rose 14.7% and easily beat estimates for $446 million. The surveillance segment revenues rose 7.6%, instruments rose 10.5% and OEM and emerging markets revenues rose 39.1%. Detection systems revenues rose 18.9%. The security segment sa revenues rise 16.5%. The marine segment was the slacker with only a 4.2% increase. Order backlogs rose 10.1% to $709 million.

The company guided for full year earnings of $1.83-$1.88 up from $1.81-$1.91 with revenue of $1.78-$1.83 billion.

Earnings February 13th.

Shares rallied last week to close at a new high at $48.25 and just over two-month resistance at $47.90. They spiked again on Monday when they announced a high-resolution camera kit for self-driving cars. If this breakout continues, it should produce some short covering given the long period of consolidation after the spike from Q3 earnings in October.

I am recommending an inexpensive February ATM option with earnings on the 13th. I intend to hold this position over earnings unless we have profits to protect by that date.

This is also a longer-term position in the LEAPS newsletter.

Position 1/11/118:
Long Feb $50 call @ $1.55, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


JUNO - Juno Therapeutics - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news.

Original Trade Description: January 4th.

Juno Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, engages in developing cell-based cancer immunotherapies. The company develops cell-based cancer immunotherapies based on its chimeric antigen receptor and T cell receptor technologies to genetically engineer T cells to recognize and kill cancer cells. Its CD19 product candidates include JCAR017 that is in Phase I/II trials for adults with relapsed or refractory (r/r) B cell aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and pediatric patients with r/r B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL); JCAR014, which is in Phase I/II trials to treat various B cell malignancies in patients relapsed or refractory to standard therapies; and JCAR015 that is in Phase II trials for adult patients with r/r ALL. The company's CD22 product candidate comprise JCAR018, which is in Phase I trial for pediatric and young adult patients with CD22-positive r/r ALL or r/r NHL. Its additional product candidates include CD171, a cell-surface adhesion molecule to treat neuroblastoma; Lewis Y for the treatment of lung cancer; JCAR023, which is in Phase I trial for patients with refractory or recurrent pediatric neuroblastoma; MUC-16, a protein for treating ovarian cancers; IL-12, a cytokine to overcome the inhibitory effects; ROR-1, a protein for the treatment of non-small cell lung, triple negative breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancers; WT-1, an intracellular protein that is in Phase I/II clinical trials to treat adult myeloid leukemia and non-small cell lung, breast, pancreatic, ovarian, and colorectal cancers; and IL13ra2 for treating glioblastoma. Juno Therapeutics, Inc. has collaboration agreements with Celgene Corporation, Fate Therapeutics, Inc., Editas Medicine, Inc., MedImmune Limited, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The company was formerly known as FC Therapeutics, Inc. and changed its name to Juno Therapeutics, Inc. in October 2013.Company description from FinViz.com

Expected earnings January 31st.

This is a simple story. Juno is developing CAR-T drugs. Their JCAR017 drug treats non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The drug is currently in trials. Two other drugs, Yescarta and Kymriah, developed by other companies are already approved and being marketed.

In the latest JCAR017 trial 80% of patients were in complete response at the end of 3 months. At the end of six months they were still in complete response and after the six month date until the end of the trial, 92% stayed in complete response. That is an amazingly successful trial. In early December Juno reported only a 50% response rate using different term length and dosages and investors were expecting something over 70% based on the early results. Shares were crushed.

In reality, the results are still there. Yescarta and Kymriah only showed a 30% to 40% response rate so even with the downplayed results from JCAR017 it is significantly better. Once the drug is approved it is going to be a major winner in the category.

Investors have begun buying the stock again and shares are up from the $42.50 low to close just under $48 today. This is long term support and the 100-day average.

Position 1/5/18:
Long Feb $50 call @ $3.50, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


SYNA - Synaptics - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. Glad we did not close it after two days of losses. New 5-month high today.

Original Trade Description: January 8th.

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 keyboards, mice, and desktop product applications. Its products include ClearPad, which enables users to interact directly with the display on smartphones and tablets; ClearView products that provide advanced image processing and low power technology for entry-level smartphones; TouchView products, which integrate touch and display technologies to deliver performance and simplified design; and Natural ID, a fingerprint ID product that is used in smartphones, tablets, notebook PCs, PC peripherals, and other applications. The company??s products also comprise TouchPad, a touch-sensitive pad that senses the position and movement of one or more fingers on its surface; SecurePad that integrates fingerprint sensor directly into the TouchPad area; ClickPad that offers a clickable mechanical design to the TouchPad solution; and ForcePad, a thinner version of its ClickPad. In addition, its other product solutions include dual pointing solutions, which offer TouchPad with a pointing stick in a single notebook computer enabling users to select their interface of choice; TouchStyk, a self-contained pointing stick module; and TouchButtons, which provides capacitive buttons and scrolling controls, as well as display interface products. The company sells its products through direct sales, outside sales representatives, distributors, and resellers. It serves smartphone, tablet, and PC original equipment manufacturers, as well as various consumer electronics manufacturers. Company description from FinViz.com

Expected earnings February 6th.

In August, Synaptics reported earnings of $1.18 that beat by a penny and revenue of $426.5 million that exactly matched estimates. However, they guided for the next quarter for revenue of $380-$425 million. That was a sequential decline and they blamed it on the mobile business. However, based on orders in the pipeline they expected future quarters to show significant gains. Investors were not impressed and shares fell from $56 to $33.

In early November the company reported earnings of $1.03 that beat estimates for 97 cents. Revenue of $417.4 million beat estimates for $397.6 million. For the current quarter they guided for revenue of $410-$450 million. Shares spiked to $44 on the news then fell back to $35 again. The company said it lost market share with Apple's fingerprint sensor business because its product was not completely ready for Apple's manufacturing cycle.

The current quarter is normally seasonally strong for Synaptics. They are now shipping fingerprint sensors in volume to Huawei and Samsung. Huawei sold more than 100 million phones in the first three quarters of 2017 and has outsold Apple since the new iPhones were introduced. Samsung has adopted the Synaptics technology for their Galaxy S8 and Note 8. For the next evolution of the Note 8 the sensor will be built tight into the screen.

Synaptics is also big in touch screen technology and device driver integration or TDDI. This is their specialty. Demand is expected to grow from 100 million units in 2017 to $654 million by 2022.

In the last quarter, the company received 14% of its revenue from IoT devices. That is expected to rise to 24% in the current quarter. They recently bought Conexant and that will expand their addressable market. Conexant makes voice and audio solutions for Amazon's Alexa voice assistant.

The company just announced a partnership with Microsoft to develop voice enabled solutions for Cortana using Synaptics far-field DSP voice technology.

Synaptics has a lot on their plate and much of these efforts are just now reaching broad commercialization with the major device manufacturers. Shares are rebounding and broke over resistance at $42.50 on Monday.

Position 1/9/17:
Long Mar $45 Call, currently $3.10, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


TGT - Target Corp - Company Profile

Comments:

Target declared a quarterly dividend of 62 cents payable March 10th to holders on Feb 21st. This is their 202nd consecutive quarterly dividend.

Original Trade Description: December 13th.

Target Corporation operates as a general merchandise retailer. It offers household essentials, including pharmacy, beauty, personal care, baby care, cleaning, and paper products; dry grocery, dairy, frozen food, beverages, candy, snacks, deli, bakery, meat, produce, and pet supplies; and apparel for women, men, boys, girls, toddlers, infants, and newborns, as well as intimate apparel, jewelry, accessories, and shoes. The company also provides home furnishings and decor, such as furniture, lighting, kitchenware, small appliances, home decor, bed and bath, home improvement, and automotive products, as well as seasonal merchandise, such as patio furniture and holiday decor; music, movies, books, computer software, sporting goods, and toys, as well as electronics, such as video game hardware and software. In addition, it offers in-store amenities, including Target Cafe, Target Photo, Target Optical, Starbucks, and other food service offerings. Target Corporation sells products through its stores; and digital channels, including Target.com. As of September 13, 2017, the company operated 1,816 stores in the United States. Target Corporation was founded in 1902 and is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Company description from FinViz.com.

I would not normally recommend a retailer only two weeks before Christmas but I expect Target to overcome the normal post holiday depression.

Earnings Feb 14th.

Target announced on Wednesday they were buying grocery delivery platform Shipt Inc for $550 million in cash. The company said they would be offering same day delivery across all major product categories by the end of 2019. They will be offering same day delivery for groceries, essentials, home products, electronics and other items by mid 2018.

Shipt's services cost $99 a year for unlimited deliveries. Shipt already has a network of more than 20,000 personal shoppers to fulfill orders from various retailers and deliver within hours in more than 72 markets. Shipt partners include stores like Costco, Whole Foods, Meijer, etc.

Target is going to continue letting Shipt deliver for their other customers. The more widely recognized the brand is the larger it will grow and Target will be able to benefit from their ability to scale deliveries all over the country. Plus, they will profit from the fees received for those other deliveries.

This is a great deal for Target as it ramps up competition against Amazon.

I wrote last week that shippers were noting the increase in packages from Target. They were the second largest volume in UPS trucks after Amazon. They should have a great Q4.

Update 1/2/18: Influential tech analyst Gene Munster said he believes Amazon will buy Target in 2018. Target has a market cap of $37 billion but it would require a huge premium to get a deal done, probably something in the $50 billion range. Amazon has a market cap of $573 billion. The deal makes sense in the long run because it would give Amazon 1,802 major store outlets with a huge warehousing system that Amazon could use to its advantage. The addition of Amazon specific products to the already broad range of products offered by Target, would be a major boost to Amazon sales. The stores would function as customer delivery points for Amazon packages and because of the large store footprint it would allow Amazon to expand its same day, next day delivery offering to most of the US.

While it might make sense on paper, I would not hold my breath expecting a deal to be done. That would be a big bite for Amazon and there may be a problem getting regulatory approval. President Trump already believes Amazon is a monopoly with too much power and that could keep a deal from completing.

Update 1/9/18: Target raised Q4 earnings guidance from $1.05-$1.25 to $1.30-$1.40. Same store sales are expected to rise 3.4% and well above analyst expectations for 1.25%. They guided for 2018 earnings of $5.15-$5.45 and well above estimates for $4.36.

Position 12/14/17:

Long March $65 call @ $2.90, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


TXT - Textron - Company Profile

Comments:

No specific news. New 10-year closing high.

Original Trade Description: January 6th.

Textron Inc. operates in the aircraft, defense, industrial, and finance businesses worldwide. It operates through five segments: Textron Aviation, Bell, Textron Systems, Industrial, and Finance. The Textron Aviation segment manufactures and sells business jets, turboprop aircraft, piston engine aircraft, and military trainer and defense aircraft; and commercial parts, as well as provides maintenance, inspection, and repair services. The Bell segment provides military and commercial helicopters, tiltrotor aircraft, and related spare parts and services. The Textron Systems segment produces unmanned aircraft systems; smart weapons, airborne and ground-based sensors and surveillance systems, and protection systems; armored vehicles, turrets, and related subsystems, as well as marine craft; test equipment and electronic warfare test, and training solutions; piston aircraft engines; and intelligence software solutions. This segment also designs, develops, manufactures, installs, and maintains full flight simulators, as well as offers training services. The Industrial segment offers blow-molded plastic fuel systems, windshield and headlamp washer systems, catalytic reduction systems, and engine camshafts, as well as plastic bottles and containers; golf cars, off-road utility and light transportation vehicles, aviation ground support equipment, professional turf-maintenance equipment, and turf-care vehicles; and powered equipment, electrical test and measurement instruments, mechanical and hydraulic tools, cable connectors, fiber optic assemblies, underground and aerial transmission and distribution products, and power utility products used in the construction, maintenance, telecommunications, data communications, electrical, utility, and plumbing industries. The Finance segment provides financing to purchase new and pre-owned aircraft and helicopters. Textron Inc. was founded in 1923 and is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island. Company description from FinViz.com

Expected earnings January 31st.

With Airbus acquiring a stake in Bombardier, Boeing a stake in Embraer, Honeywell, United Technologies, Rockwell Collins, etc, all circling each other like sharks around a wounded whale, Textron is a potential acquisition candidate.

There are no formal rumors but options activity is huge. On Friday there were 5,400 of the Jan $55/$60 calls traded with the $55 calls at $3.50. There were 9,500 of the Feb $60 calls traded at $1.70 against an open interest of 261 contracts.

Textron has lagged the other defense contractors because they are in a contract period where capex is high but the eventual income has not yet appeared.

Last week FedEx (FDX) announced an order to buy 50 of Textron's Cessna SkyCourier 408 aircraft with an option to increase the order to 100. FedEx worked closely with Textron to design the plane for package delivery to small and medium sized markets.

The Textron aviation chief said Amazon was another potential customer because the need to ship express packages to addresses outside major cities was rapidly growing. Textron produces Cessna, Beechcraft and Hawker business jets.

Textron/Bell/Boeing produces the V-22 Osprey aircraft. They just achieved first flight on the new V-280 Valor, which is a new generation tiltrotor aircraft like the Osprey. Bell, as in Bell Helicopter, is the division producing the V-280. The aircraft has twice the speed and range of a conventional helicopter and carries a much larger payload.

The company has so many projects in the works they are right on the edge of a new chapter in their growth. With the $700 billion defense program that passed in September, they will be getting a wide variety of new orders.

There is no way to know if somebody is about to make any offer but the dramatic surge in option volume is typically a sign or rumors making the rounds.

I am recommending the March option to retain premium longer but we will probably exit before earnings on Jan 31st.

Position 1/8/18:
Long Mar $60 Call @ $2.15, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.



BEARISH Play Updates (Alpha by Symbol)

DIA - Dow SPDR ETF - ETF Profile

Comments:

No decline here. This position is dead unless we can get a 2-3 day decline ahead of the potential government shutdown. If we can get a decent drop, even just a couple days, we can sell a short put to turn it back into a spread and reduce our loss. This is a March position so we have plenty of time for disaster to strike. I believe it is worth the 70 cents to hold it just in case.

Original Trade Description: November 16th

The SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF Trust seeks to provide investment results that, before expenses, correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The DJIA is the oldest continuous barometer of the U.S. stock market, and the most widely quoted indicator of U.S. stock market activity.

I am going to make this as simple as possible. The Dow is still extremely overbought. It is due for a rest. The earnings cycle is over. Post earnings depression is here. The short squeeze is likely to fail. The tax plan faces an uphill battle and January could see a major market decline. It has been over 500 days since the market had a 5% decline and we average twice a year. We are due.

This is highly speculative. I am using March options because I want to have as much time as possible for this scenario to play out.

Update 12/18/17: The Dow is moving ever closer to 25,000, which could end up being a monster sell the news trigger. The Dow is up 6,900 points since the election. That is 38.5% in 13 months. There is a 100% chance there will be a correction in the future. The only unknown is when.

I am recommending we close the short put side of the spread. That captures that portion of the trade and once the Dow rolls over we do not have to deal with the rise in value in the short put. Secondly, that gives us other options to raise additional premium in the future, including selling a higher put if the index does not decline.

Position 11/17/17:

Long March $230 put @ $5.16, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

Closed 12/19: Short March $210 put @ $1.71, exit .43, +1.28 gain.




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

subscribe now