Editors Note:

Macy's and General Electric were both added to the play list after Macy's rebounded from the $35 lows at the beginning of January. General Electric dipped on the market crash on Wednesday to trigger our entry at $28 and then reported earnings on Friday.

The market decline has given us many opportunities to buy some good companies at reasonable prices. Our portfolio declined significantly over the last three weeks as stop losses were hit. It is always good to refresh the play list but it is also painful. Our hopes and aspirations for prior position are dashed but we get to add new positions at ideal entry points.

The market rebound may not be lasting but the damage has been severe to many stocks. Any further declines could be less dramatic.

Current Portfolio

Current Position Changes

ADBE, PPC, SBUX, TSN were stopped out

Macy's and General Electric became active plays.

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.

Original Play Recommendations (Alpha by Symbol)

ADBE - Adobe Systems (CLOSED)

Company Info


Adobe was stopped out at $85.75 on Wednesday when the market crashed to 15-month lows. This was market related and nothing specific to Adobe.

Original Trade Description: October 11, 2015

Back in the old days you used to buy software in a store, bring it home, and install it on to your personal computer. You paid for it. It was your copy to use forever - a perpetual license. Today the business model has changed, especially at ADBE. Nowadays you download the software from the internet to your computer and pay for it on a monthly, subscription basis.

If you're not familiar with ADBE here's a brief company description: "Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. Content built and optimized with Adobe products is everywhere you look - from websites, video games, and smartphones to televisions, tablets, and beyond. Adobe Creative Cloud software offers the most innovative tools for creating digital media, while Adobe Marketing Cloud delivers groundbreaking solutions for data-driven marketing. Our leadership in these two emerging categories, Digital Media and Digital Marketing, provides our customers with a real competitive advantage, positioning Adobe for continued growth well into the future. As one of the largest software companies in the world, Adobe achieved revenue of more than US$4 billion in 2013."

The company's Q1 earnings report was March 17th. Results were $0.44 a share, which was five cents better than expected. Revenues were up +10.9% to $1.11 billion, also above expectations. The company continues to see success with their subscription model and added 517,000 new creative cloud subscriptions, a +28% improvement from a year ago.

Q2 results came out on June 16th. ADBE beat the bottom line with earnings of $0.48 a share (3 cents above estimates). Revenues were up +8.8% to $1.16 billion, which was in-line with expectations. Management lowered their Q3 and 2015 guidance. This sparked a one-day sell-off that traders quickly used to buy the dip.

The company delivered a similar performance in its fiscal Q3. ADBE reported on September 17th. They beat estimates by four cents. Revenues improved +21% from a year ago to $1.22 billion, slightly ahead of estimates. Yet management lowered their Q4 estimate again. The stock gapped down the next day and then rallied.

This past week ADBE lowered their guidance yet again. This time they adjusted their fiscal 2016 numbers below estimates. What happened? Wall Street defends the stock and shares see a one-day decline. There seems to be a trend of investors buying bad news. It's probably because these are all short-term issues for ADBE and a good chunk of the problem is foreign currency headwinds. ADBE is still forecasting double-digit percentage gains for most of its businesses through 2018. Revenues growth is forecasted to grow +20% while earnings are forecasted to grow +30% over the next few years.

Technically ADBE is still in a long-term up trend in spite of some volatile moves in the last few months. Shares are only a few points away from new all-time highs. The peak is $87.25 set in August this year. Tonight I am suggesting we wait for ADBE to close in the $87.50-89.00 range and buy calls the next morning with a stop loss at $77.85.

Position 10/19/15

Closed: Long Jan 2017 $100 call, entry $6.80, exit $5.35, -$1.45 loss

12/11/15 shares garner several upgrades
12/10/15 ADBE reports Q4 earnings above estimates
11/29/15 new stop @ 85.75
11/22/15 new stop @ 84.75
11/08/15 new stop @ 81.75
10/19/15: Trade begins.
10/16/15: Triggered. ADBE @ $88.67, in the $87.50-89.00 entry range

GE - General Electric

Company Info


GE dipped on Wednesday with the market to trade under our intraday entry trigger at $28.00. Earnings on Friday were mixed with the company beating on earnings but missing on revenue because of a delay in shipping some turbines in the December quarter. That revenue will now be counted in the March quarter.

Original Trade Description: December 20, 2015:

GE has been slowly drifting higher since the 2009 market lows. Most of 2014 and 2015 the stock was stuck churning sideways. The situation changed in early October this year after a big activist investor got more involved. It's making a difference. The S&P 500 is down -2.6% year to date. Yet GE is up +20% in 2015 and should continue to outperform in 2016.

GE is in the industrial goods sector. According to the company, "GE is the world's Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the 'GE Store,' through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry. www.ge.com"

One of the biggest changes at GE has been the company's long-term transformation to get rid of its financial assets that have been an albatross around its neck for so long. Management is focusing on the company's roots, which is industrial products and innovation.

The company recently held their annual meeting with analysts. The year ahead brings a lot of challenges. The global market is still struggling. The U.S. economy is limping along at +2% growth. Plus the strong dollar hurts sales outside the U.S. In spite of these headwinds GE's CEO Jeffery Immelt is bullish on 2016.

Management is forecasting 2016 earnings to rise +15% on revenue growth of +2% to +4%. That is impressive for such a massive company like GE who does so much business overseas. They also foresee paying investors $8 billion in dividends and spending $18 billion on stock buybacks in 2016. GE provided a long-term 2018 earnings forecast of more than $2.00 per share compared to $1.30-1.20 a share in 2015. They expect to return $55 billion to shareholders in dividends and buybacks between now and 2018. That sort of investor-friendly action could help GE weather any market volatility in 2016.

The stock has been showing relative strength the last few months. The stock held up pretty last week too during the market's volatile moves. GE tagged multi-year highs on Wednesday. The point & figure chart is bearish and forecasting a long-term target at $53.00.

The action in GE's stock over the last few weeks is either a new top or it's a new base. We are betting it is the latter. Tonight I am suggesting investors wait for GE to close above $31.35 and then buy calls the next morning.

Recommendation: Buy-the-dip @ $28.00 (intraday trigger) start with a stop at $25.85.

Position 1/20/16:

Long Jan 2017 $30 call, entry $1.30, initial stop loss $25.85

KMB - Kimberly Clark

Company Info


KMB bounced right at support at $123 and skillfully avoided our current stop loss at $119.40. The stock showed good relative strength in a rough week. Let's hope the earnings are good on Monday.

KMB has earnings coming up on January 25th.

Original Trade Description: December 6, 2015:

There are not many public companies that have been around as long as KMB. The company has a history going back more than 140 years. It looks like investors are still bullish on it with KMB trading near all-time highs.

KMB is in the consumer goods sector. According to the company, "Kimberly-Clark (KMB) and its well-known global brands are an indispensable part of life for people in more than 175 countries. Every day, nearly a quarter of the world's population trust K-C's brands and the solutions they provide to enhance their health, hygiene and well-being. With brands such as Kleenex, Scott, Huggies, Pull-Ups, Kotex and Depend, Kimberly-Clark holds No. 1 or No. 2 share positions in 80 countries."

The company has beaten Wall Street's earnings estimates the last three quarters in a row. A stronger labor market in the U.S. combined with lower gasoline prices should be a tailwind for consumer spending in the globe's biggest economy. Meanwhile KMB is pursuing high-growth opportunities in emerging markets.

Technically the stock has been trading sideways in the $117.00-123.00 zone the last seven weeks. The recent bounce near the bottom of its trading range might suggest a bullish breakout soon. The point & figure chart is bullish and forecasting at $163 target. Tonight I am suggesting investors wait for KMB to close above $123.00 and then buy calls the next morning with an initial stop loss at $116.95.

Position 12/16/15:

Long Jan 2017 $130 Call, entry $7.50

12/27/15 new stop @ 119.40
12/16/15 Trade begins. KMB opens at $124.75
12/15/15 Triggered with KMB @ $124.44, above our $123.00 trigger

M - Macy's

Company Info


Macy's closed above the $40.75 trigger price and the position will be entered at the open on Monday.

Original Trade Description: January 17th, 2016

Leading up to the 2008 financial crisis shares of Macy's (M) were already in decline. The stock fell nearly -90% from its 2007 highs and by late 2008 M traded near $5.00 a share. The market didn't bottom until early 2009. At that time M was trading about $6.25. The stock rallied the next six years in a row. It looked like 2015 would make it seven years in a row. Then momentum suddenly reversed in July 2015. The stock surged to all-time highs near $73.00 on rumors of an activist investors getting involved. That proved to be the peak. Macy's collapsed from about $73.00 in July to $34.50 in December - a 52% plunge. Recent action suggest Macy's has bottomed and all the bad news is priced in.

M is part of the services sector. They are in the department story industry. According to the company, "Macy's, Inc., with corporate offices in Cincinnati and New York, is one of the nation's premier retailers, with fiscal 2014 sales of $28.015 billion. The company operates about 900 stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico under the names of Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Bloomingdale's Outlet, Macy's Backstage and Bluemercury, as well as the macys.com, bloomingdales.com and bluemercury.com websites. Bloomingdale's in Dubai is operated by Al Tayer Group LLC under a license agreement."

U.S. retail sales were very disappointing last year. All of 2015 saw retail sales rise +2.1%. That's down from the five-year average of +5.1%. All year long analysts were expecting consumers to spend more because they were saving more money at the gasoline pump due to falling oil prices. That extra spending never showed up. This lack of spending weighed on several retailers and M's stock continued to sink. Macy's management took advantage of their falling stock price and bought back over 30 million shares last year.

Of course stock buybacks will also do so much. On January 6th Macy's slashed their full-year guidance due to weak sales during the holiday shopping season. Cold weather apparel and goods were not selling due to an unusually warm winter. Macy's said their comparable-store sales dropped -4.7% during the November-December time frame. The company reduced their full-year outlook from $4.20-4.30 a share down to $3.85-3.90 a share. Wall Street was expecting $4.24. That same night Macy's announced a major restructuring program. They will close 36 stores this spring. Plus they will reduce staff and cut costs in an effort to save $400 million a year. Shares rallied the next day.

If a company can cut its earnings guidance and rally then all the bad news is probably priced in. If you haven't noticed lately the stock market is plunging. The S&P 500 is already down -8.0% in the first ten trading days of 2016. Shares of Macy's are moving the opposite direction and the stock is up +8.2% year to date. The recent lows near $34.00 look like a bottom. However, we would like to see M breakout past technical resistance at its 50-dma and past its recent highs.

Breakout trigger: Macy's closed above $40.75 at Friday's close.
Buy calls Monday morning with an initial stop at $36.45.

BUY the 2017 Jan $45 call (M170120C45) current ask $3.90

PPC - Pilgrims Pride (CLOSED)

Company Info


PPC was a new trade entered the prior week. The bird flu story appeared just as the market crashed last week. The combination knocked PPC below out stop loss at $20.65. Support was $21 and the Wednesday market crash forced a penetration of that level. The stock rebounded and looks like it will try another breakout. I am not adding it back at the present time but a move over $24 would be buyable.

Original Trade Description: January 10, 2016:

PPC is an aggressive, technical trade. Shares had a terrible 2015 but it looks like all the bad news is priced in.

PPC is in the consumer goods sector. According to the company, "For over six decades, Pilgrim's has produced healthy, high-quality food products that go into some of the world's finest recipes. Working with approximately over 4,000 family farms throughout the U.S. and Mexico, we are dedicated to providing these wholesome, high-quality products at a great value. As the second-largest chicken producer in the world Pilgrim's has the capacity to process more than 34 million birds per week for a total of more than over 7 billion pounds of live chicken annually. With corporate headquarters located in Greeley, Colorado, we have operations in 12 U.S. states as well as in Mexico and Puerto Rico. We are committed to the 35,000 plus team members who work with us to provide products to foodservice, retail and frozen entree customers. The company's primary distribution is through retailers, foodservice distributors and restaurants as well as through the export of chicken products to customers all over the world. Pilgrim's Pride is a part of the JBS USA family. JBS S.A., the world's largest protein company, owns 75.5% of our outstanding common stock."

PPC's most recent earnings report was October 28th. The company delivered their Q3 results and missed estimates. Wall Street was expecting a profit of $0.69 a share on revenues of $2.17 billion. PPC missed both estimates with earnings of $0.58 a share. Revenues fell -6.9% to $2.11 billion.

The industry as a whole has been suffering from the widespread avian flu last year that forced business owners to destroy millions of birds. PPC is also facing serious competition from a handful of competitors. Management is actively seeking ways to reduce their costs and make their business more competitive and their financial results more stable.

It looks like investors might believe the worst is behind it for PPC. Their Q3 earnings came out on October 28th and the stock plunged to new two-year lows on October 29th. That proved to be the low for the year. Investors have since been buying the dips. It is important to note that there is still a large camp of traders who are bearish on PPC. The most recent data listed short interest at 56% of the 59.0 million share float. That much bearishness can work against them. If PPC continues to rally the stock could see a short squeeze.

The intermediate trend is up and the point & figure chart is bullish with a $33 target. PPC managed to ignore the market's sell-off on Thursday and Friday last week. The stock actually broke through resistance on Friday. Tonight I am suggesting small bullish positions if PPC can trade at $23.55. This is an intraday trigger. We will start with a stop loss at $20.65.

Position 1/11/16:

Closed: Long Jan 2017 $25 call, entry $3.00, exit $1.65, -$1.35 loss.

SBUX - Starbucks (CLOSED)

Company Info


Starbucks dipped below our stop loss on the Wednesday market crash by ONE PENNY. The stop was $54.95 and the low for the day was $54.94. I am adding Starbucks back to the Watch List as an active play candidate above $60. They reported earnings that were strong and they have an aggressive growth plan.

Original Trade Description: September 20, 2015

The world seems to have an insatiable appetite for coffee. Starbucks is more than happy to help fill that need. The first Starbucks opened in Seattle back in 1971. Today they are a global brand with locations in 66 countries. SBUX operates more than 21,000 retail stores with more than 300,000 workers.

A few years ago Business Insider published some facts on SBUX. The average SBUX customer stops by six times a month. The really loyal, top 20% of customers, come in 16 times a month. There are nearly 90,000 potential drink combinations at your local Starbucks. The company spends more money on healthcare for its employees than it does on coffee beans.

The company's earnings results were only mediocre most of 2014 year. You can see the results in SBUX's long-term chart below. After incredible gains in 2013 SBUX has essentially consolidated sideways in 2014. SBUX broke out of that sideways funk after it reported earnings in January 2015.

Five-Year Plan

In late 2014 SBUX announced their five-year plan to increase profitability. Here's an excerpt from a company press release:

"The seismic shift in consumer behavior underway presents tremendous opportunity for businesses the world over that are prepared and positioned to seize it," Schultz said (Howard Schultz is the Founder, Chairman, President, and CEO of Starbucks). "Over the next five years, Starbucks will continue to lean into this new era by innovating in transformational ways across coffee, tea and retail, elevating our customer and partner experiences, continuing to extend our leadership position in digital and mobile technologies, and unlocking new markets, channels and formats around the world. Investing in our coffee, our people and the communities we serve will remain at our core as we continue to redefine the role and responsibility of a public company in today's disruptive global consumer, economic and retail environments."

"Starbucks business, operations and growth trajectory around the world have never been stronger, and we are more confident than ever in our ability to continue to drive significant growth and meet our long term financial targets," said Troy Alstead, Starbucks chief operating officer. "We have more customers visiting more stores more frequently, both in the U.S. and around the world, than at any time in our history. And we expect both the number of customers visiting our stores and the amount they spend with us to accelerate in the years ahead. With a robust pipeline of mobile commerce innovations that will drive transactions and unprecedented speed of service, Starbucks is ushering in a new era of customer convenience. We believe the runway of opportunity for Starbucks inside and outside of our stores is both vast and unmatched by any other retailer on the planet."

The company believes they can grow revenues from $16 billion in FY2014 to almost $30 billion by FY2019. To do that they will expand deeper into regions like China, Japan, India, and Brazil. SBUX expects to nearly double its stores in China to over 3,000 locations in the next five years

They're also working hard on their mobile ordering technology to speed up the experience so customers don't have to wait in line so long at their busiest locations. This will also include a delivery service.

Part of the five-year plan is a new marketing campaign called Starbucks Evening experience. The company wants to be the "third place" between home and work. After 4:00 p.m. they will start offering alcohol, mainly wine and beer, in addition to new tapas-like smaller plates.

The company recently launched its first ever Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle, near their iconic first retail store. The new roastery is supposed to be the ultimate coffee lovers experience. CEO Schultz said they will eventually open up about 100 of these Starbucks Reserve locations.

SBUX continues to serve up strong earnings and revenue growth too. The fourth quarter of 2014 saw a huge jump in SBUX gift cards. One out of every seven Americans received a SBUX gift card. SBUX has been reporting very strong overseas sales growth and consistently healthy same-store sales growth globally.

Shares were very steady performers for much of 2015 and then during the market's correction in late August the stock just collapsed. It was shocking to see SBUX erase six month's worth of gains in just a few days. Of course it bounced back almost as fast. Tonight I want to use SBUX's volatility to our advantage. If the market declines over the next couple of weeks SBUX might be unfairly punished. The $50-52 area should be support. We want to use a buy-the-dip trigger at $52.00.

Position 10/12/15:

Closed: Long Jan 2017 $70 call, entry $3.91, exit $1.57, -2.34 loss.

11/22/15 new stop loss @ 54.95
11/21/15 short-term November put has expired
10/29/15 SBUX reported Q4 earnings
10/28/15 buy the Nov. $57.50 put, cost $0.61
10/25/15 prepare to buy short-term puts on Wednesday (Oct. 28th)
10/12/15 Trade begins. SBUX opens @ $60.35
10/09/15 SBUX closed at $60.07, above our suggested entry of a close above $60.00

STZ - Constellation Brands

Company Info


Constellation was the outperformer of the week with a massive $5.31 gain on Friday. The 50-day average remains support.

Original Trade Description: January 10, 2016

New Year's was just a few days ago and many people were thinking hard about their new year's resolutions. For most folks it's a desire to be healthier. Instead of working hard for six-pack abs you may want to just stop by the store for a six pack of whatever STZ is selling. This company appears to be running at full speed and the stock shows it.

STZ is in the consumer goods sector. According to the company, "Constellation Brands is a leading international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits with operations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and Italy. In 2014, Constellation was one of the top performing stocks in the S&P 500 Consumer Staples Index. Constellation is the number three beer company in the U.S. with high-end, iconic imported brands including Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Negra Modelo and Pacifico. Constellation is also the world's leader in premium wine, selling great brands that people love including Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Kim Crawford, Rex Goliath, Mark West, Franciscan Estate, Ruffino and Jackson-Triggs. The company's premium spirits brands include SVEDKA Vodka and Black Velvet Canadian Whisky... Based in Victor, N.Y., the company believes that industry leadership involves a commitment to brand-building, our trade partners, the environment, our investors and to consumers around the world who choose our products when celebrating big moments or enjoying quiet ones. Founded in 1945, Constellation has grown to become a significant player in the beverage alcohol industry with more than 100 brands in its portfolio, sales in approximately 100 countries, about 40 facilities and approximately 7,700 talented employees."

STZ has been killing it on the earnings front. They have beaten earnings the last three quarters in a row. Management has raised their guidance the last three quarters in a row. Their most recent earnings report was last week on January 7th. Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.30 a share on revenues of $1.62 billion. STZ beat estimates with a profit of $1.42 a shares. Revenues were up +6.4% to $1.64 billion. Strong beer sales has helped fuel double-digit shipment increases. The company announced they were building another brewery and raised their guidance again.

This bullish outlook sparked a couple of new price target upgrades ($174 and $185). The stock soared to new highs and broke through key resistance near the $145.00 level. The market's current decline, should it continue, will likely pull STZ back toward $145.00, which should be new support. Tonight I am suggesting a trigger to buy calls on a dip at $145.00. We'll start with a stop loss at $139.45. More conservative investors may want to wait and see if STZ dips closer to the $140-142 area as an alternative entry point.

Position 1/11/16:

Long Jan 2017 $165 call, entry $7.90, stop loss $138.25

01/17/16 adjust stop loss lower from $139.45 to $138.25
01/11/16 triggered @ $145.00

TSN - Tyson Foods (CLOSED)

Company Info


The combination of the recurrence of the bird flu and the market correction knocked Tyson back to $48.52 on Wednesday and hitting our stop loss at $49.45. We had recommended taking off half the position in December at $7.00 for a 75% gain. The stop loss on Wednesday on the second half produced a $1.20 gain.

Original Trade Description: October 25, 2015

TSN's beef business has struggled as a prolonged drought has hurt the cattle business. Yet TSN is seeing strong improvement in their chicken and prepared foods businesses.

TSN is in the consumer goods sector. According to the company, "Tyson Foods, Inc. (TSN), with headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, is one of the world's largest food companies with leading brands such as Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm ®, Sara Lee®, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells® and State Fair®. It's a recognized market leader in chicken, beef and pork as well as prepared foods, including bacon, breakfast sausage, turkey, lunchmeat, hot dogs, pizza crusts and toppings, tortillas and desserts. The company supplies retail and foodservice customers throughout the United States and approximately 130 countries.

Tyson Foods was founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson, whose family has continued to lead the business with his son, Don Tyson, guiding the company for many years and grandson, John H. Tyson, serving as the current chairman of the board of directors. The company currently has approximately 113,000 Team Members employed at more than 400 facilities and offices in the United States and around the world. Through its Core Values, Code of Conduct and Team Member Bill of Rights, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity and trust and is committed to creating value for its shareholders, customers and Team Members. The company also strives to be faith-friendly, provide a safe work environment and serve as stewards of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it."

After big gains in 2013 the stock ran out of steam. Shares have been consolidating sideways for more than a year and a half. That's probably because the earnings picture has been cloudy. The company has struggled to meet estimates and management has guided lower in recent quarters. That changed recently in September when TSN raised their 2016 guidance. The company should see +9% earnings growth in 2015 but earnings are expected to grow +21% in 2016.

Technically the bullish breakout in TSN this month is significant. The $44-45 zone has been major resistance for months. The current rally has generated a bullish buy signal on the point & figure chart, which is now forecasting at $63.00 target.

Tonight I am suggesting a little patience. Wait for a pullback in TSN. We are listing a buy-the-dip trigger to launch bullish positions at $45.50.

Position 10/26/15:

Closed: Long Jan 2017 $50 call, entry $4.00, exit $5.20, +$1.20 gain.

12/21/15 Exited half of call position. Option bid $7.00 (+75%)
12/20/15 Plan on selling half of our call position on Monday, Dec. 21st to lock in a partial gain
12/13/15 new stop @ 49.45
12/06/15 new stop @ 45.75, readers may want to take some money off the table. Our option is already up +60%.
11/29/15 new stop loss @ 44.75
11/23/15 TSN reports earnings. The stock rallies
11/22/15 TSN could be volatile following its earnings report
10/26/15 triggered on a dip at $45.50
10/25/15 added to the watch list

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

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