Option Investor

Daily Newsletter, Tuesday, 10/15/2013

Table of Contents

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

Market Wrap

Stocks Stall Awaiting Debt Deal

by Thomas Hughes

Click here to email Thomas Hughes

Asian and European indices finished their trading day in the green. Optimism of a U.S. debt deal helped lift these sectors as global markets await the outcome. Tomorrow they may not be so optimistic. There was little other news of interest from around the world. In China new data suggests that inflation is rising faster than anticipated. Consumer inflation rose to 3.1%,the highest level in 7 months. This caused some speculation that the Chinese central bank will have to curb some of its stimulus policies but for now economist do not see it as a threat to the Chinese economy. In Europe headlines were dominated by local issues including the new budgets from ailing countries Italy, Portugal and Ireland. The upcoming release of the new Italian budget is expected to cause some trouble for the nation.

The early morning hours saw futures trading to the upside, if only by a point or two. Hope of a debt deal solution were high and carried into the morning although a new House proposal was met with disdain by the Senate. Today was also rather full of business news and even a little economic data. Earnings season is now in full swing. There were not an excessive number of reports today but there were a few high profile names on the list. This week is dominated by the banking sector but that does not mean other sectors are not reporting as well. The combination of hope and news had the U.S. indices hugging the flat line going into the open of today's session.

Today's political wrangling resulted in a market moving on every twist in the story. At the open the S&P 500 fell about 8 points before hitting an early morning low. After that renewed hopes had the markets moving back up before a mid-morning scare sent them back down. Just before lunch time the S&P poked its head into positive territory and then quickly fell back to trade around -4 for the early part of the afternoon. Early support for the S&P 500 kicked in just above 1,700 and then again around 1,702. Afternoon trading saw the index hover just above 1,705 before even more political BS hit the media. The Senate ceased all their debate while the House was working out it's plan. The Senate made this announcement only a short while after Senator Reid told us the House plan would be rejected. This development caused the markets to sink to new lows. The S&P sank as low as -14, the Dow -140, before bouncing back higher again and then falling back down toward the daily lows just before the close. After the bell Fitch put a down grade on U.S. credit watch to negative, maintaining the AAA rating for now. The futures trade dropped close to a full percent on the news indicating tomorrow's open lower at this time.

SPX one day

Today's Data

Data released today included the Empire State index of business conditions. The index was expected to fall slightly from last month's 6.29 but not as much as the actual figure. This month's reading of 1.52 is still expansionary but reveals that conditions are only slightly changed from last month. Within the report business optimism levels are still strong. This month's rise is the smallest gain in NY regional business activity in the last 5 months. Tomorrow's calendar includes the Fed's Beige Book, mortgage index, CPI, TIC flows and a housing index. From what I can tell the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site is being updated and I think the rest of the data is coming from the Fed itself or the private sector there should be no effect from the shut down. Regardless, the data we have been getting has not received much attention in light of the budget battle.

Gold Trades Lower

Gold prices traded much lower this morning on the early optimism. Prices moved as low as -20, touching the $1250 level. Later the renewed lack of progress saw prices move up to just above yesterday's closing price. Gold prices are trading at 3 month lows and very close to touching the long term low below $1200. The Gold Index actually trade to the upside today. The index is still trending below the lower boundary of the pennant formation but not strongly. The index is currently making a couple of spinning tops with indicators supporting the indecision. The MACD is bearish but divergent from the two month down trend. The divergence is a potential sign of an impending rally but that does not make one a guarantee. The stochastic is also extremely oversold and currently displaying a bullish crossover. The two indicators together suggest that the Gold Index is ready and/or about to make a move up. However, with the low low prices of gold it is hard to see a reason for this. The indicators could actually be showing a complete lack of interest in gold stocks. Without a catalyst to spark a rally I can easily see the Gold Index move lower simply because there are no buyers. Longer term the index is still in a downtrend and breaking out of a triangle/pennant formation to the downside after a near five month consolidation, during which time the price of the underlying commodity has not improved.

The Gold Index

The gold companies like Barrick report towards the end of the month. Barrick on October 31st, spooky. Barrick is expected to report earnings of $0.49 per share, more than 25% lower than last quarter. Earnings will obviously be affected by gold prices but will also be impacted by divestiture of mines in Australia and other moves made during the quarter. ABX stock has been trading in much the same way as the Gold Index. It is trading out a longer term consolidation, although it has not broken out yet. Indicators are currently bearish and beginning to gain momentum, stochastic is now crossing below the lower signal line indicating weakness in the stock.

Barrick Gold

Earnings Rundown

Domino's Pizza reported a strong quarter of growth but failed to meet expectations for earnings. The company was expected to report adjusted earnings of $0.52 per share but missed that target by one cent. The company reported strong comp store growth, revenue growth, earnings growth and new store growth but the stock still lost over 4% in today's trading. Shares of DPZ have been trending up strongly all year and are now about 5% off the all time highs. It looks like $65 could be emerging as support, longer term MACD analysis suggests a retest of the all-time highs is likely. More stores and strong comp sales could equal continued revenue for this company into the next few quarters.


Citigroup reported an earnings miss today as well. The banking giant lost more than 1.5% in early pre market trading but managed to regain that loss before the open. The bank reported earnings that were 2 cents shy of estimates on revenue that also fell short of expectations. At the open shares popped up slightly to the bottom of the window opened last week before falling back into negative territory before the close. Today's action also brought the stock down below the 30 day moving average. Support exists at $47.50, current resistance is at $50. Indicators remain bullish at this time but are very weak.


Johnson and Johnson was an early market leader. The consumer products company reported adjusted earnings of $1.36, just above estimates. Revenue increased by about a half billion over the same quarter last year and was able to increase guidance to the upper end of the previously stated range. The stock surged higher at the open by around 3%, crossing above resistance around the $90 level. After the initial surge sellers drove prices back below resistance, forming a possible shooting star doji. Indicators are currently bullish but could be overbought in the near term. The $90 to $91 level will be important to watch moving forward for signs of strength or weakness.

Johnson & Johnson

Coca Cola reported an earnings that also beat expectations, if only by a penny. The company reported eps of $0.54 per share, up on a comparable basis from last year. The company reported growth in the range of 2% in most it's global segments including the emerging markets although the report cited volatility in that sector. Shares of KO gapped open today but quickly fell to selling pressure. The stock has been in a down trend since late May and today's move is in line with that trend. Divergences in MACD suggest that a bottom is approaching but there is no other sign of one yet. The 12 month low is just under $36, about $2 lower than the current prices.

Coca Cola

After the bell today Intel and Yahoo both reported better than expected earnings. Shares of both companies traded higher in the aftermarket hours. Yahoo shares failed to hold the gains after investors had the time to dig into the guidance.

The Indices

It will be impossible to tell which way the market will move until the debt ceiling political break down gets resolved. Today's action makes it clear that the market is hanging on every development and is ready to go whichever way the political wind will blow. We have less than 2 days left before the debt ceiling is reached so hopefully that resolution will come tomorrow. Until then, or we default, whichever comes first, lets take a look at the longer term analysis of the the major indices, starting with the SPX charts of weekly prices. The SPX is still trending higher but is well above the primary, super long term, trend line. The primary trend line is about 300 points (17.6%) lower than the current level of the market and a potential target for a full market correction. Both MACD and stochastic are presenting long term divergences from price action that could be heralding such a correction. The index is also currently above the secondary, long term, trend line and long term support as well. It is possible the divergences mentioned before are predicting a test of this support and the index will keep moving up. Last weeks candle is suggestive of a test, the long lower wick shows that prices fell into the support zone and were propelled upward from it. While the index is able to maintain support and the long term trend I will remain bullish on the index. However, caution is warranted, especially now while who know's what is going on up on Capitol Hill. Plus the Fithch credit watch downgrade adds a whole new spin to tomorrow's outlook.

SPX weekly

The Dow looks a little different. It too has been trending up over the long term and is above the primary trend. However, it has done so in more a sideways fashion when compared with the S&P. Over the last few months the index has been in a consolidation that has relieved long term over bought conditions brought on by the rally earlier this year. The indicators suggest that support exists at the current levels which are consistent with the 6 month trading range and the 150 day moving average. A break below this level could bring on a full correction with a target 13,000. This index has broken the secondary up trend line and could remain trapped in the current range. Support exists around 14,800, resistance around 15,600.

Dow Weekly

The Russell 2000 is trending higher and just made a new all time high. It is also displaying some glaring divergences between prices and the indicators. MACD has made a series of four lower bullish peaks with the most recent one barely above 0. Stochastic is overbought in the short and long term AND is moving lower about to cross under the upper signal line. The index is still above the secondary up trend line as well but could be in danger of breaking it. However, the divergences here could be signaling the testing of support of start of an upcoming trading range similar to what I have described for the S&P and the Dow.

Russell 2000 Weekly

If there is no end to the debt ceiling issue before tomorrow I expect to see the markets move lower. The Fitch announcement after the bell pretty much cinches that. Of course, there could be no solution and then a solution which could mean lower markets early in the day and then higher markets later on. Regardless of direction the extremes of these moves will be capped by the long term trends and the current future expectations. The markets want to move higher, long term support is evident in all three major indices even if the bull market is running out of steam. Look for some form of measure, plan, stop gap or band aid to be put on the government debt issue, then look to earnings guidance and economic data for market direction. The Fitch watch downgrade is only a blip, as soon as the debt ceiling extension gets passed the watch will likely go away.

Until then, remember the trend!

Thomas Hughes

New Plays

Potential Short Squeeze Candidate

by James Brown

Click here to email James Brown


Walter Energy Inc. - WLT - close: 15.85 change: +0.64

Stop Loss: 14.95
Target(s): 19.50
Current Gain/Loss: unopened

Entry on October -- at $--.--
Listed on October 15, 2013
Time Frame: 4 to 6 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 6.7 million
New Positions: Yes, see below

Company Description

Why We Like It:
Coal stocks have been crushed in recent years. Worries over stronger regulation and a world that's trying to use less coal (due to pollution) has hammered the sector lower. Shares of WLT have fallen from $140 in 2011 to $10 a share just a few months ago. Fortunately, it looks like all the bad news has finally been priced in. WLT formed a bullish double bottom with its $10 lows in June and August. More recently WLT has spent most of the last six weeks consolidating sideways in the $14-16 zone. Today saw shares challenging resistance at $16.00 and its 150-dma. A breakout higher could spark a serious short squeeze. The most recent data listed short interest at 33% of the 59 million share float.

Today's high was $16.18. The 100-dma is at $16.13. I am suggesting a trigger to open bullish positions at $16.25. If triggered our target is $19.50 but we will plan to exit prior to WLT's next earnings report expected in early November. FYI: The Point & Figure chart for WLT is bullish with a $25.00 target.

Trigger @ 16.25

Suggested Position: buy WLT stock @ (trigger)

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Buy the NOV $17 call (WLT1316k17) current ask $0.85

Annotated chart:

In Play Updates and Reviews

Stocks Retreat On Politics

by James Brown

Click here to email James Brown

Editor's Note:
After a multi-day bounce the market's rally retreated on headlines that democrats and republicans still didn't have a deal.

FUL, HLS, and SMG were triggered.
PRD (PREGF) was closed at the opening bell.

Current Portfolio:

BULLISH Play Updates

Avago Technologies - AVGO - close: 43.74 change: -0.49

Stop Loss: 42.40
Target(s): 48.00
Current Gain/Loss: unopened

Entry on October -- at $--.--
Listed on October 14, 2013
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 2.75 million
New Positions: Yes, see below

10/15/13: AVGO gave back just over half of yesterday's gains with a -1.1% decline on Tuesday. The stock has hit my suggested entry point for more "nimble" traders at $43.75. Officially the newsletter is still on the sidelines. Today's high was only $44.44. Our entry point is $44.50.

Earlier comments:
I am suggesting small bullish positions if AVGO can trade at $44.50. If triggered our multi-week target is $48.00.

Trigger @ 44.50 *small positions*

Suggested Position: buy AVGO stock @ (trigger)

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

buy the 2014 Jan $45 call (AVGO1418a45)

HB Fuller Co. - FUL - close: 45.30 change: -0.43

Stop Loss: 44.49
Target(s): 49.75
Current Gain/Loss: - 1.9%

Entry on October 15 at $46.20
Listed on October 12, 2013
Time Frame: 4 to 8 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 405 thousand
New Positions: see below

10/15/13: Warning! I have to urge caution here. FUL saw a spike higher within the first minute of trading today. The stock opened at $45.66, spiked to $46.30 and then retreated back below $45.65 all within the first two minutes. That doesn't suggest any true strength. Unfortunately our entry point was hit at $46.20.

I am warning readers that today's move looks like a failed breakout and bearish reversal pattern. Plus, it could be the second peak to a bearish double top pattern. I am not suggesting new positions at this time and more conservative investors might want to raise their stop loss.

Earlier comments:
If triggered our target is $49.75. More aggressive traders may want to aim higher. FUL's point & figure chart has created a spread triple-top breakout buy signal with a $62 target.

current Position: long FUL stock @ $46.20

10/15/13 be careful. FUL hit our trigger on a very brief intraday spike
10/14/13 adjust entry trigger to $46.20 from $46.15

iShares China Large Cap ETF - FXI - close: 38.12 change: -0.38

Stop Loss: 36.70
Target(s): 41.75
Current Gain/Loss: - 0.3%

Entry on October 11 at $38.25
Listed on October 10, 2013
Time Frame: 6 to 9 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 17.6 million
New Positions: see below

10/15/13: The FXI ended a four-day bounce with a -0.98% pullback today. I'm not too alarmed by today's dip. If the market continues to sink then we could see the FXI slip towards the $37.75-37.50 area. A bounce near $37.50 could be used as an alternative entry point.

Earlier comments:
This ETF might see some short-term resistance in the $39.25 area (September high) and the $40.00 level but our multi-week target is $41.75.

current Position: long the FXI (ETF) @ $38.25

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long 2014 Jan $40 call (FXI1418a40) entry $0.97

HEALTHSOUTH Corp. - HLS - close: 35.70 change: -0.47

Stop Loss: 34.95
Target(s): 39.75
Current Gain/Loss: - 1.7%

Entry on October 15 at $36.30
Listed on October 10, 2013
Time Frame: exit PRIOR to earnings on Oct. 28th
Average Daily Volume = 459 thousand
New Positions: see below

10/15/13: Warning! I also have to issue caution here with HLS. This stock also saw a sharp spike higher in the first sixty seconds of trading. That is a bit odd given the weakness in the broader market this morning. There was no follow through and HLS quickly reversed lower. Unfortunately, our suggested entry point was hit at $36.30. HLS should find some short-term support at its 10-dma near $35.60. If the 10-dma fails then our trade could be in trouble. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Earlier Comments:
Our target is $39.75 but we do not want to hold over the earnings report scheduled for October 28th.

current Position: Long HLS stock @ $36.30

10/15/13 triggered at $36.30
10/14/13 adjust entry trigger to $36.30 from $36.25
adjust the stop loss from $34.75 to $34.95

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. - KKD - close: 22.77 change: -0.13

Stop Loss: 21.85
Target(s): (sold half @ 23.25) exit the 2nd half at $24.75
Current Gain/Loss: (+14.5%) 2nd half = +12.2%

Entry on October 03 at $20.30
Listed on October 02, 2013
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 1.25 million
New Positions: see below

10/15/13: KKD is still holding up reasonably well. Shares tried to rally this morning before succumbing to the market's widespread decline this afternoon. Look for short-term support at the 10-dma near $22.45 and potential support near $22.00. More conservative traders may want to exit completely.

I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Earlier Comments:
I am suggesting we sell half of our position at $23.25. We want to adjust our final exit target to $24.75.

NOTE: KKD is prone to some intraday spikes. I am suggesting small positions to limit our risk.

*small positions*

current Position: Long KKD stock @ $20.30

10/14/13 new stop loss @ 21.85
10/08/13 new stop loss @ 21.40
10/08/13 1st target hit at $23.25 (sell half) +14.5%
10/05/13 Strategy Update: new stop loss @ 20.45
Plus, we want to sell half of our position at $23.25 and then exit the rest of our position at $24.75.

Scientific Games - SGMS - close: 17.95 change: +0.20

Stop Loss: 16.40
Target(s): 19.75
Current Gain/Loss: + 2.0%

Entry on October 14 at $17.60
Listed on October 12, 2013
Time Frame: 4 to 6 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 690 thousand
New Positions: see below

10/15/13: The rally in SGMS continues with the stock now up five days in a row. Shares are nearing what could be potential resistance at the $18.00 mark. I would not be surprised to see shares pullback a bit and possibly retest their simple 10-dma.

Earlier comments:
The next major resistance level looks like the $19.50-20.00 zone. Our target is $19.75. Keep in mind that we want to use small positions to limit our risk.

*small positions*

current Position: long SGMS stock @ $17.60

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long NOV $17.50 call (SGMS1316k17.5) entry $1.15*

*option entry price is an estimate since the option did not trade at the time our play was opened.

Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. - SMG - close: 55.61 change: -0.32

Stop Loss: 53.95
Target(s): 59.85
Current Gain/Loss: - 1.0%

Entry on October 15 at $56.15
Listed on October 14, 2013
Time Frame: 3 to 5 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 310 thousand
New Positions: see below

10/15/13: I am urging caution on our new SMG trade as well. Shares rallied off their morning lows. The stock broke out past resistance at $56.00 by lunchtime and hit new 52-week highs and our trigger to open positions at $56.15. Unfortunately, SMG was unable to maintain the breakout. Our trade is open but I would not launch new positions with SMG below $56.00.

current Position: long SMG stock @ $56.15

BEARISH Play Updates

Urban Outfitters - URBN - close: 35.89 change: -0.18

Stop Loss: 36.75
Target(s): 34.50
Current Gain/Loss: + 3.7%

Entry on September 24 at $37.25
Listed on September 19, 2013
Time Frame: 3 to 4 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 2.8 million
New Positions: see below

10/15/13: It was an odd day for shares of URBN. The stock seemed to be moving opposite the market. While the market closed near its lows with an afternoon slide share of URBN were on the rebound this afternoon. The stock remains below short-term technical resistance at its simple 10-dma for now but I am urging caution here. More conservative traders may want to tighten their stop loss. I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

Earlier Comments:
Our target is the November 2012 lows near $34.50. FYI: The Point & Figure chart has produced a sell signal and is forecasting at $31.00 target.

current Position: short URBN stock @ $37.25

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long Oct $38 PUT (URBN1319v38) entry $1.45 exit $2.85* (+96.5%)

10/09/13 planned exit to close our Oct. 38 puts at the open.
*option exit price is an estimate since the option did not trade at the time our play was closed.
10/08/13 new stop loss @ 36.75
prepare to exit the October $38 puts at the open.
10/07/13 new stop loss @ 37.25
10/05/13 new stop loss @ 37.75
09/28/13 new stop loss @ 38.25

ValueClick, Inc. - VCLK - close: 19.48 change: +0.06

Stop Loss: 20.26
Target(s): 18.05
Current Gain/Loss: + 1.9%

Entry on October 08 at $19.85
Listed on October 07, 2013
Time Frame: 6 to 8 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 1.2 million
New Positions: see below

10/15/13: It was a quiet day for VCLK with shares drifting sideways inside a 30-cent range. Nimble traders could use a failed rally near $20.00 as a new entry point but overall I am not suggesting new positions at this time.

current Position: short VCLK stock @ $19.85

- (or for more adventurous traders, try this option) -

Long NOV $20 PUT (VCLK1316w20) entry $1.45

10/12/13 new stop loss @ 20.26
10/08/13 new stop loss @ 20.51


PRD Energy - (PRD) PREGF - close: 1.29 change: +0.19

Stop Loss: 0.93
Target(s): TBD
Current Gain/Loss: +10.5%

Entry on September 27 at $1.05
Listed on September 26, 2013
Time Frame: 6 to 9 weeks
Average Daily Volume = 130 thousand
New Positions: see below

10/15/13: Wow! It was a big day for shares of PRD, which rallied +17.2% on Tuesday. There was no news that I could find to account for today's show of relative strength. Sadly we had already decided last night to exit positions at the opening bell. Fortunately, PRD did gap open at $1.16 this morning.

Earlier comments:
The symbol has actually changed to just PRD. You can still get quotes from
Yahoo Finance

*Higher Risk, Speculative Trade*

closed Position: Long PREGF stock @ $1.05 exit $1.16 (+10.5%)

10/15/13 planned exit at the open. PRD gapped higher at $1.16
10/14/13 prepare to exit at the opening bell tomorrow
10/05/13 new stop loss @ 0.93