Option Investor

Daily Newsletter, Wednesday, 1/30/2019

Table of Contents

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

Market Wrap

The Bull Is Back

by Thomas Hughes

Click here to email Thomas Hughes


The FOMC says it will take its foot off the so-called economic brakes and the market cheers; better than expected earnings helped too. Market action was positive all morning but really kicked into high gear following the FOMC policy release. The release is everything the market could have asked for and helps brighten the outlook for this year.

Notable changes in the statement include the removal of verbiage indicating further rate hikes this year. They took out the words 'further gradual increases' and replaced it with 'will be patient' about the timing and pace of future hikes. The Fed also made clear in a separate note that it would continue to operate with an ample balance sheet, a message to the effect the end of the balance sheet run-off is near. The new message, now official, is the committee is not on auto-pilot and will adjust as needed.

Market Statistics

Earnings were another big boost to today's markets. Yesterday's report from Apple shows that the worst of global economic slowdown is behind the company, an outlook taken as a proxy for the global economy. Apple's forecast for the coming year is below estimates made last year but it's far better than what the market was expecting and has sparked some optimism for the coming year.

This morning a report from Boeing helped fan the flames of optimism. The aerospace giant reported record revenue and EPS, strong global demand, and a solid backlog of orders that guarantee a few more quarters of strong revenue and EPS at least. The backlog now sits at 5900 which equates to about six years of production at the current pace of delivery. The guidance for 2019 is above analysts expectations and helped send the stock up more than 6% in early pre-market trading.

Economic Calendar

The Economy

The ADP Employment Report came in much stronger than expected and points to continued labor market health in 2019. The headline213,000 is more than 30K above consensus estimates. It is offset by a downward revision to the previous month that leaves it as-expected but that is still a fair 180,000. The 12-month average is still above 200,000 as well. Job gains were fairly even across business size but skewed as always to the services side of things. On the goods-producing side of things construction and manufacturing both produced solid increases in hiring. If the NFP on Friday is anything like this I think we could see the equities market continue to recover.

The GDP figures for the fourth quarter were delayed due to the government shutdown. The shutdown is over but its effects are still being felt. A lot of tomorrow's data including the Personal Income, Spending, and Consumer Inflation figures are likely to be delayed as well.

Pending Home Sales fell -2.2% in the last month and are now at an 8 year low. The number of sales was affected by high rates and interest rate fears in late fall (when contracts are signed) so likely to rebound in the coming months. On a YOY basis, the number of Pending Sales fell -9.8% making this the twelfth straight month of YOY decline. Today's news from the FOMC is likely to help change this situation but home prices remain high so I don't expect a mad rush of buyers to materialize.

The Dollar Index

The Dollar Index edged slightly higher in the early portion of the session but that was just the calm before the storm. The index moved sharply lower following the FOMC policy release and broke below the $95.50 support target. The Fed's new stance, the change of policy statement, and the new outlook for the balance sheet have drastically altered policy expectation and put the dollar on a new path. The index is now headed lower and may hit $95 in the next few days. A move below $95 would be bearish and could take the index down to $94 or lower in the near to short-term.

The Gold Index

Gold prices extended their rally on the FOMC's dovish policy statement. The metal moved up another 0.90% in what looks like a strong move higher. Today's candle sets a new 8-month high and is supported by the indicators. Both indicators are bullish and on the rise, so higher prices are expected. Now that gold has surpassed the $1,320 level a move up to $1,340 and $1,360 looks much more likely.

The Gold Miners are responding to favorably to rising gold prices. The Gold Miners ETF GDX rose 1.70% in today's action. The ETF created a long green candle extending a move up from support to touch my resistance target at $22.50. This target is consistent with support levels from last year and may be strong. The indicators are bullish so I expect to see at least a test of resistance if not a break to new highs. The risk is gold prices if they fall the GDX will fall with them.

The Oil Index

The price of WTI jumped on today's inventory data but the gains did not hold. The EIA says crude stockpiles rose less than 1 million barrels when the market was expecting close to 3 million. On top of that storage of gasoline and distillates fell more than expected which raised concerns of tightening supply. Later in the day the reality US storage is at record highs helped trim gains. WTI settled near $54 after setting a multi-month high intraday. Today's gains were capped by resistance just above the $54 level which keeps oil trading within its congestion band.

The Oil Index rose about 1.0% in today's session but it too remains range bound. The index is consolidating above the short-term moving average and the 1,230 support line but remains beneath resistance near 1,275. The indicators are mixed but suggest a weakening market and the possibility the index will retreat in the coming days. A move below 1,230 would be bearish and could take the index down to 1,100 in the near to short-term.

In The News, Story Stocks and Earnings

Industrial products maker Ingersol-Rand reported before the bell and sent shares soaring. The company was able to beat analysts estimates with its 29% increase in YOY adjusted EPS and give positive guidance. The company says growth will slow in 2019 but only a little to 5-6% from 2018's 8%. The company says bookings for new orders was robust with bookings up 17%, another indication 2019 activity (in the global economy) will not be as bad as people have been thinking.

Facebook reported after the closing bell and delivered results comparable to Apple, far better than what recent events have led the market to believe was possible. The company says revenue grew more than 30% over the same quarter last year and beat consensus estimates for EPS by $0.20. Zuckerberg says the community and business continues to grow, we'll see about that. Shares of the stock jumped more than 6.5% on the news. Looks like FAANG is back.

Microsoft grew revenue 12.4% over the same quarter last year but missed estimates by a narrow margin. The company says adjusted EPS is $1.10 which beat the consensus by a penny, GAAP EPS missed by a penny. Satya Nadella says strong growth in commercial cloud business is driving the business and getting stronger as the company works to deliver value to its customers. The commercial cloud business grew 48% over the last year and accounts for nearly a third of revenue so that is good news. Shares of the stock fell in after-hours trading though because growth just wasn't as strong as the market had hoped for.

Tesla reported revenue growth topping 110% over the last year but it was not enough to drive the electric car market higher. Despite the growth, EPS fell far short of analysts expectations on the GAAP and non-GAAP comparison as efforts to control costs, ramp up production, and improve profitability fail to bear fruit. Shares of the stock were down about -2.5% on the news.

Payment processor VISA reported solid 13.2% YOY revenue growth that beat analysts consensus. The company also beat expectations for EPS and sent shares moving higher in the after-hours session. Considering the strength in labor markets, consumer banking, and holiday spending I would expect to see Visa continue to post solid results this year.

Shares of Wynn were volatile in after-hours trading after delivering a mixed report. The company says revenue grew by 4.3% over last year and beat consensus estimates but EPS fell short of expectations. Shares first shot higher by 2.0% but then quickly gave up those gains and more as concerns for global growth sapped outlook.

The Indices

The indices moved higher today and look like they want to keep going higher. If the after-hours reports are any indication I think they will. Today's leader was the NASDAQ Composite with a gain greater than 2.0%. The tech-heavy index created a medium sized candle that moved up to set a new high and extend the reversal that has been forming. The indicators are still mixed but rolling into bullish crossovers that are consistent with rising prices. A move up may find resistance at the long-term moving average, a move above that would be bullish.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted the second largest gain with an advance near 1.75%. The blue-chip index created a medium-sized green candle that shows some signs of resistance but is also poised to move higher. The indicators are still mixed but rolling into bullish trend-following signals that will confirm long-term uptrends. A move higher is expected but there is resistance at 25,250 that may hold prices from advancing further. A break above that level would be bullish.

The S&P 500 advanced about 1.60% in a move that touched the long-term 150-day EMA. The EMA has provided some resistance but it isn't strong at this time, that may change. Until then the indicators are consistent with at least a test of resistance that may turn into a break of resistance should earnings continue to satisfy the market. A move above 2,700 would be bullish and could take the index up to 2,800 in the near to short-term.

The Dow Jones Transportation Average moved up about 1.0% in today's session and looks like it could go higher. The index is moving up off of support and is confirmed by rising momentum so a move to the long-term moving average is likely. A move above the long-term EMA would be bullish and would likely result in a retest of 11,000 and 11,500 in the near to short-term.

The Fed did it again, they sounded the all-clear for equities, at least so far as they are concerned. Now that the Fed worry can be moved to the back burner the market can focus on earnings and trade. The earnings are OK, not as bad as feared, and the impact of the trade war has so far been limited so yet another headwind may be mitigated. If trade relations deliver some positive news we may just see this market really begin to rally. I am firmly bullish for the long-term and still oh so very cautiously bullish for the near-term.

Until then, remember the trend!

Thomas Hughes

PS, the baby is home alive and well. Joseph Edmund Hughes, named for his two grandfathers.

New Plays

Good Not Great

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown
Editor's Note

A 1% move in the Russell was good but a 2.6% gain in the Nasdaq was great. The Dow gained 434 points and the Nasdaq 154. Anything that was worth buying was bought today. The S&P futures are up +9 and the Nasdaq futures +42. Option premiums were already overly inflated at the close and should the futures gains hold overnight they will be inflated even more at Thursday's open. Not only do investors need to know when to hold and when to fold but when to stand pat. This will not be a morning to enter new positions.


New positions are only added on Wednesday and Saturday except in special circumstances.


No New Bullish Plays


No New Bearish Plays

In Play Updates and Reviews

Big Cap Party

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown

Editors Note:

There was a great post-Fed rally today in big cap stocks. For the most part small caps did not participate. The Russell gained 1% but the average small cap stock gained only a few cents. The small cap sector was conspicuously short of big winners. However, the Russell did close at a 6-week high and is starting to move away from prior resistance.

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

No Changes

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

Short term Calls and Puts on equities = Option Investor Newsletter

Credit spreads and naked puts = OptionWriter

Long term option investments = LEAPS Investor

3-6 month Option Trades = Ultimate Investor

Full updates on all plays on Wednesday and Saturday. Only closed plays are updated on other days.

BULLISH Play Updates

BOX - Box Inc - Company Profile


No specific news. 3% rally to a 4-month high.

Original Trade Description: Jan 19th.

Box, Inc. provides a cloud content management platform that enables organizations of various sizes to manage and share their enterprise content from anywhere or any device. The company's Software-as-a-Service platform enables users to collaborate on content internally and with external parties, automate content-driven business processes, develop custom applications, and implement data protection, security, and compliance features. Box, Inc. offers its solution in 23 languages. It serves healthcare and life sciences, financial services, legal services, media and entertainment, retail, education, and energy industries, as well as government sector primarily in the United States. The company was formerly known as Box.net, Inc. and changed its name to Box, Inc. in November 2011. Box, Inc. was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in Redwood City, California. Company description from FinViz.com.

Earnings February 27th.

Box is a provider of cloud content management services to enterprise customers. Procter & Gamble and GE are two of its largest customers. Over the last several weeks there has been a persistent rumor they will be acquired. Google has been a rumored acquirer but it is more likely Microsoft or even Hewlett Packard could be interested.

Entering a position on acquisition rumors is rarely a good move. More than 90% of the time nothing happens. In this case revenue is growing in excess of 25% for 2018 and they guided for 20%+ for 2019. They also guided for their first quarterly profit in Q4 since they went public in 2015.

Their customer retention rate is close to 100% and they had more than 90,000 customers at the end of Q3. Box has enough scale that it makes sense to be acquired rather than a large company trying to replicate their product and service and spend years stealing market share. Buying Box now would be an instant add on to profits.

Shares broke over three-month resistance on Friday and the next material level is $24.

Position 1/22/19:
Long BOX Shares @ $19.74, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Optional: Long March $21 Call @ $1.00, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

INFN - Infinera - Company Profile


Only a minor gain in a bullish market but small caps were not participating.

Original Trade Description: Jan 5th.

Infinera Corporation provides optical transport networking solutions, equipment, and software and services worldwide. The company's product portfolio consists of Infinera DTN-X Family of terabit-class transport network platforms, including the XTC Series, XTS Series, and XT Series; Infinera DTN-X XTC series multi-terabit packet optical transport platforms that integrate digital OTN switching and optical WDM transmission; and Infinera DTN-X XT series for terrestrial applications and XTS series for subsea applications. It also provides Infinera XTM Series packet-optical transport platform that enables high-performance metro networks with service-aware, application-specific capabilities; and Infinera Cloud Xpress Family designed to meet the varying needs of ICPs, communication service providers, Internet exchange service providers, enterprises, and other large-scale data center operators. In addition, the company offers Infinera FlexILS open line system platform that connects various Infinera and third-party terminal equipment platforms over long-distance fiber optic cable providing switching, multiplexing, amplification, and management channels. Further, it provides software solutions, including Xceed Software Suite that address long-haul, subsea, and metro networks, as well as a range of support services for all hardware and software products. The company also serves telecommunications service providers, Internet content providers, cable providers, wholesale and enterprise carriers, research and education institutions, enterprise customers, and government entities. It markets and sells its products and related support services primarily through its direct sales force. The company was formerly known as Zepton Networks. Infinera Corporation was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. Company description from FinViz.com.

Earnings Feb 5th.

Infinera is a global supplier of terabyte speed network equipment. They are in nearly every country. Their products handle long haul data transmission even in undersea links.

Shares collapsed back in early November when they reported earnings. The CEO said the company had seen a pause in sales as buyers evaluated the combined company. They had just purchased Coriant. The CEO said revenue in Q4 would increase by 50% because of the acquisition but they would post a bigger loss on acquisition expenses.

For Q3 they lost 4 cents and analysts were expecting a 5-cent loss. The guidance for Q4 was a loss of 26-30 cents because of the acquisition.

Shares fell to $3.50 post earnings. Over the last week they have recovered to $4.25 and appear to be accelerating higher. Resistance is $5.

This is not a fast mover, but all the bad news is now priced into the stock.

Readers have been requesting more low dollar stock recommendations and this would fit that scenario.

Update 1/10: The Australia to Japan undersea cable completed a major upgrade of the 12,700 kilometer cable system using Infinera ICE4 devices allowing multi terabit capacity.

Position 1/7/19:
Long INFN shares @ $4.22, stop loss $3.75.

Optional: Long April $5 Call @ 31 cents, no stop loss.

NUAN - Nuance Communications - Company Profile


Meditech announced they were joining forces with Nuance to deliver AI-powered virtual assistants to the healthcare community.

Original Trade Description: Jan 16th.

Nuance Communications, Inc. provides voice recognition and natural language understanding solutions worldwide. It operates through five segments: Healthcare, Automotive, Enterprise, Imaging, and Other. The Healthcare segment offers clinical speech and clinical language understanding solutions, such as Dragon Medical, a dictation software that allow physicians to capture and document patient care in real-time; transcription solutions, which enable physicians to streamline clinical documentation with a transcription platforms; clinical document improvement and coding solutions; diagnostic solutions that allow radiologists to document, collaborate, and share medical images and reports; and professional and personal productivity solutions to business users and consumers. The Automotive segment provides branded and personalized virtual assistants and connected car services for automotive manufacturers and their suppliers. The Enterprise segment offers On-Premise solutions and services, an automated customer service solution that comprise automated speech recognition, voice biometrics, transcription, text-to-speech, and dialog and analytics products; and On-Demand multichannel cloud, a platform, which offers enterprises the ability to implement automatic customer service. The Imaging segment provides multi-function printer (MFP) scanning and document management solutions; MFP printing and document management solutions to capture and automate paper to digital work flows; and PDF and OCR software for capturing, creation, and management of document work flows. The Other segment offers voicemail transcription and other value-added services to mobile operators; and speech recognition solutions and predictive text technologies for handset devices. The company was formerly known as ScanSoft, Inc. and changed its name to Nuance Communications, Inc. in October 2005. Nuance Communications, Inc. was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts. Company description from FinViz.com.

Multiple positive headlines over the last three weeks plus an appearance at the JP Morgan healthcare conference last week has brought new life to Nuance.

In mid November the company announced the spinoff of its automotive unit and shares tanked in an already down market. The spinoff will be completed before the end of 2019 so it is not anything that should impact price today.

Their expertise in voice recognition software is being married with a new AI background to bring this technology to a wide range of applications. Organic revenue rose 12%.

Shares have rebounded from $12.50 to $15.20 in three weeks and could easily retest their November highs near $18 on the new business applications. Fund managers are looking for beaten down small cap stocks as we move into 2019.

Earnings February 19th.

Buy NUAN shares, currently $15.20, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

Optional: Long Apr $16 call @ 90 cents, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

SFIX - Stitch Fix - Company Profile


No specific news. Minor gain over resistance on Tuesday and held the breakout today.

Original Trade Description: Jan 23rd.

Stitch Fix, Inc. sells a range of apparel, shoes, and accessories through its Website and mobile app in the United States. It offers denim, dresses, blouses, skirts, shoes, jewelry, and handbags for men, women, and kids under the Stitch Fix brand. The company was formerly known as rack habit inc. and changed its name to Stitch Fix, Inc. in October 2011. Stitch Fix, Inc. was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California. Company description from FinViz.com.

Stitch posted Q3 earnings in early December of 10 cents compared to estimates for 3 cents. Revenue rose from $295.6 million to $366.2 million and beat estimates for $358 million. They guided for Q4 for revenue of $360-$368 million. Analysts were expecting $363 million.

Shares sank because the expected growth was nearly flat. The company said it was changing its focus to quality long term customers rather than short term customers that are more costly. This is a great move but short sighted investors sold the stock.

They want to move away from customers that continually return everything in their box creating headaches for the company. They want to keep customers that actually buy some or all of the items in their box because that generates the profits. They don't want to add customers at a breakneck speed just to please analysts.

Shares rebounded from the December earnings drop and market crash to a two-month high on Friday. This week has seen a pullback, which could be an entry point.

Position 1/24/19:
Long SFIX shares @ $21.82, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Optional: Long March $23 call @ $1.88, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

SNCR - Synchronoss Technologies - Company Profile


No specific news. Prior resistance is now support.

Original Trade Description: Jan 5th.

Synchronoss Technologies, Inc. provides cloud, digital, messaging, and Internet of things platforms, products, and solutions worldwide. Its products and services include cloud-based sync, backup, storage and content engagement capabilities, broadband connectivity solutions, analytics, white label messaging, and identity/access management that enable communications service providers, cable operators/multi-services operators, original equipment manufacturers with embedded connectivity, and multi-channel retailers, as well as other customers to accelerate and monetize value-add services for secure and broadband networks and connected devices. The company also provides Synchronoss Enterprise solutions, such as secure mobility management, data and analytics, and identity and access management solutions for the financial, healthcare, and life sciences markets; and Synchronoss Personal Cloud platform that delivers an operator-branded experience for subscribers to backup, restore, synchronize, and share their personal content across smartphones, tablets, computers, and other connected devices. Its products and platforms are designed to enable multiple converged communication services to manage across a range of distribution channels, such as e-commerce, m-commerce, telesales, customer stores, indirect, and other retail outlets. The company markets and sells its services through direct sales force and strategic partners. Synchronoss Technologies, Inc. was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Bridgewater, New Jersey. Company description from FinViz.com.

At CES 2019, Synchronoss Technologies announced a partnership with TBCASoft to redefine telecom operators with a blockchain payment processing system. This will allow users to make instore payments, mobile and digital purchases directly from their phones using the Synchronoss secure-multichannel communications platform. Payments can be made vis SMS, email and rich communications services (RCS) leveraging the TBCASoft cross-carrier blockchain payment system. Synchronoss plans to leverage distributed ledger technology to remove middlemen parties typically found in other payment ecosystems.

Shares rose 20% over the last 10 days as the news surrounding CES became known in the investor marketplace. The stock is on the verge of a breakout to a seven-month high.

Earnings Feb 6th.

Position 1/14/19:
Long SNCR shares @ $6.75, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Long March $7.50 call @ 60 cents, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

YRCW - YRC Worldwide - Company Profile


No specific news. Earnings ahead.

Original Trade Description: Jan 26th.

YRC Worldwide Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides various transportation services primarily in North America. Its YRC Freight segment offers various services to transport industrial, commercial, and retail goods; and provides specialized services, including guaranteed expedited services, time-specific deliveries, cross-border services, coast-to-coast air delivery, product returns, temperature-sensitive shipment protection, and government material shipments. It serves manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and government customers. As of December 31, 2017, this segment had a fleet of approximately 7,600 tractors comprising 5,900 owned and 1,700 leased; and 30,900 trailers consisting of 23,800 owned and 7,100 leased. The company's Regional Transportation segment provides regional delivery services, which include next-day local area delivery and second-day services, consolidation/distribution services, protect-from-freezing and hazardous materials handling, truck loading, and other specialized offerings; guaranteed and expedited delivery services consisting of day-definite, hour-definite, and time definite capabilities; interregional delivery services; and cross-border delivery services, as well as operates hollandregional.com, newpenn.com, and reddawayregional.com, which are e-commerce Websites offering online resources to manage transportation activities. This segment had a fleet of approximately 6,500 tractors, including 4,700 owned and 1,800 leased; and 13,700 trailers comprising 10,500 owned and 3,200 leased. The company was formerly known as Yellow Roadway Corporation and changed its name to YRC Worldwide Inc. in January 2006. YRC Worldwide Inc. was founded in 1924 and is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas. Company description from FinViz.com.

YRCW has a problem with earnings reports. They either gap up or gap down immediately afterwards. Their performance has been so spotty on earnings there is no accurate expectation of what they will report.

The stock is cheap at $5.75. Over the last two weeks shares have risen to that level from the December market crash and have plateaued there with no further movement. For any normal stock this would appear to be staging for a post earnings breakout.

Since the options are so cheap, I am recommending a combination play where we buy a cheap option on either side of the stock price and hope for a strong move in either direction.

Earnings Thursday January 31st.

Position 1/28/19:
Long Feb $6 call @ 40 cents, no stop loss.
Long Feb $5 put @ 25 cents, no stop loss.

BEARISH Play Updates

VXX - Volatility Index Futures - ETF Description


I was shocked to see only a 15-cent decline in the VXX. Apparently, investors were worried the rally will not stick or a shooting war will breakout at the Chinese trade talks.

The VXX will eventually be single digits but it could be months in the future.

Previously: Earlier this year, a reader emailed me saying a friend was short 1,000 shares. When the $21 spike came in afterhours, Ameritrade closed that position for a $35,000 loss. They did not have a protective stop loss.

I wrote in the prior newsletter that we were not using a profit stop in this position because it could be hard to re-short the shares after a volatility event. That is just trade management for a profitable position. In ANY SHORT POSITION, you should have a catastrophe stop loss to avoid the position turning into a major loss. Had this person had a stop loss at their entry point, they would have been closed for a breakeven and they would be sleeping a lot better tonight.

Readers should always assume the potential for the worst possible outcome of a short position. Trade smart!

Original Trade Description: September 18th.

The VXX is a short-term volatility ETF based on the VIX futures. As a futures product it has the rollover curse. Every time they roll to a new futures contract, they have to pay a premium and that lowers the price of the ETF. It is a flawed product with a perpetual decline built in from the monthly roll over in the futures contracts.

As evidence of this flaw, they have now done four 1:4 reverse stock splits. The last five reverse splits occurred at $13.11 (11/2010), $8.77 (10/2012), $12.84 (11/2013), $9.52 (8/8/16), $12.77 (8/22/17). The prospectus says it can reverse split anytime it trades under $25 for a prolonged period and the splits will always be 1:4.

We know from experience that the VXX always declines. The last two times we shorted this ETF we had a $7.23 and $5.98 gain.

Unfortunately, put options are expensive with a volatility instrument at this price level. The only recommendation is to short the ETF and forget it. If we do get a prolonged rally into year-end we could see a sharp decline in the VXX over the next 2-3 months. This will be a long-term position. This is not a 2-3 week play. I can guarantee you, if history holds, we can play this until it splits 1:4 again at $10. Once we are in the position and profitable I will put a trailing stop loss on it. We will take profits and then look for a bounce to get back in.

The VXX is hard to short. Shortsqueeze.com says there are 19.9 million shares short out of 26.7 million shares outstanding. The shares are out there and being traded because the volume on Monday was 29.6 million. You have to tell your broker you really want to short it and make them find the shares. Sometimes it takes days or even a week before your broker will find you the shares. Trust me, be persistent and it will be worth the effort.

I had held off after the 1:4 reverse split because the options were expensive and I was expecting volatility in September from the budget battle and debt ceiling hurdle. With those issues pushed out into December, the volatility is dropping like the proverbial rock. Several readers have already emailed me asking when I was going to put this position back in the portfolio.

Position 9/19/17:
Short VXX shares @ $40.95, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Position 9/6/18:
Short VXX shares @ $54.27, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

Average cost = $47.61.

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