We closed the VXX position today for a gain of nearly $10 per share. It was a bumpy ride. The volatility spike in Jan/Feb kept us in the position a lot longer than normal but it was worth the wait.
The markets rallied today with the exception of the Nasdaq 100 and the biotech sector, which declined once again. The Russell 2000 posted a big gain thanks to the rise in oil prices that overshadowed the decline in biotechs.
Friday is quadruple options expiration and there will be high volatility at the open and high volume at the close. After a big market rebound there could be a lot of traders taking profits in their option positions and a lot of shorts that have resisted the urge to sell in hopes of another decline to ease the pain. Those cross currents could inflate the volatility once again.
The S&P closed at resistance at 2,040 and only 3 points from positive territory for the year. The Dow managed to seal the deal and closed about 60 points into positive territory for 2016 at 17,481.
The Dow is racing headlong into serious resistance starting at 17,750 through 17,900. That would be a good place for a double top.
Current Position Changes
DWRE - Demandware
Call position was closed at the open.
VXX - VIX Futures ETF
The short recommendation were closed when the VXX hit $19.50
EGHT - 8x8 Inc
The short position was opened with a trade at $9.80.
BBOX - Black Box
The long position remains unopened until BBOX trades at $14.25.
Check the graphic above for any profit stops in green.
We need to always be prepared for a profit exit at resistance.
Stop Loss Updates
Check the graphic above for any new stop losses in bright yellow.
We need to always be prepared for an unexpected decline.
BULLISH Play Updates
AMLP - Alerian MLP ETF - ETF Profile
Up slightly thanks to the rebound in oil prices.
Original Trade Description: March 2nd.
The MLP sector has been trashed along with the producers even though they have almost no risk. A pipeline MLP is a toll collector. They get paid a fee for every barrel of oil or cubic foot of gas that travel through their pipelines.
The vast majority of the pipelines in the country are full. They are so full that producers are having to resort to truck and rail shipments to get their oil to market. The pipelines are not in any material danger of a sudden drop in petroleum products flowing through their pipelines. Many contracts are take or pay. Producers commit to ship a certain amount of product and they pay for that commitment.
I am recommending the Alerian MLP ETF. This is an ETF that owns an entire basket of MLP securities and they all pay dividends. The AMLP is currently yielding 11.4%. They have raised their dividend every quarter since Q1-2012. They are not likely to break that string and if they did I suspect it would only be by a small amount. The Q1 dividend they announced on Feb 10th was 29.9 cents, payable on February 18th.
There are analysts that believe the MLP model is at risk. They believe the cost of capital will rise with the Fed rate hikes and the crash in the oil market. That means existing MLPs will have to pay more for new assets. That does not affect existing MLPs that already have their assets in place. They do not have to grow in the current energy environment. They can be content to sit on their assets and continue to pay dividends on their existing pipelines.
I believe the risk at the current price level is minimal. The MLP panic has run its course with several cutting their dividends and causing the sharp drops in the ETFs. Now that oil prices are firming and expected to firm even more beginning in April when inventories begin to decline, the MLP ETF buyers will return. Just a year ago AMLP was trading over $20 and could be there again by this time next year.
There is no scenario where oil prices remain low long term. This is a normal boom/bust cycle and they will recover and will trade significantly higher in the years ahead.
This is a LONG-TERM position. Oil prices should rebound starting this summer and then rise sharply in 2017 and you need to be content to collect the 11.4% while we wait for those prices to move higher.
You do not have to hold long term. My initial target would be $14 and that would be a 40% return and we could see that by July.
Tuesday 3/8 comments: AMLP declined -6.7% after a court verdict appeared to allow bankrupt Sabine Energy to renegotiate contracts with midstream transporters of natural gas. U.S. Bankruptcy judge Shelly Chapman in Manhattan said Sabine should be able to reject the current transmission contracts with HPIP Gonzales Holdings and Nordheim Eagle Ford Gathering LLC, an affiliate of Cheniere Energy. AMLP was not involved in the case.
Despite the judges comments she also said she did not want to decide an underlying legal dispute in a binding way. The problem is that companies contract with the owner of gathering systems for a field that can consist of tens of thousands of acres with production coming from a dozen different producers. Those producers contract for 10 years or more with the gathering system to ship their gas/oil through the gathering pipeline to a larger pipeline, rail car loading facility, refinery, etc.
For Sabine to reject the contract to ship its gas through the gathering system makes no sense. They have no other way to get it to market. Sabine admitted they were having to flare all their gas because HPIP was not accepting it for nonpayment of the agreed fees. Sabine said they were not paying because HPIP never completed construction of the pipelines. HPIP said Sabine never paid them the agreed construction fee.
The pipeline operators claim that once they contract with a group of producers to construct a system of pipelines to gather production that those contract rights and obligations pass from owner to owner if the leases are sold. Sabine wants to void its portion of the gathering agreement.
All the midstream MLPs were down on the judges comments because it has always been understood that once a pipeline is in place in a field that operator has the right to collect and transport the gas/oil from that field regardless of who owns it.
The judges comments are not law. She called the attorneys to her chamber after the court event and told them to "come to a commercial resolution of your issues" because she did not want to be put in a position of having to rule on the legality of the broader issue that could impact the entire pipeline sector in the USA.
While this does not have any immediate impact on AMLP and an adverse ruling may not impact them for years into the future, the stock was down because the sector recoiled in horror at the possibilities. I suspect calmer heads will prevail in the days to come.
Long AMLP shares @ $10.40. No stop loss.
Long July $12 call, entry 55 cents. No stop loss.
BBOX - Black Box Corp - Company Profile
Support at $13 held again and the 5% rebound put shares right back at resistance at $14. Eventually we are going to see a breakout from this range and it could be strong. Only the direction is unknown. No news.
The position remains unopened until BBOX trades at $14.25
Original Trade Description: March 9th.
Black Box is a leading technology solutions provider dedicated to helping customers build, manage, optimize and secure their IT infrastructure. They operate globally with more than 3,500 team members.
Black Box provides data centers, control rooms, contact centers, networking infrastructure while maintaining the highest security protocols and real time monitoring. With 70% of businesses reporting security breaches over the past 12 months it is critical to have somebody that understands the risk to manage your IT assets in all areas. The average security breach costs $3.5 million to repair and recover.
Shares rallied after they reported earnings on January 26th of 37 cents that rose +9% and beat estimates. They reported revenue of $222.5 million. They guided for the current quarter for earnings in a range of 25-30 cents and revenue of $220 million.
The company declared an 11-cent dividend payable April 14th to holders on March 31st. The company also increased the share buyback program by 1 million shares with $7 million to be purchased in March.
BBOX shares are undervalued to their peers by about 50%. The price to book multiple is .68 compared to the peer average of 2.06. They trade at a negative PE of -1.73.
This is a simple play. BBOX rallied from $8 to $13 in the days following earnings. Shares have plateaued at the $13.50 level with a slight upward trajectory. Recent intraday highs over the last two weeks have been from $13.85 to $14.11. When an eventual breakout occurs we could see a spike to $2-$3 as shorts cover and others add to their positions.
I am recommending we buy BBOX shares with a trade at $14.25 and target $16.25 for an exit.
Earnings are May 5th.
With a BBOX trade at $14.25
Buy BBOX shares, initial stop loss $12.85
No options because of wide spreads.
CDW - CDW Corp - Company Profile
Still fighting the moving averages but the short-term trend is still intact. The down trending 100-day has joined the 150-day with resistance at $41. Any further gains would be a breakout. There is a nice pattern of higher lows over the last week. The size of the candles are shrinking and that suggests we are getting closer to a breakout.
Cisco recognized CDW with three Cisco Partner Summit Global Awards, the Global Commercial Partner of the Year and the Global Marketing Innovation Partner of the Year.
Previous: The interesting factoid is that the stock came to rest almost exactly on the 150-day average at $40.90 for the third consecutive day. There must be a high frequency trading program that is focused on CDW because the almost perfect respect for each of the moving averages is too precise for a day trader to manipulate the stock. Volume is 800,000 a day so it has to be a computer program. I looked at the time & sales and the vast majority of the trades, probably 85% or more are even 100 share lots. There are dozens of sequential trades with only a penny difference and sometimes less than a penny. Then dozens of trades a penny higher. That repeated all day long. That suggests a break over the 150-day average will run to the 100-day at $41.32.
Original Trade Description: February 29th.
CDW distributes IT solutions in the U.S. and Canada through its website CDW.com. They offer hardware and software products to integrated IT solutions including mobile, security, data center optimization, cloud computing, virtualization and collaboration. They offer a full line of IT products of every size, shape, brand, model and configuration. They also offer customization, installation, warranty and repair services as well as infrastructure as a service. This is the IT distributor for the home office, company datacenter or the datacenter as a service for those companies that do not have an extensive IT staff.
CDW has more than 250,000 corporate customers and 1,000 supply partners.
They reported Q4 earnings of 73 cents that rose +23% and matched estimates on revenue that rose +12.1% to $3.42 billion, which beat estimates slightly. For the full year they earned $2.35 on revenue of $12.99 billion.
They also announced a quarterly dividend of 10.75 cents to be paid on March 10th to holders on Feb 25th.
Shares rebounded from the earnings and are trading at $39.50. CDW has a very clear relationship with moving averages, especially the 200-day and the 300-day. Every break of either average has resulted in a significant move. On Monday CDW closed 9 cents above the resistance of the 200-day after trading between the 200-300 for the last two weeks. A breakout over that 200-day should target the $43 level if not higher.
CDW shares posted a 77-cent gain today in a weak market.
The high today was $39.76 and I am going to use an entry trigger at $39.85. That will mean the option price could be a little higher than expected since I am using the $40 strike. The $45 strike is too far away and has no open interest.
Position 3/1/16 with a CDW trade at $39.85
Long CDW shares @ $39.85, initial stop loss $37.85.
Long Apr $40 call @ $1.50, no initial stop loss.
DRII - Diamond Resorts Intl - Company Profile
Minor decline to support at $24.25 but rebounded 75 cents off the lows. This was just a consolidation of Wednesday's big gain.
Original Trade Description: March 10th.
Diamond Resorts is rumored to be planning to take itself private in a leveraged buyout as the result of a previously announced strategic review. Analysts are expecting a deal price in the $32-$35 range. The company has a network of 375 vacation destinations in 35 countries. The firm hired Centerview Partners to evaluate all strategic alternatives after two major shareholders requested the board take action including an outright sale. Marriott Vacations Worldwide and Wyndham Worldwide could be suitors. More than 23% of DRII shares are sold short.
The company recently announced its 10th straight quarter of record financial performance and issued guidance for 2016 calling for another record year. Despite the record performance the share price had declined -25% in 2016. Apparently, this caused two large shareholders to turn up the heat and tell the company to get something done to increase the share price.
Starwood Hotels recently sold its timeshare business to Interval Leisure Group for $1.5 billion or 12 times trailing Ebitda. Diamond Resorts is only trading at 9.5 times with a forward multiple of 6.2 times or significantly undervalued to the Starwood sale. This suggests someone could pay $30 for Diamond and still be accretive to earnings in 2016 without accounting for synergies.
The Diamond CEO is also the founder and he owns 25% of the company. That suggests a LBO might be the most likely option so he can keep his stake.
Earnings May 25th.
Position 3/10/16 with a DRII trade at $24.25
Long DRII shares @ $24.25, initial stop loss $20.50.
No option recommended because of wide spreads and high prices.
DWRE - Demandware - Company Profile
DWRE posted a nice rebound of 3% and right back to resistance. The call position was closed at the open for a 90-cent gain.
Target $43.25 for an exit on the stock position.
Original Trade Description: February 22nd
Demandware provides enterprise-class cloud based digital commerce solutions in the U.S., Germany, UK, and internationally. The Demandware Commerce platform enables customers to establish complex digital e-commerce strategies including multi-brands, multi-site, omni-channel and in-store operations.
Everything is integrated including payment systems, email marketing, campaign management, personalization, taxation, ratings, reviews and social commerce.
Demandware shares were caught in the Tableau Software disaster on February 5th when Tableau warned they saw enterprise spending slowing. Shares crashed from $44 to $30 on the Tableau news.
Demandware reported earnings on the 9th of 38 cents that beat street estimates for 23 cents. Revenue of $75.6 million also beat estimates for $72.3 million. They guided for full year revenue in the $295-$305 million range. Shares dropped at the open the next day because the street was expecting $302.26 million. It was a very minor guidance blink but shares dropped $2 the next day. That was the low for the month.
Shares have rebounded from that $26.50 low to $33.50 because they are not Tableau Software. They did not report any weakness in their earnings and revenue but they were punished for the Tableau guidance prior to earnings.
I believe Demandware will return to the $44 level where the close before Tableau dumped on the cloud software sector.
The high today was $33.97. I am putting an entry trigger on this play of $34.15 to get us over that level just in case the market takes a turn for the worse. If we do get some broad based profit taking, I will modify this play to take advantage of any new dips.
Earnings May 5th.
Position 2/26/16 with a DWRE trade at $34.15
Long DWRE shares @ $34.15, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Closed 3/17/16: Long April $35 call @ $2.70, exit $3.60, +.90 gain
HPE - Hewlett Packard Enterprise - Company Profile
Dead stop at $17.25 again but once over that level shares could accelerate higher.
Original Trade Description: March 14th.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise was spun off from Hewlett Packard (HPQ) to be the high growth segment of the company. The remaining HPQ was the slower growing PC and printer company.
HPE reported adjusted Q4 earnings of 41 cents compared to estimates for 40 cents. Revenue of $12.72 billion would have been up +4% on a constant currency basis. Analysts were expecting $12.68 billion.
CEO Meg Whitman said, "We saw the progress that comes from being more focused and nimble. We delivered a third-consecutive quarter of year-over-year constant currency revenue growth, and excluding the impact of recent M&A activity, we saw revenue growth in constant currency across every business segment for the first time since 2010."
For the current quarter HPE guided to earnings of 39-43 cents. For the full year they expect $1.85-$1.95 and that was more than analysts expected at $1.87.
Earnings are boring. The really good news came from the cash flow. HPE expects to generate $2.0-$2.2 billion in free cash flow in 2016. Last year they returned $1.3 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends and share buybacks. In 2016 HPE is increasing its commitment to return 100% of the free cash flow to investors in dividends and buybacks.
In May they expect to close their previously announced deal with China's Tsinghua and that will provide an additional $2 billion in cash that HPE said it would use to repurchase shares.
This means over the next couple of months we should see significant share activity as fund position themselves to be the beneficiaries of all this buyback/dividend activity that could exceed $4 billion in 2016.
Earnings June 2nd.
HPE shares have shaken off their post spinoff weakness and are now trading at a four-month high. I am recommending we buy this stock in anticipation of investors moving in ahead of future dividends and buybacks. I am not recommending an option because they are too expensive.
Long HPE shares @ $16.36, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
SGI - Silicon Graphics Intl - Company Profile
Another weak gain. I am continuing to stick with this position and any material dip will take us out with a minor profit. We have little risk at this point and the potential for a decent gain if the stock breaks out. No news.
Original Trade Description: February 19th
Silicon Graphics is a leader in high performance supercomputing. They build server components that handle compute intensive, fast algorithm workloads, such as Computer Assisted Engineering (CAE), genome assembly and scientific simulations. For instance, the SGI UV-3000 scales from 4 to 256 CPU sockets, utilizing multiple CPU cores per socket and up to 64 terabytes of shared memory. UV-3000 Description That description may be jibberish to readers without a tech background. I started working in computers since 1967 and I can assure you this is thousands of times more powerful than the computers NASA used to send men to the moon and 1,000 times more powerful than your desktop computer today.
SGI surged last week after Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) said they were going to utilize the SGI platform in their new HPE Integrity MC990 X Server. This is a large business server that supports heavy workloads. This strategic partnership with SGI will greatly extend the reach of SGI technology. It is also a confirmation of the stability and high performance of the SGI platform and could lead to additional acceptance by other manufacturers.
In late January, SGI reported adjusted earnings of 14 cents compared to estimates for 5 cents. Revenue of $152 million beat estimates for $145 million. However, shares plunged from $7.80 to $5.20 the next day after the company filed a shelf registration for $75 million in new shares. The company market cap is only $200 million.
Shares remained volatile around $5 until the 12th and the full impact of the Hewlett Packard partnership was understood. They closed at $5.85 on Friday and a four-week high.
I believe the worst is over and the shelf registration forgotten in light of the partnership news.
I am recommending we buy SGI shares with a trade at $6.05 and target $7.35 for an exit. That would be a 21% gain. I am not recommending an option on this position but they do exist. The June $6 call is 95 cents and the $7 call is 60 cents. If you buy the option, I would plan on holding it longer than the stock position and hope that shares move over resistance at $7.40.
Earnings are April 27th.
Position 2/26/16 with SGI trade at $6.05
Long SGI shares @ $6.05, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
WIN - Windstream Holdings - Company Profile
WIN spiked to resistance at $8.00 and held most of its gains. Maintain that $7.10 stop and hopefully the decline is over.
Original Trade Description: March 11th
Windstream provided network communications and technology solutions for consumers, businesses and enterprise organizations. They provide high-speed internet access, hosted web services and cable TV to a combined total of 1.6 million residential and business customers. They have more than 125,000 miles of high-speed fiber optic cable with speeds up to 500 gbps along their main corridors. They have 11 major data centers providing web hosting, cloud services, etc.
In the Q4 earnings, WIN reported adjusted earnings of $1.41 that crushed estimates for a loss of 48 cents. Revenue of $1.427 billion missed estimates slightly for $1.433 billion. The major earnings beat came from a spinoff of some of its telecom assets into a REIT. The cash received from the spinoff will allow some major network improvements in the months ahead.
The company declared a 15-cent quarterly dividend payable April 15th to holders on March 31st. That equates to a 7.3% annual yield.
WIN shares have been moving higher since they reported earnings on February 25th. Shares are at resistance at $8.25 and could breakout this week. The next resistance would be $11.85.
While we are not playing the stock for a takeover there is always the chance that somebody like Verizon or even Google could decide the $750 million market cap was chump change for 125,000 miles of high-speed fiber, cable TV and data center business.
I am going way out on the option to August because it is cheap and it will make a good lottery play even if we close the stock position early.
Long WIN shares @ $8.22, initial stop loss $7.10
Long August $9.00 call @ .40 cents. NO STOP LOSS
BEARISH Play Updates
EGHT - 8X8 Inc - Company Profile
The position was opened with a trade at $9.80 and shares continued to fall. We are off to a good start.
Original Trade Description: March 16th
8X8 provides voice over internet protocol (VOIP) technology and software as a service (SaaS) communication solutions in the cloud for small and medium businesses and mid-market enterprises. They offer VOIP to in office subscribers, mobile devices, a virtual contact center and virtual meeting across its SaaS platform.
They reported Q4 earnings of 5 cents compared to estimates for 3 cents. Revenue of $53.2 million also meat estimates for $52 million. This is not a widely followed stock and the post earnings bounce was brief.
The stock rallied on an earnings beat in October and spent all of Q4 and early Q1 in the $11 range. Those gains are fading. Shares closed at $9.90 on Wednesday in a positive market. Shares appear poised to give back all those October gains and decline to $8.00.
This is a technical trade rather than something bearish in their business model or results. The company is simply not generating any excitement and investors are selling.
Earnings are May 18th.
Insiders have been net sellers over the last six months and institutions have sold nearly 8 million shares in the last quarter for a 16% drop in fund ownership. I am recommending we short the stock under today's low of $9.87 and target $8.25 for an exit. No options because of distance from a strike.
Position 3/17/16 with a EGHT trade at $9.80
Short EGHT shares @ $9.80, initial stop loss $10.25.
VXX - VIX Futures ETF ETF - ETF Description
After a long and bumpy ride the VXX finally hit our exit target at $19.50 and the play is closed. The Jan/Feb volatility that actually started in December prevented us from achieving the original target at $16.25 and we had to hold the position much longer than originally planned. However, all that matters is the gain at the end.
Original Trade Description: August 24, 2015
The U.S. stock market's sell-off has been extreme. Most of the major indices have collapsed into correction territory (-10% from their highs). The volatile moves in the market have investors panicking for protection. This drives up demand for put options and this fuels a rally in the CBOE volatility index (the VIX).
You can see on a long-term weekly chart that the VIX spiked up to levels not seen since the 2008 bear market during the financial crisis. Moves like this do not happen very often. The VIX rarely stays this high very long.
How do we trade the VIX? One way is the VXX, which is an ETN but trades like a stock.
Here is an explanation from the product website:
The iPath® S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures® ETNs (the "ETNs") are designed to provide exposure to the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term FuturesTM Index Total Return (the "Index"). The ETNs are riskier than ordinary unsecured debt securities and have no principal protection. The ETNs are unsecured debt obligations of the issuer, Barclays Bank PLC, and are not, either directly or indirectly, an obligation of or guaranteed by any third party. Any payment to be made on the ETNs, including any payment at maturity or upon redemption, depends on the ability of Barclays Bank PLC to satisfy its obligations as they come due. An investment in the ETNs involves significant risks, including possible loss of principal and may not be suitable for all investors.
The Index is designed to provide access to equity market volatility through CBOE Volatility Index® (the "VIX Index") futures. The Index offers exposure to a daily rolling long position in the first and second month VIX futures contracts and reflects market participants' views of the future direction of the VIX index at the time of expiration of the VIX futures contracts comprising the Index. Owning the ETNs is not the same as owning interests in the index components included in the Index or a security directly linked to the performance of the Index.
I encourage readers to check out a long-term chart of the VXX. This thing has been a consistent loser. One market pundit said the VXX is where money goes to die - if you're buying it. We do not want to buy it. We want to short it. Shorting rallies seems to be a winning strategy on the VXX with a constant trend of lower highs.
Today the VXX spiked up to four-month highs near $28.00 before fading. We are suggesting bearish positions at the opening bell tomorrow. The market volatility is probably not done yet so we are not listing a stop loss yet.
Closed 3/17/16: Short VXX @ $21.82, exit $19.50, +$2.32 gain.
Second Position 9/2/15:
Closed 3/17/16: Short VXX @ $29.01, exit $19.50, +$9.51 gain.
02/27/16 adjust exit target to $19.50
11/07/15 adjust exit target to $16.65
11/02/15 adjust exit target to $16.50
10/19/15 add an exit target at $16.25
10/15/15 planned exit for the October puts
10/14/15 if you own the options, prepare to exit tomorrow at the close
09/02/15 2nd position begins. VXX gapped down at $29.01
09/01/15 Double down on this trade with the VXX's spike to 6-month highs
08/25/15 trade begins. VXX gaps down at $21.82
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