The Russell rebounded 3.5% but trailed the big cap indexes. The small caps led us lower since May 1st and then lagged on the rebound. This could be the ongoing challenge in the weeks ahead. The small caps are supposed to lead in both directions and their relative weakness suggests the market has not healed. Only a few big caps are leading the charge higher and that is a worrisome sign.
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.
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
MYL - Mylan
The short position was entered at the open on Monday.
FLEX - Flex Inc
The short stock position was stopped at $9.45.
MNK - Mallinckrodt
The long put position was stopped at $9.65.
BULLISH Play Updates
No Current Longs
BEARISH Play Updates
FLEX - Flex Ltd - Company Description
Flex shares rebounded with the market to stop us out of the short stock position.
Original Trade Description: May 25th
Flex Ltd. provides design, engineering, manufacturing, and supply chain services and solutions to original equipment manufacturers worldwide. It operates through High Reliability Solutions, Industrial and Emerging Industries, Communications & Enterprise Compute, and Consumer Technologies Group segments. The company operates Customer Engagement Centers, Innovation and Design Centers, and Centers of Excellence/Competence. It also provides a portfolio of technologies in electrical/electronics, electromechanical, and software; and cross-industry technologies, including human machine interface, audio and video, system in package, miniaturization, IoT platforms, and asset tracking. In addition, the company designs and integrates advanced data center servers, storage and networking equipment, and data center appliances. Further, it provides value-added design and engineering services; and systems assembly and manufacturing services that include enclosures, testing services, and materials procurement and inventory management services. Additionally, the company offers chargers for smartphones and tablets; adapters for notebooks and gaming systems; power supplies for the server, storage, and networking markets; isolated DC/DC converters and non-isolated Point of Load converters for the information and communications technology market; and specialized power module solutions for other markets. It also provides after-market and forward supply chain logistics services; and reverse logistics and repair solutions, including returns management, exchange programs, complex repair, asset recovery, recycling, and e-waste management. The company was formerly known as Flextronics International Ltd. and changed its name to Flex Ltd. in September 2016. Flex Ltd. was founded in 1990 and is based in Singapore. Company description from FinViz.com.
Flex, formerly Flextronics, is struggling. In their recent earnings they reported 27 cents that matched estimates. Revenue declined -2.9% to $6.226 billion and missed estimates for $6.481 billion. They blamed sluggish demand from China, soft demand from networking customers and weakness in semiconductor capital equipment and energy verticals.
Revenue from the consumer technologies group declined -7% due to weakness in core consumer products. Revenues from industrial and emerging industries declined 8% because of weakness in semiconductor capital equipment. Revenue from high reliability solutions declined 4% due to weakness in medical equipment and automotive equipment. Health solutions rose 10% but could not offset the 12% decline in automotive.
They guided for Q2 for earnings of 25-29 cents which exactly bracketed estimates for 27 cents. For the full year they expect $1.20-$1.30 or $1.25 midpoint and analysts were expecting $1.26.
Earnings July 30th.
With the trade war and tariffs on Chinese goods, demand is going to decline even further. Shares have fallen below near term support and could be targeting $7.
Closed 6/4: Short FLEX shares @ $9.30, exit $9.45, -.15 loss.
Optional: Long October $9 put @ 81 cents, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
MNK - Mallinckrodt Plc - Company Description
Despite all the bad news MNK was caught up in the market short squeeze and we were stopped out of a very successful position.
Original Trade Description: May 18th
Mallinckrodt plc, together with its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures, markets, and distributes specialty pharmaceutical products and therapies in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and internationally. It operates in two segments, Specialty Brands, and Specialty Generics and Amitiza. The company markets branded pharmaceutical products for autoimmune and rare diseases in the specialty areas of neurology, rheumatology, nephrology, ophthalmology, and pulmonology; and immunotherapy and neonatal respiratory critical care therapies, as well as analgesics and gastrointestinal products. It offers H.P. Acthar Gel, an injectable drug for various indications, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, infantile spasms, systemic lupus erythematosus, polymyositis, and others; Inomax, a vasodilator to enhance oxygenation and reduce the need for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; Ofirmev, an intravenous formulation of acetaminophen for pain management; and Therakos photopheresis, an immunotherapy treatment platform. The company is also developing Terlipressin for the treatment of hepatorenal syndrome; StrataGraft, which is in Phase III and II clinical development for the treatment of burns; Stannsoporfin, a heme oxygenase inhibitor for the treatment of jaundice; Xenon gas for inhalation; MNK-6105 and MNK-6106, an ammonia scavenger for the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy, a neuropsychiatric syndrome associated with hyperammonemia; VTS-270 that is in Phase III development for Niemann-Pick Type C, a neurodegenerative disease; and CPP-1X/sulindac, which is in Phase III development for Familial Adenomatous Polyposis. It markets its branded products to physicians, pharmacists, pharmacy buyers, hospital procurement departments, ambulatory surgical centers, and specialty pharmacies. It has collaboration with the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The company was founded in 1867 and is based in Staines-Upon-Thames, the United Kingdom. Company description from FinViz.com.
MNK reported earnings of $1.94 that beat estimates for $1.70. Revenue of $790.6 million rose 4.7% and beat estimates for $766.3 million. They raised their full year guidance from $8.10-$8.40 to $8.30-$8.60.
So why are MNK shares falling to new lows? MNK was named in the latest suit by 44 attorney general as one of 12 companies involved in a price fixing scam on generic drugs. They reportedly inflated drug prices by as much as 1,000%. The case claims the alleged illegal activity was "pervasive and industry wide." A press release on Monday tanked the sector.
Not only is MNK under attack by the price fixing suit but they are involved in eight other specific investigations on generic drug pricing and the persistent opioid drug investigation. They are in serious trouble because regulators and attorneys general don't launch investigations unless they are relatively sure there is cause. I would not be surprised to see MNK in the $5 range as these events heat up.
Update 5/26: MNK filed suit against the Dept of Health and Medicare/Medicaid to keep its Acthar Gel in the system. The CMS recently required MNK to change the base date average manufacturer price used to calculate rebates. Without the suit, Acthar Gel would be removed from the system. That accounts for 10% of total sales. Prior guidance was $1 billion in sales for the drug and analysts now expect a $600 million charge for the decision.
Update 5/31: Piper Jaffray analyst David Amsellem downgraded the stock to neutral on Friday morning saying the developments last week had "blown his bull case to smithereens." This downgrade came a day after MNK reiterated its prior announcement of a spinoff of its generic drug business to shareholders.
MNK is under pressure for raising the price of a vial of Acthar from $1,650 in 2007 to $39,000. That progression included price hikes by Questcor before MNK bought the company in 2014. The drug has been profiled as the poster child of what is wrong in the pharma industry. The prior week Medicare/Medicaid took Acthar off the approved list and MNK sued CMMS over the decision.
Closed 6/4: Long July $14 put @ $1.75, exit $4.50, +$2.75 gain.
MYL - Mylan - Company Description
Union pension fund adviser CtW Investment Group urged Mylan shareholders to vote against the company's four director nominees, who are on the boards nominating and governance committee. CtW said these four had operates with a "serious disregard for the rights of Mylan shareholders." Shares are bleeding slowly lower after Tuesday's minor bounce to $18.
Original Trade Description: May 31st
Mylan N.V., together with its subsidiaries, develops, licenses, manufactures, markets, and distributes generic, branded-generic, brand-name, and over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceutical products in North America, Europe, and internationally. It offers active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished dosage forms; and antiretroviral medicines to treat HIV/AIDS. The company also provides prescription products, such as EpiPen Auto-Injector; Perforomist Inhalation Solution; Dymista; Creon; and Influvac, as well as YUPELRI, an inhalation solution for the maintenance treatment of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. In addition, it markets OTC products, including Cold-EEZE, MidNite, Vivarin, Brufen, CB12, and EndWarts. The company offers its products to therapeutic areas, such as cardiovascular, CNS and anesthesia, dermatology, diabetes and metabolism, gastroenterology, immunology, infectious disease, oncology, respiratory and allergy, and women's health. Its customers include retail pharmacies, wholesalers and distributors, payers, and insurers and governments, as well as institutions, such as hospitals. Mylan N.V. has collaboration and license agreements with Pfizer Inc.; Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; TB Alliance; Theravance Biopharma, Inc.; Biocon Ltd.; and Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin Biologics Co. Ltd. The company was founded in 1961 and is headquartered in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Company description from FinViz.com.
Earnings August 6th.
Mylan won the distinction of being one of the five worst performing stocks of 2019. They are being sued by 44 states for collusion and price fixing on generic drugs. This is likely to be the biggest case of its kind ever. Teva and Mylan are two of the major defendants. Analysts believe Teva could be liable for more than $3 billion in damages and Mylan would see fines of $1.1 billion or more. That is more than 10% of Mylan's market cap.
They are already down hard on the news but are likely to go to single digits.
Short MYL shares @ $16.91, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Optional: Long August $15 put @ $.98, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
VXXB - Barclays VIX Futures ETN - ETN Description
Shares back down to 28 and could drop significantly now that the Mexican standoff is over.
It will probably take us weeks to make a new low, but it will happen.
Original Trade Description: Nov 17th.
The investment seeks return linked to the performance of the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index TR. The ETN offers exposure to futures contracts of specified maturities on the VIX index and not direct exposure to the VIX index or its spot level. The index is designed to provide investors with exposure to one or more maturities of futures contracts on the CBOE Volatility Index. Company description from FinViz.com.
The VXXB is a short-term volatility ETN 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 ETN. 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, the prior VXX ETN had done five 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 VXXB and its predecessor the VXX always decline long term.
Unfortunately, put options are expensive with a volatility instrument at this price level. The only recommendation is to short the ETN and forget it. 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 may put a trailing stop loss on it. We will take profits and then look for a bounce to get back in. We could keep this play in the portfolio on a trading basis permanently.
The VXXB will be hard to short. The shares are out there and being traded because the volume on Thursday was 22.1 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.
Short VXXB shares @ $35.33, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.