Editors Note:

The Dow posted nearly a 300-point reversal for the fourth time in the last couple of weeks. The Dow spiked to a +262 point gain at the open and then faded to a -25 point loss shortly before the close. A minor burst of late day buying succeeded in flipping the direction back to a gain. However, I suspect investors are starting to become anxious about the increasing volatility. The Nasdaq closed -43 points below its intraday high and barely posted a gain. The Russell 2000 closed with an 8-point loss.

If it were not for the 114 point contribution by Boeing the Dow would have been down nearly 50 points or more. Since Boeing kept the Dow positive most of the day, that kept the ETFs from being sold. Thursday will be a different day without the Boeing boost.

Facebook fell -$10 after the close despite beating earnings. Users spent 50 million hours less on the site as a result of FB changes to their news feed. That means far fewer ads served in Q1.

After the volatility over the last several days we are down to only three positions. I will be adding new plays tonight but I would caution about jumping in if the market opens lower on Thursday.

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

CNI - Canadian National
The long put position was stopped at $80.25.

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

Credit spreads and naked puts = OptionWriter

Long term option investments = LEAPS Investor

3-6 month Option Trades = Ultimate Investor

Iron Condors = Couch Potato Trader

Long and short equity trades = Premier Investor

BULLISH Play Updates

DLTR - Dollar Tree - Company Profile


No specific news. Shares fighting resistance and not giving up any ground despite a weak retail sector.

Original Trade Description: January 27th

Dollar Tree, Inc. operates variety retail stores in the United States and Canada. It operates in two segments, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar. The Dollar Tree segment offers merchandise at the fixed price of $1.00. It provides consumable merchandise, including candy and food, and health and beauty care products, as well as everyday consumables, such as household paper and chemicals, and frozen and refrigerated food; various merchandise comprising toys, durable housewares, gifts, stationery, party goods, greeting cards, softlines, and other items; and seasonal goods, which include Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas merchandise. This segment operates under the under the Dollar Tree and Dollar Tree Canada brands, as well as 11 distribution centers in the United States and 2 in Canada, and a store support center in Chesapeake, Virginia. The Family Dollar segment operates general merchandise discount retail stores that offer consumable merchandise, which comprise food, tobacco, health and beauty aids, household chemicals, paper products, hardware and automotive supplies, diapers, batteries, and pet food and supplies; and home products, including housewares, home decor, and giftware, as well as domestics, such as blankets, sheets, and towels. It also provides apparel and accessories merchandise comprising clothing, fashion accessories, and shoes; and seasonal and electronics merchandise, which include Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas merchandise, as well as personal electronics that comprise pre-paid cellular phones and services, stationery and school supplies, and toys. This segment operates under the Family Dollar brand, 11 distribution centers, and a store support center in Matthews, North Carolina. As of January 28, 2017, the company operated 14,334 stores in 48 states and the District of Columbia, and 5 Canadian provinces. Company description from FinViz.com

In late November, DLTR reported earnings of $1.01 that beat estimates for $90 cents and was well above the 70 cents reported in the year ago quarter. Revenue of $5.32 billion beat estimates for $5.28 billion. For the current quarter, they guided for revenue in the range of $6.32-$6.43 billion and analysts were expecting $6.26 billion. Full year earnings guidance was $4.64-$4.73 and $22.2-$22.31 billion. That is up from $4.44-$4.60 in prior guidance. Analysts were expecting $4.69.

Same store sales (SSS) for the system rose 3.3% and beat estimates for $2.4%. Dollar Tree SSS rose 5.0% and Family Dollar sales rose 1.5%. Next earnings Feb 20th.

After earnings, Moffett Nathanson initiated coverage with a buy. Two weeks ago Guggenheim initiated coverage with a buy rating and $125 price target. The Guggenheim buy rating saw the shares spike from $110 to $115 and then traded sideways to down for a week as traders took the unexpected profits.

Dollar Tree is Amazon proof. With everything in the store $1 or less even Amazon cannot sell and ship items that cheap. Since their acquisition of Family Dollar, they now operated 14,334 stores. This is a retail powerhouse and even if the economy weakens, their business will thrive because of the low price point.

Last week Oppenheimer started DLTR with a buy rating and $130 price target. The analyst said the company is going to grow earnings at a double-digit rate on low single-digit comps. They will benefit significantly from the lower taxes and from consumers having more money in their pocket. The acquisition of Family Dollar in 2014 is still being integrated and the company is remodeling all the old stores using "multiple improvements in merchandising and other improvements that will drive up profitability long term" according to the analyst. They currently have about 14,500 stores and management said they can grow to 25,000 stores.

I believe DLTR is going to break out to a new high.

Position 1/29/18:
Long March $120 call @ $3.27, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

FLIR - FLIR Systems - Company Profile


No specific news. Market related decline from the record high close on Friday.

Original Trade Description: January 10th.

FLIR Systems, Inc. develops, designs, manufactures, and markets thermal imaging systems, visible-light imaging systems, locater systems, measurement and diagnostic systems, and threat-detection solutions worldwide. The company operates in six segments: Surveillance, Instruments, Security, OEM and Emerging Markets, Maritime, and Detection. The Surveillance segment provides enhanced imaging and recognition solutions for various military, law enforcement, public safety, and other government customers for the protection of borders, troops, and public welfare. This segment also develops hand-held and weapon-mounted thermal imaging systems for use by consumers. The Instruments segment offer devices that image, measure, and assess thermal energy, gases, electricity, and other environmental elements for industrial, commercial, and scientific applications. The Security segment develops and manufactures cameras and video recording systems for use in commercial, critical infrastructure, and home monitoring applications. The OEM and Emerging Markets segment provides thermal and visible-spectrum imaging camera cores and components that are utilized by third parties to create thermal, industrial, and other types of imaging systems. The segment also develops and manufactures intelligent traffic systems; imaging solutions for the smartphone and mobile devices market; and thermal imaging solutions for commercial-use unmanned aerial systems. The Maritime segment develops and manufactures electronics and imaging instruments for the recreational and commercial maritime market under the FLIR and Raymarine brands. The Detection segment offers sensors, instruments, and integrated platform solutions for the detection, identification, and suppression of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives threats for military force protection, homeland security, first responders, and commercial applications. The company was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Wilsonville, Oregon. Company description from FinViz.com.

The short description is that FLIR makes night vision equipment for the military. They are the primary provider of these high tech night vision systems and they are very expensive. With the military budget being greatly expanded in 2018 and probably 2019, FLIR is going to be getting a lot more contracts for new equipment and for replacement equipment and parts.

For Q3, FLIR reported earnings of 52 cents that beat estimates for 48 cents. Revenue of $464.7 million rose 14.7% and easily beat estimates for $446 million. The surveillance segment revenues rose 7.6%, instruments rose 10.5% and OEM and emerging markets revenues rose 39.1%. Detection systems revenues rose 18.9%. The security segment sa revenues rise 16.5%. The marine segment was the slacker with only a 4.2% increase. Order backlogs rose 10.1% to $709 million.

The company guided for full year earnings of $1.83-$1.88 up from $1.81-$1.91 with revenue of $1.78-$1.83 billion.

Earnings February 14th.

Shares rallied last week to close at a new high at $48.25 and just over two-month resistance at $47.90. They spiked again on Monday when they announced a high-resolution camera kit for self-driving cars. If this breakout continues, it should produce some short covering given the long period of consolidation after the spike from Q3 earnings in October.

I am recommending an inexpensive February ATM option with earnings on the 13th. I intend to hold this position over earnings unless we have profits to protect by that date.

This is also a longer-term position in the LEAPS newsletter.

Position 1/11/118:
Long Feb $50 call @ $1.55, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

BEARISH Play Updates (Alpha by Symbol)

CNI - Canadian National - Company Profile


No specific news. Shares rebounded with the Dow transports and stopped us out.

Original Trade Description: January 25th.

Canadian National Railway Company engages in rail and related transportation business. The company transports cargo, serving exporters, importers, retailers, farmers, and manufacturers. It operates a network of approximately 20,000 route miles of track spans Canada and mid-America connecting the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico. The company serves the cities and ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert (British Columbia), Montreal, Halifax, New Orleans, and Mobile (Alabama), as well as the metropolitan areas of Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Calgary, Chicago, Memphis, Detroit, Duluth (Minnesota)/Superior (Wisconsin), and Jackson (Mississippi) with connections to various points in North America. Canadian National Railway Company was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Montreal, Canada. Company description from FinViz.com.

CN reported Q4 earnings of 94 cents that missed estimates for 98 cents. Revenue of $2.57 billion also missed estimates for $2.61 billion. Earnings rose only 1.1%. Rail freight revenues per carload declined -4%, petroleum and chemicals declined -4%, grain and fertilizer -1% and intermodal volumes declined -5%. Operating income declined -7%. Higher fuel and labor costs were blamed. Free cash flow declined from $777 million to $457 million Canadian. Debt declined slightly to $11.306 billion. They did hike the dividend by 10% to 45.5 cents Canadian payable March 29th to holders on March 8th. They plan to spend $3.2 billion in 2018 on track repair and upgrades and 60 new locomotives and increase that to 200 over the next three years.

Next earnings are April 24th.

Earnings were Jan-23rd and shares began to decline immediately. They have broken support at $78.75. I am recommending we buy an April put option with a wide stop loss.

Position 1/26:
Closed 1/31: Long Apr $75 put @ $1.35, exit .92, -.43 loss.

NTNX - Nutanix Inc - Company Profile


No specific news. Only a minor rebound and closed well off the highs.

Original Trade Description: January 29th.

Nutanix makes infrastructure invisible, elevating IT to focus on the applications and services that power their business. The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS software leverages web-scale engineering and consumer-grade design to natively converge compute, virtualization and storage into a resilient, software-defined solution with rich machine intelligence. The result is predictable performance, cloud-like infrastructure consumption, robust security, and seamless application mobility for a broad range of enterprise applications and services. Company description from FinViz.com.

Expected earnings March 1st.

Nutanix is a good company. They have a great software product. Their challenge is a lot of competition and a rapidly evolving market place. They are faced with educating potential customers about the long-term benefits of the products and then convincing them to lay out a lot of money to change the way they run their server farms.

They are moving into a new layer of software development that will converge all factors of enterprise computing and cloud operations. JP Morgan said that moving to a "new software-oriented model" could "create near-term business disruption" give that it will require operational adjustments for new and existing customers alike. The analyst also warned a recent change to the leadership team might be disruptive as well. Given the recent 4-month rally in NTNX shares, there could be some material impact from implementing the new model.

Shares closed at a two-month low on Monday.

Position 1/30/18:
Long March $30 put @ $2.49, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

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