Index and Earnings Options Play List for 10/20/2017 Index and Earnings Options Play List for 10/20/2017

Market Recovers Early Losses

8:00am (EST)

The market closed mixed on Thursday after battling back from early morning losses of roughly 1%. The Dow and S&P 500 extended their winning streaks to five-straight after gaining positive territory ahead of the closing bell. The Russell 2000 also rebounded off its morning low to trade into positive territory before finishing slightly lower while holding the 1,500 level. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq was the weakest link, after falling 0.3%, but was able to hold the 6,600 level.

The Dow gained 5 points, or 0.02%, to end at 23,162. The blue-chips stumbled to a low of 23,052 with upper support at 23,000-22,800 holding. The rebound to 23,167 fell shy of the all-time high by 4 points and resistance at 23,250.

The S&P 500 added nearly a point, or 0.03%, to close at 2,562. The index tested to a low of 2,547 to breach upper support at 2,550-2,540. Lower resistance at 2,560-2,575 held into the closing bell with the S&P closing a quarter-point off its high.

The Nasdaq fell 19 points, or 0.3%, to settle at 6,605. Tech traded in negative territory throughout the session while tapping a low of 6,558. Lower support at 6,600-6,575 was breached with a close below 6,550 being a bearish development. Resistance remains at 6,625-6,650.

The Russell 2000 slipped 3 points, or 0.2%, to finish at 1,502. The small-caps kissed a low of 1,491 with lower support at 1,500-1,490 holding. Resistance at 1,515-1,525 held on the push to 1,507 intraday.

The S&P 500 Volatility Index ($VIX, 10.07, down 0.24) soared past upper resistance at 10.50-11.50 following the morning high of 11.72. Support at 9.75-9.50 held on the late day fade to 9.99.

Athenahealth (ATHN), Del Taco Restaurants (TACO), E*Trade Financial (ETFC), Intuitive Surgical (ISRG), PayPal (PYPL), Sketchers (SKX), WD-40 (WDFC) reported earnings after Thursday's close.

Baker Hughes (BHGE), Cleveland-Cliffs (CLF), General Electric (GE), Honeywell International (HON), Procter & Gamble (PG), Schlumberger (SLB), Sun Trust Banks (STI) are announcing numbers this morning.


Our top triple-digit winning option recommendations for 2017:

+900% Lumber Liquidators August 27.50 calls (August 2017)
+300% JDcom June 37 calls (May 2017)
+300% Kate Spade March 20 calls (March 2017)
+300% Imax May 30 puts (May 2017)
+286% Fastenal May 49 puts (April 2017)
+246% Dick's Sporting Goods June 45 puts (May 2017)
+244% Starbucks February 57.50 puts (February 2017)
+200% GameStop April 22.50 puts (March 2017)
+173% Alibaba February 100 calls (January 2017)
+169% Amicus Therapeutics August 12 calls (July 2017)
+110% Amicus Therapeutics July 8 calls (June 2017)
+100% Cisco Systems October 32 calls (September 2017)
+100% Bank of America July 23 calls (June 2017)
+100% PowerShares QQQ ETF February 122 calls (January 2017)
+100% Array BioPharma January 8 calls (January 2017)


Here is a quick peak at another triple-digit winner and a trade currently in play!

Limelight Networks (LLNW, $4.71, up $0.23)

LLNW December 4 calls (LLNW171215C00004000, $0.85, up $0.25)

Profiled Price: $0.37 (9/22/2017)
Exit: $1.20 (Limit Order on HALF)
Profit: 125%
Stop: 50 cents (Stop Limit)

Action: Set an initial Stop Limit at 50 cents to start protecting profits.

Shares traded to a 52-week of $4.98 yesterday with the options testing a high of $1.02. Fresh resistance is at $4.75-$5. Rising support is at $4.40-$4.35.

The company reported a profit of $0.02, versus expectations for a flat quarter. Revenue came in at $46.1 million, topping forecasts of $43.1 million. Limelight Networks also raised full year profit and revenue guidance. Two analysts upped their price targets from $4 and $5.50 to $6.


Get Ready for 3Q Earnings Season!

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Watch List – Energy Equipment & Services

Energy Equipment & Services

This industry reacts to a lot of the same factors as the Oil, Gas, and Consumable Fuels Industry (see the next section below for details), such as the price of oil and natural gas. When the price of oil/natural gas rises or falls, it will usually cause the stocks in this sector to follow that direction. However, there are some other key factors to take into account. The number of rigs available and operating is one. Ideally, you would like to find a company that has all of its rigs being used for drilling, or, better yet, a backlog of orders and a growing rig count. Put simply, the more rigs the company has being used, the more money they are making.

The second thing to look for is the day rates these rigs are getting while in use. Most companies will tell you the day rates in press releases or conference calls, which can be found through a simple Google search. Declining day rates indicates a possible oversupply of rigs, since companies would rather have the rig working for less money than have it sit idle. Obviously, rising rates indicates a rig shortage, which will cause the companies in this sector to grow in earnings simply because they are charging more for the rigs they have.

It is also a good idea to look for news about large contracts, either those being awarded to these companies or those that are taken away, as those factors can move a company’s stock price significantly. There is a lot of merger activity in this space, so any rumors may present opportunities for option plays. Focus on the small to mid-size players if you are going to speculate on a takeover. The real large players will typically go after those types of companies rather than making big acquisitions.

  • Flowserve (FLS) -- The company makes valves, pumps, etc.; a high-beta name.
  • Core Laboratories (CLB) -- This high-flier helps companies extract more oil/gas from existing wells.
  • Diamond Offshore (DO) -- The company has the largest deep-water rig fleet, so the stock has lagged its land-based peers, but that may be changing.
  • Transocean (RIG) -- Gulf drilling has started to climb again, and the company is past the Gulf Oil Spill.
  • Nabors Industries (NBR) -- Look no further than this land-drilling behemoth to see the effects of shale drilling. It is one of the key stocks in the S&P and up over 24.79% in 2016.
  • Noble Corp. (NE) -- This contract driller is getting ready to split into basically a deep water company and a shallow water company to unlock the value of the shallow assets.
  • Schlumberger (SLB) -- It does way more than just drill and is more of a soup-to-nuts company that is widely considered the best in the oil patch.
  • Halliburton (HAL) -- Sort of a mini-SLB without the great reputation.


Dow/ S&P 500 Fall Below 50-day MA’s

Dow/ S&P 500 Fall Below 50-day MA's

8:00am (EST)

The selling pressure continued on Wednesday ahead of this morning's earnings parade from the financial sector along with heightened geopolitical concerns. The bears failed to make fresh lows for the week but are in control to get the weekly win.

The Dow declined 59 points, or 0.3%, to finish at 20,591. The blue-chips traded in negative territory throughout the session with the low reaching 20,553. Lower support at 20,600-20,550 held once again and for the 12th-straight close. Resistance remains at 20,750-20,800.

The S&P 500 fell 8 points, or 0.4%, to close just below 2,345. The index failed positive territory for the second-straight day with the bottom reaching 2,341. Support at 2,350-2,340 was split with a close below 2,335 a bearish development. Resistance is at 2,370-2,375 with a recovery of 2,360 today a possibly slightly bullish sign for next week.

The Nasdaq sank 30 points, or 0.5%, to settle at 5,836. Tech tested a high of 5,868 shortly after the open but the 2-point pop failed lower resistance at 5,875-5,900. The drop below 5,850 and low of 5,830 held upper support 5,825-5,800. A close below the latter would be a nasty development. The index is currently holding its 50-day moving average.

The Russell 2000 tanked 17 points, or 1.3%, to end at 1,359. The small-caps also held negative court throughout Thursday's action with the bottom tapping 1,358. Upper support at 1,360-1,350 nearly held with wiggle room to 1,345 on continued weakness. A close below the latter gets 1,325-1,320 in play. Resistance is at 1,375-1,380.

The S&P 500 Volatility Index ($VIX, 15.77, up 0.70) stayed elevated for much of the session with the bears pushing a high of 16.16. Resistance is at 17-17.50 with risk to 20 if this area is breeched. Rising support is at 14-13.50.

The last trading day ahead of Good Friday is typically bullish as the Nasdaq has closed higher for 16-straight sessions ahead of Easter. However, a strong move will be needed to regain Wall Street's confidence with the Dow and S&P 500 now below their 50-day moving averages. I often talk about stretch so let's see how the session goes.