Trading Notes for Today, December 23rd

Today starts the holiday shortened week and it is set to continue the rally started on Friday. The positive overhang from the FOMC meeting and the GDP revisions for Q3 have investors in a positive frame of mind. The upside remains in play and we continue to look for the opportunities to add based on the short term trading outlook. I am still not confident (belief) in longer term view. I would like to believe the fundamentals are improving at the degree the Fed and analyst have been spouting off lately, but the data still does not verify the chatter. We will discuss this more as we head towards the new year, but for now we will maintain a trading approach to the portfolio and a tight reign on risk. Remember the holidays are here and that will skew trading somewhat over the next two weeks. Be patient and take it one day at a time. If you have specific questions on any posts please forward them directly to

Sectors to Watch:

  1. S&P 500 index held support at 1775 and the bounce on Wednesday put the index back at the previous highs and Friday the index closed at 1819, a new high. The optimism about the Fed is spilling over to stocks and next wee we will watch to see if Santa shows up to rally stocks further. Added to the S&P 500 model.
  2. NASDAQ remains in the uptrend, closed at 4098 and hitting a new high. This has been the stronger of the major indexes, but it did close with a doji candle Thursday, but the rally returned from Wednesday to close the week. Technology and large cap stocks have been the leaders and both are in position to move higher.
  3. Small Caps (IWM) the Russell 2000 index hit resistance at the 1133 level and tested on Thursday. Still in position to continue the move higher with the uptrend remaining in play. There was an opportunity to add to the IWM position on Wednesday, but we had not posted the trade. A follow through of the test and confirmation of a move above the 1133 level hit on Friday. Reasserting leadership in the small caps.
  4. Financials (XLF) are back at the top of the trading range and resistance. Looking for a move through the previous high to continue the uptrend. The sector didn’t participate on Friday and remains challenged by the regulations and lawsuits. The regional banks (KRE) and brokers (IAI) were leading the sector and the insurance stocks (KIE) are making a move as well.  Patience with the move going forward.
  5. Energy (XLE) bounced off support of $84.80 and moved through the buy point at $86.15. The sector has been mixed of late and a test of the move and confirmation move higher would be a good sign for energy. The refiners remain the strongest sub-sector currently.
  6. Technology (XLK) tested the 30 DMA and bounced back to the previous high. A move above the $34.95 level would be a positive and set up a ‘J’- hook pattern. The upside is the opportunity and a reversal lower would negate the opportunity. The semiconductor sector (SOXX) is leading the upside and followed through on the move above the top end of the trading range.
  7. This has been a week fixated on the Fed and what actions they would take towards stimulus.The conclusion of the FOMC did provide some clarity near term relative to the Fed actions. The challenge is the next three months to see what the impact of those actions will be and what future action they will take. All of the same worries are in play with the holidays next up for investors to deal with. Sales reports for December will add to the mix going forward. For now Be patient and take what the market gives.

The models are updated and our short term view continues to dominate the process currently. Last week remained focused on the FOMC meeting and the reaction by investors. The news from the Fed took some of the fear out and restored some confidence in the uptrend. I am not changing my focus from the events as they unfold and the opportunities they give as a result. The pattern list is where we are posting most trades short term as a result of the current market environment. With the holiday shortening the trading week and the lack of volume the week between Christmas and New Years we will keep our focus on what lies in front of us in the new year and not just the next two weeks. Manage the risk on trades more aggressively and monitor your longer term holdings with trailing stops to account for any rise in volatility.

  1. INFN – Entry $9.50. Consolidation breakout. Sector is breaking higher.
  2. ZQK – Downtrend (micro) break upside. Retail bouncing back. Entry $8.75.
  3. SKUL – Reversal follow through resistance. Entry $6.12. Sector bouncing back.
  4. Follow up on previous trades or posts:
  5. KEG – support reversal. Entry $7.68. Energy stocks bounced, based still building? Watch and let this develop. Stop $7.50.
  6. ITB – Ascending Triangle breakout. Entry 23.60. Trade on the break higher. Patience with entry. Stop $23.15
  7. FFIV – Trading Range. Entry 85.50. Looking for momentum to pick up in technology sector. Stop $85.
  8. XLE – Trading Range bounce. Entry $86.15. Watch for test and then entry. Early test and entry at $86.30. Stop $86.
  9. XLK – Test of low and bounce. Entry $34.75. Watch for test and then entry. Small early test for the market. Stop $34.15.
  10. GLW – Trading range. Entry $17.28. Upside if momentum returns to technology. Stop $16.90
  11. VMW – Flag. Entry $87.45. Looking for continuation of the upside. Stop $85.15
  12. STX – Entry $50.25. Continuation within the range. Setting up to continue higher. Got the move. Stop $51
  13. BRCM – Breakout from Trading Range. Entry$28.20 on test of the move. Watch for the test and follow through. Be patient. Got the entry on the breakout test Thursday. Stop $27.50.
  14. FB – Trend reversal test. Entry $48.70. Follow through on the reversal and move above $47.40. Stop $53.70. Nice move higher on trade of being added to the S&P 500 index.
  15. HBAN – Breakout from trading range. Entry $9.13. Not much test, but steady trading. If no test, max entry is 9.20. Be patient with the upside as this the stock has a pattern of breaking higher, run and then consolidate. Stop $9.15.
  16. PSX – 65.70 entry. Flag breakout. Consolidation after break higher. Refiners are leading in energy sector. Lower oil prices help margins, etc. Patience and expect volatility. Stop $72.50. Nice break higher as gasoline prices start to rise. Allow for some volatility with price moving.

NOTE: The pattern trades above are setups that I see for a potential swing trade or short term trade opportunities. Some will fail to follow through on the pattern, some will break and trade according to the pattern. The key is to use discipline in the trades. Entry, Exit and Target on all trades is vital. I am posting these as opportunities that I see when doing scans daily. You can use them as a teaching tool or you can trade them, either way please use discipline. The best way to treat these as a learning tool is to assume a $100,000 portfolio and each positions receives a 5% allocation. If we state to take a 1/2 position as an example you would only allocate 2.5% to that position. I would use a downside risk of $500 per trade as a maximum loss. That will help  you learn position sizing and risk management. All investing comes with risk. Our job as investors is to manage the risk. Keep your focus and discipline in place.

Facebook (FB) Update:

  • 11/25 – Still sitting on support and we remain in the same strategy as above. We will decide in the next two weeks how to treat our options based on the movement. Patience for now.
  • 11/27 – With the break of support on Monday we will look to exercise our options on the stock we currently hold in December and that will give us zero shares and a nice profit in the position. The initial break lower on Tuesday was interesting, but some buying followed to push back above the support at$45.50. Micro downtrend still in play without some buying to reverse.
  • 12/2 – Got a reversal and looking to exit the put contracts and hold the stock. Sold @ $6 on stop.
  • 12/5 – Watching to see how the stock follows through on the rumor mill of being added to the S&P 500 index. Expect a test or pullback after the news settles. I am looking at the put contracts out to the March/April timeline  again if we don’t hold support.
  • 12/9 – Mixed trading day on Friday that ended lower. The reversal is being driven by the sector and the S&P 500 addition. Looking for a potential move back to the previous high.  Added position (See Above Pattern Trades) and we will manage it accordingly. This is a trade position only.
  • 12/13 – nice follow through on upside… watch as this is news drive move. Raise your stops accordingly. See Above in the pattern trades for details. STOP @ $52.13.
  • 12/18 – Raise stop %53.70 on trade taken off the low.