MomentumOptions.com Pre-Market Update for 9/9/2019

Bulls Get 2nd-Straight Weekly Win

8:00am (EST)

The market settled mixed on Friday as a somewhat lackluster monthly jobs report solidified bets that the Federal Reserve will cut rates again when it meets later this month. The mixed and lackluster session closed out another strong week for the market with the major indexes recovering much of the losses from August following the 2nd-straight week of gains.

The Dow added 0.3% to extend its winning streak to 3-straight sessions following the midday run to 26,860. Near-term and lower resistance at 26,800-27,000 was cleared but held by a few points with a move above the latter getting 27,250-27,500 and the all-time high at 27,398 back in focus.

The S&P 500 was also up for the 3rd-straight session after advancing 0.1% while testing an intraday peak of 2,985 for the 2nd-straight day. Near-term and lower resistance at 3,000-3,025 easily held with July’s all-time high at 3,027.

The Nasdaq dipped 0.2% despite tapping an intraday high of 8,134 while holding 8,100 and its the 50-day moving average into the close. Lower resistance at 8,150-8,200 was challenged but held with upside potential towards 8,250-8,300 and the all-time high at 8,339 on a move above the latter.

The Russell 2000 slipped 0.1% after trading within a 13-point range while reaching a midday peak 1,517 and holding the 1,500 level afterwards. Lower resistance at 1,515-1,530 and the 200-day moving average was cleared but held for the 2nd-straight session with a close above the latter and the 50-day moving average getting 1,545-1,560 in play.

For the week, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose 1.8%. The Dow rallied 1.5% and the Russell 2000 gained 0.6%.

Energy and Materials led sector strength after climbing 0.5% and 0.4%, respectively. Utilities and Communication Services were lower by 0.4% and 0.2% to lead sector weakness.

The best performing sectors for the week were Energy (2.7%) followed by Technology (2.5%) and Communication Services (2.4%). There were no sector laggards.

In economic news, Nonfarm payrolls increased 130,000 in August, versus expectations for a print of 150,000. July was revised to a gain of 159,000 and June at to 178,000 for a net -20,000 two-month revision with the 3-month average at 156,000. The unemployment rate was steady at 3.7% for a third straight month, matching forecasts. Average hourly earnings ticked up to 0.4% from 0.3%, but slowed slightly to 3.23% year-over-year from 3.28%. The workweek edged up to 34.4 after slipping to 34.3 in July. The labor force surged another 571,000 following July’s 370,000 gain, with household employment up 590,000 versus the prior 283,000 increase. The labor force participation rate rose to 63.2% from 63%. Private payrolls increased 96,000 with the goods producing sector adding 12,000. Manufacturing employment inched up 3,000 and construction employment climbed 14,000. Private service sector jobs were up 84,000 and government added 34,000 jobs.

Quarterly Services Survey showed a 5.3% Q2 year-over-year gain in the aggregate selected services measure. For the larger components, there was a 7% year-over-year jump in the finance and insurance component, and a 5.1% rise for the healthcare and social assistance component.

Baker-Hughes reported the U.S. rig count was down 6 rigs to 898, with oil rigs declining 4 to 738, gas rigs off 2 to 160, and miscellaneous rigs unchanged at 0. The U.S. Rig Count is down 150 rigs from last year’s count of 1,048, with oil rigs down 122, gas rigs lower by 26, and miscellaneous rigs declining 2 to 0. The U.S. Offshore Rig Count was unchanged at 28 and is up 9 rigs year-over-year.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy has continued to perform well, reiterating once again it’s in a good place. The outlook is a favorable one, he added but also said there are significant risks, including slowing in global growth, trade policy uncertainties that are weighing on business decisions, and persistently low inflation. He sees growth around 2%-2.5%, driven by the consumer. 

Powell said the labor market remains strong, while inflation is moving back up. He repeated the Fed will continue to act as appropriate to maintain the expansion and that the Fed is not forecasting or expecting a U.S. recession, nor a global downturn, and that the U.S. consumer is in good shape. There are these risks, however, which he said the Fed is monitoring very carefully and is conducting policy in a way to address the noted risks. 

Powell also repeated that the Fed is very committed to its symmetric 2% inflation goal in order to keep inflation from moving lower and becoming embedded in expectations. He added a number of factors have contributed to a low neutral rate, including demand for safe assets with an aging population. He also said given low inflation, interest rates will remain low but that it is leaving very little room to cut rates further, which mandated implementing other tools. 

In his closing comments to questions, Powell said political factors play absolutely no role in decision making and the Fed is not actively considering digital currencies.

The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) rebounded from the prior session pullback to close higher for the 3rd time in 4 sessions after reaching an intraday peak of $146.03. Near-term and lower resistance at $146-$146.50 was cleared but held. A move above $147.50 would be a renewed bullish signal with the all-time high at $148.90.

Current support is at $145-$144.50. A close below the latter would be a slightly bearish development with risk towards $142.50-$142.

RSI is trying to hold support at 60 with a move below the latter opening up risk towards 55-50 and the latter representing mid-July lows. Resistance is at 65-70.

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The S&P 500 Volatility Index ($VIX) traded in the red throughout the session while testing a late day low of 14.91. Near-term and lower support at 15.50-15 was breached but held on the close back below the 50-day moving average. This represented the 1st time since late July the VIX has closed at or below the 15 level and remains a bullish signal for the market with fresh downside targets at 14-13.50.

Lowered resistance is at 16-16.50 with a close above 17-17.50 and the 200-day moving average signaling caution.

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The Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) had its 2-session winning streak snapped following the intraday pullback to $191.17. Current and upper support at $191.50-$191 was breached but held. A move below the latter would be an slightly bearish signal for a further backtest towards $189.50-$189 and the 50-day moving average.

Near-term resistance is at $192-$192.50. A close above the latter would be a bullish signal for a retest towards $194.50-$195 with the July all-time high at $195.55.

RSI is flatlining with resistance at 60. A close above this level would signal additional strength towards 65-70 with the latter representing the July high. Current support is at 55-50. A move below the latter would signal a retest towards 45-40.

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The Dow Jones Transportation Average ($TRAN) settled lower despite testing an intraday high of 10,426. Near-term and early August resistance at 10,400 was tripped but held. Continued closes above this level would be a bullish signal for continued strength towards 10,500-10,600.

Current support is at 10,300-10,200 and the 50/200-day moving averages. A close below the latter would signal a near-term top with downside risk towards 10,100-10,000.

RSI is back in a slight downtrend with support at 50. A close below this level would signal additional weakness towards 45-40. Resistance is at 55-60.

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The percentage of Nasdaq 100 stocks trading above the 50-day moving average settled at 57.28% on Friday, up 1.95%, with the session high reaching 59.22%. Near-term and lower resistance at 57.5%-60% was cleared but held. A close above the latter would be an ongoing bullish signal for strength towards 62.5%-65%. Current support is at 55%-52.5%. A close below the 50% level would be a slight bearish development with weakness towards 47.5%-45%.

The percentage of S&P 500 stocks trading above the 200-day moving average closed at 64.55%, up 1.58%, with the session peak reaching 65.34%. Lower resistance at 65%-67.5% was breached but held. A close above the latter would signal additional strength towards 62.5%-65% and mid-June hurdles. Support is at 62.5%-60%. A move below the latter would signal additional weakness towards 57.5%-55% and prior levels from earlier this month.

The current market outlook remains bullish and the indexes have shown major signs of stabilizing following a whipsaw August. The rebound in the Transports and Financials have been a very bullish signal the past week and the major indexes looked poised to tap fresh all-time highs in the coming weeks.

We only have 2 trades that expire in September and we will likely play both down to the wire. I have raised the Stop Limit on 2 other current trades to protect profits and to avoid a loss. This means the portfolio is in great shape to add new trades this week. I spent the weekend fine tuning my Watch List and have 3-5 solid plays we could start getting into as early as today.

Please read all trade instructions carefully and stay locked-and-loaded throughout the session in case I take action.

Momentum Options Play List

Closed Momentum Options Trades for 2019: 29-11 (73%). All trades are dated and time stamped for verification. New subscribers can look at the past history to see how the trades have played out or to research our Track Records. Do not risk more than 5% of your trading account on any one trade but do try to take all of the trades.

Please remember, all “Exit Targets” and “Stop Targets” are targets. You should not have any “Stops” entered to close any trades or “Limit Orders” in your brokerage account unless I list one. I will send out a “Profit Alert” or “New Trade” if I want you to close a position or if a new trade comes out. Otherwise, follow instructions at all times in the Daily‬ updates.

AT&T (T, $36.25, up $0.36)

T October 36 calls (T191018C00036000, $0.80, up $0.10)

Entry Price: $0.65 (8/22/2019)

Exit Target: $1.30

Return: 23%

Stop Target: 65 cents (Stop Limit)

Action: Set an initial Stop Limit at 65 cents to avoid a loss.

Friday’s fresh 52-week peak reached $36.37 with new and lower resistance at $36.25-$36.50 holding. Rising support is at $36-$35.75. 

There was heavy buying in the T October 37 calls on Friday with over 5,000 contracts added. They are currently at 35 cents and I could add them this week as a piggy-back trade. Shares are on a roll but RSI is signaling slightly overbought levels as it approaches the 70 level.

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Pfizer (PFE, $36.50, up $0.16)

PFE December 37 calls (PFE191220C00037000, $1.35, up $0.05)

Entry Price: $0.85 (8/16/2019)

Exit Target: $1.70

Return: 59%

Stop Target: $1.00, raise to $1.15 (Stop Limit)

Action: Raise the Stop Limit from $1.00 to $1.15 to further protect profits.

Lower resistance at $36.50-$36.75 was recovered with shares tapping a Friday high of $36.56. Rising support is at $36.25-$36.

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MGM Resorts International (MGM, $28.30, up $0.32)

MGM October 30 calls (MGM191018C00030000, $0.40, up $0.05)

Entry Price: $0.95 (8/13/2019)

Exit Target: $1.90

Return: -58%

Stop Target: 10 cents (Stop Limit)

Action: Lower resistance at $28.25-$28.50 was cleared and held following the push to $28.56. Rising support is at $28-$27.75.

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Viavi Solutions (VIAV, $14.11, down $0.06)

VIAV September 15 calls (VIAV190920C00015000, $0.10, flat)

Entry Price: $0.65 (7/15/2019)

Exit Target: $1.30

Return: -85%

Stop Target: None

Action: Upper support at $14-$13.75 and the 50-day moving average held on Friday’s fade to $14.11 and session close. Resistance is at $14.25-$14.50.

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Cypress Semiconductor (CY, $23.15, up $0.06)

CY September 17 calls (CY190920C00017000, $6.05, flat)

Entry Price: $0.75 (5/16/2019)

Exit Target: $6.75 (Limit Order) (closed half at $1.70 on 5/29)

Return: 417%

Stop Target: $5 (Stop Limit)

Action: Continue to hold.

Infineon (IFNNY) will acquire Cypress for $23.85 per share in cash. Cypress expects to continue its quarterly cash dividend payments until the transaction closes and these options have an intrinsic value of $6.85. We will continue to keep the trade open but have set a Stop Limit in place for protection.

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