Pre-Market Update for 2/13/2020

Bulls Stay Strong Following Another Round of Record Highs

8:00am (EST)

The market traded to new record highs on Wednesday amid a global rally that is being driven by the easing in worries about the coronavirus. While the rate of transmission and new infection in China may be slowing, companies are still sorting through how their earnings results will be impacted.

The Dow rallied 0.9%, after trading to a record high of 29,568 ahead of the closing bell. Near-term and lower resistance at 29,400-29,600 was cleared and held with a close above the latter keeping upside potential towards 29,800-30,000 in play.

The Nasdaq was also up 0.9% with the late day all-time high reaching 9,728. Current and lower resistance at 9,700-9,750 was cleared and held with a close above the latter signaling additional strength towards 9,800-9,850.

The Russell 2000 was higher by 0.7% following the afternoon run to 1,690. Key resistance at 1,685 was cleared and held with continued closes above this level keeping the 1,700 level in focus.

The S&P 500 also rose 0.7% after testing an all-time high of 3,381. Current and lower resistance at 3,375-3,400 was cleared and held with upside potential towards 3,425-3,450 on a close above the latter.

Energy and Communication Services led sector strength after jumping 1.4% and 1.3%, respectively, while Technology soared 1%. There were no sector laggards.

In economic news, MBA Mortgage Applications increased 1.1% last week following a 5% jump in the prior week, and a 7.2% bounce in the week before that. Applications are up 95.5% year-over-year. All of the strength was in the refinancing index which rallied 5% after surging 15.3% previously, and is up 206.5% year-over-year. The purchase index declined -5.8% after dropping -9.5% in the prior week, and is at a 15.9% year-over-year pace. The 30-year fixed rate was little changed at 3.72%, and remains well below the year-ago figure of 4.65%. The 5-year ARM dipped to 3.21% from 3.23% previously.

Fed Chairman Jay Powell said the traditional policy tool is interest rates but in this environment, low rates aren’t really a choice anymore, and so the Fed likely will have to turn to forward guidance and large scale asset purchases again. He stressed the Fed will use those tools aggressively if there is a downturn and it’s important that fiscal policy be in position to support the economy. He said there are a bunch of factors behind the weakness in business spending, including trade policy as well as just the slowing in global growth, and lower oil prices. Uncertainty around trade has declined, and that may mean an upside to business investment.

Powell was asked about the Fed’s maximum employment mandate and said the Fed’s tools are not focused on distributional effects, but rather aggregate effects. He said it is Congress who has the tools for the former but said the Fed’s framework review is aimed toward ensuring the Fed has the tools to meet its dual mandate.

Powell said changes in the energy markets with the U.S. shale revolution leave us in a better place. He added energy price changes don’t have the sustained impacts on inflation anymore as the supply responses from the U.S. are rapid. Additionally, there is less of a damping effect on the economy as more people are put to work. He responded to a question on labor force participation, by saying it has been greatly surprised to the upside and he believes there is more upside with more workers entering the workforce in this tight labor market.

Powell noted that most of the inflow from the labor force has come from people outside of the labor market, and indicated it’s a good dynamic. He added the Fed wants to do whatever it can to continue to foster this trend. He also said a surprise to the Fed has been the lack of upside pressure on real unit labor costs in what should be a tight labor market.

Philly Fed Patrick Harker said the economy is in good shape and that policy should be on hold. He expects trend-like growth around 2%, and said that view is widely shared, and added inflation will eventually hit the Fed’s target. He cautioned it’s too early to say what impact the spread of the coronavirus will have on the global economy, but the negative effects on the Chinese economy and international travel are something to watch.

The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) was down for the 2nd-straight session after trading to a low of $142.99. Prior and upper support is at $143-$142.50 was breached but held. A close below the latter would signal a further backtest towards $142-$141.50.

Current and lowered resistance is at $143.50-$144.


The S&P 500 Volatility Index ($VIX) stayed deflated throughout the session with the late day low reaching 13.73. Fresh and upper support at 14-13.50 was recovered on the close back below the 50-day moving average.

Lower resistance is at 14.50-15 and the 200-day moving average.

RSI is in a downtrend with support at 45-40 and the latter representing the January low. Resistance is at 50.


The Spider Small-Cap 600 ETF (SLY) extended its winning streak to 3-straight sessions following the late day push to $72.50. Current and lower resistance at $72.50-$73 was tapped but held. Continued closes above the latter would signal additional strength towards $73.50-$74.

Current support is at $72-$71.50 and the 50-day moving average. A close below the $71 level would be a bearish development with backtest potential towards $70-$69.50 with the late January low at $69.45.

RSI is in an uptrend with key resistance at 55 and the monthly high. A close above this level would signal additional strength towards 60-65. Support is at 50-45.


The Energy Select Sector Spider (XLE) was up for the 2nd-straight session after trading to an intraday high of $55.35. Near-term resistance at $55.50-$56 was challenged but held. A close above the latter would be a bullish signal with additional hurdles at $56.50-$57.

Key support is at $54.50. A close below this level would be a renewed bearish signal with risk towards $54-$53.50.

RSI is in an uptrend with near-term resistance at 45-50. A close above the latter would signal additional strength towards 55-60. Support is at 40-35. 


I have made adjustments to our BBBY position with the put options now up a whopping 200%. After the close, CSCO topped earnings and revenue estimates. Shares were just above $50 in after-hours following the news.

Momentum Options Play List

Closed Momentum Options Trades for 2020: 8-1 (89%). 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.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY, $111.79, down $3.06)

BBBY April 12 puts (BBBY0417P00012000, $1.65, up $1.05)

Entry Price: $0.55 (1/30/2020)

Exit Target: $1.10, raise to $2.25 

Return: 200%

Stop Target: $1.25 (Stop Limit)

Action: Raise the Exit Target from $1.10 to $2.25. Yesterday’s high reached $1.95. Set an initial Stop Limit at $1.25 to lock-in at least a triple-digit win.

Wednesday’s low reached $10.83 with prior and upper support at $11-$10.75 getting breached but holding. Lowered resistance is at $12-$12.25.


Cisco Systems (CSCO, $49.93, up $0.80)

CSCO March 52.50 calls (CSCO200320C00052500, $0.80, up $0.25)

Entry Price: $0.55 (1/22/2020)

Exit Target: $1.10

Return: 47%

Stop Target: 60 cents (Stop Limit)

Action: Set a Stop Limit at 60 cents to protect profits.

Shares tested a high of $50.28 with lower resistance at $50-$50.25 getting cleared but holding. Rising support is at $49.75-$49.50 and the 200-day moving average.


Dropbox (DBX, $18.57, down $0.03)

DBX April 20 calls (DBX200417C00020000, $0.90, flat)

Entry Price: $0.90 (1/6/2020)

Exit Target: $1.80

Return: 0%

Stop Target: None

Action: Upper support at $18.50-$18.25 was tripped but held on the backtest to $18.30. Resistance remains at $18.75-$19. Earnings are scheduled to be announced next Thursday.