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The market had a mixed day with limited headlines once again steering the market's ship. Economic data was limited with crude inventories showing a large rise in inventories with a build of over five million barrels versus the one million barrels estimate. The Fed's Beige Book was released showing that economic indicators were on the way up in late 2011 with only housing really being the only sector still in a major rut. Inflation, additionally, is still very low. Yet, a drop in growth in Q4 in Germany and fears over European debt weighed on the market throughout the day.
Moving into tomorrow, we believe the market could be setting up for a big move with a couple days of flat consolidation. Which way will that move be? A lot could be on retail sales, jobless claims, and an important economic meeting in Europe for the European Central Bank. With a lot on the plate, let's look at two buys and sells:
Moving into earnings, two stocks that may be ready to really move are Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI). Google took a nice move down over the past few sessions and is finding great support at the 620 level where it has price channel and 50-day MA support. We like the stock moving into earnings. The company should bump up into earnings as traders and investors do not want to miss the ride up after last quarter's amazing report. More of the same should be on the way. Only snag may be Android's late slowing of market share takeover.
Baker Hughes (BHI) has done relatively nothing since its last report was a disappointment. We believe BHI has limited support moving into its next earnings report. The company also will be under pressure if oil prices falter more. We would like to sell puts on GOOG and buy $640 calls while complementing that with a bear call spread on BHI.
We had another solid day as we were able to close a number of profitable positions. We sold $29 puts on Macy's entered in December for a solid 14% gain. We also were able to buy and sell $38 calls in Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX), one of our top picks for earnings season, for 15% and 36% gains as the stock took off higher again today. Finally, we bought and sold Ultrashort ProShares Oil (NYSEARCA:SCO) intraday for a 1.1% gain in the stock.
We have the following positions. In our Short-Term Equity Portfolio: We are long Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) and short XL Group (NYSE:XL). In our Options Portfolio, we are long Blackstone (NYSE:BX), Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), Google (GOOG), Ultrashort Proshares QQQ (NASDAQ:SQQQ), IBM (NYSE:IBM), and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and we are short United States Oil (NYSEARCA:USO). In our Earnings Portfolio, we are long CarMax (NYSE:KMX), Avis Budget (NASDAQ:CAR), Vertex Pharma (VRTX), Ashland (NYSE:ASH), and Tempur-Pedic (NYSE:TPX). We are short Polycom (NASDAQ:PLCM).
Disclosure: I am long AAPL.
Additional disclosure: We have the following positions. In our Short-Term Equity Portfolio we are long Harley-Davidson (HOG) and short XL Group (XL). In our Options Portfolio, we are long Blackstone (BX), Starbucks (SBUX), Google (GOOG), Ultrashort Proshares QQQ (SQQQ), IBM (IBM), and Apple (AAPL) and we are short United States Oil (USO). In our Earnings Portfolio, we are long CarMax (KMX), Avis Budget (CAR), Vertex Pharma (VRTX), Ashland (ASH), and Tempur-Pedic (TPX). We are short Polycom (PLCM).