Expiration Friday: Your Top 10 Most Researched Stocks for February 2015

It’s expiration Friday! Each month, we look at the top 10 stocks that our community has been researching in OptionsPlay Ideas. Some of them were Trade Ideas or DailyPlays earlier in the month, but these are the symbols you’ve been most active with. If you’re holding positions in any of them—or were considering it—then read on. We’ve provided our own analysis and guidance just for you. Have a read, then sign in to see what smartest trade is!

Here are your Top 10 Expiration Friday OptionsPlay Ideas stocks for February 2015:

#10: Twitter Inc. (TWTR)


Twitter had a tumultuous 2014 as the company sought to establish itself alongside FB and GOOG in the ad space. But there’s little evidence it can compete with these giants, whereas LinkedIn (LNKD) has excelled by leaps and bounds. TWTR’s recent price action is more encouraging, as the 1- and 6-month trends turned bullish in early February. In addition, the stock broke above the $44 – $46 resistance levels, which could lead to meaningful moves higher. If you’re going trade this, note the resistance around the $51 – $54 levels. The stock may have a difficult time punching through.


#9: Altria Group (MO)


No matter what regulators throw its way, tobacco is still big business. Altria had a great 2014, with 60% of its revenue still coming from cigarettes. There’s no shortage of challenges for tobacco companies over the next few years, but MO has shown resilience and proven that smokeless tobacco products with higher margins can easily outpace the contracting cigarettes market. The stock posts a very strong Technical Score of 9, and we expect this bullish trend to continue higher into 2015 as guidance from the company looks solid.


#8 Tesla Motors, Inc (TSLA) 


It would seem unwise to bet against Elon Musk, who is already one of the greatest innovators of our time. Tesla Motors will likely succeed in disrupting the auto industry, and if you’re a long term investor with a “Buffett” perspective of investing, then you should be very bullish. But for traders, the fact is that TSLA is not turning a profit and runs entirely on the words of Elon Musk. The stock has been punished and currently posts a very weak Technical Score of 1—a big time underperformer versus the rest of the market. The $190 level is critical to watch, as any significant break below could pound the stock down to 2013 lows of around $120. But if the $190 level can hold, we may see a recovery to the $240 area. This is a very volatile stock. Tread carefully.


#7: Southwest Airlines Co (LUV)


Airlines were among the beneficiaries of plummeting oil prices at the end of 2014. This sector moves in virtual lockstep with oil, but at an inverse correlation: when oil goes down, airline stocks (generally) go up, and vice-versa. LUV has one of the highest 90-day correlations to oil prices in the industry at -85%. If you’re going to trade this stock, keep a close eye on Western Texas Intermediate (WTI).


#6: 3D Systems (DDD)


As a potentially disruptive technology, there’s no question that 3D printing is a thing. The trouble is that it’s not a big thing now, and no one knows when it will be. It certainly didn’t happen in 2014, like many investors had hoped. And with DDD trading at 130x earnings, 2015 doesn’t seem like a good bet either. This stock looks atrocious, and the outlook is even worse. Until the company can provide better guidance on adoption rates and sales, we expect this stock to keep sinking lower.

#5: Gilead Sciences, Inc (GILD)


This biotech darling was one of the most talked about stocks in 2014, mostly on hype surrounding its hepatitis C drug. But when AbbVie’s competing combo therapy was FDA approved, GILD retreated from its highs and settled into a fairly neutral trading range. As a result, GILD is a swing trader’s playground. News will inevitably break the sideways momentum, but until then, expect some whiplash as traders buy the lows and sell the highs in this range.

#4: The Blackstone Group LP (BX)


When it comes to managing alternative assets, few are better than Blackstone, and that reputation is driving the stock to all-time highs. The current bullish trend began in November of last year and shows no signs of retreating. We expect this price action to continue at least into the $40 – $43 levels.

#3: Facebook (FB)


The social media giant’s earnings have risen steadily over the past two years, proving that long term investors were right to bet on its business model. But the market is forward-looking, and guidance for next quarter is already starting to slip. This stock is a neutral performer versus the rest of the market, posting a Technical Score of 5. It has traded in the $72 – $78 range for months, which we expect will continue. But watch out for a break above or below these levels. 


#2: SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY)


For nearly three months, SPY was stuck in the $200 – $207 level. But a slightly better-than-average earnings seasons mixed with the Fed signal that interest rates would remain unchanged sparked a rally. Although we expect the market to grind higher, it won’t be a smooth ride. Binary risks lurk in the future, such as a possible Greece exit from the EU, fighting in Ukraine, and other geopolitical risks. Be advised that this rally over the past two weeks has been on fairly light volume.

#1: Apple (AAPL)


In a word, “astounding.” With a current market cap of around $750 billion, AAPL may become the first company to ever reach $1 trillion. From a trader’s perspective, all signs are pointing up: the stock just hit a 52-week high, it has a solid Technical Score of 10, its 1- and 6-month trends are bullish, they just posted the mother of all earnings reports, and they’re releasing their new Apple Watch in April. Bear in mind, the stock would have to run up to $170 a share to hit that trillion dollar market cap value. Fundamentally speaking, Apple still has to grow earnings substantially to reach there. If you’re a long term investor, this looks like an attractive buy and hold. If you’re a trader, we plead caution going long at this level. The stock has had a great run after breaking through $120, but looks a little overextended. You’re better off waiting for a pullback to get back in.  

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