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Category : Options

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LinkedIn Drops Minimum Age to 14 in U.S. With ‘University Pages’

Seton Hall University’s LinkedIn page.

LinkedIn is going after the career-minded crowd before they’ve figured out their careers.

The professional social-networking site on Monday announced a new product called University Pages, describing it as a way for high-school students to interact with universities’ administration and alumni. At the same time, LinkedIn on Sept. 12 is dropping the minimum age of the site in the U.S. to 14 from 18. In other countries, kids as young as 13 can create an account.

LinkedIn shares were up nearly 2% in early trading.

LinkedIn launched with 200 universities, including New York University, Villanova, University of Michigan and others, and said that in the coming weeks thousands of other schools will be given access. LinkedIn said that one of its aims is to help students decide where to attend college, and that for the first time it will allow high-school students to create accounts.

We believe University Pages will be especially valuable for students making their first, big decision about where to attend college. Therefore, beginning on September 12, we will be making LinkedIn available to high school students* who can use LinkedIn to explore schools worldwide, greatly expand  their understanding of the careers available, and get a head start on building a network of family and friends to help guide them at every milestone.

LinkedIn also said it wants to help students building out their pre-university resume of activities, honors and test scores, and ultimately help them find internships. It’s like the minor leagues for a future professional LinkedIn member.

A side-by-side look at Seton Hall University (alma mater) and the corporate page of WSJ’s parent Dow Jones shows that the pages share a similar structure and theme: news and features down the left column, social interaction–including alumni with LinkedIn accounts–down the right side.

Focusing more on higher education is a natural extension for LinkedIn, and one that opens up the company to a whole new territory of users–young people. LinkedIn says “smart, ambitious students are already thinking about their futures when they step foot into high school.”

There is certainly potential that the career-driven Rory Gilmores of the world will head over to LinkedIn to carve out a different experience than they have on other social networks like Facebook and Twitter — be it a more civil or professional atmosphere a fresh start, a more focused niche, etc.

For LinkedIn, it’s less about trying to grab a group of savvy social-media kids allegedly growing bored with Facebook, and more about plying that old General Motors concept: Start out the customers young and stay with them through different stages of their lives. A college prospect with a LinkedIn account is likely to become a professional employee with a LinkedIn account a few years later. (Crossing fingers for a good economy.)

As Mike Isaac on All Things Digital points out, though, going after the university crowd is a competitive space. Still, this isn’t just a land grab for teens. The alumni aspect (and all of the competitive juices that flow around that) has the potential to draw in even more members of the working world.

LinkedIn updated its terms of service as part of the decision. You can read more about those changes here.

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Nice Read..Precious Metals And Energy Should Be Safest Havens From War With Syria And Iran

A potential bull market in commodities, precious metals and miners could accelerate higher if Congress gives Obama the approval to attack Syria based on the use of chemical weapons of mass destruction against innocent civilians. Commodities, energy, gold and silver are safe havens that usually rise in value during international conflicts and war. Remember the major breakout in gold after September 11th in 2001 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The ramifications of increased involvement in the Middle East could have a major impact on global trade. The tensions with Russia is increasing as Putin supports Assad.

Just 8 weeks ago in late June, I alerted my readers to a major buy signal in gold (GLD), silver (SLV), junior mining stocks (GDXJ) and energy (XLE). I was absolutely amazed at the investor euphoria in equities at the time and the pessimism in precious metals and commodities and predicted correctly that the concern about War in The Middle East will spark a rally in oil, gold, silver and the miners.

When no one was buying and in fact shorting precious metals and energy, I was one of the only writers who said at the time, “This instability in the Middle East and around the world means investors should look for assets that maintain value during chaotic times. Precious metals and energy could be one of the safest areas to hedge against rising Middle East turmoil.” Now 8 weeks later gold has rallied $200, silver has gone up more than $6 and oil (DBO) is about to break through multi-year highs and could move to $150 a barrel. All over the headlines, investors are scrambling for safe havens as the U.S. prepares to invade Syria. Don’t forget Iran which may be advancing quickly towards having a nuclear weapon. We should remember that Assad is a proxy for Iran.

The interest in safe havens particularly gold, silver and the miners are reaching short term overbought levels as investors flee to safety. In the middle of the summer I wrote, “Do not be surprised to see gold and silver which are down over the past two years make a “V” shaped reversal shaking out all those who sold during this correction. Although I don’t want chaos to happen, many savvy investors believe this possibility is growing, especially with oil now breaking $100. I believe now may be the best time to protect oneself with precious metals, energy and really cheap junior mining stocks.”

Now eight weeks later, all the talking heads who were saying to short gold two months ago are scrambling back in. The U.S. may launch an attack as Syria’s Assad is now using chemical weapons. An attack on Syria could accelerate the move in gold, silver and energy, which may continue to rally just based on inflationary concerns alone.

Short covering combined with new value investors looking to hedge with this sector has caused an explosive move. Some of the technical indicators are short-term overbought so be prepared to use consolidations as buying opportunities. Housing numbers and economic indicators look weak and I expect the precious metals to surprise the market which may incorrectly predict tapering from QE by the Fed in September. We may see a consolidation for a couple of weeks in precious metals and energy after rallying impressively before Labor Day, as investors wait for the Fed in the middle of September.

Look for a consolidation in precious metals as a potential buying opportunity. Precious metals and the miners (GDX) may rally after this meeting as the market realizes the Fed may not be so motivated to start tapering in September and as the Middle East continues to flare up with conflict.

(click to enlarge)

Technically, gold is short-term overbought and reaching resistance at $1425. A short-term pullback to the 20-day ($1353) or 50-day (1310) which are now both rising and making a bullish crossover for the first time in many months, may be healthy and provide a secondary buy-point.

(click to enlarge)

The Gold and Silver Index ($XAU) has rallied close to 30 points since June and is entitled to a breather. Don’t panic if the $XAU pulls back to the 50-day around 97. The 20-day has made a bullish golden crossover with the 50-day which is also beginning to slope higher. This is very bullish and could mean a rally to the 200-day at $126 after breaking resistance at $115. The XAU is forming a bullish ascending triangle pattern which could predict a potential breakout and long-term bullish reversal.

(click to enlarge)

Silver is experiencing an explosive move of over $6 since the low in late June and is overbought, so long-term investors should look to add on healthy pullbacks to the 20-day ($22.16) or 50-day (20.63). I believe the major two-year downtrend was broken this past month in early August, and possibly after a healthy pullback, silver could rally past the 200-day at ($26.26). Investors should also consider the silver miners (SIL) which are performing nicely. Silver is outperforming other commodities over this past three-month rally. This may be a signal that we could once again see silver make a powerful move similar to 2010 when silver ran from $18 to around $50.

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Dismal Jobs Report Sends Gold and Silver Higher


On Friday, gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for December — the most active contract — increased $13.50 to close at $1,386.50 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures jumped 64 cents to finish at $23.89.
Both precious metals finished the week on a strong note, as the latest reading on jobs kept the market guessing about the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing programs. The U.S. economy added fewer jobs than economists expected, and the unemployment rate ticked lower, largely as the result of job hunters dropping out of the labor force. The share of working-age Americans who were employed or looking for work fell to 63.2 percent last month, its lowest level since 1978, a time when fewer women were participating in the labor force.

The Department of Labor reported Friday that the country’s employers expanded their payrolls by 169,000 jobs, below the consensus estimate of 175,000 new jobs, and unemployment dropped from 7.4 percent to 7.3 percent. The total number of unemployed persons remained little changed at 11.3 million, while the number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, was about unchanged at 4.3 million. Those individuals constitute 37.9 percent of the unemployed, and their numbers have shrunk by just 733,000 in the past 12 months.

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Face Book has more to run


Facebook Inc.’sFB +3.02% summer rally may be far from over.

That view comes from Stifel Nicolaus analysts Jordan Rohan and Michael Purcell, who boosted their price target on the social network to $50 from $38. The analysts on Friday cited Facebook’s surprisingly strong second-quarter results, released last month, as a key turning point for the company and a catalyst for their increasingly optimistic views.

“It seems highly likely that the earnings results from the second quarter are not an isolated flash of brilliance,” Stifel says. “We believe the upside will last at least a year, perhaps longer.”

Shares recently rose 0.4% to $41.46. The stock is up more than 55% since Facebook’s quarterly report was released on July 24.

At WOP believe FB will consolidate 43-44 in Sept 14 before it starts its next

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Apple Is Totally Crushing Android In Mobile Traffic In The U.S.

Apple Is Totally Crushing Android In Mobile Traffic In The U.S.

While Apple might not be winning the global market share battle, in the  U.S. it’s winning on mobile web traffic.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says in a new note that Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS had 65% of the mobile traffic in the  U.S. based on Quantcast data. Android is at 30% of the traffic.

Munster attributes iOS’s success to three things: Carrier sales  suggest iPhone outsell Android phones in the U.S., iOS users are more engaged  than Android users, and the iPad is more popular than Android tablets.

This is all very encouraging for Apple, which has a smaller share of the  market in the U.S. when measured by smartphone shipments.

Apple says it cares about three metrics: Engagement, commerce, and customer satisfaction. In the U.S., where the iPhone is priced equally to  Android phones engagement is great, as we see in this chart.

In the long run, this is good for Apple,  because if it can price iPhones at a level that’s affordable elsewhere in the  world, it should continue to compete well against Android.

chart of the day mobile web
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The Largest Carrier In Japan Is Going To Start Selling The iPhone

The Largest Carrier In Japan Is Going To Start Selling The iPhone

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple’s iPhone sales should get a nice boost
Read more:  http://www.businessinsider.com/the-largest-carrier-in-japan-is-going-to-start-selling-the-iphone-2013-9#ixzz2eA97xF80

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple’s iPhone sales should get a nice boost this year.

Japan’s largest carrier DoCoMo is going to start selling the iPhone, the  Nikkei reports (via Reuters).

DoCoMo has been a hold out on the iPhone. It reportedly wanted to be able to preload apps, which Apple does not  allow. As a result of not selling the iPhone, it was losing users to rival  carriers.

Apple’s two biggest challenges, in terms of iPhone sales, are distribution  and price. Getting on a new, big carrier should lead to more sales.

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Some Long Setups

$BBRY-$BBRY DEC 12 Calls can be very profitable if deal goes through

$F- $F 19 Dec Calls as Auto Industry continues to do well

$GLD-$GLD 140 Dec Calls as GLD consolidates at 1380-1410, $1500 by year end.

$SLV-$SLV 29 Dec  Calls

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3 Stocks with increasing short Volume

It was late October 2008, and we were in the midst of one of the worst bear markets of all time.

Short-biased traders were making a killing, but most of us bulls were getting hit daily. As a professional proprietary trader, my software constantly scanned the world’s markets for unusual — and thus potentially profitable — moves in stocks.

I was alerted to a company that I never paid much attention to: Volkswagen. Within two days, the stock price increased by more than 180%, making Volkswagen, for a short time, the most valuable company on Earth.

Short sellers reportedly lost more than $35 billion during those two days. As the share price climbed, short sellers were forced to cover their positions — making the stock shoot up even higher.

I was witnessing my first short squeeze — the greatest in history, as it turned out. Many nimble investors turned massive profits during this time.

My lesson? Keeping track of short interest in a stock is a valuable metric for stock investors.

What Is A Short Squeeze? One of the biggest worries of short sellers is the dreaded short squeeze. But finding short squeeze candidates can be a lucrative tactic for investors.

A short squeeze occurs when a stock is widely shorted and unexpected positive news or other factors lift the price. Frightened by the potential of a greater loss, short sellers dump their short positions. That results in buying pressure, forcing shares even higher. Then additional short sellers are forced to close their positions by buying back the stock. That causes shares to rocket.

How To Find Short Squeeze Candidates One of the easiest ways to locate short squeeze candidates is to check short interest at StreetAuthority’s Yahoo Finance page. The higher the short ratio, the more likely the stock will experience a short squeeze rally.

I have identified three companies with increasing short interest that could lead to a short squeeze rally.

This once high-flying tech stock has been beaten down to below $400 this month. Falling from a high of a little more than $700, Apple (AAPL) has plunged nearly 50% in seven months.Citing weakening demand, analysts have slashed their outlook for the tech giant in recent months. Apple is largely a victim of its own success, as investors hold the company to ridiculously high standards of performance. Even with record-breaking sales, analysts expect more — and that hurts the stock price.

Recently, Goldman Sachs (GS) removed Apple from its conviction buy list. To make matters worse, Apple’s new spaceship-style headquarters will cost an estimated $2 billion more than was spent in 2012 on research and development. Add the growing threat from competitors such as Samsung (SSNLF), and it’s unclear whether Apple’s stock can return to its former heights.

As you can imagine, short sellers have piled into Apple’s decline. Short interest has doubled since the same time last year. Shares short stand at about 20 million, which isn’t much when compared with the 940 million outstanding shares. However, as short interest increases, the chance for a short squeeze grows. Buying on a breakout above $400 makes sense with a $450 12-month target.

In technical analysis, round numbers such as $400 or double zeros are considered to be psychological resistance or support.


First Solar
A leader in the struggling solar industry, First Solar (FSLR) posted dismal fourth-quarter earnings and guidance.Short interest has fallen from more than 30 million shares short in July 2012 to just above 18 million in March, but it has increased since mid-February. There are only 87 million shares outstanding with a float of 60 million, making 18 million shares short a significant number. Even a tiny amount of good news may launch a short-squeeze rally in this alternative energy name.

Technically, shares have climbed since April 8. The stock is above the 50- and 200-day simple moving averages.

I like First Solar as a breakout buy candidate above $40 with a 12-month target of $50.


Formally known as Research in Motion, BlackBerry’s (BBRY) short interest has been climbing steadily since April 2012, tripling to more than 155 million shares. This equals 30% of the outstanding shares. This increase comes despite the latest numbers revealing revenues at just under $2.7 billion with a profit of 22 cents a share.Most interestingly for the bulls, the company’s cash balance remained steady at just under $3 billion, providing BlackBerry a potential lifeline.

Of the three stocks, I like this company the most due to its substantial number of shares short, which will likely trigger a short squeeze on any additional bullish news. Technically, support in the $13 range makes this stock a prime candidate for a breakout trade above $15. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this stock at $20 within the next 18 months.

Risks to Consider: It’s important to remember that although a company may face high odds for a short-squeeze rally, one isn’t guaranteed to occur. In addition, all three of these companies have substantial headwinds to battle.

Action to Take –> I like all three of these stocks as potential breakout buy candidates. However, remember to wait for the upward momentum before entering a position.


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AAPL 5C Leaks

iphone-5c-test-678x508.jpg (Click to enlarge)


What price would Apple choose for a genuinely cheaper phone? There are four brackets worth looking at:

  1. $100-$150 – this is where budget Chinese manufacturers are starting to deliver usable dual-core 3G Android phones
  2. $150-$200 – the upper end of what is possible to sell to the unsubsidised prepay market – which is half the planet
  3. $200-$400 – almost certainly out of reach without subsidies but a solid mid-range smartphone price range
  4. Over $400 – similar price to the existing discounted two-year-old model, but with more up-to-date technology, possibly higher margins and probably an easier marketing sell than the “old” phone
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BBRY Up 4%

BBRY Up 4%: Lenovo Speculation, Sale Talk Trumps Estimate Cuts

Shares of BlackBerry (BBRY) are up 40 cents, or 4%, at $10.61, following yesterday’s 1% rise despite some negative remarks from the Street in recent days and speculation yesterday that Microsoft‘s (MSFT) acquisition of Nokia‘s (NOK) handset business will make life harder for BlackBerry in the smartphone world. Last night, bulls received some vaguely encouraging words in the form of a Bloomberg article that stated Microsoft is “keeping an eye on BlackBerry.” This morning, there was a raft of mixed news. From the special situations desk at ISI Group this morning came a brief item suggesting a take-out by Lenovo Group (0992HK), which has been speculated about for some time now, could still happen.

Prem Watsa has stepped down from the board and made recent public comments recommitting his 9.89% stake ( Fairfax Financial Holdings) to a future “going private” proposal if one should materialize. “We view the R/R of a long position as favorable and would recommend purchase of shares at the current price of $10.40 with a +40% upside target.”While we think a deal would make more sense for a strategic buyer ( Lenovo, Microsoft or HTC) a financial sponsor could achieve a favorable IRR given the cash flow anticipated from the robust legacy base of enterprise and consumer subs.

But other notes in the last 24 hours were not as upbeat. National Bank Financial‘s Kris Thompson yesterday reiterated an Underperform rating, and an $8 price target, writing that he thinks shipments of the newer BB10-based smartphones — the Z10, Q10, and Q5 — in the fiscal Q2 ended in August totaled perhaps 3 million units, down from his original estimate for 5 million units.

We have not heard much buzz around large Q10 deployments in Q2. BlackBerry’s publicly announced strategic review may be based on poor BB10 uptake. Management always said that the BB10 platform needed to be launched before a sale of the company was contemplated. We expect 3.8 mln BB7 shipments vs 4.1 mln last quarter. BlackBerry continues to invest in the old BB7 platform (e.g., new 9720 will be available in Asia, EMEA and Latin America in September). The idea is that these subscribers may in the future upgrade to BB10 products. When Nokia announced in February 2011 that it would adopt Microsoft Windows Phone, Symbian sales held in for a few quarters but then dropped precipitously. BB7 shipments may fall faster than expected.

Thompson doesn’t say how he comes by his data on BlackBerry’s sales trends. Thompson cut his estimate for the fiscal year ending next February to a total of 26.7 million handsets sold, at an average price of $150, producing revenue of $11.899 billion and a net loss per share of $1.78, on a non-GAAP basis. That is down from his prior estimate for 28.5 million units, $14.49 billion in revenue, and a 59-cent net loss. He thinks the fact the company has publicly talked about a “strategic review” of its options is a problem:

BlackBerry is in the headlines most days given the company’s rise and demise in the important smartphone market. Our view is that enterprises will further delay implementations and even die-hard consumers will catch wind that BlackBerry is for sale and not commit to the platform. The public for sale sign may be what torpedoes management’s valiant efforts to resuscitate a dying brand.

Another negative piece came across the transom this morning from Paul Peterson with boutique research firm BlueFin Research Partners. Peterson asserts there has been substantial cuts to production of the BB10 devices, and he expects a write-down of inventoryis in BlackBerry’s future:

If there was any hope that Blackberry sales were going to take hold with the Q10 and Q5 launches after the failed Z10 intro, that optimism now appears to have faded. The BBRY component supply chain has experienced massive cuts in the last few weeks, with some suppliers seeing multiple rounds of reductions according to our checks. This is the third round of forecast reductions in the last four months, and a clear signal that the Q series is not going to salvage the BB10 family in our view. We believe current fiscal year forecasts are less than half of management’s initial expectations. In fact, our checks indicate that some suppliers are seeing close to zero demand from BBRY in the next several months due to bulging component and finished goods inventories. In our March 13th BBRY Supply Chain Update, we highlighted a surging supply chain prior to the Z10 launch that was indicative of a management team that was ‘all in’ for the BB10 launches, while noting their less than stellar track record: “It goes without saying that BBRY has fumbled more than a few forecasts in the recent past. Time will tell whether management is on target (or not) this time around.” Clearly management was very far from the target this time around. In the company’s last fiscal quarter, BBRY inventories grew nearly 50% to $887M as Z10 sales disappointed, while the company supported the Q10 and prepared for the upcoming Q5 launch. We think inventories have ballooned even further this quarter, with Q Series demand disappointing as well. Our checks indicate that BBRY has amassed significant component and finished goods internal inventories, while many carriers and retailers are not restocking. The executive in charge of the supply chain operations was dismissed recently, evidently the scapegoat for the company’s inventory woes. As Yogi Berra infamously once said, “this looks like Déjà vu all over again.” Last year, the Bold 9900 failed to live up to BBRY’s expectations and the company took a huge inventory write off on Blackberry handset and Playbook inventory. This year it’s likely to happen again with the BB10 models. The fate of BBRY hardware sales depended on the market acceptance of the Q Series to leverage their existing QWERTY base, and the lack of meaningful traction likely means that this story doesn’t end well for BBRY as a standalone hardware provider.

Peterson doesn’t say where he comes by the information about BlackBerry’s supply chain.

Update: The Wall Street Journal‘s David Benoit and Will Connors this afternoon report that BlackBerry “is aiming to run a fast auction process that could be wrapped up by November, according to people familiar with the Matter.”

Shares of BlackBerry rose another 19 cents, almost 2%, to $10.94 in late trading

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