Long-Term Thinking

What can I say about the broader market that hasn't already been said? It has become death by a thousand paper cuts for bears and even those sitting on the sidelines. I've reduced some positions in longer-term and income portfolios, and for the most part, hindsight would say I am wrong. Most have continued higher. That is the nature of the beast. You don't want to miss out, but you don't want to get caught chasing. This is the time when I start to favor slightly in-the-money calls or shorting put spreads to buy call spreads to gain long exposure.

Agilent (A) Source: StockCharts.com View Chart » View in New Window »

Agilent (A) is a company I like very much for the long term and as a core holding. Still, there's a difference between long and short term. Long-term validation for me is more about fundamentals, while trading and short-term are about technicals and dislocation. The case with Agilent is very similar to Wednesday's scenario with Cisco Systems (CSCO). I have concerns about Agilent's chart. The stock has been running sideways, but the relative strength indicator and stochastics have both been declining. I always hesitate on a holding when these bearish divergences pop up in front of earnings. I don't see a ton of downside potential on A, but the potential for a move lower into the $42-$43 area is very real. Normally, I would say I am a buyer of the February $44-$42 put spreads around $0.43, however, I prefer to buy 1.5x as many February $44-$43 puts here for $0.29....144 more words left in this article. To read them, just click below and try Real Money FREE for 14 days.

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