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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Market Action

U.S. markets traded lower throughout the first half of Thursday’s action after China's report that coronavirus cases in its Hubei Province were revised sharply higher. Meanwhile, here at home, the CDC confirmed another infection with the coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, marking the nation's 15th confirmed case.

The 2nd-half rebound into positive territory erased the early losses as the opening decline was considered a buying opportunity by some investors. However, weakness resumed into the close despite another round of fresh all-time highs.

The Russell 2000 climbed 0.3% after testing a late day high of 1,696. Major resistance at 1,700 was challenged but held with a close above this level signaling further upside towards 1,715 and the current 52-week peak.

The Nasdaq was lower by 0.1% following the intraday rebound to 9,748 and fresh record high. Current and lower resistance at 9,750-9,800 was challenged but held with a close above the latter signaling additional strength towards 9,850-9,900.

The S&P 500 shed 0.2% despite trading to an intraday all-time high of 3,385. Near-term resistance at 3,400 was challenged for the 2nd-straight session but held with a close above this level signaling momentum towards 3,425-3,450.

The Dow was down 0.4% after trading in the red throughout the session with the opening low tapping 29,345. New support at 29,400-29,200 was breached but held with a close below the latter getting 29,00 back in focus.

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Utilities and Real Estate led sector strength after rising 1% and 0.6%, respectively. Industrials paced sector weakness after falling 0.6% while Healthcare was lower by 0.5%.

Global Economy

European markets closed lower across the board as the spread of the coronavirus remained the primary focus. However, the losses were mostly contained as the overall pullback was mild.

UK's FTSE 100 sank 1.1% and France’s CAC 40 lost 0.2%. The Belgium20 was down just over a point, or 0.04%, while Germany's DAX 30 fell 4 points, or 0.03%. The Stoxx 600 slipped less than a point, or 0.02%.

Asian markets settled mostly lower after China’s Hubei province reported new cases of the coronavirus soared by nearly 15,000 and the death toll more than doubled at the epicentre of the outbreak.

China's Shanghai fell 0.7% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.3%. South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.2% and Japan’s Nikkei was off 0.1%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.2%.

U.S. Economy

Initial Jobless Claims edged up 2,000 to 205,000 following the unexpected -14,000 drop to 203,000 previously. The 4-week moving average was unchanged at 212,000. Continuing claims dropped -61,000 to 1,698,000 after climbing 56,000 to 1,759,000 in the prior week.

CPI rose 0.1% in January while the core rate was up 0.2%, both matching forecasts. There were no revisions to December's respective gains of 0.2% and 0.1%. The 12-month pace accelerated to 2.5% year-over-year versus 2.3% previously, though the ex-food and energy rate was unchanged at 2.3%. Most components posted moderate gains with services prices increasing 0.4%, housing up 0.3%, and food/beverage costs 0.2% higher. Apparel increased 0.7%. Energy prices declined -0.7% from a 1.6% prior gain while transportation costs slid -0.6%. Personal computer prices dropped -1.1%.

Market Sentiment

The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) snapped a 2-session slide after trading to an intraday high of $144.20. Current and lower resistance is at $144-$144.50 was cleared but held. A close above the $145 level would be a more bullish signal of a near-term bottom.

Support is at $143.50-$143. A close below the $142.50 level would signal a further backtest towards $142-$141.50.

Volatility Index

The S&P 500 Volatility Index ($VIX) stayed slightly elevated throughout the session following the morning spike to 15.44. Lower resistance at 15-15.50 was breached but held. A close above the latter and the 200-day moving average would be a slightly bearish signal for a retest towards 16-16.50.

Support remains at 14-13.50 and the 50-day moving average.

Market Analysis

The Spiders Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA) was down for the 2nd-time in 3 sessions with the first half low reaching $293.92. Near-term and upper support is at $294-$293.50 was breached but held. A close below the $292.50 level would signal a possible near-term top with backtest potential towards the $290.50-$290 area.

Current resistance is at $295.50-$296 with Wednesday’s all-time peak at $295.87. A close above the $296 level would be a renewed bullish signal with upside potential towards $297.50-$298.

RSI is in a slight downtrend with key support at 60 holding. A close below this level would signal additional weakness towards 55-50. Resistance is at 65 with a close above this level signaling strength towards 70-75 with the latter representing the December and January peak.


The Communication Services Select Sector Spider (XLC) showed strength for the 2nd-straight session after trading to a fresh all-time high of $57.08. Fresh and lower resistance at $57-$57.50 was tripped but held. A move above the latter would signal additional momentum towards $58-$58.50.

Current support is at $56.50-$56. A close below the latter would signal a possible near-term top with additional risk towards $55.50-$55.

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RSI has leveled out with lower resistance at 65-70 getting cleared and holding. A close above the 70 level would signal additional strength towards 75-80 with the latter representing the January high. Key support is at 60.

All the best,

Roger Scott