Intevac (IVAC)

Company

ivac(2-1)_1yr
IVAC 1-year chart

"Intevac ... [is] the world's leading provider of magnetic media deposition equipment to the hard disk drive industry and offer leading-edge, high-productivity etch systems to the semiconductor industry. We also develop compact, cost-effective, high-sensitivity digital-optical products for the capture and display of low-light images and the optical analysis of materials." (company website)

ivac(2-1)
IVAC 6-month chart

Buy

Intevac bottomed at $3.35 in early March of this year and has risen sharply since then. February earnings missed Expectations badly, but April earnings beat Expectations handily. IVAC has risen in a nearly straight line since the end of March with small ups and downs along the way. What makes me think it can continue upward movement is the fact that it has just crossed above the 200-day moving average; support is at $6.72.

  • Percentage price oscillator (PPO) — has tracked the signal line for the last five weeks, and is currently just above it (.389)
  • Volume — average volume is half what it was 6 months ago, which is slightly worrisome.

Based on technical analysis, MarketEdge calls IVAC a "buy" in a "strong upward trend."

This is clearly a case where stop-loss is called for.

Sell

gain Bottom line
1%

Here's what I was thinking yesterday: IVAC made some nice gains after I bought; it has been marching along the upper Bollinger band for a while; sooner or later it will have to start pulling back, and when it does it is likely to go all the way to the other side of the band; I'd best protect myself from losing any gains.

So, I tried a new tactic: I entered a trade trigger that said, If the price falls more than 1% below the previous day's close, enter a 2% trailing-stop order into the system. 1%+2%=3%. I thought that would work, even though on the Nasdaq stop orders are activated by the bid price, not the last price.

In a word, Wrong!. In early trading this morning IVAC fell 1% from the previous close, which triggered the stop order. And the spread between bid and last bigger than 2%, so once again I got stopped out of a position that I would rather not have closed at that point.

I think I'm on the right track, triggering a stop-loss order based the previous close, but obviously I don't have the percentages right. What I need — and probably for each stock individually — is a table that shows each day's low as a percent of the previous close. Then I could do a calculation of a percentage that would account for all but outlying cases. Seems like it ought to work— better. Seems like an awful lot of work.