Option Investor

Daily Newsletter, Thursday, 02/18/1999

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The Option Investor Newsletter         Thursday  2-18-99  
Copyright 1999, All rights reserved. 
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.

Posted online for subscribers at http://www.OptionInvestor.com

Also provided as a service to The Online Investor Advantage

Published three times weekly, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday evenings.
MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
        2-18-99         High     Low     Volume   Advances Decline
DOW     9298.63 +103.16 9308.76  9190.94  743,324k  1,764   1,213
Nasdaq  2260.55 + 11.64 2273.08  2224.21  860,797k  1,922   2,050 
S&P-100  618.18 +  5.53  619.56   610.41   Totals   3,686   3,263
S&P-500 1237.28 + 13.25 1239.07  1220.53            53.1%   46.9%
$RUT     391.09 +  1.55  391.93   388.58
$TRAN   3123.87 - 28.29 3156.31  3104.67
VIX       32.76 +   .25   34.18    32.04
Put/Call Ratio      .86

Plus 100, minus 100, just a normal day in the market.

The DOW recovered almost exactly what it lost yesterday but 
the Nasdaq barely finished positive. The big news on the DOW
was the bounce off the previous support at 9200. This level
has provided a bottom in the recent range bound trading.

Every time we bounce off this number, the support gets stronger.
We are still range bound between 9200 and 9400 and until
the market gets over the mediocre advance/decline sickness it
will probably stay there.

Since December 28th the Dow has penetrated 9200 only five
times and each time rebounded sharply to well over 9300 
promptly. This bottom in the current market provides us a
relatively safe buying signal. Every time we reach this point
and start a rebound it is a pretty good bet that the next
day or two will be up. It is imperative that you wait for the
bounce. It is entirely possible that we will eventually break
out of this pattern and continue down to the 9000 level or
below. I still do not see any reason to expect that type of
down turn but we need to be prepared for the worst. 

Conversely the current upper level of 9375 should give us a
reasonable warning of an impending down cycle. Astute traders
can use this type of info to trade into and out of a specific
stock routinely until the trend breaks. 

The Dell disaster appears to have been a one day downer. Do
not be deceived! Even though Dell finished up +1.44 today the
carnage may not be over. Look at the other stocks in the
Nasdaq. CSCO was barely positive at +1.06, MSFT was down 
-4.25, INTC was up strong +3.50 but only due to an upgrade
and the Pentium III announcement. Internets are still shrinking
and most of the Nasdaq stocks we looked at today are still
trending down. With the Nasdaq up so strong since the Oct 8th
low, it is entirely possible we could see some further 
deterioration. I feel the techs are still where the action
will be but we need to wait until we see a new trend developing.

Sectors are rotating finally but investors are being picky
about which stocks to buy. Transports are going against the
trend again due to firming oil prices. We are entering a
period where stock picking will be of prime importance. You
will not be able to just pick a sector and buy something and
have it go up.

Another term for the current range trading could be basing.
After the move from 8700 to over 9600 in late December and
early January the market just doesn't have the momentum to
break out. We could be stuck here for several more weeks or
even until the next earnings cycle in April. This is ok with
us because every day we stay here provides a stronger base
to catapult us over 10,000 when the next move comes. During
a basing period investors rotate stocks in their portfolios.
They sell stocks which they feel have peaked and move into
stocks they feel are poised to breakout on the next rally.
Until this rotation is over the market will not have the
strength to hold any new gains.

The stocks in the S&P-500 provide a better indicator than
the Dow for general market health. Only the top 40 of these 
stocks are up strong for the year. The other 460 are flat to
down. This is not a good trend and continues to worry analysts. 

After the Dell disaster and the concern over the market 
outlook I reported last Tuesday night, the market has shown 
the hidden strength again that I have always felt was there.
I told you when I finally started leaning toward the 
possibility of a correction then the market always took that
as the signal to bounce. I rest my case. We were on the 
cliff again on Wednesday but the "buy the dip" traders did
the right thing.

Although we recovered everything we lost on the Dow yesterday,
it was not convincing. Volume was still weak. Advancers only
barely edged out decliners again 3,686 to 3,263. Until the
volume peaks again at 900 mln on the NYSE and back into the
1.2 bln plus range on the Nasdaq, we will not have any
conviction. No conviction equals no staying power. This
emphasizes the need for quick plays. Get in, get out. Take $1 
here another $1 someplace else. Do not try to buy and
hold in this environment. I have had many emails this week
from traders who have been killed attempting that strategy.

Friday is options expirations day and that could have been
the hidden reason behind the bounce today. Recently the
impact from options expirations has been spread over the
entire week and not all lumped into Friday. If you are
still holding February options I would suggest selling into
any bump at the open. 

Good Luck

Jim Brown 


The schedule, listing the events for the February seminar
next week, will be mailed out tomorrow to all the registered
attendees. You are going to be drinking from a fire hose
but we guarantee you will be better prepared to profit from
the market after listening to the ten different presenters.

If you are not registered for the February seminar we still
have several spots available in the March 8/9th seminar
here in Denver. This will be the last seminar put on by
the Option Investor staff. It features a day and a half
of direct and intense instruction from all the OIN editors
as well as Ross Jardine and Chris Verhaegh from Online
Investor Advantage and Austin Tanner from Pinnacle Capital.
The focus of the seminar is on "Trend Trading" and the 
strategies required to recognize and profit from it.

If you have interest in attending the March seminar you
need to email Dana at seminar@OptionInvestor.com immediately
to confirm a seat. We guarantee you will not be disappointed.


Sorry guys, the last minute seminar planning and preparation
has just overwhelmed me and I have not had time to prepare
the trade summary from last week. Please bear with me.
I promise I will post it on Sunday.

Market Posture
As of Market Close - Thursday, February 18, 1999 

                   Key Benchmarks
Broad Market       Bearish/Bullish  Last    Posture/Since  Alert

DOW Industrials    9,200   9,500   9,299    Neutral   2.11            
SPX S&P 500        1,210   1,280   1,224    Neutral   2.11   
OEX S&P 100          610     635     618    Neutral   2.11    
RUT Russell 2000     420     435     391    BEARISH   2.4    

NDX NASD 100       1,900   2,150   1,891    BEARISH   2.18 *  
MSH High Tech        930   1,040     918    BEARISH   2.18 *      

                   Key Benchmarks
Technology         Bearish/Bullish  Last    Posture/Since  Alert
XCI Hardware         870     970     837    BEARISH   2.16         
CWX Software         620     680     594    BEARISH   2.16            
SOX Semiconductor    375     420     383    Neutral   2.11    
NWX Networking       400     450     396    BEARISH   2.12            
INX Internet         470     570     447    BEARISH   2.16      

                   Key Benchmarks
Financial          Bearish/Bullish  Last    Posture/Since  Alert
BIX Banking          630     675     657    Neutral   2.11                  
XBD Brokerage        630     700     665    Neutral   2.5      
IUX Insurance        570     610     590    Neutral   2.11            

                   Key Benchmarks
Other              Bearish/Bullish  Last    Posture/Since  Alert
RLX Retail           825     880     855    Neutral   2.11    
DRG Drug             750     795     772    Neutral   2.11      
HCX Healthcare       750     780     771    Neutral   2.11              
XAL Airline          300     330     309    Neutral   1.29                
OIX Oil & Gas        230     250     227    BEARISH   2.16                  

Posture Alert

Market posture remains essentially unchanged from Tuesday's 
news reversal after the DOW lost 100 points Wednesday and
gained 100 today (2/18).  Technology still under pressure
while other industry sectors are beginning to roll over and
challenge key support levels at their respective 50-day
moving averages.

A detailed description of our Market Posture and its
applications can be found at:


Market Sentiment - By Pinnacle Capital Advisors
Thursday, February 18, 1999

Bulls & Bears - Tug of War

As we approach expiration Friday, investors are caught in a big 
tug or war as the Bulls and Bears battle it out in volatile 
fashion.  From a market sentiment viewpoint, we see some positive
and negative developments.  First the positives.  The latest
Investors Intelligence Sentiment survey finally report the
bullish camp subsiding - 61.7% back down to 55.7%.  From a
contrarian viewpoint, this is healthy but still is at extreme
levels.  Next, our Pinnacle index is building on the S&P 100 at
the OEX 595-600 level that happens to coincides with its 50-day
moving average.  This means that support is building at this key

The primary negative development is the unchecked optimism that
appears to be prevailing the market.  Check out our Peak Open
Interest analysis this week.  Peak open interest compares front
month OEX call and put options at the strike with the HIGHEST
open interest.  Those times when peak call open interest EXCEEDS
put open interest are generally bearish for stocks.  Look what
just happen in the past couple of days.  Calls eclipsed Puts.

Peak Open Interest (OEX)
                     Friday         Thursday
Strike/Contracts     (2/12)         (2/18)
Puts                 610 / 16,753   610 / 13,454   
Calls                660 / 14,775   660 / 14,768
Put/Call Ratio       1.20           .91

Essentially, what this reveals is that investors are buying the 
dip with little fear.  This is not good - particularly with other 
deteriorating technical and sentiment indicators.

A detail breakdown of Pinnacle Capital Advisors' market
sentiment analysis together with supporting charts, graphs,
tables and explanations can be accessed through OI's
website at:


Market Sentiment at a Glance
                                Friday      Tues      Thurs  
Indicator                       (2/12)     (2/16)     (2/18)  Alert

Pinnacle Index (OEX):          
Overhead Resistance (620-635)     1.9         2.6        3.1
Underlying Support  (595-610)     2.4         2.5        2.9

Put/Call Ratios:
CBOE Total P/C Ratio               .5          .8         .7
CBOE Equity P/C Ratio              .4          .5         .5            
OEX P/C Ratio                     1.0         1.4        1.0  *  

Peak Open Interest (OEX):
Puts                              610         610        610
Calls                             660         660        660
P/C Ratio                        1.20        1.13        .91

Market Volatility Index (VIX):	
CBOE VIX                        31.35       32.42      32.51  *

Investors Intelligence:
Bullish                          61.7%      61.7%       55.7% *  
Bearish                          25.9%      25.9%       28.7% *

The Power of Sentiment Analysis

It has often been said that the crowd is right during the
market trends but wrong at both ends.  Measuring and
evaluating the sentiment of the crowd, therefore, can give
savvy option traders a decided edge.

Pinnacle Index
OEX                             Friday     Tues      Thurs
Benchmark                       (2/12)     (2/16)    (2/18)
                    (630-635)      2.2        2.6       5.9
                    (620-625)      1.0        2.6       1.2
Overhead Resistance (620-635)      1.9        2.6       3.1

OEX Close                       616.14     619.71    618.18

Underlying Support  (595-610)      2.4        2.5       2.9    
                    (605-610)      2.0        1.9       2.0
                    (595-600)      3.5        4.1       6.3

Average ratings: 
Resistance levels 2.0 / Support .5

What the Pinnacle Index is telling us:
Overhead sentiment resistance is Heavy at the OEX 630/645
level while the underlying support is firm at the
OEX 595/600 level.

Put/Call Ratio 
                                Friday      Tues      Thurs
Strike/Contracts                (2/12)     (2/16)    (2/18) 
CBOE Total P/C Ratio               .52       .84        .70
CBOE Equity P/C Ratio              .36       .50        .51
OEX P/C Ratio                     1.04      1.37       1.03

Peak Open Interest (OEX)
                     Friday         Tues           Thurs
Strike/Contracts     (2/12)         (2/16)         (2/18)
Puts                 610 / 16,753   610 / 16,751   610 / 13,454   
Calls                660 / 14,775   660 / 14,824   660 / 14,768
Put/Call Ratio       1.20           1.13           .91



Market Volatility Index (VIX)
Date                Turning Point       VIX
October 97          Bottom              54.60      
July 20, 1998       Top                 16.88         
October 8, 1998     Bottom              60.63
January 11, 1998    Top                 26.38

February 17, 1999                       32.51   *

Investors Intelligence Survey
                    Major             Percent     Percent
Date                Turning Point     Bullish     Bearish
October 97          Bottom            22.0        48.3       
July 20, 1998       Top               52.0        24.0         
October 8, 1998     Bottom            38.5        42.7
January 11, 1999    Top               58.3        30.0

February 16, 1999                     61.7        25.9   *
February 18, 1999                     55.7        28.7   *

Please view this in COURIER 10 font for alignment

Index    Last     Tue    Wed   Thur    Week
Dow    9298.63  22.14 -101.56 103.16   23.74
Nasdaq 2260.55  -8.02  -64.96  11.64  -61.34
$OEX    618.18   3.60   -7.09   5.53    2.04
$SPX   1237.28  11.74  -17.84  13.25    7.15
$RUT    391.09  -2.04   -6.86   1.55   -7.35
$TRAN  3123.87  23.87   31.40 -28.29   26.98
$VIX     32.76   1.07    0.09   0.25    1.41

Stock   Price     Tue    Wed   Thur    Week

UTX     123.06    2.50   0.61   1.31    4.42  Near 52 week high
MWD      92.31    1.94  -2.06   3.94    3.82  Takeover rumors
MEDI     54.00    1.63  -0.19   2.31    3.75  Rebounding
VOD     183.75    3.75  -2.38   2.25    3.62  Still climbing
AMGN    123.50    2.00   0.25   1.00    3.25  Splits 2/26
WCOM     82.38    3.56  -2.63   2.00    2.93  Looking Strong
MCD      82.94    0.50  -1.31   2.44    1.63  New High
LOW      55.38    0.50  -0.81   1.69    1.38  Earnings soon.
DH       61.63    3.19  -2.72   0.69    1.16  Holding on.
WMT      85.38    3.19  -2.50   0.31    1.00  Profit taking
SLR      85.75    1.25  -2.88   1.38   -0.25  Splits 2/25
ANF      73.56    3.44  -3.38  -1.06   -1.00  Profit taking
LVLT     54.69   -1.00  -3.25   2.94   -1.31  Beat earnings
COF     119.94   -1.81  -3.25   3.19   -1.87  Holding on.
PSIX     32.56    0.00  -1.56  -0.44   -2.00  Earnings soon.
VISX     57.50    0.44  -3.88   1.19   -2.25  Recovery?
EMC      99.94    3.50  -5.88  -0.06   -2.44  Still popular
AOL     155.75    1.00  -6.50   2.75   -2.75  Splits Monday
CLX     126.25   -0.44   0.75  -3.56   -3.25  Profit taking
AMTD     85.50    1.50  -4.81  -1.50   -4.81  Volatile
ORCL     50.81   -3.25  -2.19  -0.44   -5.88  Dropped
SUNW     94.00    0.00  -6.38  -0.06   -6.44  Dropped
EGRP     39.19   -0.31  -3.69  -2.81   -6.81  Dropped


ADBE     42.25   -1.31  -2.50   2.50   -1.31  Breaking below 100dma
AMZN     89.50   -5.87  -5.13  -4.00  -15.00  Overvalued
AXP     102.63    2.25   0.50  -0.06    2.69  Dropped
BAC      65.94    1.75   1.31   1.06    4.12  Dropped
BDX      33.63   -0.44  -0.69  -0.13   -1.26  Declining strength
BKB      38.06    1.38   0.44   0.44    2.26  Banking sector strength
BMCS     43.94   -0.75  -2.00   0.63   -2.12  Only up slightly
CPQ      40.56   -0.19  -1.81  -0.44   -2.44  Sector weakness
ELNK     62.38    4.19  -8.88   4.00   -0.69  Recovered part of fall
ERTS     40.13    0.44  -0.75  -0.25   -0.56  Slowly dropping
MCHP     28.50   -1.75   0.38   1.00   -0.37  Dropped
PG       91.63    2.19   0.63   1.31    4.13  Dropped
PHSYB    66.50    2.13  -0.13   0.75    2.75  Dropped
WLA      66.38    0.25  -2.13  -0.75   -2.63  Moving our way
MSFT    145.75   -1.50  -6.25  -4.25  -12.00  Breaking down
HWP      67.94   -5.94  -2.37  -0.19   -8.50  Bad Call
WHR      41.63   -1.50  -1.06   0.00   -2.56  Strong decay

When we drop a pick it doesn't mean we are recommending a sell
on that play. Many dropped picks go on to be very profitable.
We drop a pick because something happened to change its
profile. News, price, direction, etc. We drop it because we
don't want anyone else starting a new play at that time. 
We have hundreds of new readers with each issue who are
unfamiliar with the previous history for that pick and we
want them to look at any current pick as a valid play.


ORCL $50.81 -.44 (-5.88) The momentum has reversed on ORCL.  It
does not appear as though ORCL will continue to run into their
split date.  ORCL broke through support today at around $52.50,
and could not close above this level today.  This is not a good
sign, so we are going to drop them as a pick.  

EGRP $39.19 -2.81 (-6.81) EGRP is not able to withstand the
selling pressure created by all of the negative press regarding
system outages.  In fact, Schwab announced that they
experienced a system outage today.  To add fuel to the fire,
Merrill Lynch announced today that they will soon allow
selected customers to begin trading online.  There are just too
many negatives stacking up, so we are going to drop them as a
pick until the E*trade spin doctors fix their public image.

SUNW $94.00 -.06 (-6.44)  Poor Sun Microsystems.  It had been 
struggling to hold at its 30 dma until Dell's earnings 
announced after the bell on Tuesday negatively affected just 
about anything even remotely computer related.  Dell's 
disappointing numbers smashed SUNW -$6.38 through sympathy 
as investors bailed and left Sun way below its 30 dma.  Even 
though the market was up on Thurs., Sun didn't recover enough 
for us to feel confident in it as a play anymore.  The techs 
are under a lot of scrutiny right now.  It may be a little 
while before they recover and investors regain their confidence 
in companies like SUNW.  We are dropping it as a play for now.  
But we will be keeping an eye on this giant since it will 
split 2:1 on April 8th.

AXP - $102.62 -.06 (2.68) Recent take-over speculation and
recent bank sector strength provided the boost AXP needed to 
break through near-term resistance. Dropping for now until
stock breaks below near-term support at $100.

BAC - $65.94 1.06 (3.07) Stock consolidating at its 50-day
moving average with no conviction one way or another. Dropping
until stock breaks down below key support level of $60.

MCHP - $28.50 1.00 (-.36) Dropping stock after company reached
our target of $25. Appears to show some support at $25. 

PG - $91.63 1.31 (4.13) Stock breaking out ABOVE prior near-term 
resistance of $90. Therefore, we are dropping the blue-chip 
company from the puts list.

PHSYB - $66.50 .75 (2.75) Stock finding near-term support at $65.
Therefore, dropping from puts list in favor of other opportunities. 


UTX $123.06 +1.31 (+4.06) UTX made a run at its 52 week high
after the open on Wednesday, but traded down after that.  UTX
posted a nice gain today.  UTX's 52 week high is $125.  In the
news, Intel announced that it has invested in a company whose
technology allows handheld computer software to run on various
computer chips.  Interestingly, UTX made an investment in this
same company about a month ago.  Also, UTX announced that it
will spend $120 million on the Y2K issue this year, and
emphasized that this is being funded through operating cash
flows and not through extraordinary expenditures.

LOW $55.38 +1.69 (+1.38) LOW finally closed above the
congestion we referred to on Tuesday.  We called investor
relations and LOW releases earnings before the open on Monday. 
As you know, we don't recommend holding over earnings releases. 
In the news, LOW plans to issue an additional $300 million in
common stock.  In some cases, the market will view this type of
news as dilutive, and the stock will go down, but this was not
the case with LOW.

EMC $100.00 +0.00 (-2.38) EMC traded down on Wednesday like the
rest of the techs and broke even today.  EMC closed just above
its 30 day moving average which is at $99.44.  There hasn't
been much news on EMC, but we did locate an article on EMC that
was in the NY Times on Monday.  It once again highlighted how
EMC dominates the data storage market which is currently
estimated to be $4 billion annually.  This is expected to grow
to $10 billion by 2001.  

WMT $85.38 +.31 (+1.00) Yesterday WMT set a new intra-day 
high of $88.69. It then sold off to close at $85.06 as 
investors chose to lock in their profits during this 
uncertain market. Today the stock gapped up and hit $86.06, 
but could not hold that level. WMT's Q4 earnings, announced 
Tuesday, were $.70 versus $.66 estimate and a Q4 of $.57 for 
the previous year. In spite of outstanding growth and 
earnings that easily beat estimates, WMT is now up only $1.00 
on the week after investors sold the news. It could 
consolidate further before moving up again, so confirm 
direction before starting new plays.

MEDI $54.00 +2.31 (+3.75) We have been looking for this stock 
to break through resistance at $54.50, its old high. Today it 
climbed as high as $55.38 before closing at $54.00. Volume 
was strong, too. There is no news to account for the stock's 
continued rise in this choppy market, just strong 
fundamentals. If it can close above $54.50, there is no 
resistance above that. Only the overall market will affect 
its climb.

AMTD $85.50 -$1.50 (-4.81) AMTD has not performed well over 
the last couple of days. Market weakness in the techs has 
spilled over into some of the related socks. This stock has 
only 2 trading days left to run into its split.  We do not
recommend holding over a split as normal stocks tend to
consolidate.  AMTD is a very volatile stock and trades daily 
in a wide range. Profitable daytrades are possible even on 
down days.  Best played by those who can watch live tick by 
tick trades and react quickly. Use caution: this one is a 
higher risk play.

ANF $73.56 -1.06 (-1.00)  After announcing earnings on 
Tuesday that crushed even the highest of analyst expectations, 
profit takers couldn't restrain themselves.  The stock has 
dipped since the reports were released.  That's fine with us.  
After making a substantial run since November, we are glad to 
see the stock consolidating.  Look for ANF to resume its upward 
hike once the profit takers are satisfied.  The wait shouldn't 
be too long.  Goldman Sachs and Co. increased their 12-18 month 
price target for the company to $95.  Confidence in the stock 
should quickly return since ANF expects their stellar earnings 
trend to continue by forecasting 30% earnings growth in fiscal 
2000. They will also be opening 15-20 stores focused solely 
on the 7-14 year old age group.  Their experimental stores
have been extremely successful and the company believes the 
new stores have great potential. 

COF $119.94 +3.19 (-1.87)  COF made a nice upward move on 
Thursday by adding +$3.19 to its stock price.  It is now 
trading above its 10 dma.  However, its trade volume is still 
lower than normal as buyers remain cautious.  Financial 
stocks have been doing better this week.  Look for COF 
to continue its rally if the market cooperates.  Confirm
market direction before initiating any new plays.

***** Play updates continued in section two *****

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This newsletter is a publication dedicated to the education 
of options traders. The newsletter is an information service 
only. The information provided herein is not to be construed 
as an offer to buy or sell securities of any kind. The 
newsletter picks are not to be considered a recommendation 
of any stock or option but an information resource to aid the
investor in making an informed decision regarding trading in 
options. It is possible at this or some subsequent date, the 
editor and staff of The Option Investor Newsletter may own, 
buy or sell securities presented. All investors should consult 
a qualified professional before trading in any security. The 
information provided has been obtained from sources deemed 
reliable but is not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness.
The newsletter staff makes every effort to provide timely 
information to its subscribers but cannot guarantee specific 
delivery times due to factors beyond our control.

The Option Investor Newsletter         Thursday  2-18-99  
Copyright 1999, All rights reserved. 
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.

PICK NEWS - CALLS (continued)
MCD $82.94 +2.44 (+1.63)  McDonald's fell with the market on 
Wednesday.  But what it lost during Wednesday's drop it 
gained right back on Thursday.  The company also recorded 
another all time high of $82.94 during intraday trading.  
Investors seem to be shying away from the overvalued techs 
and focusing their attention elsewhere in safer companies 
like McDonald's.  Morgan Stanley Dean Witter showed its 
support for MCD by raising its price target for the company 
to $100.  MCD is splitting 2:1 on March 5th.  Since it is now 
in blue sky territory, look for the stock to keep soaring if 
the markets can support it with positive numbers. 

AOL $156.00 +3.00 (-2.50)  Thanks to violation, recovery 
and rest at its 30 dma, and a lack of volume, we have AOL on 
a short leash.  Volume weakness on a positive day shows us 
that there is no buying pressure (demand) for the stock.  
This may exaggerate the effects of a down day.  The good 
news is technicals appear to be reversing for the positive, 
Marc Andreessen (Netscape browser inventor) will become 
chief technology officer, and AOL was reported yesterday to 
be having discussions with e-bay which may result in AOL 
making an equity investment (still a rumor, but wide-
spread).  Still, we need AOL to pick up the volume, while 
driving the price, before it's safe to get in the water 
again.  Wait for undeniable obvious confirmation of market 
and stock direction before making the play.  Very risky; 
preserve your capital.

WCOM $82.38 +2.00 (+2.94)  WCOM, a top 5 NASDAQ 100 stock, 
fell in sympathy with Dell yesterday.  It made up most of 
the loss on light volume today.  Resistance is $82 
and should continue up, market willing, though it cannot 
buck the tide in a down market.  Make the play when you 
confirm that the market and the stock have clearly reversed 
to the up side and are rising on strong volume.  Remember 
to use stop orders for protection if the market moves 
against you.

DH $61.93 +0.69 (+1.09)  Yesterday was tough on DH, sending 
it for a loss of $2.81.  Nothing escaped the vortex.  DH 
traded as low as $59.44 today near the open, but screamed 
back on almost 50% greater than average volume.  DH is 
keeping its head above water in the wake of overall market 
weakness, and benefits from demand of strong retail 
equities by the fund community.  We expect DH to trade 
higher, market willing, since it bounced off its 30 DMA. 
Confirm market direction before playing.

CLX $126.25 -3.56 (-3.25) CLX suffered some profit taking
today after a slight gain on Wednesday.  Yesterday saw 
Prudential Securities raise its price target on CLX from
$132 to $155.  CLX is sitting right on its 10-dma and we
feel it will bounce off this level.  If we see CLX break
down below this level, it could continue down to the low

VISX $57.50 +1.19 (-2.25) As usual, there isn't any news
on VISX, but we like the fact that it fought back today to
close on its 30-dma.  On Wednesday, VISX took a hit and 
traded as low as $54.25 before closing the day down $3.88.
Friday will be a key day.  If VISX can hold its 30-dma, we
feel it will trend up, otherwise we see a further decline.

LVLT $54.69 +2.94 (-1.31) LVLT announced earnings this
morning before market.  Earnings came in at a loss of $.11
a share.  This came in above the estimates, but really had
no bearing on the movement in the stock.  LVLT has changed
its main focus since last years earnings and put a lot of
capital into building its communications network.  James
Crowe, CEO of LVLT, stated: "In 1998, we focused on building 
our communications business, and we are very pleased with the 
progress we've made.  We remain on track with our strategic 
plan, and, in fact, have accelerated our network construction 
schedule. Moreover, we're currently offering service to 
customers in 19 cities in the U.S. and Europe."  We feel 
that the earnings announcement was a formality and really
will not affect the stock price.  We like that LVLT traded
lower in early trading, but came back strong. 
PSIX $32.56 -.44 (-2.00) PSIX traded as high as $34.75 today,
but faded at the end and closed in negative territory.  PSIX
is another stock that is sitting on its 30-dma.  A bounce
off this level could start PSIX back on an upward trend.  We
still like PSIX with earnings coming up before market on the
23rd of February.  Plus, we continue to hear whispers that 
PSIX is a takeover target as one of the only independent
wideband ISPs left.

MWD $92.31 +3.94 (+3.81)  MWD had a nice gain today along 
with the other broker/dealers.  This was spurred on by a 
statement Tuesday night by Chase Manhattan Bank that a purchase
of a firm by Chase would have to be "transformational".  Many
feel that Chase will purchase one of the big broker/dealers.
MWD traded as high as $93.25 today and only lost $1 from 
this high.  

SLR $85.75 +1.38 (-.25) SLR was able to close above its
30-dma today.  We see SLR bouncing off this level and 
continuing its move up.  There is some resistance at the
$90 mark.  MACD has turned and is heading up.  We also should
see a stock split run with SLR's split set for the 25th of
this month.  Confirm trend before initiating new plays.

VOD $183.75 +2.25 (+3.62)  VOD continued higher today and
was able to close right on its high of the day, usually a
bullish sign.  VOD has some resistance at $185.  A break
above this level on strong volume would be a nice time
to initiate new plays.  There is a lawsuit by CellNet of
Ohio to block the merger of ATI and VOD.  Not much impact,
yet, on VOD, but we'll keep an eye on it.

ADBE - $42.25 2.50 (-1.31) Stock recovered 2.50 after 
breaking down below its 100-day moving average.

BDX - $33.63 -.13 (-1.24) Stock continues to leak below key 
support level of $35. Stock trading below 50 and 100-day
moving averages. $35 benchmark now serving as overhead 

BKB - $38.06 .44 (2.25) Stock only up fractionally on a day 
that the DOW was up more than 100 points. Stock still trading
below 50 and 100- day moving averages. Holding tight until
disposition of banking sector is determined. 

BMCS - $43.94 .63 (-2.12) Stock beginning to leak again after
recent rally failed at $46. Stock could come under pressure
if stock violates near-term support at $43.50. 

ERTS - $40.13 -.25 (-.56) Stock holding at key support level
of $40 but still trading below its 50 and 100-day moving

ELNK - $62.38 4.00 (-.68) Stock snapped back today after 
selling off more than $9 Wednesday. Stock only internet 
company under 50-day moving average Stock still trading
below its 50-day moving average and overhead resistance
between $70-75. Best Internet play on the short side. 

WLA - $66.38 .75 (2.62) Stock finally breaking down below 
its declining 50-day moving average. Target $65 but could 
break down beyond this benchmark. Best Drug play on the 
short side.

AMGN - Amgen $123.50 +1.00 (+3.25 for the week)

Founded in 1980, Amgen is a global biotechnology company that 
develops, manufactures, and markets human therapeutics based 
on advances in cellular and molecular biology.  With sales of 
$2.34 billion, it is the largest of the biotech companies and 
is more than twice the size of its nearest rival.  Amgen's 
products include the billion-dollar blockbusters Epogen (EPO) 
and Neupogen, as well as Infergen.  Epogen is used to treat 
anemia in patients with kidney failure or patients undergoing 
chemotherapy.  Neupogen is used to stimulate the immune system 
and Infergen treats chronic hepatitis.  Many other drugs are 
in the pipeline, but the most important new drug is NESP--a 
next-generation drug to succeed EPO.

We are reinstating Amgen as a split play.  We have been watching
to see if they could maintain the stock price they reached after
they announced strong earnings and 2:1 split back on Jan 28th.  
Amgen has done exactly that and exhibited strength even in the 
weakened markets.  It has a nice uptrend in recent trading and 
can go as high as 130 before it encounters any formidable 
resistance.  We are looking for Amgen to pick up steam in the 
next few trading days as we draw closer to February 26th, the 
scheduled date for its stock split.

News:  Back on Jan. 28th, AMGN reported increased earnings.  
They came in at a mighty $0.90 as opposed to $0.67 from the 
fourth quarter a year ago.  Their fourth quarter net income 
increased by 33%.  Several brokerages have expressed their 
high hopes for Amgen.  BT Alex Brown reiterated its "strong 
buy" and raised Amgen's price target to $136, up from the 
previous price of $125.  Bear Stearns raised estimates for 
the company as well.  S&P, Warburg Dillon Read LLC, and Everen
Securities Inc. also upgraded AMGN.  This stock is really 
getting a lot of attention!

BUY CALL MAR-120 AMQ-CD OI=1140 at $ 8.75 SL=6.75 
BUY CALL MAR-125*AMQ-CE OI=2241 at $ 6.25 SL=4.75
BUY CALL APR-120 AMQ-DD OI= 275 at $10.88 SL=8.75
BUY CALL APR-125 AMQ-DE OI= 221 at $ 8.50 SL=6.50

Split play 

Average Daily Volume = 2.51 mln

Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=AMGN&d=3m


MSFT - Microsoft $145.75 -4.25 (-17.00 for the week)  

Microsoft is the largest computer software maker in the 
world, responsible for 90% of the operating systems in PC's 
sold today.

"What the OptionInvestor.com droppeth". . . can sometimes 
make a great put play!  As we wrote when we dropped MSFT 
Tuesday night, "MSFT committed the fatal error; actually, a 
couple of them.  First, technically, they have violated 
their 30-day moving average.  Second, they are giving a 
poor performance on the witness stand as reported by most 
media sources in their DOJ trial."  Both have acted further 
to hurt the stock.  Microsoft's is mired in negative 
technical territory, led by a further drop from its 30 DMA 
on heavy volume.  We can't blame it all on Dell.  MSFT's 
next support level is $140, giving us the opportunity to 
capitalize on this short-term fall.  The DOJ trial is 
making MSFT look bad too.  They've made a few bloopers that 
will cost them in public relations.  Today, an Associated 
Press news release whose headline reads "Linux May Be 
Threat to Microsoft" didn't help matters.  Their split is 
not until March 26, which will not affect this quick put 
play.  Confirm the down movement, then make your play.  
Remember to use stops when you reach your price target, or 
if the trade goes against you.

BUY PUT MAR-140 MSQ-OH OI=1506 at $4.50 SL=2.75
BUY PUT MAR-145*MSQ-OI OI=1750 at $6.50 SL=4.75
BUY PUT MAR-150 MSQ-OJ OI=2275 at $9.63 SL=7.00

Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=MSFT&d=3m
WHR - Whirlpool $41.63 +0.00 (-2.56 for the week)

Whirlpool is an appliance manufacturer and marketer of 
commercial and home appliances with facilities in North, 
South and Central America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, 
and Europe.

WHR is showing strong technical decay.  They violated their 
30 DMA in mid-January, and recently broke down soundly 
through previous support of $44.  MACD, Stochastics, 
Momentum and RSI are negative.  With so much foreign 
manufacturing and currency exposure, we don't anticipate 
WHR's price turning upward anytime soon and think it has 
further to fall.  It shouldn't be hard to confirm downward 
direction, but do it anyway just in case before making the 

BUY PUT MAR-45*WHR-OI OI=109 at $4.38 SL=2.75 ITM 3.37
BUY PUT MAR-40 WHR-OH OI=  8 at $1.38 SL=0.50 thinly traded

Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=WHR&d=3m
HWP - Hewlett Packard $67.94 -0.19 (-8.50 for the week)

The granddaddy of high tech companies, Hewlett Packard is a 
manufacturer and marketer of hardware and software 
solutions, computers, printers, testing equipment and 
peripheral devices.

Though profits were above analysts estimates, like Dell 
whose sales disappointed, HP sales were up only 1% over 
last year.  Forward visibility is for a flat quarter with 
heavy reliance on Asia turning around and pricing margins 
increasing or remaining flat -- not very likely prospects 
in the competitive high tech business.  Look for a decline 
to continue.  HP has moved drastically below its 30 DMA and 
technical support of $72.  Next stop --$64.  Confirm 
negative stock direction before playing.

BUY PUT MAR-70 HWP-ON OI= 781 at $4.63 SL=2.75 ITM $2.06
BUY PUT MAR-65 HWP-OM OI=1169 at $2.13 SL=1.00

Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=HWP&d=3m
AMZN - Amazon.com $89.50 -4.00 (-15.00 for the week)

Company Description:
Amazon is one of the giants among the volatile Internet 
stocks.  Amazon.com has dubbed themselves as the world's 
biggest bookstore.  They also sell CDs and videos. With one 
of the web's most popular websites, they offer customers up 
to 40% discounts.

Play Description:
Amazon has been tumbling downhill since back in early January 
when it reached an all time high of $199.  The Internet sector 
has been labeled as overvalued and has cooled off significantly 
with investors and analysts alike.  Now that the trend appears
to be leading to "value" stocks, AMZN is in trouble as analysts
continue to struggle with its soaring valuation.  To add to 
Amazon's troubles, rival Barnes and Noble has been increasing 
the competition by selling books online.  Soon, it will spin 
off an IPO focused solely on online book selling.  The 
competition could severely affect Amazon.  Confirm stock
direction before playing.

BUY PUT MAR-90*QZN-OR OI=1688 at $12.13 SL= 9.50
BUY PUT MAR-85 QZN-OQ OI= 129 at $ 9.13 SL= 6.75

CPQ - Compaq Computer $40.56 -0.44 (-2.44 for the week)

Company Description:
Compaq owns 12% share of the PC maker market to give it the 
#1 ranking in the world.  It is the 3d largest computer firm 
behind IBM and HWP. CPQ develops and manufactures a wide range 
of computing products that range from desktop and portable 
computers to PC servers.    

Play Description:
Compaq has been steadily falling since back in January after 
they announced their earnings.  They had actually beat First 
Call's estimates of $0.37 by reporting $0.43.  The stock shot 
up on the news.  But immediately after, Soundview downgraded 
the stock and it has been plunging ever since.  On Tuesday, 
Dell's disappointing sales numbers and slowing revenue growth 
came as a wake-up call to investors.  The weakened numbers 
could possibly apply to others in the sector like Compaq.  
CPQ's technicals have been looking bad for awhile now.  The 
company even broke through its support of $42.00 and couldn't 
rally in the green markets on Thursday.  Look for Compaq to 
continue is plunge. 
BUY PUT MAR-42.5 CPQ-OV OI=1526 at $4.00 SL=2.50 
BUY PUT MAR-40.0*CPQ-OH OI=4696 at $2.50 SL=1.25
BUY PUT MAR-37.5 CPQ-OU OI=4986 at $1.44 SL=0.00


A glimmer of hope?

Wednesday, February 17

U.S. markets slumped Wednesday on disappointing results from tech
giant Dell Computer. The mediocre earnings fueled concern that the
long-running bull market in technology stocks might be over. The
technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index plunged 64 points to 2,248
and the DJIA fell from an early rally to finish down 101 points at
9,195. In the broader market, declining issues swamped advances by
a 2-to-1 margin on active volume of 730 million shares on the New
York Stock Exchange.

MSFT was our focus today and with the overnight DELL sell-off, we
decided to close the book on the credit spread. We purchased the
MAR160P at $11.50 near the open and will hold the long put until
this technology sell-off fades. MSFT has now traded through all
recent lows and is a good candidate to hit $145. HNZ announced
the restructuring plan that all of the speculators were expecting
but made no real move in either direction. The play should remain
profitable and we plan to sell the March position this Friday near
the close or next Monday after the February option expiration.

New Tuesday plays:

BLS was a one day play. The debit strangle (FEB47P/50C) purchased
near the open for $0.68 was easily sold later for $2.50, a profit
of $1.81 in about 6 hours...Other new positions:

CATP 	JUN30C/MAR30C $3.00 Debit (All easy entries!)
LUV	MAR25C/MAR30C $3.12 Debit ("               ")
JNJ 	LJAN85/MAR85C $7.50 Debit ("               ")

Thursday, February 18

Most blue-chip stocks closed higher on Thursday as bargain buyers
flooded the market but the tech sector was still recovering from
the previous day's battering. The DJIA finished up 103 points at
9,298 recovering all of Wednesday's 101-point loss. The market's
other main blue-chip measure, the S&P500 Index, gained 13 points
to 1237 while the Nasdaq moved only slightly higher to 2260. In
the broad market, advancing issues led declines 17 - 12 on active
volume of 742 million shares on the New York Stock Exchange.

MSFT continued lower today and reaching new support near $145, we
sold the long position; MAR155P at $12.75. With the recent plunge
on QTRN, we decided to close the short positions (MAR50C @ $0.75).
Now we will need a rebound for the play to become profitable. Our
LEAP play on SEPR is in a unique situation, now about $40 ITM as
the stock price jumped $18 to a new high after the company, which
is now losing money, endorsed a bullish earnings forecast for the
years 2001-2003. You will need to make a decision about that play
tomorrow if you want to keep the LEAP. Hopefully, the stock will
pull back some so a roll-up may be effected with as little new
capital as possible. SKYT dropped $3 on mediocre earnings. It will
be interesting to see how well this one rebounds, atleast it is a
long-term play. The GTSG straddle is in a profitable position and
we have owned the position for less than a week. Make sure you
place closing orders to take advantage of the recent volatility!
				- NEW PLAYS -

Today, more neutral positions...

Sell Strangles; This strategy is viable when option premiums are
overpriced (high implied volatility) and there is a good history
of a technical range for the underlying issue. Much like the "Buy"
strangle, an investor sells the put below the current market and
the call above the current market. Upside potential is limited to
the two premiums received. The downside is potentially, but not
realistically, unlimited. The idea is that the stock will trade
between the two strike prices. When initiating this strategy, it
is important to calculate the margin required and maximum profit
in order to determine if the risk/reward is suitable. Please be
sure you understand all the risks involved before opening one of
these positions.

The margin requirement is generally the greater of the following:

1. 20% of the market price of the underlying security minus the
amount the put is out-of-the-money plus the two premiums, or
2. 10% of the market price of the underlying security plus the 
two premiums.
LU - Lucent  $101.00     *** Big Gap today! ***

Lucent Technologies is the leading US maker of telecommunications
equipment and software, from phones to business communications
systems, switching, transmission equipment, and wireless networks.
Globally, Lucent is a top maker of digital signal processors and
telecommunications power systems and is a major supplier to the
personal communication services market. Technology developed by
Bell Labs provides the basis for Lucent's products. Most of LU's
customers are telecom network operators. AT&T accounts for about
14% of Lucent's sales.

Telecommunications stocks rang up big gains on Thursday on merger
related news and a rush by investors to make some relatively safe
technology-related investments in a turbulent market. This gave LU
a boost and drove call option buyers to the fringe (OTM) series in
the March positions. The excellent premiums and recent sideways
trend make this an excellent candidate for a short strangle.
PLAY (very aggressive):

SELL CALL MAR-120 LU-CD OI=2732 B=$1.06
SELL PUT  MAR-85  LU-OQ OI=1703 B=$1.06

Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=LU&d=3m
GE - General Electric  $100.62     *** Steady as she goes! ***

General Electric operates a wide array of businesses, from TV
network NBC to power plant parts manufacturing. The fifth-largest
US corporation, it produces aircraft engines, transportation items
and equipment such as locomotives, electric appliances, lighting,
electric distribution and control equipment, industrial controls,
and materials, plastics, silicones, laminates, and abrasives. The
company's financial group, GE Capital Services, is one of the
largest financial services companies in the US.
A positive earnings report in January forecasting excellent future
revenues was well received and a Fortune magazine article announced
recently that General Electric is "America's most admired company."

We just like the nice steady trading range that is now developing
from $95 to $105. With no major changes in the short-term future,
this stock should continue to move sideways with only some small
market induced movements.

PLAY (very aggressive):

SELL CALL MAR-110 GE-CB OI=5631 B=$0.75
SELL PUT  MAR-90  GE-OR OI=4472 B=$1.00

Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=GE&d=3m
HD - Home Depot  $58.43     *** LEAPS/Covered-Calls ***

The Home Depot has more than 700 stores and is the largest home
improvement retailer in the US and has a significant presence in
Canada. The do-it-yourself market is its mainstay: The company
stresses customer service, low prices, and broad product range.
Home Depot also serves professional contractors. It is a pioneer
in the warehouse store category; the typical location is more than
100,000 sq. ft. and stocks 50,000 items including lumber, floor
and wall coverings, plumbing supplies, hardware, tools, and paint.
Home Depot is expanding into Puerto Rico and South America and will
be opening smaller US stores under the Villager's Hardware name.

Most U.S. retailers will report fourth quarter earnings over the
next few weeks, and analysts expect profits to match or exceed
their estimates because of strong sales throughout the sector.
Building supply stores like Home Depot were helped throughout 1998
by the housing boom across the United States that has been driven
by low mortgage rates. This trend is expected to continue and we
feel this is an excellent long-term play based on the economy and
the solid fundamental and techinal outlook for the stock.

PLAY (conservative/long-term):

BUY  CALL JAN00-60 LHD-AL OI=2261 A=$9.62
SELL CALL MAR-60   HD-CL  OI=4106 B=$2.00

Note: In the long-term calendar spread, we are reducing the net
cost of the long option by the amount of credit from the sale of
the nearer-term option. If the near-term call expires worthless,
we will sell the APR call to further reduce our debit. If the
short-term position is ITM on the last day of the strike, you
need to buy it back so that you DON'T have to exercise the long
term position. In that case, your long position is going up in
value also and on the last day of the strike period, the short
call will shrink down to intrinsic value so you should be ahead
in the play even after you buy it back.

Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=HD&d=3m
As a trader, you may be familiar with options on individual stocks
where you have the right to buy (call option) or the right to sell
(put option) a particular stock at some predetermined price within
some predetermined time. The buyer has the rights and the seller
the obligations. With index options the basic ideas are the same.
Index options allow you to make investment decisions on a specific
market industry or on the market as a whole. Spread strategies can
be made with index options similar to those made with individual
stock options. Many professional traders employ index spreads as a
hedge strategy. We favor debit positions on the SPX for momentum
and longer-term plays and OTM credit spreads on the OEX when the
risk/reward is favorable. Low ROI disparity spreads will be listed
(when available) for the conservative index trader.
OEX - S&P 100 Index  $618.18     OTM Credit-Spreads

The Standard & Poor's 100 Index is a capitalization-weighted index
of 100 stocks from a broad range of industries. The component
stocks are weighted according to the total market value of their
outstanding shares. The impact of a component's price change is
proportional to the issue's total market value, which is the share
price times the number of shares outstanding. 


For OTM credit spread trades, we like to use the actively-traded
S&P 100 Index options because they contain much more premium than
options on individual stocks and provide an underlying instrument
less prone to huge, gapping moves. Remember however, that you can
always be exercised early so monitor your positions daily. More
technical analysis and information on the OEX is available in the
Pinnacle "Market Sentiment" section.


PLAY (bearish/disparity - low ROI):
BUY  CALL MAR-670 OEY-CN OI=3465 A=$1.93
SELL CALL MAR-665 OEY-CM OI=794  B=$2.31

PLAY (bullish/disparity - low ROI):
BUY  PUT MAR-550 OEW-OJ OI=6202 A=$4.12
SELL PUT MAR-560 OEW-OL OI=3396 B=$5.00


PLAY (Bearish):
BUY  CALL MAR-655 OEY-CK OI=1076 A=$4.50
SELL CALL MAR-650 OEY-CJ OI=3810 B=$5.50

PLAY (Bullish):
BUY  PUT MAR-570 OEW-ON OI=4585 A=$6.38
SELL PUT MAR-575 OEW-OO OI=664  B=$7.12

CHART= http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=^oex&d=b

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This newsletter is a publication dedicated to the education 
of options traders. The newsletter is an information service 
only. The information provided herein is not to be construed 
as an offer to buy or sell securities of any kind. The 
newsletter picks are not to be considered a recommendation 
of any stock or option but an information resource to aid the
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