Option Investor
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Daily Newsletter, Thursday, 03/04/1999

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The Option Investor Newsletter         Thursday  3-4-99  
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)
************************************************************
        3-4-99           High     Low     Volume   Advances Decline
DOW     9467.40 +191.52 9480.71  9275.72  774,822k  1,713   1,183
Nasdaq  2292.89 + 27.69 2311.18  2250.63  889,603k  2,008   1,868 
S&P-100  623.22 + 11.22  624.22   612.00   Totals   3,721   3,051
S&P-500 1246.64 + 18.94 1247.91  1227.70            55.0%   45.0%
$RUT     394.02 +  2.07  394.24   391.42
$TRAN   3255.18 +  6.49 3273.61  3222.22
VIX       28.18 -  1.80   30.11    27.54
Put/Call Ratio      .66
*************************************************************

Why did the market soar +200 points the day before a jobs report?

If you can tell us and do it routinely we have a job opening
you can fill. There is no rational reason for the big jump in
the market today. Analysts are scratching their heads in
amazement. The market was widely expected to simply mark time
until after the jobs report because of the expected jump in
new jobs could be very hazardous to interest rates.

The February Jobs Report has a history of beating estimates
strongly. The bond market is holding its breath since 7 of 
the last 8 years the report has created havoc. The average
intraday bond change on the report day has been over 1.5
points. The worst was a full 3 point drop. You can imagine
the consternation in the bond pits today as the stock market
was running wild. What did stock investors know that they
did not? The official estimate for new jobs is 218,000. The
unofficial estimates say jobs could go as high as 350,000.
The real indicator is the unemployment number forecast to 
be 4.3%. Any real drop in the unemployment number could bring
a swift hike in interest rates. The concept here is not enough
prospective employees promotes a bidding war for the few
available. Higher employee costs fuel inflation. You know,
the dreaded "I" word. Alan Greenspan would be forced to hike
rates immediately to put more people out of work. I know this
sounds backwards to what common sense would dictate but we
have said many times, "if you want common sense, don't look
on Wall Street".

Some analysts pointed to the big Dell/IBM deal as the catalyst
for the rally but there was really no big benefit to either.
The deal will span seven years. IBM will sell components to
DELL at what we would assume was a bargain rate. DELL, which
has always bought components on the bleeding edge of the low
price window, could not have done much better at IBM than 
they were already doing. So where's the beef? IBM traded as
high as $177 but fell back to close at $170 as others asked
the same question. DELL traded as high as 84.75 but dropped
back to only 81.88 at the close.

After the close today there were two major developments.
Intel announced a $2 billion deal to acquire Level One
Communications and increase it's networking business. This
would be Intel's biggest deal so far, and reflects the growing
importance of products that help connect computer networks.
Level One makes chips with built-in communications features
that are used in networking gear. Level One had dropped -$5.25
in the days business after an analyst from Adam Harkness said
some negative things about LEVL earlier in the day. Oops!
LEVL was up over +$20 in after hours trading.

The second development was an earnings warning by CompUSA.
Same song, second verse from the previous warnings this
week. Unexpectedly slow PC sales would cause a breakeven
quarter where analysts had expected a +.21 gain. Ouch!
Don't bother thinking about a put, it is only an $8 stock.
Investors are evidently overlooking this continuing tech
nightmare and focusing on the Intel/LEVL deal. Futures
are up +$4.00 at 7:30.

Grab the NoDoz, online after-hours trading is on the way!
While not like the real thing and certainly not available
everywhere, Morgan Stanley Dean Whitter has announced they
will offer an evening trading session for their customers.
They will be using a new electronic exchange called IndivEx.
You can bet there will be some trials and pitfalls but this
is the forerunner of things to come. The other majors, Etrade,
Schwab, Ameritrade, etc will not let Morgan get ahead in the
race for your commission dollars. Etrade is already gearing
up their own electronic exchange as well.

February retail sales beat expectations again as further
proof that the economy is running strong. There was also
great demand for full-priced spring goods which would
indicate that this quarter will also be good. 

The markets fate tomorrow will of course ride on the Jobs
Report. At this point I am not sure the report could be
bearish enough to impact the stock market in a big way.
We have taken all the bad new in stride and continued to
hold just under our recent highs so really good news should
not be too hot to handle. Yes, if big Al raises rates, we
could see a dip but our 60 day outlook is still bullish.
I believe 10,000 is not out of reach yet.

Of note to the trend traders, we again have tripped the
upper limit of our recent trading range. The close today
at 9467 has broken the 9400 barrier and it looks like
we may test the 9600 ceiling from last week again tomorrow.
If we do then be very cautious of a failed rally possibility
at the 9600 level. Remember, a big move in either direction
is normally followed by a big move in the opposite direction.
Hopefully we will break out of this range to the upside an
start a new rally. If not then be ready to trigger those 
sells and wait for another cycle. If we do rally and close
above 9600 I think that could be the start of the next big
move. We are at a key moment in the market. Only time will 
tell. 

Sell too soon!

Jim Brown




Several weeks ago when we were having load problems on our
Windows NT4.0 servers I told you we were in contact every
day with Microsoft trying to get answers to their problems.
Surprise! Microsoft published a whitepaper on their findings
and resolutions today on the web. Nice to know that as guinea
pigs we at least helped others to solve these same problems.
For all those developers who emailed us with tips, tricks and
possible solutions, here is the address of their findings.
http://www.microsoft.com/backstage/whitepaper.htm
 




*******************************************************
Market Posture
*******************************************************
As of Market Close - Thursday, March 4, 1999 

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

DOW Industrials    9,200   9,500   9,467    Neutral   2.25            
SPX S&P 500        1,225   1,280   1,247    Neutral   3.4  *  
OEX S&P 100          615     630     623    Neutral   3.4  *   
RUT Russell 2000     420     435     394    BEARISH   2.4    

NDX NASD 100       1,900   2,150   1,933    Neutral   3.4  *   
MSH High Tech        930   1,040     917    BEARISH   3.2         

                   Key Benchmarks
Technology         Bearish/Bullish  Last    Posture/Since  Alert
****************************************************************
XCI Hardware         840     970     823    BEARISH   2.26            
CWX Software         620     680     610    BEARISH   2.26              
SOX Semiconductor    375     420     355    BEARISH   2.26      
NWX Networking       410     450     416    Neutral   3.4  *            
INX Internet         450     570     496    Neutral   2.19       

                   Key Benchmarks
Financial          Bearish/Bullish  Last    Posture/Since  Alert
****************************************************************
BIX Banking          630     675     675    Neutral   2.25                  
XBD Brokerage        630     700     728    BULLISH   3.4  *      
IUX Insurance        570     625     618    Neutral   2.25            

                   Key Benchmarks
Other              Bearish/Bullish  Last    Posture/Since  Alert
****************************************************************
RLX Retail           825     880     891    BULLISH   3.4  *    
DRG Drug             750     795     793    Neutral   2.25      
HCX Healthcare       750     795     791    Neutral   2.25              
XAL Airline          300     330     332    BULLISH   3.2   
OIX Oil & Gas        230     250     231    Neutral   3.4  *                  



Posture Alert

After rallying sharply nearly 200 points, we have turned Neutral 
across select broad market indices and industry sectors while 
they hold above key support levels.  We have also turned Bullish 
across the Retail sector and Neutral on the Oil & Gas sectors 
after the these sectors show of strength.

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

www.OptionInvestor.com/marketposture


******************************************************
Market Sentiment - By Pinnacle Capital Advisors
******************************************************

Pressure Value Releasing Steam

Two of Pinnacle's key sentiment indicators just released a lot of 
steam including the Investor's Intelligence survey and the Market
Volatility Index (VIX) - excellent leading and short-term
sentiment indicators. 

If the market is to climb to new heights, the level of optimism
as measured by our trusted sentiment indicators must first let
out some steam.  Pinnacle likes to track sentiment survey from
advisory newsletters as tracked by Investor's Intelligence
because this is regarded by many as a LEADING sentiment
indicator.  

It's considered a leading contrarian sentiment indicator because
if newsletter editors turn bullish or bearish, it is likely that
many of their respective subscribers will follow their
recommendations and initiated new Bullish/Bearish positions
accordingly.

Take a look at how many advisors have tempered their optimism for
the market.  Although the readings remain at extreme levels, the
recent release of steam can be viewed as a positive development.

                                      Bullish     Bearish
February  3, 1999                     60.0        26.7   
March 3, 1999                         50.9        32.1   


Next, Pinnacle has been tracking the Market Volatility Index 
(VIX) closely as an early clue as to where the market is
likely to head.  Today (3/4) the VIX closed below 30.0 (at
28.15) and is resting just above its 50-day moving average. 
If the VIX can break below and hold under 26.00, it would 
represent another positive development since this indicators
moves inversely to the broader market 

 



Although these positive developments can be viewed Bullishly, 
Pinnacle remains guarded as many other technical and sentiment
indicators are flashing alerts.

Market Sentiment at a Glance
********************************************************************   
                                Friday      Tues     Thurs  
Indicator                       (2/26)     (3/2)     (3/4)  Alert
********************************************************************

Pinnacle Index (OEX):          
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Overhead Resistance (620-635)     1.2        1.3       1.5
Underlying Support  (595-610)     1.7        2.0       2.2


Put/Call Ratios:
-----------------------------------------------------------------
CBOE Total P/C Ratio               .9         .7        .6
CBOE Equity P/C Ratio              .7         .5        .4      *   
OEX P/C Ratio                     1.3         .7       1.1      *                


Peak Open Interest (OEX):
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Puts                              610        560        560
Calls                             620        620        620
P/C Ratio                         1.1        1.2        1.2


Market Volatility Index (VIX):	
-----------------------------------------------------------------
CBOE VIX                        29.52       30.58      28.15   *



Investors Intelligence:
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Bullish                          54.1%      54.1%      50.9%   *  
Bearish                          31.5%      31.5%      32.1%   *
		

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                       (2/26)     (3/2)     (3/4)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
               
                    (630-635)      1.2       1.6       2.0
                    (620-625)       .9       1.1       1.2
Overhead Resistance (620-635)      1.0       1.3       1.5

OEX Close                       618.42    611.39    623.22

Underlying Support  (595-610)      1.7      2.0        2.2
                    (605-610)      1.7      1.8        2.0
                    (595-600)      1.7      2.2        2.5

Average ratings: 
Resistance levels 2.0 / Support .5

What the Pinnacle Index is telling us:
Overhead sentiment resistance is building at the OEX 620/635
level while the underlying support is firm at the
OEX 595/610 level.


Put/Call Ratio 
-----------------------------------------------------------------
                                Friday      Tues     Thurs
Strike/Contracts                (2/26)     (3/2)     (3/4) 
-----------------------------------------------------------------
CBOE Total P/C Ratio               .73      .67        .58
CBOE Equity P/C Ratio              .52      .49        .42
OEX P/C Ratio                     1.27      .67       1.07


Peak Open Interest (OEX)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
                     Friday         Tues           Thurs
Strike/Contracts     (2/26)         (3/2)          (3/4)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Puts                 610 / 9,902    560 / 11,990   560 / 12,293
Calls                620 / 8,614    620 /  9,849   620 / 10,572
Put/Call Ratio       1.15           1.22           1.16

 




 

Market Volatility Index (VIX)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
                    Major
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

March 4, 1999                           28.15   *


 


 
 


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
-----------------------------------------------------------------


January   6, 1999                     58.3        30.0   
January  13, 1999                     60.0        30.0   
January  20, 1999                     61.7        25.9   
January  27, 1999                     60.7        28.2   

February  3, 1999                     60.0        26.7   
February 10, 1999                     61.7        25.9   
February 17, 1999                     55.7        28.7   
February 24, 1999                     54.1        31.5   

March 3, 1999                         50.9        32.1   *




Please view this in COURIER 10 font for alignment
*****************************************************
RESULTS THIS WEEK

Index    Last    Mon    Tue    Wed   Thur   Week
Dow    9467.40  18.20 -27.17 -21.73 191.52 160.82
Nasdaq 2292.89   7.15 -36.15   6.17  27.69   4.86
$OEX    623.22  -0.36  -6.67   0.61  11.22   4.80
$SPX   1246.64  -2.17 -10.66   2.20  18.94   8.31
$RUT    394.02   2.13   0.04  -2.48   2.07   1.76
$TRAN  3255.18  18.43  53.20 -30.37   6.49  47.75
$VIX     28.18  -0.68   1.74  -0.60  -1.80  -1.34

Stock   Price    Mon    Tue    Wed  Thur   Week

RNWK     86.94  13.50  -0.50  -1.13  4.94 16.81 Stock of the Week
CMGI    139.38  10.75   7.63   1.69 -3.31 16.76 Buyable dip?
ANF      85.81   2.56   2.19   1.44  3.63  9.82 Blue skies!
MER      84.38  -0.31   1.81  -0.56  6.69  7.63 Upgrades
MWD      96.50  -0.88   0.75   2.44  3.69  6.00 Strong Brokers
COF     132.81   1.19   3.75  -2.19  2.44  5.19 Finance strong
MCD      90.13   1.56   3.31  -1.00  1.25  5.12 Splits tomorrow
BCST     87.75  11.69  -5.50  -3.25  1.00  3.94 New line up
SBUX     56.56   1.00   0.87  -0.12  1.94  3.69 Splits 3/19
SCH      77.94  -1.88   1.00   0.13  4.13  3.38 Strong Brokers
NXLK     49.06   3.75   2.00  -4.94  2.50  3.31 Coverage with buy
WMT      89.38  -0.25  -0.44   1.94  2.00  3.25 Announced split
SONE     67.50   0.13   4.38  -3.19  0.56  1.88 Holding
PVN     103.94  -1.00   1.94  -3.19  4.06  1.81 Strong Bounce
PSIX     37.50   0.38   0.94  -0.88  1.25  1.69 Still gaining
MEDI     56.63   2.25   0.13  -0.69 -0.06  1.63 Questionable
UTX     125.44   0.75   0.00  -1.31  2.13  1.57 Dow reactive
CMA      67.44  -0.31  -0.06   0.69  0.88  1.20 Consolidating
LOW      59.31   0.00   0.31   0.13 -0.44  0.00 Moving slowly
LGTO     48.75  -0.81  -0.38  -0.13  0.81 -0.51 Finishing its cycle
WCOM     81.88  -1.81  -0.19   0.56  0.81 -0.63 Wait for $82
EMC     101.13  -2.63  -1.75  -0.13  3.25 -1.26 Moving sideways
DLJ      55.25  -0.50  -1.88  -1.63  2.25 -1.76 Laggard broker
AOL      86.25   0.63  -2.88   0.38 -0.81 -2.68 Dropped

Puts

INTC    113.38  -2.88  -7.25   4.88 -1.31 -6.56 Possible warning!
BMCS     38.56   2.63  -2.88  -0.56 -1.50 -2.31 Latest rally failed
WLA      68.19   0.06  -1.88  -1.13  2.31 -0.64 Still under ma
ELNK     60.22   2.25  -0.44  -2.13  0.34  0.02 Struggling
BBY      93.00  -4.25   4.81   0.50 -0.81  0.25 PC sales slowing
CB       60.25   0.31  -0.06  -0.56  0.56  0.25 Still weak.
BDX      34.75   0.06   1.44   0.50 -0.75  1.25 Fighting back
ERTS     41.50  -0.06  -1.19  -0.38  3.25  1.62 Dropped
ADBE     45.63  -0.06   0.44  -0.44  5.44  5.38 Dropped
RAD      38.81  -1.75   0.38  -0.19 -1.00 -2.57 Online competition



PICKS WE DROPPED
****************
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.


CALLS:
******

AOL $86.25 -0.81 (-2.69)  Tonight, we say fare well to AOL 
who gave us a great earnings and split run.  The overall 
market tone was good today, but AOL didn't participate.  
Unfortunately, the post split depression appears to be 
setting in and we could see AOL suffer in the next few 
weeks.  When warranted, we'll bring AOL back for an 
earnings run when they announce again in late April. 
News that AT&T was not going to make an offer for AOL 
could be part of the reason for the drop today.


PUTS:
******

ADBE - $45.63 5.44 (5.38) Stock advanced higher above its 
declining 50-day moving average following big broad market
rally and upgrade by Merrill Lynch.  We have, therefore,
dropped Adobe from our short list.

ERTS - $41.50  3.25 (1.63) Stock advanced higher following 
broad market rally and now trading back within consolidation
band of $40-$42, but above key support at $40.  We therefore,
are dropping ERTS as PUT until the stock breaks below $40
again. 



PICK NEWS - CALLS
*******************************************************

CMA $67.44 +.88 (+1.19) CMA continued higher on Thursday
after a gain of $.69 on Wednesday.  Resistance is in the $69
range.  Volume has been light on CMA for the week.  This is
a result of people waiting for the jobs report on Friday.
If the report shows that inflation is not around the corner,
CMA could head for new highs.  Insurance companies do not
like interest rate hikes.

MWD $96.63 +3.81 (+6.13)  After going up $2.43 on Wednesday,
MWD followed up with a $3.81 gain on Thursday.  Salomon Smith
Barney raised its earnings estimates on MWD today.  Salomon
noted increased retail business.  MWD is quickly approaching
its 52-week high of $97.88.  A break through this level would
be very bullish if accompanied by strong volume.  

PSIX $37.50 +1.25 (+1.69)  PSIX has a good day today and 
is inching ever so slowly towards a new high.  If the market
decides to continue up the next week, PSIX should be able
to break through the $40 level.  PSIX isn't a bad stock to
target shoot on.  Volume has been well below average.

RNWK $86.94 +4.94 (+16.81) Congratulations to those that bought
RNWK on Monday.  RNWK has been a big winner so far this week.
The close today was right at the high for the day and is a
new 52-week closing high.  We are just $.50 from reaching an
all-time high.  Watch for pullbacks to initiate new plays.

EMC $101.13 +3.25 (-1.25) EMC bounced off of its 50 day moving
average yesterday and made a nice move today.  EMC has some
overhead congestion with its short term moving averages.  The
range of the congestion is $101.50 to $102.50.  We would like
to see EMC trade through this congestion.  In the news, EMC
indicated that it is looking for more growth in Asia. 
Currently Asia is 10% of total sales, and EMC would like to
grow that to 15%.

UTX $125.44 +2.13 (+1.56) UTX had an ugly day yesterday, but
traded up nicely today.  Dow sensitive stocks will do that when
the Dow moves 200 points in a day.  UTX is starting to flatten
out and has been in a trading range, much like the Dow.  In the
news, the US Justice Dept. sued Pratt & Whitney, a UTX
division, to recover about $75 million it claims UTX
overcharged the Air Force for jet engines.  It didn't appear to
have much of an impact on the stock today.  

LOW $59.31 -.44 (+0.00) LOW isn't going anywhere fast with much
enthusiasm.  It bounced gently off of its 10 day moving average
today, and closed above it.  We did see some positive retailer
reports today, and with the Dow going up 200 points, we would
have expected more of a move out of LOW.  We would like to see
LOW trade above $60.50 and stay above this level.  We haven't
had any news on LOW, which is probably contributing to the lack
of direction this week.  We are cautious about LOW and don't 
recommend any new plays.

LGTO $48.75 +.81 (-.50) The cycle we discussed on Tuesday held
true.  The cycle is 7 up days, followed by 3 down days.  LGTO
went up today after 3 down days.  Earlier this week, LGTO had
trouble with the $50 level.  Given the fact that its 30 and 50
day moving averages are still above it, we think it would be
prudent to have LGTO trade through the $50 level before
initiating any new positions.  In the news, LGTO announced that
it has integrated a third parties online data storage
management product into its Windows NT product suite.  

NXLK $49.06 +2.50 (+3.31)  Today Nextlink held its 2 1/2 
point gain on strong volume.  Even in yesterday's volatile 
market the stock never dropped below its old resistance of 
$46 and still was able to reach an intraday high of $52.  
This is impressive considering FUCM downgraded them during 
market hours from an outperform to hold.  Nextlink's 
resilience was rewarded today when DLJ initiated coverage 
to "buy" and set a target price on the stock of $62.  Look 
for the dips and use stop losses to protect your play.  

ANF $85.81 +3.63 (+9.81)  Should we warn the moon to look out?  
ANF has launched into orbit!  The company is up +9.81 in this 
week's trading.  It set an all time high $85.94 on Thursday.  
At these levels, we have to bring up the possibility of a 
split.  Even though it has never split before, it does have 
plenty of authorized shares.  As soon as we hear anything 
through the grape vine, we will alert you.  In the meantime, 
look for ANF to keep it up.

CMGI $139.38 -3.31 (+16.75)  CMGI has been very popular with 
investors this week to say the least.  Thursday came as CMGI's 
chance to catch its breath after sprinting up earlier in the 
week.  The stock consolidated and lost -$3.31.  CMGI could 
quickly recover if the markets can hold through the job reports 
on Friday.  CMGI is announcing its earnings next week on March 
11th.  It is possible that they may also announce a split.  The 
company has plenty of authorized shares for a 2:1 (100 million 
shares authorized and approximately 46 million issued).  In 
other news, CMGI will soon compete against AOL in the instant 
messenger business.  CMGI announced a letter of intent to 
acquire Activerse Inc., a company focused on Internet messaging
technologies.  

COF $132.81 +2.44 (+5.18) In Tuesday's write-up, we mentioned 
the 3,5,7 day cycle pattern.  Guess who followed the trend?  
After posting gains for three consecutive trading days, COF 
had the opportunity to consolidate some of those gains on 
Wednesday.  But, that was all the rest it needed because it 
was on its way up again in Thursday's rally.  COF does seem to 
have some resistance at the 133-134 level.  But, A.G Edwards' 
comments may provide the boost to blast through it.  The 
brokerage initiated coverage of COF with an accumulate rating.  
They like the company's information-based strategy that has 
proven successful in producing profits even though growth in 
the credit card industry is slowing.   


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



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*************************************************************
                      DISCLAIMER
*************************************************************
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  3-4-99  
Copyright 1999, All rights reserved. 
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


PICK NEWS - CALLS (continued)
*******************************************************
MCD $90.13 +1.25 (+5.13)  McDonald's will split 2:1 tomorrow, 
Friday March 5th.  It managed to break its all time high of 
$90 during Thursday's market rally by sneaking to $90.25.  If 
you are still holding positions in MCD, we suggest you sell 
before the closing bell rings. Sometimes it is hard to let go 
of such a winner.  But on average, 7 out of 10 splitters will 
suffer from post split depression.   It is smarter to be safe 
and let go for now.  You can always re-enter once it proves it 
can still cook up $$ as well as it does its burgers.  

MER $84.25 +6.56 (+7.50) YES! This is what we love to see. In 
a generally strong brokerage group, MER blew right past 
resistance at $80.00, adding $6.56 on the day. Positive comments 
from Guy Moszkowski at Soloman Smith Barney certainly helped. 
He believes that MER will perform MUCH better than the general 
Wall Street consensus believes, and he raised his earnings 
estimates on the company. His Q1 estimate was raised from 
$1.05 to $1.20/share and his full year estimate went from 
$4.35 to $4.70. Moszkowski sees MER doing more underwriting 
than expected, as well as strong retail and fixed income 
trading. Given the concerns over tomorrow's economic news, set 
those stops to protect your profits!

DLJ $55.25 +2.25 (-1.75) After recommending this stock in 
Sunday's newsletter, it promptly dropped in price for three 
days in a row for no apparent reason.  However, the move down 
was on relatively light volume, and the brokerage sector 
remained strong, so we kept it on our list. Today we were 
rewarded with a $2.25 gain--that's 4.25% at this price. With 
estimates raised for both MER and MWD, other brokerage stocks 
should experience sympathy moves to the upside. The whole 
sector still looks strong.

SCH $77.94 +4.13 (+3.38) Schwab, like the rest of the brokerage 
group, had a good day today. It was encouraging to see volume 
pick up a bit toward the end of the day when SCH added nearly 
$3.00 of today's $4.13 gain. It closed at the high of the day, 
which was also a new all-time high. Last quarter, industry 
online trading increased 34% over the previous quarter, and so 
far this quarter it is running 30% ahead of last quarter. 
Although he believes that March may slow down some, Bill 
Burnham, at C. S. First Boston, sees online trades this quarter 
conservatively rising by 25% over last quarter. That's good 
news for Schwab, which commands 30% of the online market. 
Looking STRONG, but be sure to protect those profits ahead of 
tomorrow's economic reports.

PVN $103.94 +4.06 (+1.81) Yesterday, A.G. Edwards started 
coverage of PVN with a "maintain" rating, which they based on 
valuation. Providian sold off sharply on that news, but today, 
as it always seems to do, it bounced right back with a gain. 
PVN has shown that it has strong support below, but now it has 
some intermediate resistance in the $104 to $105 range. Beyond 
that is resistance at its high of $108.81, set last Wednesday. 
Barring any valuation downgrades or dire economic news tomorrow, 
this stock should clear the first resistance easily. It has 
shown great resilience in coming back from any dips. Protect 
your profits with stops.

WMT $89.38 +2.00 (+3.94) They did it! Wal-Mart finally announced 
a 2-for 1 split after the market closed today. In the Sunday, 
2-28 newsletter, we commented that we were still playing WMT 
as a split candidate. We said, "With other companies announcing 
splits well after announcing earnings, it is still a possibility." 
Not only did WMT announce a split, they also increased their 
dividend by 29% and expanded their share repurchase program by 
$1.2 billion to $2 billion. WMT's sales numbers for last year 
were outstanding, and February sales, just released, show 
continued strong increases in both total and same-store sales. 
Today's announcements demonstrate the Board of Directors' 
confidence in WMT's future growth.

MEDI $56.06 -.06 (+1.63) After setting another new high of 
$59.50 on Tuesday, MEDI pulled back 2 days in a row on light 
volume. (Today's volume was less than half its normal volume.) 
This stock has been a great momentum play, and it got a boost 
from its alliance with Isxys last week in a venture to develop 
4 new anti-bodies. MEDI traded as low as $54.88 today, but a 
sprint up toward the close paired its loss to only 6 cents. It 
closed in an upward mode. Look for it to continue up on 
stronger volume before initiating new plays.

WCOM $81.88 +.81 (-0.63)  WCOM seems to be encountering 
resistance at the $82 level, despite the broader NASDAQ 
advance.  While we're glad to see a positive day, WCOM 
dipped as low as $79.13 intra-day, and volume was low at 
only 9.3 million shares.  There are two ways to play this: 
buy the dip on an otherwise good day; or, more 
conservatively, buy when WCOM moves over $82 with volume 
and holds.  As always, confirm market direction first.  In 
the news, Bell Canada and WCOM have agreed to provide 
seamless North American and global voice and data services, 
which will give Bell Canada's customers access to WCOM's 
seamless network, linking major commercial centers across 
North America and the rest of the world (Dow Jones)

C $60.13 +2.44 (+1.56)  C didn't look so hot yesterday, 
giving up $2.25.  Fortunately, volume was low.  C gained it 
back today on higher volume.  The financial sector and 
banking in particular have been marinating in the idea that 
financial conditions in South America aren't as bad as 
expected.  Bank earnings should be better than originally 
forecast.  Technicals are positive.  Resistance is $61.50 
set intra-day, Monday.  We'll have a clearer direction 
following tomorrow's unemployment figures release.  Wait 
for market confirmation before jumping in.

BCST $87.75 +1.00 (+3.94)  BCST was recently named 1 of 15 
holdings making up the CBOE Internet Commerce Index (^ECM) 
which began trading last Friday.  Also, BCST wasn't 
affected by market buzz that AMZN may not hit their top 
line numbers, which took the rest of the internets down in 
today's trading -- a good sign.  Technically, their chart 
is positive, but flattening out.  No news since the 
addition of Art Bell and Rush Limbaugh to the lineup.  Take 
any price spikes as an opportunity to sell for a gain.  
Confirm that the market is rising before starting another 
play.  Keep stops in place just in case the market heads 
south for the weekend.  It's still an Internet stock.

SONE $67.50 +0.56 (+1.87)  Where did all the buyers go?  
Though average volume is about 200K shares, only 81K 
exchanged hands today.  Yes, we are concerned that a 
reversal is near, but SONE is technically positive.  Wait 
for volume to return to the stock and take any profits on 
price spikes.  With AMZN causing Internet uncertainty, and 
a weekend looming, SONE is not a "buy and hope" play.  If 
the overall market and Internets show upward movement, you 
can make the play then.  The options are thinly traded.


PICK NEWS - PUTS
*******************************************************
CB $60.25 +.56 (-.06) CB went down on Thursday and looked
to trade down today until the market decided to go up 200 
points.  We like the fact that CB is still down on the week.
Tomorrows job report will be a key, but CB still has nothing
to drive it forward.

INTC $113.38 -1.31 (-5.00)  Analysts from 3 firms claimed 
the sell off for Intel was over yesterday and it rebounded 
4+ points, however after today's trading and significant 
company news it's evident that may not be the case.  Intel 
announced it is buying Level One Communications in a $2.2 bln 
stock deal giving up .43 shares for every one of LEVL.  This 
will cost INTC about 18.6 mln shares to consummate the deal 
expected to take place before the end of the 2nd quarter.  
To add fuel to the fire, rumor has it that their new Pentium 
III chip is not meeting sales expectations. Plus, they have 
asked their customers if any plan to cancel future orders.  
They've requested a timely response - five days notice!  
This may be a set up for a pre-earnings warnings.  Analysts
predict that if INTC does pre-warn they will do so by 3/12/99. 
Earnings are due April 14th.  And on the front burner 
for Intel is the antitrust case that is scheduled to begin 
this Tuesday.  The FTC alleges that the world's largest 
semiconductor maker has abused its market power over PC 
microprocessors and is a possible monopolist. To reiterate 
Tuesday's comment, we may very well see INTC fall to its 
200 dma near $100 before all is said and done.  Always confirm 
market direction and know your tolerance for risk.  

BBY - $93.00  -.81 (.25) Company reported 4Q same-store sales 
increased rose by 10.8 percent due to strong consumer
spending.  Despite the favorable news, the stock was not able
to move higher against the backdrop of slowing PC sales. 
Stock very volatile near its 52-week highs. We still like the
short theme. 

BDX - $34.75  -.75 (1.25) Stock off nearly a point on a day 
the broader market advanced nearly 200 points.  Recent rally
failed just under declining 50-day moving average.

BMCS - $38.56  -1.50 (-2.31) Stock just broke key support and 
resistance at $40.  Now recent trading range serves as overhead.  
Still like short theme given stock lost 1.50 on a day the broad 
market gained 190 points.

CSCO - $98.25  3.13 (.44) Stock recovering some after failing 
to get over $100 early in the week.  Stock still trading at
50-day moving average with overhead sentiment.

ELNK - $60.22  .34 (.03) Stock bearly hanging on at its key 
support level despite big market rally today (3/4).  If stocks 
trades BELOW $60, it could send Bulls to the showers. 

WLA - $68.19  2.31 (-.63) Stock up along with many others as 
the broad market jumped 190 points.  Stock still trading below
its declining 50-day moving average.

******************
NEW CALL PLAYS 
******************

SBUX - Starbucks Corp $56.56 +1.94 (+3.69 for this wk)(+4.50)

Starbucks is the #1 specialty retailer of coffee in the US.  
It operates more than 2,000 shops across the United States, 
Asia, Canada, and the UK.  They can be found in places ranging 
from office buildings and airports to shopping centers and 
supermarkets.  Starbucks sells a wide variety of specially 
blended coffees and pastries as well as the beans, coffee 
grinders, and coffee makers.  It has a deal with Dreyer's to 
make coffee ice cream and also has bonded with PepsiCo to make
Frappuccino, a bottled coffee drink.

SBUX has been frothing gains left and right.  It is up +3.69 
this week alone.  On Thursday in intraday trading, the company 
broke through its closest price resistance and steamed as high 
as $57.13.  Even though its next resistance is not far away at 
its all time high of $59.94, we feel that it could percolate 
higher.  Why?   SBUX is splitting 2:1 on March 19th.  The best 
time to jump into positions is in the two weeks before the split.  
We are looking for SBUX to gain momentum as that date nears.

New: If you need a new way to wake-up in the morning, you might 
want to stop by Starbucks.  On March 10th, SBUX will offer their 
latest of coffee/chocolate combinations- Starbucks Mocha and 
Starbucks Dark Mocha.  Double trouble, but definitely worth a 
try!! 

BUY CALL MAR-55*SQX-CK OI= 811 at $3.13 SL=1.50
BUY CALL MAR-60 SQX-CL OI= 403 at $0.88 SL=0.00
BUY CALL APR-55 SQX-DK OI= 720 at $4.75 SL=3.25
BUY CALL APR-60 SQX-DL OI= 888 at $2.50 SL=1.25
 
Picked on March 4th at $56.56      PE= 65
Change since picked   +$ 0.00      52 week low =$28.75
Analysts Ratings    5-6-5-0-0      52 week high=$59.94
Last earnings 01/99 est 0.23   actual 0.29 surprise=+26% 
Next earnings 04-22 est 0.20   versus 0.15
Average Daily Volume = 1.02 mil
Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=sbux&d=3m



******************
NEW PUT PLAYS 
******************

RAD - Rite Aid $38.81 -1.00 (-2.57 for this week)

Rite Aid is one of the top three largest drug stores in the 
country.  With 3900 units in 32 states, you may already 
have one in your neighborhood.  It goes without saying that 
they fill prescription, but they also sell cards, film, 
general merchandise and vitamins.  They announced late last 
year they would be adding General Nutrition Center 
(GNC)stores inside 1500 units.

RAD has been consistently hitting new lows since mid-
February, and today on 250% of normal volume, closed at its 
lowest level since early November, below its 200 DMA.  Very 
bearish.  Their chart is negative on MACD, stochastics, 
momentum and RSI.  Though their sales have been increasing 
per store and system-wide, AMZN's recent purchase of a 
stake in Drugstore.com doesn't help the case.  With the 
$1.5 billion January 1999 purchase of PCS Health Systems 
from Eli Lilly, S&P has affirmed their outlook as 
"negative".  Earnings are scheduled March 14.

BUY PUT MAR-45 RAD-OI OI= 59 at $6.75 SL=5.00 ITM 6.19
BUY PUT MAR-40*RAD-OH OI=347 at $2.38 SL=1.00 ITM 1.19
BUY PUT MAR-35 RAD-OG OI=  0 at $0.00 SL=0.00 new strike

Picked on March 2 at     $38.81        PE = 52
Change since picked       +0.00        52 week low =$29.75
Analysts Ratings      6-3-3-0-0        52 week high=$51.13
Next earnings on 3-14 est= 0.50        versus=0.44
Average daily volume = 1.4 mln.
Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=RAD&d=3m



*****************************************************
COMBINATION PLAYS   
*****************************************************
Market Soars...Techs Rebound...

Wednesday, March 3

Most blue-chip issues fell lower Wednesday as Wall Street suffered
from the jump in long-term interest rates and new worries ahead of
Friday's U.S. jobs-data report for February. The DJIA was off 21
points at 9275. The technology-heavy Nasdaq index shook off early
losses to close slightly higher at 2265. In the broader market,
declining issues led advances 16 to 13 on active volume of 749
million shares on the NYSE.

Portfolio plays:

The spreads editor was away from the market for most of Wednesday
and would appreciate any input on plays that you entered (or sold).
Our new positions were ATHM; MAR135C/130C at $0.75 credit and UAL;
JAN00-65LEAP/MAR65C at $9.62 debit. These prices were based on
trades from subscribers so if you were filled at a different price,
send it in. VISX gapped down about $4 at the open but rebounded
quickly and has yet to falter. You might have made a small profit
as it fell during the first few minutes of trading but I think it
is unlikely any trades could have been made that rapidly. For now,
we will watch for the first signs of a sell-off and keep an eye on
the volume of the OTM puts for perspective. If you didn't close
the NXTL play on Tuesday, it should have been closed today for a
$1.00 profit. CKH is performing better than expected with the new
"oil services" rally. Traders are beginning to speculate that the
current oil prices may be the lows of the year. Watch for a trend
reversal and don't let the position fall beyond 1/2 the initial
debit.

Thursday, March 4

The stock market rallied on Thursday after the announcement of a
$16 billion pact between IBM and Dell. It is the largest supply
deal the industry has ever seen and it started a buying frenzy.
The DJIA closed up 191 points at 9467 with excellent strength
in technology, financial services, retail and oil stocks. The
Nasdaq Index gained 27 points to 2293. Gains ousted declines on
both the NYSE and the Nasdaq, but the breadth was much better
on the Big Board.

Portfolio plays:

The tech sector rebounded on news that DELL and IBM joined forces
in a new marketing/equipment agreement. Both stocks traded higher
and that allowed us to exit the DELL (MAR75C/80C) debit spread at
a $1.00 profit. We also sold the IBM MAR175C for $6.00 and plan to
buy the MAR185C on the post announcement dip to close the play.
CKH continued its climb today as crude prices firmed. We started
the exit on this one early (MAR45P at $4.50), based on the rally
in the sector.
******************************************************************
				- NEW PLAYS -
******************************************************************
BFI - Browning Ferris  $33.75     *** Merger/Takeover ***

Browning-Ferris Industries is the US's #2 waste-management firm,
operating more than 90 solid-waste landfills, about 30 medical
waste treatment facilities, and about 90 recycling facilities in
North America. BFI also rents portable restrooms and owns half of
American Ref-Fuel, which operates waste-to-energy facilities.
BFI also owns 20% of SITA, Europe's top waste company.

The speculators were heavy into BFI calls on Wednesday, forcing
implied volatility sharply higher. Daily call volume registered
more than 5000 contracts against only 25 puts on the AMEX. Most
of the activity was in the March 35 and April 35 contracts. Many
option traders said the market clearly reflected expectations of
a takeover.

The technical outlook for the stock is fairly stable with some
support around $30 and a previous trading range near $35. This
is a good speculation play.
 
PLAY (speculative/debit spread):

BUY  CALL APR-30 BFI-DF OI=19   A=$5.12
SELL CALL APR-35 BFI-DG OI=1370 B=$2.25
INITIAL NET DEBIT TARGET=$2.75 ROI(max)=81%

Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=BFI&d=3m
******************************************************************
ICST - Integrated Circuit Systems  $16.62   *** Take-over? ***

Integrated Circuit Systems specialized mixed-signal integrated
circuits (ICs) include frequency timing generators, which help
PCs keep track of time; data communications ICs; and custom
mixed-signal chips. Their products are sold to computer and
peripheral makers such as Compaq, IBM, and Sun Microsystems,
who use them in everything from computers and data storage
devices to communications products.

An investor group led by senior ICS managers is supposedly buying
the company. Back in January, management officials together with
affiliates of Bain Capital and Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. announced
they will acquire all of the outstanding shares of ICST at a cash
price of $21.25 per share. But nobody can understand why the stock
dropped recently with a supposed firm buyout offer at $21. Some
are speculating that stock price manipulation is occuring (among
other illegal maneuvers) and a number of investors have contacted
the SEC. Whatever the outcome, We are quite sure the stock won't
remain at $16.

PLAY (aggressive/debit strangle):

BUY CALL APR-17.50 IBQ-DW OI=215 A=$1.06
BUY PUT  APR-15.00 IBQ-CI OI=110 A=$1.00
INITIAL NET DEBIT TARGET=$2.00 TARGET ROI=25%

Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=ICST&d=3m
******************************************************************
MTC - Monsanto  $46.19     *** Merger Speculation ***

Monsanto's products include leading herbicides and genetically
engineered plants such as cotton and soybeans; artificial
sweetener, NutraSweet; fat substitute Simplesse; and drugs used
to treat insomnia and arthritis. Monsanto is looking to new
agricultural biotechnology products (seeds) for growth. It bought
DEKALB Genetics in 1998, is buying Delta and Pine Land and has
also spun-off its chemicals business as Solutia Inc.

The company has held exploratory talks on mergers or alliances
with DuPont and other companies in recent months and some new
speculation about a merger is surfacing again. We will use the
extreme option interest to provide a short-term time spread for
the March expiration. Plan to sell the long position after the
short position expires (or is bought-back) on March 19.

PLAY (conservative/time spread):

BUY  CALL APR-45 MTC-DI OI=4052 A=$4.25
SELL CALL MAR-45 MTC-CI OI=7961 B=$2.38
INITIAL NET DEBIT TARGET=$1.75 TARGET ROI=35%

Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=MTC&d=3m
******************************************************************
LEH - Lehman Brothers  $57.93     *** LEAPS / Covered Calls ***

Lehman Brothers Holdings is a leader in investment banking, with
offices in the Asia/Pacific region, Canada, Europe, Latin America,
the Middle East, and the US. It offers investment and merchant
banking services, as well as underwriting fixed income (bonds and
other debt products), equities, asset management, institutional
sales, and private client services. In addition, Lehman trades
stocks, currency, derivatives, and commodities. The firm has cut
costs and is expanding into such emerging markets as China, India,
and Thailand. Lehman is also anticipating more growth in Europe.

Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette upgraded shares of brokerage Lehman
Bros to a "buy" from a "market perform". All of the estimates for
the fiscal first quarter and for fiscal year 1999 were raised on
the company and the overall brokerage sector. They are bullish
on the group as a whole. We like the long-term technical outlook
and the excellent option premiums that this stock has every month.

PLAY (conservative/long term):

BUY  CALL JAN00-60 LHE-AL OI=627 A=$11.00
SELL CALL MAR-60   LEH-CL OI=395 B=$1.38
INITIAL NET DEBIT TARGET=$9.38 TARGET ROI=100%

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=LEH&d=3m
******************************************************************
INDEX OPTION SPREADS...
******************************************************************
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  $623.22     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. 

OBSERVATIONS:

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.

TECHNICALS:

Review the Pinnacle Hedge-Section for more specific technical
information on the S&P 100 Index.
 
PLAY (conservative/bearish):

BUY  CALL MAR-655 OEY-CK OI=3943 A=$1.62
SELL CALL MAR-650 OEY-CJ OI=9283 B=$2.31
NET CREDIT TARGET=$0.75 ROI=17% (2 weeks)

PLAY (conservative/bullish):

BUY  PUT MAR-580 OEW-OP OI=6063  A=$2.38
SELL PUT MAR-585 OEW-OQ OI=2333  B=$2.87
NET CREDIT TARGET=$0.50 ROI=11% (2 weeks)

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




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*************************************************************
                      DISCLAIMER
*************************************************************
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 
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