Option Investor

Daily Newsletter, Tuesday, 03/16/1999

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The Option Investor Newsletter         Tuesday  3-16-99  
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)
        3-16-99          High     Low     Volume   Advances Decline
DOW     9930.47 - 28.30 10001.78  9926.58  744,858k  1,299   1,664
Nasdaq  2439.27 +  7.83  2450.01  2423.81  979,824k  1,703   2,278 
S&P-100  655.64 +   .16   658.68   653.04   Totals   3,002   3,942
S&P-500 1306.36 -   .90  1311.13  1302.37            43.2%   56.8%
$RUT     399.17 -  1.67   401.80   399.10
$TRAN   3388.56 - 16.09  3401.02  3374.55
VIX       26.19 +   .07    27.41    26.02
Put/Call Ratio      .52

10,001.78 but where's the rally?

Yes, the DOW tagged 10K this morning but immediately ran for cover.
As if shrinking back into the safety of sub 9950 levels to wait
for the smoke to clear the Dow languished for the remainder of
the day. While everyone expected the break through to come today
the follow through may not come for sometime. Actually now that
the emotional barrier has been broken we could see some profit
taking at this level. The blazing +750 run the last two weeks
has got to take a pause to refresh soon.

The big push to D10K was helped this morning by several earnings
upgrades and analyst upgrades. Union Carbide (UK) announced they
expected earnings to come in at the high end of analysts estimates.
Merck (MRK) was upgraded after the FDA announced they had approved
their cholesterol drug Mevacor for wider use to prevent first
heart attacks. Boeing (BA) announced that they were forming a
new division to modify existing planes and were upbeat about the
wave of new business expected. Merrill Lynch (MER) was upgraded
along with a host of online brokers. The new price target on 
MER is $105, a rise of +$15.

With all the positive news you would have thought the D10K
would have been history and we would be talking about 10100
instead. The old market breath problem lurking on the sidelines
was the culprit again. The decliners beat advancers 3,942 to
3,002. While bulls are trumpeting the market euphoria the broader
market is slowly selling off. The DOW continues to be carried
by a select few stocks and the Russell-200 again fell under 400.

The outlook is not bright. Until the market internals improve,
any number the Dow reaches this week is simply a number we will
have to pass again after the coming sell off. Ralph Acompora
was on CNBC again today saying glowing things about his Dow
11,500 prediction. As I watched him talking about GE, MRK, UTX,
and how impressed he was at the new individual highs, I got
the impression he was nervous. Kind of like a new car salesman
trying to sell the highest dollar car on the lot. I did not
see any confidence in his demeanor or his voice. Remember last
year when he was on CNBC predicting D10K in 1998 and then three
days later he reversed and predicted 8500. He almost had the
same "look", like he was trying to talk the market back up
quick so he would not look bad. Just an impression.

While I am bullish about this market through April, I am cautious
about the next week or so. Earnings warning season is upon us
and we could get some negative news any day. I love the positive
earnings upgrades like today but bad news seems to have more
impact after a big run. The prospects of positive tech announcements
are good compared with the first quarter of last year. Last year
was not a particularly good quarter and estimates are running
about +35% higher for this quarter. If they hold, the tech
sector should continue to hold up the Dow well into April.

I get a lot of email about why the Dow controls our fate when
it is only 30 stocks. I wish the answer was easy. Basically
the Dow has been the pulse of the market for so long that it
is has become a historical icon and pivotal focus point. When
it comes to market indexes, it pays to be first and have your
own newspaper. The first Dow only had 12 stocks and the 30
stock index did not happen until 1928. The editors of the
Wall Street Journal have not changed the number since. You
would think an index of 30 companies would be a strange way
to measure a market of more than 10,000 stocks. The Dow 
companies represent a combined market value of more than $2.5
trillion, or about one-fifth of the $12 trillion value of all
U.S. stocks. The 30 Dow stocks actually represent over 70
different companies. General Electric alone is a leader in
a dozen different industries. Despite the difference in size
the Dow 30 and the S&P-500 almost always move in the same
direction. The difference is more apparent the farther away
from blue chips you get. While the Dow has been led this year
by eight stocks accounting for over 80% of the +750 points
since Jan 1st, the S&P has been led by a like group of 25
blue chips. The blue chip indexes have been moving upward
while the non-blue chip companies are slowly drifting down.

The answer is liquidity. Funds can move in and out of blue
chips quickly (relatively speaking) without impacting the
price. When a fund tries to reduce a large position in a 
smaller company the impact can be disastrous. The point of
this topic is the Dow may control our fate because of the 
visibility but it does not represent the real market. We are
all focused on the D10K spectacle but we should be focused on
the other signals as well. With Y2K slowly approaching, we could
be lulled into a false sense of security with the Dow at record
levels. The broader market is selling off as evidenced by the
declining advances and increasing decliners. It is a stealth
sell off and could be portfolio managers taking advantage of
the focus on the Dow to liquidate big positions in small to
mid-cap stocks. They are moving funds into the big blue chips
because of the appearance of liquidity. Trust me, if they all
decided to leave at once it would not be a pretty picture.

The Dow is calculated by a divisor rather than by the number
of shares or the stock price in each company. If it was just
the stock price then Dow 10,000 would be the total of the
stock prices of all 30 stocks. Because of stock splits and
adjustments the divisor is currently 0.225. If the Dow was
exactly 10,000 then the share prices of all 30 stocks would
add up to $2,250. (dividing $2,250 by 0.225 equals 10,000)
Using the same math, every time a stock in the Dow moves up
or down $1.00 the Dow moves 4.5 points in the same direction.
Wal-Mart and IBM are both splitting their shares 2:1 soon.
The divisor after the split will shrink to about 0.215. Any
$1 move by a Dow stock would be a 5-point move in the Dow.
Why the lesson? If every Dow stock dropped $2 on the same 
day (after the splits) the Dow would drop -300 points. 
300 points for only a $2 move each. Obviously if we had a
sell off, big stocks like IBM at $180 will drop more than
$2. An average drop of $5 would be a 750 point drop in the
DOW.  750 points? That is the amount the Dow is up for the
year. That means that the average rise in the Dow stocks has
only been $5.00.  Do you now understand how fragile the Dow
is at 10,000? Even more fragile if you remember that only
eight of the Dow stocks are responsible for the move. That 
is an average rise by eight stocks of $18.75 each while the 
rest were asleep. Profit taking anyone?

The market was unaffected by Mr. Greenspan today but he gets
another chance on Friday. 

Friday is also a triple witching option expiration day. The
market bias for expiration weeks is normally up as traders
cover their short positions. The recent market rise may have
already cleared most of them so the expiration impact may be
muted. If you are not out of March positions yet you obviously
are living dangerously. S&P futures are down about -2.00 at
8:30 so we could see a soft open in the morning.

Sell too soon!

Jim Brown   

Site Access Solution 

Some of you are aware of the recent access problems we
experienced. This was not the fault of OptionInvestor.com
but was traced to a router problem at a Cable & Wireless

What we did find out from the exercise was a potential
hole in the Internet access model. We have taken drastic
steps to prevent this type of outage in the future.

By Sunday night we will have three sets of totally redundant
servers in place at three different T3/OC12 network locations.
This will prevent a failure by any one Internet provider from
preventing access to the site. Each location will be serviced
by a different backbone connection. Either Cable & Wireless,
UUNet or Qwest. Each will be load balanced to provide the
fastest connection speeds and downloads possible. 

Setting up the different server locations will mean some
sporadic server downtime and possible strange results until
the move is completed and the IP addresses are updated 
throughout the Internet. Please bear with us as the result
will be worth the wait.

Market Posture
As of Market Close - Tuesday, March 16, 1999 

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

DOW Industrials    9,200   9,500   9,930    BULLISH   3.5              
SPX S&P 500        1,225   1,280   1,306    BULLISH   3.11    
OEX S&P 100          615     640     656    BULLISH   3.11    
RUT Russell 2000     400     435     399    BEARISH   3.12     

NDX NASD 100       1,900   2,080   2,073    Neutral   3.4     
MSH High Tech        900   1,000     990    Neutral   3.5           

                   Key Benchmarks
Technology         Bearish/Bullish  Last    Posture/Since  Alert
XCI Hardware         800     900     878    Neutral   3.5              
CWX Software         600     650     626    Neutral   3.5                
SOX Semiconductor    350     420     381    Neutral   3.5        
NWX Networking       400     450     441    Neutral   3.4              
INX Internet         450     570     557    Neutral   2.19       

                   Key Benchmarks
Financial          Bearish/Bullish  Last    Posture/Since  Alert
BIX Banking          650     675     695    BULLISH   3.5                    
XBD Brokerage        650     700     800    BULLISH   3.4        
IUX Insurance        600     625     647    BULLISH   3.5              

                   Key Benchmarks
Other              Bearish/Bullish  Last    Posture/Since  Alert
RLX Retail           850     880     927    BULLISH   3.4      
DRG Drug             775     795     829    BULLISH   3.5       
HCX Healthcare       775     795     832    BULLISH   3.5                
XAL Airline          320     330     357    BULLISH   3.2   
OIX Oil & Gas        230     250     250    BULLISH   3.11                      

Posture Alert

Eclipsing but not closing above 10,000.  After the DOW 
traded above 10,000 briefly, it could not hold and close
above the magic 10,000 mark.  We have not change our
market posture but want to alert investors that Tuesday
(3/15) may represent a near-term reversal after the broad
market finished in negative territory.  Russell 2,000
(RUT) still below key 400 level.

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


Market Sentiment - By Pinnacle Capital Advisors

Eclipsing But NOT Closing Above 10,000

Pop quiz: what's more important to savvy technical traders - the 
open, high, low or closing price?  Although the DOW briefly
climbed above 10,000 Tuesday, the big cap index did NOT close
above the much anticipated milestone.  In fact, it actually
closed in negative territory.  More problematic, if the broad
sells off Wednesday (3/17), it will actually confirm a near-term
reversal signal given Pinnacle's technical and sentiment

As we highlighted Sunday (3/15), the weak Russell 2000 and 
advanced/decline line is NOT exactly confirming the recent bull
market breakout.  Bottom line: the generals are leading but the
troops are NOT following. 

Last week, Pinnacle began tracking what option speculators were
buying by way if OTM call option in March's expiration cycle. 
Take a look at the open interest sitting at OTM call options
between 650-700 and how many was added since last Friday (3/12). 
A incredible 37% increase.  If the DOW does not get over 10,000
by expiration Friday (3/19), there will be a lot of unhappy
option traders.

This extreme level of optimism, as reflected
by our high Pinnacle Index, suggests that there is HEAVY
overhead market sentiment.  What this means is that the market
is vulnerable to a precipitous sell-off if expectations are NOT

OEX OTM Call Analysis (Open Interest 650-700)
Date                 Open Interest     Change %    Alert
Friday, March 5             58,085         -
Thursday, March 11          65,569      +12.9%
Friday, March 12            68,675      +18.2%
Tuesday, March 16           79,480      +37.8%      *

Together, these technical and sentiment Bearish developments may 
preempt the 10,000 party.  As such, we want to encourage
investors to develop a balanced attack.


Market Sentiment at a Glance
                                Friday     Tues      Thurs  
Indicator                       (3/12)     (3/16)    (3/16)  Alert

Pinnacle Index (OEX):          
Overhead Resistance (650-665)     4.9        3.4                
Underlying Support  (625-640)     1.6        1.7

Put/Call Ratios:
CBOE Total P/C Ratio               .5          .5
CBOE Equity P/C Ratio              .5          .4               *   
OEX P/C Ratio                     1.2          .9               *                

Peak Open Interest (OEX):
Puts                              625         600
Calls                             650         655
P/C Ratio                         1.1         1.1

Market Volatility Index (VIX):	
CBOE VIX                        25.81       26.19               *

Investors Intelligence:
Bullish                         49.1%       49.1%               *  
Bearish                         32.5%       32.5%               *

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
Benchmark                       (3/12)      (3/16)
                    (660-665)     36.3       14.9
                    (650-655)      2.9        2.1
Overhead Resistance (650-665)      4.9        3.4

OEX Close                       648.27     655.64 

Underlying Support  (625-640)      1.6        1.7
                    (635-640)      1.2        1.3
                    (625-630)      2.1        2.6

Average ratings: 
Resistance levels 2.0 / Support .5

What the Pinnacle Index is telling us:
Overhead sentiment resistance is heavy at the OEX 650/665
level while the underlying support is firm at the
OEX 625/640 level.

Put/Call Ratio 
                                Friday      Tues       Thurs
Strike/Contracts                 (3/12)     (3/16)     (3/18)
CBOE Total P/C Ratio               .54        .52
CBOE Equity P/C Ratio              .47        .40
OEX P/C Ratio                     1.22        .87

Peak Open Interest (OEX)
                     Friday         Tues           Thurs
Strike/Contracts     (3/12)         (3/16)         (3/18)
Puts                 625 / 13,060   600 / 13,099
Calls                650 / 10,809   655 / 12,185
Put/Call Ratio       1.12           1.10



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
March 4, 1999       Bottom              28.15   

March 16, 1999                          26.19   *



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   

Please view this in COURIER 10 font for alignment

Index    Last      Mon      Tue   Week
Dow    9930.47    82.42   -28.30  54.12
Nasdaq 2439.27    49.91     7.83  57.74
$OEX    655.65     7.21     0.17   7.38
$SPX   1306.36    12.67    -0.90  11.77
$RUT    399.17     2.46    -1.67   0.79
$TRAN  3388.56   137.14   -16.09 121.05
$VIX     26.19     0.31     0.07   0.38

Stock  Price    Mon   Tue   Week

RNWK  115.00  26.13  -6.25 19.88  Profit taking after yesterday's leap
IMNX  177.25   8.44   0.56  9.00  Splits 2:1 March 26th
MSFT  169.06   5.69   3.19  8.88  Splits 1 week from Friday
AOL   104.94   5.88   2.94  8.82  Reiterated buy rating and $125 target
EMC   117.75   4.06   1.44  5.50  New all time highs
MER    91.75   4.44   0.06  4.50  New price target of $105
SCH    88.50   3.94   0.56  4.50  Pre-warned they would beat earnings
QCOM   80.88   4.81  -1.19  3.62  New deal injecting price up
TLAB   94.00   4.50  -1.19  3.31  Possible entry point?
AHP    68.00   2.25   0.38  2.63  New all time highs
GE    110.00   2.75  -0.13  2.62  Setting new highs, very bullish analyst
DELL   44.38   1.56   0.63  2.19  Up 2 days in a row
JPM   124.00   3.38  -1.38  2.00  Healthy profit taking, watch for entry
PFE   142.00   0.44   1.19  1.63  New play, setting new highs
BA     36.25  -0.44   1.56  1.12  Climbing early
MWD   101.94   0.88  -0.06  0.82  New price target of $115
SBUX   60.75   0.63   0.06  0.69  Splits on Friday
KMB    50.94  -0.50   1.00  0.50  Is this your entry point?
LGTO   57.13   1.00  -0.50  0.50  Holding above its 50 dma
PVN   114.88   0.94  -0.50  0.44  Resisted major profit taking today
G      61.88  -0.50   0.38 -0.12  Wait for close above $63
WMT    96.00   0.38  -0.75 -0.37  Setting new highs
GDT    67.31   0.81  -1.69 -0.88  Biotech is getting popular
C      64.50   0.00  -1.44 -1.44  Announced $2 bln share buyback
KSS    73.25  -0.94  -1.19 -2.13  Consolidating, wait for bounce
LOW    62.63  -0.69  -1.56 -2.25  Consolidating, wait for bounce
CL     89.88  -0.94  -1.69 -2.63  Dropped
COF   130.00  -1.06  -3.56 -4.62  Dropped


CB     58.69  -0.31  -0.63 -0.94  Still slipping
NAV    37.50  -0.13  -0.50 -0.63  Slipping slowly
BMCS   36.50   0.63  -0.44  0.19  Downgrade yesterday
SNC    30.69   0.00   0.81  0.81  A bump on the way down?
LHSG   38.00   0.38   0.50  0.88  Nothing moves in a straight line
CPQ    32.38   1.13   1.00  2.13  Wait for bounce downward
DAL    66.75   5.00  -2.25  2.75  Dropped
MCK    65.56   3.00   2.94  5.94  Dropped
TBH    76.44   6.13   1.19  7.32  Dropped
CNET   96.94  10.75  -0.06 10.69  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.


COF $130.00 -3.56 (-4.63)  COF seems to have rolled over. 
The stock reached as high as $136.75 in intraday trading two 
weeks ago but fell short of its all time high of $140 set back 
in January.  Since then, it seems to have run out of gas.  It 
has been stuck in a small trading range and finally, profit 
takers decided to take a larger -$3.56 piece home with them 
on Tuesday.  We have to drop it as a play until it can exhibit 
its previous trend.  

CL $89.88 -1.69 (-2.62)  We're disappointed with this stock's 
performance over the past few days and are dropping it.  
Yesterday and today it closed down on very heavy volume 
dipping below its 10dma. This is not a good indicator that 
CL will have a strong upward bounce anytime soon.  If we get
confirmation of an upcoming split, you'll see this stock back 
on our call list. 


CNET $96.94 -0.06 (+10.69)  Last Thursday we added CNET as a 
put play.  The stock proceeded to drop another -$9.56.  On 
Monday, CNET managed to fly +$10.75 on some interesting 
announcements from the company.  Their chief executive announced 
that classified ads and auctions will be online for CNET users 
in the second quarter.  Not to mention the news over the weekend
with Paul Allen buying a majority stake in GO2NET.  This fueled
a rally inside the entire Internet sector.  With the big drops 
followed by big gains and then a flat day, their movement is 
becoming unpredictable.  We have to drop them as a play until 
a more stable trend is re-established. 

TBH $76.44 +1.19 (+7.31) TBH never panned out as a put play.
Brazilian concerns never materialized and TBH has increased
substantially this week.  We will watch this for future 
problems, but currently we are dropping it as a play.  

MCK $65.56 +2.94 (+5.93)  Analysts' upgrades are pulling MCK out
of the trenches.  The stock spiked up on Friday on news 
from SG Cowen's issuance of a "strong buy" recommendation.  
Initially, we thought this to be a temporary spike and 
advised our readers to simply wait for direction on Monday 
before starting a new play. We did get confirmation, however 
not to a bear's benefit.  The axe fell when WDR raised its 
rating on MCK to a "buy" from a "hold" driving the share 
price up another 3 points. This is not the time to enter a 
new put position on MCK and we are dropping it.

DAL $66.75 -2.25 (+2.75)  Recall, we were playing DAL on the 
expectation of OPEC delivering some substantial cuts, 
however, the sector news from yesterday has greatly impacted 
our position and we are no longer recommending it as a put 
play.  Over the week-end, the airline industry banded together 
and pushed through a 1% business and 3% leisure fare increase.  
This should offset any potential revenue loss due to possible 
rising fuel costs.  Secondly, BT Alex. Brown reiterated its 
rating on nine major airlines and Delta was listed as a "buy". 
To top it off, the world's largest airline, United, came out 
with a high-flying earnings forecast.  This announcement 
quickly spread through the sector and DAL was up $5 to close 
at $69.  The stock was down -2.25 today, but with all this 
press now is not the time to start a new play.


C $64.50 -1.44 (-1.44)  Yesterday, financials were off to a 
great start on the week as financial merger-(semi)mania 
swept the sector.  Even so, C finished the day with no 
change since they are perceived as a buyer rather than a 
target.  In today's action, C was down on general sector 
weakness, except that $66 mid-day spike when C announced a 
$2 billion share repurchase.  That's roughly 31,000,000 
shares at today's price, or about 1.4% of the shares in 
float.  Such news makes Warren Buffet proud, except as 
disclosed in his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway 
shareholders, he owns 1/3 less now than last year.  The 
news did not affect the price.  C has had a nice run and 
may suffer profit taking, or even a small basing at this 
level.  Keep the stops tight and wait for upward movement 
before venturing in.

***** 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         Tuesday  3-16-99  
Copyright 1999, All rights reserved. 
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.

PICK NEWS - CALLS (continued)

MSFT $169.06 +3.19 (8.87)  The software industry's "Joe 
Camel" (in the eyes of Oracle, Sun and Netscape, almost 
AOL), Microsoft, is now the discussion topic of 19 
Attorneys General as to how the company will be broken up.  
They'd like to milk the software cow just as they did the 
tobacco cow.  Too bad MSFT is already talking about their 
own reorganization that, presumably, doesn't include any 
handouts to these state's glorified beggars posing on 
behalf of the "public good".  No matter, MSFT is on a split 
run for March 26 as evidenced by a small pickup in volume.  
It could shoot through its all time high of $176, and keep 
on going after the split, if the market cooperates.  With 
nice profits like this, and a market in search of a 
direction, don't let the money get away.  Use stops, target 
shoot, and confirm direction before playing.

AOL $104.94 +2.94 (+8.81)  Another new high!  Henry 
Blodgett, Merrill Lynch's resident Internet bull reiterated 
his "buy" rating on AOL today.  Blodgett expects AOL to 
eventually sign access agreements with cable companies so 
as to not fall behind other providers with cable access, 
ala ATT/TCI/AtHome/Excite.  Now that DOJ has cleared the 
way for AOL's purchase of Netscape, e-commerce revenues 
will get a boost from the marriage according to Robert 
Pittman, AOL's CEO.  Nice profits have been made by setting 
4 new closing highs in a row-- don't give it back. Use 
stops and confirm market direction before starting a new 
play.  DLJ still has price target of $125.

DELL $44.38 +0.63 (+2.19)  Dell Advanced in the first 2 
days of trading this week on healthy volume.  Investors are 
interested again despite that Dell has too many shares in 
float since its split to make stunning daily advances 
nearly impossible.  Flurries of beneficial ownership 
statements were filed with the SEC yesterday -- no 
surprises.  As we stated in Sunday's letter, we think Dell 
found a bottom at $40.50.  Over the last 2 days of trading, 
it looks more like $43.  Charts still look nice.  Market 
willing, Mikey D. (Dell) will give us more.  Wobbly market 
legs may be knocked from under us at a moment's notice.  
Remember to use stop orders and confirm direction before 

EMC $117.75 +1.44 (+5.50)  EMC traded up to $119.56 today, 
a new all-time trading high, while setting a new closing 
high of $117.75; yesterday's gain of $4 was amazing too.  
No news driving the price but EMC is on a tear as the 
volume of data and the need for data storage explodes for 
any company with customers in the digital age.  Technical 
charts just don't get much better than this.  Volume is 
getting a bit light which tells us that EMC may suffer some 
profit taking with so much on the table ($20 in 10 trading 
days).  The rest of this option expiration week should 
provide us a bit of upward momentum.  Don't let Mr. Market 
steal your profits.  Use stop orders and confirm market 
direction before playing.

SCH $88.50 +.56 (+4.50) Schwab keeps soaring ever higher and 
setting new highs day after day. This trend is likely to continue 
since Internet trading growth at Schwab is exploding. Over 60% 
of its trades are now completed online. Schwab says it expects 
to earn $.31-$.34/share this quarter as compared to analysts' 
estimates of $.26/share. (It earned $.16/share last year.) SCH 
expects revenues of $910 to $940 million versus $604 million in 
the quarter a year ago. Growth in customer assets helps predict 
future earnings growth, and Schwab took in a record $9.4 billion 
in new customer assets in February. This follows an increase of 
$8.8 billion in customer assets the month before. The stock has 
been gapping up frequently at the open and moving higher during 
the day. Today was no exception, and volume was nearly double 
the normal volume. Schwab did sell off $1.00 in the last hour 
of the day--maybe a little profit taking will let you get in 
these options if you are not already. This quarter's earnings 
are expected in just less than a month. If the stock continues 
to climb at this rate, a split announcement is very likely with 

MER $91.75 +.06 (+4.50) Yesterday MER saw a nice jump in price, 
but it added only 6 cents today. After positive analyst comments, 
it gapped up at the open and quickly hit $94.94, before profit 
takers moved in. Henry McVeigh at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter 
upped his price target on the broker to $105.00 from $90.00. 
Michael Flanagan of Financial Services Analytics had the most 
positive comments for Schwab, an online broker, but he said 
brokers in general will have a stronger than expected quarter. 
Suggestions that MER is on CMB's possible acquisition list has 
not (yet) had a dramatic effect on MER's stock or options. 
Brokers remain strong.

GE $110.00 -.13 (+2.62) GE popped up $2.00 in the first couple 
of hours of trading yesterday, but has traded in a very narrow 
range since then. Today it hit a new high of $110.31. In the 
news, Snap, jointly owned by CNET and GE's NBC, said it will 
launch its new high speed portal service, Cyclone, within two 
weeks. We expect GE to continue higher.  A technical analyst
on CNBC today was very bullish about GE's prospects over the
next couple of months.

G $61.88 +.38 (-.13) We are still waiting for the breakout. G 
was so close to breaking above its all-time high of $62.63 on 
Friday, but didn't quite do it. After a pull-back yesterday, it 
made another attempt today, but only reached $62.44 before closing 
slightly lower. Gillette will find blue skies above if it can 
clear resistance at this level (and it should, given recent 
upgrades and building momentum). His annual report shows that 
Buffet still maintains a healthy weighting of G in Berkshire 
Hathaway. Wait for the breakout.

WMT $96.00 -.75 (-.38) Wal-Mart set another new high yesterday 
of $97.31, although it is down fractionally on the week so far. 
In the news, WMT settled  FTC charges that it, along with several 
other internet retailers, failed to  provide the origin of its 
textile products. (Catalogues, including Internet ones, must 
disclose if items are U.S. made or imported.) WMT's split is 
still a month away.

PVN $114.88 -.50 (+.44) After the huge new intra-day high PVN 
set Friday, it has been consolidating, but is still up $.44 on 
the week. PVN has also been trading in a wider daily trading 
range lately--day-trading this one is sometimes possible. Volume 
has been a bit light. Although valuations are high, PVN's earnings 
growth rate is also high and it is in a hot sector. The possibi-
lity of a stock split in the near future is another plus. This 
resilient stock should soon continue higher, market permitting.

GDT $67.31 -1.69 (-.88) Guidant set a new high yesterday of $69.81 
and topped that by 7 cents this morning. However, when the Dow 
pulled back from its assault on 10,000, GDT pulled back with it. 
It lost $1.69 on the day. There was no news, and we attribute the 
drop to profit taking--this stock has a lot of profit in it. It 
still has room to climb, however, with several analysts raising 
estimates and price targets.

AHP $68.00 +0.38 (+2.62)  AHP is moving with leaps and 
bounds.  On Tuesday it set another all time high at the 
height of $68.19.  AHP hasn't had much news itself as of late.  
However, some of its subsidiaries have been doing well.  AHP 
owns a majority stake in Immunex Corp- a company that just 
revised its earnings numbers to show their first profit since 
the early 1990's.  Immunex flew over $8 on Monday and AHP went 
along for the ride.  Look for AHP to continue its journey into 
the land of higher highs.

IMNX $177.25 +0.56 (+9.00) IMNX shot up like a bottle rocket 
on Monday.  It exploded to a +$8.44 gain and a new all time 
high of $179.50.  The company reported a favorable 1998 tax 
provision change.  It restated its financial results for the 
year ended Dec. 31, 1998 to show +0.02 instead of a loss of 
-0.07.  The restatement gave Immunex its first profit since 
the early 1990's and investors embraced the news.  On Tuesday, 
IMNX gave back a little of its spike but should be able to 
hold on to most of those gains.  Look for IMNX to head back 
up after the slight bout of profit taking.  Remember that 
IMNX is splitting on March 26th.

LOW $62.63 -1.56 (-2.25)  LOW has been a strong and steady 
mover for us.  It has gained an average of +$2.60 each week 
for the past three weeks.  However, LOW has been hit with 
some profit taking and is down -$2.25 so far this week.  If 
you look at a graph of the company for the past several 
months, LOW looks to dip slightly below its 10 dma and then 
head right back up.  We are suggesting using some caution 
with this play.  A past trend doesn't guarantee future 
results.  Even though we expect LOW to venture back up, we 
don't suggest initiating any new positions until it breaks 
above its 10 dma at approximately $63.

QCOM $80.88 -1.19 (+3.63)  On Monday, shares of QCOM jumped 
+$4.81 on the news of a deal signed with Symbol Technologies.  
The two companies will work together to provide the 
transportation industry with mobile vehicle computers by the 
first quarter of 2000.  After the huge jump on Monday, the 
minor -$1.19 of profit taking was to be expected.  But, QCOM 
left us with a good sign by reaching an all time high on 
Tuesday of $82.31 in intraday trading.  QCOM remains one of 
our split candidates at these prices.  

SBUX $60.75 +0.06 (+0.69)  Starbucks has been on an incredible 
run for the past few weeks.  However, in the past three trading 
days its trade volume has become faint with an average of only 
745,000 shares changing hands.  Normally, its trade volume is 
much higher at 1.14 million.  As a result, SBUX's gains have 
been on the sluggish side.  Hopefully SBUX will have one last 
spurt of energy before it splits on Friday March 19th.  Remember 
that March options expire on the same day and that we recommend
selling before the actual split.    

MWD $101.94 -.06 (+.81)  MWD reached another 52-week high
intra-day before fading to close virtually even.  MWD's
intra-day was $104.19.  Salomon raised its 52-week price
target for MWD to $115 from $100 on Monday.  On Tuesday, 
MWD raised its price targets on many of the brokerage firms.
It seems there is definitely a sector rotation into the 

RNWK $115.00 -6.25 (+19.87)  Today saw RNWK give back a 
portion of its large gains from Mondays advance of $26.12.
Rumor has it that RNWK might be for sale.  With the continued
consolidation of the Internets, this isn't out of the realm
of possibility.  Whether RNWK is sold or not, the rumors 
of a takeover will cause the stock to rise.  RNWK does have
large intra-day swings partially caused by its small 3 mln 
share float.  Target shoot to get a better fill.

LGTO $57.13 -.50 (+.50) LGTO traded down slightly on Tuesday
after a $1.00 gain on Monday.  Volume has been very light the
last few days.  LGTO has broken through and is holding its 
50-dma and the next resistance is in the $60 range.  LGTO
announces earnings next month and has consistently beat 
estimates.  Market permitting, we see LGTO continuing toward
its 52-week high of $67.75.

BA $36.25 +1.56 (+1.31) BA had a nice gain on Tuesday with 
the announcement they have started a post delivery modifica-
tion and engineering services company.  This company will
service aircraft after delivery by BA.  BA feels this will
be a 15-20% growth business.  BA established a double 
bottom at the $34 level and seems ready to trend higher. 
We just cleared the 30-dma, but $36 has been a bit of
resistance.  If we can hold above this level, BA could be
set to run.  Remember, this is a rumor play (see Sunday).

TLAB $94.00 -1.19 (+3.31) TLAB gave back some of its $4.50
gain from Monday today.  This stock still has a good
chart and has consistently beat earnings estimates.  Earnings
aren't for another month, but we see a good chance of a stock
split at this time also.  Volume today was a bit below average
which shows a lack of sellers.  TLAB has gone from $70 to $95
in less than 2 weeks, so profit taking is likely.  Wait for 
the profit taking to end to initiate new plays.

KSS $73.25 -1.19 (-2.13) It appears KSS is consolidating 
since reaching a new high of $78 in last Thursday's trading.  
Since its breakout last week - climbing above its old 
resistance of $69 - the stock has not dipped below $70.  
This is a good sign that it may reverse and shoot up again.
Presently, KSS is sitting right on its 10dma providing a great 
entry point for new call plays, but again, wait for a bounce 
before beginning a new play.

KMB $50.94 +1.00 (+0.50)  So far this stock is a small 
gainer.  Nonetheless it is gaining. We hope for a run up 
in the next few days to test its overhead resistance in the 
$54 to $55 range. KMB is about 2 points above its 10dma and 
its chart shows a definite uptrend. 

JPM $124.00 -1.38 (+2.00)  The acquisition of Bank of 
Boston by Fleet Financial gave the whole financial sector a 
big boost yesterday. And the financial powerhouse, JPM, was 
no exception. JPM advanced $3.38 to close at $125.38.  Today 
the stock gave back a little in profit-taking.  Considering 
JPM has made consistent gains for the past 12 consecutive  
trading days this can only be expected.  The charts and 
technicals are awesome on this stock.  Look for dips to 
start a new play and use stops to protect your profits. 


LHSG $38.00 +0.50 (+0.88)  Even a blind squirrel gets an 
acorn every now and then.  So we're not surprised that LHSG 
eked out a small gain this week.  Given the quest for Dow 
10,000 and triple-witching week, prices tend to rise.  The 
founder and CEO was honored today by the Atlanta 
International School, for his $1 million grant to AIS where 
his children attend.  While this is warm and fuzzy 
(seriously, we applaud anyone's effort toward higher 
education, big or small), the stock trend is still down.  
There is no other news.  LHSG will head south in a hurry 
with no other positive news in the market.  If there were 
good news to report for the company, it would get reported.  
Still rumors (unconfirmed) that they could lose a major 
customer in 2000.  Keep stops in place should the trade go 
against us.

BMCS $36.50 -0.44 (+0.19)  The technical chart is still 
suffering from a breakdown, although option expiration week 
has given BMCS a break these first 2 days of trading, if 
the market backtracks, BMCS will be in retreat mode.  $38 
support set in January was violated last Friday.  Another 
class action lawsuit was filed after the close, but appears 
to have had no effect in after hours trading.  BMCS was 
downgraded yesterday from "buy" to "accumulate" by A.G. 
Edwards.  Not pretty, but use stops in case good news finds 
its way here.

NAV $37.50 -.50 (-.63) Yesterday Navistar traded flat on the 
day, but today it lost another $.50. It appears that the stock 
price will intersect its 50 day moving average between $35.00 
and $36.00, and the stock may find a bottom there. Be cautious 
in that range. If it breaks through that possible support, 
however, it could continue lower. This is a short term play 
based on a failed Volvo buyout rumor. Be ready to bail out if 
that rumor should resurface.

SNC $30.69 +0.81 (+0.81)  SNC finished trading on Monday with 
no change.  On Tuesday it closed with a gain of +0.81 cents.  
The company seems to be hovering right around the $30 level.  
We feel the stock could resume its downward trek if the market 
dips further after reaching the 10,000 mark.  But, wait for the
downward confirmation before initiating any more positions 
in SNC.

CB $58.69 -.63 (-.97) CB has continued to trend lower with
almost a dollar loss this week.  Even with the announcement
of an increased dividend on Friday, CB still traded lower
both Monday and Tuesday.  We still feel the chance of an
earnings warning and brokerage downgrade are good.  Currently
there are 4 analysts that have strong buys on CB, along with
3 moderate buys.  It is earnings warning season and CB is
scheduled to announce earnings in early May.  

CPQ $32.38 +1.00 (+2.13)  What's interesting is that CPQ was 
top dog on the most active list today, but only hit $33.50 
on strong volume while the DOW was flirting with the 10,000 
mark all day.  This stock is still sitting below its 10 dma 
and has been in a serious downtrend.  Today's news is mixed.
Bears Stearns reiterated a "buy" for CPQ, yet a competitor, 
Microworkz, unveiled a $299 computer (that includes 1 year of 
free internet service, too!) making it as affordable as TV's 
and stereos.  Compaq's cheapest is $499-$699.  So the PC
sales question emerges again.  You'll need to confirm both 
the stock and market direction before entering a new put 
play on CPQ.  If it is to remain a put play, we are looking
for a bounce downwards from its 10 dma.


PFE - Pfizer, Inc $142.00 +1.19 (+1.62)

Pfizer develops, markets and manufacturers technology-
sensitive products in the field of medicine. Pfizer is the 
leading US maker of pharmaceuticals.  It developed the ever 
so popular anti-impotence drug, Viagra.  They also are top 
producers in Animal Health and Consumer Health care products. 
Some brands you may be familiar with are BenGay muscle rub 
and Visine eyedrops. 

PFE was building support in February at around $131-$133 and 
started moving upward this month to find new support at about 
the $140 mark.  This week it tested resistance at $141 and 
today it broke out to close with a gain of +1.19.  Impressive 
since the market closed down over 28 points.  The strong 
drug sector and good technicals on PFE should make this
a profitable play, but check market and stock direction 
before starting a new position.

Good news for sex lives of the Canadian men!  Last Tuesday, 
their government approved the use of Viagra and it'll be 
hitting the shelves by month's end.  This is certainly another
reason for PFE to continue climbing higher.  Also in the
news: Yesterday, it was announced that PFE is supporting a US 
study on Alzheimer's offering hope to the millions of people 
who suffer from the devastating disease.

BUY CALL APR-140*PFE-DH OI=2755 at $ 6.50 SL=4.75
BUY CALL APR-145 PFE-DI OI= 608 at $ 3.88 SL=2.50
BUY CALL JUN-145 PFE-FI OI= 896 at $ 9.00 SL=6.75

Picked on March 16th at  $142.00     PE = 55
Change since picked        +0.00     52 week low =$ 85.81
Analysts ratings     13-3-15-0-0     52 week high=$141.62
Last earnings on  12/98 est= .52     actual= .54
Next earnings on  4-14  est= .62     versus= .49
Average Daily Volume =   2.73mln



Over the top...and down the other side!

Monday, March 15

The Dow closed at a new record high Monday, but again fell short
of the 10,000 mark as the early rally, sparked by some new mergers
faded later in the day. At the close, the Dow was 82 points higher
at 9958. The Nasdaq composite index rose almost 50 points to 2431,
driven by the government's approval of the merger between AOL and
Netscape. In the broader market, advancing issues edged declines
15 to 14 on volume of 728 million shares on the NYSE.

Sunday's new plays:

Our revenge play never materialized as DuPont announced they
would take over Pioneer Hi-Bred (PHB) early on Monday morning.
The stock price opened about $2 higher, climbing slowly during
the day to finish near $38. The move allowed those currently in
the original calendar spread more opportunities to exit the play.
The CMGI spread was correctly biased but the stock price opened
$13 higher and rose throughout the day as speculation continued
that a more favorable deal may surface in the Lycos saga. The DLP
credit spread opened at $0.50. Remember, this company is also
in the current merger group (Monsanto/Dupont/Pioneer Hi-Bred etc),
so watch out! The BDX debit position opened slightly higher than
recommended but hit our target price later in the day at $7.50.
SAPE was our last play, and it was well below our target price
until about 10:45 am when the stock moved about $2 higher. The
credit strangle (MAR65C/MAR60P) opened at $2.93 and the credit
spread (MAR75C/MAR70C) opened at $0.50.

Portfolio plays:

Higher fares sent airlines stocks soaring on Monday. The airlines
imposed their second price increase of the year and Monday the
parent company of United Airlines said its profit growth would
be faster than expected. UAL said its earnings would be above
analyst predictions and that economic uncertainty present in the
fourth-quarter had dissipated. The news forced us to close two
of our short positions on airline stocks. The NWAC calendar
spread was rolled forward to April. We bought the MAR25C at $1.87
and sold the APR25C for $3.50. The UAL credit strangle was also
closed. We bought the APR70C at $2.38 and the APR60P for $0.25.
SKYT finally started to pull back and the option interest was
fading so we opened the new short position; an APR20C at $2.25.
The June position is now paid for but we have collateral debit
with the sold strike $5 below our long option (JUN25C vs APR20C).
The BSX butterfly spread was also trading near parity on Monday
so we decided to close that position for a small loss. It's
very difficult to close out losing plays early but the fact is;
There is no reason to hang on to a losing position when there
are so many other profitable plays that deserve your time and

Tuesday, March 16

Wall Street cleared a major hurdle on Tuesday as the DJIA pegged
10,000 for the first time, even though the index failed to hold
its gains. The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 9930, down
28 points, but still recovered somewhat from the lows of the day.
The technology-laced Nasdaq composite index moved slightly higher
to 2439. In the broader market, declining issues edged advances
16 to 12 on active volume of 742 million shares on the NYSE.

Portfolio plays:

Just a couple to watch...ITVU and MTC, both moving higher in our
long-term neutral positions...
				- NEW PLAYS -

While the market finds its footing near the 10,000 mark, we will
fall back to some smaller speculation plays based on recent IPO
activity and merger/takeover rumors...
ZD - Ziff Davis  $25.50     *** IPO's are the RAGE! ***

Ziff-Davis is the #2 US computer magazine publisher and a leading
worldwide provider of technology information via magazines, trade
shows, online services, TV, and computer-training courseware. ZD
produces more than 80 publications including industry leader PC
Magazine and PC Week. Its ZDNet.com Web site offers related news,
product reviews, and services. Other products and services include
online content, computer-related newsletters, and market research.
It also owns about 65% of ZDTV, a 24-hour cable news channel
covering computers and the Internet.

Last month the company said it would spin off a 15% to 20% stake
in ZDNet in an initial public offering. The stock price hit a 52
week high last Friday morning after the company said it would
now hold a special shareholder meeting 3/30/99 to vote on this
spinoff. The IPO market is "hot" right now and technically, this
is a very bullish chart, trading above all recent resistance on
good volume and excellent buying pressure.

PLAY (speculative/debit spread):

BUY  CALL APR-17.50 ZD-DW OI=1806 A=$8.50
SELL CALL APR-22.50 ZD-DX OI=1052 B=$5.12
INITIAL NET DEBIT TARGET=$3.25 ROI(max)=53% B/E=20.75

Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=ZD&d=3m
COOL - Cyberian Outpost  $21.38     *** Hot Internet Stock ***

Cyberian Outpost uses the Internet to sell name-brand computer
hardware, software, and peripheral products to consumers and
small businesses. The virtual superstore, which has more than
130,000 different inventory items available on its Web site,
obtains its products from a network of manufacturers and software
publishers. Much of Cyberian's sales come from international
customers, which may be attributable to the firm's diplomatic
efforts: Cyberian has translated its Web site into 12 foreign
languages and offers online currency-conversion information.

Cyberian Outpost jumped almost $3 after it unveiled a new online
auction site. Designed to attract additional customers looking to
bid on cut-rate priced computer equipment, the site supplements
Outpost's existing online retail computer store and appeals to
a new universe of shoppers enticed by the auction experience.

Jupiter Communications, an Internet market research firm,
reportedly projects the online auction market to expand to 6.5
million customers purchasing as much as $3.2 billion worth of
products by 2002. All four analysts listed in the Bloomberg
consensus rating currently have a 'buy' recommendation on COOL.

PLAY (speculative/debit spread):

BUY  CALL APR-17.50 QOO-DW OI=98  A=$5.25
SELL CALL APR-20.00 QOO-DD OI=427 B=$3.75
INITIAL NET DEBIT TARGET=$1.38 ROI(max)=81% B/E=$18.87

Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=COOL&d=3m
PRD - Polaroid  $21.82     *** Another Merger Candidate? ***

Polaroid manufactures some 50 kinds of instant film and more than
100 different cameras that do the developing for you. The company
also sells conventional film, digital products, polarized sheet
products, sunglasses, and videotape. Polaroid's products are used
in the fields of education, graphic arts, medicine and retail and
professional photography. Polaroid sells its products directly to
grocery chains, drugstores and department stores worldwide. It has
manufacturing facilities in Mexico, the Netherlands, the UK, and
the US.

Recent speculation on a merger/takeover bid has produced some
excellent option premiums for spread positions. The current
technical outlook supports a bullish play and Polaroid's favorable
valuation with brand name recognition for several upcoming new
products will help the stock in the long term.

PLAY (conservative/debit spread):

BUY  CALL APR-17.50 PRD-DW OI=162 A=$4.87
SELL CALL APR-20.00 PRD-DD OI=967 B=$2.87
INITIAL NET DEBIT TARGET=$1.87 ROI(max)=33% B/E=19.38

PLAY (long-term/calendar spread):

BUY  CALL JUL-20 PRD-GD OI=310 A=$4.38
SELL CALL APR-20 PRD-DD OI=967 B=$2.87

Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=PRD&d=3m
Readers write: A faithful subscriber sent in a play on this stock
and although we have opted for a slightly different position, we
agree with the favorable risk/reward ratio on this well known and
frequent merger candidate.

FORE - Fore Systems  $13.12     *** Takeover Target? ***

FORE Systems is the maker of computer networking products based
on high-speed asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) offers switches
and adapter cards, internetworking and network management software
and ATM video products. The company is a pioneer in ATM technology
which carries data, audio, and video at high speeds on a single
line. It markets its products through independent distributors
worldwide, with foreign sales accounting for about 30% of sales.
Customers include Unisys, AT&T, and US government agencies such
as NASA. Its networking equipment helped create special effects
in the movies Babe and Starship Troopers.

This company is among the few remaining takeout candidates in
the networking sector. Options volume has been high because of
the enticing combination of low stock prices and promising
technology. One analyst said Fore Systems has the best set of
ATM engineers in the world and Asynchronous transfer mode is
viewed as a primary vertebra in the backbone of large networks.

We just hope another company agrees with this assessment!

PLAY (speculative/debit spread):

BUY  CALL APR-10.00 FQO-DB OI=169  A=$3.75
SELL CALL APR-12.50 FQO-DV OI=1639 B=$2.12
INITIAL NET DEBIT TARGET=$1.50 ROI(max)=66% B/E=$11.50

PLAY (covered-combination)

BUY  STOCK  FORE  A=$13.12
SELL CALL APR-10.00 FQO-DB OI=169 B=$3.62
SELL PUT  APR-10.00 FQO-PB OI=177 B=$0.43
INITIAL NET DEBIT  TARGET (Covered Call) =$9.38  ROI=6%
INITIAL NET CREDIT TARGET (Naked-Put)    =$0.50  ROI=16%

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



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