Option Investor
Newsletter

Daily Newsletter, Thursday, 03/18/1999

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The Option Investor Newsletter         Thursday  3-18-99  
Copyright 1999, All rights reserved. 
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.

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

Also provided as a service to The Online Investor Advantage

Published three times weekly, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday evenings.
************************************************************
MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
************************************************************
        3-18-99           High     Low    Volume  Advances Decline
DOW     9997.60 +118.20 10001.50  9845.83  831,975k  1,559   1,353
Nasdaq  2462.96 + 33.99  2463.01  2423.54  940,415k  1,926   1,993 
S&P-100  659.25 +  8.37   659.71   649.41   Totals   3,485   3,346
S&P-500 1316.55 + 18.73  1317.41  1294.74            51.0%   49.0%
$RUT     399.55 +  1.12   399.92   398.41
$TRAN   3433.07 + 96.28  3450.07  3328.10
VIX       25.95 -  1.33    27.50    25.91
Put/Call Ratio      .58
*************************************************************

So close! 10,001.50 only nine minutes before the close. 


Actually the Dow briefly broke 10,000 again at the close but 
settled just slightly under the magic number about two minutes
later. This is caused by reporting of trades in progress at the
moment the bell rings.

The rally was in doubt after a brief drop at the open to 9845
but after 11:00 the market was strongly focused on the goal.
The Dow stocks that helped today were Merck (MRK) AND Wal-Mart (WMT)
which both set new highs. Merrill Lynch, Citicorp, JP Morgan and
American Express were also strongly higher. AXP surged to a new
high with a +$6.50. When all was said and done we only needed one
Dow stock to post an additional $.69 gain at the close to push
the Dow over 10,000. IBM and HWP proved a drag today as IBM
lost -$1.06 and HWP -$.63. Actually this was a long way from the
intraday lows for each of IBM -$5.75 and HWP -$3.81. Together they
accounted for -43.02 Dow points at their lows. The tech drag was
prompted by strong rumors that IBM would prewarn of an earnings
shortfall. Some think that IBM is holding off until after the 
Dow 10K event because of the impact it would have on the DOW.

Every sector except PC hardware was strong today. Transports even
rallied +96 points in spite of the AMR earnings warning today. AMR
said they suffered over -$200 mln in losses from the pilots strike.
After the announcement AMR dropped but then turned around and closed
up +4.63. Federal Express announced earnings that beat estimates
today and announced a 2:1 split. They led the transports with a
+$5.19 even in the face of oil rising over $15 a bbl.

The bullishness is running rampant. The bears are disappearing
back into the woods. A rainbow must be hovering over Wall Street.
If the outlook in the press was any better the Titanic would be
floating back to the top any day now. With all the euphoria it
would not be politically correct to say anything negative about
the market tonight. Sorry, I guess political correctness does not
run run through the office here. I am still concerned about the
rampant bullishness. I do believe the economy is great, the global
market is improving, interest rates are dropping.... You know my
bullish refrain. I would love to pile into the market but the 
internals are still a problem. Granted they were better today and
may even get better next week. Advancers actually beat decliners 
for a change 3485 to 3346. A very slim margin of only 139 issues.
The Dow was up +118 but we only had 139 more advancers?? 

The good news, and maybe we saw the light today, was the broad
sector rally. Drugs, banks, brokerages, manufacturing, etc. The
tide may have turned in our favor and tomorrow may be the market
turning point. If we close above 10,000 tomorrow, and it looks very
likely, then the momentum may convince the cash on the sidelines
to climb onboard or miss the train. There is still a lot of concern
that the selling pressure will mount as we cross the 10K line but
others may see a close over 10K as confirmation of a spring rally.

The wildcard here is options expiration Friday. The bias for a
positive week was this week but the next week is negative. Something
like 13 of the last 15 triple-witching expiration cycles have been 
positive for the week of expiration but down the week after.  
However, market pundits feel that if we can close above 10K this 
week it might give us enough momentum to keep it going next week too.

Actually I am glad to see we did not drop after the first 10K event
and fall back substantially. Also there were no sell programs 
triggered by the 10K break today. The fact that we have hovered
near 10K all week is strongly bullish. If 10K is resistance, and
most agree it is, then we are slowly eating away at it and the 
longer we hover here the weaker it will become. The drop to 9850
today was immediately met with strong buying, much more than analysts
expected. It looks like the profit taking from last weeks +700 point
run may be happening on an intraday basis. The sector rotations have
been in full swing but no one sector has been overly strong. If I
can be permitted to speak out of both sides of my mouth, the internals
are still not good but are improving slightly. The sentiment is
rampantly bullish. While I am cautious about the internals we could 
actually be at a major breakout point. Only time will tell. 

The Nikkei soared over +315 in early trading tonight and other
world markets are likely to follow suit after the Dow closed just
under the 10K line. The party is likely to break out in earnest
tomorrow as the sentiment powers us forward. The earnings warning
by MMM today did not sober anybody up and at this point even an IBM
warning might not stop this express train. S&P futures are up over
+2.20 at 8:00 and there is no rain in the forecast. If we can
overcome the fear of weekend darkness on Friday afternoon we "could"
be off to the races. "Could" is still the operative word. Be careful
about starting new positions at this level. I did not say "don't", I
said be careful and be prepared to bail if the emotion fizzles after
10K. There is still a lot of profit taking potential here and things
tend to drop faster than they rise.

Sell too soon!

Jim Brown
Editor

 





*******************************************************
Market Posture
*******************************************************
As of Market Close - Thursday, March 18, 1999 

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

DOW Industrials    9,200   9,500   9,998    BULLISH   3.5              
SPX S&P 500        1,225   1,280   1,317    BULLISH   3.11    
OEX S&P 100          615     640     659    BULLISH   3.11    
RUT Russell 2000     400     435     400    BEARISH   3.12     

NDX NASD 100       1,900   2,080   2,103    BULLISH   3.18  *     
MSH High Tech        900   1,000   1,008    BULLISH   3.18  *           

                   Key Benchmarks
Technology         Bearish/Bullish  Last    Posture/Since  Alert
****************************************************************
XCI Hardware         800     900     883    Neutral   3.5              
CWX Software         600     650     644    Neutral   3.5                
SOX Semiconductor    350     420     387    Neutral   3.5        
NWX Networking       400     450     440    Neutral   3.4              
INX Internet         450     570     566    Neutral   2.19       

                   Key Benchmarks
Financial          Bearish/Bullish  Last    Posture/Since  Alert
****************************************************************
BIX Banking          650     675     709    BULLISH   3.5                    
XBD Brokerage        650     700     823    BULLISH   3.4        
IUX Insurance        600     625     644    BULLISH   3.5              

                   Key Benchmarks
Other              Bearish/Bullish  Last    Posture/Since  Alert
****************************************************************
RLX Retail           850     880     941    BULLISH   3.4      
DRG Drug             775     795     823    BULLISH   3.5       
HCX Healthcare       775     795     825    BULLISH   3.5                
XAL Airline          320     330     365    BULLISH   3.2   
OIX Oil & Gas        230     250     259    BULLISH   3.11                      



Posture Alert

Major indices emerged from a narrow trading range to close 
higher driven by a rally in the Transportation and
financial sectors.  After taking out the prior near-term
high, we have turned Bullish across select broad market
indices including the NASD 100 and Morgan Stanley high
tech index. 

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

www.OptionInvestor.com/marketposture
 

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

Who's Confirming Who? 

When market funds rotate quickly out of one sector into another, 
it can be difficult to determine where the new leadership is
coming from and what sector is confirming the move.  If you
follow the DOW theory, many believe that new highs on the
transportation and Nasdaq index can confirm the market breakout.  

We all know about the D10K threshold, but what about the Dow 
Jones Transportation and Nasdaq indices?  Where must they close
to confirm the breakout?  As shown below, the Dow Jones
Transportation and Nasdaq indices must close above 3,735 and
2,533, respectively.  As of Thursday's close (3/18), these
indices are 8% and 3% short of the confirmation benchmark.  Make
a note of these less celebrated benchmarks for these will play a
more important role if the DOW is to continue higher.


                    Thursday's     52-week     Percent to
Sector              Close (3/18)   High        Confirm
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Transportation      3,433          3,735       8%
Nasdaq              2,463          2,533       3%



Last week, Pinnacle began tracking the open interest at ATM/OTM 
call option (650-700) in March's expiration cycle. More than
85,000 contracts, or an increase of 48%, now sit at 650-700. 
 
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
met. 

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%      
Thursday, March 18          85,124      +47.6%      *
   


What's more, take a look at the latest survey from Investor's 
Intelligence.  Only 17.6% surveyed say they are Bearish - the
lowest since the market top back in July 1997.  


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
March 4, 1999       Near-Term Bottom    49.1        32.5 

March 17, 1999      Top ???             52.6        17.6  *   

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

Together, these technical and sentiment Bearish indicators 
suggest that any D10K may be short lived.  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         2.7          
Underlying Support  (625-640)     1.6        1.7         2.2


Put/Call Ratios:
-----------------------------------------------------------------
CBOE Total P/C Ratio               .5          .5         .6
CBOE Equity P/C Ratio              .5          .4         .4    *   
OEX P/C Ratio                     1.2          .9        1.3    *                


Peak Open Interest (OEX):
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Puts                              625         600        610
Calls                             650         655        655
P/C Ratio                         1.1         1.1        .96


Market Volatility Index (VIX):	
-----------------------------------------------------------------
CBOE VIX                        25.81       26.19      25.95    *



Investors Intelligence:
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Bullish                         49.1%       49.1%       52.6%   *  
Bearish                         32.5%       32.5%       17.6%   *
		



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                       (3/12)      (3/16)     (3/18)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
               
                    (660-665)     36.3       14.9         6.1
                    (650-655)      2.9        2.1         1.7
Overhead Resistance (650-665)      4.9        3.4         2.7

OEX Close                       648.27     655.64      659.25

Underlying Support  (625-640)      1.6        1.7         2.2
                    (635-640)      1.2        1.3         2.0
                    (625-630)      2.1        2.6         2.7

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         .62
CBOE Equity P/C Ratio              .47        .40         .43
OEX P/C Ratio                     1.22        .87        1.31


Peak Open Interest (OEX)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
                     Friday         Tues           Thurs
Strike/Contracts     (3/12)         (3/16)         (3/18)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Puts                 625 / 13,060   600 / 13,099    610 / 13,479
Calls                650 / 10,809   655 / 12,185    655 / 14,044
Put/Call Ratio       1.12           1.10            96

 

 


 


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       Bottom              28.15   

March 18, 1999                          25.95   *


 
 

 


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   
March 10, 1999                        49.1        32.5   
March 17, 1999                        52.6        17.6  *   



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

Index    Last    Mon    Tue    Wed   Thur  Week
Dow    9997.62  82.42 -28.30 -51.06 118.21 121.27
Nasdaq 2462.96  49.91   7.83 -10.30  33.99  81.43
$OEX    659.25   7.21   0.17  -4.79   8.37  10.96
$SPX   1316.55  12.67  -0.90  -8.56  18.73  21.94
$RUT    399.55   2.46  -1.67  -0.74   1.12   1.17
$TRAN  3433.07 137.14 -16.09 -51.77  96.28 165.56
$VIX     25.95   0.31   0.07   1.09  -1.33   0.14

Stock   Price    Mon    Tue    Wed   Thur  Week

RNWK    127.00  26.13  -6.25   6.00  6.00 31.88 Takeover candidate?
AOL     116.13   5.88   2.94   4.13  7.06 20.01 Big buyers?
IMNX    181.38   8.44   0.56  -1.75  5.88 13.13 Splits on 3/26
MSFT    172.44   5.69   3.19  -1.94  5.31 12.25 Split Momentum
WCOM     93.75   1.69   0.50   1.81  3.81  7.81 Strong Momentum
EMC     120.00   4.06   1.44   1.63  0.63  7.76 Raising estimates
SCH      89.69   3.94   0.56  -2.06  3.25  5.69 Online brokers hot!
MER      92.13   4.44   0.06  -3.38  3.75  4.87 Takeover candidate
QCOM     82.06   4.81  -1.19  -0.75  1.94  4.81 Split Candidate
TLAB     94.50   4.50  -1.19  -0.75  1.25  3.81 Split Candidate
JPM     124.19   3.38  -1.38  -2.50  3.68  3.18 Takeover candidate
FSR      95.56   0.75  -1.37   0.00  3.94  3.31 3:1 Split Play
PFE     143.00   0.44   1.19  -1.75  2.75  2.63 New 52 week high
GE      110.00   2.75  -0.13  -1.56  1.56  2.62 Wait for next move
MWD     103.38   0.88  -0.06  -2.50  3.94  2.26 Brokers are hot!
WMT      98.19   0.38  -0.75   0.47  1.81  1.91 Splits 4/19
AHP      67.00   2.25   0.38  -2.19  1.19  1.63 Good news
SBUX     60.56   0.63   0.06  -0.13 -0.06  0.50 Dropped
LOW      64.94  -0.69  -1.56  -0.56  2.88  0.07 Dip appears over
DELL     42.25   1.56   0.63  -1.44 -0.69  0.06 Industry worries
G        62.06  -0.50   0.38  -0.63  0.81  0.06 Overhead resistance
KMB      50.44  -0.50   1.00  -0.94  0.44  0.00 Consolidating
BA       35.13  -0.44   1.56  -0.50 -0.63 -0.01 Rumor play
KSS      75.00  -0.94  -1.19  -0.81  2.56 -0.38 Dip appears over
LGTO     55.75   1.00  -0.50  -0.13 -1.25 -0.88 Wait for move
PVN     113.56   0.94  -0.50  -2.63  1.31 -0.88 Wait for next move
C        64.69   0.00  -1.44  -1.75  1.94 -1.25 Rebound
GDT      62.00   0.81  -1.69  -2.69 -2.63 -6.20 Dropped

Puts

BMCS     36.00   0.63  -0.44  -1.25  0.75 -0.31 Market reaction
CB       61.00  -0.31  -0.63   0.13  2.19  1.38 Dropped
LHSG     38.56   0.38   0.50   0.38  0.19  1.45 Market movement
CPQ      31.88   1.13   1.00   0.88 -1.38  1.63 Lowered estimates
SNC      31.88   0.00   0.81  -0.44  1.63  2.00 Dropped
NAV      40.31  -0.13  -0.50   1.19  1.63  2.19 Bounce off 10dma? 


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:
******

GDT $62.00 -2.63 (-6.19) The fundamentals on GDT are still very 
positive, but the stock has headed south on us since Monday 
morning, when it set its high of $69.88. Perhaps larger investors 
in the know got advance warning of all the positive news that 
was coming from rival BSX: a new, highly respected CEO, and FDA 
approval on 3 new products. In this field, each company must 
strive to stay one step ahead of the competition. After a few 
major stumbles last year, BSX is finally showing that it can 
still compete and that was reflected in GDT's drop in price. 
GDT will eventually head up again, but we feel we should drop 
it. BSX had a big price spike today, so we are waiting to 
recommend it, but you might want to take a look at it if you are 
interested in this area.

SBUX $60.56 -0.06 (+0.50)  Starbucks had been on an incredible 
run up until this week.  It reached an all time high of $63.75 
last Thursday but has since leveled off.  Its trade volume 
sank below its norm until this Thursday rolled around.  Over 
1 million shares changed hands and the company surged as high 
as $62.13 but then profit taking set the stock back -$0.06 for 
the day.  Tomorrow  SBUX will split 2:1 after the bell.  As 
always, we have to drop it as a play since we never recommend 
holding over the actual split.  7 out of 10 companies suffer 
from post split depression.  We will keep our eye on this 
coffee giant to see if it can maintain its performance. 


PUTS:
******

CB $61.00 +2.19 (+1.37) CB had a breakout day today and thus
is being dropped as a put play.  CB has rumors circulating 
again that it will be taken over.  Though the chart looks
negative, takeover rumors will overcome any chart.  When
these rumors fade again, CB very well could continue on a
downward spiral.

SNC $31.88 +1.63 (+2.00)  SNC is beginning to show the signs 
of an uptrend.  On Thursday, the company received an upgrade 
to a strong buy from Scott and Stringfellow and proceeded to 
pop up +$1.63.  We have to drop SNC as a put play.  However, 
with the huge break again into 10,000 at the close of trading 
on Thursday, there could be some profit taking ensuing on 
Friday.  Even though SNC could relinquish some of its gains, 
we still feel there are better plays out there.  



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

AHP $67.00 +1.19 (+1.62)  After succumbing to profit taking 
on Wednesday, AHP turned it around on Thursday by adding 
+$1.19.  AHP released some news that could continue to carry 
the stock higher if the markets can sustain their rally.  AHP 
and its Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories subsidiary reported that 
their insomnia drug Sonata now has marketing authorization 
from the European Commission.  Watch for this company to head 
higher but make sure to protect your profits with stop losses.  

IMNX $181.38 +5.88 (+13.13)  Our bottle rocket may have had a 
little more pop to it than we initially thought.  IMNX has 
turned into one of our biggest gainers this week.  The company 
added +$8.44 on Monday and went on to add another +$5.88 on 
Thursday.  In a bold move, IMNX even closed the day of 
trading at a new all time high of $181.38!  The key now is to 
protect those gains with stop losses.  Anytime a stock makes a
significant run, a pull pack usually follows.  However, keep in 
mind that the company is splitting 2:1 on March 26th.  

LOW $64.94 +2.88 (+0.06)  After profit taking set the stock 
back in the first three days of trading this week, LOW finally 
hopped on the road to recovery by gaining +$2.88 on Thursday.  
The company broke the $63 dollar level and held.  This could 
be a nice time to jump into positions with LOW's close above 
its 10 dma.  However, Greenspan is speaking on Friday.  
Greenspan = stop losses.  Protect your profits on current 
holdings and confirm market direction before initiating any 
new plays just to be sure.   

QCOM $82.06 +1.94 (+4.81)  On Thursday, QCOM caught a +$1.94 
updraft as the markets soared back into 10,000 territory.  The 
company also announced that it was on schedule to produce its 
next-generation CSM2000 Cell Site Modem chips which will 
greatly improve wireless networks by making them more powerful, 
more compact, and less expensive.  QCOM went on to report that 
its venture with Sony has been highly successful.  The two 
companies have shipped over 10 million CDMA handsets in less 
than three and a half years.  Watch for QCOM to head higher 
and keep in mind that this company is one of our split 
candidates.   

C $64.75 +2.00 (-1.19)  Inflation numbers are low, interest 
rates drop, business borrows, banks lend more money, 
profits rise.  That is why financials were up today, C 
included.  Also helping to raise prices, financial sector 
wags are betting on more mergers and bidding up some issues 
in anticipation of future announcements.  Chase (CMB) is 
getting lots of attention, but speculation rubs off on all 
of them.  C is still the biggest fish.  Market willing, 
they will be a big benefactor in any market rally following 
this weeks option expiration.  Evaluate your own 
risk tolerance, and of course, confirm market direction if 
you start a play Friday.

MSFT $172.44 +5.31 (+12.25)  Unbelievable.  MSFT has been 
on a roll this week, up over $12 on the way to its 2:1 
split on March 26.  The big news is that they released 
their newest version of their Web browser, IE 5.0.  What 
makes this one different from the target of the DOJ's ire 
is IE 5.0's ability to be more easily separated from the 
Windows operating system.  MSFT has lots of profit built in, 
keep your stops tight.  Overhead resistance is $176.  
Confirm market direction before playing.


***** 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  3-18-99  
Copyright 1999, All rights reserved. 
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


PICK NEWS - CALLS (continued)
*******************************************************

AOL $116.50 +7.44 (+20.38)  Another new high!  (yes, 
again!)  Volume has really surged into AOL.  We're making 
an educated guess that index funds that, at the beginning 
of the year, did not immediately buy AOL (they were waiting 
for a pullback from its "high" when it was added to the S&P 
500 index) are now buying.  They no longer want to wait 
since AOL completed its Netscape purchase, and in the 
process, added 11% more weight to its share of the S&P 500 
index, for a total of 1.04%.  Careful.  The price has 
really spiked and may fall quickly when the first move is 
made to take profits.  Protect your profits by using stops 
and confirming clear market direction before playing.  
Don't buy at the top.  Believe it or not AOL is approaching
split announcement levels again - and they just split last
month!!!  

DELL $42.25 -0.69 (+0.06)  Barely off the launch pad with 
support at $40.50, Dell is going nowhere.  Negative 
overtones for the PC market are dogging Dell and others 
like it.  No company news has caused the stall; it's 
industry related.  The technical chart is flattening a bit, 
and we may be in for a few more slow days.  Depending on 
your risk tolerance, you may want to wait until next week, 
following options expiration to let the market dust settle 
before starting a new position.  Of course, confirm market 
direction first.

EMC $120.00 +0.63 (+7.50)  Another new high!  EMC continues 
with impressive gains.  There is no news; momentum only, 
with some likely fund buying.  In the Internet age, digital 
storage is a must.  EMC does it better than anyone else by 
having a hard charging, well-rewarded sales force bring the 
orders in.  The technical chart is so beautiful, it should 
be framed on your wall as a reminder of how great a play 
can be.  Today, Soundview Technology reiterated its "strong 
buy" and raised FY00 earnings estimates from $2.41 to 
$2.64.  Even with great companies, profit taking happens.  
Be on the lookout, and confirm market direction before 
playing.  Pick your entry point.

WMT $98.19 +1.81 (+1.81) WMT set another new high today of 
$98.38. The king of retail continues to make slow but steady 
gains. Analysts are often questioned about WMT by call-in viewers 
on CNBC, and they invariably make positive comments. No new 
news. WMT splits April 19.

MER $92.13 +3.75 (+4.88) After losing over $2.00 yesterday, MER 
shot up $3.75 today on renewed CMB merger rumors. CMB is said 
to be seeking to merge with a broker or investment bank and is 
considering Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, or Merrill 
Lynch. It might consider 2 smaller brokers instead of one large 
one, such as Paine Webber and Lehman Brothers. Shipley, chairman 
and CEO of CMB, is said to be offering the head honchos at these 
corporations the CEO position at CMB as enticement. MWD and Goldman 
Sachs seem more interested in remaining independent, and today 
speculation centered on MER as the current favorite. The whole 
financial sector is hot, and this kind of speculation is now 
helping MER's price!

SCH $89.69 +3.25 (+5.69) Schwab traded down $1.06 on Wednesday, 
but it came roaring back with a 3.25 gain today in a strong 
financial group. It set an intraday high of $90.81. Yesterday, 
the broker experienced a 15 minute online trading glitch. A 
spokeswoman said that trades were still possible with a represent-
ative or by automated telephone during the outage. In response 
to heavy demand for trades, Schwab is increasing capacity. Last 
year the site could handle 10,000 trades at a time; it will soon 
handle close to 250,000 at any one time. It is also expanding 
automated phone service and adding representatives. An "Individual 
Investor Online" article today raved about the growth in the 
online brokers. It recommended SCH or EGRP as the 2 best plays 
in this area.

PVN $113.56 +1.31 (-.88) PVN has been looking a little toppy 
and a little choppy this week. Volume has been a somewhat weak 
as well, ever since it charged up to $118.44 last Friday. Today 
it saw a nice bounce, but it traded in a fairly wide $4.00 range. 
We recommend waiting for an increase in volume on rising price 
before initiating new plays. PVN has come a long way and some 
investors may feel that it got a little ahead of itself last 
week. The fundamentals remain strong, however, and it IS in 
split territory. Given its good growth rate and the fact that 
the financial sector is in favor, PVN should resume its climb, 
market permitting. Be patient.

GE $110.00 +1.56 (+2.62) After a disappointing day Wednesday in 
which GE lost $1.56, the stock brightened today with a matching 
gain. It is right back to where it was in our last letter. This 
mega-corporation still remembers its roots--today it electrified 
Advanced Lighting and technology when it increased its stake in 
the maker of specialty light bulbs. Look for GE to move higher.
We suggest waiting for it to clear resistance at $110.
  
G $62.06 +.81 (+.06) Still waiting...  G only managed to tie its 
all-time high of $62.63 today. It needs to push through this 
resistance level to reach clear sailing above. Wait for the 
breakout--that is your signal that this one is going higher.

MWD $103.38 +3.94 (+2.25)  MWD had a great day on Thursday, 
after a loss on Wednesday.  MWD opened at its low and finished
at its high, a very bullish sign.  MWD received strength,
as all financials did, because of the tame CPI numbers.  The
numbers showed that inflation is still in check, thus, less 
of a chance of an interest rate hike.  MWD is just a dollar 
off its 52-week high and could very likely pass through it 
on Friday.  Triple witching day tends to be a positive day.

RNWK $127.00 +6.00 (+31.87)  RNWK continues to trade in a
very wide range.  Thursday saw RNWK continue its tear with
an intra-day high of $132.38, just a dollar off its 52-week
high reached on Wednesday.  RNWK still is being mentioned
as a possible takeover candidate.  Recently the CEO of
Broadcast.com mentioned that within a year he sees RNWK
being taken over, maybe by Broadcast.com.  

LGTO $55.75 -1.25 (-.88) LGTO had a great day early on Thursday, 
but faded as the day went along.  It reached a high of $59.63.
We couldn't find any news to account for the late day drop, 
other than the concern that Network Associates pre-warned.  
If this is the reason LGTO dropped, it shouldn't continue.  
LGTO has very little to do with the business NETA deals in. 
LGTO did announce a strategic initiative with Storage Tek 
to deliver SAN-based serverless backup and to drive industry 
standards for intelligent data movement in Storage Area 
Networks (SANs).  Storage Tek was down slightly today also,
so there might have been some initial worries about the deal.
LGTO did bounce off its 50-dma today.

BA $35.13 -.63 (+.19) BA traded in a very narrow range today,
and closed just above $35.00.  The aerospace industry as a
whole was slightly down today.  We still are playing BA as
a rumor play although the announcement of a new business
division helped on Tuesday.  Trading in a small range might
be a good time to purchase longer term options on hopes the
rumors pick up.  

TLAB $94.50 +1.25 (+3.81)  TLAB continued up on Thursday,
and reached an intra-day high of $95.13.  TLAB is just three
dollars from its 52-week high obtained on Tuesday.  There
isn't any new news on TLAB, though the speculation continues
on who TLAB might takeover or vice-versa.  The chart is in
a nice uptrend and target shooting on dips could be the 
best play.  We see a stock split with earnings in April.  

KMB $50.44 +0.44 (+0.00)  This stock has been in tight 
trading pattern for the past 5 days; making only small gains 
between the $49 and $51 marks.  This kind of behavior is 
like a coiled spring tightening... and then boom the stock 
makes a sharp move.  We're looking for KMB to jump up and 
test overhead resistance in the $54-55 range. This may be a 
good entry point, but look for definitive, upward 
confirmation before starting a new play. Patience is the 
name of this game.

KSS $75.00 +2.56 (-0.38)  It appears the profit-taking has 
simmered down and KSS is starting to run up again.  The only 
resistance is last Thursday's high of $78.  After breaking 
that, and market permitting, there's nothing to hold the 
stock back from trading in new territory.  There's no 
driving news behind KSS. Its upward trend is based on 
strong fundamentals and a bullish environment for retail.  
Watch the market direction before initiating any new plays. 

PFE $143.00 +2.75 (+2.62)  Today, PFE set a new 52 week 
high of $143.56 in intraday trading - this is just two days 
after PFE had set the record at $142.75 on Tuesday!  The
stock closed up today on strong volume and seems to want to
go higher.  In the news, Merck announced their 
hope for FDA approval on a new painkiller to compete with 
Pfizer's Celebrex.  Pfizer is not shaken up by the competition;
theirs is the fastest selling new drug in history with over 
200,000 prescriptions a week. 

JPM $124.19 +3.69 (+2.19)  Talks of further consolidation 
swirled and the financials surged even higher today.  Chase 
Manhatten's CEO, Walter Shipley, is dangling his CEO job at 
merger prospects in hopes it'll be a big enough bargaining 
chip to close a deal. Remember, JPM is being rumored as a top 
candidate for a takeover play.  Today, JPM jumped up 3.69 and 
closed right on its high. A bullish sign of more to come.  
But expect some dips as investors take profits.  Yesterday is 
a case in point. The stock lost $2.50 for the day even taking 
into account good news from Lehman Brothers.  They raised 
earnings estimates for major US banks and pushed JPM's 1Q EPS
to 1.57 from 1.38. 


PICK NEWS - PUTS
*******************************************************

LHSG $38.00 +0.19 (+1.44)  Another nut for the blind 
squirrel!  There seems to be some support for LHSG at 
$37.50 this week.  There is no news to drive the price in 
either direction.  With options expiration and the 
psychological celebration of Dow 10,000 (almost!), the 
sentiment is for higher prices.  When the feeling wears off 
and the market falls, LHSG won't have anything to support 
it.  Again, it's only an unconfirmed rumor, but they could 
lose a major customer in 2000.  For companies exhibiting
this type of stock pattern, specific good news (like an 
upgrade or buyout) will rock LHSG out of the doldrums.  
Keep your stops tight just in case and confirm market 
direction before playing

BMCS $36.00 +0.75 (-0.31)  Yesterday, BMCS 
lost on heavy volume.  Today, it came back slightly on 
heavier volume.  Honestly, it's hard for a stock to drop 
when the rest of the market is going up.  Class action 
lawsuit still in the news, but won't affect the price.  The 
technical chart is still suffering from a breakdown -- $38 
support set in January was violated last Friday.  Any 
market weakness will cause BMCS to head south again.  
Again, confirm market direction before starting a new play.

NAV $40.31 +1.63 (+2.18) There has not been any news to drive 
this stock higher, but it has risen a little on each of the 
last 2 day. It is now bumping up against its 10 day moving 
average, which may provide a ceiling. We think it may bounce 
off the ceiling and head lower again. If it does, use caution 
as the stock approaches its 50 day moving average, a possible 
area of support at approximately $36.00. If it breaks that 
support, look out below.

CPQ $31.88 -1.38 (+1.63)  The depressing report on CPQ 
from Piper Jaffrey shook up the computer sector today.  
Analyst, Ashok Kumar, downgraded his earnings estimates to 
$.20 EPS from $.35 EPS citing "inventory overhang" and further 
weakness in small business sales.  His report received 
consensus from a FirstCall survey of 32 analysts who also 
had lower expectations for the company's 1Q earnings.  
Investors responded by shedding their shares.  Volume was 
over 21 mln and CPQ lost all the gains it had managed to 
accumulate over the past few days.  Always be prepared for 
a reversal and use stops to protect your profits.

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

FSR - Firstar Corp $95.56 +3.94 (+3.06 this week)

Firstar is a bank holding company offering a full range 
financial services to both consumers and businesses.  The 
stars came into alignment when the old Firstar and Star Banc 
recently merged.  Together they have 700 branches in 9 states 
and target the mid-western market.

On March 9th, FSR announced a powerful 3 for 1 stock split 
and that popped out of its comfortable zone of $88-89. 
The stock has continued in a steady upward trend in 
anticipation of the split set for April 15th.  This is a 
short-term play.  Warning, if the market corrects, this 
stock will go down, too.  Put stops in place.  After today's 
nice spike, expect a dip.  These can be used as entry points. 

FSR is a shareholders dream.  At least according to the 
Economist magazine who rated them the #2 financial 
institution for shareholder performance out of 400 of the 
worlds leading banks, insurers and security houses.

BUY CALL APR- 90 FSR-DR OI= 210 at $7.38 SL=5.50
BUY CALL APR- 95*FSR-DS OI=1247 at $4.00 SL=2.50
- no activity on APR-100s
BUY CALL JUN-100 FSR-FT OI= 623 at $5.00 SL=3.25

Picked on March 18th at $95.56       PE = 47
Change since picked      +0.00       52 week low  = $54.18
Analysts Ratings     6-8-3-0-0       52 week high = $95.56
Last earnings on  12/98   est= .72   actual= .72
Next earnings on   4-13   est= .77   versus= .63
Average Daily Volume = 897.9k
Chart = http://quote.com/q?s=FSR&d=3m

********

WCOM - MCI WorldCom, Inc. $93.75 +3.81 (+7.81 this wk)(+3.13)

MCI WorldCom is the #2 telecommunications provider.  AT&T 
holds the top spot for now.  WCOM was formed in 1998 when 
WorldCom acquired MCI Communications.  The company now provides
telecommunication services to business, government, and 
consumer customers by using fiber optics, digital microwave 
technology, and satellite stations.  WCOM is also part owner 
of American Sky Broadcasting and offers Internet access 
through an alliance with AOL.    

WCOM is another fine example of a stock really on the move.  
We are adding it as a play due to its new momentum after 
breaking through resistance in the mid-80s.  The company has 
had a particularly strong week and has added +$7.81 thus far.  
On Thursday, it even managed to notch a new all time high of 
$93.94.  We expect WCOM to keep on its present course.  
However, we highly recommend using caution.  The company has 
been up for six days in a row.  We would like to see the stock 
pull back before initiating any new plays.

News:  On Wednesday, the chief executive of WCOM said that 
they expect to meet analysts' estimates for this year and 
next year mainly because of the savings from the acquisition 
of MCI Communications back in September.  First Call estimates 
are for $1.97 in 1999 and $2.83 in 2000.  

look for pullback!
BUY CALL APR-90 LDQ-DR OI=5886 at $6.50 SL=4.75
BUY CALL APR-95*LDQ-DS OI=2376 at $3.75 SL=2.50
BUY CALL JUN-95 LDQ-FS OI=4687 at $7.00 SL=5.25 

Picked on March 18th at $93.75      PE= N/A
Change since picked    +$ 0.00      52 week low =$39.00
Analysts Ratings    22-8-3-0-0      52 week high=$93.94
Last earnings 02/99 est 0.10   actual 0.23 surprise=+130% 
Next earnings 05-05 est 0.34   versus 0.10
Average Daily Volume = 10.9 mln
Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=WCOM&d=3m

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

NONE




*****************************************************
COMBINATION PLAYS   
*****************************************************
The Big Day Arrives...Not!

Wednesday, March 17

Stocks fell Wednesday as the market wavered after the Dow failed
to close above the magical 10,000 level. Concerns over possible
changes in interest rates left investors uncommitted. The Dow was
off 51 points at 9879. The index jumped through 10,000 for the
first time on Tuesday but only held the benchmark for a moment.
The Nasdaq index of technology stocks was also lower at 2428. In
the broader market, declining issues led advances 15 to 13 on
active volume of 753 million shares on the NYSE.

Tuesday's new plays:

COOL  $21.38 APR17C/20C $1.25 Debit
FORE  $13.12 APR10C/12C $1.50 Debit
PRD	$21.82 APR17C/20C $1.75 Debit
ZD	$25.50 APR17C/22C $3.38 Debit

The covered/combo on FORE will be tracked in the Covered Calls
and Naked Puts section.
 
Portfolio plays:

ITVU continued its incredible rise and today we were ready. The
short position (MAR22C) was purchased for $6.50 and we considered
rolling to the MAR30C but the stock was "long gone" by the time a
decision was made. We sold the long (JUN22C) position for $13 and
that was well short of the high for the day. Congratulations to a
couple of our readers that also made profitable trades on this
play. NOVL also started a new upward move and we were obliged to
roll forward in the calendar spread. The MAR20C was closed for
$5.50 and the APR22C was sold for $3.87. The position is already
profitable so we are going to protect the downside. Our last two
March time spreads are UK and MTC. We closed UK (APR42C/MAR42C)
for $1.62, a profit of $0.87. You could hold the long position
into April and play the stock movement for a higher return but it
is safer to just take the money off the table. The short position
on MTC (MAR45C) was closed for $3.50. We will place an order to
sell the APR45C at $5.75. The PHB spread is trading at parity so
we plan to close the current position (APR25C/MAR30C) for a debit
of $4.87 on Friday.

Thursday, March 18

U.S. stocks broke records on Thursday but the Dow fell just short
of closing at the 10,000 point mark. The Dow closed at 9997, up
118 points. Tech stocks moved higher with the Nasdaq index up
33 points to 2462. The S&P 500-stock index also added 18 points
to end at 1316, also a new record.

Portfolio plays:

Lots of plays to close tomorrow. If you have long-term spreads
with short (March) positions that are ITM, be sure to buy back
those options or roll them into April plays. We have two debit
positions; ALT and KSU, that will be closed tomorrow at maximum
profit. We also have some credit straddles/strangles that will
be profitable but still need to be monitored; SAPE, GE and ALLC.
The BDX debit spread went south right after we opened it and our
personal limit (at $6.00) is where we closed the play. CATP is
warning of lower earnings so watch out for that one tomorrow!
******************************************************************
				- NEW PLAYS -
******************************************************************
BTC - BancTec  $16.75     *** More Takeover Rumors ***

BancTec markets electronic processing systems and services for
financial-transaction documentation. Products include ImageFIRST
systems, which are used to capture, digitize, and process checks,
utility bills, mortgage coupons, and other documents. BancTec's
OpenARCHIVE is designed for high-speed archiving of financial
document images and related transaction data. BancTec also makes
software for electronically processing credit and courtesy cards
and for electronic check authorization. Services include system
installation and maintenance; support services account for about
45% of sales. The firm also does warranty repairs for Dell and
Compaq.

The company has several new software products for their core
transaction management marketplace that incorporate the latest
generation of internet-enabled image, workflow and document
technologies. But that's not the reason we are playing this
stock. Rumor is that management has been shopping the company
around and call options have recently drawn strong interest.
Trading volume has been above average for the last few sessions
and most of the activity has been concentrated in the March $15
options. The stock also achieved the highest closing price in 7
months on Wednesday (above $16).

We are going to use the volatility in the April positions to
allow you to speculate on the direction of the stock. Look at
the recent chart history before you play!

PLAY (neutral/time spread):

BUY  CALL MAY-15 BTC-EC OI=96  A=$3.12
SELL CALL APR-15 BTC-DC OI=545 B=$2.18
INITIAL NET DEBIT TARGET=$0.75 TARGET ROI=50%

PLAY (bullish/time spread):

BUY  CALL MAY-15 BTC-EC OI=96  A=$3.12
SELL CALL APR-17 BTC-DW OI=167 B=$1.12
INITIAL NET DEBIT TARGET=$1.87 TARGET ROI=30%

Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=BTC&d=3m
******************************************************************
EGGS - Egghead.com  $21.87     *** Big Gap Today! ***

Egghead.com is an Internet-only reseller of PC hardware, software,
and accessories. Its main Web site, egghead.com, has about 40,000
products, including computer hardware, software, and peripherals,
as well as excess, reconditioned, and closeout brand-name computer
products. They have a 24-hour hardware and software auction site.
Egghead.com also telemarkets merchandise and distributes a limited
number of catalogs and they sell consumer electronics.

Egghead.com rocketed today after U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray began
coverage of the stock with a "strong buy" rating and a 12-month
price target of $28. Analyst Steven Franco said 1999 revenues of
$144.4 million is his target. The analyst is also encouraged by
the fact that Egghead.com is the largest online destination to
buy computer-related products. Recent Media Metrix surveys show
that Egghead.com is among the top 10 shopping sites on the Web,
and is in the top 50 most frequently visited sites. We like the
bullish break-out!

PLAY (conservative/debit spread):

BUY  CALL APR-17.50 EGQ-DW OI=1331 A=$5.50
SELL CALL APR-20.00 EGQ-DD OI=981  B=$3.87
INITIAL NET DEBIT TARGET=$1.38 ROI(max)=81% B/E=$18.87

Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=EGGS&d=3m
******************************************************************
BPA - BP Amoco  $99.75     *** Oil Giant! ***

BP Amoco was formed from the merger of British Petroleum and Amoco.
It is the world's #3 integrated oil company the company produces
oil in about 20 countries. It has reserves of about 14.8 billion
barrels of oil and gas equivalent, with large holdings in Alaska 
and the North Sea. It is the largest US oil producer and the #1
natural gas producer in North America. BP Amoco owns about 27,000
service stations worldwide. A major chemical manufacturer, it is
the world market leader for several chemicals, including acetic
acid and purified terephthalic acid.

Oil companies are moving higher and are now among some of the most
actively traded issues on news that exporting countries have begun
implementing a plan to reduce global output.

World oil markets should continue to rise as members of OPEC start
to implement their plan. U.S. government and industry reports are
also helping prices by showing big draws in U.S. distillate stock,
which includes heating oil and diesel, as well as gasoline. Front
month crude oil futures closed above $15 a barrel this week for
the first time this year and the short-term outlook is bullish for
oil stocks.

PLAY (conservative/debit spread):

BUY  CALL APR-90 BPA-DR OI=2067 A=$10.87
SELL CALL APR-95 BPA-DS OI=562  B=$6.62
INITIAL NET DEBIT TARGET=$4.00 ROI(max)=25% B/E=$94.00

Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=BPA&d=3m
******************************************************************
FDX - Federal Express  $98.12     *** Split Play ***

FDX Corporation delivers more than three million express packages
to about 200 countries each working day. Subsidiary RPS is the
second-largest ground carrier of small packages in the US. Viking
Freight is a less-than-truckload carrier and Roberts Express, the
largest surface-expedited carrier in North America, provides
delivery of time-critical shipments. Caliber Logistics and Caliber
Technology offer just-in-time delivery programs for businesses,
order processing, and transportation management.

Today, FDX reported earnings of $0.52 a share, up from $0.12 a
year ago, and above the First Call consensus estimate of $0.41.
They also announced plans for a two-for-one stock split. The
split will be in the form of a stock dividend payable 5/6/99 to
holders of record on 4/15/99. The news drove the stock price
to an all-time high. The company said they are benefiting from
the accelerated move to fast-cycle production and distribution
methods, the growth in electronic commerce and new supply chain
re-engineering. The company's FedEx unit reported that domestic
U.S. operating income is up 7% and the outlook going forward in
both the revenue and expense category is excellent! We just like
the "Split-Play" synopsis.

PLAY (conservative/calendar spread):

BUY  CALL JUL-100 FDX-GT OI=614  A=$11.12
SELL CALL APR-100 FDX-DT OI=1354 B=$5.50
INITIAL NET DEBIT TARGET=$5.38 TARGET ROI=50%

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 MAY 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=FDX&d=3m






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