The Option Investor Newsletter Tuesday 3-23-99 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) ************************************************************ 3-23-99 High Low Volume Advances Decline DOW 9671.83 -218.68 9891.06 9632.71 814,278k 660 2,337 Nasdaq 2322.84 - 73.10 2392.56 2319.96 974,928k 1,138 2,876 S&P-100 631.90 - 17.65 649.55 629.09 Totals 1,798 5,213 S&P-500 1262.14 - 34.87 1297.01 1257.46 25.6% 74.4% $RUT 383.37 - 9.83 393.20 382.91 $TRAN 3195.11 - 80.57 3283.21 3187.71 VIX 29.11 + 2.46 30.21 27.02 Put/Call Ratio .71 ************************************************************* What a difference a day makes! Yesterday we traded almost the entire day in a narrow 30 point range while earnings worries were cussed and discussed. Today the barrage of earnings downgrades hammered the market early and did not let up. We were down -160 points by 11:00. The 9725 level provided some support for most of the day but the sellers took over and pushed the Dow down as much as -260 points just prior to the close. We closed well below 9700 and only 20 over support at 9650. The one two punch of multiple analyst downgrades on Coke (KO) this morning started the run for the exits. Fears of slowing growth and weak sales in Latin America and Japan, where they get 40% of their profit, prompted Merrill and Morgan Stanley to reduce estimates. The next blow was a downgrade of Texas Instruments. TXN gets 10% of its revenue from disk drive sales and soft PC sales will impact this profit center. BellSouth warned this morning that earnings would be on the lower end of previous estimates due to the increased costs from building high speed access. The warning was not a big factor by itself but coupled with everything else was just too much for the market to handle. Need I say decliners are overwhelming advancers severely. The last nail in the Dow coffin today was of course the war beginning in Kosovo. Experts are worried that the conflict could escalate quickly and involve surrounding countries. Russia is strongly opposed to the NATO intervention and could cause trouble for NATO. Analysts are concerned that this will eventually require land troops and long term occupation. These things on top of a +750 point Dow advance, when we are right in the middle of the two week earnings warning period were just too much for the blue chips to bear. The broader market had been selling off for some time. Now instead of focusing on Dow 10,000 we may be faced with Dow 9,500. Instead of the broader markets catching up with the blue chips, it appears the blue chips may be trying to match the broader market. The good news today was a possible bottom by IBM and Intel. Both leaders in the market, failed to fall substantially even though the market was selling off. The reason that earnings warnings appear to be having a stronger impact may be because the tide is mounting toward more negative warnings than positive. Last quarter we had more positive than negative but this quarter First Call says we are having more negative warnings than usual among S&P 500 companies. Already 14 of the Dow 30 stocks are expected to have flat or down earnings this quarter. This is not the kind of trend Wall Street likes to hear. Another trend that is promoting caution is the sell off severity trend. Five of the last six times the Dow corrected the bounce came at the 200 day moving average. If we are really going to correct again on the basis of weak earnings then the real bottom is the 200DMA of 9,000. A whopping 700 points down. Without a real earnings disaster or someone joining the wrong side in Kosovo, I can't imagine dropping that far. There is far too much cash on the sidelines looking for an entry point. As we all know, cash in our accounts promotes itchy trigger fingers. Fund managers are the same way. They do not win any popularity contests turning in returns that look like money market numbers. The key imperative again is "watch and wait". We need to see the fallout from the bombing. (hopefully just a pun) If we get a quick halt for more "peace talks" the market will likely recover very quickly. The NATO spokesman on the news said, "when they want the bombing to stop, they know our phone number." Hey guys, I will gladly pay for the call if it will turn the market back around! Until somebody calls a halt I expect the market to fall as long as bombs fall. This is not like launching a few cruise missiles at a toothless, friendless IRAQ. This could get really messy. You should all be in cash now. A serious drop like we have had this week should have closed out all your stops. You should be analyzing new play possibilities and preparing for the eventual relief rally. If you did not have stops, either profit or stop loss, and you are still in the market, then you are going to have a restless night. If "it will come back, I know it will, I know it will.." is your lullaby tonight you could have a very restless night. Nothing ever has to come back! Hope has no impact on stock prices. Real market and world events do have impacts on prices. Buying is easy, selling is hard. This is a prime example of why we preach stop losses and waiting on the market. If you place stop losses you may lose money, but not all of your money. You can still come back and play again when the market rebounds. Instead of waiting on the edge of your chair for weeks and hoping your option gets back to what you paid for it, you could be profiting from the coming market rebound. It could be this week or several weeks away but it will be profitable for those ready to seize the moment when it comes. I got several emails today from traders who made money today as the market went down. I did too and it was great to be on the right side of a major market move. Now we are all waiting for the next signal and hopefully you are also!! If you have never read the Market Sentiment Section before, you really need to read it tonight. Pinnacle has listed all the market factors that point to the likely direction. It could save you a lot of money! Good Luck, Don't buy too soon! Jim Brown Editor ************ New Feature ************ Because of the renewed focus in the Dow-30 and their fall from grace, we have added a Dow-30 chart link to the left side navigation bar. This link will display a chart for each of the Dow-30 stocks, ON ONE PAGE! The default charts are 30 day but there is a link for a 10-day page as well. I strongly urge you to look at the 10-day page and see what is happening behind the index that controls our destiny. For the email only readers here is the link to the 10-day. /members/misc/10dayhrly.asp ************** Market Posture Key Benchmarks Broad Market Bearish/Bullish Last Posture/Since Alert **************************************************************** DOW Industrials 9,500 10,000 9,672 Neutral 3.19 SPX S&P 500 1,250 1,325 1,262 Neutral 3.19 OEX S&P 100 630 660 632 Neutral 3.19 RUT Russell 2000 400 435 383 BEARISH 3.12 NDX NASD 100 2,000 2,100 1,961 BEARISH 3.23 * MSH High Tech 900 1,000 945 Neutral 3.19 Technology XCI Hardware 800 900 827 Neutral 3.5 CWX Software 600 650 604 Neutral 3.5 SOX Semiconductor 350 420 354 Neutral 3.5 NWX Networking 420 450 425 Neutral 3.4 INX Internet 500 570 542 Neutral 2.19 Financial BIX Banking 675 710 675 Neutral 3.19 XBD Brokerage 700 825 758 Neutral 3.19 IUX Insurance 630 655 632 Neutral 3.19 Other RLX Retail 875 940 881 Neutral 3.19 DRG Drug 800 835 794 BEARISH 3.23 * HCX Healthcare 775 835 794 BEARISH 3.23 * XAL Airline 340 365 333 BEARISH 3.23 * OIX Oil & Gas 245 260 255 Neutral 3.19 Posture Alert Plagued by earnings concerns and the possibility of military action in Kosovo, the equity market endured a broad-based sell-off Tuesday. We have turned Bearish across select industry sectors including Airlines, Drug and Healthcare while other sectors are close to rolling over. We want to caution investors that several industry sectors revealed major reversal signals last Friday (3/19) and that the broad market may not eclipse 10,000 over the near-term. A detailed description of our Market Posture and its applications can be found at: www.OptionInvestor.com/marketposture Market Sentiment **************** Don't Even Think About It When the market sells off precipitously, many investors begin to think about buying the dip - don't even think about it. Many of our trusted technical and sentiment indicators are telling us that it's too soon to be thinking long and you may be well advised to develop a balanced attack. This past weekend, Pinnacle highlighted several key Bullish and Bearish factors. As shown below, the Market Volatility Index (VIX) crossed over into the Bearish column. BEARISH Signs: Top Reversal Several industry sectors revealed Tweezer top candlestick formation on Friday (3/19) Peak Open Interest April peak open interest - .65 Interest Rates Bouncing off 200dma and holding above important 5.50% level (5.56%) Russell 2000 Breaking below key 400 level. Generals leading but troops are not following. Advance/Decline Line Deteriorating A/D line. Market Volatility (VIX) Trading above 50-day moving average 26.875. OTM Call Analysis Last week, Pinnacle began tracking the open interest at OTM call option (650-700). As documented all last week, out-of-the money (OTM) call buying reached extreme levels and contributed, in part, to the precipitous sell-off on Friday (3/19) and Tuesday (3/23). We thought it might prove useful to track separately the call buying activity as we move into April's expiration cycle. If we see an unusual level of optimism, OI subscribers will be the first to catch the activity. OEX OTM Call Analysis (Open Interest MAR 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% * OEX OTM Call Analysis (Open Interest Apr 650-700) Date Open Interest Change % Alert Friday, March 19 35,626 - Tuesday, March 23 48,953 37.4% * Market Volatility (VIX) Pinnacle Capital Advisors has long been tracking the relationship of the major turning points with the Market Volatility Index (VIX). This past weekend, we alerted subscribers that a major turning point would be confirmed if the VIX violated and crossed above its 50-day moving average (26.50). On Monday (3/22), the VIX closed above this benchmark giving savvy option traders a jump on other investors on the market downdraft. Tonight, the VIX has closed firmly above its 50-day moving average (29.11). It is our view that the market will continued to be under pressure while the VIX remains above its 50-day moving average. Market Sentiment at a Glance Friday Tues Thurs Indicator (3/19) (3/23) (3/25) Alert ******************************************************************** Pinnacle Index (OEX): Overhead Resistance (650-665) 1.7 1.3 Underlying Support (625-640) 1.0 1.4 Put/Call Ratios: CBOE Total P/C Ratio .6 .5 CBOE Equity P/C Ratio .4 .4 * OEX P/C Ratio 1.3 1.3 * Peak Open Interest (OEX): Puts 630 640 Calls 700 700 P/C Ratio .63 .65 Market Volatility Index (VIX): CBOE VIX 25.95 29.11 * Investors Intelligence: Bullish 52.6% 52.6% * Bearish 17.6% 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 (3/19) (3/23) (3/25) (660-665) 5.4 3.1 (650-655) .9 .8 Overhead Resistance (650-665) 1.7 1.3 OEX Close 650.11 631.90 Underlying Support (625-640) 1.0 1.4 (635-640) .9 1.4 (625-630) 1.0 1.3 Average ratings: Resistance levels 2.0 / Support .5 What the Pinnacle Index is telling us: Overhead sentiment resistance is building at the OEX 650/665 level while the underlying support is weak at the OEX 625/640 level. Put/Call Ratio Friday Tues Thurs Strike/Contracts (3/19) (3/23) (3/25) CBOE Total P/C Ratio .62 .49 CBOE Equity P/C Ratio .43 .40 OEX P/C Ratio 1.31 1.33 (OEX) Peak Open Interest Friday Tues Thurs Strike/Contracts (3/19) (3/23) (3/25) Puts 630 / 5,622 640 / 7,217 Calls 700 / 8,916 700 / 11,191 Put/Call Ratio .63 .65 (VIX) Market Volatility Index Date Major 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 19, 1999 25.84 * March 23, 1999 29.11 * 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 * ****************** CHANGES THIS WEEK Index Last Mon Tue Week Dow 9671.83 -13.04 -218.68 -231.72 Nasdaq 2322.84 -25.33 -73.10 -98.43 $OEX 631.90 -0.56 -17.65 -18.21 $SPX 1262.14 -2.28 -34.87 -37.15 $RUT 383.37 -3.38 -9.83 -13.21 $TRAN 3195.11 -62.80 -80.57 -143.37 $VIX 29.11 0.81 2.46 3.27 Stock Mon Tue Week AOL 121.13 10.75 -8.88 1.87 Necessary correction. Possible entry? INSS 67.00 1.75 -1.50 0.25 Up Monday. Fell with market today G 61.75 0.63 -0.88 -0.25 Showing plenty of strength JPM 122.88 3.31 -3.56 -0.25 Wants to go higher. Dow profit taki OMC 73.50 1.63 -2.06 -0.43 New high on Monday. Entry point today? FSR 92.13 0.00 -0.50 -0.50 Holding strong, waiting for the market. PFE 139.25 2.31 -3.81 -1.50 Viagra opens in Japan. AHP 63.63 1.13 -3.31 -2.18 Wait for bounce off 30 dma QCOM 82.13 3.06 -5.50 -2.44 New high on Monday. Entry point today? BVSN 62.88 -1.25 -1.88 -3.13 Showing strength for an Internet C 61.13 -0.63 -2.50 -3.13 New upgrade and higher estimates MWD 97.88 -5.25 1.50 -3.75 Earnings are Thursday. Split Candidate WMT 90.50 -1.44 -2.81 -4.25 Look for bounce off its 30 dma EMC 113.88 -2.50 -1.88 -4.38 Another possible entry point. LOW 59.38 -2.38 -2.00 -4.38 Consolidating with the Dow MSFT 166.56 1.63 -6.25 -4.62 Diving with the Nasdaq. Splits Friday SCH 85.00 -0.50 -4.13 -4.63 Even more profit taking MER 85.69 -0.81 -4.25 -5.06 More profit taking GE 106.56 -1.63 -3.81 -5.44 Dow component. Wait for bounce. TLAB 86.63 -1.25 -4.25 -5.50 Profit taking with the down Nasdaq WCOM 86.00 -2.75 -2.75 -5.50 Crashing with the Nasdaq! RFMD 85.75 -0.13 -9.25 -9.38 Ouch! Wait for bottom. Splits on 3/31 IMNX 164.63 -6.44 -7.31-13.75 Dropped splits after Thurs. CMGI 164.00 -6.06 -14.00-20.06 At near term bottom, look for bounce up RNWK 118.00 -6.56 -17.19-23.75 Ouch! Consolidating for a new run. Puts NSOL 231.56 -43.25 -13.19-56.44 Dropped, fell too early CTXS 68.00 -5.87 -3.88 -9.75 New put, just fell through 200 dma LLY 84.19 -2.37 -0.88 -3.25 New put, new competition IBM 165.38 -1.56 -1.63 -3.19 Still might Pre-announce LXK 85.56 -1.06 -1.88 -2.94 PC worries means printer worries CMB 79.56 -0.63 -2.31 -2.94 New put, look for drop through $79 LHSG 34.88 -1.13 -1.63 -2.76 No support from new coverage NEON 56.88 0.19 -2.31 -2.12 Looking weak. CGX 46.50 -0.69 -0.31 -1.00 Use limit orders BMCS 33.19 -1.50 0.69 -0.81 Put paradox appears again! CPQ 30.63 -0.63 0.50 -0.13 Put paradox again SBUX 28.63 1.66 -1.06 0.60 Bounced yesterday, but still falling GIS 74.81 0.69 0.13 0.82 Defensive play won't last 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: ****** IMNX $164.63 -7.31 (-13.75) IMNX jumped +10.13 in last week's trading. On Monday, normal profit taking set in after the big gain. Tuesday, weakness in the markets was to blame for the additional -$7.31 loss. Even though IMNX could very well rebound, we are dropping it as a play. It is splitting 2:1 after the market closes on Thursday. We feel the risks are too high for such a short play. If you continue to hold your positions (it means you forgot to use trailing stops, but...), remember that we never recommend holding over the split. 7 out of 10 companies suffer from post split depression. PUTS: ****** NSOL $231.56 -13.19 (-56.44) NSOL dropped and dropped big on Monday. We weren't expecting a drop until after the split had taken place. It is unfortunate, because we knew it would fall but it beat us too the punch. Our target price was $240 (or $120). Because it reached that level yesterday, we consider this play dead. Sure it dropped again today, but many of the Internet stocks are near support and after the Nasdaq's big fall today, odds of a bounce are strong. NSOL still has plenty of room to drop since its 30 dma is around $193 or it could find support at the psychological level of $200 (or $100 tomorrow). We will be looking for a similar play on DCLK if we can get the right entry point before it splits next month. PICK NEWS - CALLS ***************** AHP $63.63 -3.31 (-2.18) AHP looked like it was about to break out of its recent trading pattern by gaining +$1.13 on Monday. However, Tuesday's -218 point collapse in the DOW smashed AHP's hopes of breaking out to the plus side as it was hit for a -$3.31 loss on the day. AHP is now just barely below its 30 dma. But, with such a huge drop in the markets, the bargain hunting begins and prices can quickly rebound. Look for AHP to recover but wait for the markets to show green before opening any new positions. INSS $67.00 -1.50 (+0.25) Back on Friday, INSS dipped -$3.25 and provided an entry point. The stock resumed its upward trek on Monday by adding +$1.75. However, the beginnings of a split run were cut short by the tremendous negative market action on Tuesday. INSS fought hard to rise as high as $69 but the pressure was just too much. INSS finished the day with a loss of -$1.50. Again, this dip could prove to be an entry point. INSS splits 3:2 on April 5th. As always, wait for the market conditions to improve before entering new plays. In other news, INSS continues to show its leadership in helping the telecommunications industry. INSS unveiled a new framework of services and software products that should help better serve the telecom companies. LOW $59.38 -2.00 (-4.37) At one point in Tuesday's market massacre, LOW had actually traded up as high as +$0.43. However, with over a 200 point plummet in the market, it couldn't hold on to those gains and fell -$2.00. LOW's initial strength was a good sign. However, we don't suggest initiating any new plays until the markets firm and recoup. OMC $73.50 -2.06 (-0.44) OMC has been floating higher and higher like a hot air balloon on a spring day. On Monday, it even reached an all time high of $76.75. However, the mischievous market put an end to the peaceful ascent by poking a -$2.06 hole in the OMC balloon. The markets dropped over 200 points on Tuesday and took just about everything down with it. We strongly feel that OMC will recover and head back up- how soon is the question. It is imperative to wait for the markets to stabilize before opening any new positions. QCOM $82.13 -5.50 (-2.43) On Monday our split candidate set a new all time high of $90.25 in intraday trading. Part of the gains may be attributed to the fact that the US Patent Office said that one of QCOM's CDMA patents was valid and that the company was entitled to an additional 19 new claims. In other news, QCOM could also get large royalties from China. The country has recently expressed a huge interest in buying CDMA networks. An announcement on their CDMA plans could come next month when Premier Ahu Rongji visits the US. Look for QCOM to shrug off its Tuesday losses. The -$5.50 set back could prove to be an entry point. WCOM $86.00 -2.75 (-5.50) The weak market drug WCOM down with it on Tuesday. The company is now just above its 30 dma. By looking at WCOM's graph, it appears to bounce off this level and head back up. However, we suggest waiting for a definite upward confirmation in both the market and the stock before initiating any new plays. WMT $90.50 -2.51 (-4.25) WMT sold off on strong volume today to continue a 3-day slide. It is about to test its 30 dma, which has provided support since early Oct. Hopefully we will get a bounce and head higher. We strongly recommend, however, that you wait for the overall market to turn positive before adding any new positions. The April 19 split date is nearly 4 weeks in the future, so a split run is still a week or 2 away and profit taking can do a lot of harm in the mean time. In the news, the makers of Teletubbies are suing WMT over a toy it is selling called Bubbly Chubbies. The suit claims Bubbly Chubbies are an obvious copy of the popular Teletubbies. On a positive note, Gabielli, chairman of the Gabielli Funds, and a guest on CNBC this morning, said he thinks WMT will become the next big Internet play. He thinks WMT will jump into e-commerce in a big way to challenge the existing players. MER $85.69 -4.25 (-5.06) The financials have run up so far recently they were ripe for profit taking when the market turned negative. After a nice gap up Friday morning, MER has been sinking into a sea of red ever since. The stock still has excellent potential to move higher, especially with consolidation and merger talks taking place--WHEN THE MARKET TURNS POSITIVE. SCH $85.00 -4.13 (-4.63) Unlike a lot of other stocks, SCH only lost $.50 yesterday. But today it tumbled nearly 5% or $4.13 on fairly strong volume. The whole market was hit hard, but the financial sector, fat with weeks of gains, was an obvious choice for profit takers. The strongest businesses in this sector, including Schwab, should be the leaders in gains once again after the market correction is over. Be patient and wait for the market to turn positive again before starting new positions. GE $106.56 -3.81 (-5.44) GE's new high Friday of $112.94 was followed by a small loss yesterday. Today this Dow-reactive stock gave up a much bigger $3.81 and is now sitting below its 10 dma. We would like to see it rise back above its 10dma before we would consider new positions and that means a turnaround in the Dow. In the news today GE Power Systems, a $9.5 bln global power unit of GE, will buy the heavy duty gas turbine business of Alstrom France S.A., a licensee and business associate of GE. This will strengthen GE's position in Europe. G $61.75 -.88 (-.25) Bucking the trend, Gillette set a new high this morning of $64.38, before succumbing to market pressure to close down $.88. Yesterday it closed right at its resistance number of $62.63. G is ready to run, if only the market would let it. It sounds like a broken record, but be patient and wait for the breakout. World wide battery demand is expected to rise 7.8% annually. Rechargeable battery growth will be especially strong, with an increase in the use of laptop computers and wireless phones. That is good news for major battery suppliers such as Duracell, a unit of G. In another area of business, G launched a global ad campaign for its Mach 3 razor. After 7 years and $1 bln in development, the razor is hugely successful. G now commands over 71% of the blade market. ***** Play updates continued in section two ***** FREE TRIAL READERS ****************** If you like the results you have been receiving we would welcome you as a permanent subscriber. The monthly subscription price is 39.95. The quarterly price is 99.95 which is $20 off the monthly rate. We would like to have you as a subscriber. You may subscribe at any time but your subscription will not start until your free trial is over. To subscribe you may go to our website at www.OptionInvestor.com and click on "subscribe" to use our secure credit card server. You may also call us at 303-797-0200 and give us the information over the phone. You may also fax the information to: 303-797-1333 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 Tuesday 3-23-99 (continued) *********** RFMD $85.75 -9.25 (-9.38) RFMD finished yesterday off only $.13. Today was a different story as the stock dropped a whopping $9.25 or almost 10%. That was almost equal to all of last week's gains. This is a stock that has made tremendous gains in recent months, and in a market correction like we saw today, profit takers rush in to protect those gains. If the market turns around in the next day or 2, we will likely see an equally impressive rebound in RFMD. It splits 2:1 "on or about" March 31. That leaves only 5 days to play this one. C $61.13 -2.50 (-3.12) So here is the good news: Stock underwriter and brokerage, Raymond James, said it raised its rating on C to "accumulate" from "underperform" after a meeting with company executives. Also, their analyst raised his first quarter estimate to $0.84 a share from $0.76 a share and his 1999 estimate to $3.60 a share from $3.20 a share. He estimates Citigroup will earn $4.00 a share in 2000 (Reuters). C still plans to acquire $2 billion in shares over the next 12 months. Low volume lent comfort that C would not be taken to the woodshed for a whoopin'. The technical chart is looking weak, but so is every company's. In the financial group, there are none stronger than C. Confirm upward market before starting a new play. MSFT $166.56 -6.25 (-4.63) Anyone want to catch this falling knife? In Sunday's letter we cautioned, ".. if the market retreats before the split, there will be nothing to support the price". MSFT closed just $0.31 off its low today on average volume. Word of settlement talks filled the press releases yesterday, but quickly wore off today. Although MSFT will split on 3-26 after the close, that won't help if the rest of the market is down. Depending on your risk profile, be prepared to sell by Friday's close since, as a matter of principle, we don't recommend holding over a split. If you play MSFT this week, wait for the reversal and confirm upward market first. AOL $121.00 -9.00 (+0.75) ING Baring Furman Selz reiterated "strong buy" rating on this online service provider as company expected to reach the 20 million total subscriber level by mid-1999 (briefing.com). New price target is $180. Henry Blodget of Merrill Lynch fame believes that AOL will maintain a market share of 45-50 percent, while continuing to enjoy healthy subscriber growth. AOL had been on a meteoric rise until today where the loss came with heavy volume. It looks like profit taking, some short selling and a little panic to us. Even the upgrades and positive talk didn't help. Nonetheless, AOL is back in split territory with an earnings report scheduled for April 27th. When the market halts its slide, we expect AOL to move up again. If you play, wait for confirmation of upward market direction. Possible entry point here, watch the market tomorrow. EMC $113.88 -1.88 (-4.37) As we cautioned Sunday, "watch for profit taking since EMC has risen $20 in the last month without much pull back". In light of yesterday's retreat from its highs, losing only $1.88 today on heavy volume when others were having the rug pulled from under them is a sign of strength in our book. EMC was down as much as $3.84 today and came back, showing us that market willing, the worst may be over for EMC. In the news, EMC was ranked #4 in the Barron's 500 last weekend and #4 in the Business Week 50. 90% of the other companies in the survey are EMC customers. The growth potential for data storage is huge. No matter, confirm upward direction before playing. BVSN $62.88 -1.88 (-3.12) BVSN has closed down the last two days, but we are encouraged that it has held up as well as it has. On Monday, BVSN traded as high as $72.38 before falling with the market. Though Tuesday saw BVSN continue lower, it did bounce off its 10-dma and close over $2 higher than its intra-day low. The $61 range has held as pretty good support over the last 1 1/2 weeks. BVSN and Andro- media today announced a strategic alliance to provide e-commerce merchants first-of-its-kind "high value" data analysis and reporting enabling them to more effectively manage their online businesses. With the emergence of on line retailing, BVSN stands prepared to reap some rewards for its in-depth One-on-One software. MWD $97.88 +1.50 (-3.75) MWD showed surprising strength on Tuesday with a buck and a half gain. This is nice, but MWD did lose $5.25 on Monday. MWD announces earnings after the close on Thursday, and this is most likely the reason MWD held up strong today. MWD is well above prior split prices and does have the shares to announce a split. It's hard to know whether they will announce with earnings, but with the market struggling, MWD might want something to push the stock further upward. If a split is not announced with earnings, it is likely it will be announced at the shareholder meeting in April. MWD has had positive surprises in the past, but we caution on holding over earnings. RNWK $118.00 -17.19 (-23.75) RNWK has given up a little over half of its gains from last week. Other than the drop in the market, RNWK has come under a little pressure with the rumor talks that Yahoo! is pursuing Broadcast.com, RNWK's main competitor. RNWK's has previously voiced its goal to stay independent, but we feel at the right price, RNWK will take a good look at the right offer. RNWK is now sitting right on its 10-dma. Make sure that RNWK is confirming upward movement before jumping in. Option premiums are large. One analyst reiterated his price target of $200 for RNWK today. TLAB $86.63 -4.25 (-5.50) TLAB took a dive today, though it did close almost a $1.50 higher than its intra-day low. The stock is sitting just above its 20-dma. TLAB's announced on Monday the availability of Feature Package 3.0 (FP 3.0) for its CABLESPAN 2300 Universal Telephony Distribution System, which will enable cable operators to provide integrated voice, data and video solutions. TLAB's earnings are in a month, and it is likely that a split could be announced with earnings or at the shareholder meeting on April 21st. TLAB's prior splits have come around the $70 mark. The strongest support for TLAB is at its 30-dma at around $82.50. JPM $122.88 -3.56 (-0.25) This powerhouse traded as high as $128.50 today, but closed near its support level. The market sentiment was just too powerful for JPM to hold its advances. Yesterday, JPM did close right near its high at $126.44 to demonstrate its strength and strong fundamentals. Consider this pullback as an entry point to start a new play, however remember to confirm direction first. PFE $139.25 -3.81 (-1.50) Viagra goes on sale in Japan after record breaking approval time by their government. This is a potential goldmine for Pfizer! Japan is the 2nd largest market for pharmaceuticals and the company estimates over 7 mln men consider this drug a necessity. Prior to Viagra's approval, many men took "Viagra Tours" to Hawaii to acquire the drug and blackmarketeers were able to procure upwards of $50 per pill. On Monday, PFE hit $143.94 to set a new 52 week high only to be broken today when it traded as high as $144.50! The stock, unfortunately, was dragged down at the close with the multitudes of other Dow victims. This is a great example of the importance of keeping stops in place. FSR $92.06 -0.56 (-0.57) The fury in the market doesn't seem to be effecting this stock one way or the other. FSR has been relatively stable for the past few days trading in a narrow 3 point range. FSR is a short-term split play (3:1 4-15-99) and we're looking for this stock to breakout again. We warned that this stock requires market momentum to drive it upwards. The stock needs to bounce off its 10dma at 92 before initiating any new plays. Verify stock and market direction and please put stops in place. PICK NEWS - PUTS **************** SBUX $28.63 -1.06 (+0.60) SBUX continued its post split depression descent as the markets crashed and burned to over a 200 point drop. SBUX followed with a -$1.06 loss. Make sure to set your stop losses tight in case there is a rebound on Wednesday. LHSG $34.88 -1.63 (-2.75) From Sunday, "We may have found a bottom here." WRONG! LHSG continued its descent into purgatory. Today, Volpe Brown and Prudential came out with "neutral" and "hold" ratings, respectively. This is not even close to an endorsement, just notice that they have started coverage. There is no news to report. We may see a dead cat bounce, but it won't change the trend of the stock. Confirm market direction before starting a new play. BMCS $33.19 +0.69 (-0.81) Call it the "put paradox", that phenomenon we experience when a traditional loser cuts against the grain of a general down-market direction. It doesn't last, but raises eyebrows on the unsuspecting. The technical chart is still ugly. BMCS is reaching new lows daily. Look for downward pressure to resume. Shareholder lawsuits dominate the press releases and there is no other news. Confirm stock direction before playing and keep the stops tight in case it gets a bit of good news. LXK $85.56 -1.88 (-2.94) PC sales slow downs are still affecting the peripheral (including printer) market. Until CPQ, IBM, DELL or the like give us a nice surprise (doubtful), LXK will tag along for the ride. The only news regards product and service releases. Volume has been rising as the price keeps dropping. Watch the PC sector for clues to the next move. For now, we expect further declines. Keep your stops set in case the trend reverses and confirm market direction before starting a new play. CGX $46.50 -0.31 (-1.00) This is a low volume stock which makes it inherently risky. So far, so good. Weak support is $45. Once through it, $32 is the next stop. There is no price moving news to be found. The technical chart is still unglamorous (ok, ugly). Fundamentals are no better. Depending on your risk profile, you may want to wait for the descent below $45 before starting a play. Either way, we think CGX has a long way to fall. Confirm market direction first and use a limit order to enter the play. Otherwise the spread will eat into your potential profit. GIS $74.81 +.13 (+.81) GIS has held strong this week. We still like GIS as a put and feel the last few days have been a consolidation of its drop. GIS 200-dma is around $72 and a drop through this level would be very bearish. We could also see a bounce down from GIS 10-dma at $76.75. Today's move upward could be seen as a reaction to the Dow's drop. GIS, despite its recent performance, is considered a defensive play. When the market falls, people buy a stock like this believing that "hey, everyone buys cereal, no matter how broke they are". NEON $56.88 -2.31 (-2.12) Yesterday's trading rendered great profits for those that chose to target shoot NEON. The stock had a spread of over 10 points going as low as $53.38 and also providing great entry points on its high of $63.63. And today, the Nasdaq tech stocks were hit by the cuts in earnings estimates for IBM. NEON was no exception and took a ride on the tail of IBM and dropped -2.31. Whispers are that NEON may miss 1Q earnings, too. No verfication yet as to whether New Era has lost JP Morgan as a client or not. Investor Relations, Cynthia King, maintains that it is just, a rumor, stating no basis on fact. IBM $165.75 -1.25 (-2.81) IBM had a good sell off on Monday as the fears heightened on WallStreet about 1Q revenues for the company. Also, Morgan Stanley cut their target price on IBM to $195 from $210. Dell's downgrade today and BancBoston's 1Q earnings estimates cut to 1.37 p/s from 1.42 caused more deterioration for the stock. According to Daniel Niles, the cut is due to "hardware growth below plan" and he feels the stock is unlikely to rebound in the current bearish environment. IBM may gap down again, but remember this stock can move quickly so consider this an aggressive play. Keep your stops in place. CPQ $$30.63 +0.50 (-0.12) The pressure regarding the PC demand question is making investors and analysts queasy and this sentiment is seeping throughout the entire sector. The introduction of sub-$500 PC's is also one of the driving factors effecting the industry leaders. CPQ is down 41% from its 52 week high of $51.25. There is speculation CPQ may pre-warn that they will not meet expected 1Q earnings. Kevin McCarthy, from DLJ, believes Compaq needs a "sales surge" to meet estimates of .32 p/s and also, if CPQ does pre-warn the stock could fall to $25. Wait for this stock to slip through its support of $30 before beginning a new play. NEW CALL PLAYS ************** CMGI - CMG Info Services $164.00 -14.00 (-20.06) CMGI is a direct market service provider which invests in, develops and integrates advanced internet, interactive and database management technologies. The company and its subsidiaries offer a wide variety of direct marketing services including internet and interactive media direct marketing software technologies, literature fulfillment and turnkey outsourcing and business-to-business telemarketing services. The company also offers accurate mailing lists, database management, design and development capabilities, consultative list management and brokerage services. (company desc. from Stock SmartPro) CMGI has taken a hit the last week and a half. On the 9th of March, CMGI hit an intra-day high of $226. We are adding CMGI as a call play because we feel it has corrected to the point that it can now resume its up-trend. CMGI is sitting right at its 20-dma and has just about filled the gap open it made on the 8th of March. This is a risky play. Make sure CMGI has decided to move up before jumping in. If the market decides to continue down, CMGI will most likely follow. CMGI blew away earning estimates on the 19th of March, posting a gain of $.28 when expected to post a loss of $.23. CMGI has been in the news as of late because of its strong opposition of the USA/Lycos deal. CMGI is a major shareholder in Lycos and feels the USA offer is not good enough. BUY CALL APR-165*QGW-DM OI=532 at $16.25 SL=12.50 BUY CALL APR-170 QGW-DN OI=445 at $14.00 SL=10.75 BUY CALL APR-175 QGW-DO OI=234 at $12.25 SL= 9.50 BUY CALL MAY-175 QGW-EO OI= 4 at $22.63 SL=17.50 Picked on Mar 23rd at $164.00 PE =630 Change since picked +0.00 52-week low = 13.52 Analysts Ratings 2-5-1-0-0 52-week high=226.00 Last Earnings 03/99 est -.23 actual .28 surprise +222% Next Earnings 06-12 est -.20 versus .00 Average daily volume = 3.91 mln. Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=CMGI&d=3m CMGI - CMG Info Services $164.00 -14.00 (-20.06) CMGI is a direct market service provider which invests in, develops and integrates advanced internet, interactive and database management technologies. The company and its subsidiaries offer a wide variety of direct marketing services including internet and interactive media direct marketing software technologies, literature fulfillment and turnkey outsourcing and business-to-business telemarketing services. The company also offers accurate mailing lists, database management, design and development capabilities, consultative list management and brokerage services. (company desc. from Stock SmartPro) CMGI has taken a hit the last week and a half. On the 9th of March, CMGI hit an intra-day high of $226. We are adding CMGI as a call play because we feel it has corrected to the point that it can now resume its up-trend. CMGI is sitting right at its 20-dma and has just about filled the gap open it made on the 8th of March. This is a risky play. Make sure CMGI has decided to move up before jumping in. If the market decides to continue down, CMGI will most likely follow. CMGI blew away earning estimates on the 19th of March, posting a gain of $.28 when expected to post a loss of $.23. CMGI has been in the news as of late because of its strong opposition of the USA/Lycos deal. CMGI is a major shareholder in Lycos and feels the USA offer is not good enough. BUY CALL APR-165*QGW-DM OI=532 at $16.25 SL=12.50 BUY CALL APR-170 QGW-DN OI=445 at $14.00 SL=10.75 BUY CALL APR-175 QGW-DO OI=234 at $12.25 SL= 9.50 BUY CALL MAY-175 QGW-EO OI= 4 at $22.63 SL=17.50 Picked on Mar 23rd at $164.00 PE =630 Change since picked +0.00 52-week low = 13.52 Analysts Ratings 2-5-1-0-0 52-week high=226.00 Last Earnings 03/99 est -.23 actual .28 surprise +222% Next Earnings 06-12 est -.20 versus .00 Average daily volume = 3.91 mln. Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=CMGI&d=3m NEW PUT PLAYS ************* CMB - Chase Manhattan Corp. $79.56 -2.31 (-2.94) The Chase Manhattan Corporation is a bank holding company providing diversified financial services. Chase provides domestic and international corporate finance, wholesale banking and investment services. Financial services include personal and commercial checking accounts, savings and time accounts, personal and business loans, brokerage and insurance. The corporation serves a wide range of customers including commercial, professional and middle market customers. (from Stock SmartPro) CMB has had some tough times of late. On Tuesday, CMB dropped through its 30-dma. The chart shows a possible correction all the way down to the $72 range. CMB's 50-dma is around $79 and could provide some mild support. A break through this level should push CMB downward. CMB is looking for a partner, rumors are it wants Merrill Lynch. The purchaser often sees a drag on its stock. BUY PUT APR-80*CMB-PP OI=919 at $3.75 SL=2.00 BUY PUT APR-75 CMB-PO OI=920 at $1.50 SL=0.75 Average daily volume = 4.08 mln Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=CMB&d=3m ********** LLY - Eli Lilly & Co $84.19 -0.88 (-3.25) This company wants you to take it easy in life. They are the makers of the best-selling anti-depressant drug, Prozac. Eli Lilly discovers, develops, manufactures, and sells Life Science products. They also provide healthcare management services. The hot competition from Forest Labs with their new drug, Celexa, is slowing the sales of Prozac according to analysts. The stock started to dip on Wednesday when it dropped -5.31 to $88.75. This spike put LLY well below its 10dma of $93-$94. On Thursday, Cowen & Co downgraded LLY to "buy" from a "strong buy" and the stock has since continued its descent. Today it closed down on strong volume. Use its daily highs to find a good entry point and keep your stops in place. BUY PUT APR-80 LLY-PP OI=1591 at $1.50 SL=0.75 BUY PUT APR-85*LLY-PQ OI=2886 at $3.63 SL=1.75 Chart= http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=lly&d=3m ********** CTXS - Citrix Systems, Inc $68.00 -3.88 (-9.75) Citrix provides application server products and technologies that allow networked computers to run Windows-based programs from a central server. This gives their clients effective and efficient management of their applications. Its WinFrame software is used by well-known companies such as Sears Tire Centers and Hewlett-Packard Europe. Last week, CTXS was downgrade by AG Edwards from a "buy" to "accumulate" and this put a cloud over the stock. In Friday's chaos the stock spiked down -4.87 and that was only the beginning. Yesterday CTXS lost a whopping -5.87 and today the market momentum dragged it down almost 4 points. CTXS just fell through its 200 dma yesterday which is a very bearish signal. This stock should continue its freefall, market momentum permitting. *Special note. CTXS has a 2:1 split on Thursday. While this certainly has not been any kind of support so far...it might try to rally before Thursday. Conservative players should wait until Thursday afternoon and catch any post split depression. BUY PUT APR-70*XSQ-PN OI= 0 at $6.50 SL=4.75 volume=48 BUY PUT APR-75 XSQ-PO OI=952 at $9.75 SL=7.25 Chart= http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=ctxs&d=3m COMBINATION PLAYS ***************** Market tumbles...crash or correction? Monday, March 22, U.S. stocks fell lower Monday as Wall Street paused after making a failed bid last week to close above 10,000 for the first time. The Dow was off 13 points at 9890 after the index rallied as high as 9934 late in the day. Most technology stocks also moved lower, leaving the Nasdaq index 25 points from its starting point at 2395. In the broader market, declining issues led advances 17 to 11 on moderate volume of 660 million shares on the NYSE. Sunday's new plays (positions/prices): BR APR37C/APR40C $1.38 Debit (easy entry at that price...) FFD JUN12C/APR10C $0.00 No Play (gapped down/no ratio premium) FFD JUN10C/APR10C $0.62 Debit (best was $0.50 after the gap) MSFT APR135P/140P $0.31 Debit (good but never made our limit) NSOL APR200C/A210C $7.75 Debit (down about $40!) NSOL APR170P/A180P $1.50 Debit (much better in the afternoon) Portfolio plays: FORE continued its short-term rise and the debit spread hit our GTC target of $2.25 allowing us to close the play early for an excellent profit. The covered-combo will remain in place but the sold call could also be closed (near parity) to exit the position for a favorable return. Tuesday, March 23 U.S. stocks tumbled Tuesday, driving the Dow further away from the 10,000 milestone, amid concern profits are falling at major corporations. The DJIA fell over 200 points to finish at 9671. The Nasdaq Composite Index slid 73 points to 2322, the worst loss since February. Seven stocks fell for every two that rose on the NYSE, the broadest drop since October 8 and none of the 30 stocks in the Dow average rose. Portfolio plays: Our debit strangles on PMS and LSI started to move today with the market correction. The bearish PMS position (MAY35P) will now pay for the entire play allowing the bullish position to be sold on a rebound for profit. LSI fell almost $3 to a recent bottoming area and the APR25P traded as low as $1.75. NEW PLAYS ********* GILD - Gilead Sciences Inc. $46.00 *** Recent Slam *** Gilead Sciences discovers and develops new human therapeutics based on nucleotides, the building blocks of genes. The company's research and development efforts encompass three programs: small molecule antivirals, cardiovascular therapeutics, and genetic code blockers. Gilead's research focuses on treatments for viral infections such as HIV and hepatitis B, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Gilead has developed a compound that cures influenza in laboratory animals within a day; the company began testing the drug on humans in 1998. The stock price dropped about 15% Monday after analysts knocked the company's stock ratings and two of its lead drugs. The two analysts lowered their recommendations on the stock based on its current value. The company had recently reported the latest clinical trials results for its Preveon drug, saying a smaller dosage still helped treat HIV in patients and also reduced nephrotoxicity, a harmful side effect of Preveon that affects patients' kidneys. One of the analysts said there's still risks involved for the approval of Gilead's Preveon and GS4104 drug, which treats influenza and Merrill Lynch analysts expressed concerns about Preveon's nephrotoxicity side effect, which they said was only slightly reduced in the smaller dosage. Not all analysts were negative on the Preveon results, even though those comments weighed heavier on the stock. Joe Dougherty of Warburg Dillon Read expects the drug will actually be approved by the FDA by the end of the year. For now the stock will probably continue lower but we like the solid support near $40. That should be just enough to hold this play in the profitable category at the end of the April strike. PLAY (conservative/neutral time spread): BUY CALL MAY-45 GDQ-EI OI=1155 A=$5.25 SELL CALL APR-45 GDQ-DI OI=100 B=$3.62 INITIAL NET DEBIT TARGET=$1.38 TARGET ROI=25% Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=GILD&d=3m **** TXN - Texas Instruments $91.25 *** Another Slam *** Texas Instruments leads the digital signal processor (DSP) market with a 45% share. DSPs convert signals such as sound and light into digital signals. They are used in programmable products, such as VCRs and camcorders, automobiles, computer peripherals and in more than 85 million cellular phones. TI continues to pioneer new technologies: Its digital light processor technology uses tiny mirrors to create an ultrasharp display for TVs and home computers. To focus on its DSP business, TI has sold its defense electronics and memory chip units. Texas Instruments fell almost 5% today on concerns that sales of semiconductor components to disk drive makers were slowing. One of the industry analysts said he told clients that the disk drive component market for Texas Instruments was softer than expected. The analyst said he still rated the company as a BUY, (adding that the stock was his favorite among large cap semiconductors) but that didn't stop the $10 drop. We think the sell-off was a bit overdone and the bottom of the recent trading range is above the sold strike at $80. Experienced traders may want to watch for (and play) any momentum by purchasing the long position first and waiting for strength or weakness in the stock. If you can achieve a small profit on the long option, close the position. When the stock price strengthens, initiate the spread for a credit by selling the higher priced put. PLAY (conservative/credit spread): BUY PUT APR-75 TXN-PO OI=2099 A=$1.25 SELL PUT APR-80 TXN-PP OI=1287 B=$1.75 INITIAL NET CREDIT TARGET=$0.62 ROI=14% Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=TXN&d=3m **** REV - Revlon $17.06 *** Big Gap Today! *** Revlon makes fragrances, personal care and salon products. Revlon keeps it fresh by appealing to new markets with new products as well as old favorites: It has developed a line aimed at aging baby boomers and a flashy line for the trend conscious. It also makes the premium-priced Ultima II-brand makeup. Revlon products are sold primarily through drugstore and supermarket chains and mass merchandisers. The stock gapped over $3 today on incredible volume with no news and Revlon declined to comment on whether there was any corporate developments to explain the rise in its stock price. They said in a statement it was not its policy to comment on unusual market activity or rumors. The rumor is that one of the conglomerates is making a bid for the company. The top candidate is most likely Proctor and Gamble. The is a speculative play with reasonable technical foundation and the May position is actually more favorable based on risk/reward. PLAY (aggressive/debit spread): BUY CALL MAY-15.00 REV-EC OI=170 A=$3.50 SELL CALL MAY-17.50 REV-EW OI=0 B=$2.06 INITIAL NET DEBIT TARGET=$1.25 ROI(max)=100% B/E=$16.25 Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=REV&d=3m **** ESPI - Espire Communications $9.62 *** More Takeovers? *** E.spire Communications provides discount local telephone service in direct competition with Bell. Inspired by regulatory changes opening local phone markets to competition, e.spire has become a leading provider of voice, data, internet access and other telecom services to business and government. The company serves small and medium-sized businesses in more than 30 cities in the southern US. In cooperation with telecom service providers IXC Communications and fONOROLA, e.spire offers advanced business services such as local area network (LAN) interconnection, videoconferencing, and telemedicine. Espire has seen continued volatile activity in their call options, most likely from speculators who think the company is ready to be acquired. One of the rumored merger candidates is Kodak and some say the announcement of a deal will take place within 2-3 weeks. We prefer to take the conservative route on this position offered by the premium disparity in the June ITM calls. With some technical suppport in the $5-$7 range, this is a low risk long-term position. PLAY (very conservative/debit spread): BUY CALL JUN-5.00 AQ-FA OI=175 A=$5.00 SELL CALL JUN-7.50 AQ-FU OI=775 B=$3.25 INITIAL NET DEBIT TARGET=$1.50 ROI(max)=66% B/E=$6.50 Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=ESPI&d=3m *** SEE DISCLAIMER IN SECTION ONE ***
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