Option Investor
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Daily Newsletter, Thursday, 08/12/1999

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The Option Investor Newsletter         Thursday 8-12-99
Copyright 1999, All rights reserved. 
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.

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

Published three times weekly, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday evenings.
************************************************************
MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
************************************************************
        8-12-99          High     Low     Volume   Advances Decline
DOW    10789.39 +  1.59 10900.83 10780.84  745,630k  1,484   1,528
Nasdaq  2549.49 - 15.49  2586.10  2548.51  959,442k  1,978   1,850
S&P-100  673.07 -  3.32   681.52   681.52   Totals   3,462   3,378
S&P-500 1298.16 -  3.77  1313.61  1298.60            50.6%   49.4%
$RUT     428.82 +  0.63   429.70   428.19
$TRAN   3157.46 + 24.13  3157.46  3157.46
VIX       26.07 +  0.04    26.08    24.29
Put/Call Ratio      .69    
*************************************************************

Atlas shrugs, but it doesn't work

First thing this morning, traders fresh with retail sales news 
shrugged off July's .7% jump in retail sales once they understood 
that June's figures were revised downward to show a decline of 
.2% for the month.  An almost convincing gain ensued, but 
couldn't hold up into the close, as someone turned out the lights 
(literally).  To understand what happened, take a look at the 
action on the NYSE (the DOW in particular) and the NASDAQ.

As we alluded to last night, the DOW carried on yesterday's 
strength through amateur hour this morning, touching 10,850 
before falling back to 10,800 (actually, 10,780), where it found 
support (surprise!).  Recall that this was the resistance level 
up 'til then.  The 30-yr. bond rate was rising during that period 
too from 6.20% to 6.23%.  Just as the bond rate reversed 
direction back toward 6.20% (hesitating briefly at 6.21%), so too 
did the DOW reverse back up to 10,850, where it hesitated before 
leading a charge all the way to 10,900.  The recovery was looking 
very real as advancers were edging out decliners 1520 to 1298 at 
the time.  Remember that bonds had been leading the index all 
day, since as goes inflation fear (as reflected in bond rates), 
so goes stock price.  As rates go up, stock prices fall.  At 
almost the very peak of the day, bond rates began to rise again 
(the 30-yr. treasury auction didn't go so well - weak demand from 
the usual inflation fears) and stocks began to fall in sympathy 
until the close.  Despite being up as high as 120 points from the 
open, the DOW finished up just 19 points at 10,807 on 748 mln. 
shares traded.  The A/D line had crossed over to show decliners 
edging out advancers 1484 to 1528 - almost even.  Significantly 
improving, but still negative, new lows were down to 163, while 
new highs progressed to 55.  The last 2 days were certainly 
worse.

Suffice it to say that the NASDAQ had a similar pattern, but with 
its own nuances.  Keeping a damper on NASDAQ was Merrill Lynch's 
issuance of a PC sector warning, wherein they predicted that PC 
sales prices would fall 11.5% this year and 11% each in the next 
2 years.  Sorry folks, but how is that any different from the 
last 15 years where the $3000, 4 MHz, Intel 286 box has morphed 
into a $1000 400 MHz Celeron?  Oh well. . . monkey see; monkey 
do; PC makers get pounded all in a day's work.  The chip sector 
got crunched too as reflected by the SOX (semiconductor index), 
down almost 3% from 521 to 506, with the biggest hits taken by 
AMAT (-$5.13) and KLAC (-$3.56).  Who said markets are rational?  
In the end, paralleling the trend of the DOW (and bond rates - 
remember technology issues are a bit more rate sensitive), the 
NASDAQ gave up 15 points to close right at support of 2549.  
Advancers were ahead of decliners 1871 to 1665 at the high point 
of the day.  Though the NASDAQ finished down, advancers still won 
1985 to 1848 over decliners.  New highs gained lost ground on new 
lows compared to previous session - 55 new highs to 78 new lows.  
Volume clocked in at 959 mln. shares, slightly more than 
Yesterday.

Hmmm. . .Dow just over 10,800; NASDAQ 2549.  Is that support or 
resistance?  There are 2 sides to this story.  So let's start 
with the negatives to get it out of the way.

Notice the relationship between movement of the DOW and the 
NASDAQ.  They reflect an inverse relationship to interest rates.

 

 

 


Both indices fell back from their intra-day highs by a 
significant number, as we suspected they might in front of the 
PPI release tomorrow.  Also, volume hasn't reflected money 
mangers getting back in the game yet.  We need to see over 1 bln. 
shares traded on both indices to give us that clue.  When that 
happens, the recovery is probably for real.  Also, though the A/D 
line has improved a bit in the last 2 days, a 2:1 ratio would be 
more convincing (maybe wishful thinking).  We'd also like to see 
new lows best new highs by at least 2:1.  We're not there yet.  
Furthermore, any "bad" news in the PPI will likely point us south 
again.

Now for the good.  Recall that today's action, as in the past, 
was tied to interest rate fears borne of perceived inflation by 
the Fed, as reflected in the bond rate.  First, we expect the PPI 
to be friendly, which given the still bearish tone of the market, 
may put a real squelch on the idea of a second rate increase 
later in the year.  That could actually spark a rally back over 
10,900.  Here's the kicker.  Remember that bond rate hike that 
sent everything lower?  Well, right about that time, the 
electricity literally went out at the Chicago Board of Trade 
where bonds are traded, traders had to make a decision on what to 
do with their holdings, since their trading day ended abruptly 
and early.  These guys (and gals) don't want to go home with 
positions in their pockets with the chance that the power may not 
be on tomorrow morning, especially in the face of a PPI report. 
What to do?  Sell of course.  Sell early and call it a day.  
That's just what they did.  When a bunch of sell volume comes 
into any commodity, what happens to the price?  Right, it drops.  
If bond prices drop, what happens to the corresponding rate?  
Right, it goes up.  Now if you are an equity trader and all you 
know is that bond rates are spiking up, what do you do with the 
positions you hold?  Right again, you sell.  Isn't it great that 
there are buyers ready to support prices at their current levels 
(yesterday's closing prices) - that's bullish.

In short, what we are saying is that equity prices, while 
continuing to take their cue from falling bond rates derived from 
power outages, may have blindly sold off without understanding 
exactly why.  It is thus possible that the sell-off is artificial 
and not truly reflective of the market's underlying real 
sentiment.  Think of it this way.  Had power remained on, bonds 
would not have likely sold off, thus equities would not have 
likely sold off, and today's close might have looked a whole lot 
better in a technical light.

Now before you buy everything at the open tomorrow with a market 
order, remember, this is only a theory!  We may be out to lunch 
on this and you can write it off as a nut case conspiracy theory, 
while going about your business.

Today's action, aside from the machinations of power outage, 
didn't look too bad.  Watch for tomorrow's interpretation of the 
PPI numbers though.  If it's "bad", we could resume course 
downward and dismiss the last 2 days as a temporary breather 
before things turn ugly.  After all, the CPI comes out next 
Tuesday and will be feared if inflation shows up in the PPI 
first, bringing the market down with it - and that still leaves 
an FOMC meeting on August 24.  We remind you too that except for 
DELL and HD next week, earnings season is all but over.  That's 
no longer a reason for a move up.  If the PPI is "good" or just 
inconclusive, we might get a bump borne of relief from the simple 
elimination of more uncertainty.  (The devil known is better than 
the devil unknown.)  We're optimistic, but still cautious.  
Decide on your course of action tomorrow morning and stick to 
your plan.  Let the market give you the signal to take a bullish 
or bearish position if you must play.  Of course, sell too soon.

Buzz Lynn
Research Analyst



***************
Market Posture
***************

As of Market Close - Thursday, August 12, 1999 

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

DOW Industrials   10,500  11,320  10,808    Neutral   7.20
SPX S&P 500        1,330   1,420   1,298    BEARISH   7.30
OEX S&P 100          675     735     673    BEARISH   8.06
RUT Russell 2000     430     465     429    BEARISH   8.06
NDX NASD 100       2,250   2,468   2,214    BEARISH   8.10
MSH High Tech      1,125   1,250   1,117    BEARISH   8.10


XCI Hardware         920   1,090     986    Neutral   7.20
CWX Software         725     844     718    BEARISH   8.10
SOX Semiconductor    450     535     507    Neutral   7.20
NWX Networking       555     625     550    BEARISH   8.05
INX Internet         500     580     392    BEARISH   7.20


BIX Banking          690     710     624    BEARISH   7.23
XBD Brokerage        410     440     376    BEARISH   7.23
IUX Insurance        645     660     581    BEARISH   7.23


RLX Retail           915     960     833    BEARISH   7.23
DRG Drug             370     400     340    BEARISH   7.20
HCX Healthcare       750     800     697    BEARISH   7.22
XAL Airline          180     190     154    BEARISH   5.21
OIX Oil & Gas        285     310     315    BULLISH   8.10



Posture Alert    
Interest Rate Alert! The broad market could not tack on any more
gains from Wednesday's rally, as interest rates keep inching
higher. Brokerage (XBD +3.09%) stocks led the way Thursday, thanks
to continued speculation that Merrill Lynch will merge with Chase
Manhattan. Drug and Healthcare sectors were also up 2.33% & 2.38%,
respectively. No changes to the posture board.   



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

/members/marketposture



****************
Market Sentiment 
****************

Power Outage!

This market looks like it is going to stay trading range bound
for a little while. For the second week in a row, the broad market
could not tack on additional gains after having a nice rally. We
seem to be starting a weekly trend of 4 down days with an up day
tossed in for good measure. This lack of conviction by the bulls
will only keep this market locked in a range until the interest
rate environment settles down. 

Looking at some of the charts below, we are seeing lower highs
and lower lows. Not a good sign to say the least. We would expect
the bulls to be hidden tomorrow, since it is a summer Friday, which
usually turns out to be a yawner. If the PPI shocks the street,
then we will have a selloff. If the PPI comes out without any
surprises, most traders will still wait until next week's CPI.
So there was really no upside in buying this afternoon. 

One positive note that we are seeing here at Pinnacle Capital
is the Investors Intelligence Survey. From a contrarian standpoint,
the percentage of Bullish investors has decreased 5% this last month
while the percentage of Bearish investors has increased 3%. Once we
shake out the weak hands, combined with bears getting to confident,
then we will be poised for a strong rally.

On a side note, if you had any problems with option orders this 
afternoon, it was due to a power outage in Chicago. The CBOE went
down for about 2 hours this afternoon. This was the most excitement
that we have seen on the floor of the CBOE in weeks!  

 


 


 



BULLISH Signs: 

Pinnacle Index:
The Pinnacle Index for the OEX (630-670) is now reaching levels
of extreme pessimism.  From a contrarian standpoint, support is
building in this area, and may indicate a short term base.

Investor Intelligence:  
As a contrarian indicator, the percent of Bullish investors
decreased 2.2% and Bearish sentiment increased 1.5%.



Mixed Signs:


None



BEARISH Signs:


Russell 2000: 
Broke below both the 50 and 200 day moving averages, proving
very bearish.

Interest Rates:
The yield on the 30-yr Treasury broke out to new highs, which
could spell potential disaster for this market.
  
Peak Open Interest:  
The contraian put-call ratio clocking in at 1.1 suggesting
bullish sentiment picking up steam.

Market Posture:
Several indexes have just rolled over, including the Dow, OEX,
SPX, networking, and software.

Market Posture 2:
Several indexes continue on their bearish decline, including drugs, 
healthcare, brokerage, banking, airlines, Russell 2000, Insurance,
and Internet.

Advance/Decline Line:
The A/D line has been rolling over, and will continue to prove
Bearish if decliners continue to out-pace advancers in the weeks
ahead.




OTM Call Analysis

As we move through the August expiration cycle, Pinnacle is
tracking the level of call buying (OTM) between 710-780 among
option speculators. As we have been documenting, excessive
out-of-the-money (OTM) call may serve as overhead resistance.


July Expiration Cycle
OEX OTM Call Analysis (Open Interest July 680-750)
Date                 Open Interest     Change %    Alert


Friday, June 19           35,225        -
Friday, June 25           63,342        +79.8%
Friday, July 02           87,833       +149.3%
Friday, July 09           99,855       +183.5%



August Expiration Cycle
OEX OTM Call Analysis (Open Interest August 690-780)
Date                 Open Interest     Change %    Alert

Friday, July 16           32,285        
Friday, July 23           62,455        +93.4%
Friday, July 30           74,895        +131.9%
Friday, Aug. 06          113,258        +250.8%




Market Sentiment at a Glance     Friday     Tues      Thurs
Indicator                        (8/06)    (8/10)    (8/12) Alert


Pinnacle Index (OEX):          

                    
Overhead Resistance (715-745)      6.5       6.8      7.0
Overhead Resistance (680-710)      1.4       1.9      2.2
Underlying Support  (630-670)      6.3       5.7      5.3
                    

Put/Call Ratios:

CBOE Total P/C Ratio                .7        .7       .6
CBOE Equity P/C Ratio               .5        .6       .5
OEX P/C Ratio                      1.1       1.0      1.2


Peak Open Interest (OEX):

Puts                              620        650      650
Calls                             700        700      700
P/C Ratio                          .7         .7       .8

Market Volatility Index (VIX):

CBOE VIX                         26.07



Investors Intelligence:

Bullish                         50.00%  *
Bearish                         29.30%  *


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.



OEX
Pinnacle Index                   Friday      Tues      Thurs
Benchmark                        (8/06)    (8/10)    (8/12)

Overhead Resistance (715-745)    6.30       6.78     7.02
Overhead Resistance (680-710)    1.41       1.86     2.23

OEX Close                      674.13     665.41    673.07
 
Underlying Support  (630-670)    6.50       5.73     5.25
                     

 
Average ratings: 
Resistance levels 2.0 / Support Levels .5

What the Pinnacle Index is telling us:
Overhead sentiment resistance is building at the OEX 715/745 level 
while the underlying support is holding at the OEX 630/670 level.




Put/Call Ratio                  Friday     Tues       Thurs
Strike/Contracts                (8/06)    (8/10)     (8/12)

CBOE Total P/C Ratio             .66       .71        .62
CBOE Equity P/C Ratio            .54       .62        .48
OEX P/C Ratio                   1.10      1.01       1.16


(OEX)
Peak Open Interest   Friday           Tues            Thurs
Strike/Contracts     (8/06)           (8/10)         (8/12)



Puts                 620 / 11,005     650 / 11,622   650 / 11,833
Calls                700 / 14,674     700 / 16,566   700 / 15,526
Put/Call Ratio          .74              .70           .77

 


 


(VIX)
Volatility Index    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
May 14, 1999        Top                 25.01

July 16, 1999       Top?                18.13 *
  
August 12, 1999                         26.07 


 




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       Bottom            49.1        32.5

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
March 24, 1999                        55.9        29.7
March 31, 1999                        55.6        31.6

April 07, 1999                        56.4        31.6
April 14, 1999                        55.9        30.5
April 21, 1999                        56.4        30.8
April 28, 1999                        56.1        30.7

May 05, 1999                          58.1        27.6
May 12, 1999                          56.9        31.0
May 19, 1999                          60.9        28.7
May 26, 1999                          61.6        27.7
June 2, 1999                          61.6        27.7
June 10, 1999                         58.3        28.7
June 16, 1999                         58.8        26.3
June 24, 1999                         57.5        26.5
June 30, 1999                         55.8        25.7
July 07, 1999                         52.6        27.2
July 14, 1999                         55.2        26.7
July 21, 1999                         54.1        27.9
July 28, 1999                         53.6        24.6
Aug  04, 1999                         52.2        27.8
Aug  11, 1999                         50.0        29.3 *


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

Index       Last    Mon    Tue   Wed    Thu  Week
Dow      10789.39  -6.33 -52.55132.65   1.59 75.36
Nasdaq    2549.49 -28.99 -28.87 74.87 -15.49  1.52
$OEX       673.07  -2.39  -6.33 10.98  -3.32 -1.06
$SPX      1298.16  -2.49 -16.37 20.50  -3.77 -2.13
$RUT       428.82  -2.15  -3.07  5.37   0.63  0.78
$TRAN     3157.46   0.42 -82.91 -7.01  24.13-65.37
$VIX        26.07   0.63   0.31 -2.27   0.04 -1.29

Calls               Mon    Tue   Wed    Thu   Week

SNE        124.50  -0.19   3.19  1.25   0.25  4.50  New highs?
INTC        75.94   1.88  -1.69  4.25  -0.06  4.38  Bounced
NXLK        87.25   0.88  -3.50 -1.19   7.56  3.75  What a day
SLB         66.50   4.06  -1.00  1.19  -1.06  3.19  Oil higher
LXK         66.75  -1.13   2.69  0.56   0.75  2.88  New
TXN        145.25  -1.00  -3.00  7.75  -1.00  2.75  Split play
LSI         55.25   0.94  -0.88  2.81  -1.00  1.88  New high!
DELL        40.25   1.19  -0.56  1.81  -2.00  0.44  Earnings!
HGSI        60.00  -0.63  -2.63  1.75   1.00 -0.50  Creeping
HWP        103.06  -3.31  -1.00  2.69  -6.31 -7.94  Dropped

Puts

TAN         41.75  -3.88   0.25  0.69   0.00 -2.94  Rebound
NITE        33.94  -4.88  -1.50  1.88   1.81 -2.69  Apprehensive
TBH         72.75  -1.13  -0.38  2.00  -1.75 -1.25  Fed fears
AMR         60.94  -0.56  -2.06 -0.44   2.06 -1.00  Bounce?
DH          57.81  -0.69   0.13  0.88  -0.88 -0.56  Dipping
CMGI        76.94  -3.75   2.94 -0.63   1.38 -0.06  Warning
U           32.81   0.06  -1.44  0.13   1.63  0.38  Caution
AMZN        91.75  -4.06   5.50 -0.06   0.81  2.19  Volatile
BRCM       113.38  -1.88  -2.25  6.63   1.88  4.38  Beware!
MWD         88.13   0.31   0.88  3.19   1.63  6.00  Head-fake
AXP        129.75   1.94  -0.50  2.50   2.75  6.69  Dropped
MER         71.38   0.63  -0.81  3.31   4.38  7.50  Dropped
EBAY        91.38  -3.63   9.63 -1.56   3.69  8.13  Comeback?
SEPR        76.00   4.88   0.00  2.00   3.75 10.63  Dropped



****************
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:
******

HWP $103.06 -6.31 (-7.94) It was a rough day for HP as well 
as the Computer sector as a whole on Thursday.  This morning 
Merrill Lynch announced that low-cost personal computers will 
have a negative effect on future profit margins in the PC 
sector.  Analysts Steven Fortune and Kumar Cidambi predicted 
slowing times over the next few years and stated that he saw 
'overwhelmingly depressive effect on average selling prices'.  
This was more than enough justification to put a halt to the 
momentum that HP closed with on Wednesday.  The fallout from 
this downgrade has tremendously altered the trading environment 
for HP as well as our outlook on this play. The decision was 
obviously made to drop HP as a call play as HP's earnings 
run never truly materialized this week.  It would now be 
prudent for investors to search for an exit point on this 
play before the close on Friday.


PUTS:
******

AXP $129.75 +2.75 (+6.69) A break through resistance broke 
our play and broke our hearts today.  The recent financial 
sector strength coupled with the market rally over the last 
two days was too much for us to stay on the bearish side of 
AXP.  We must drop this one and look for more co-operative 
plays.  AXP has also been accepted as one of the first of the 
big three credit cards to be honored at Costco.  Since our 
pick at $126.69, we have seen a low of $121.87 which allowed 
us to be profitable if we placed our stops at the right points. 
The stock did manage to stay below the 20-dma and could go 
down on renewed weakness but why risk it when we can find 
others with better momentum comparable to the market.

SEPR $76.00 +3.75 (+10.63) For Sepracor, this week has been 
good for the stock and bad for our play.  After taking a 
pummeling the past three weeks SEPR finally found its support 
as investors bought shares at discounted prices.  We were 
hoping the stock would reach its next support level of $60-$62 
range before ending the play however, like any stock that 
takes a beating for so long it was bound to bounce.  Sepracor 
did exactly that and bounced hard at $65 and hasn't looked 
back.  For many the stop loss orders should have ended the 
play earlier this week for a nice profit.  It was a nice ride 
while it lasted but unfortunately all good things must come 
to an end, including this play.

MER $71.38 +4.38 (+7.50) The resurrection of merger rumors 
have killed this play and we're dropping MER tonight from 
our put list.  According to the WSJ, the new Merrill Lynch 
executives want to re-open talks with Chase Manhattan (CMB). 
 The powerhouse combination would rival financial supermarket, 
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.  Investors responded positively 
to this news and MER shares immediately rose 6.5%.  So we 
will let our stops pull us out of the play.  


 
***** 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  8-12-99  
Copyright 1999, All rights reserved. 
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


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

SNE $124.50 +0.25 (+4.50) Here we go again! Sony is on course 
to make an assault on a new 52-week high.  It has already 
tried twice to break above $126.88 and failed but the back 
drop has changed for this attempt.  Sony received an upgrade 
earlier this week from Merrill which has prompted buying.  
Also the Japanese markets will be picking up now that the 
holidays are ending.  Plus the U.S. markets are showing some 
strength for the first time in weeks.  These factors combined 
may be enough to propel SNE to new highs.  In the news today, 
Sony announced they are developing the world's first plastic 
disks for computer hard drives with Nippon Co.'s chemicals. 
The costs for production are said to be much lower than for 
conventional aluminum disks.

HGSI $60.00 +1.00 (-0.50) For the last two days HGSI has been 
clawing it's way back to positive territory.  It has been 
almost a step approach. Range bound at $57 on Tuesday, then 
$57.75 on Wednesday and now $60 today.  Investors are basically 
fence sitting here, with no news and no commitment from the 
market.  We are maintaining the trend but since it has slowed,  
some caution is advised.  The MACD and Stochastic is at a 
point where they could go either way, positive or negative, 
which is another reason to have your stops set.  Since we have 
been slowly inching up, any confirmation and conviction in 
a market turn around should send us higher.  A bullish sign 
today was the positive price gap this morning.  Notice the
tendency for HGSI to bump in the morning and also before the
close.  Use this to your advantage but remember speculation
is the key word here!  

SLB $66.50 -1.06 (+3.19) As oil prices continue to rise and 
oil inventories diminish below expected levels, Schlumberger 
has slowly but surely enjoyed a continued climb.  Economic 
factors helping the stock are the Feds anticipated interest 
rate hike on August 24.  Investors have been seeking shelter 
from the interest rate sensitive stocks into those like SLB 
that are less effected by rate hikes.  Yesterday, broker 
Bear Stearns initiated coverage on SLB at a buy.  With all 
the good news about the stock, current economic conditions 
and recent oil prices, look for SLB to continue to set new 
highs.  However use caution with this play because oil prices 
have been known to change overnight depending on rumors or 
other global events.  Make the most of the stop loss orders 
just to be on the safe side.

DELL $40.25 -2.00 (+0.44) DELL made a nice run yesterday 
on the coat tails of Cisco Systems good earnings report 
which helped the whole tech sector.  Disappointedly, most 
of those gains were lost today as investors reacted to a 
statement released by Merrill Lynch.  This statement warned 
that the race toward low-cost personal computers between PC 
makers will put a squeeze on future profits.  Within that 
same press release Merrill initiated coverage on DELL at a 
neutral rating contradicting Monday's upgrade by BancBoston 
Robertson Stephens to long-term attractive.  We currently 
are siding with BBRS and continue to play DELL as a potential 
earnings run candidate before it announces the results after 
the close on August 17.  But we don't have much time left so 
continue to watch the tech sector as this dip may be the 
opportunity to take advantage of a last-minute run.  However, 
because of the Producers Price Index numbers which will be 
released tomorrow morning be cautious and use stop loss 
orders appropriately.

INTC $75.94 -0.06 (+4.38) We said on Tuesday that INTC might 
bounce back Wednesday and bounce back it did!  Honestly, Intel 
was beginning to look a little overcooked and was trading like 
it might begin to give back some of its recent gains which is 
why we suggested that you move your stops up extremely tight 
and let the MARKET TELL us when it was time to get out.  On 
Wednesday Paine Webber commented that personal computer sales 
will be strong in the second half of the year and that is all 
it took to light a fire under INTC.  Intel opened up over $2 
higher on Wednesday and made a new all-time high at $76.25.  
Volume picked back up as well with over 40 mln shares changing 
hands.  INTC made another high today at $76.75 in the first 
30 minutes of the trading day but then basically consolidated 
for the rest of the session.  The entire semiconductor sector 
tried to advance today only to turn south midday.  The PPI 
numbers tomorrow will dictate the direction of broader markets 
and probably INTC as well.  Technically Intel still looks 
strong but as always move your stops up and let the market 
do the rest.

NXLK $87.25 +7.56 (+3.75) Nextlink traded sideways to lower 
for most of the day Wednesday closing down $1.19 for the day.  
Today NXLK opened $1.19 higher and traded sideways until 
just after noon ET.  It was then that GTC Telecom announced 
it was waging "war" on the "big boys", directly challenging 
the large telecom companies with a five cent rate anytime, 
any day with no monthly fee and that's when NXLK caught fire.  
Nextlink started a run from about $82 to a high of $89.88 
over the next four hours, that's right a gain of over $7 in
four hours.  There was no news that came out directly on 
NXLK but they are considered a firm in good position to gain 
business lost by the big three and become a telecom giant 
of the future.  Today's bounce was more of a technical nature 
after consolidating on the 100-dma for the last week.  Also 
don't forget about the upcoming split.  It will hold investor 
attention until the completion on or about August 27.  
   
TXN $145.25 -1.00 (+2.75) Texas Instruments helped lead the 
semiconductor industry higher the past two days.  After 
dropping $4.00 earlier in the week, TXN tacked on $6.75 in 
the last two sessions and is now up $2.75 for the week.  The 
volume on yesterday's advance was strong at 3.4 mln shares.  
Remember TXN is primarily a split play which is scheduled for 
August 16th.  That leaves you with one day to get out prior 
to the split.  The semiconductor industry had gained about 
1% today before falling apart the last 3 hours and ended up 
losing almost 3% for the session.  TXN faired better than its 
partners in the industry today showing good relative strength.  
The tone for tomorrow's trade will be set early with the 
release of the PPI numbers at 8:30 ET.  If you have not exited 
the play we would suggest start looking to so you don't get 
caught in any post-split depression on Monday.

LSI $55.25 -1.00 (+1.88) On Wednesday afternoon the stock 
rallied for a $2.81 gain, hitting a new high along the way 
at $56.25.  Today the rebounding chip sector suffered a 
little following the downturn of the PC stocks, resulting 
from Merrill Lynch's glum forecast for the sector over the 
next few years.  However right out of the gate this morning 
LSI was strong and touched $57.50 to break yesterday's new 
52-week high.  A sell-off immediately ensued but LSI held 
firm around $55 for the remainder of the day.  Tomorrow may 
be more volatile due to the release of the PPI.  So for those 
looking to open a new play, you may get an opportunity.  There 
was no other company specific news to affect trading the past 
two days.


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

AMR $60.94 +2.06 (-1.00) And now for the inevitable bounce!  
It happens to every stock that suffers severe declines in 
such a short period of time and it is happening to AMR.  The 
question is, will it last?  We think the answer is, probably 
not.  This is more of a technical move for the Dow Transports 
instead of a reversal in sentiment.  This is because oil 
prices are still near $21.50 a barrel which is right at the 
week high.  Also the market has made some nice gains over 
the last few days and it is unlikely to hold ahead of the 
PPI, CPI and FOMC meeting.  These events should keep any 
rally on a short leash.  So what we are left with is a chance 
to open new plays.  The key resistance is the 200-dma at $64.  
Any move above that price on strong volume will be the signal 
for your stops to pull you out of the play.  

U $32.81 +1.63 (+0.38) I wish there were more to report on 
our play of USAir but today's action was purely technical.  
The stock had been down all week based on higher oil prices 
which continue to hold above $21.  The airline group was hit 
particularly hard this week and was due for a bounce.  This 
may have triggered your stops to exit the play but you may 
want to consider re-entering new plays after this bounce.  
USAir could rally to resistance from the 10-dma at $34 but 
even that may be out of reach.  We will have to wait and see 
what kind of legs this rally has before jumping back in.  
Remember to let the stock confirm downward direction first. 

AMZN $91.75 +0.81 (+2.19) The markets were see-sawing back 
and forth today and in the end AMZN was left with only a 
small gain.  But we have seen the Internets in general rally 
nicely this week.  AMZN had moved over $10 off its intraday 
low on Tuesday before pulling back some half way through 
today's session.  Some of the reason for the rally was that 
Banc of America started coverage of AMZN with a strong buy.  
That shouldn't last though we see more weakness ahead after 
today's failed rally.  Most traders were looking to lighten 
up their holdings ahead of the key PPI report tomorrow.  This 
report should really give direction to the market.  The only 
problem is no one is sure which direction so needless to say, 
use caution.  Keep the stops tight if you are involved in a 
play and hold off on new plays until AMZN starts to show some 
direction.

BRCM $113.38 +1.88 (+4.38) All lights are yellow on Broadcom.
That's because we're playing this on the short side.  The
unconvincing rallies that the market has given us the last 
two days has caused BRCM to move up, breaking through the 
10-dma.  Although this is a sign of caution, we're holding 
onto this play as we think the PPI and CPI numbers may help 
take us lower again.  Analysts are saying the market is range-
bound but the fear of inflation still lingers.  Hopefully 
we'll be able to profit from this fear.  BRCM appeared very 
range-bound today along with the markets.  It couldn't decide 
which way to move as it traded between $113 and $115.  We 
are still below our 30 and 50-dma's and they will serve as 
short-term resistance at $119.  To help us on the road lower, 
analysts are still listing the stock as "unattractive for 
fundamental and performance reasons."  BRCM also announced 
they will buy AltoCom Inc for $180 million.  This is a short 
term hedge for Broadcom in their bet that Cable modems will 
be the industry standard over phone lines.  This is also a 
short-term hit on BRCM since it will affect their bottom line. 
We are hearing that investors are also expressing fear of a 
fall selloff as was experienced last September with the stock.  
That remains to be seen but do confirm a negative move in 
the market and stock before entering new plays.

TBH $72.75 -1.75 (-1.25) TBH close the day in negative 
territory by dropping $1.75 to finally bottom out at the day 
low.  Volume today was slightly above average with 2 million
shares changing hands.  Brazil's Bovespa stock index fell 1.2 
percent to 9,919 amid domestic political squabbles.  Congress 
representatives were unwilling to implement more of the 
economic reforms that President Fernando Henrique Cardoso has 
been trying to push through.  We expect more volatility ahead 
as economic indicators continue to come in before the FOMC 
meeting on the 24th.  Tomorrow morning PPI figures will be 
announced.  If the numbers are greater than expectations, 
Telebras will more than likely loose ground once again.  Over 
the last couple of days TBH has shown signs of wanting to 
retest recent lows but it will be up to the PPI report.

CMGI $76.94 +1.38 (-0.06) The running of the techs was cut 
short today as investors once again prepared themselves for 
the latest economic numbers release.  Even though the market 
expects the Fed to raise interest rates on August 24, many 
investors are waiting on the sidelines to see exactly what 
numbers the Producers Price Index will release.  Afternoon 
profit takers made the most of the morning gains on CMGI 
closing the stock just below its support level at $77.  
Despite the recent gains, the overall trend of the stock 
remains on the downside.  Like any Internet play use caution 
with entry points and watch the general sentiment of the 
market when the PPI numbers are actually released.

TAN $41.75 +0.00 (-2.94) We are going to hang in there with 
Tandy for another day or two.  After jumping off the cliff
Wednesday dropping to an intraday low of $37.38, Tandy has
bounced back and been in a narrow $2 range for the past two
sessions.  We have two scenarios shaping up here. First, is 
that Tandy has hit bottom and will consolidate and begin to 
recover from its recent decline.  The second one is that it 
has fallen and it can't get up, leaving it to fall again under 
its own weight.  Technically it looks as though it may be 
trying to form a base and consolidation for a new move back 
up.  Many of the retailers have been reporting earnings this 
week, with most coming in with good numbers that beat analysts 
estimates.  As has been the norm for this reporting season
these numbers haven't ignited most of the stocks in this 
industry.  Other than a technical bounce from this level
we see no reason at this time why Tandy would change its 
trend but we must use caution.  So what we are saying is, 
adjust your stops to protect your profits and wait for a drop 
below the $40 level before considering anything new in Tandy.

MWD $88.13 +1.63 (+6.00) "Caution" turned out to be a virtue 
as MWD restored some of its heavy losses from the past two 
days.  Even though brokerage house interest rate woes are 
still looming ahead, MWD rode the DOW's relief wave and 
advanced $4.82 (or 5.8%) on moderate volume.  Granted this 
bounce may be just a head-fake but ultimately this play's 
fate will be determined by the outcome of the PPI numbers 
tomorrow.  Therefore make sure the stock bounces off the 200
dma at $89 before opening plays.  Any move above this point 
would be reason enough to close out your plays.  

DH $57.81 -0.88 (-0.56) On Wednesday, after an initial selloff 
with DH dipping to a daily low of $57.38, the stock was driven 
upwards on more than double its normal ADV.  Retail investors 
however, are still fearful of rising interest rates and proved 
this today.  They brought the stock back to negative a loss 
on the day, right on the day-low.  This late day decline has 
wiped out all gains for the stock the past two days and left 
it sitting where it closed Tuesday.  Tomorrow may prove to be 
crucial for this play as the PPI data will likely effect the 
overall market sentiment.

NITE $33.94 +1.81 (-2.69) NITE's response to the whopping 
+74 point gain on the NASDAQ was rather bearish.  Even with 
another advance today on strong volume the stock is still 
not situated above its 200-dma.  This is a good indication 
since the online brokerage sector was up 6% on positive 
trading results at Schwab but remember caution.  If the PPI 
numbers do not signal a rate hike (as the EPI numbers did) 
then NITE may bounce simply on general market relief.  Be 
patient and confirm direction before trying to navigate an 
entry point.

EBAY $91.38 +3.69 (+8.13) The Internets showed some strength 
again today and EBAY gained a few more points.  Plus, the 
trading volume was exceptionally high.  Generally, gains on 
strong volume is usually a bullish indication but tomorrow may 
be a different story.  If the PPI event has a negative 
disposition than the Internets could very well rollover again. 
Only time will tell.  Be careful as the stock's true direction 
unfolds.  If eBay decides to rally, it would have lots of room 
to climb until it hits the 200-dma at $118. 



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

LXK - Lexmark International $66.75 +0.75 (+2.88 this wk)

Ever wanted someone to see things your way?  Well LXK has
made a business of it!  By understanding customers needs and 
perceptions, they have become one of the leaders in providing 
printing solutions such as Laser, Ink Jet, Dot matrix, and 
all types of printers.  They develop, manufacture and supply 
their extremely high quality products to 150 countries. They 
have taken their revenues up to 3 billion in 1998.  LXK may 
just have success in their genes since they are a spin off 
of IBM and have retained innate values that contribute to 
their success.  Values that focus on everything from customer 
value, relations, service and response.  The company is
continually seeking to raise the level of their playing field 
by providing firsts in quality and standards for the home and 
business printing industry.  As an example, they were the one 
to introduce the first 1200x1200 dpi for laser and ink-jet 
printers.  As LXK keeps up on their high resolution standards, 
we'll all be seeing and reading a little clearer.

LXK just broke through it's 50-dma on over 3 times normal
volume!  Could it be a sign?  We think so.  It was announced
that after the close on Thursday, they will be added to the
S&P 500.  Way to go LXK!  We are betting that the market will
be as proud of this child of IBM as we are and help the stock 
continue higher.  It is a given that the index funds will be 
jumping on board if their strategy is to mirror the S&P 500. 
Today the stock powered ahead to a new four week high and 
moved the MACD to a bullish position.  Short-term resistance 
looks to be around $70 and with continued interest as we saw 
today, LXK should gain enough momentum to power through this 
level and on to new highs.  We are looking at the 50-dma at 
$66 to be support now that we have moved above that level.  
LXK also held up quite well today despite the markets late 
day sell off in anticipation of the upcoming PPI and CPI 
reports.  Confirm positive direction and strength before 
playing.

In addition to the above mentioned news of being added to
the S&P 500 index, LXK has been selected as one of the 100 
best managed companies in the world.  This among the many 
other accolades the company has received lately should allow 
for the momentum to carry the stock higher over short-term.

BUY CALL AUG-65 LXK-HM OI=2097 at $3.38 SL=2.38 very risky!
BUY CALL SEP-60 LXK-IL OI=  22 at $9.13 SL=6.75
BUY CALL SEP-65*LXK-IM OI= 123 at $5.88 SL=3.75

Picked on August12th at$66.75     PE = 33
Change since picked     +0.00     52 week low =$25.38
Analysts Ratings    5-4-1-0-0     52 week high=$74.38
Last earnings 06/99 est  0.49     actual  0.55 
Next earnings 10/18 est  0.55     versus  0.41
Average daily volume = 821.6K 
Chart = http://quote.yahoo.com/q?s=LXK&d=3m



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

none today




***************
PLAY OF THE DAY
***************

AMR - AMR Corporation $60.94 +2.06(-0.56)

American is the #2 airline in the United States behind UAL's 
United Airlines. AMR is a leader in air transportation, in 
the development and application of information technology for 
aviation, and travel and tourism. American serves about 180 
destinations in the Americas and Europe with hubs in Chicago, 
Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. They 
offer a wide range of other aviation-related activities, 
including management services, training and consulting. AMR 
also provides commuter service through American Eagle and owns 
Reno Air, which operates primarily in the western US.
 

Sunday's Write Up
We are adding AMR as a put play for a couple specific reasons. 
First, oil is one of the biggest factors, if not the biggest,
in profits for airlines. We started the year with oil prices 
down in the low teens per barrel and analysts were optimistic 
about upcoming earnings. We now have oil holding over $20 per 
barrel which has caused some analysts to change their view. 
In fact, the last 4 of 5 rating changes have been downgrades. 
Second, most major airlines have had to reduce fares for the 
fall season due to an over capacity of seats. We now have signs 
that the economy may be heating up and the Fed may jump in to 
raise rates thus slowing demand further. Finally, AMR appears 
to be the weak stock in the group. They broke through critical 
support on Friday from the 200-dma. This is first time they 
have been under that mark since April 1st. AMR closed right 
on their day-low as well. The entire industry is showing 
weakening trends which confirms the direction. Monday will 
be an important day to see if the downside continues. Since 
this group is so highly tied to oil prices, we usually see 
lots of fluctuations. That makes entry points the key. You 
will see a correlation between rising oil prices and falling 
airline stocks. Use this to your advantage when choosing when 
to enter new plays. 

Tuesday's Write Up
Another rough day for the transports as oil spent most of 
the last 2 days north of $21.00 a barrel. Plus this was 
one of the hardest hit sectors in the market today and the 
technical picture is worsening. That is why we are seeing 
such a selloff in AMR. It's the double whammy. A weak 
technical outlook due to lack of support and a bad fundamental 
outlook thanks to high flying oil prices. We are now 
convincingly under the $60 level and have seen no end to the 
trend that started last Tuesday. It has been straight 
downhill since then. Keep your eye on the weekly inventory 
report for oil that is due out late Tuesday afternoon. This 
will give us an indication of which way oil prices and thus 
the airline sector will move tomorrow. 

Thursday's Write Up
And now for the inevitable bounce! It happens to every 
stock that suffers severe declines in such a short period 
of time and it is happening to AMR. The question is, will 
it last? We think the answer is, probably not. This is 
more of a technical move for the Dow Transports instead 
of a reversal in sentiment. This is because oil prices 
are still near $21.50 a barrel which is right at the 
week high. Also the market has made some nice gains over 
the last few days and it is unlikely to hold ahead of the 
PPI, CPI and FOMC meeting. These events should keep any 
rally on a short leash. So what we are left with is a 
chance to open new plays. The key resistance is the 
200-dma at $64. Any move above that price on strong volume 
will be the signal for your stops to pull you out of the 
play. 

BUY PUT AUG-65 AMR-TM OI=1062 at $4.38 SL=2.75
BUY PUT SEP-60 AMR-UL OI= 192 at $2.63 SL=1.25

Average Daily Volume = 940 K

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



*********
STRADDLES
*********

Good Evening OI Traders! I am coming to you live from 
the Seattle where OptionInvestor and Optionetics
are sponsering the Fall Money Show. From the early stages
it looks to be a busy weekend. Speaking of busy, our straddle
markets sure got busy so lets take a peek at each stock and 
where it is compared to Monday. 

Honeywell (HON) has continued its downtrend, from its breakdown 
early in the week. Are Allied Signal / Honeywell merger talks 
breaking down? Is the deal going to be a bad investment for 
Honeywell? Apparently, traders must think so cause the stock is 
down nearly 6 points since Monday. Bad for stockholders, good 
for straddle traders. I see no reason why this trend won't
continue so look out below! First sign of resistance looks to be
112 7/8 made back on 7/7/99. This straddle is a keeper!

Maytag (MYG) made new lows from the breakout signal last week.
I must say, this is a classic straddle with all the right
ingredients. Come into the kitchen, cause the profits smell good!
If this stock keeps dropping, we may see a Christmas sale yet on
those Maytag Neptune appliances. 

Whirlpool (WPR) OOPS! Just the opposite here folks. A dead 
appliance bounce. It did look to move lower with Maytag, but
closed up today. One of these two stocks will eventually carry the
other. Lets hope Maytag will force traders in WPR to sell. Either
way, this is a good hedge against the Maytag straddle. Its not
seldom that I see more than one breakout in the same sector. GM and
Ford act this way often, and usually we have one good winner and one
small loser. 

Centocor (CNTO) Double Yuck. (for lack of a better phrase) This stock 
has gone into a day traders dream. Not much volatility, plenty of
liquidity but no movement in one direction. We will hold out and see
if this is a dead week for the sector, but with a merger in the works,
CNTO may just stay where it is. In any case, pick your exits with this
one as all of the plays. I use a time stop that is 30 days before
expiration of the options. 

Avery Dennison (AVY) keeps going down as now they are trying to make 
a presence known in the internet stamp department. Looks to me like 
Stamps.com is the king here due the name. AVY has as much chance of
being number one in this sector as Books a Million does as trying to
be the king of online book sales. Sorry AVY, but you dont fool this
trader, and even if you did, it doesn't matter cause were hedged. 

Zion Bancorp (ZION) had their SEC file S4 released lately and they
have had a negative reaction to it. The price has finally dropped
and starting to breakdown. Yesterdays low of 52 1/4 is now the short
term support, and if that were matched in the near term, it would
give us 2 3/4 of intrinsic value on the straddle, or about half way
to homeplate (a good profit). What could fuel the selloff is for
the entire sector to be robbed of stock value. 


Straddle Mailbag for today
I only have one question to answer today. Now don't get upset
folks, I have been on a tough schedule and could not answer Email
questions for the last few days, but I picked the most important
one that I thought everyone could benefit from. Some smart options
trader asked me how Dell could retain its options value on the
straddle, even 2 weeks later. Where did time decay go, on vacation?
Well, kinda -- you see with option volatility on the rise, it
negates theta (option decay) due to more demand in the options.
With Dell having an earnings report on the horizon, traders are
getting itchy to get into options before the report comes due. Now
I have no idea where Dell is going, but I do have an idea where
the options volatility is going once that report is made known to 
the public. Options premium will sink fast, and only a big move
after earnings will replace it with real value. This gives us
something to think about. When to exit a straddle. Ask anyone who
know me and they will tell you that I am very trigger happy on
exiting trades. I dont have alot of patience with trades
that dont go anywhere, and I will dump many before the earnings
report is released. Not because I dont think the report will move
the stock, but because I am afraid that the volatility will drop
faster than the price will move. Just some food for thought.
Obviously it takes research to figure out the best exit 
on each trade. See ya Sunday!

Good luck, buy before the rumor, and sell before the news...

Tom Gentile



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