Option Investor

Daily Newsletter, Wednesday, 03/01/2000

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The Option Investor Newsletter         Wednesday  3-1-2000
Copyright 2000, 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
MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
       3-1-2000            High     Low     Volume Advance Decline
DOW    10137.90 +   9.60 10186.30 10084.60 1,274,100k 1,558  1,481
Nasdaq  4784.08 +  87.39  4796.90  4696.69 2,232,343k 2,425  1,846
S&P-100  743.54 +   4.90   748.41   738.64    Totals  3,983  3,327
S&P-500 1379.19 +  12.77  1383.46  1366.83            54.4%  45.6%
$RUT     588.35 +  10.64   589.38   577.71
$TRAN   2397.77 +   8.91  2400.78  2380.02
VIX       23.68 -   1.91    24.91    23.22
Put/Call Ratio       .45

Nasdaq 5,000, More Than Just A Dream

At this point, you almost have to figure traders will want to 
make a run at the next milestone.  And who can blame them?  
This tech-driven market continues to trek higher despite the 
Dow's lackluster performance.  It is possible that today's 
weak performance in the Dow is just more evidence that investors 
are leaving on any rally to head for technology issues.  The 
Nasdaq has been filled with opportunities and the outlook is 
still bright.  Today was another example of how playable the 
Nasdaq is too, with an open near 4750 and three intraday bounces 
off that support mark.  You could have stepped into entry points 
at any one of those dips.  This is really becoming a broken 
record with the Nasdaq dipping to support only to rise once 
again.  The question now is, do we have enough juice to propel 
the Nasdaq to 5K this week?  Today's close at 4784.32, +87.68 
leaves us just under 5% away.


The Dow Industrials is another, less enthusiastic, story.  It 
is trying to break a month and a half downtrend.  Today saw a 
tight range between 10084 and 10186  We closed the session near 
the middle at 10136.38, +8.07.  The key here is for the Dow to 
close solidly over the 10-dma, currently at 10,206.  This has 
been the resistance since mid-January that traders have been 
selling on.  The old bear trap scenario.  Just when you think 
it has the momentum to punch above that moving average, SNAP, 
it's got you.  I'm still not real keen on this index until we 
see one or two day's closing over this mark.  Some are acting 
as if this will never happen with the "new economy" taking over.  
In fact, it will eventually free itself from this rut, but there 
is no point testing the waters on some of these between down 
issues until it does.  Especially when you can find all the 
hot stocks you want in the SOX, Russell 2000 or the previously 
mentioned Nasdaq. 


Speaking of the SOX, even after a more than one hundred point 
move on Tuesday, it still managed to gain another 1.72.  This 
sector continues to leave the general market in the dust.  The 
other hot sectors of the day included Biotech, Internet, 
Networking and Hardware.  Even the Online Brokers put together 
their third straight advance on positive comments about how much 
trading we are all doing.  Some analysts are looking for 30-40%
from last quarter in trading activity.    

The market internals were also good.  Volume was strong at over 
2.2 billion shares on the Nasdaq and over 1.27 billion on the NYSE.  
The advance/decline line was even on the NYSE, while Gainers beat 
advancers 24 to 19 on the Nasdaq.  The 30-year bond fell slightly 
to yield 6.16 by the close.

The newswires were abuzz with big news from the telecoms today.  
It was announced that SBC Communications and BellSouth could be 
engaged in talks to merge their cellular services.  Shares of 
SBC closed up $3.63 at $41.38 and BLS finished the session at 
$43, up $2.44.  

Also in the news today, Lucent announced plans to spin off three 
of it's slower growing businesses including data, cabling, and 
call-accounting to form one company, which is expected to be 
available to shareholders in September.  Lucent is taking this 
action in order to narrow the focus to the communications 
networking portion of it's business.  This announcement seemed 
to help alleviate some investor concern regarding Lucent's 
rather slow growth rate.  LU's communications networking 
business accounted for roughly $30 billion of Lucent's $38.3 
billion of sales last year.  Wall Street greeted the 
announcement with enthusiasm as nearly 75 million shares 
were traded in comparison to the average 18.  Lucent closed 
the session up $9.13 at $68.63.

And we are not done with the telecoms just yet.  Shares of 
Qwest Communications (Q) were up $11.38 on the news of a 
possible buyout by Germany's Deutsche Telekom.  Qwest spokesman 
Matt Barkett, claimed that the reports were nothing but rumors 
and speculation.  Deutsche Telekom offered no comment.  

It was another big day for 3Com Corp. (COMS) as investors 
continued to snatch up shares in anticipation of tomorrow's 
Palm IPO.  Palm is the number 1 manufacturer of electronic 
organizers.  The expected offering price for Palm is $38, 
which has been raised from the original $14 proposed offering 
price.  COMS traded up to another new 52-week high of $119.75 
in today's session.

Shares of Aetna were halted today following the announcement
that the Health Insurance Giant has received an unsolicited 
offer from WellPoint Health Networks and ING America Insurance 
Holdings in a cash and stock deal worth approximately $10 
billion.  Apparently, ING and WellPoint first expressed their 
interest beginning discussions on the deal in a letter dated 
February 24th.  Aetna commented that they will be reviewing 
the offer.  

The future of this market still sounds like a broken record.   
The Nasdaq is where the action is at for those looking to be 
long the market.  The Dow has provided as much volatility of 
late, but the trend is still lower, although may be coming to 
an end.  A nice retest of last week's lows followed by a bounce 
which can close above the 10-dma might be just what the Dow 
needs.  Hopefully it can curb this downtrend without another 
panic event to the downside.  But if it does cause investors 
to sell and pull down the other markets like the Nasdaq, I 
will be hunting for entry points.  Earnings season just isn't 
that far off anymore.  Dips in the Biotech, Semis, and the 
old reliable Internets (still sounds strange) is where I will 
be focusing my efforts.  


Lucent Rises from the Ashes on Spin-Off Plans
By Cindy Christ

Lucent Technologies rose from the dead Wednesday, but some
analysts were warning that its meteoric rise could be short

Lucent (LU) plunged 23 percent Jan. 7 after the world's No. 1
telecommunications equipment maker warned that its profits
would fall below expectations by up to 25 percent, in part
because it couldn't meet demand for optical networking and
other fiber optic products.

On Wednesday, Lucent breathed new life into its stagnant share
price by announcing it would spin off slower expanding
divisions into an independent company to focus on the fastest-
growing areas of its business.

Shares of Lucent, the most widely held U.S. stock, were up
$12.50, or 21 percent, at $72 midday and were the Big Board's
most active issue with 61 million shares trading hands.

Intraday, Lucent traded as high as $75.38.

Lucent said the new company, which is as yet unnamed, will
concentrate on enterprise networking products and services,
including telephone switchboards, cabling systems and data-
based Local Area Networks.

Lucent said the new $8 billion company would rank No. 1 or
No. 2 in most of the markets in which it competes, starting
out with a blue-chip customer list including 90 percent of
Fortune 500 companies and 34,000 employees worldwide.

Under the spin-off, which is expected to close by Sept. 30,
shares in the new company will be distributed tax free to
Lucent shareowners.

"By spinning off our PBS, SYSTIMAX cabling and LAN-based data
businesses, we are sharpening Lucent's focus and creating
another leading company to serve business customers," said
Lucent Technologies chairman and CEO Richard McGinn in a

"Lucent will concentrate greater resources on fast-growing
areas like optical networking, Internet infrastructure,
wireless, semiconductors, optoelectronics, Web-based
enterprise solutions linking private to public networks, and
professional design and consulting services for service
providers and enterprises," he added.

McGinn said that current Lucent executive vice president and
chief financial officer Donald Peterson has been named
president and CEO of the new company.

Before coming to Lucent, Peterson ran the enterprise
networking business for Canada's Nortel Networks (NT).

After the spin-off, each company will have its own brand,
board of directors and research and development organizations.
Murray Hill, N.J.-based Lucent will have about 116,000 workers
worldwide and 1999 sales of $30 billion.

In recent months Lucent also has been considering a tracking
stock for its optical networking unit. Market watchers say a
decision could come by the end of this quarter.

Initial reaction to the spin-off on Wall Street was mostly
positive, but late in the session a leading investment bank
was alerting investors that concerns about Lucent's upcoming
quarter could pop Wednesday's bubble.

SG Cowen analyst Christopher Stix raised his rating Wednesday
on Lucent shares to "buy" from "neutral."

"The spin-off will help increase the growth profile of the
company and improve operating margins," said Stix.

Analysts said that while margins would increase, the spin-off
wouldn't affect Lucent's earnings.

According to CNBC financial television, Goldman Sachs issued a
warning to clients Wednesday, saying that Lucent's March
quarter is at risk and that earnings projections may be
lowered from current levels.

Unlike chief rival Nortel Networks, Lucent has struggled
to transition its business from providing equipment for voice-
based communications systems to meet exploding demand for
high-speed Internet and data networking gear.


VERT - VerticalNet, Inc. $229.63 +9.63 (+3.88 this week)

VerticalNet owns and operates 55 industry-specific Web sites 
designed as online business-to-business communities, known as 
vertical trade communities.  These vertical trade communities 
provide users with comprehensive sources of information, 
interaction and e-commerce.  They are grouped into the following 
provides auctions, catalogs, bookstores, career services and 
other e-commerce capabilities horizontally across its communities 
with sites like Industry Deals.com, IT CareerHub.com, LabX.com, 
Professional Store.com. VerticalNet's NECX Exchange provides an 
exchange for the electronic components industry. 

Latest Write Up

While we might loudly complain that volume fell off a cliff 
and the price didn't move relative the rest of the tech issues 
in the last two trading days, that could actually be a blessing.  
The low volume of roughly half the ADV of 1.4 mln shares says 
that traders are not interested in dumping VERT shares either 
and we may have found a higher low following the solid bounce 
off previous long-term support of $200.  It now appears support 
is holding well at $215-$216.  Use that as your target for what 
will likely be the best entry.  If you'd rather see a breakout 
before taking a position, then $225 backed up with an increase 
in volume is your number.  Still helping to drive this play 
going forward will be the 2:1 split, which will take effect 
after the close on March 31.  You still have plenty of time 
for a good entry, so wait for VERT to come to you.  With the 
rest of the market moving forward though, the probability of 
VERT remaining at these levels for long diminishes.  Earnings 
are not a factor again until May.


Well, if you were waiting for that breakout mentioned above, 
today was your day.  VERT posted an impressive $9.63 gain and 
had some nice volume backing the move.  As we mentioned, there 
is still plenty of time to get on board for the split run, so 
do not be hasty with your entry points.  Watch for the $225 
level to continue to hold.  VERT looks to have additional 
support between $214 and $216, which could hold on a pullback 
and provide some nice possible points of entry.  VERT may 
encounter a bit of immediate resistance at $230, so watch for 
VERT to move through this level.  

BUY CALL MAR-210 ERW-CB OI= 290 at $32.00 SL=25.00
BUY CALL MAR-220 ERW-CD OI= 649 at $30.00 SL=23.50
BUY CALL MAR-230*URE-CF OI=1498 at $20.00 SL=15.50
BUY CALL APR-220 ERW-DD OI= 611 at $38.75 SL=30.25
BUY CALL APR-230 URE-DF OI= 346 at $38.75 SL=30.25

Picked on Feb 24th at  $221.00     P/E = N/A
Change since picked      +8.63     52-week high=$289.56
Analysts Ratings     4-6-3-0-0     52-week low =$ 17.50
Last earnings 02/00  est=-0.36     actual=-0.28
Next earnings 05-02  est=-0.45     versus=-0.19
Average Daily Volume = 1.4 mln


The question remains: Who will lead?

Will the NASDAQ lead the DOW up or will the DOW lead the NASDAQ
into the cellar?  Time will tell.  With conservative yet favorable
"in-the-money" positions, time is our friend!   

Summary of Previous Picks:

Covered Calls: (Margin would double the listed Monthly Return)

Stock  Strike Strike Cost   Current Profit  Monthly
Symbol Month  Price  Basis  Price   (Loss)  Return

SCMR    MAR     95   89.31  169.03  $5.69    6.5%
INKT    MAR    125  119.63  141.06  $5.37    5.9%
LWIN    MAR     80   75.63   88.50  $4.37    5.9%
NEON    MAR     55   52.00   89.94  $3.00    5.8%
INSP    MAR    145  135.56  238.00  $9.44    5.7%
CRA     MAR    130  124.62  235.50  $5.38    5.7%
ITVU    MAR    105   98.25  158.56  $6.75    5.6%
SMTC    MAR     55   52.75   63.88  $2.25    5.6%
CHINA   MAR     95   90.12  123.63  $4.88    5.5%
TIBX    MAR     65   61.79  130.13  $3.20    5.3% Split 3 - 1
FIBR    MAR     55   51.75  141.94  $3.25    5.2%
BVSN    MAR    170  163.62  256.31  $6.38    5.2%
ENTU    MAR     65   61.88   93.88  $3.12    5.1%
PUMA    MAR     95   91.50  167.00  $3.50    5.1%
IMNX    MAR    130  122.50  219.00  $7.50    5.0%
MUSE    MAR     87   82.50  159.75  $4.50    4.5% Split 2 - 1
DITC    MAR     62   58.94  111.06  $3.07    4.3% Split 2 - 1

Naked Puts:

Stock  Strike Strike Cost   Current Profit  Monthly
Symbol Month  Price  Basis  Price   (Loss)  Return

SCMR    MAR     85   81.50  169.03  $3.50   13.3%
BVSN    MAR    160  156.25  256.31  $3.75   10.9%
NEON    MAR     50   48.44   89.94  $1.56   10.9%
CRA     MAR    120  117.19  235.50  $2.81   10.3%
PUMA    MAR     90   87.87  167.00  $2.13   10.1%
MUSE    MAR     82   80.19  159.75  $2.32    9.9% Split 2 - 1
ENTU    MAR     60   58.31   93.88  $1.69    9.8%
CHINA   MAR     85   82.62  123.63  $2.38    9.3%
INSP    MAR    130  125.37  238.00  $4.63    9.3%
LWIN    MAR     70   68.19   88.50  $1.81    9.1%
ITVU    MAR    105  102.94  158.56  $2.06    8.9%
TIBX    MAR     58   56.83  130.13  $1.50    8.5% Split 3 - 1
HLIT    MAR     95   92.50  140.88  $2.50    7.4%
INKT    MAR    110  108.37  141.06  $1.63    7.3%
VRSN    MAR    185  182.25  251.13  $2.75    7.1%
MRVC    MAR     70   69.06  155.88  $0.94    5.9%
PROX    MAR     80   78.50  159.13  $1.50    5.2%


The positions that we find favorable (and will track every week) 
will be marked by asterisks. Do not enter these trades unless you
fully understand the strategy and various methods of manipulating
the position should the stock price drop or rise and in the event
you decide you want to keep the issue.

Note:  A slightly reduced section this week as my partner in "time"
is vacationing in the winter wonderland in Moscow. 


CLRS - Clarus $115.50   *** B2B Sector Sizzles ***

Clarus develops, markets and supports Web-based electronic
commerce applications and client/server financial and human
resources applications.  Clarus' applications enable organizations
to gain control of their operational resources and reduce the
total cost of ownership by minimizing the time, costs, and risks
associated with implementing, changing, and upgrading the appli-
cations. Almost all of its products are sold as application
suites.  Clarus' Commerce line of products leverages Web
technology to connect large populations of employees, management,
and suppliers in continuous planning, monitoring, and control of
resources. The Clarus line of products are based on a flexible,
open architecture called Active Architecture, which allows for
seamless, rapid changes and upgrades without modifying the source

Though Clarus posted a fourth quarter loss ($0.47), they beat
estimates by 13 cents. The company also reported record revenues,
increasing 170 percent while their E-commerce license fees were 
up 200 percent.  The resulting coverage by JC Bradford and Salomon
Smith Barney (JC Bradford quickly upgraded to a "strong buy"), 
caused an immediate reverse in the post-earnings drop. Several
new agreements have also helped ignite the new uptrend, with 
the latest, a broad-based agreement Wachovia.

The technical pattern is quite favorable with the support provided
by the January and mid-February high offering a reasonable entry

Action    Month &  Option  Open     Closing  Cost     Monthly
Req'd     Strike   Symbol  Interest Price    Basis    Return

Sell Call MAR 90   RUR CR  142      27.63    87.87     4.6% ***
Sell Call MAR 95   RUR CS  117      23.88    91.62     7.0%

Sell Put  MAR 80   RUR OP  148      0.94     79.06     7.4% ***
Sell Put  MAR 85   RUR OQ  36       1.50     83.50    11.6%
Sell Put  MAR 90   RUR OR  66       2.31     87.69    17.3%

Chart =


FNSR - Finisar  $139.81  *** Record Revenues/Earnings ***

Finisar is a provider of fiber optic subsystems and network per-
formance test systems which enable high-speed data communications
over Gigabit Ethernet-based local area networks and Fibre Channel-
based storage area networks.  They are focused on the application
of digital fiber optics to provide a line of high-performance,
reliable, value-added optical subsystems for networking and
storage equipment manufacturers.  Finisar's fiber optic systems
include GBIC transceivers, optical multiplexers, link extenders,
protocol analyzers and data generators for Fibre Channel networks.

Recently, Finisar's  FLX-2000 Fibre Channel Link Extender was 
qualified by EMC Corporation for use with EMC's Symmetrix 
Enterprise Storage and Connectrix Enterprise Storage Network 
systems.  Last week, Finisar reported a record 84 percent
increase in revenues and record pro forma net income increase
of 189 percent.  Finisar's revenues have grown at a compounded 
growth rate of 94% for the last five years.

Though some post-earnings weakness was expected, Finisar only 
powered on above its February high.  The technical pattern 
continues to remain favorable with the 1st level of support
around $115.  

Action    Month &  Option  Open     Closing  Cost     Monthly
Req'd     Strike   Symbol  Interest Price    Basis    Return

Sell Call MAR 110  FQY CB  22       33.38   106.43     6.4% ***
Sell Call MAR 115  FQY CC  3        29.75   110.06     8.5%

Sell Put  MAR 95   FQY OS  10        1.69    93.31    10.8% ***
Sell Put  MAR 100  FQY OT  50        2.38    97.62    14.9%
Sell Put  MAR 105  FQY OA  14        3.25   101.75    19.8%
Sell Put  MAR 110  FQY OB  15        4.00   106.00    23.8%

Chart =


IMNX - Immunex  $219 *** Split play ***

Immunex is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops,
manufactures and markets innovative therapeutic products for the
treatment of human diseases including cancer, infectious diseases
and immunological disorders. The Company's major product lines
are Enbrel, Leukine, Novantrone and Thioplex. Enbrel is a soluble
tumor necrosis factor receptor used to reduce inflammatory
activity in patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.
Leukine is a granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor that
is used to stimulate infection-fighting white blood cells.
Novantrone and Thioplex are chemotherapy drugs that are used to
treat pain in cancer patients. Immunex is also developing products
to address ailments such as inflammatory disease, infection,
multiple sclerosis, asthma and cancer.

Recent news for Biotech leader IMNX was the approval of NOVANTRONE 
(mitoxantrone for injection concentrate).  Now the big news is
the announced 3-for-1 split of its common shares in the form of a 
stock dividend. The record date of this stock split is March 6.
The split should occur around March 20, while the March option
expiration is Friday, March 17.  With momentum players jumping on
every stock split, it is no wonder that Credit Suisse First Boston,
raised its price target for Immunex to $300 a share. 

The move Wednesday was strong though there should be time to grab
some naked put option premium.  The chart remains extremely bullish
as Immunex has broken out into blue sky territory.  Any pullback 
in the next few days should inflate the conservative positions 
listed below. 

Action    Month &  Option  Open     Closing  Cost     Monthly
Req'd     Strike   Symbol  Interest Price    Basis    Return

Sell Put  MAR 160  QUV OL  547       1.25   158.75     5.3% 
Sell Put  MAR 165  QUV OM  503       1.75   163.25     7.3% ***
Sell Put  MAR 170  QUV ON  388       2.31   167.69     9.5%

Chart =


INSP - InfoSpace.com   $238 *** Not just an Internet company***

InfoSpace.com provides private label solutions for content and
commerce to Websites and Internet appliances. The company's
affiliate network include a number of online giants such as
America Online, Microsoft Network and Lycos. The cornerstone of
InfoSpace.com's content and commerce services is its nationwide
yellow pages and white pages directories. In addition to its
directory services, the company also distributes other valuable
information in order to help web users locate people, places and
things in the real world.

InfoSpace.com provides services for a unique area of cyber-space.
The Internet is best known for providing information and allowing
communication. InfoSpace.com helps improve the quality of these
activities for Web sites and their customers. Their services are
utilized by more than 2,500 consumer Web sites, e-tail merchants
and wireless communications companies. They also have a number of
infrastructure tools to boost their own brand identity. Today,
Infospace announced that it intends to drop the dot com from its 
name to reflect the Company's position as the leading provider of
commerce infrastructure services to the off-line world through 
Regional Bell Operating Companies, merchant banks and other local
media networks.

Any name change that gets you into blue sky territory is fine by 
this writer.  Infospace didn't even blink after its split in 
January, as its price continued to climb up strongly, never 
violating its 13 dma.  The move today was supported by strong 
volume and the consolidation area around $190 should provide some
near term support. 

Action    Month &  Option  Open     Closing  Cost     Monthly
Req'd     Strike   Symbol  Interest Price    Basis    Return

Sell Put  MAR 175  FHY OO  600       1.00   174.00     3.9%
Sell Put  MAR 180  FHY OP  303       1.81   178.19     7.0% ***
Sell Put  MAR 185  FHY OQ  115       2.13   182.87     8.1%

Chart =


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